Read about The European Centre for Classical Studies A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Friday, 22 November 2019
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-01-15

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

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

Thursday, 15 January 2015 Issue No: 4860

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek PM Samaras meets with Spanish counterpart Rajoy
  • [02] SYRIZA lashes out at PM Samaras
  • [03] ND spokeswoman lashes out at SYRIZA, says party's plan leads to default
  • [04] ND spokeswoman lashes out at SYRIZA, says party's plan leads to default
  • [05] Organised crime in Europe is a serious threat, EU Commissioner Avramopoulos says
  • [06] PASOK not a 'government wildcard', Venizelos tells Real FM
  • [07] PASOK leader Venizelos in Heraklio, Crete on Thursday
  • [08] SYRIZA: 'The lies and the scaremongering are falling apart'
  • [09] SYRIZA slams government for 'shabby propaganda' over bank deposits and short-term borrowing
  • [10] Greeks will give SYRIZA a strong mandate, party spokesman Skourletis says
  • [11] SYRIZA state deputy candidate Nikos Toskas' interviewed by ANA-MPA
  • [12] SYRIZA leader to deliver speech on Thursday on Rhodes
  • [13] PASOK must be the third party in the elections, Education Minister Loverdos says
  • [14] A vote for Greens-DIMAR is a vote for a progressive change in the country, DIMAR leader Kouvelis says
  • [15] Communist Party leader: 'Greeks should head to the poll thinking of the next day'
  • [16] Greek people want coalition governments, says To Potami leader Theodorakis
  • [17] Alco opinion poll puts SYRIZA 3.4 percentage points ahead of ND
  • [18] National elections - the process of forming a new government
  • [19] Supreme Court approves 18 parties, 4 coalitions to take part in general elections
  • [20] Officials discuss safe transmission of election results at Cyber Crime Unit
  • [21] Employees entitled up to three days off to exercise their right to vote
  • [22] German FinMin Schaeuble says elections will not change 'basic requirements' for Greece
  • [23] ESM's Regling says discussion on Greek debt relief possible but only if reforms continue
  • [24] Finnish PM says 'no' to Greek debt forgiveness in interview with 'Financial Times'
  • [25] Police arrest terrorist Xiros' accomplices
  • [26] Terrorist Xiros' alleged accomplices receive extension to testify
  • [27] Development Minister meets with US ambassador
  • [28] Two released on bail after testifying in 'Super Puma' helicopter kickbacks case
  • [29] FEP Muslim minority party condemns the recent bloody attacks in France
  • [30] EU Commission approves prolongation of Greek banks guarantee and bond loans scheme until June 30
  • [31] Greece reports primary surplus of 1.929 bln euros in 2014
  • [32] Small drop in private-sector jobs in December, according to Ergani
  • [33] Greece sells T-bills at slightly higher cost
  • [34] Import price index down 7.8 pct in Nov
  • [35] Deflation has impact on Greece's economy, ESEE chief says
  • [36] ASE announces Greek Corporate Bond Index
  • [37] Greek stocks end lower on profit taking
  • [38] Greek bond market closing report
  • [39] ADEX closing report
  • [40] Foreign exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [41] Officials urge Greeks to participate in rally outside the Acropolis Museum for Parthenon Marbles
  • [42] President Papoulias attends New Year cake-cutting ceremony
  • [43] Cuban politician Alejandro Castro Espin visits Crete
  • [44] Girl's body found at fishing reserve on Chios island
  • [45] Police have released photographs of second suspect in Koumantareas murder case
  • [46] Bulgarian man arrested for child abuse, pornography on European warrant
  • [47] Two arrested for smuggling 20 kilos heroin through Athens airport
  • [48] Normal services restored on ISAP electric railway line in Athens
  • [49] Post offices in Athens, Thessaloniki to stay open at weekend to receive election campaign material
  • [50] Mostly fair on Thursday
  • [51] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Greek PM Samaras meets with Spanish counterpart Rajoy

    SYRIZA's demand for a Greek debt haircut is "nonsense", Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Wednesday after a meeting with his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy and noted that the aid given to the Greek people by the Europeans was governed by rules.

    In his statements, Samaras said: "The two countries are linked by strong ties of friendship and solidarity. The people face common problems from the economic crisis and the waves of migration. They share the agony for shielding Europe against the risk of terrorism. Spain provides its solidarity, in practice. It has participated since 2010 in the rescue mechanism, when markets shut their doors. The Spanish people have lent the Greek people 26 billion euros; this is true solidarity. This aid is governed by an institutional and moral framework; we do not forget, we acknowledge it and the Greek people will return the money. The two peoples have been tested and undergone great sacrifices. Falling income and unemployment have hit the door of every family. We, as Mr. Rajoy's government, have made reforms to overcome the crisis and build a better future. The reforms that bring competitiveness are the big wager. In the last quarter, Greece and Spain had the highest growth rate while unemployment is showing a steady decline compared to previous months; it is still high but it has been declining. We worked with Mr. Rajoy for the new European programs to tackle youth unemployment and now we work to implement the Juncker package."

    He thanked Rajoy for his friendship while when asked whether he would accept a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Greece during the pre-election period he replied: "I am the prime minister of a hospitable Greece and I would welcome any partner."

    Asked on SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' claim for a new negotiation of the Greek debt from scratch, he said: "The negotiation was continuous in recent years and now we are in the last phase for the post memorandum era. The negotiation however is taking place within the rules of Europe and the euro. Rules cannot be changed every time as neither Europe nor the euro can stand in this way. Spain lent us 26 billion euros. What are we going to say now, that after having taken the money we will now change the agreement? Other countries lent us at lower interest rates compared to ones they are paying; how are you going to change these terms and how is this going to be accepted within Europe? We are talking about a negotiation that closes the memorandum and takes us to the day-after. He who claims that the debt is non-sustainable is like telling the markets not to lend us and turn to a new memorandum."

    He concluded by saying that the Greek people realize this and that "we will emerge from the crisis without such retractions and nonsense."

    Rajoy, on his part, said he has worked with Samaras and witnessed his momentum and the effort he made to take the country out of crisis. "Mr. Samaras is a real leader," he said, adding: "We talked about issues that are important to the European agenda, including the answer that Europe must give to the jihadist terrorism. On Juncker's plan, we agreed on decisions that Europe must take. The European integration, which had a hard time due to the economic crisis, is important. The protection of our common currency is the capping stone. This whole process of integration has enabled Europe to live a period of prosperity and wellbeing, greater than ever in its history. With the reforms, we responded positively to the crisis and in the most difficult moments we were convinced that the answer is within Europe and not outside it. Greece and Spain were hit by a major crisis, the two countries made difficult and painful reforms, but it was necessary for the economies to be secured. The reforms bear fruit; the two countries have the highest growth rate. Greece has already a primary surplus and in Spain we also see that we will grow. If we continue on the same track, we will further develop our economies. Now we need stability and certainty rather than instability and we also need Europe."

