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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-01-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 Issue No: 3975


  • [01] Gov't: Completing talks for second bailout package PM's priority
  • [02] Commission confident of successful completion of talks between Greece, IIF
  • [03] Bakoyannis tables question on PSI, new loan agreement
  • [04] Westerwelle: Message of solidarity with Greece, optimistic on bond swap talks
  • [05] UN special envoy Nimetz holding successive meetings with Greek and FYROM representatives
  • [06] PASOK party Political Council to convene on Tuesday and Wednesday
  • [07] PASOK leader visits labour minister
  • [08] Tsipras calls on forces of the Left to unite in majority front
  • [09] Education minister confers with Bakoyannis
  • [10] ERT licence fee might go to 'society' for strike period, gov't spokesman says
  • [11] Thessaloniki Mayor to visit Germany on Jan. 19-21
  • [12] Nation-wide 48-hour media strike Tuesday and Wednesday
  • [13] AMNA participating in 48-hour media strike Tues-Wed
  • [14] Social dialogue on labour cost reduction launched on Wed.
  • [15] ADEDY expresses solidarity to private sector employees
  • [16] Seamen's unions to participate in Tues. strike
  • [17] SEB president on country's European perspective
  • [18] Substantial increase in tourist arrivals in 2011 at Greek airports
  • [19] Credit conditions worsened in 2011
  • [20] Building activity down 35.5 pct in Jan-Sept
  • [21] Business Briefs
  • [22] Stocks end moderately higher
  • [23] Greek bond market closing report
  • [24] ADEX closing report
  • [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [26] Frost, extremely low temperatures in northern Greece
  • [27] Archbishop of Athens Ieronymos visits Greek Police Officers' School
  • [28] Turkish PM attends memorial ceremony of legendary footballer Lefteris Antoniades (Kucukandonyadis)
  • [29] Ecumenical prayer night on Saturday to bring together Christians of all denominations
  • [30] Mobile phone technology used in secondary education programme
  • [31] Ukrainian embassy to host art exhibition this month
  • [32] Public transport strike, work stoppages in Athens on Tuesday
  • [33] Attempted extortion charges against former Marfin CEO dropped
  • [34] Former head of media sector pension fund to remain in jail pending trial
  • [35] Authorities uncover migrant-trafficking, extortion ring in Athens
  • [36] Authorities arrest suspected migrant-trafficker
  • [37] Burglary ring dismantled in Thessaloniki
  • [38] Fire on board water-tanker 'Aegina 2' near Aegina
  • [39] Fair on Tuesday
  • [40] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Gov't: Completing talks for second bailout package PM's priority

    Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has directed most of his efforts toward completing the negotiations for the signature of a new loan agreement, Minister of State and government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis said on Monday.

    He stressed that this was the start of a crucial period of the economy when the government and state had to perform at their utmost.

    The spokesman did not conceal that there was additional pressure on Athens for structural reforms, pending the arrival of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund 'troika' auditors on Tuesday, while noting that Greece had already made huge steps in fiscal adjustment, more than any other country.

    According to Kapsis, the negotiations for the PSI and the second bailout package for Greece was "going well" and that Greece had the active support of its partners, as expressed by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle during his visit to Athens on Sunday.

    Commenting on rating cut for nine European countries by Standard & Poors on Friday, the spokesman said that the climate was further hampering Greece's efforts to stabilise its economy and ruled out any link between the ratings cuts with the interruption of negotiations for the PSI bond swap programme.

    Asked about troika pressures to reduce private-sector wages in Greece and whether the government would accept a decision by employers and trade unions to not scrap the 13th and 14th 'holiday bonus' salaries, Kapsis said only "we will see".

    "The government has no position at this time, it wants to allow the social partners to negotiate and then adopt a position after they reach agreement," he said. On the other hand, he denied that the government intended to impose its position through an "act of legislation" saying that this was only being discussed by the newspapers.

