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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-08-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 8 August 2011 Issue No: 3858


  • [01] PM Papandreou speaks on phone with Rompuy
  • [02] EU must rapidly take action to reassure markets over debt crisis, Mossialos stresses
  • [03] Finmin, main opposition leader in 'Guardian' interviews on fiscal measures, debt crisis
  • [04] Foreign minister to begin tour of Norway, Denmark on Monday
  • [05] Cyprus foreign minister due to visit Athens
  • [06] Foreign ministry reply to Turkish statements on Cyprus research agreements
  • [07] Supreme Court says bribery charge against Tsohatzopoulos statute-barred
  • [08] Labour minister warns of 'difficult winter' for social insurance funds
  • [09] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [10] Fires reported in Rethymno, Thesprotia
  • [11] Wildfires still burning on Corfu, Halkidiki, abating on Skopelos
  • [12] Fire reported at Agia Triada near Nafplion
  • [13] Santorini, Parthenon in list of 'must-see' destinations
  • [14] Two migrant traffickers, 23 illegal migrants caught in Rodopi, Evros
  • [15] One killed, three injured in collision involving inter-city bus
  • [16] Protestors 'tent city' under White Tower cleared out
  • [17] Greek man arrested on charge of raping foreign national
  • [18] Police use mobile phone signal to avert threatened suicide
  • [19] Briton arrested for streaking in Malia, Crete
  • [20] Earthquake jolts Patras
  • [21] Mild earthquake shakes Halkidiki, northern Greece
  • [22] Weather forecast for Monday: Hot
  • [23] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
  • [24] President: UN, EU should end Turkish threats against Cyprus' EEZ Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou speaks on phone with Rompuy

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Sunday afternoon spoke on the phone with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy on the latest developments in Europe and the USA.

    Press reports said that on Monday Papandreou will have also a series of discussions with other European officials as well.

    During the talks with Van Rompuy, the issue of a possible intervention by the European Central Bank (ECB) regarding the Italian bonds, was discussed. Papandreou remained to his position as noted in his letter to EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso last Friday, that implementation of the July 21 eurozone summit decisions is imperative and must be done promptly and effectively and on how markets are expected to react.

    According to reports, the Greek side is monitoring with great interest the relevant developments without, however, having any concerns as regards the imple-mentation of the Eurozone summit decisions for the country, as an ECB intervention is very likely, as well as the taking of new decisions in order to tackle new problems.

    [02] EU must rapidly take action to reassure markets over debt crisis, Mossialos stresses

    Greek government spokesman Ilias Mossialos on Saturday urged European governments to take rapid action in order to reassure markets and protect the EU from the spreading debt crisis, in statements to local Greek radio station "Athina 9.84".

    "Otherwise, you aren't sending markets a clear message that European governments have created a stability fund that is large enough to do whatever is possible, when there are problems in the countries of the periphery, to support them," he said.

    He stressed that the money given would not be a "gift" to the recipient countries but a loan carrying a very good interest rate that would be paid back.

    The spokesman pointed out that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had from the start of the crisis proposed establishing a European credit rating agency and a tax on financial transactions, as well as the issue of a eurobond.

    He said that a eurobond would be essentially be all European Union countries borrowing together at the risk for the Eurozone average so that this could then be loaned to the countries with the biggest problem.

    Regarding sit-in strikes threatened by public-sector workers - who said they would continue to provide services to the public but abstain from collecting fees for them - Mossialos stressed that this amounted to breach of duty and harmed the public interest.

    "I am not saying that strikes must stop. The right of workers to strike is irrevocable. But to stop collecting [fees], to paralyse revenue-raising mechanism and stop the country's progress exceeds all bounds of tolerance," he stressed.

    [03] Finmin, main opposition leader in 'Guardian' interviews on fiscal measures, debt crisis

    Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has pledged that Greece will make a "superhuman effort" to implement reforms that will turn its troubled economy around and finally stem a debt crisis whose ripple effects are sweeping through the Eurozone, with Spain and Italy looked set to be its next victims. Among others, he has promised to come down hard on Greece's endemic tax evasion problems, which are widely seen as the country's biggest problem in tackling a gargantuan public deficit and debt.

    "It's very important for us to act on our commitments to the EU and IMF. And, we will be true to our word," Venizelos said in an interview with the London-based newspaper "The Guardian" published on Friday.

    In this, the Greek minister promised to deliver on a fiscal consolidation programme that cuts state spending by 28 billion euro, further austerity measures and tax increases, as well as an ambitious and controversial privatisation programme to raise an additional 50 billion euro in state revenues.

    Interpreting the decision to give Greece a second bailout as a signal of a new resolve in Europe to tackle the spiralling debt crisis with "more decisiveness and courage," Venizelos appeared confident that the government's deficit-reducing programme would finally succeed.