    Rajoy said the two governments were forced to make tough decisions, but there are results. In Spain, he noted, after six years of negative rates there is a 4 percent growth and jobs are being created. These are policies that guarantee the future. He referred to the threat of terrorism, saying that the fight against terrorism requires national and international unity and reforms to adapt to the new standards.

    Asked to comment on the renegotiation of the debt that the Greek opposition leader promises he said agreements cannot be changed every time elections take place in Europe.

    [02] SYRIZA lashes out at PM Samaras

    SYRIZA on Wednesday lashed out at Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' statements after a meeting with his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy.

    "Once again the prime minister vowed to extreme austerity policies, unable to express any different strategy for Greece and Europe. He called nonsense the debate on the debt, which he still considers sustainable, when at the same time more and more the voice in Europe asking for a debt haircut increase. Fortunately, the country will soon have a government able to negotiate the country's interests internationally and defend citizens' demand for policy change," SYRIZA said in a statement.

    "What unites Mr Rajoy and Mr Samaras is the fear before the democratic reversal by the forces of justice, democracy and dignity," concluded SYRIZA's announcement.

    [03] ND spokeswoman lashes out at SYRIZA, says party's plan leads to default

    Lashing out at main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Wednesday, the spokeswoman for the ruling coalition's leading New Democracy party, Maria Spyraki, said senior SYRIZA officials had "revealed their plan, which leads to default".

    Spyraki said that SYRIZA's Nadia Valavani had admitted that "SYRIZA will not complete the 5th review, in other words stop the programme and Greece will not get the tranche of 7.2 billion euros to pay the bonds that mature." She also noted a statement by main opposition cadre Costas Isichos, who first refused to recognse the troika and the "clarified that they can only offer it coffee."

    "It is abundantly clear that SYRIZA is ignoring Greece's international commitments. It is obvious that it is preparing to deprive the country of the last drop of liquidity. It is clear that [SYRIZA leader Alexis] Tsipras' plans do not even exempt small-time depositors. SYRIZA has started banging the drums. Let us consider who will dance to their rhythm," Spyraki said.

    She additionally referred to statements by the head of Tsipras' political office Nikos Pappas, saying they revealed SYRIZA's intention to quadruple taxes on property owned by the middle classes, or the roughly 500,000 Greeks whose property holdings had tax-assessed values exceeding 200,000 euros.

    Replying to Spyraki, SYRIZA's press office issued an announcement stressing the party's commitment to abolish the Uniform Real Estate Ownership Tax (ENFIA), which will be one of its first actions when it comes to power, along with restoring a tax-free allowance for property and making tax-assessed values more realistic.

    "Unfortunately for ND and its spokeswoman, all those living in Greece are well aware that ENFIA was voted for by [ND's] government, in this way leading to the seizure of real estate without exceptions. We all remember how the 'temporary' property levy became permanent through ENFIA. [Prime Minister Antonis] Samaras has, in any case, confirmed that he does not intend to abolish ENFIA," the announcement said.

    [04] ND spokeswoman lashes out at SYRIZA, says party's plan leads to default

    Lashing out at main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Wednesday, the spokeswoman for the ruling coalition's leading New Democracy party, Maria Spyraki, said senior SYRIZA officials had "revealed their plan, which leads to default".

    Spyraki said that SYRIZA's Nadia Valavani had admitted that "SYRIZA will not complete the 5th review, in other words stop the programme and Greece will not get the tranche of 7.2 billion euros to pay the bonds that mature." She also noted a statement by main opposition cadre Costas Isichos, who first refused to recognse the troika and the "clarified that they can only offer it coffee."

    "It is abundantly clear that SYRIZA is ignoring Greece's international commitments. It is obvious that it is preparing to deprive the country of the last drop of liquidity. It is clear that [SYRIZA leader Alexis] Tsipras' plans do not even exempt small-time depositors. SYRIZA has started banging the drums. Let us consider who will dance to their rhythm," Spyraki said.

    She additionally referred to statements by the head of Tsipras' political office Nikos Pappas, saying they revealed SYRIZA's intention to quadruple taxes on property owned by the middle classes, or the roughly 500,000 Greeks whose property holdings had tax-assessed values exceeding 200,000 euros.

    [05] Organised crime in Europe is a serious threat, EU Commissioner Avramopoulos says

    STRASBOURG (ANA-MPA / N. Roussis)

    An effective response to the penetration of organized crime into the legitimate economy will help create a safer Europe and a more reliable environment for citizens and businesses, EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos told the European Parliament late on Monday.

    Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, in a discussion on organized crime in Europe, Avramopoulos argued that by preventing and combating crime in all its forms the EU will help create a safer Europe while supporting economic recovery and growth.

    Citing Eurobarometer data for 2013, he said that 50 percent of Europeans believe that corruption in their country has increased over the last three years, while 40 percent believe that corruption is an obstacle to doing business in the internal market.

    Referring to the first report on corruption, published last year by the European Commission, the Commissioner argued that the extent of corruption varies from one member state to another and that corruption affects all of Europe. The next report is due in 2016, he added.

    Avramopoulos stressed that organized crime in Europe is a serious threat, indicating that there are about 3,600 organized crime groups with international criminal activity in money laundering cases, corruption, arm and human trafficking, environmental crimes and cyber crimes.

    Moreover, they make investments in the European Union that are becoming more and more transnational, penetrating into the legitimate economies of EU member states, and beyond.

    Finally, the Commissioner referred to the priorities set by the European Commission to prevent and combat corruption and organized crime activities in the EU, as well as current operational priorities of Europol, including irregular migration, trafficking, tax evasion, trade of synthetic drugs, cocaine and heroin, trade of firearms and illegal activity of organized property crime.

    [06] PASOK not a 'government wildcard', Venizelos tells Real FM

    Doling out criticism in all directions, PASOK leader and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos went on the radio station Real FM on Wednesday to stress that PASOK was not a "government wildcard" determined to be in the government "no matter what".

    "We want to be a national partner that will help the country complete the effort safely and enter into a new era," Venizelos said.

    He accused New Democracy of adopting a negative campaign based on fear - and doing so clumsily and ineffectively - while equally blasting main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) for trying to lull Greeks into false sense of security, either craftily or out of naivety.

    "We guarantee that the country will exist intact, the banks, the economy, the negotiation and the prospects for growth," he said. Venizelos added that the country did not have a problem with the banks but did have problems relating to government coffers and social insurance funds.