    Replying to questions about the possible date of the next elections, the spokesman clarified that the agreement when setting up the transitional Papademos government was that elections would be held "as soon as the government's task is completed".

    He also noted that the prime minister will continue to meet with the political party leaders but not necessarily in one-on-one private meetings.

    [02] Commission confident of successful completion of talks between Greece, IIF

    BRUSSELS (AMNA - M. Aroni)

    The European Commission on Monday expressed its confidence that talks between Greece and the Institute for International Finance (IIF) will be completed soon.

    Olivier Bailly, an EU executive's spokesman, speaking to reporters here, said that "during this critical phase of negotiations the Commission cannot make any comment", adding that public statements are often part of the negotiation.

    "We believe that talks will resume soon and we are certain that a second round of negotiations will be completed soon," he noted.

    Commenting on reporters' questions on whether Greece would need additional funding, Bailly said there was no plan to change a decision taken at an EU Summit in October, noting that priority was to successfully complete negotiations between Greek authorities and the IIF.

    The Commission spokesman stressed that a decision by S&P to downgrade credit ratings of nine Eurozone member-states highlighted the "wrong perception" by credit rating firms over a European strategy to overcome the crisis and the public finances of Eurozone member-states.

    [03] Bakoyannis tables question on PSI, new loan agreement

    Democratic Alliance president and MP Dora Bakoyannis on Monday tabled a question in Parliament concerning the course of the PSI bond swap negotiation and the new loan agreement.

    In the question addressed to Premier Lucas Papademos, she underlined that the Greek side will have to table specific proposals.

    She also accused the political parties participating in the government of engaging in "petty politicking strategies playing election campaign games that further increase the people's uneasiness and insecurity."

    [04] Westerwelle: Message of solidarity with Greece, optimistic on bond swap talks

    German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle sent a message of support for and solidarity with the Greek government and people, as well as encouragement for the ongoing reforms, in statements to the press late Sunday after talks with Greek counterpart Stavros Dimas at the foreign ministry in Athens, while he also urged the creation of an independent European ratings firm.

    Earlier, Westerwelle had separate talks with prime minister Lucas Papademos and New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras.

    Speaking at a joint press conference with Dimas following a brief afternoon visit to Athens, Westerwelle clearly presented Germany's intention to support the efforts of the Greek government and people, and spoke of a partnership relationship between the two countries, while stressing the German government's solidarity for Greece's exit from the crisis.

    "I wish to send a message that we desire to jointly solve the problems," Westerwelle said, and underlined Germany's appreciation as well as respect for the efforts being made by the Greek people in such a difficult period.

    In that context, he encouraged the reforms that need to be made in Greece, stressing that he was very well aware that "this road is difficult", adding that "we want a strong and prospering Greece, we want prosperity for the people and opportunities for the youth".

    "For us, Greece and Europe are together," he said.

    Westerwelle said that the common goal is greater competitiveness, adding that a fundamental condition for this is a stable currency, regaining the confidence of the markets, and acceleration of the reforms.

    He noted that during his meetings in Athens, he ascertained that "all the forces in Greece are in favour of growth and the reforms", and added that Germany is at Greece's side not only in words but also in deeds, citing the 22 billion euros that have been given to Greece.

    In a specific reference to the issue of the rating firms, he stressed the need for the creation of independent rating firms. "The market barely settles down and a new tension is immediately created by new ratings by these firms," Westerwelle said.

    Asked to comment on speculation of a coordinated default by Greece, Westerwelle said that he does not take part in such speculation, adding "we will not make more difficult the negotiations that are underway by discussing such speculations".

    "The negotiations (on the Greek bond swap) are difficult, but they are necessary and, with good faith, we will reach a good result," he added.

    Westerwelle said that "German will help so that there will be better days ahead", adding that "my visit brings a message of solidarity".

    Dimas, in turn, noted that Westerwelle's visit coincides with one of the most critical periods in Greece's modern history, stressing that the German foreign minister's presence here symbolises that Greece will not wage the battle alone to exit the crisis.

