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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-03-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 8 March 2011 Issue No: 3737


  • [01] PM Papandreou addresses PES summit
  • [02] 'Europe is in the wrong hands', PES proclamation says
  • [03] Rasmussen addresses PES summit
  • [04] PES in favour of Greek, Irish loan repayment extension
  • [05] PM Papandreou holds bilateral meetings on sidelines of PES summit
  • [06] Synaspismos party on PM's address at PES summit
  • [07] PM chairs a meeting on Eurogroup summit
  • [08] Statements by ND leader Samaras following EPP summit
  • [09] Athens on upcoming exploratory talks; Kastellorizo issue
  • [10] Latest opinion poll unveiled
  • [11] Greek UN representative signs OPCAT Protocol against torture
  • [12] Athens lambasts latest downgrading by Moody's
  • [13] ND spokesman on Moody's announcement
  • [14] European Commission makes no comment on Greece's credit rating downgrading
  • [15] Rehn: Ease bailout terms
  • [16] Auction for 6-month bills amounting to 1.25 billion euros
  • [17] 11 still missing in Souda Bay after jumping ship
  • [18] Weather conditions worsening
  • [19] IKA Social Insurance Foundation cheated of over one million euros by pharmacy
  • [20] More than 100 hunger-striking illegal migrants hospitalised
  • [21] Spate of arson attacks in Attica basin during night
  • [22] Olympiacos pulls away
  • [23] Rain, snow on Tuesday
  • [24] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou addresses PES summit

    Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Saturday "for us, the changes in Greece and Europe are parallel and a common struggle, to enable us to overcome the economic danger here in Greece as well, and for us to offer a prospect to the peoples of Europe for growth and prosperity."

    Papandreou and the president of the Party of European Socialists (PES) Poul Nyrup Rasmussen inaugurated the works of the PES leaders summit at the Zappion Hall in Athens and, in parallel, they announced the beginning of the campaign, at European level, on the Socialists' proposals on the Eurobond and the tax on fiscal transactions.

    Papandreou underlined that the Greek socialists are contributing and will contribute with all their strength to this common effort and stressed that "of course, we have the great burden of making great changes in Greece, but we are aware that these changes as well have their limits, unless the great changes in Europe take place as well."

    Additionally, he said that it is not a crucial moment for Greece only but for all of Europe and stressed that the leaders of the socialist, socialdemocrat and labour parties have an even greater duty since, as he noted, at a time of great changes where Europe is dominated by conservative forces, "we are being called on to have an even stronger and collective voice to be able to express the concerns and the visions of the European citizens."

    He pointed out that this voice highlights the great possibilities we have being Europe and stressed that when there is cooperation and common targets crises such as the economic, environmental and energy crisis, as well as the crises in our wider region can be tackled.

    Papandreou also criticised the dominant conservative forces in Europe that "are refusing to draw the obvious conclusions on the causes and the intensity of the global economic crisis."

    Moreover, he stressed that conservative Europe has shown that instead of utilising the markets as a tool that will contribute to the prosperity of citizens and to growth it has deified them and is calling for the peoples to serve them.

    Lastly, Papandreou thanked the leaders of the PES for the solidarity they are showing "to a country and a people making great efforts to change problems, the inheritance of the past and to create a Greece with progressive values, a fair economy and society."

    [02] 'Europe is in the wrong hands', PES proclamation says

    A proclamation by the Party of European Socialists (PES) was adopted during its leaders' summit in Athens on Saturday and is titled "Europe is in the wrong hands."

    The proclamation's explanatory subtitle is "our alternative proposal in a Conservative Europe: strategy for employment, growth and social progress and in the text's opening paragraph the European socialists stress the crucial nature of the conjuncture in which Europe is finding itself and criticised the European Conservatives for sacrificing the fundamental European principles, of solidarity and a common destiny, placing countries and citizens in a state of competition between them.

    The European socialists criticise the Conservatives for their proposals that are based on their desire to legislate austerity and demolish social models and social security systems.

    "Despite the indications of the past 30 months, the aim continues to be the same: The ordinary people to pay for the failure of markets. Europe is in the wrong hands," the European socialists' proclamation stressed.

    [03] Rasmussen addresses PES summit

    Party of European Socialists (PES) president Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, speaking during the inauguration of the summit of European socialist party leaders over the weekend said "it is now time for the markets to respect democratic power, to become the servants of a real productive economy, profiteers must stop gaining through the economic crisis," adding that "for this reason we are uniting to schedule a new campaign to inform European citizens."

    Rasmussen further said that "we want the markets to contribute to an economy of growth, we want the new fiscal transactions tax to finance growth and the creation of new jobs."

    The PES president also said that during Friday's meeting of the PES leaders it was stressed that through solidarity Greece and Ireland must be supported, underlining that "we shall never allow, peoples and countries facing difficulties at this moment to be left alone."

