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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-08-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 29 August 2011 Issue No: 3875
 Top political cadres on latest political developmentsSeveral newspapers on Sunday carried statements by top ministers and high-ranking opposition cadres on the latest political developments in the country.
Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, in an interview with the weekly "Proto Thema", criticised the attitude of certain political parties and the "indignant citizens" movement, who he charged promote "irresponsible demagoguery, blind violence and abuse". He said such an attitude could lead the country to "elections of responsibility".
The top PASOK minister mentioned that regardless of whether snap elections are held or not, a government of national unity remains an open prospect.
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party Parliamentary rapporteur and former minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis told the weekly "Realnews" that elections are the only solution for the country.
"There can be no solution with the present (government) reasoning, which indiscriminately does whatever the (EC-ECB-IMF) troika tells us to do in the economy," he said.
Conversely, Defence Minister Panos Beglitis, in an interview with the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia", expressed his absolute disagreement with the prospect of snap elections.
"Under the present conditions early recourse to elections would deepen the crisis and (add to) political instability," he said, saying that one of the causes of the crisis is a decades-old inability by the state to tackle tax evasion in the country.
In an unrelated development, Beglitis did not rule out an increase in the length of obligatory military service, "we're examining figures, the needs and the vacancies that exist. Decisions will be taken at a more convenient time."
Finally, ND deputy and former minister Costis Hatzidakis, in an interview with the same newspaper, did not rule out cooperation between PASOK-ND, if the latter does not form a self-sufficient government in whatever future elections.
"The mainstream parties before elections seek self-sufficiency everywhere. ND has the opinion polls on its side. But, regardless of the result, national consensus is always an imperative necessity..." he said.
 Samaras: 'I want clean mandate from citizens for clear-cut solutions'Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras continued to step up his criticism of the PASOK government, as he was quoted on Saturday as emphasising that "we will not tell lies to the people".
"What we say we mean, and will do; we're not fooling anyone," Samaras was quoted as saying in an interview with an Athens weekly financial paper.
Moreover, Samaras repeated his mantra of a "economic re-start", saying that lending and whatever loans, in themselves, cannot save the country, but only grant a reprieve.
In answer to a question, the ND leader said a reduction in tax rates by themselves are not enough, with measures to increase liquidity also necessary. Reducing state sector waste, boosting demand, structural reforms and exploiting the state's assets were other priorities he cited.
"Whatever you do the economy cannot go forward with such tax rates," he said, adding he is asking citizens "for a clear mandate to proceed with clear-cut solutions".
 Veteran leftist leader Kyrkos passes awayVeteran leftist politician Leonidas Kyrkos passed away early Sunday morning at the age of 87.
Kyrkos, who was born in Irakleio, Crete, in 1924, was one of the founders of the 1950s-era leftist EDA party, president KKE (internal branch) party as well as a co-founder of the early 1990s Coalition of the Left & Progress.
He had served several times as a Parliament MP and MEP. Kyrkos was jailed by the military junta in 1967 for five years.
Condolences and statements in memory of Kyrkos poured in on Sunday by political party representatives.
His funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at the First Athens Cemetery.
President Karolos Papoulias, in a message, noted that "Leonidas Kyrkos was a historic political personality of the country, who devoted his life to the consolidation of democratic ideals and the stability of parliamentarism ... We shall remember him for his spirit of renewal and for the accuracy of his speech."
Prime Minister George Papandreou, in commenting on Kyrkos' passing, stressed that "he was one of the most distinguished personalities of the left; a fighter for democracy and freedom and a pioneer voice for reform-minded ideas; he was a visionary of a united Europe, one of progress and social justice."
Parliament President Filippos Petsalnikos spoke of "a distinguished personality of politics, who marked with his action the course of the country, serving freedom, democracy and human dignity."
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras referred to Kyrkos' "rich political heritage for all, friends and rivals ... a leader in the movement for the renewal of the Left, who was fortunate to be honored in life by many rivals and to be loved by many friends of his, from all the sides of the political spectrum."
Government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos stressed that "with his personal course, Leonidas Kyrkos has left his mark on history. A personality that will be always present, in a political environment that lacks, unfortunately, generosity and consensual political proposals."