    Germany's cooperation "valuable, in order for not only Greece but all of Europe to exit the crisis," Dimas said, adding that the Greeks have made huge personal sacrifices but are concerned about their future. "They are discourages, as they believe that their sacrifices have been in vain," Dimas said, adding that Germany's commitment that it will help Greece exit the crisis is very important.

    He further stressed that "it is necessary to give hope once again to the Greeks", adding that "Greece needs more time, more means, it needs to breath, to be able to lay down the foundations for recovery".

    Dimas said they also discussed the private sector involvement (PSI) in the haircut of the Greek debt in order to make it sustainable, and expressed his conviction that the negotiations will conclude with success "because this is imposed by logic and by interest".

    To a question, he replied that the Greek government's commitment and that of the three parties backing it "are clear, in favour of a speedy implementation of the structural changes".

    He said that the talks further encompassed developments in the Arab world, Syria, Iran, Southeastern Europe, relations with Turkey, EU enlargement with the Western Balkans and Greek-German cooperation for advancing the European prospect of the Western Balkan countries.

    [05] UN special envoy Nimetz holding successive meetings with Greek and FYROM representatives

    NEW YORK (AMNA/P. Panagiotou)

    UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz is having separate and successive meetings on Monday and Tuesday with the representatives of Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) in negotiations for the finding of a solution to fYRoM's name issue.

    According to a diplomatic source at the UN headquarters, the special envoy is examining the possibility of visiting the region in February, while diplomatic circles term as "unfortunate" and "unhelpful" recent statements by the neighbouring country's Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski that the talks under the auspices of the UN are a "waste of time."

    Greece's representative in the talks ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis said after his meeting with Nimetz on Monday that "we had a first useful meeting with the personal envoy of the UN Secretary General Mr. Matthew Nimetz. Greece longstandingly supports the mandate of Mr. Nimetz and pursued the holding of these meetings that we are having today and tomorrow, so that the procedure under the UN will be activated. I shall be meeting Mr. Nimetz again tomorrow for us to jointly examine, following the meeting that he will be having with the representative of fYRoM, what the possibilities are for the negotiations to bring us closer to the final solution of the issue of the name."

    Lastly, asked what was ascertained from Monday's meeting and how Nimetz will be proceeding, what the next step will be, Vassilakis said "I can't tell you anything at the moment. However, we told him that he is welcome to come to the region as well, even in February, if he wishes. He told me that tomorrow when we shall be meeting again, we shall discuss possible dates which, as you realise, I shall convey to Athens."

    [06] PASOK party Political Council to convene on Tuesday and Wednesday

    The PASOK party, with two successive sessions of its Political Council set for Tuesday and Wednesday, will activate political dialogue procedures, following the party's two-day National Council session last weekend.

    The dialogue will not be limited exclusively to the issue of the election of president, but will cover the entire spectrum of the current important issues and, of course, the issue of the party's nature will be discussed in light of the succesion and of the national elections that, according to assessments by senior members, will take place at about the end of April.

    [07] PASOK leader visits labour minister

    PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Monday paid a visit to Labour and Social Insurance Minister George Koutroumanis to discuss issues relating to his ministry.

    [08] Tsipras calls on forces of the Left to unite in majority front

    BERLIN (AMNA/F. Karaviti)

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group president and Coalition President Alexis Tsipras, in an exclusive statement to AMNA from Berlin where he participated in a political event of the German Leftist Die Linke party, once again extended an invitation to the forces of the Left to create a front "aiming at the abolition of the memorandum and the change of the policy of austerity and of the insensitive measures, a front that could be a majority one."

    Tsipras said that the proposal he has made is meeting with a great response in popular classes and called on "persons, forces that are being disengaged from PASOK now, (a party) that is in a phase if not of collapse, surely of a great crisis" to unite and stressed the need for a change in governance.

    Tsipras also said that "the European left is the only political force in Europe that has stood in solidarity in the ordeal that the Greek people are experiencing and this is so because the basic criterion in its analysis is the class nature of the policy implemented."

