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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-11-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Huge crowds turned out for Fidel Castro funeral in Havana, PM comments in tweet
  • [02] Solution on Greece can be reached before end 2016 'if all sides are willing,' Eurozone official says
  • [03] Zakynthos landfill debacle triggers resignation of local councillors in Kalamaki
  • [04] Traffickers abandon migrants and refugees in snow forest

  • [01] Huge crowds turned out for Fidel Castro funeral in Havana, PM comments in tweet

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the only currently serving European leader to attend Fidel Castro's funeral in Cuba, on Wednesday posted a tweet commenting on the huge crowds that turned out to bid a final farewell to Castro in Havana, noting it was "one of the largest gatherings I have ever seen".

    "Last night in Havana, for the final farewell to Fidel. Hundreds of thousands of people in one of the largest gatherings I have seen," he wrote in his Greek twitter account. He also attached a photograph of the densely-packed Plaza de la Revolución in Havana on Tuesday night.

    Tsipras was not the only prominent European at the funeral, however, which was also attended by King Juan Carlos I of Spain, who abdicated as reigning monarch in favour of his son in 2014, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, former French presidential candidate Segolene Royal and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

    [02] Solution on Greece can be reached before end 2016 'if all sides are willing,' Eurozone official says

    BRUSSELS (ANA/M. Aroni) A comprehensive solution for the Greek issue was possible before the end of 2016 provided all sides demonstrated the necessary will to reach an agreement, a Eurozone official said here on Wednesday.

    The Eurogroup on December 5 would mainly focus on the negotiations for the Greek programme, the official said, noting that "very significant progress has been made in recent days" and reporting a cooperative atmosphere in the talks. An agreement had not yet been reached, the official clarified, because a small number of issues had yet to be settled.

    With respect to fiscal issues, the official said that differences regarding 2018 were small but expressed the opinion that issues linked to the labour market would not be resolved on a staff level but at a higher level.

    If only one issue that was "politically sensitive" remained unresolved by Monday, the Eurozone official expressed certainty that this would then be discussed at the Eurogroup. "I do not see any major problem there and I am confident that, if all sides are willing, we will be able to complete the review within 2016," the official added.

    The official said that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will present Eurozone finance ministers with a package of short-term measures that can be used to alleviate Greek debt up in the run up to 2018. Some will have to be implemented earlier, for example at the start of 2017, while others can be left for later and this will be among the issues that the Eurogroup will discuss, the official added.

    Regarding medium- and long-term debt relief measures for Greece, the same Eurozone official noted that there was no reason to discuss these now, since they will be implemented after the end of the Greek programme.

    The official explained that a staff-level agreement required an agreement between the four institutions taking part in the talks - the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB), ESM and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - and the Greek authorities. The Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA), in turn, required a staff-level agreement since only then would there be a clearer picture of Greece's fiscal progress.

    The official refused to elaborate regarding the disagreement between European institutions and the IMF concerning the sustainability of a 3.5 pct of GDP primary surplus target after 2018 but did not rule out the possibility of an emergency Eurogroup meeting in December, noting that the time schedule was "flexible" though nothing was planned. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde will not be attending next Monday's Eurogroup, the official added.

    [03] Zakynthos landfill debacle triggers resignation of local councillors in Kalamaki

    In the latest twist in the ongoing saga surrounding the saturated Kalamaki landfill site on the island of Zakynthos, four of the five local councillors in the area offered their resignations on Wednesday following an impasse in talks between residents and the municipality.

    The local councillors will visit the town hall on Wednesday to submit their resignations to Mayor Pavlos Kolokostas in writing.

    Talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), local council chairman Anastasios Kakolyris said the councillors reached the decision in protest over the "precious time lost for two years now that led to the current stalemate, with tonnes of rubbish strewn on the streets of the island."

    He said the local council had helped as much as it could, guided by fairness and what was good for the island "but given the circumstances, we can no longer go along with the municipal authority."

    The island's Deputy Mayor Kostas Koklas, on his part, underlined the seriousness of the problem caused by the rubbish and said the municipality had started the necessary procedures but needed time for the signature of the licences, which he said had delayed "without reason". He urged the government to treat the issue more seriously and help with its resolution.

    He admitted that Kalamaki residents were right to protest about the continued use of the landfill in their area for disposing waste, which had been declared illegal by a European Court since February 2014 and which residents argue is already saturated.

    He urged the local councillors not to resign, however, and to try to solve the problem with the municipality through dialogue.

    Tonnes of rubbish has accumulated on the island's streets over the past weeks after Kalamaki residents closed the entrance to the dump and refused to take more refuse.

    [04] Traffickers abandon migrants and refugees in snow forest

    Refugees and migrants among them young children were located in the covered by snow forest of Seych Sou in the suburbs of Thessaloniki.

    According to first information, the approximately 70 migrants and refugees arrived earlier in Thessaloniki, probably from Turkey, and despite the low temperatures and the adverse weather conditions prevailing in the area, the traffickers abandoned them in the forest. The traffickers who received 400 euros per person fled and are being wanted.


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