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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-03-18

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

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

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 Issue No: 4912

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras asks for a five-party meeting on the sidelines of EU summit
  • [02] EC spokeswoman on PM Tsipras' proposal
  • [03] European Council President Tusk preparing meeting on Greece, sources say
  • [04] Gov't VP Dragasakis in FT: 'All we ask is that Europe give Greece a chance'
  • [05] Gov't spokesman: Tsipras, Merkel meeting is a positive step
  • [06] Government spokesman Sakellaridis on the Eurogroup president's interview
  • [07] Varoufakis: 'We ask for a more rational upgrade of Greece's macroeconomic programme'
  • [08] Deal on Greece within the week, EuroParliament President Schulz tells 'Europolitics'
  • [09] Greece will remain in the eurozone, Euro Working Group President Thomas Wieser says
  • [10] Euro Working Group teleconference concludes, no Eurogroup planned
  • [11] PM Tsipras to meet Russian President Putin on April 8
  • [12] PM Tsipras chairs meeting attended by Dragassakis and Varoufakis
  • [13] PM Tsipras meets with U.S. Department of State official Victoria Nuland
  • [14] Alt. Min. for National Defence Kostas Isichos is in Moscow on a three-day formal visit
  • [15] Draft bill to restart the economy, including regulation on tax arrears, tabled in Parliament
  • [16] Humanitarian crisis bill in Parliament 'inconsistent with Feb. 20 agreement,' European official says
  • [17] ND and PASOK 'responsible for frightening state of revenues,' government says
  • [18] Parliament President Konstantopoulou presents audit committee of public debt
  • [19] AKEL sec gen Kyprianou meets FM Kotzias, government vice-president Dragasakis
  • [20] Defence Minister Kammenos: Gov't will not step back on its claims for the German war reparation and occupation loan
  • [21] Defence Minister Kammenos on Armed Forces
  • [22] ANEL spokeswoman's statement on Kammenos' visits to border islands
  • [23] Foreign Minister Kotzias meets with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland
  • [24] Government will not touch the reserves of social security funds, says Alt. Min. Stratoulis
  • [25] ND says government doesn't have plan on revenues from asset sales
  • [26] ND spokesman Karagounis on the occupation of the Law School building
  • [27] ND leader Samaras 'should alert authorities if he suspects his mobile phone is tapped'
  • [28] Potami party leader welcomes Tsipras-Merkel meeting on Monday
  • [29] KKE on committee to audit public debt
  • [30] Government unveils draft law abolishing maximum security prisons, decongesting prison system
  • [31] President Pavlopoulos meets with the alternate minister for culture
  • [32] Education Minister participates in unofficial ministers meeting in Paris
  • [33] Police in the "battle" against school violence, Alternate Interior Min for Civil Protection says
  • [34] Grexit could have serious consequences for eurozone, Moody's report s
  • [35] IMF helped Europe avert an economic meltdown, U.S. Treasury Secretary Lew tells congress
  • [36] State Property Fund's revenues to be used for social policy and social security system, Alternate FinMin says
  • [37] Environmental impact report for Asteria Glyfadas hotel complex approved by regional council
  • [38] European Commission does not freeze NSRF funds to Greece, head of the EC office in Greece says
  • [39] Taxisnet to continue accepting annual income data after March 31 deadline, finance ministry announces
  • [40] Employment in Greece up 2.4 pct in Q4, Eurostat
  • [41] Alt.Tourism Minister in Moscow
  • [42] Greece remained in deflation in Feb, Eurostat
  • [43] Power regulator RAE's decision to hike tariffs remains in effect, says authority
  • [44] Trastor reports lower 2014 losses
  • [45] Greek stocks end up, in technical rebound
  • [46] Greek bond market closing report
  • [47] ADEX closing report
  • [48] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [49] Alt. Culture minister visits Acropolis, speaks with restoration technicians and staff
  • [50] Migrant-trafficking ring uncovered with Europol assistance, 16 arrests
  • [51] Greece tops European countries in use of antibiotics
  • [52] Silent candle-lit protest rally held in Ioannina for bullying victim Giakoumakis
  • [53] Rioters burn cars and garbage containers in Exarcheia after protest march
  • [54] German couple pay their 'share' of German forced occupation loan in Nafplio
  • [55] "Eurolog:Europe in Dialogue with Antiquity"exhibition
  • [56] Disability certification requests are processed within 20-40 days, IKA claims
  • [57] Public prosecutor to press additional charges over offensive cyber-posts targeting dead student
  • [58] Police successfully rescue four irregular migrants stranded in flooded area near Evros River
  • [59] Cargo ship with contraband cigarettes seized in Messara Gulf, on the island of Crete
  • [60] Clouds, rain on Wednesday
  • [61] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Tsipras asks for a five-party meeting on the sidelines of EU summit

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday asked for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, ECB president Mario Draghi and the president of European Council Donald Tusk on the sidelines of the EU summit, according to government sources.

    [02] EC spokeswoman on PM Tsipras' proposal

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)

    European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva was asked on Tuesday on Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' proposal for a five-party meeting on the sidelines of the EU Summit and she implied that the issue is being examined.

    Andreeva noted that European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker will meet on Tuesday with European Council president Donald Tusk to discuss all issues concerning the EU Summit. She also said that what is important right now is the conclusion of the technical deliberations.

    Earlier, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, ECB president Mario Draghi and the president of European Council Donald Tusk on the sidelines of the EU summit.

    [03] European Council President Tusk preparing meeting on Greece, sources say

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)

    European Council sources on Tuesday told ANA-MPA that council president Donald Tusk is in contact with European leaders, including Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, to prepare a meeting on Greece on the margins of the European Council.

    [04] Gov't VP Dragasakis in FT: 'All we ask is that Europe give Greece a chance'

    The Government Vice-President, Yiannis Dragasakis, argued in an article in the Financial Times published on Tuesday that Greece is not asking to be treated differently but to be treated equally.

    "It is a common belief that the Greek government is seeking special treatment relative to other stressed eurozone members. We are not; we are seeking equal treatment," Dragasakis says in the article titled "All we ask is that Europe give Greece a chance.

    The government VP goes on to describe how the Greek crisis has deteriorated the economy and thrown in into the vicious cicrle of recession, unemployment and lack of growth.

    "Since the onset of the crisis, our economy has shrunk 26 per cent; unemployment has risen from 8 to 26 per cent; and wages have declined 33 per cent. These outcomes are worse than those experienced by any country during the 1930s and far worse than those projected under the two Greek adjustment programmes. This is why the Greek government has criticised these programmes."

    He argues that the euro's progenitors envisaged a monetary union resembling the classical gold standard, under which adjustment between countries with external surpluses and those with external deficits was symmetric. "Under the euro, the burden of adjustment rests on deficit countries. Between 2008 and 2014, the external balances of the stressed countries have swung from huge deficits to surpluses. The external surpluses of the core are unchanged."