    [09] Education minister confers with Bakoyannis

    Education minister Anna Diamantopoulou met on Monday with Democratic Alliance party leader Dora Bakoyannis for an extensive discussion on education issues.

    Speaking after the meeting, Diamantopoulou told reporters that the deep economic crisis in Greece makes the need for progress in all issues mandatory.

    She said that the present government was not a "government for the PSI" but a government "that serves all the needs of the Greek people today".

    [10] ERT licence fee might go to 'society' for strike period, gov't spokesman says

    The government is looking into whether the licence fee for the national broadcasting company ERT might be "given to society" for the days the broadcasting company's staff were on strike, government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis informed Parliament on Monday.

    He also revealed that an investigation was underway into whether there had been abuse of the right to strike at ERT, after reports that ERT had stopped broadcasting with only 13 journalists actually going on strike and the rest receiving full pay.

    Repyling to a question tabled by New Democracy MP Simos Kedikoglou, concerning the closure of the Institute of Audiovisual Media (IOM), Kapsis said ERT's management had been instructed to investigate who had been paid during the days of the strike and whether the payment was justified.

    [11] Thessaloniki Mayor to visit Germany on Jan. 19-21

    Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris will visit German on January 19-21 in order to promote bilateral Greek-German cooperation between local authorities in the two countries, based on a memorandum of understanding signed in November as part of the POLIS exhibition.

    Boutaris and a delegation of deputy mayors will meet German deputy labour minister Hans Joachim Fuchtel and Deputy Foreign Minister Cornelia Pieper, other local authority representatives, MPs and Greek expatriates.

    They will take part in working meetings on issues relating to recycling, coastal shipping, renewable energy sources, local government and the WOMEX World Music fair that will be hosted by Thessaloniki on December 17-21, 2012.

    [12] Nation-wide 48-hour media strike Tuesday and Wednesday

    All private and state media throughout Greece will hold a 48-hour strike from 6:00 am Tuesday to 6:00 am Thursday, following a decision by their relevant press associations and the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Unions (POESY).

    AMNA will be taking part in the 48-hour strike.

    During the strikes new items and information will not be broadcast by the Agency and the ANA-MPA website will not be updated.

    [13] AMNA participating in 48-hour media strike Tues-Wed

    AMNA staff will take part in a 48-hour nationwide media strike on Tuesday and Wednesday (Jan. 17-18) by decision of the journalists' unions.

    During the strike news items and information will not be broadcast by the Agency and the AMNA (ANA-MPA) website will not be updated.

    News flow resumes after 6:00 a.m. Thursday.

    Financial News

    [14] Social dialogue on labour cost reduction launched on Wed.

    A social dialogue on labour cost reductions in the private sector will be launched this week, with the first direct meeting of social partners, it was announced on Monday.

    The meeting will take place on Wednesday following an invitation by Hellenic Confederation of Professionals Craftsmen and Merchants (GSEVEE).

    The General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) has made it clear that it is willing to enter a dialogue on the condition that it will not include the reduction of labour cost. GSEE has also stressed that it will not accept a negotiation on issues that could change the terms of the National Collective Labour Agreement including bonuses (Easter, Christmas, summer), raises and wage scales.

    [15] ADEDY expresses solidarity to private sector employees

    The civil servants' union ADEDY on Monday expressed solidarity to the strike called for Tuesday by various labour unions in the greater Athens area.

    ADEDY called on the leaderships of all its member federations and unions to participate in a protest rally scheduled to take place at Klathmonos Square in downtown Athens.

    "Undoubtedly, the layoffs, the wage cuts through individual labour contracts and the extremely flexible labour relations imposed arbitrarily do not solve the competitiveness problem but on the contrary, they increase recession and unemployment beyond any prediction thus continuing to trigger the real economy's death spiral," an ADEDY statement underlined.