    "I am necessarily optimistic. Psychology plays a huge role in economics. It is half of everything," he stressed.

    His optimism was not shared by main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, however, whose interview to 'The Guardian' was also published the same day.

    "The medicine Greece has been given, doesn't work," he said, stressing that a barrage of tax increases, wage cuts and pension drops demanded by Greece's EU and IMF creditors for the bailout loans were crippling Greece's economy and actually making the crisis worse.

    "The austerity measures aren't working; the sacrifices that are being made aren't paying off. The treatment is simply so strong that there is a risk we will kill the economy before we kill the deficit," he said, repeating his criticism of the government's severe austerity policies.

    "The only rational thing is to change the policy mix," he added. "As Einstein himself said, the definition of absurdity is to follow the same solution and expect different answers. The official projection was that in the first semester of 2011 the deficit would drop by 4% compared to the first semester of 2010. Instead, it went up by 27.5 %."

    [04] Foreign minister to begin tour of Norway, Denmark on Monday

    Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis will on Monday embark on a tour of Norway and Denmark, during which he will meet his counterparts in those countries, representatives of the local Parliaments and hold press conferences for local media.

    Through the visits, Lambrinidis hopes to inform European public opinion about the ambitious reform programme underway in Greece and explain its importance for Europe, in view of a process to ratify the decisions of European leaders for a second bailout package to Greece.

    Lambrinidis has already paid visits to Germany, Austria, Poland and Britain and will soon also visit Sweden.

    [05] Cyprus foreign minister due to visit Athens

    Cyprus' new foreign minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis is due to arrive on her first visit to Athens since taking over her new duties next Thursday, according to an announcement she made on Cyprus' RIK television channel.

    The minister said that she was coming at the invitation of the Greek counterpart Stavros Lambrinidis and will hold talks with him.

    She will also seek meetings with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    [06] Foreign ministry reply to Turkish statements on Cyprus research agreements

    Foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Saturday criticised statements by Turkey's leadership objecting to Cyprus' continued activity aimed at exploiting its natural resources, stressing that Turkish troops continued to occupy a large part of the island republic.

    "Turkey of 'zero problems' continues to occupy a large part of the Cyprus Republic. With its occupation army it undermines the achievement of a solution. It marginalises Turkish-Cypriots and prevents them from enjoying the benefits of being a citizen of the Cyprus Republic and the European Union," the spokesman noted.

    Delavekouras emphasised that the government of the Cyprus Republic was the only legal representatives of the state and exercising its sovereign rights and responsibilities, including that of contracting agreements for conducting marine research, in full agreement with international law and maritime law.

    He urged Turkey to adopt the treaty for maritime law, which was a part of European rules and regulations, instead of making provocative statements. He also called on Turkey to accept its responsibility and to lead the representatives of the Turkish-Cypriot community to adopt a constructive stance in talks for a Cyprus solution, so that this might be achieved.

    [07] Supreme Court says bribery charge against Tsohatzopoulos statute-barred

    A Supreme Court Judicial Council has recommended dropping a charge of passive bribery against former minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on the grounds that the statute of limitations has been exceeded.

    The charges relate to the signature of a contract for the purchase of German-made submarines by the Greek Navy, on terms that were highly unfavourable for the Greek State and eventually allowed the company to terminate the contract after 80 percent of the price had been paid.

    The justices accepted the arguments of the deputy prosecutor and examining magistrate, who said that the charge of accepting bribes was statute barred because there had been two Parliamentary sessions since the offences were committed and they cannot be a lawful prosecution.

    For the charge of legalising income from illegal activity, however, the council has recommended that Tsohatzopoulos be indicted to stand trial since he was not a minister at the time that the offences were committed and is not protected by statute of limitation laws for ministers.

    Financial News

    [08] Labour minister warns of 'difficult winter' for social insurance funds

    Greece's main social insurance and pension fund IKA was in a "difficult situation" but would not go bankrupt, assured Labour and Social Insurance Minister George Koutroumanis in an interview published by the Sunday edition of the newspaper "To Vima".

    "We have before us the hardest winter of the last decades. The course of unemployment and the recovery of social insurance fund revenues depends directly on the overall course of the country," he stressed.

    He played down the likelihood that IKA might run out of cash, however, noting that half the annual deficit could be dealt with by restricting spending on pharmaceuticals.

    Koutroumanis said that pension funds might start to face serious problems if the crisis continued unabated after 2012 but he forecast that 2012 would be the year in which the economy will stabilise and the first signs of a recovery will begin to emerge.

    He stressed that a number of measures will be passed in September that will go into effect from the start of 2012 and will include cuts in supplementary pension funds running a deficit.