    As a result, the country is in a position like that of Sisyphus, Dragasakis says, a man condemned to roll a boulder to the top of a hill, only to see it roll down again. "Greeks have implemented austerity and have suffered much more than expected. Many of the 60 per cent of young people out of work will one day be reclassified as long-term unemployed. We risk condemning an entire generation to a future without hope. To avoid that, what we ask from our eurozone partners is to treat Greece as an equal and help us escape from this Sisyphean trap."

    The article was co-written by Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, and Minister for international economic affairs Euclid Tsakalotos.

    [05] Gov't spokesman: Tsipras, Merkel meeting is a positive step

    Government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis on Tuesday in statements to ANT1 TV referred to the meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday in Berlin.

    "Mrs. Merkel invited the prime minister, following Monday's phone contact. This phone call has to do with the fact that the Chancellor as well as Mr. Tsipras are looking forward to a face to face contact without middle channels in order a solution to be found," underlined Sakellaridis adding that the government hopes that it will not be "a meeting of public relations but a substantial meeting."

    "On our part," Sakellaridis said, "the issues that we will set on the Summit's table and the meeting with Mrs. Merkel have to do on one hand with our insistence on the implementation of the 20th February Eurogroup's decision which foresees a series of reforms that would form a transitive stage from the memorandum to the post-memorandum as well as liquidity issues and the European Central Bank," he said.

    [06] Government spokesman Sakellaridis on the Eurogroup president's interview

    Government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis on Tuesday commented on a recent interview by Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem saying that "it would be useful for everyone if Dijsselbloem respected his institutional role in the eurozone."

    "We don't easily understand the reasons that lead him to make statements unbecoming of the role he has been assigned to. The rest is fantasy," he said, noting that "there is no need to remind him that the Greek Republic cannot be blackmailed."

    [07] Varoufakis: 'We ask for a more rational upgrade of Greece's macroeconomic programme'

    ROME (ANA-MPA/T. Andreadis-Syngelakis)

    Eurozone's architecture is to blame for the European crisis and not its people, countries or institutions, Finance Ministers Yanis Varoufakis said during an interview with Italian TV station La7 on Tuesday.

    "The Eurozone was designed the wrong way, but now we are starting to design it the right way," the minister said at Di Martedi show. "In Italy we feel at home, but we feel the same in France, in Spain, in Germany or in Finland. Every region of Europe is part of the European Union, it's our home."

    Asked whether Greece is still asking for money, Varoufakis said the government is not asking for more money, but a more rational upgrade of Europe's macroeconomic programme and especially Greece's. "Money, of course, is part of this request, but it's not everything. As the Beatles sang, 'money can't buy me love.'"

    [08] Deal on Greece within the week, EuroParliament President Schulz tells 'Europolitics'

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Spinthourakis)

    "We'll have an agreement on Greece this week," European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in an interview with the magazine Europolitics published on Tuesday.

    Schulz stressed that time was running short and the negotiations must be concluded, adding that "we cannot wait to reach a compromise".

    "There is an agreement in principle within the Eurogroup. Greece must submit proposals for the reforms, for the investment framework in the country and for reviving the economy...we are in the final phase of the negotiations. We need a solution before the end of the month," he said.

    Asked whether the EU should be preparing itself for the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro zone, Schulz ruled this course of action.

    "No. If you want someone to remain in a family, you don't conduct studies on a possible exit. We are working hard to keep Greece in the euro zone," he said, stressing that it was in the common interest of Europe for Greece to remain.

    Schulz stressed that he was striving to help Greeks, especially the ordinary people that suffered the consequences of the irresponsibility that prevailed for years in the country, as well as the lack of solidarity of the "very rich" that had sent their money abroad. He also underlined that he wanted to help the Greek government, regardless which government was in power, to stay in the euro zone.

    The European Parliament also underlined that "speculation at the expense of the euro has proved especially damaging," and that the line to be followed was simple: that Greece will remain in the euro and the door to speculation at the expense of the common currency will close.

    [09] Greece will remain in the eurozone, Euro Working Group President Thomas Wieser says

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)

    The general plan is that Athens will remain in the eurozone, Euro Working Group President Thomas Wieser on Tuesday told Austrian newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung, in response to scenarios on a likely Greek exit from the eurozone.

    Wieser expressed an entirely different position from Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who referred to a Grexit, noting that the issue of Greece's leaving the eurozone should be raised and that it is not a scenario that should be ruled out.

    The Euro Working Group president said that he is optimistic that negotiations with Greece will have a successful conclusion, noting that the past two weeks went by with behind-the-scenes confrontations instead of hard work.

    He said that the European partners showed flexibility but, at the same time, they announced that the programme's key-points are irreversible, referring to fiscal stability, the stability of the banking sector and the implementation of measures that will lead Greece to the path of an exports and economic growth-oriented national economy.

    He pointed out that Athens was unable to successfully implement structural reforms in the past three or four years, noting that if the reforms were implemented the prices would have dropped and the deterioration of the living standard would have been averted. If the country returns to the programme the necessary budget surplus could be renegotiated, he said.

    Wieser also said that the proposals tabled by the Greek government on how it intends to tackle corruption and tax evasion are clearly not in the right direction.

    [10] Euro Working Group teleconference concludes, no Eurogroup planned

    The teleconference of the Euro Working Group which discussed developments in Greece with the technical teams of the institutions went well, finance ministry sources said on Tuesday.

    The sources said that participants in the teleconference, which ended at 18.15 local time, didn't plan a Eurogroup meeting.

    No further information was revealed about the content of the teleconference while Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis left the ministry at 18.20 along with the General Secretary of fiscal policy Nikos Theoharakis and his adviser, Elena Panaritis.

    The institutions' technical teams have been in Athens since last week and are continuing gathering data for the Greek economy.

    [11] PM Tsipras to meet Russian President Putin on April 8

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 8.

    According to government sources, Tsipras will visit Kremlin following Putin's invitation.

    [12] PM Tsipras chairs meeting attended by Dragassakis and Varoufakis

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday chaired a meeting attended by Government Vice-President Yiannis Dragassakis and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.

    The meeting was held at Maximos Mansion, government headquarters.

    [13] PM Tsipras meets with U.S. Department of State official Victoria Nuland

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met on Tuesday with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland.

    There were no statements.

    Nuland had met earlier with Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.

    [14] Alt. Min. for National Defence Kostas Isichos is in Moscow on a three-day formal visit

    Alternate Minister for National Defence and Greece-Russia Joint Ministerial Committee co-chairman Kostas Isichos arrived in Moscow on Tuesday for a formal visit focusing on the reinforcement of bilateral cooperation on all sectors of common interest.

    During his visit that will be concluded on March 20, Isichos will meet with Transport Minister and co-chairman of the Joint Ministerial Committee Maxim Sokolov, the political leadership of the Russian ministry of defence and the head of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs Aleksey Pushkov.

    [15] Draft bill to restart the economy, including regulation on tax arrears, tabled in Parliament

    A draft bill to restart the economy was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday evening, to be discussed under emergency proceedings.