    [16] Seamen's unions to participate in Tues. strike

    Five seamen's unions will participate in Tuesday's strike, called by greater Athens area trade unions, despite a decision by the seamen's union PNO not to participate in the 24-hour industrial action.

    [17] SEB president on country's European perspective

    Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB) president Dimitris Daskalopoulos, speaking at an event of the Harvard Business School Club of Greece on Monday evening, called for a big coalition of social forces that will form new correlations in the political system.

    Daskalopoulos said that "the duty of the business leaders is to act jointly with the progressive intellectuals, technocrats, as well as politicians who are prepared to stand up against the clientele status, to create a big coalition of social forces bent on the case of the change and the European perspective of the country. This big coalition must be able to guarantee the future, shaping new correlations in the political system and a new conception in society."

    The SEB president warned that the success of the PSI is not guaranteed but, as he said, even if all goes well with the PSI and the new loan is given, "our European partners and creditors have made it clear that from now on they will only finance our existing foreign debt."

    "We are, therefore, obliged to achieve a first stage surplus through the drastic reduction of the state's volume and expenditures, as well as the promotion of the structural changes," he noted.

    [18] Substantial increase in tourist arrivals in 2011 at Greek airports

    The year 2011 will remain in history as the best year for Greek tourism, according to figures released on Monday by the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) concerning the country's 13 largest airports.

    Tourist arrivals at airports throughout Greece rose by 8.65 percent in January-December 2011 in comparison with the same period in 2010, according to provisional figures released by SETE, with arrivals reaching 11,528,782 arrivals against 10,611,219 in 2010.

    SETE said that arrivals at all airports throughout the country, with the only exception of Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos international airport (AIA), posted increases, with the islands of Rhodes and Kos presenting the larges rises, with 22.06 percent and 22.41 percent respectively.

    Substantial increases were also posted in Heraklion, Crete (12.59 percent) and Hania, Crete (10.57 percent), and also Thessaloniki (11.25 percent).

    Conversely, Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (AIA) posted a 3.64 percent decline in arrivals.

    Foreign tourist arrivals at Greek airports in the month of December alone reached 186,095 marking a 1.45 percent rise against the same month in 2010.

    The overall number of tourist arrivals in 2011 is projected to reach 16.5 million, with revenues from tourism rising more than 10 percent against 2010, corresponding to a 1 percent increase in GDP.

    [19] Credit conditions worsened in 2011

    Credit conditions worsened in 2011 with the value of bounced checks rising to 2.1 billion euros last year, from 1.8 billion euros in 2010, although in volume the number was down to 178,412 from 195,338 over the same period.

    In December, the value of bounced checks totalled 139.7 million euros, down 5.37 pct from November and down 11.9 pct from December 2010.

    [20] Building activity down 35.5 pct in Jan-Sept

    Building activity dropped 21.7 pct in September, measured on volume, for a decline of 35.5 pct in the January-September period, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday. The statistics service, in a report, said that building activity in the private sector totalled 3,647 permits in September, down 7.1 pct from the same period in 2010, while volume fell 21.7 pct over the same period.

    In the January-September period, building activity was down 28 pct in permits and 35.5 pct in volume.

    [21] Business Briefs

    -- Selonda SA, a listed Greek aquaculture company, on Monday announced that it has raised its majority stake in Fjord Marin Turkey to 79.1 pct, after the Greek company purchased the Norwegian company's equity stake in the joint venture.

    -- Aktor ATE, a subsidiary of Ellaktor, on Monday announced the signing of a contract worth 25.4 million euros, plus VAT, for the construction of a waste management facility in Izmir, Turkey.

    -- Pharmaceutical companies' revenues fell around 5.0 pct in 2011 from sales in the domestic market, a report by IMS showed on Monday.

    [22] Stocks end moderately higher

    Stocks continued moving higher for a fourth consecutive session at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday. The composite index of the market rose 0.71 pct to end at 649.55 points, after falling as much as 1.65 pct during the session.

