|Friday, 23 March 2018|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-03-24
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 President calls for unity, says thoughts are with CyprusAMNA/President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday called for "unity on a national plan that will enable us to mitigate the repercussions of the crisis, to protect the weak and to look forward with optimism", is a message on the 192nd anniversary of the March 25 Greek Independence Day, which marks the start of the 1821 Greek revolution against Ottoman rule.
He stressed that "our thoughts are with Cyprus", adding that "in these critical moments, words alone are not sufficient, but our active solidarity and support" are needed.
The President underlined that "Hellenism is being sorely tried in an international environment that is becoming increasingly tougher".
"Much is happening that does not depend on our own efforts, but which we can guide them with our decisions and our own actions," he added.
As for the meaning of the March 25 anniversary itself, Papoulias noted that "the 1821 Revolution evoked international admiration, inspired, touched and continues to generate thoughts on the power of collectiveness, faith in ideals, passion for freedom and independence".
President Papoulias also underlined the important role played by the Church of Greece in the multi-level, ethical and spiritual crisis the country is going through, addressing Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece at the traditional luncheon the President hosted for the Holy Synod in observation of the 'Feast of Orthodoxy', which is celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent.
Papoulias noted that Greece is going through a tough trial, with unemployment downgrading the standard of living and the widespread poverty and financial inequalities putting the social cohesion at risk.
"In such conditions, extremity, violence, intolerance and division find room to develop," he warned, adding that the role of the Orthodox Church is exceptionally important today. "More and more of our compatriots look to the Church's social contribution and its support," he said, given that "the crisis we are going through is multi-dimensional, it is an ethical and spiritual crisis".
"Our system of values is being shaken, fundamental principles of our democracy are being disputed, and this is the reason why the word spoken by the Church is also of exceptional importance today. I am touched when I hear the Hierarchs who preach love, solidarity, tolerance, who work to preserve the social peace," Papoulias continued.
He underlined the Orthodox Church's unwavering position for absolute respect of human liberty and human rights, which automatically renders the Church a leader in the struggle for a genuine and integrated democracy.
Papoulias made particular reference to the "scourge" of poverty, noting that his is why the social solidarity taught by the Church is so important.
In his return address, the Archbishop stressed that the secret to the struggle was and always is unity and self-sacrifice.
"The hardships, the crises and the impasses in this world have always existed, exist today and will always exist. We have a duty to remain standing...The meal you hosted today, with love, for us, marks the common path of the Church and State, each with its duty and authority, with their objective purpose the ministration of the human being, the Greek and this blessed country, Greece," Ieronymos said.
 Migrant-smuggling ring disbanded, four smugglers arrestedAMNA/ Attica police broke up an organised ring of migrant smugglers, arresting four ring members-- three Indian nationals and a local man -- and detaining 29 illegal migrants -- in a coordinated operation on Saturday, while four more persons were wanted.
Police said that four migrant smugglers were arrested and four more, two Greeks and two foreign nationals were wanted, while 29 illegal migrants -- 8 from India, 8 from Bangladesh, 6 Syrians, 3 Pakistanis, two Sri Lankan nationals, and one each from Lebanon and Afghanistan -- were detained.
After several days of investigation, police said they located a house in the Tavros district of Athens that was used by the ring to house illegal immigrants for transfer to other EU countries. They said two private buses boarded illegal immigrants from Tavros and other parts of Attica prefecture, for transport to Italy, but were intercepted by policy at the Elefsina toll station.
The illegal immigrants had paid 2,000-4,000 euros each to the smugglers.
 The weekend edition of Athens' newspapers at a glanceAMNA/ The weekend editions of Athens' dailies, mostly circulating Saturday and a few extra editions circulating on Sunday because of the Greek Independence Day holiday, which will be marked on Monday, a national holiday, at a glance:
AVGHI: "Nicosia looking for solutions beyond the troika - Battling without help, despite unbearable pressure"
DIMOKRATIA: "The Cyprus File: Nightmare for deposits in Greece too - A dramatic look behind the scenes the last 24 hours"
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Euro-scepticism at a high - Metron Analysis' monthly barometer on the days of the crisis"
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The euro cracks under Germany's assault on Cyprus - European depositors worried after the 'haircut'"
ESTIA: "Historic anniversary issue - March 25, 1903"
ETHNOS: "Cold-blooded execution - Eurogroup: Ultimatum for agreement, bankruptcy otherwise"
KATHIMERINI: "How the drama of Cyprus was played out - The critical contacts up to late Saturday night - Shielding of the depositors (in Cypriot banks' branches) in Greece - The secret bargaining between Moscow and Berlin - Schauble's (German finance minister) agenda for the EU South".