    Rasmussen went on to say that the situation in the Balkans and Africa is being discussed at the present summit and that the PES leaders' mood is that "we have a common responsibility for the future both in Africa and the Balkans" and that "it is something that is happening not outside but inside our home."

    [04] PES in favour of Greek, Irish loan repayment extension

    The Party of European Socialists (PES), through its president Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and the first secretary of the French Socialist Party Martine Aubry who, together with the president of the European Progressive Studies Foundation Massimo d'Alema gave a press conference at the Zappion Mansion at the end of the two-day conference of PES leaders, expressed unanimous support for the extension of the repayment of the loans of Greece and Ireland, with a simultaneous decrease in interest rates.

    The basic positions of the PES, in the midst of an economic crisis, are summed up in that the crisis is not due to the peoples, but to the conservative governments, Rasmussen said, criticising the conservative forces of using the factor of fear and using as an example the Interior minister of France on the occasion of the dramatic events in Libya and Tunisia.

    On the occasion of the same developments that were discussed at the PES summit on Saturday morning, Aubry said at the press conference that a decision was approved for European support for these peoples, at first with the sending of serious humanitarian aid to refugees trapped on the Libyan borders.

    [05] PM Papandreou holds bilateral meetings on sidelines of PES summit

    Prime Minister and ruling PASOK party leader George Papandreou held bilateral meetings with presidents of socialist parties on the sidelines of the Party of European Socialists (PES) leaders' summit at the Zappion Mansion.

    According to reports, the issues discussed during the contacts concerned the Socialist International, the economic crisis and European developments, as well as problems that have appeared with the wave of refugees from North Africa.

    Papandreou met with Attila Mesterhazy, president of MSZP (Hungary), Pierluigi Bersani, president of PD (Italy), Sergei Stanishev, president of BSP (Bulgaria), Edi Rama, mayor of Tirana and president of the Socialist Party (Albania) and with Yiannakis Omirou, president of EDEK (Cyprus).

    [06] Synaspismos party on PM's address at PES summit

    The Coalition party's (Synaspismos) press office termed Prime Minister George Papandreou, on the occasion of his address at the summit of Party of European Socialists (PES) leaders in Athens, the vanguard of the most extreme neo-liberal views.

    The announcement said Papandreou "is the man who brought the IMF to the EU, he is the prime minister who will go down in history for his decisive contribution to the razing of the social state" while "the options of Mr. Papandreou never questioned the limits of the policy of the dominant European powers."

    [07] PM chairs a meeting on Eurogroup summit

    Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired a meeting, late Monday afternoon at the Maximos Mansion, focusing on the March 11 Eurogroup summit meeting.

    According to informations, the meeting was attended by all government ministers and two alternate ministers as well as the secretary of the ruling PASOK party Michalis Karchimakis and the parliamentary group's secretary Vassilis Exarchos.

    [08] Statements by ND leader Samaras following EPP summit

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras, speaking after the conclusion of the European People's Party (EPP) summit in Helsinki on Friday evening, said the European crisis, the proposal on the European Competitiveness Accord and the strengthening of the European Support Mechanism, as well as developments in North Africa and the Middle East were discussed at the summit.

    "Tonight in Helsinki, all the issues of the European crisis were raised. Special emphasis was given to the developments in North Africa and the Middle East. It was to be expected. I stressed mainly that Europe must not run behind the events. It must be the first to show substantive, economic, diplomatic and, above all, political solidarity to these countries. And on the other hand Europe itself must obtain a common, its own, policy on immigration, security, repatriation and prevention. Because this crisis must not in any way worsen the internal economic crisis that countries such as Greece as well are facing," Samaras said.

    The ND leader further said "in the meeting of the leaders, the proposal on the European Competitiveness Accord was discussed, as well as the strengthening of the European Support Mechanism. Alternative proposals that are far more realistic than the initial ones are already being shaped," adding that "we are in a common effort with many other leaders of Europe for us to create a real breakthrough, a real European solution. I hope, through many difficulties, that such a thing will become a reality soon."

    [09] Athens on upcoming exploratory talks; Kastellorizo issue

    Foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras reiterated, in press statements, that Greece's goal in upcoming exploratory talks between Athens and Ankara is the delineation of the Aegean's continental shelf, "along its entire breadth, from Thrace to (the isle of) Kastellorizo."

    The spokesman made the statement in answer to press questions citing a recent interview by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, published in the Athens daily "Kathimerini".

    According to the latter, "exploratory contacts have a stated goal of examining all the issues that deal with our disagreements in the Aegean," he said, adding that, by extension, Aegean issues take priority. (ANA-MPA)

    "However, Kastellorizo is found in the Mediterranean ... and we know that Greece and Turkey disagree over the maritime zones in the eastern Mediterranean. Regardless, however, of the geographic relevance or other issues, we want to solve all our differences with Greece as soon as possible," Davutoglu was quoted as saying.