    The bill includes regulations allowing the settlement of tax arrears in up to 100 installments, and resolves social insurance issues of an urgent nature. Its discussion will begin in relevant parliamentary committees on Thursday.

    [16] Humanitarian crisis bill in Parliament 'inconsistent with Feb. 20 agreement,' European official says

    The discussion of a draft bill on the humanitarian crisis in Greece that opened in the Parliament's plenum session brought further controversy on Tuesday, this time at European level, with an official of the European Commission ordering a stop to the proceedings as the contents ignore agreements Greece has signed with its European creditors on February 20.

    The draft bill on the humanitarian crisis - including regulations for lower-income families such as free electricity and food and other subsidies - is scheduled to be voted on in plenum on Wednesday (tomorrow), while the appended rider on settlement of tax arrears by up to 100 installments is scheduled to be voted in plenum on Thursday.

    But in a letter tweeted by well-known journalist Paul Mason (UK Channel 4), the European Commission's representative to institutions (Greece's creditors) Declan Costello called for a stop to proceedings as a "unilateral" action, which brought a strong reaction by the government.

    In his letter to the Greek government, Costello referred to a teleconference call with the government in which "you mentioned the planned parliament passage tomorrow [Wednesday] of the 'humanitarian crisis' bill." His letter continues, "We also understand that other policy initiatives, including the instalment scheme law, are in train that are to go to Parliament shortly. We would strongly urge having the proper policy consultations first, including consistency with reform efforts. There are several issues to be discussed and we need to do them as a coherent and comprehensive package. Doing otherwise would be proceeding unilaterally and in a piecemeal manner that is inconsistent with the commitments made, including to the Eurogroup as stated in the February 20 communique."

    In its reaction, the government said, "Anyone who considers as 'unilateral action' the voting of a draft bill aiming at healing the wounds of the catastrophic policy of the last years simply exposes those who support it and proves that the technical teams are unable to guarantee the implementation of the February 20 agreement."

    It then called on all opposition parties to vote the bill in Parliament on Wednesday and oppose "these attempts at blackmail," adding that "if in Europe in 2015 dealing with a humanitarian crisis is considered a unilateral act, then what survives of European values?"

    From Parliament, the reconstruction minister Voutsis refuted the idea that the February 20 agreement was being violated, claiming that "the promotion of legislative initiatives and the relevant tabling of draft bills constitute the core of promoting the reforms we have agreed to jointly" with the institutions.

    Earlier, Parliament president Zoi Constantopoulou had brought the reaction of deputies when she cited rules that reversed the usual order of speakers, giving the floor first to the relevant minister (the bill consists of several sections) and then hearing the party rapporteurs. The controversy was resolved when Voutsis proposed that Alternate Minister for Social Solidarity (part of the labour ministry) Theano Fotiou speak first, to explain the relevant section.

    Fotiou had said among other things that the first part of the bill (on the humanitarian crisis) would allow people and families who had been thrown to the margins of society because of the memorandum policy "to understand they are not alone in the crisis," and she urged all parties to pass it.

    [17] ND and PASOK 'responsible for frightening state of revenues,' government says

    The former ruling coalition of New Democracy (ND) and PASOK "have a nerve" to criticise a weeks-old government over the economy, the government said on Tuesday, when they were responsible for a 'black hole' that left a 3.5-billion-euro lag in net revenues targets.

    Main opposition ND, the government said, claims that things went well until November. "We should remind people that the first 11 months of 2014, net revenues in the state budget were 920 million euros fewer than the target's, while a month later, at the end of 2014, net revenues were 3.5 billion euros behind target," the government said.

    "In other words, within a month the 'black hole' of revenues spread by 2.6 billion euros. It's ridiculous for anyone to claim that this frightening rise can be attributed to political uncertainty - what does uncertainty have to do, for example, with the loss of 400 million from the revenues of the Public Investments Programme? Both ND and PASOK should look at their own responsibility in the collapse of revenues even before they called elections."

    Further, the government noted, ND's claim that the cash reserves at end-2014 were 2.6 billion euros "left out the way in which it achieved this - none other than by borrowing." The coalition government began borrowing from the reserves of agencies of the general government through repos, the government said. Initially they had agreed with the EU not to borrow over 3 billion euros, but in November it said it would reach 5 billion euros, when at the end of September it had already exceeded 5.5 billion euros - by the end of 2014, the government said, the coalition's loans from agencies' reserves totalled 8.6 billion euros.

    "The Greek government, with stability and decisiveness will overcome all obstacles left behind by the [current] main opposition. The government's upcoming initiatives on fighting tax evasion and corruption, the strengthening of supervisory mechanisms and the legislation on overdue loan payments will strengthen public revenues, cancelling the plans of some who want the country to return to memorandums and supervision," it concluded.

    [18] Parliament President Konstantopoulou presents audit committee of public debt

    Parliament President Zoi Konstantopoulou announced the establishment of an Audit Committee of Public Debt in a joint press conference on Tuesday, with ruling SYRIZA MEP Sofia Sakorafa and Belgian expert on odious debt Eric Toussaint, in charge of the committee team of experts.

    Konstantopoulou underlined that setting up a committee is the least that can be done for the Greek people and the European community to ensure justice and truth. She explained that the committee will investigate which part of the loans Greece received was wasted on bribery and corruption practices, which part is legal and which is odious and illegitimate and therefore, not owed.

    The committee will convene on April 7 or 8 and its initial conclusions will be presented in an international conference on public debt in June.

    SYRIZA MEP Sakorafa, who will coordinate the international team, underlined that the Greek people will learn the truth about everything that led to the memorandums.

    On his part, Toussaint said that the committee will show which part of the debt is legal and which is odious and non sustainable, the repayment of which does not allow people to enjoy their fundamental rights.

    He wondered why the previous government did not activate such a procedure, noting that the committee will give answers to all questions raised and, in cooperation with the Greek Parliament, it will also examine the period before 2010 focusing on armaments, Olympic Games, transport, Siemens and the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE S.A.) contracts.

    The Parliament president's move was criticised by opposition parties, however, with main opposition New Democracy accusing Konstantopoulou in an announcement of "systematically violating all notions of cross-party dialogue and consultation" and "having become a major problem for the national Parliament".

    Opposition Potami also accused Konstantopoulou of overstepping her authority by launching the process at a time when neither the prime minister or finance minister were talking of a debt haircut and "adopting Panos Kammenos' agenda." The party urged the prime minister to step in and clarify the Greek position.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also criticised the move as "unilateral" and as seeking to "legitimise" the debt while opposition PASOK dismissed it as a "new television show by the Parliament president," conducted in violation of Parliamentary rules.

    Far-right Golden Dawn said that a debt audit and write-off of odious debt was a standing position for the party, "as well as resistance to the loan-shark policy of the creditors, to which SYRIZA has completely submitted."

    [19] AKEL sec gen Kyprianou meets FM Kotzias, government vice-president Dragasakis

    The Cyprus issue and issues of bilateral interest dominated a meeting on Tuesday between Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Cyprus' AKEL secretary general Andros Kyprianou, at the foreign ministry.