    "There is therefore a fiscal problem that did not exist before, when we were completing the negotiation with the troika and the partners," he said, noting that failure to complete the negotiation was trapping Greece within a memorandum in which it was temporarily without a loan.

    He also stressed that it was "a naive and dangerous thought" to expect that Greece could continue raising money through T-bills if it did not complete the current programme and normalise relations with its EU partners and the markets.

    Venizelos also turned his fire on 'To Potami' party and the new political party formed by former PASOK leader and premier George Papandreou, who he said was undermining the effort made by PASOK, which was saddled with great burdens.

    "We kept PASOK, the emblems, the 'sun', the continuity, the people, staff and the organisational fabric, as well as the debts that we inherited, because we are honest, clean and shoulder our burdens," he said, clarifying that he did not mean only the party's financial debts but also its 'political, moral and historic' debts.

    [07] PASOK leader Venizelos in Heraklio, Crete on Thursday

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos will visit Heraklio, Crete, on Thursday.

    Venizelos will meet with PASOK members at 16:00 and at 17:00 he will give a press conference to the Cretan media.

    At 18:00, Venizelos will speak at a rally to be held at the Atlantis hotel.

    [08] SYRIZA: 'The lies and the scaremongering are falling apart'

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said on Wednesday claims that Greek lenders will be cut off from funding if the party assumes power is a "myth".

    "The scaremongering on the destabilization of banks and Grexit exist only in New Democracy's words," SYRIZA said in a press release. "Reality debunks the methodology of fear cultivated by the outgoing government of memorandums and submission. The myth that funding to lenders will be cut if SYRIZA becomes a government is refuted by the ECB's decision today."

    The party added that with this decision "a six-month extension of funding is granted to Greek banks, postponing the repayment of 20-billion-euro worth of bonds maturing in March."

    SYRIZA also commented on Grexit, saying "the fall of the interest rate on the three-year and 10-year government bonds in the secondary market, just when SYRIZA is about to assume power, disproves the scaremongering of a Grexit."

    "The lies and the alarmism are falling apart," the press release continues, adding that the government spokesman must first of all understand that he's a caretaker spokesman.

    [09] SYRIZA slams government for 'shabby propaganda' over bank deposits and short-term borrowing

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Wednesday accused the government of engaging in "shabby propaganda" in response to the government views on bank deposits and short-term liquidity, while criticising the finance ministry for its stance.

    A SYRIZA non paper underlined that "everything said about the Greek deposits constitute shabby propaganda on behalf of the government," adding that "the bank deposits of the Greeks are being targeted by the memorandum policy" and that "SYRIZA with its programme guarantees the deposits of the Greek people and economic growth."

    SYRIZA noted that all countries "have access to short-term liquidity through various tools and these tools were used by the outgoing government as well, raising the yearly short-term borrowing to 120 billion euros (without issuing any announcement)."

    It is unacceptable, SYRIZA said, that the ministry of finance "questions this option after months of assurances that the Greek economy is again strong and after months of presenting primary surpluses that can be used to service the debt."

    SYRIZA also pointed out that in any case its leader did not refer to closing the huge fiscal gaps that exist in the failed memorandum programme. He only referred to covering the T-bills that expire in the first quarter amounting to less than 5 billion euros.

    "As regards the other gaps, no one can answer about them, the finance ministry or anybody else. This is the reason that the outgoing government was forced to call general elections," SYRIZA underlined.

    According to SYRIZA, the first solution is to cover the gaps with new fiscal measures and new loans, while the second solution is a new negotiation to reach a mutually beneficial solution with the lenders that will make the Greek debt viable and create the necessary fiscal space for economic recovery.

    It appears that the writers of the finance ministry announcement are the same who wrote (Finance Minister Gikas) Hardouvelis' email as well, SYRIZA concluded.

    [10] Greeks will give SYRIZA a strong mandate, party spokesman Skourletis says

    The Greek people will give SYRIZA a clear and strong mandate, party spokesman Panos Skourletis on Wednesday said in an interview with ANA-MPA WebTV.

    Skourletis, who is also a candidate in SYRIZA's State Deputies ballot ticket, said that the issue is not to achieve a parliamentary majority. "The times call for broader consensus and partnerships within the same society. The result will act as a catalyst, will accelerate maturation across the political spectrum. I do not think that we will enter an ongoing electoral process. The Greek people will show their broad and total support. They will not give SYRIZA half a chance. They will give them the opportunity to have a clear and strong mandate," Skourletis underlined.

    Asked on the post-election cooperation, Skourletis stressed that in a SYRIZA-led government non-politicians will also participate, ruling out, however, any cooperation with those who support memorandum policies.

    "Our cooperation will be based on a very specific programmatic basis, which we have presented, we have not hidden it, we will not have another programmatic agreement after the elections. I think that everyone fits in this cooperation proposal," SYRIZA spokesman said and added: "I believe that SYRIZA will probably achieve parliamentary majority in the upcoming elections. But even in that case, it will seek partnerships and collaborations mainly within the society."

    Regarding the first steps that a SYRIZA government will implement, Skourletis said: "The first steps of SYRIZA will have to do with halting the humanitarian crisis and restarting the economy. Let me be more specific: the immediate abolition of the Uniform Real Estate Ownership Tax (ENFIA), the reinstitution of the minimum wage in the private sector at 751 euros, the reinstitution of the bonus salary, known as 13th salary, and the Christmas bonus for pensions below 700 euros, as well as institutional changes."

    Skourletis also underlined that a SYRIZA-led government will carry out a real negotiation on the debt issue.

    The full interview in Greek is available for subscribers at ANA-MPA website.

    [11] SYRIZA state deputy candidate Nikos Toskas' interviewed by ANA-MPA

    The struggle "to regain national sovereignty, national independence and the country's dignity as proclaimed by SYRIZA is an invitation; a major national struggle in which I declare myself present," SYRIZA state deputy candidate, retired Major General Nikos Toskas said in an interview with ANA-MPA on Wednesday.

    He expressed strong concern about international developments and Turkey's role in the region, pointing out that with a plan, patience and perseverance Greece can become a stabilising factor in the greater region while, at the same time, defending its national interests in the best and most effective manner.

    He also expressed his sensitivity and solidarity with the Armed Forces, referring to the enormous task they perform for the country's security. As regards transparency in this crucial sector, he pointed out that "all advanced countries have a reliable evaluation system and certain procedures that are being followed when purchasing weapons systems and means" hinting that this will be the policy implemented by a SYRIZA-led government.