LOGOS: "Solution now! Market throttled - Hundreds of Greek businesses trapped"
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Comprehensive solution for Cyprus banks - Domestic bank sector situation normalising"
RIZOSPASTIS: "Cyprus people must stop the sacrifice of its rights - One way only, break free of the EU and overturn the anti-popular struggle"
TO VIMA (extra edition): "The new Merkel (German chancellor) economic dogma shakes up the eurozone - The sacrifice of Cyprus and the depositors - Nicosia-Troika agreement for 'haircut' (of bank deposits) from 4 percent to 10 percent - Critical eurogroup meeting in Brussels (on Sunday evening)".
VRADYNI: "Insurance guide for Social Security Foundation (IKA) and the civil sector - All new regulations for long-term insured people"
 Manhunt continues for Trikala prison escapeesAMNA/ Police continued a manhunt on Sunday for eight inmates still at large after Friday's prison break by 11 inmates from Trikala prison, recapturing a third prisoner near the Trikala border with Larissa on Sunday evening.
Police have set up road blocks to all road accesses leading to the Greek-Albanian border, while patrols were scouring the surrounding mountains where passage routes to the neighbouring country abound.
Police have trained police dogs with them, while thermal cameras are being used at night.
Eleven inmates escaped from the Trikala jail after an operation on Friday night that sent two guards to the hospital, one critically injured
Two of the escapees were apprehended by police on Saturday and a third on Sunday, while the other eight still remain at large.
Four of the escapees had been trapped by police in the vicinity of the jail, while the two that were arrested on Saturday are Albanian nationals aged 27 and 30. All eleven were convicted on theft and robbery charges.
The escape was made with outside help by unknown persons in two cars who started firing at the guards as a diversionary tactic while the eleven men climbed out with ropes, hooks and self-made ladders.
According to a Justice Ministry announcement, the escape was "unprecedented and planned like a military operation, using Kalashnikovs and hand grenades," and carried out around 8:30 p.m., "while the convicts had not returned to their cells yet."
In an announcement describing the operation, the ministry said that "unknown persons, split into two groups, with two vehicles and heavy arms, opened fire at the guards outside and at the vehicle used by the jail patrol which was parked outside the jail and was caught in the cross-fire." An additional two police cars, one in motion and the other parked, were also attacked.
"During the fire exchange that lasted over half an hour and turned the area into a battlefield," the ministry said, "two guards outside were injured in the abdomen, one of them seriously. It was determined that 11 foreign nationals convicted over robberies and thefts managed to escape from the G2 jail wing after taking advantage of the armed clash of outsiders with the forces there."
The jail is surrounded by EKAM swat teams and searches "have so far not turned up additional firearms or shells that would confirm the use of firearms by convicts inside the jail during the escape attempt," the ministry said.
Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis rushed to Trikala, where he visited the injured guards in Trikala Hospital on Saturday afternoon, accompanied by deputy minister Costas Karagounis and the ministry secretary general.
Roupakiotis went afterwards to the prison, were he was briefed on the circumstances surrounding the attack on the prison guards and jail-break.
After the briefing, he said that a "perfectly organised plan" had been executed, during which hundreds of gunshots were fired and handgrenades thrown, of which five exploded, seriously injuring two members of the prison's outside guards, while also immobilizing the police car and guards' car stationed at the facility.
Roupakiotis said it was an unprecedented operation, noting that "up to know we were discussing how to prevent someone escaping from inside, since that is where the danger existed...now we have to redesign the guarding of the prisons, because as it seems, with the form that organised crime has taken, the there is a threat of interventions from the outside to help those on the inside (escape)".
Following Friday's prison break, law enforcement authorities believe that lifer Panagiotis Vlastos was preparing a new attempt to break out of the Trikala incarceration facility, after an attempted prison break by the notorious inmate by helicopter was foiled by authorities a month ago.
Police press spokesman Christos Parthenis said Saturday that after the escape of the 11 inmates a search was conducted of Vlastos' cell, which turned up five blades, four saws and two knives.
He also said that the two inmates that were re-captured were found in the Krinitsa area of Trikala some 4-5 kilometers from the jail, and were both Albanians, aged 27 and 30.
According to information collected so far, he added, the escape was planned by eight of the escapees, which was carried out with help from accomplices from the outside, who 'raided' the prison facility and riddled the main guardbooth and several sides of the building with hundreds of bullets fired from Kalashnikov firearms, seriously injuring two guards.
Meanwhile, the identities and photographs of the eight escapees still at large were released later Sunday by police.
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