    Government Vice-President Ioannis Dragasakis also met Kyprianou who said that their discussion focused on economic issues, the ongoing deliberations in the European Union, as well as the Greek plans to address the current situation.

    Kyprianou reiterated his support for the efforts being made by the Greek government to negotiate for the benefit of the Greek people and stressed that "this should be, in our view, the policy of all Greek governments and not a policy of blind submission to whatever is asked by EU dominating powers."

    Moreover, he said that he has invited Dragasakis to visit Cyprus in late April or early May so as to participate in a conference on EU policies and the possibility of alternative policies within that framework.

    [20] Defence Minister Kammenos: Gov't will not step back on its claims for the German war reparation and occupation loan

    Defence Minister and Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos, speaking late Monday to private Star TV, attributed the personal attacks he has lately received to the bribery cases on the part of German armaments companies that have been sent to the Greek justice and to Greece's claims for the German war reparation and the occupation loan.

    He said that he received a personal attack from the European Parliament president Martin Schulz and from German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel underlining that it was the third time that Mr.Schulz attacks him personally.

    He clarified that the first time he refrained from answering adding that we was always very careful before the German people with whom there are no differences. He also noted that it is the German government that believes it can give orders as if Greece was a subordinate country and not a partner country.

    Regarding the bribery cases of Greek officials by German armament companies, he said that they are in the hands of justice and of the prosecutors against transparency adding that the Defence Ministry will hand over whatever material is asked. He also claimed that the German politicians support the German companies involved in the case and protect a number of persons.

    Referring to the German war reparations and the occupation loan, Kammenos clarified that the government will not make any step back.

    Kammenos underlined that "Greece remains in the eurozone because it wants to" adding that the country fully implements the 20 February agreement adding that those that do not follow it are the European Central Bank (ECB) and the German government. He also accused ECB chief Mario Draghi of spreading false information regarding the Greek banks.

    Finally, Kammenos said that the Greek government and himself defend the country's national sovereignty.

    Independent Greeks is the junior party that participates in SYRIZA government.

    [21] Defence Minister Kammenos on Armed Forces

    The government has committed to implementing the decision of the State Council to vindicate the Armed Forces staff, Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said in a document submitted to Parliament.

    The document was submitted after a query of Potami deputies Ekaterni Markou and Iason Fotilas.

    "From the moment I took up my duties, I stated that I fully understand the sacrifices of the staff of the Armed Forces, which are huge. The staff is admirable, because despite the decline of living standards, they offer the most to the country," Panos Kammenos said and added:" Once again I would like to apologize, first for the economic attack against them and secondly for the previous government's non compliance with the implementation of judicial decisions in order to rectify injustices."

    The Defence minister underlined the restoration of these injustices is a primary concern.

    "In any case, it is the government's commitment to implement the decision of the State Council and vindicate the staff of the Armed Forces," Kammenos stressed. The aim is firstly to increase wages and pensions and due payments will follow.

    [22] ANEL spokeswoman's statement on Kammenos' visits to border islands

    "We inform all kinds of 'well-wishers' that Mr. Panos Kammenos, within the institutional role as Defence Minister, is obliged to visit the border islands and go to the farthest point of the territory solely to defend the national sovereignty of our country," Independent Greeks (ANEL) spokeswoman Marina Chryssoveloni said in a statement.

    "We'd better let the Greek citizens decide on the wicked and spiteful people, who make derogatory statements," Chryssoveloni concluded.

    [23] Foreign Minister Kotzias meets with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Tuesday met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland.

    The meeting, that lasted roughly one hour, was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Athens David Pearce.

    [24] Government will not touch the reserves of social security funds, says Alt. Min. Stratoulis

    Alternate Minister for Social Insurance Dimitis Stratoulis reiterated on Tuesday the government's pledge not to use the reserves of the social security funds, following a meeting with a series of union representatives.

    Stratoulis described the funds' reserves as the "piggy bank of the insured, which has been looted by previous governments" and noted that "any decisions by their governing councils to invest their assets in government repos are purely voluntary".

    The minister also said cuts to main and auxiliary pensions will be halted and in the next few weeks he will submit a provision for the creation of a fund for national wealth and social insurance. The fund's revenues will be used to fund the reserves of social insurance.

    [25] ND says government doesn't have plan on revenues from asset sales

    The main opposition, New Democracy (ND), accused on Tuesday the government of retracting statements on the issue of the country's privatization agency (HRADF), saying it promises one thing domestically and makes different pledges abroad.

    ND spokesman Costas Karangounis said the Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had told the Eurogroup on February 11 and 16 that privatisations should serve to minimize debt, while Alternate Finance Minister Nadia Valavani told Parliament on Monday the government will submit a provision, according to which all revenues from asset sales will not be used to reduce debt.

    "Who represents the country's positions? The finance minister or the alternate minister? Doesn't the government understand that this brings a new memorandum closer? Or is this the plan?" Karangounis said.

    He also noted that any loss of revenues from privatisations and use of assets will broaden the already large fiscal and funding gap, making any new measures necessary, as well as new loans from lenders.

    "They don't want to reduce the debt. They don't want to reduce the deficits of the previous years. They drive away investors and undermine growth. And now they remembered the social security funds, whose reserves they are trying to usurp," he added.

    [26] ND spokesman Karagounis on the occupation of the Law School building

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Costas Karagounis on Tuesday lashed out at the government saying that, despite the protests by the academic community and society, it does nothing to stop the looting of the Law School in Athens by illegal intruders who occupy the building for a fifth day.

    Karagounis called on the government and the university administration to urgently assume their responsibility and restore order.

    "Those tolerating the damage caused are equally as responsible as those causing it," he underlined.

    [27] ND leader Samaras 'should alert authorities if he suspects his mobile phone is tapped'

    The leader of the main opposition New Democracy (ND), Antonis Samaras, should take all the necessary legal actions in order for authorities to shed light to reports that his mobile phone may be tapped, government sources said on Tuesday.

    The sources were commenting on a report by private TV channel Antenna, which claimed there were suspicions that Samaras' phone is tapped.

    [28] Potami party leader welcomes Tsipras-Merkel meeting on Monday

    The head of the opposition Potami Party Stavros Theodorakis on Tuesday said he welcomed an upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday in Berlin, adding that "it should have happened already".

    Theodorakis was speaking in Parliament, after a planned meeting of his party's Parliamentary group.

    He noted that those less happy at the news were "those trying to torpedo Greek-German relations."

    Potami's leader announced that he had recently had a meeting with German journalists and relayed the need for German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble to "take a step back" and tone down his statements, so as not to stoke a climate of tension.

    He said his party had decided to vote "present" during the vote in principle for the humanitarian crisis bill and then back individual articles that actually referred to measures for the humanitarian crisis. "Of the 37 articles in the draft bill, only five relate to the humanitarian crisis and the other 32 have to do with the party crisis," he added. He also criticised the bill as inadequate, since the amounts involved did not exceed 200 million euros, and said it should be reexamined.