    Toskas underlined that the "Pratto" movement from which he comes agrees with SYRIZA's positions for an active foreign policy, the need to upgrade the country's role in international organisations and the multi-faceted development of bilateral relations with many countries that have a say and a role. He also expressed certainty that such a policy will allow Greece to claim a better place in the modern world and improve the sector of security.

    [12] SYRIZA leader to deliver speech on Thursday on Rhodes

    SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Thursday will deliver a speech at a rally in the city of Rhodes. The speech is scheduled for 17.00, according to a party announcement.

    [13] PASOK must be the third party in the elections, Education Minister Loverdos says

    Citizens must give PASOK a regulatory role on January 26, to be the third party, that will take the exploratory mandate by the President of the Republic, Education Minister and PASOK candidate Andreas Loverdos on Wednesday said in an interview with ANA-MPA.

    "We would definitely be the third party if it was not for the split, but after this development we are claiming the third place. We call on the people to vote for us, we are a serious party, an experienced party that has offered so much during the crisis, and before, as well as to the formation of the middle classes, for the prosperity of the Greek citizen," Loverdos said.

    Loverdos ruled out the possibility of a post-election cooperation between PASOK and SYRIZA. "Obviously, nobody could cooperate with this policy of SYRIZA. You cannot rely, at least as far as it concerns a cooperation perspective, on a party whatever it says is dangerous," he underlined and added: "It is rather negative for a party that claims the first place to the elections not to have cleared out what it wants to do with the economy, from where it will be funded, what it will do with Greece's partners, how they will ask for a debt reduction, what they will do with the current financial liabilities of the country when they will ask for an extension and the country will not be funded."

    The full interview in Greek is available at ANA-MPA website.

    [14] A vote for Greens-DIMAR is a vote for a progressive change in the country, DIMAR leader Kouvelis says

    A vote for the Greens-Democratic Left (DIMAR) coalition party is a vote for a progressive change in the country, DIMAR leader Fotis Kouvelis on Wednesday said during a joint press conference with the head of the Greens Nikos Chysogelos.

    On the possibility of having repeat elections, Kouvelis said that they would all be held accountable for this while Chrysogelos claimed that no one is to be blackmailed.

    [15] Communist Party leader: 'Greeks should head to the poll thinking of the next day'

    Greek voters should head to the polls thinking of the next day, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas said on Wednesday during a rally at the city of Larisa in central Greece.

    "We should think clearly of which force we have to strengthen and with the hand on our hearts make the Communist Party much stronger, especially today, when there's a cance it may claim and win the third place in parliament," Koutsoumbas said.

    The leader of KKE attacked main opposition SYRIZA, accusing leader Alexis Tsipras of showing "a lot of nerve" following comments made by some party officials. "Lately, along with comments by SYRIZA officials on tolerating a SYRIZA government, we heard its leader say which was said with a lot of nerve indeed, that he believes it's unthinkable for the KKE to play dumb and abstain from this historical time."

    Koutsoumbas continued that it is unthinkable today to ask for a tolerance vote in order to continue "in the same anti-popular path, to stay quiet for everything the Greek people has lost the past few years, to want the Communist Party, the Leftists, to serve as your excuse for your retreat, mutation, and summersault."

    He also added that it would be unthinkable for the KKE to provide any vote of tolerance because then "it would make a great historic mistake that would be equal to a betrayal of the people and then the same people would show no tolerance for the KKE; just like no peoples ever showed any tolerance to Communist parties that helped the system by supporting its governments."

    [16] Greek people want coalition governments, says To Potami leader Theodorakis

    The country's future passes through government coalitions, the leader of To Potami, Stavros Theodorakis, said at an event organized by his party at Chania's Conservatory in Crete.

    "This country has suffered from majority governments," Theodorakis said, adding that "the majority of the Greek people, irrespectively of whether they vote for us, SYRIZA or New Democracy, they want coalition governments. People have the feeling - which Tsipras and Samaras don't have it - that the problems are so big, that it will take a coalition of 51 pct, a very large social cooperation, a conspiracy of the good. People want coalitions, they want large and strong governments."

    Theodorakis noted however that there are some "red lines" for such cooperations, which are that Greece remains in Europe, that its currency the euro.

    He also stressed the need for amendments to the Constitution and the electoral law, which he says it distorts the vote, and the need to abolish immunity for lawmakers and ministers.

    [17] Alco opinion poll puts SYRIZA 3.4 percentage points ahead of ND

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) has a 3.4 percentage point lead over current ruling coalition leader New Democracy, according to an opinion poll conducted by Alco that is to be published in Thursday's edition of the newspaper 'To Pontiki'.

    Of the participants in the survey, 31.2 pct said they intend to vote for SYRIZA and 27.8 pct for ND. In the last Alco poll, SYRIZA again had 31.2 pct and ND 28 pct. Third placed was 'To Potami with 5.1 pct, followed by far-right Golden Dawn (GD) with 5 pct, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 4 pct, PASOK with 3.6 pct, Indepedent Greeks (ANEL) with 2.6 pct and Movement of Democratic Socialists with 2.4 pct. 'Other party' was selected by 4.1 pct of those taking the survey, while 1.5 pct said they would cast a blank ballot, 2.4 pct said they will abstain and 10.3 pct were undecided.

    Extrapolating the percentages by discounting invalid votes and abstention, SYRIZA will receive 32.4 pct of the vote, ND 28.9 pct, To Potami 5.3 pct, GD 5.2 pct, KKE 4.2 pct, PASOK 3.7 pct, ANEL 2.7 pct and the Movement of Democratic Socialists 2.5 pct. A further 4.3 pct of the vote will go to other parties and the percentage of undecided voters rises to 10.6 pct.

    The survey was conducted nationwide from January 11-13.

    [18] National elections - the process of forming a new government

    On January 25, Greece will hold national elections following the Parliament's failure in late 2014 to elect a new President of the Republic. The Constitution provides for tight deadlines during the post-election process and for the deliberations on forming a government, as well as for the election of a new Greek President.

    Under the Constitution, if no party can form a majority government, the President of the Republic gives the leader of the party with a relative majority an exploratory mandate in order to ascertain the possibility of forming a government enjoying the confidence of the Parliament.

    If the first party is unable to do this, the exploratory mandate is passes to the second party and then to the third. Each exploratory mandate lasts three days. If all exploratory mandates prove to be unsuccessful, the President summons all party leaders, and if the impossibility to form a Cabinet enjoying the confidence of the Parliament is confirmed, he attempts to form a Cabinet composed of all parties elected in Parliament tasked with calling new elections. Should this fail, he entrusts the President of the Supreme Administrative Court or of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court or of the Court of Audit to form a caretaker government as widely accepted as possible to carry out elections and dissolves Parliament.