    [10] Latest opinion poll unveiled

    The latest in the ubiquitous Sunday opinion polls gave ruling PASOK party a 2.3-percentage point lead over main opposition New Democracy party.

    PASOK is preferred by 21.9 percent of respondents to 19.6 percent for ND. Additionally, the communist party (KKE) is preferred by 8.3 percent; the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) by 5.6 percent; leftist SYRIZA by 2.6 percent; the newly formed Democratic Alliance gets 2.4 percent and the also recently established Democratic Left 2 percent.

    A 3-percent threshold is necessary to enter Parliament.

    The poll was published by the Sunday weekly "Proto Thema" and conducted by the firm Alco.

    [11] Greek UN representative signs OPCAT Protocol against torture

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greece's permanent representative at the UN, ambassador Anastassis Mitsialis, on Thursday signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and other forms of harsh, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    The Optional Protocol had been adopted on December 18, 2002, during the 57th session of the UN's General Assembly and was implemented on June 22, 2006.

    In order for the Protocol to be implemented in Greece, the process of its ratification by the Greek Parliament must be concluded.

    Financial News

    [12] Athens lambasts latest downgrading by Moody's

    Greece's finance ministry on Monday termed the most recent downgrading of the country's economy by Moody's as "completely unjustified", in a relevant announcement made hours after the development.

    According to the ministry, the decision is not based on an "objective and balanced evaluation of the economic conditions being faced by Greece."

    Moreover, it charges that the downgrading and the specific timing selected by the ratings firm "make it incomprehensible, and raise serious questions".

    [13] ND spokesman on Moody's announcement

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) commented Monday on an announcement by the Moody's Firm regarding the Greek economy.

    "Without disregarding the fact that the Greek economy is continuing to move in a wrong direction, the announcement by the Moody's Firm is coming at an unjustifiable time. Shortly before tomorrow's (Tuesday) auction of six-month, State interest-carrying bills and a few days before the crucial decisions on the tackling of the debt in Europe," party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis said in a statement.

    The spokesman added that "and so the need is arising for the arrangement of the functioning of Ratings Firms. A need that New Democracy President Antonis Samaras had stressed some time ago."

    [14] European Commission makes no comment on Greece's credit rating downgrading

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    The European Commission does not comment, according to its standing tactic, on announcements by ratings firms, a spokesperson said here on Monday, when called on to comment on the downgrading by Moody's of Greece's credit rating.

    Replying to a relevant question during a press briefing, Amelia Torres said "we have our own assessments that you are aware of and which we publicise at regular intervals," adding that the Commission does not comment on announcements by ratings firms and that "this position does not change whether it concerns Greece or Moody's."

    [15] Rehn: Ease bailout terms

    European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commis-sioner Olli Rehn on Saturday was quoted as stressing that European governments should ease bailout terms for EU member-states Greece and Ireland amid talks to resolve the current punishing debt crisis.

    He was quoted by the Dusseldorf daily "Handelsblatt".

    "Both countries need lower interest rates on aid loans, and Greece's repayment period should be extended to seven years from four-and-a-half years," the high-profile EU Commissioner was quoted as saying. (ANA-MPA)

    [16] Auction for 6-month bills amounting to 1.25 billion euros

    The Auction of Hellenic State Interest-Carrying Bills of a 26-week (6 months) duration, in an immaterial form, for 1.25 billion euros and ending on September 9, 2011, will be taking place on Tuesday, March 8, 2011.

    The settlement date will be Friday March 11, 2011.

    General News

    [17] 11 still missing in Souda Bay after jumping ship

    Authorities in western Crete are continuing intensive search efforts in Souda Bay for 11 missing Bangladeshi nationals who "jumped ship" when the ferry boat evacuating them from Libya anchored at the port, as more than 50 of the south Asian labourers apparently slid down a rope in the frigid waters in a bid to remain in Greece instead of being repatriated.

    Three bodies have so far been recovered, while more than a dozen remain hospitalised. The "Ionian King" is now hosting 1,277 third country nationals, who are expected to return to their country aboard chartered flights.

    Rough seas and rain were plaguing efforts on Monday afternoon in both the water and on the land.

    Finally, coast guard officials have initially ruled out complicity by the ship's crewmembers in the failed scheme.

    [18] Weather conditions worsening

    Weather conditions are worsening with the main characteristics being a sharp fall in temperatures and snowfall in both mountainous and lowland areas, initially in the north of the country and by nightfall in central Greece as well. Snow is also expected in island regions.

    During Monday night, snowfall in western and central Macedonia, Thessaly, eastern Sterea, Evia and the northern and eastern Peloponnese will be strong in some places.