    [29] KKE on committee to audit public debt

    "The announcement by the president of the Parliament to set up a committee to audit public debt," without any former discussion and decision of the Parliament, not even the Conference of Presidents, is not only a unilateral action of the president and the government, but aims at legitimising the debt in the consciousness of the people, splitting it into 'good' and 'bad. And ultimately to roll over the debt to the people, who are not responsible for its creation and increase," Communist Party of Greece (KKE) parliamentary group on Tuesday said in a statement.

    "Instead of playing games of disorientation, the government and the president of the Parliament should immediately submit the agreement signed by the government with the EU, ECB and IMF to Parliament and each one undertake his share of responsibility," it added.

    [30] Government unveils draft law abolishing maximum security prisons, decongesting prison system

    The government on Tuesday unveiled a draft law that abolishes Type C maximum security prisons in Greece and also opens the way for the release of large numbers of inmates from Greece's critically overcrowded prison system, especially those with chronic ailments or disabilities.

    On the basis of the bill presented by the government, those released under its provisions may include convicted terrorist Savvas Xiros, who is serving a life sentence for his role within the terrorist organisation November 17. Xiros suffered extensive injuries as a result of a bomb that exploded while he was handling it, leaving him virtually blind, deaf and 93 pct disabled.

    Other provisions contained in the law deal with the phenomenon of bullying, including through systematic non physical harassment. The offence is defined as that of "causing a third party physical injury or other harm to their physical or mental health through constant harsh behaviour". It is punishable by a minimum of six months in prison if the victim is underage, unable to defend themselves or in some way under the custody or protection of the culprit, a member of his or her household or linked through a work or service relationship.

    The same sentence is also handed down in the case that malicious neglect of the victims results in physical injury or harm to their physical or mental health.

    The bill also allows the release of prisoners with sentences of up to 10 years if they have served two fifths of their sentence, and for those with sentences of more than 10 years if they have served a third of their sentence. Those released will be required to report to their local police station at regular intervals and be subject to other restrictions. For those with sentences of up to five years, the sentence can be converted to a cash fine.

    For drug-related offences, the law provides the option of attending a detox programme at a special treatment facility in prison, while for those over 75 there is the option of serving the remainder of one's sentence under house arrest, except in cases where there is a risk they will repeat the offence.

    Regarding foreign nationals, the law allows the courts to order that a foreign national sentenced to prison can be deported if their stay in the country "is not compatible with the terms of social coexistence" and, in such a case, the foreign national will be banned from re-entering Greece for 10 years.

    [31] President Pavlopoulos meets with the alternate minister for culture

    Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Tuesday received Alternate Minister for Culture Nikos Xidakis, following the latter's request.

    The meeting focused on cultural issues and the contribution of the President's Office to the promotion of Greek culture.

    The president's priority is to highlight the timeless Greek culture, putting an emphasis on the resumption of archaeological excavations of major importance.

    [32] Education Minister participates in unofficial ministers meeting in Paris

    PARIS (ANA-MPA/O.Tsipira)

    Culture, Education and Religion Minister Aristidis Baltas participates in an unofficial ministers meeting in Paris on the promotion of Education, civic education and of the spirit of democracy and social tolerance.

    The meeting was called by French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

    [33] Police in the "battle" against school violence, Alternate Interior Min for Civil Protection says

    A special committee that will examine the role of the Police in addressing the phenomenon of violence in schools will be set up after a decision of Alternate Interior Minister for Civil Protection Yiannis Panousis.

    "Following the tragic events of school violence that came to light, we aim at eliminating such phenomena in the future. For this purpose a committee is set up, consisting of university professors and experts to examine the contribution of the Greek Police to the dealing with-addressing of school violence and to submit its proposals within three months of its establishment," Panousis noted.

    Financial News

    [34] Grexit could have serious consequences for eurozone, Moody's report s

    Downside risks to the euro area credit outlook remain material, Moody's rating agency said on Tuesday. The credit rating agency, in a report noted that while the current confrontation between the new Greek government and its euro area creditors has so far produced no contagion in the other member states, Greece leaving the euro area could still have serious consequences for the euro area as a whole and the periphery in particular. Such a scenario would inevitably raise questions about what pressures might cause other countries to leave a currency union that was designed to be indivisible.

    In Moody's view, the other key downside risk is an unexpectedly prolonged period of very low inflation and growth. Such an outcome would lead to a further continuous rise in public debt ratios in most euro area countries, with no stabilisation in sight even by 2018. Aside from postponing further improvements in sovereign credit fundamentals, persistent high debt levels would leave a number of sovereigns exposed to further shocks to confidence or to growth.

    The report stressed that credit quality has stabilised in the euro area and after ratings upgrades in 2014, with 15 out of the 19 euro area sovereign ratings now carrying a stable outlook. The outlooks on the ratings of Spain (Baa2) and Lithuania (Baa1) are positive, while France's Aa1 rating has a negative outlook and Greece's Caa1 rating is currently on review for possible downgrade. "Overall, we see only limited potential for sovereign ratings in the euro area to improve from current levels, and material downside risks remain," said Kathrin Muehlbronner, a Moody's Vice President -Senior Credit Officer, and author of the report.

    "The mostly stable outlooks reflect our forecast for a moderate economic recovery this year as well as some further progress in reducing the budget deficits in many countries. However, most of the fiscal improvement expected this year is due to the re-emergence of growth rather than active policy measures and will in most cases be rather moderate. Public debt will continue to rise in most countries of the region, a key factor constraining the ratings. Only four countries will see their debt ratios decline this year", Muehlbronner added.

    [35] IMF helped Europe avert an economic meltdown, U.S. Treasury Secretary Lew tells congress

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    The International Monetary Fund's support to Greece and other countries was critical in averting an economic meltdown in Europe, United States Treasury Secretary Jack (Jacob) Lew said on Tuesday during his annual testimony to the House Financial Services Committee on the "State of the International Financial System."

    "While the IMF was critical in helping Europe avoid an economic meltdown, the Europeans provided the lion's share of the financing and bore the brunt of the financial risk," he said, adding that "the IMF's investments in Europe are proving effective, as Ireland and Portugal have emerged from crisis and are making early repayments to the IMF."

    In terms of Greece, Lew said that "IMF support for Greece helped avoid contagion throughout Eurozone and the global economy, which would have harmed the American economy. The IMF continues to engage closely with Greece as it continues to strive to reform its economy to ensure lasting stability and long-term growth."

    The IMF continues to play a role in the resolution of the euro area crisis, he added, and is providing critical technical and financial support to countries in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, which are undertaking reforms to build secure economic foundations and achieve prosperity for their relatively new democracies. "Without IMF policy advice to European countries in crisis, the spillover effects from Europe's economic problems on the United States in terms of lost growth and lost jobs would have been far worse," he noted.

    [36] State Property Fund's revenues to be used for social policy and social security system, Alternate FinMin says

    Alternate Finance Minister Nadia Valavani late Monday, during the meeting of the Public Utilities Commission in parliament, announced the abolition of the country's privatisation agency TAIPED and the setting up of a new organisation.