    Turnover remained a disappointing low 22.458 million euros.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.93 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.35 pct down and the Small Cap index rose 0.55 pct. Constructions (3.20 pct), Foods (2.23 pct) and Telecoms (1.78 pct) scored gains, while Health (3.24 pct), Financial Services (2.25 pct) and Commerce (2.07 pct) suffered losses.

    Eurobank (4.94 pct), Titan (3.98 pct), Alpha Bank (3.0 pct) and National Bank (2.65 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while MIG (2.7 pct), Cyprus Bank (1.99 pct) and Mytilineos (1.52 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 87 to 66 with another 16 issues unchanged. Loulis Mills (25.58 pct), PC Systems (20 pct) and Nutriart (20 pct) were top gainers, while Kordellou Bros (29.23 pct), Alpha Trust Andromeda (28.57 pct) and Haidemenos (27.77 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -1.03%

    Commercial: -2.07%

    Construction: +3.20%

    Oil & Gas: -0.69%

    Personal & Household: +1.25%

    Raw Materials: -1.12%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.37%

    Technology: +0.02%

    Telecoms: +1.78%

    Banks: +1.39%

    Food & Beverages: +2.23%

    Health: -3.24%

    Utilities: -1.39%

    Chemicals: +1.24%

    Financial Services: -2.25%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Coca Cola 3E, PPC and OPAP.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 0.48

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 3.16

    HBC Coca Cola: 13.30

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.15

    National Bank of Greece: 1.55

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.34

    OPAP: 6.26

    OTE: 2.86

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.25

    Titan: 11.75

    [23] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased slightly to 26.32 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market from 26.37 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 28.07 pct and the German Bund 1.75 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 1.83 pct, the six-month rate 1.50 pct, the three-month 1.22 pct and the one-month rate 0.82 pct.

    [24] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.29 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 8.633 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,837 contracts worth 5.999 million euros with 18,717 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 16,740 contracts worth 2.634 million euros with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (10,575), followed by OTE (191), PPC (994), OPAP (339), Piraeus Bank (379), Alpha Bank (1,845), Hellenic Petroleum (314), Cyprus Bank (287), Hellenic Postbank (556), ATEbank (684) and GEK (95).

    [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.285

    Pound sterling 0.839

    Danish kroner 7.546

    Swedish kroner 9.007

    Japanese yen 98.71

    Swiss franc 1.227

    Norwegian kroner 7.785

    Canadian dollar 1.312

    Australian dollar 1.247

    General News

    [26] Frost, extremely low temperatures in northern Greece

    Total frost conditions were prevailing on Monday in Western Macedonia where in some case the temperatures reached extremely low levels. The thermometer early Monday in the northwestern Macedonian city of Florina showed -24C.

    According to police, snow chains are required in most mountainous areas of northern Greece as well as for visitors to the ski centers.

    Drivers should be extremely cautious because despite the fair weather, the frost on the roads is very dangerous and has turned the roads into traps.

    The same conditions will continue on Tuesday.

    [27] Archbishop of Athens Ieronymos visits Greek Police Officers' School

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos visited the Greek Police Officers' School. The visit took place on Monday, following the postponement of his visit during the Christmas holidays.

    The Archbishop was welcomed by Citizen's Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis and Greek Police chief Nikolaos Papayiannopoulos, who termed the visit a great honour.

    The Archbishop said "minister means servant", adding "we have lost our principles. We must return to them. However, neither principles nor values are sold at super markets. All these are gained with blood and sacrifice."

    [28] Turkish PM attends memorial ceremony of legendary footballer Lefteris Antoniades (Kucukandonyadis)

    More than 10,000 people, including Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attended a memorial ceremony on Sunday of legendary footballer Lefter Küçükandonyadis (Lefteris Antoniades), who passed away on Friday in an Istanbul hospital at the age of 87.

    Küçükandonyadis, the son of an ethnic Greek fisherman father and a Turkish mother, was the star striker of popular Turkish club Fenerbahce throughout most of the 1950s, and the first Turkish footballer to play in a top European league, starting for Fiorentina between 1951-1953. He also picked up 50 caps for the Turkish national team.