 Reports: Alpha-Eurobank merger pendingThe first major bank merger in Greece in several years now appears on the horizon, as well-placed sources on Saturday said Alpha Bank and Eurobank, both heavily trades shares on the Athens Stock Exchange, will merge.
Qatar-based funds are also reported to be involved in the deal.
Any new institution arising from an Alpha-Eurobank merger would be amongst the 25 largest in Europe, according to estimates.
The boards of both Athens-based banks will convene on Monday.
 Massive Evros wildfire under partial controlA major wildfire in the southern part of Evros Prefecture was reportedly dying down on Sunday after having consumed more than 7,000 hectares since erupting since Wednesday.
A massive fire-fighting force, assisted by numerous aircraft, volunteers and military units, was still battling the flames in the face of gusty winds.
Several wildfires had been reported throughout the past few days around the country, including a couple near Athens.
 New wildfire near Irakleio, CreteA wildfire raging near the Agarathou Monastery, on Crete, since noon on Sunday was still under way in the evening, while strong winds gusting in the area were hampering firefighters' efforts.
 Russian nat'l arrested on int'l warrant for weapons smuggling in S. AmericaA 48-year-old Russian national was arrested in a northern Greece resort area on an international warrant issued by Peruvian authorities for his alleged involvement in a major weapons smuggling ring smuggling assault rifles into Colombia.
Authorities said the man was arrested in the Kryopigi site of Halkidiki prefecture, as he accompanied his wife.
The suspect had entered Greece by arriving at the northern city of Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport on Aug. 16. He is due to appear before an appellate-level prosecutor in Thessaloniki on Monday.
According to an international arrest warrant, the suspect is accused of involvement in a ring that funneled as many as 10,000 AK-47 assault rifles into Colombia from Peru, with Jordan listed as a transit country for the weaponry.
 Foreign nationals arrested in drug ringPolice on Sunday announced the arrest of several foreign nationals, the majority identified as illegal migrants, allegedly behind a ring supplying pills to drug addicts in various central Athens locations.
According to reports, three Pakistanis -- 23, 29 and 30 -- two Iraqis, 19 and 27, a 29-year-old Syrian national and a 36-year-old Romanian man were arrested on drug trafficking charges.
Raids of two separate apartments in downtown Athens reportedly netted nearly 2,000 pills, 922 euros, various types of jewelry, five mobile phones, two laptops and an iron fist.
 Super League resultsThe new Super League football season kicked off over the weekend with Panathinaikos Athens beating Kerkyra 2-0 away in the most important game.
In other action, Panionios Athens drew 2-2 with Ergotelis Crete, OFI Crete 1-1 with Atromitos Athens and PAS Ioannina 0-0 with Aris Thessaloniki. The game between PAOK Thessaloniki-Xanthi will take place late on Sunday night, while the game between Panetolikos Agrinio-Asteras Tripoli was postponed.
Olympiacos Piraeus and AEK Athens did not play since two of the Super League's 16 clubs are not yet known.
 Fair on MondayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 33C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 22C to 32C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 20C to 31C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens dailies at a glanceThe economy, speculation over new cutbacks at pension funds, the latest EC-ECB-IMF 'troika' inspection and the reported merger of Greek banks Alpha and Eurobank mostly dominated the headlines on Sunday in Athens' newspapers.
AVGI: "End of time (for government), beginning of centre-right governance".
AVRIANI: "Full speed ahead for Nov. 13 elections".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Cutbacks for pension funds".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "You've (government) failed, time for 10 new measures".
EPOCHI: "PASOK in government, LA.OS (party) in power".
ETHNOS: "Alpha-Eurobank merger on horizon".
KATHIMERINI: "Public sector resists (reforms), troika enraged".
PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Elections of responsibility: Interview by Minister Andreas Loverdos".
REALNEWS (weekly): "They're leading up to the cliffs! Explosive mix of mistakes, indecisiveness and delays."
RIZOSPASTIS: "Rally by (Communist party-affiliated) labour grouping PAME in Thessaloniki on Sept. 10".
TO PARON (weekly): "(Former minister Haris) Pamboukis wouldn't take it anymore; he picked up and left".
TO VIMA (weekly): "Political clash between banks and government".
VRADYNI: "Public sector: Who'll and how many will receive lump sum pension payments".
Farewell to veteran leftist politician Leonidas Kyrkos
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