    More specifically, Valavani announced the end of TAIPED as a Fund that was promoting the privatisations of public assets and submitted the revenues to the account for servicing the public debt within ten days.

    An amendment included in the bill on the settlement of arrears to 100 installments that will be submitted to the Parliament on Tuesday provides for the dissolution of the Attic Coastal Front Company and the absorption of Public Property Company (ETAD) in TAIPED. Following this absorption, a State Property Fund will be created and its revenues will be used to finance the government social policy and support the social security system.

    On his part the new president of TAIPED Asterios Pitsiorlas said that privatisations that have already started will be completed. "We will not touch issues that have been completed," he stated.

    He also said that "it goes without saying that sea shores and beaches are not for sale." As for the former Elliniko airport, he cleared out that its development or not will depend on how it is planned to be done. The course so far is wrong, he said, and does not serve the public interest, adding that the existing development plan is problematic and will be reviewed.

    On the occasion of the debate in parliament on the privatisation of regional airports, parliament president Zoi Konstantopoulou intervened saying that both the government and the deputies have been elected for a specific pre-election programme which is not negotiable with any board of directors. She also asked for and received the Minister and TAIPED's commitment to submit any government decisions to the parliament plenary.

    [37] Environmental impact report for Asteria Glyfadas hotel complex approved by regional council

    The Attica Regional Council approved the environmental impact report on the privatisation of the Asteria Glyfadas five-star hotel south of Athens on Tuesday.

    Deputy regional finance director Christos Karamanos said the current report is very different from the one invalidated in 2003 by decision of the Council of State, and said there were strict terms and full protection of the forestland and archaeological site in the area.

    Objections to the report were voiced by residents and other groups on several grounds, including the fact that illegally built structures of recent decades were not going to be torn down (the hotel was built in 1955 by a group of architects) and that destructive interventions will take place in the natural forest in the area. There were also fears expressed that the investor would close off the beach for his hotel use.

    [38] European Commission does not freeze NSRF funds to Greece, head of the EC office in Greece says

    The head of the European Commission's delegation in Greece, Panos Karvounis, in statements to ANA-MPA, dismissed a Sunday report that Brussels 'freeze' Greece's access to NSRF funds totalling 25 billion euros.

    "From the European Commission's side, there are no interruptions, suspensions or any kind of 'freezing' of payment for Greece," Karvounis underlined.

    [39] Taxisnet to continue accepting annual income data after March 31 deadline, finance ministry announces

    The finance ministry's electronic platform Taxisnet will continue to accept annual employee income certificate data submitted by companies, social insurance funds and state organisations after the March 31 deadline has expired, the ministry announced on Tuesday.

    According to General Secretary for Public Revenues Katerina Savvaidou, the extension has been given because the businesses and other organisations obliged to submit the information electronically had not been promptly informed, pending the publication of the decision in the government gazette.

    In order for the above individuals and entities to be fully prepared to electronically submit their file of income certificates for the 2014 tax year, especially in light of numerous changes made by a 2013 law, it was decided that the platform will remain open for the submission of data after the March 31, 2015 deadline and until the final deadline for submitting tax return forms for 2014, or any legal extension of this date.

    [40] Employment in Greece up 2.4 pct in Q4, Eurostat

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)

    Employment in Greece grew slightly by 0.1 pct in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared with the third quarter, Eurostat said in a report released here on Tuesday.

    The EU executive's statistics office said that employment also rose slightly in the Eurozone (0.1 pct) and in the EU (0.2 pct) in the October-December 2014 period. Spain and Latvia were the countries with the highest percentage increase in employment (0.7 pct), while Portugal (-1.4 pct), Cyprus (-0.6 pct), Poland (-0.3 pct), Italy (-0.2 pct) and Malta (-0.1 pct) recorded declines.

    Employment grew by 2.4 pct in the fourth quarter in Greece, compared with the corresponding period in 2013, while it rose by 0.9 pct in the Eurozone and by 1.0 pct in the EU.

    [41] Alt.Tourism Minister in Moscow

    Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura leaves on Tuesday for Moscow to promote Greece's participation in the International Tourist Exhibition MITT 2015.

    Kountoura's aim is to further promote the Greek tourism to the Russian market and the development of special programmes for thematic tourism as well as the attraction of investments in the tourism sector.

    During her visit to Moscow, Kountoura will have meeting with Russian Deputy Minister of Culture Alla Yurievna Manilova and with the head of ROSTOURISM Oleg Safonov as well as with the largest representatives of the Russian tourist market.

    Kountoura will also give interviews to the Russian media.

    [42] Greece remained in deflation in Feb, Eurostat

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris) - Greece remained in deflation in February, with the consumer price index at -1.9 pct, Eurostat said in a report released here on Tuesday.

    The EU executive's statistics office said that a total of 20 EU member-states recorded negative inflation rates in February, with Bulgaria (-1.7 pct) and Lithuania (-1.5 pct) recording the highest deflation rates after Greece. The Eurozone recorded a deflation of -0.3 pct in February, from -0.6 pct in January, from 0.7 pct in February 2014, while in the EU, the deflation rate was -0.2 pct from -0.5 pct and 0.8 pct in 2014.

    Only Sweden (0.7 pct), Malta (0.6 pct), Austria (0.5 pct), Romania (0.4 pct) and Italy (0.1 pct) recorded positive inflation rates in February.

    [43] Power regulator RAE's decision to hike tariffs remains in effect, says authority

    Greece's power regulator RAE said on Tuesday the planned hike in electricity tariffs remains in effect, as the authority ruled in a meeting that if the legislative framework isn't changed, the decision cannot be annulled.

    According to information, RAE said it is bound by the law which requires it to review the tariff twice a year, to balance the account which funds energy producers from renewable sources, as well as other operations which are funded by the same account.

    "RAE cannot or is not allowed to decide contra legem and not take measures that aim at consolidating and balancing the Special Account, especially when its actions are required by law to achieve the aforementioned aim," the authority said in a statement.

    Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis has said he will take legal measures to halt the move to raise the special duty for the reduction of gas emissions (ETMEAR).

    [44] Trastor reports lower 2014 losses

    Trastor Real Estate Group on Tuesday reported after tax losses of 1.1 million euros in 2014, from a loss of 1.5 million euros in the previous year. Group revenue from leasing contracts eased to 4.2 million euros in 2014 from 4.4 million in 2013, while operating spending jumped to 3.9 million euros from 1.4 million, respectively, reflecting the settlement of Pasal's debt.

    The value of the Group's portfolio in real estate assets reached 74.8 million euros at the end of 2014, from 76 million a year earlier, while the Group's cash reserves totaled 3.4 million euros and debt obligations were 7.8 million euros. Trastor's share price was trading at a discount of 24.59 pct compared with its internal value in the Athens Stock Exchange at the end of 2014. The company will not pay a dividend for the year.