    More than 10,000 people, including Erdogan, government ministers and personalities of the Turkish sport community, attended the ceremony, organised by Fenerbahce, to bid a final farewell to the football legend.

    [29] Ecumenical prayer night on Saturday to bring together Christians of all denominations

    Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Armenians, Anglicans and followers of other Christian denominations will congregate on Saturday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Thessaloniki to pray together, in an ecumenical prayer night to be held in the context of the World Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

    The institution, which was established about three decades ago after a joint initiative of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI to eliminate the anathemas that up to then obstructed the two Churches even from discussing amongst themselves.

    World Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place each year near the end of January, and on Saturday Christians of various denominations will take part in an ecumenical prayer night in Thessaloniki, Athens and other cities of Greece and the world.

    During the prayer night, texts are read out from the Old and New Testaments, hymns are chanted and addresses are delivered, with the purpose of enhancing unity among all Christians.

    [30] Mobile phone technology used in secondary education programme

    A pioneer educational programme aspiring to bring high school students closer to the Greek history with the use of modern technology was unveiled on Monday by the Foundation of the Hellenic World (FHW) sponsored by a major mobile phone company.

    The programme entitled "Click in history" seeks to highlight local history through the eyes of young pupils by utilizing the mobile phone communication potential in education.

    They become "history reporters" by using their mobile phones as photographic cameras, video cameras and voice recorders and they explore their cities, neighborhoods and villages collecting documents from family photo albums, cultural institutions and public archives to make their own audiovisual presentations.

    Pupils are trained in research methods and acquire dexterities in preparing school reports in electronic form while learning to work in groups.

    [31] Ukrainian embassy to host art exhibition this month

    On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Greece, the Ukrainian embassy in Athens is sponsoring an exhibition this month of paintings by noted Ukrainian artist Valerii Franchuk.

    The exhibition will take place between Jan. 19 and Jan. 30 at the gallery "Estudio" -- 22a, Kiriazi St., Kifisia -- and will be open to the public on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and from noon to 6 p.m. on the weekends. Admission is free.

    [32] Public transport strike, work stoppages in Athens on Tuesday

    Public transport employees in Athens will be holding work stoppages on Tuesday, January 17, participating in a 24-hour strike called by the Athens Labour Center (EKA).

    The Athens Metro will be on a 24-hour strike, while the ISAP train employees will convene on Monday to decide on their mobilisation for Tuesday.

    Also, buses and trolleys will hold work-stoppages from the start of the morning shift to 7:30 a.m. and from 10:00 p.m. to the end of the night shift.

    The tram will be on strike from the start of the morning shift to 8:00 a.m. and from 10:00 p.m. to the end of the night shift.

    The Proastiakos urban railway employees will hold work stoppages from 5:00 to 7:00 in the morning and from 10:00 p.m. to midnight.

    [33] Attempted extortion charges against former Marfin CEO dropped

    A Council of Court of Appeal Judges on Monday rejected the charges for attempted extortion filed against former Marfin group CEO Andreas Vgenopoulos and adopted the position of a First Instance Court prosecutor, who was assigned the case and had maintained that it should be shelved.

    Vgenopoulos had been charged as the legal representative of Marfin Bank in a case initiated after the head of the Henry Dunant Foundation Andreas Martinis sued Marfin Bank for extortion, unfair competition and breach of faith.

    The bank was accused by the Henry Dunant Foundation of unjustifiably foreclosing on its loans after collaboration was launched with GAIA S.A.

    The foundation accused the bank of unfair competition in order to preserve an oligopoly of maternity hospitals owned by the Marfin group.

    [34] Former head of media sector pension fund to remain in jail pending trial

    The former president of the media sector pension fund, known as TSPEATh and later renamed ETAP-MME, Dimitris Kapranos, will remain in custody pending trial, it was announced on Monday.