    Considering the Constitutional provisions, the exploratory mandate procedure could last until February 4, 2015. If all mandates are unsuccessful, the President, probably on February 4, will summon the leaders of the parties elected in Parliament or even all parties to form a government that would call repeat elections.

    If parties agree to form a government that would call repeat elections, the President accepts the resignation of the outgoing government, appoints the new one recommended by the parties and dissolves the Parliament.

    Under the Presidential Decree for the elections and the Parliament's standing orders, the new Parliament is scheduled to hold its opening meeting on February 5.

    Its first task is to elect a new President of the Republic through a roll call vote. In the first round, 180 deputies need to vote for the Greek President. If this fails, the election is repeated within five days and the person receiving an absolute majority of the votes of the total number of Members of Parliament - namely 151 MPs - is elected President. If this majority is not attained, the ballot is once more repeated after five days between the two prevailing contenders and the person receiving a relative majority of the House shall be deemed elected President of the Republic.

    [19] Supreme Court approves 18 parties, 4 coalitions to take part in general elections

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that 18 parties out of 21 that applied and four coalitions are allowed to participate in the general elections on January 25, while it barred three parties, one independent party coalition and three MPs from participating.

    Those who were rejected were the Liberal Party, the National Hope party and the Greek Movement for Direct Democracy. The top court also rejected the Coalition of Independent Candidates "Dignity".

    The court also ruled that for procedural reasons, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) candidate Christos Kasimatis, the Golden Dawn candidate Nikolaos Koutsoumbas and the Union of Democratic National Reform candidate Christos Vagianos cannot participate in the elections.

    [20] Officials discuss safe transmission of election results at Cyber Crime Unit

    Officials and relevant bodies discussed on Wednesday the safe transmission of electoral results through the "SYZEFKSIS" network on the day of the general elections on January 25, during a meeting at the offices of the country's Cyber Crime Unit.

    During the meeting officials discussed ways to deal with potential technical glitches or malevolent acts during transmission and set up a coordination team involving all relevant bodies for immediate and continuous communication with an aim to protect the process.

    The Cyber Crime Unit is already on standby to protect web infrastructure and prevent cyber-attacks, in order to ensure a smooth transmission of electoral results.

    [21] Employees entitled up to three days off to exercise their right to vote

    Employees are entitled up to three days off with pay to exercise their right to vote in the general elections depending on how far their electoral districts are from their place of residence in terms of kilometer distance, according to an announcement on Wednesday by the private sector umbrella trade union GSEE.

    Those working a six-day week are entitled to one day off if their electoral district is between 100 and 200 kms away and two days off if the distance they will have to cover is between 201 and 400 kms. If they will have to cover a distance of more than 401 kms by car they are entitled to three days off. Those who will have to travel to one of the islands to vote are entitled to no more than three days off depending on the case.

    Employees working a five-day week, will get a one day off if their electoral district is between 200 and 400 kms away from their place of residence, while two days off will get if the distance is more than 401 kms and they will travel by car. If their electoral district is on an island, each case will be judged on an individual basis and they will receive no more than three days off.

    The days off given to employees to exercise their right to vote are not subtracted from the annual paid vacation time.

    [22] German FinMin Schaeuble says elections will not change 'basic requirements' for Greece

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA / F. Karaviti)

    "Regardless of who wins the January 25 general elections must see that Greece - with a lot of solidarity from Europe - will continue on the path of reforms, on which Greece has made big progress in recent years," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Wednesday said in an interview with N24 private television.

    The basic requirements of the programme do not change with the elections, Schaeuble added and pointed out that reforms are for Greece's benefit. "This is what it's all about," he underlined and pointed out that he is not taking part in the election campaign and Greeks must decide for themselves.

    [23] ESM's Regling says discussion on Greek debt relief possible but only if reforms continue

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)

    European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Managing Director Klaus Regling left open the possibility that a discussion on further debt relief for Greece might begin, provided the country continued the reforms and measures agreed with the troika, in an interview with the Portuguese newspaper "Diario Economico".

    Asked about the possibility of Grexit, Regling noted that the country had traversed a great distance since the start of the crisis in 2009, starting from a very difficult economic and political position, and said he was confident that the country will remain in the euro. He pointed out that the percentage of Greeks that wanted the country to stay in the Eurozone had increased from 70 to 80 pct in recent weeks.

    He also pointed out that the Eurozone had no 'exit mechanism' for a member-state and that all the rumours about Greece leaving the euro originated from the press and not government statements.

    The ESM chief underlined that Eurozone governments had not changed their stance and wanted all countries to remain in the euro area. At the same time, however, they wanted the countries that received financial support to improve their economic situation through reforms and fiscal adjustment where necessary, and that this was also true for Greece.

    Despite making great progress, Greece "is not at the end of the process," Regling said, adding that it was in Greece's interests to complete this process and regain a good growth rate, which the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has predicted could be the highest in the Euro area if reforms continue.

    He noted that significant steps to relieve Greece's debt burden have already been taken, through extension of loan maturities and low interest rates that helped make Greece's debt sustainable. "I don't believe that much needs to be done, beyond this. A lot has already been done but I am certain that, if reforms continue, the Eurogroup will re-examine this," he said.

    Stressing that the troika and Eurozone governments will talk with any government resulting from the Greek elections, he also made it clear that no more loans could be disbursed by the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if the agreed reforms do not continue.

    "There will be no discussion on additional debt relief, the whole process will have to be stopped and the Greek economy would suffer," he said.

    [24] Finnish PM says 'no' to Greek debt forgiveness in interview with 'Financial Times'

    Finland's prime minister has warned that his country would give a "resounding no" to any move to forgive Greece's debts, according to the "Financial Times".

    In an interview on Wednesday under the headline "Finland's PM says he will reject any Greek debt forgiveness", Finland's Prime Minister Alex Stubb warned that his country will give a "resounding no" to forgiving the loans, a comment that represents a high-profile intervention in the country's upcoming election as the newspaper notes.

    The warning from the Finnish PM puts his country on a collision course with SYRIZA, which has put debt relief at the core of its election proposals.

    "We naturally do not want to influence the Greek elections. But I think it's fair to Greeks and Finns to say out loud that some of the statements by Greek parties, and their presentations and ideas about the current programmes are simply unacceptable for Finland," he added.

    He declined to elaborate as to which statements by Greek politicians he objected to. But he added that Finland had showed "far-reaching solidarity in a difficult situation".

    "We will continue to show that solidarity. But no one should have any skewed kind of ideas that we could, for instance, forgive loans or stop the current programmes. That is both economically and politically simply impossible for a country like Finland, which is itself struggling at the moment," he said.