    [09] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.436

    Pound sterling 0.882

    Danish kroner 7.560

    Swedish kroner 9.345

    Japanese yen 112.92

    Swiss franc 1.101

    Norwegian kroner 7.900

    Canadian dollar 1.410

    Australian dollar 1.374

    General News

    [10] Fires reported in Rethymno, Thesprotia

    Two fires were reported in the prefecture of Rethymno on Crete and a third in the Filiata region of Thesprotia on Sunday.

    The fires in Rethymno had broken out at the locations Kato Valsamonero and Adraktos and were burning through pasture. A team of 12 firemen, five fire engines and a helicopter were fighting the first and another 12 firemen, eight fire engines, an eight-man team on foot and a helicopter were trying to extinguish the second.

    The fire at Tsamantas in Thesprotia had two sources that were closely spaced, indicating that deliberate arson might be involved. Eight firemen and four fire-engines, an 18-man team on foot and two water-bombing aircraft were sent to put out the blaze.

    [11] Wildfires still burning on Corfu, Halkidiki, abating on Skopelos

    A wildfire that broke out two days ago in the Loutses region on the Ionian island of Corfu was described as being "partially under control" by fire brigade officers on Saturday. Forces were still on the scene to fully extinguish the blaze.

    Also burning fiercely was a forest fire that broke out at the location Agia Paraskevi in Gymnopotamos, Filippiada. A force of 20 firemen, seven vehicles, a team on foot and two water-bombing aircraft were battling to control the flames.

    A fire in Nikiti in the Halkidiki peninsula was still burning, with thick smoke hampering the continuing fire-fighting effort, though the fire on the Aegean island of Skopelos appeared to be abating and fire fighters were confident it would soon be under control.

    The fires in Halkidiki and Skopelos were both started by lightning strikes.

    [12] Fire reported at Agia Triada near Nafplion

    A fire burning through crops and stands of bamboo was reported at Agia Triada, near the coastal town of Nafplion, on Sunday. The fire started at around 1:30 p.m. for unknown causes. Forces sent by the Nafplion and Argos fire brigades are attempting to get the fire under control.

    [13] Santorini, Parthenon in list of 'must-see' destinations

    The Parthenon temple on the Athens Acropolis and the island of Santorini have been included in the Smithsonian magazine's 'bucket list' of 43 "places to see before you die".

    Detailed descriptions of both destinations are posted on the Smithsonian's website, along side those for the temples of Angkor Wat, the Pyramids of Giza, Ephesus, the Galapagos islands and another few dozens destinations that every traveller should visit at least once.

    [14] Two migrant traffickers, 23 illegal migrants caught in Rodopi, Evros

    Two migrant traffickers and 23 illegal migrants were arrested by police in Rodopi and Evros, according to a police report on Saturday.

    The first trafficker, a 22-year-old Syrian man, was arrested transporting nine illegal immigrants in a car at the Iasmos junction on the Egnatia highway.

    The second suspect arrested, a 20-year-old Afghan national, was found by Frontex forces in an abandoned warehouse in Gemisti, Evros with 14 illegal migrants.

    The car driven by the Syrian had been reported stolen at the Aliveri police station in Evia.

    The suspects will all be led before a public prosecutor.

    [15] One killed, three injured in collision involving inter-city bus

    One person was killed and three were injured in a collision between a private car and a KTEL intercity bus early on Sunday morning, at the 9th kilometre of the Alexandroupolis-Orestiada highway in the northern Greek prefecture of Evros.

    The 26-year-old driver of the car was killed while the bus overturned as a result of the impact and 15 of its 36 passengers were taken to Alexandroupolis hospital with minor injuries.

    Three of the injured passengers were kept in the hospital for observation.

    An inquiry into the causes of the accident are being carried out by the Alexandroupolis traffic police.

    [16] Protestors 'tent city' under White Tower cleared out

    Municipal police and regular police joined forces in the early hours of Sunday to clear out a protestors' camp set up by members of the 'Indignant Citizens' protest movement in the square around the city's landmark White Tower.

    Municipal workers loaded 15 trucks full of tents, refuse and debris that had accumulated in the area while police detained five people and later plan to formally place them under arrest.

    [17] Greek man arrested on charge of raping foreign national

    A 25-year-old Greek man was arrested on Sunday by police in Prosotsani, in the northern Greek prefecture of Drama, on charges of raping a 23-year-old foreign woman.

    The woman had reported the rape at the local police station, saying that she was attacked while walking in a Prosotsani neighbourhood at around 3:00 in the morning, when an unknown man forced her into a car and drove off into a remote location in the countryside, where he used violence to force her to have sex with him.

    Police investigating the incident picked up the 25-year-old, who was recognised by the victim as her attacker.

    He will be led before a Drama misdemeanours court prosecutor.

    [18] Police use mobile phone signal to avert threatened suicide

    A suicide attempt planned by a 30-year-old man was averted after police managed to locate him using the signal from his mobile phone, authorities announced on Sunday.