    The council of court of appeals jurists rejected a motion for his release on conditions filed by the defendant, who stands accused of felonious mismanagement in the so-called structured bonds affair.

    The one-time newspaper columnist is accused of approving, in July 2006, the purchase of a structured bond worth 130 million euros by TSPEATh. He has been in custody since Nov. 10, pending trial, on four felony counts, namely, breach of faith, fraud, money-laundering and bribery.

    Evidence that surfaced during judicial questioning traced remittances of 1.887 million euros to his bank accounts in Greek and foreign banks (Switzerland, UK) immediately after the pension fund proceeded with purchase of controversial structured bonds.

    Kapranos has denied all charges.

    [35] Authorities uncover migrant-trafficking, extortion ring in Athens

    Greek authorities on Monday reported uncovering yet another criminal ring exploiting illegal migrants using a central Athens mobile phone shop as its cover.

    The activities of the ring, which abducted migrants and coerced them into paying large sums in order to arrange their passage to other European countries, were uncovered following a complaint lodged by Afghan migrants to the Attica Police Aliens Department.

    Police have arrested a 47-year-old Pakistani man and are seeking another four individuals that acted together to abduct migrants in order to extort money or arranged their passage to other countries for fees ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 euro per person.

    The money was collected from the migrants at the mobile phone shops run by members of the ring.

    The Pakistani suspect was led before an Athens Misdemeanours Court prosecutor.

    [36] Authorities arrest suspected migrant-trafficker

    A 38-year-old Kurd has been arrested by authorities in Greece as a member of a migrant-trafficking ring transporting illegal migrants from Greece to other European countries.

    After his arrest in the west Athens suburb of Egaleo on Saturday morning, the suspect admitted that the ring often used force to persuade migrants to hand over large sums of money for its "services".

    He was arrested within his home, where he was holding captive four abducted Moroccan nationals without travel documents and demanding sums ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 euro in order to supply them with fake passports so they might reach another European country.

    At the time of his arrest the suspect had in his possession six passports, possibly fakes, two Moroccan identity cards, one political asylum seeker's card, two mobile phones and 500 euro.

    [37] Burglary ring dismantled in Thessaloniki

    Police announced on Monday that they have dismantled a burglary gang which was active in the wider area of Thessaloniki, northern Greece.

    According to police, a lawsuit was filed against three Georgian nationals, one 27 and two 26 years of age, who are accused , from February 2008 to February 2011, of breaking into 24 residences and stealing jewelry, electronic devices and other valuable objects. The value of the loot is estimated at 86,000 euros.

    [38] Fire on board water-tanker 'Aegina 2' near Aegina

    A fire whose cause remains unidentified broke out in the main engine of the water-tanker "Aegina 2" on Monday, while this was in the region of Lagouses near the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.

    The ship has a crew of seven on board, who were unable to put out the flames and have asked for the assistance of the coast guard.

    Two coast guard vessels and a fire-fighting ship were sent to their assistance and successfully put out the fire a few hours later.

    The fire did not threaten human lives nor cause pollution of the surrounding sea.

    A tug-boat has been sent out in order to bring the ship back to Perama.

    Weather forecast

    [39] Fair on Tuesday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -10C and 10C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from -1C to 5C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from -3C to 5C.

    [40] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    PASOK's two-day National Council meeting, the changes in the tax system, cutbacks in salaries and the crisis in the euro ordeal, mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "15 billion euros unreliability?".

    AVRIANI: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel finishes Greece with the new fatal 'super-memorandum'."

    DIMOKRATIA: "In Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos' jaws".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "20 percent general haircut to special pay scales".

    ESTIA: "Positive reversal wanted".

    ETHNOS: "Cutbacks in salaries in four moves".

    IMERISSIA: "Trial for the euro - Agony over markets' reaction".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "PSI again on the table but with generous concessions".

    TA NEA: "PASOK is elsewhere...".

    VRADYNI: "Reduction in VAT, surcharges and contributions aiming to invigorate the market".

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