    Asked if his tough stance was designed to curry favour with the Finnish electorate, he answered that "as Finland's prime minister, I have only one thing in mind: that is the interests of Finland."

    He said he wanted Greece to avoid making a "dirty exit" from the bailout, adding "we cannot, for political and economic reasons, exclude the possibility of continuing the programme, if it is necessary in order to conclude it successfully."

    "We will be tough if whichever new government emerges would request changes to the conditions that have been set. We believe there is no going back on the loans or any of the other programmes. We should keep crystal clear in mind that the loans have already been eased many different times," he underlined.

    The Finnish prime minister urged Greece not to give up. "The Greek elections will not change economic reality. Greece has done a lot to save its economy and get growth going. But, just like with all of us, the process is only halfway there. Greece will have to continue economic reform to get growth going again," he concluded.

    [25] Police arrest terrorist Xiros' accomplices

    Two persons alleged to be accomplices of convicted terrorist Christodoulos Xiros were arrested on Tuesday evening in Kalamata and are being examined by the anti-terror squad.

    The two men, a Greek aged 54 and a 37-year-old Albanian, were arrested following an arrest warrant issued by Athens' special magistrate for participation in a criminal organisation, illegal weapon possession, forgery and other criminal offences as well as harbouring a criminal.

    The 37 year-old Albanian is alleged to be the one that had rented the house in the Attica coastal suburb of Anavyssos where Xiros was found and arrested.

    The two suspects will be led on Wednesday to the prosecutor while the anti-terror squad continues the investigation and new information on the case are expected to be announced within the day.

    [26] Terrorist Xiros' alleged accomplices receive extension to testify

    Two men alleged to be accomplices of convict terrorist Christodoulos Xiros requested from the special magistrate for terrorism and received an extension to testify on Friday.

    The two suspects, a retired police officer aged 54 and a 37-year-old Albanian, were arrested following an arrest warrant issued by Athens' special magistrate for participation in a criminal organisation, illegal weapon possession, forgery and other criminal offences as well as harbouring a criminal.

    The 37 year-old Albanian is alleged to be the one that had rented the house in the Attica coastal suburb of Anavyssos where Xiros was found and arrested.

    [27] Development Minister meets with US ambassador

    Development and Competitiveness Minister Costas Skrekas on Wednesday met with the US ambassador to Greece David Pearce.

    During the meeting, the two officials discussed the countries' cooperation on issues of common interest.

    Moreover, they discussed Greece's economic prospects as well as the reforms promoted over the last years within the context of Greece's effort to exit the crisis.

    [28] Two released on bail after testifying in 'Super Puma' helicopter kickbacks case

    Two suspects accused in connection with alleged kickbacks given for the purchase of 'Super Puma' search-and-rescue helicopters in 2000, Alexandros Tsatsos and Stavros Komnopoulos, were released on bail and forbidden to leave the country after testifying before Corruption Prosecutor Gavriil Mallis on Wednesday. Each had to post 250,000 euros in bail.

    The two businessmen were called before the prosecutor to answer charges of bribery and money-laundering, since they are considered responsible for helping transfer illegal payments of 5.5 million euros given for the purchase of the helicopters.

    Based on the charges drawn up against them, Tsatsos and Komnopoulos used the company Malwern to carry out the illegal payments, which was acting as an intermediary with the manufacturing firm Eurocopter in the sale. They allegedly promised now retired Air Force officers benefits amounting to 523,773 euros minimum in order to help facilitate the sale of the helicopters to the Greek State in their role as state officials.

    They are also accused of carrying out a number of transactions with financial institutions in various countries in order to cover up their tracks and conceal the initial source of the capital, thus obstructing efforts by inspection bodies in Greece to trace its origins.

    The illegal fees to the three retired military officers were moved via the company Malwern and, in the context of the bribes, money was sent to an offshore firm in which Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis and his son were equal partners.

    One of the three retired officers has already given testimony in the case and has been released on bail, while the other two are due to testify over the next few days. Karatzaferis is due to be summoned before a Special Appeals examining magistrate to answer on charges of submitted a false wealth statement and failing to declare that 1.65 million euros that he received from Tsatsos' firm in 2007-2008.

    Both businessmen deny the charges and insist that no illegal money was given for the sale contract. They also deny that the money to Karatzaferis was a kickback or bribe, describing it as a ' service' to Karatzaferis, who needed money abroad and did not want to use the Greek banking system. They claim that they agreed to the deal since they also wanted to carry out a real estate transactions in a neighbouring country without going through Greek banks for "procedural reasons" and that the money they would 'export' for Karatzaferis would return to the country of their choice, which Karatzaferis was in a position to do.

    [29] FEP Muslim minority party condemns the recent bloody attacks in France

    The Greek Muslim minority Friendship Equality and Peace Party (FEP) on Wednesday condemned the recent attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine and all terror acts carried out during the same period in France, underlining "we stand beside the French people in the fight against terrorism."

    "As the FEP Party we are opposed to all acts of terrorism from wherever they may originate. There is no justification for such acts of terrorism. We believe it is very important for all country leaders to take a common stand against violence and terrorism," the party announcement underlined.

    "The attacks in no way can be linked with Islam," FEP underlined, adding that "the supreme values of Islam do not allow for such attacks. Any acts which link Islam to such attacks will be a blow to peace between people and will lead to humanity to an impasse."

    Financial News

    [30] EU Commission approves prolongation of Greek banks guarantee and bond loans scheme until June 30

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ V. Demiris)

    The European Commission on Wednesday decided a Greek guarantee and a bond loan scheme for credit institutions until 30 June 2015, as well as the prolongation of a Cypriot bank guarantee scheme, were in line with EU state aid rules.

    The Greek schemes were initially approved in November 2008 and were prolonged several times, the last time in June 2014. In all cases the Commission concluded that the prolonged measures are targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. During the application of the extraordinary crisis rules for state aid to banks, the Commission is authorising guarantee schemes on banks' liabilities for successive periods of six months in order to be able to monitor developments and adjust conditions accordingly.

    [31] Greece reports primary surplus of 1.929 bln euros in 2014

    The Greek government on Wednesday reported a primary budget surplus of 1.929 billion euros in 2014, up from a primary surplus of 603 million euros in 2013, but down compared with a 2015 budget provision for a primary surplus of 4.939 billion euros.

    The finance ministry, in a report, said that according to provisional data of state budget execution, on an amended cash basis, the state budget balance showed a deficit of 3.640 billion euros in the January-December 2014 period, from a deficit of 5.441 billion euros in the previous 12-month period and a revised budget target for a shortfall of 761 million euros.

