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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-09-29
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 K. Karamanlis Letter to Inquiry CommitteeTuesday, 28 September 2010 16:01
Former Prime-minister Kostas Karamanlis sent a letter to the Parliament Inquiry Committee on the Batopedi transfer of land case, in response to its call to appear as witness.
In his letter, Mr. Karamanlis blames PASOK party for having started transfer of land procedures, which ND deputies ,each within his competence, adopted the fully legal transfer of land procedure. Furthermore, he stressed that neither blamable acts nor suspicion about penal responsibilities have come up from investigations while the state has not suffered any damage. At political level he said a prime-minister has the duty to assume the objective responsibility for any issue preoccupying public life and this is what he did in 2008.
G. Petalotis: "Batopedi evidently damaged the state"
Government spokesman G. Petalotis, referring to the Batopedi case said "the Batopedi scandal has evidently damaged the state", and added that inquiry committees reach decision in accordance to their willingness and consideration estimating that they would like to have an exact determination of damage to the state.
He also refered that former Supreme Court Prosecutor G. Sanidas assessed big damage to the state.
Furthermore, Mr. Petalotis spoke of multiple transfers of big pieces of land and laundering of black money in off shore companies, set up for this reason and stressed that both damage to the state and ND stand are factual and provocative.
PASOK deputies, participating in the committee, stressed: "Kostas Karamanlis does not want to substantially contribute to the Committee's efforts, but quoting several inaccuracies changes for the third time stand. He speaks of ministers' responsibilities within the frame of their competence, maintains that the State has not suffered any damage when Registered Accountants Body estimates a 110 million euros damage".
Antonis Skyllakos (GCP): "Karamanlis letter is within the frame of ND defense line. It reconfirms the responsibility of both ND and PASOK parties".
Th. Plevris (LAOS): "the point was Mr. Karamanlis to appear before the committee and not to send a letter. PASOK played the game of the former Prime-minister".
Th. Dritsas (SYRIZA): "Mr. Karamanlis is trying with gimmick to cover up reality, specifically at the points where he doubts damage to the State and refers to ministers' competences ".
Monks Efraim and Arsenios selected not to appear before the Parliament Inquiry Committee.
Sources: ÍÅÔ 105.8, ÁNA/ÌPA News item: 41363
 Work Cease Hampers CommutersWednesday, 29 September 2010 09:38
Commuters will face big problems today as all means of mass transport have announced work stoppages on Wednesday while the two largest trade unions GSEE and ADEDY have organized a demonstration at 18:00, at Klathmonos Square. Hospitals will operate with skeleton staff as state hospital doctors are staging a 24 hour strike.
Work Cease in Means of Mass Transport
Metro, electric train and tram will not run services from 12:00-16:00, blue buses and trolley buses will not operate from 11:00-16:00. Hellenic Railway Company (OSE) employees are staging a 5-hour work cease from 12:00-17:00 and there will be no train and suburban railway services during this period.
Dock workers are staging a strike on Wednesday while drug stores in Piraeus will remain closed today claiming payment of social security funds debts and maintenance of their profit percentage.
Today many trade unions in several European countries have organized mobilizations against austerity measures Europe-wide. Today is European Action day against austerity measures adopted due to the financial crisis.
Some 100.000 workers from 30 European states are expected to demonstrate in Brussels today.
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8
News item: 41384
 Government Toughens Stand on TruckersWednesday, 29 September 2010 08:23
The government has decided to put in force two legal acts to lift deadlock in market supply after several days of truck and tanker owners mobilizations. The extraordinary meeting, chaired by Theodoros Pagalos, has decided to toughen sanctions on truck owners who do not comply with requisition order and allow private trucks to carry out freight transport. In the meantime, sharp shortages in many products have been recorded. Thousands of containers have piled up in the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki while tens of businesses give obligatory days off to its personnel as they have run out of crude materials.
Tolerance Period Expires
On Tuesday, government spokesman George Petalotis made clear that tolerance period was over and the government would mobilize all mechanisms to restore smooth market supply. All means have been exhausted he said and added that draft-bill on tax cases closure provides for a special regulation for truckers.
Mr. Petalotis also revealed that a legal act will allow private trucks to carry out commercial trucks job.
Shortages in Produce -Food Products
Continuation of truckers' mobilizations have increased problems. Thousands of containers remain in the port of Piraeus while big shortages are recorded mainly in produce and food products.
Damage in the country's economy is estimated to 2 million euros daily while two weeks will be needed to restore smooth market supply after the end of mobilizations.
Source: ÍÅÔ - ÍÅÔ 105.8 - ÁNA - ÌPA
News item: 41381
 Parliament Objects to Tax Settlement RegulationWednesday, 29 September 2010 15:59
A debate on the closure of pending tax cases is being held at the standing Parliament Committee competent on economic affairs. The Parliament is expected to pass the draft-bill with procedure of urgent on Thursday. Opposition parties objected to the urgent voting procedure while a regulation including companies with over 20 million euros annual turn out and companies in the stock market that have issued fake invoices sparked strong friction.
Specifically SYRIZA deputy, Dimitris Papadimoulis described it as a photograpg regulation, requesting the Finance Minister G. Papakonstantinou to name the companies. On his part, Mr. Papakonstantinou after describing urgent procedure as necessary, called Mr. Papadimoulis to recall his comment as it personally offended him or else he would face penal responsibilities.
ND and LAOS requested withdrawal of the specific regulation while PASOK party deputy Kostas Geitonas objected to the regulation saying the least to do is to inform the Parliament on the names of the companies.
Following the Parliament confrontation, Mr. Papakonstantinou amended the controversial regulation which finally provides for inclusion in the tax settlement of the above group of companies-when imposition of penalty has not been issued till the date the bill takes effect.
Representatives of commerce, construction fields and real estate owners, in a press interview, called for withdrawal of regulation exempting ones, who own property worth above 400.000 euros, from the regulation. They also left open possibility to refer to justice regarding amendment on tax settlement draft-bill. They object to rise in objective value of property and even ask for its reduction in regions that have been underappreciated, drop in commercial value factor and rise in antiqueness factor.
Sources: ÍÅÔ, ÍÅÔ 105.8, ÁNA
News item: 41410