    [45] Greek stocks end up, in technical rebound

    Greek stocks ended higher - in what traders described as a technical rebound of the market after a four-day decline which pushed the composite index of the market 6.64 pct lower - in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The composite index rose 0.88 pct to end at 769.77 points, after rising as much as 3.31 pct early in the session. The Large Cap index rose 1.23 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.56 pct higher.

    Turnover was a low 72.28 million euros. Piraeus Bank (8.96 pct), PPC (4.48 pct), OPAP (3.66 pct) and Titan (3.62 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Grivalia Properties (3.31 pct), Jumbo (3.05 pct), Folli Follie (2.94 pct) and Viohalco (2.63 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Among market sectors, Chemicals (6.20 pct), Raw Materials (3.30 pct) and Travel (3.05 pct) scored gains, while Commerce (2.91 pct), Personal Products (2.69 pct) and Real Estate (2.66 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 56 to 45 with another 23 issues unchanged. Ekter (29.50 pct), Kathimerini (19.94 pct) and Hellenic Fish Farms (19.35 pct) were top gainers, while Pairis (20.53 pct), Vioter (20 pct) and Progressive (19.77 pct) were top losers.

    [46] Greek bond market closing report

    Greek state bond prices remained under pressure, with yields rising further in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday.

    The three-year bond yield rose to 20.38 pct from 20.10 pct on Monday, while the five-year bond yield eased slightly to 15.71 pct from 15.9 pct. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose to 10.19 pct from 10.01 pct on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.47 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.28 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate eased to 0.209 pct from 0.212 pct, the nine-month rate fell to 0.139 pct from 0.141 pct, the six-month rate was unchanged at 0.095 pct, the three-month rate was stable at 0.025 pct and the one-month rate rose to -0.012 pct.

    [47] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.46 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totalled 59,234 contracts with 42,285 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totalled 159,191 contracts with investment interest focusing on Eurobank's contracts (52,436), followed by Alpha Bank (15,938), National Bank (17,999), Piraeus Bank (50,77), MIG (7,684), OTE (1,581), PPC (2,279), OPAP (929), Hellenic Exchanges (1,155), Mytilineos (1,556), Hellenic Petroleum (4,536), GEK (552), Intralot (256), Jumbo (390), Frigoglass (337), Motor Oil (208) and Korinth Pipeworks (238).

    [48] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

    Reference rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.0635

    Pound sterling 0.71995

    Danish kroner 7.4614

    Swedish kroner 9.1769

    Japanese yen 128.9

    Swiss franc 1.066

    Norwegian kroner 8.7915

    Canadian dollar 1.3585

    Australian dollar 1.3914

    General News

    [49] Alt. Culture minister visits Acropolis, speaks with restoration technicians and staff

    Alternate Minister for Culture Nikos Xydakis paid a visit to the site of the Athens Acropolis on Tuesday, where he met with staff and spoke with technicians involved in restoration work on the monument.

    In statements after touring the site and visiting the souvenir shop, ticket office and wheelchair access elevator, Xydakis said that he carried out the visit in order to pay homage to the monument itself and to the people that had worked for decades on "the most ambitious restoration project in the world, as well as those that daily ensure the smooth running of the archaeological site as a whole."

    He said he had the opportunity to be briefed by the chief experts in the restoration work, as well as the guards and other workers on ways to improve the services offered to visitors.

    [50] Migrant-trafficking ring uncovered with Europol assistance, 16 arrests

    Greek and European authorities on Tuesday announced that a migrant-trafficking ring bringing mainly Syrian irregular migrants to Greece via Turkey had been uncovered with the assistance and support of Europol, leading to 16 arrests. Based on their investigation, police believe the criminal organisation is also involved in the trafficking of migrants in Greece to other EU member-states.

    The alleged members of the ring came from a number of countries, including Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Romania. They are considered responsible for smuggling some 350 irregular migrants into the country, mainly via the islands of Rhodes and Kos near the Turkish coast. After they were brought to Greek territory by boat, the migrants were then sent on to other EU countries, either by plane using forged travel documents or hidden in trucks headed for Italy. In other cases, they were sent by boat, either with private boats or ferry lines, or by car.

    Each migrant paid between 4,000 and 9,000 euros for the trip, depending on the destination and the documents demanded. The estimated earnings of the ring from this criminal activity amount to roughly 7.5 million euros.

    Commenting on the arrest, European Commission for Migration, Internal Affairs and Nationality Dimitris Avramopoulos said that it was an excellent example of the way in which the European Commission, the organisations and the member-states can together carry out more and better actions to fight illegal migrant-trafficking through JOT Mare.

    He noted that the Daedalus operation had led to the arrests and break-up of a multinational criminal group involved in illegal migration, which had earned millions through migrant-trafficking and related criminal activities.

    Avramopoulos noted that further action to fight illegal migration was a priority for the European Commission and one of the basic pillars of the European agenda for migration to be adopted in May.

    [51] Greece tops European countries in use of antibiotics

    Greece tops the list of European countries with the highest consumption of antibiotics, according to Democritus University of Thrace assistant professor Periklis Panagopoulos who spoke at a city of Kavala information event on Tuesday on myths and truths about antibiotics and inoculations.

    Panagopoulos, a pathologist specialising in infections, said that despite the fact that antibiotics help save several people with bacterial infections, their excessive consumption has made them more resistant, therefore ineffective at critical times when they are truly necessary. He gave examples of consumption of antibiotics for common colds, most of which are caused by viruses and therefore antibiotics are ineffective for them anyway.

    Along with being the top user of antibiotics in Europe, Greece is also the top country in bacterial resistance to antibiotics, which is extremely dangerous to people's health

    He said that adults should consult with a doctor and opt for annual inoculations in October and November, to prevent infections like those of influenza (flu) and of Streptococcus pneumoniae.

    [52] Silent candle-lit protest rally held in Ioannina for bullying victim Giakoumakis

    Thousands of people in the town n Ioannina, in northwestern Greece, are holding a silent protest rally with candles outside the city hall on Tuesday evening, in memory of bullying victim Vangelis Giakoumakis, hoping to send a message against school violence.

    People of all ages, but mainly kids and students have joined the rally to show support for the 20-year-old student who committed suicide.

    The city hall has opened a condolences book in which participants in the rally can write their own messages and their feelings for the death of Giakoumakis.

    [53] Rioters burn cars and garbage containers in Exarcheia after protest march

    Anti-establishment protesters set fire to garbage containers in Exarcheia square and surrounding streets and burned two cars in central Athens on Tuesday evening, following a protest march which took place earlier from Monastiraki to Syntagma Square, police said.

    Protesters are demanding the release of prisoners who are serving sentences for terrorism-related crimes. Protesters reached Syntagma and then the body of the march was divided in two, with one section continuing to Exarcheia.

    Police forces remain in the area but have not intervened yet.

    [54] German couple pay their 'share' of German forced occupation loan in Nafplio

    A German couple on Tuesday publicly repaid their "share" of a forced occupation loan that Germany extracted from Greece during WWII, paying the sum of 875 euros into a charitable organisation operating in the picturesque port of Nafplio, in the Peloponnese.