    Net state budget revenue totaled 51.327 billion euros, down 7.2 pct from 2015 budget provisions, while net regular budget revenues were down 7.0 pct from budget targets to 46.620 billion euros.

    Tax returns totaled 3.370 billion euros in 2014, up 234 million euros from budget targets, while the Public Investment Programme's revenue totaled 4.707 billion euros, down 424 million euros from budget targets.

    State budget spending totaled 54.967 billion euros, down 1.075 billion euros from 2015 budget targets, with regular budget spending at 48.375 billion euros, down 866 million euros from budget targets, reflecting a reduction in primary spending by 584 million, in defence spending by 104 million and in capital spending by 131 million euros.

    Regular budget spending was down 6.6 pct from 2013, reflecting mainly a 5.4 pct reduction in primary spending.

    The Public Investment Programme's spending totaled 6.592 billion euros, down 209 million euros from budget targets and down 58 million compared with 2013.

    [32] Small drop in private-sector jobs in December, according to Ergani

    There was another small drop in the number of private-sector employees in December 2014, according to the labour ministry's Ergani system for tracking company hirings and departures, it was announced on Wednesday. The net number of employee positions fell by another 834, making December the fourth consecutive month in which the balance of hirings to departures was negative, after eight months of continuous rise at the start of the year.

    Throughout 2014, there were 1,566,139 new jobs created (36,28 pct up) and 1,467,017 job departures, either voluntary (585,593) or as a result of dismissal or expiry of contracts (881,424), for a net gain of 99,122 positions in the year.

    [33] Greece sells T-bills at slightly higher cost

    Greek authorities on Wednesday successfully auctioned a three-month Treasury bill issue draining 812.5 million euros from the market, at a slightly higher cost. The Public Debt Management Organisation, in an announcement, said that the interest rate of the issue was set at 2.15 pct from 1.90 pct in the previous auction of same issue in December 17, 2014. Bids submitted totaled 1.113 billion euros, 1.78 times more than the asked sum. The Organisation will also accept non-competitive bids up to 30 pct of the asked sum by Thursday, 15 January. Settlement date of the issue was set for Friday, 16 January.

    [34] Import price index down 7.8 pct in Nov

    Greece' s import price composite index in the industrial sector fell 7.8 pct in November 2014, compared with the same month in 2013, after a decline of 1.6 pct recorded in November 2013, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service, in a monthly report, attributed this development in the so-called imported inflation to a 0.9 pct decline in the import price index from Eurozone states and a 12.9 pct decline in the import price index from countries outside the Eurozone. The import price composite index fell 2.7 pct in November from October, after an increase of 0.2 pct recorded in the same period in 2013.

    [35] Deflation has impact on Greece's economy, ESEE chief says

    The continued deepening of deflation poses a risk for domestic economic activity, the head of the Greek commerce confederation ESEE Vassilis Korkidis said on Wednesday.

    Among these dangers are the increase of real interest rates for states and households and thus the corresponding cost of borrowing, the increase of borrowers' liabilities against their creditors and the constant postponement of consumer spending, along with the simultaneous continuation of weak economic activity, he added.

    Korkidis underlined that SMEs expect the immediate stabilisation of the political and economic environment in order to boost entrepreneurship.

    [36] ASE announces Greek Corporate Bond Index

    The Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday announced the creation of a Greek Corporate Bond Index to be used as benchmark for mutual funds returns and other financial products, or as an investment product in the future.

    The index was created in cooperation with the Union of Institutional Investors and covers a significant need of the market in offer a benchmark on investments of a very significant funding tool for Greek enterprises, corporate bonds.

    The index will be used as a Capital Index, based on the net price of each bond and as a Performance Index based on net price and coupons of each bond.

    All corporate bonds issued by companies based in Greece, or foreign companies with established activities in Greece will be eligible to participate in the index. There will not be sector limitations, while bonds issued by financial institutions will also be eligible to participate. All bonds must be issued in euros and to be listed, or traded in official markets. Convertible bonds are excluded. All bonds must be Senior or Covered bonds and not subordinated, while their minimum nominal issuance value must be 100 million euros.

    [37] Greek stocks end lower on profit taking

    Greek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, reversing a three-day rally which pushed the composite index 9.68 pct higher, as investors took profits. The index fell 1.90 pct to end at 819.55 points, with the Large Cap index falling 1.56 pct and the Mid Cap index ending 1.92 pct lower. Turnover was a low 77.57 million euros.

    National Bank (2.76 pct), Athens Water (1.77 pct) and OPAP (1.73 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains among blue chip stocks, while Motor Oil (6.87 pct), Pireaus Port (6.34 pct) and Grivalia Properties (6.08 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Among market sectors, Travel (1.39 pct) and Telecoms (1.35 pct) scored big gains, while Oil (5.65 pct), Food (5.53 pct) and Industrial Products (4.08 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 65 to 41 with another 28 issues unchanged. Loulis Mills (27.72 pct), Alpha Astika (17.65 pct) and Centric Holdings (11.11 pct) were top gainers, while Lavipharm (19.71 pct), VIS (9.96 pct) and Eltrak (9.76 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: -0.81%

    Insurance: -0.70%

    Financial Services: -2.94%

    Industrial Products: -4.08%

    Commercial: -1.10%

    Real Estate: -4.84%

    Personal & Household: -0.33%

    Food & Beverages: -5.53%

    Raw Materials: -0.96%

    Construction: -2.90%

    Oil: -5.65%

    Chemicals: -2.38%

    Mass Media: unchanged

    Travel & Leisure: +1.39%

    Technology: -1.22%

    Telecoms: +1.35%

    Utilities: -3.18%

    Health: -1.70%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OPAP and Pireaus Bank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE

    Large Cap index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 0.485

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.03

    Coca Cola HBC: 13.88

    Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE): 3.60

    National Bank of Greece: 1.49

    OPAP: 9.43

    OTE: 8.98

    Piraeus Bank: 0.940

    Titan: 19.08

    Grivalia Properties: 7.42

    Aegean Airlines: 7.16

    [38] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was almost unchanged at 8.82 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 8.81 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 9.24 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.42 pct. Turnover was an improved 42 million euros, of which 15 million were buy orders and the remaining 27 million euros were sell orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to 0.315 pct from 0.318 pct, the nine-month rate rose to 0.238 pct from 0.237 pct, the six-month rate fell to 0.162 pct from 0.166 pct, the three-month rate eased to 0.069 pct from 0.071 pct and the one-month rate fell to 0.006 pct from 0.008 pct.