    The man had written a suicide note explaining the reasons why he intended to take his own life and had left home. Finding the note, his father alerted the police and an overnight operation was set up to locate and prevent him from carrying out his plans. Using the signal emitted by his mobile phone, in collaboration with the phone service provider, police officers were finally able to track him to a deserted beach in Attica in the early hours of Sunday morning.

    The 30-year-old will be referred to a therapist for psychological support.

    Police reported that they have assisted in operations to locate and avert 98 cases of intended suicide since the start of the year.

    [19] Briton arrested for streaking in Malia, Crete

    A 20-year-old British man was arrested by Iraklio police officers in Malia, Crete early on Saturday morning after he was seen wandering around the holiday resort entirely naked, shocking tourists and local residents.

    [20] Earthquake jolts Patras

    A light earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale was recorded at 17:35 on Sunday, causing local residents to run out into the streets. The quake's epicentre was located two km southwest of Nafpaktos, western Greece.

    The earthquake, was strongly felt in Patras and other areas in Achaia prefecture and neighboring Aetoloakarnania prefecture.

    Local residents rushed out of their homes and shops as the quake struck, but no damages were reported.

    The area has been shaken by a string of small quakes emanating from the region of Rio since late June.

    [21] Mild earthquake shakes Halkidiki, northern Greece

    A mild earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale shook the northern Greek peninsula of Halkidiki at 12:15 on Sunday. The epicentre of the quake was 80 kilometres south of Thessaloniki and eight kilometres west of Poseidio in Halkidiki at an estimated depth of 10 kilometres.

    Weather forecast

    [22] Weather forecast for Monday: Hot

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Clear skies in the north parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 18C-37C; the same in the southern parts, and the islands, 23C-36C. Sunny in Athens, 23C-37C; the same for Thessaloniki, 22C-33C.

    [23] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The debt crisis, the attacks on the euro and the prospect of large-scale public-sector lay-offs dominated the front-page headlines in Athens' newspapers on Sunday

    AVGHI: "Threat of a new global recession".

    AVRIANI: "Global economic holocaust after U.S. credit rating cut".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Troika ultimatum to [PM George] Papandreou for the firing of 200,000 public-sector workers".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Sixth installment and new loan 'creaking'".

    ETHNOS: "Red alert in Athens from the crisis domino".

    KATHIMERINI: "The autumn battle of the euro".

    LOGOS: "Violent changes in the public sector".

    NIKI TIS DIMOKRATIAS: " of the new Memorandum".

    PROTO THEMA: "They are throwing onto the 'black rocks'"

    REALNEWS: "IMF asking for new 'haircut'".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The need to reverse the power of monopolies at the forefront".

    TO ARTHRO: "A time of lay-offs in the public sector ".

    TO PARASKINIO: "Scandals that shame Greece".

    TO PARON: "What does [Finance Minister Evangelos] Venizelos fear?"

    TO VIMA: "Markets torch, leaders at a loss".

    VRADYNI: "Pensions: Everything turned topsy-turvy for older insured".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [24] President: UN, EU should end Turkish threats against Cyprus' EEZ


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has urged the international community to put an end to its silence as regards Turkey and its threats if Cyprus proceeds with exercising its sovereign rights to exploit its natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

    Speaking at an anti-occupation event organised by the Famagusta Municipality Saturday evening, President Christofias said it was unacceptable that Turkey, which flagrantly violates international law in Cyprus and has not yet signed the Convention on the Law of the Sea, to refer to the need to implement international law in Cyprus.

    It is unacceptable, he stressed, that the Turkish Foreign Minister uses threats against the Republic of Cyprus in case Nicosia proceeds with the exploitation of its natural resources.

    He pointed out that Turkey has not even accepted or signed the UN international agreement on the Law of the Sea.

    President Christofias recalled that Turkish troops occupy a great part of Cyprus' territory, violating the international law, since 1974.

    ''Despite the above, Turkey dares to speak about the international law, saying that Cyprus should respect and implement it. This is unacceptable'', he stressed.

    The UN, the EU and the whole international community ''must finally put an end to their silence as regards Turkey. They should defend international law and put Turkey in its place''.

    The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that Cyprus' plans to explore and exploit its hydrocarbon reserves is not in line with international law and does not contribute to efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Drilling for natural gas off the southern coast of Cyprus will begin around October.

    Cyprus has signed a production-sharing contract with Houston-based Noble Energy. The company has a concession to explore for hydrocarbons in an offshore field in its Exclusive Economic Zone, southeast of Cyprus, known as Block 12.

    The Eastern Mediterranean area is believed to have a massive amount of natural gas resources.

    Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement was signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Turkey is the only state in the world, which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS

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