    Ludwig Zacaro and Nina Lahge told reporters that they were inspired to make the gesture by Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and his statements during a meeting with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble. They said they had chosen Nafplio for symbolic reasons, because it was the first-ever capital of the modern Greek state, and had asked for a meeting with the city's mayor Dimitris Kostouros, saying that they wanted to pay their share of the occupation loan.

    The mayor informed them that the municipality could not take money for this purpose and encouraged them to instead donate the sum to a community charitable organisation called "Pyli Politismou" whose activities, among others, include action to alleviate the humanitarian crisis through the operation of a food bank for the town's poorer residents.

    The couple said they calculated the sum of 875 euros to be the amount corresponding to them, out of the total sum owed by German for the occupation loan and that their gesture aimed to raise awareness of the issue. They also stressed that if they were asked by their country to pay for Greece's claims, they would so this.

    In a letter explaining their decision, they noted that the ordinary people of Greece were not to blame for debts incurred by past governments to benefit the country's oligarchy and that the country should be supported and not blocked. They also noted that Greece's present government was the first negotiating for the interests of ordinary Greeks and not a rich elite, and for this reason alone should be supported.

    According to the couple, it was Germany that was in Greece's debt, for in addition to war reparations from WWII it had not paid back the 1942 forced occupation loan, estimated at 11 billion euros at current rates, which had reached the amount of 70 billion euros with interest.

    The sum paid into the Nafplio organisation, they said, was the amount of 70 billion euros divided by Germany's current population of 80 million.

    Zacaro and Lahge said that they were not especially rich, since one of them is retired and the other works part-time, but have collected the sum in the hope that other Germans will follow their example.

    They said they were inspired to investigate the issue after watching a joint interview given by Varoufakis and Schaueble, including the German minister's statements that the German obligations had been 'settled', and discovered the details by searching the internet. They also expressed "shame" over an article appearing in the German newspaper "Bild" which said that Germany doesn't owe Greece one euro.

    The money donated by the German couple was accepted on behalf of "Pyli Politismou" by Voula Dedea, who thanked them for their symbolic gesture, underlining that there is friendship between peoples, who were divided by politics. Nafplio's mayor, meanwhile, stressed that a couple of "anti-Greek" headlines did not represent the leadership of Germany, while politics often did not reflect real relations between peoples.

    [55] "Eurolog:Europe in Dialogue with Antiquity"exhibition

    The German Embassy in Athens and the curator of the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe Dr. Katarina Horst on Monday inaugurated the exhibition "Eurolog:Europe in Dialogue with Antiquity" which is held at at the Athens International Airport between March 16-29.

    "Why get to know the past? How can knowledge of antiquity help to answer questions in the present and future? These questions are the focus of the Eurolog project," Horst noted.

    People in the European-Mediterranean area look back on a common past, which is still present these days in the intellectual and material heritage. Meetings and relationships and the various related forms of communication and life are a characteristic component of both the antique and today's world. For millennia, foreign cultural elements have entered one sphere or been transposed to another in a constant exchange. The Eurolog Method is dedicated to these processes and offers a change of perspective.

    Eurolog-Projekt is supported by the European Union and takes place in cooperation with four cultural institutions in Europe and North Africa.

    [56] Disability certification requests are processed within 20-40 days, IKA claims

    Disability certification requests submitted for the first time are examined within 20-40 days by Disability Certification Centre (KEPA) doctor committees, the Social Insurance Fund (IKA) administration on Tuesday said, adding that the reexamination of disability requests that were initially turned down by KEPA examiners takes between two and three months.

    The disability certification requests pending until March 2014, as a result of a months-long strike staged by KEPA examiners, were roughly 68,000, the IKA administration said, adding that now a total of 6,280 cases are left to be examined thanks to the coordinated action taken.

    In the first half of this month, the disability certification requests filed were 6,038. It is estimated that an average of 11,000 new requests are submitted on a monthly basis. At least 1,200 doctors' committees will examine 15,000-19,000 disability certification requests a month, according to IKA planning.

    [57] Public prosecutor to press additional charges over offensive cyber-posts targeting dead student

    A public prosecutor on Tuesday pressed additional charges against the individuals responsible for a website that posted abusive comments targeted the deceased student Vangelis Giakoumakis, a victim of bullying whose dead body was found last Sunday, more than a month after he went missing.

    The additional charges relate to aggravating circumstances under the law against racism and refer to the offence of provoking someone to commit a hate crime or misdemeanour.

    The public prosecutors' office also announced that it has instructed the companies Google Inc and Twitter to immediately provide all necessary evidence to electronically trace those responsible, urging them to overcome any 'by the book' approach that might not only hamper efforts to solve the case but also lead to similar acts of violence and expressions of hatred in the future.

    [58] Police successfully rescue four irregular migrants stranded in flooded area near Evros River

    A police operation to find and rescue four irregular migrants reported stranded in a flooded area next to the Evros River was concluded successfully on Tuesday.

    The Orestiada police had been notified that a number of people were trapped on a small hill surrounded by flood water in the area of Petrades, Evros. After a thorough search of the area with a dinghy and other methods, they located the trapped migrants and launched a rescue operation, rescuing four Syrian nationals that had entered the country illegally.

    So far, a police investigation has failed to find the trafficker responsible for bringing them over the border from Turkey by boat, who left them at the spot where the police found and rescued them.

    [59] Cargo ship with contraband cigarettes seized in Messara Gulf, on the island of Crete

    A cargo ship, under a Sao Tome flag, carrying 34,280,000 contraband cigarettes in 3,500 cartons was seized by the Coastguard at a rocky coast in Messara Gulf, on the south Aegean island of Crete, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The ship's six crew members, all foreign nationals, and two locals, who acted as accomplices, will be led before a prosecutor in Iraklio.

    The contraband cigarettes seized correspond to 6,272,650.32 euros in unpaid tariffs and taxes.

    Weather forecast

    [60] Clouds, rain on Wednesday

    Rain and wind from easterly directions are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Clouds and light rain in the northern parts of the country with possibility of light snowfall in the semi-mountainous and mountainous areas and temperatures ranging from 04C-09C. Light rain in the western parts with temperatures between 06C-14C. Clouds with possibility of rain in the eastern parts and temperatures between 04C-13C. Clouds over the islands, 09C-17C. Partly cloudy in Athens, 07C-13C. Drizzle in Thessaloniki, 05C-10C.

    [61] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: Political solution now.

    DIMOKRATIA: Urgently to Berlin.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Behind the scenes on top level.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: 1 million notes for rapid settlement with discounts.

    ESTIA: Varoufakis' (Yanis, Finance Minister) maypole.

    ETHNOS: Window for agreement with Berlin.

    IMERISSIA: Chaos over the tax statements.

    KATHIMERINI: Difficult meeting in Berlin.

    LOGOS: Liquidity injections to small and medium sized enterprises.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Invitation at a crucial moment.

    RIZOSPASTIS: They are paving the way for new measures against the people.

    TA NEA: All or nothing at the meeting with Merkel.

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