    As regards the Attica basin, on Monday night snowfall is also expected in lowland regions in the north of the prefecture. On Tuesday and Wednesday there is a possibility of snowfall even in the city of Athens.

    [19] IKA Social Insurance Foundation cheated of over one million euros by pharmacy

    A pharmacy in the Attica basin was submitting to the IKA-ETAM Social Insurance Foundation prescription accounts, registering in invoices and receiving with the relevant advance payments amounts that were bigger than the corresponding value of the prescriptions implemented.

    The scam was detected following a check carried out by the Foundation's Central Prescription Processing Unit and the Pharmaceutical Service.

    The loss acsertained by the check so far amounts, according to the Foundation's assessments, to 660,000 euros but it is believed that it will exceed one million euros.

    [20] More than 100 hunger-striking illegal migrants hospitalised

    More than 100 out of the 250-plus hunger-striking illegal migrants camped out in a central Athens mansion and at the Thessaloniki labour centre are being treated in local hospitals as a result of their more than month-long abstention from food and most fluids.

    The migrants, all males from north African countries ferried from Crete last month, are demanding their full legalisation in the country, meaning residence and work permits. Initially, the migrants and their local supporters demanded a full legalisation of all illegal migrants in the east Mediterranean country, a demand that was repeatedly and unequivocally rejected by the government.

    Monday's development comes amid claims by migrants supporters that physicians at state hospitals are forcibly feeding the hunger strikers once they reach the health facilities. Conversely, the government late last week aired allegations that supporters accompanying the migrants to the hospital are preventing them from receiving sustenance, if when they request it.

    [21] Spate of arson attacks in Attica basin during night

    A spate of arson attacks on cars occurred in the Attica basin during the night. At 5 in the morning on Saturday, unidentified persons started a fire in the parking lot of an apartment building in the Athens district of Kallithea, resulting in four cars and a motorcycle being damaged.

    Ten minutes earlier, a fire was started in a garbage bin in the district of Pangrati that spread and caused damage to a car parked nearby.

    Lastly, between midnight and 1 in the morning, three cars were torched in the regions of Thisio, Aharnes and Glyfada.


    [22] Olympiacos pulls away

    League-leader Olympiacos neared its goal of clinching the 2010-2011 Super League football title by notching one more victory over the weekend, as it pulled away from second-place Panathinaikos after downing Ergotelis Crete 3-0 at home. On Sunday, meanwhile, Panathinaikos fell 2-0 to relegation candidate Larissa away, while AEK Athens thrashed PAOK Thessaloniki 4-0 at home on Sunday. (ANA-MPA)

    In other action

    Olympiacos Volos-Panserraikos 3-0

    Xanthi-Kerkyra 2-1

    Aris Thessaloniki-Iraklis Thessaloniki 0-1

    Kavala-Asteras Tripolis 1-0

    Atromitos Athens-Panionios Athens 1-2

    The standings after 25 weeks

    1. Olympiacos 64

    2. Panathinaikos 51

    3. ??? 40

    4. Olympiacos Volos 38

    5 Kavala 38

    6. PAOK 34 -24 games

    7. Iraklis 32

    8. Xanthi 32

    9. Ergotelis 31 -24 games

    10. Aris 30

    11. Kerkyra 30

    12. Panionios 29

    13. Atromitos 28

    14. Asteras Tripolis 25

    15. Larissa 23

    16. Panserraikos 17

    Weather Forecast

    [23] Rain, snow on Tuesday

    Rainy and snowy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 5-10 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -5C and 8C. Cloudy ands snowy in Athens, with northerly 7-10 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 2C to 4C. Cloudy with possible local snowfall in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from -2C to 2C.

    [24] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    Rampant speculation over the crisis-plagued economy and the fiscal crisis' effect on political developments in the country were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ARTHRO (weekly): "Political consensus now!".

    AVGHI: "Two paths ... the neo-liberal consensus".

    AVRIANI: "Government crashing with a thud".

    CHORA: "The fuse has been lit, the uprising is on the way".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "We must negotiate changes to the Memorandum: Interview by Labour Minister Louka Katseli".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Dilemmas and dead-ends".

    ETHNOS: "Situation critical. 'Silent strike' and back-stabbing by ministers".

    KATHIMERINI: "(PM George) Papandreou stuck between his ministers' 'civil wars'."

    LOGOS: "Prime minister's headache over lack of communication between ministers".

    NIKI: "Farewell to benefits and tax reliefs - The middle class will once again pay the price".

    PARON (weekly): "Elections George's last option".

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "George, change or sink".

    REALNEWS (weekly): "German official: Negotiate with your lenders!"

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Working class women: organise, resist, demand," is the headline of the communist party's newspaper.

    TO VIMA (weekly): "'You've paralysed'. Troika criticism of government".

    VRADYNI: "Bonuses, social criteria bonuses axed".

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

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