    [39] ADEX closing report

    The January contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.91 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 44,254 contracts with 55,270 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 30,098 contracts with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (9,785), followed by National Bank (5,367), Piraeus Bank (2,767), Eurobank (6,253), MIG (867), OTE (1,357), PPC (1,628), OPAP (400), Hellenic Exchanges (119), Mytilineos (360), Hellenic Petroleum (153), GEK (117), Ellaktor (169), Jumbo (207) and Intralot (87).

    [40] Foreign exchange rates - Wednesday

    Reference rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.1775

    Pound sterling 0.7753

    Danish kroner 7.4386

    Swedish kroner 9.5011

    Japanese yen 137.48

    Swiss franc 1.201

    Norwegian kroner 9.056

    Canadian dollar 1.4089

    Australian dollar 1.4473

    General News

    [41] Officials urge Greeks to participate in rally outside the Acropolis Museum for Parthenon Marbles

    The Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) and the mayor of Marathon on Wednesday called on citizens and mayors to participate in a symbolic protest for the return of the Parthenon Marbles outside the Acropolis Museum on Sunday, January 18.

    During a joint press conference, KEDE President Giorgos Patoulis and Marathon mayor Ilias Psinakis urged all Greeks to join the protest and "raise the awareness of the international public opinion" for the return of the Marbles. The two officials said they chose Sunday because this is the day when a sculpture which had been lent to the Hermitage Museum in Russia for an exhibition will be returning to the British Museum in London.

    The action is part of a broader innitiative aimed at protecting and spreading cultural heritage.

    [42] President Papoulias attends New Year cake-cutting ceremony

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday thanked his office's employees for their 10-year cooperation at the Presidential mansion during an emotional New Year cake-cutting ceremony. Papoulias' term ends at the end of February.

    "This is an emotional day for me, as it is the last cake I cut with you at the Presidential mansion. Thank you for ensuring that the institution of the Presidency worked flawlessly those past ten years," the president said and continued, "I will always remember you; besides it's impossible to forget 10 years of cooperation, especially in tough times. I hope the New Year is better than the last one. I hope and I wish we do not lose touch. You will always be an integral part of my life."

    [43] Cuban politician Alejandro Castro Espin visits Crete

    Cuban politician Alejandro Castro Espin, the son of Cuban President Raul Castro and nephew of Cuban revolution leader Fidel Castro, on Wednesday visited Iraklio on the island of Crete and held talks with local authority leaders, accompanied by Cuba's ambassador to Greece Oswaldo Cobacho.

    He held a meeting with Crete Regional Authority governor Stavros Arnaoutakis and Iraklio Mayor Vasilis Lambrinos, expressing his admiration for the island's history and culture and referring to the friendly relations between Greece and Cuba. He also asked to be briefed on Greece's decentralised model of local government.

    Alejandro Castro Espin, also a writer, is in Greece to attend the Cuban Cinema Festival organised by New Star in cooperation with the Embassy of Cuba in Athens to mark the 56th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, which ends on January 14. He also presented the Greek edition of his book "The reign of terror" on Monday at the New Star art cinema Alkyonis in Athens.

    [44] Girl's body found at fishing reserve on Chios island

    An unidentified girl's body in advanced stage of decomposition was located late Tuesday at the fishing reserve Mylarakia on Chios island.

    The body was transferred to the island's hospital for post mortem examination.

    [45] Police have released photographs of second suspect in Koumantareas murder case

    Police by order of an Athens prosecutor on Wednesday released photographs and detailed information on the second suspect in the case of author Menis Koumantareas, who was found murdered in his Kypseli district apartment in Athens last December.

    The 26-year-old Stefan-Cristinel Matasareanu, a Romanian national, was arrested earlier this month and he is facing charges for being an accomplice to voluntary manslaughter and attempted robbery.

    Another suspect a 29-year-old Romanian Kosmin Gaitan, who appeared before a prosecutor voluntarily accompanied by his lawyer earlier this month, has also been arrested.

    [46] Bulgarian man arrested for child abuse, pornography on European warrant

    A 42-year-old Bulgarian national was arrested in the Greek town of Nafpaktos on Wednesday based on a European warrant issued for his arrest on charges of child abuse and child pornography. The suspect has been sought by Bulgarian authorities since April 2014 and will be taken before a western Greek appeals court public prosecutor in the city of Agrinio.

    [47] Two arrested for smuggling 20 kilos heroin through Athens airport

    Police on Wednesday reported the arrest of two individuals who were caught attempting to smuggle 20.5 kilos of heroin into the country via Athens international airport.

    The two suspects were a 53-year-old Greek man and a 40-year-old Pakistani that police said were part of a larger drug trafficking ring bringing illegal drugs from Pakistan to western Europe.

    The Greek national arrived from Abu Dhabi on January 8 and reported that his luggage was lost. When it arrived four days later, police found the heroin inside. He was arrested after accepting delivery of the lost luggage at his Patissia apartment, along with the Pakistani who police said was acting as a "lookout".

    Both men were led before an Athens public prosecutor.

    [48] Normal services restored on ISAP electric railway line in Athens

    Normal services were restored on the ISAP electric railway line from Kifissia to Piraeus late on Wednesday. Trains from Thissio station to Piraeus station had been interrupted earlier during an operation to extricate a man that had fallen onto the tracks and been trapped by a train in Tavros station.

    [49] Post offices in Athens, Thessaloniki to stay open at weekend to receive election campaign material

    Selected post offices in Athens and Thessaloniki will be open at the weekend in order to receive and process election material, such as party and candidate mail campaigns. The Major Clients' Service Centre in Kryoneri, Attica and the Stavroupoli Central Branch in Thessaloniki are to stay open from 9:00 to 16:00 on Saturday and from 9:00 to 13:30 on Sunday for this purpose.

    Weather forecast

    [50] Mostly fair on Thursday

    Mostly fair weather and northwesterly winds are forecast for Thursday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Scattered clouds in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from -02C-11C. Mostly fair in the western parts with temperatures between 06C-17C.Scattered clouds in the eastern parts with temperatures between 01C-17C. Partly cloudy over the islands, 07C-15C. Mostly fair in Athens, 04C-16C; the same for Thessaloniki, -01C-11C.

    [51] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: Strong mandate from the people for strong negotiation

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Double message for the day after

    ESTIA: Electoral law a monstrous mistake

    ETHNOS: Leaders' distance... debate

    IMERISSIA: The agreement the 'key'

    KATHIMERINI: The dilemmas before the final stretch

    NAFTEMPORIKI: The debt to the fore

    RIZOSPASTIS: Strong Communist party (KKE) and popular movement the only hope for the people.

    TA NEA: Lights off... (Brussels put a halt to the Greek elections intervention campaign)

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


    Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    ana2html v2.01 run on Friday, 16 January 2015 - 20:33:56 UTC