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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-04-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 4 April 2011 Issue No: 3758


  • [01] PM Papandreou receives Libyan emissary
  • [02] Samaras:Commitment for policy based on principls and values
  • [03] Samaras: PASOK is the country's problem
  • [04] FM Droutsas on Cyprus liberation struggle anniversary
  • [05] Government spokesman Petalotis in Cairo
  • [06] Papariga: PM lying when he says' no new measures'
  • [07] Tsipras on SMEs
  • [08] LAOS calls for debt restructure, early elections
  • [09] Kouvelis officially elected president of Democratic Left party
  • [10] Democratic Left inaugural congress
  • [11] President begins visit to Azerbaijan on Monday
  • [12] FinMin: Debt restructure 'out of the question'
  • [13] Finance Ministry on press speculations on fiscal data
  • [14] Hellenic Petroleum workers launch 10-day strike
  • [15] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [16] Five Qatari workers injured in Libya transported to Crete
  • [17] Dutch-flag freigher runs aground off Carpathos, no injury or oil spill
  • [18] Incident in Exarchia
  • [19] Three injured in brawl between two foreign families
  • [20] Super League results
  • [21] Local showers on Monday
  • [22] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

  • [01] PM Papandreou receives Libyan emissary

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou received a Libyan emissary on Sunday evening in Athens.

    Papandreou met with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's emissary and acting foreign minister Abdulati Al-Obeidi. Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said after the meeting that the Greek government had over the past days a series of contacts regarding developments in Libya.

    "The prime minister spoke, among others, with Libyan prime minister and this contact resulted to the dispatch of a special emissary here in Athens, whom we received in the framework in which we, as Greece, have underlined from the very first moment: efforts for a political, diplomatic solution in Libya must continue," Droutsas said in a stetement.

    "This emissary, as he has informed us, will continue his contacts in Turkey tomorrow (Monday) and then in Malta.

    "On our part, we underlined, we reiterated the clear message of the International Community: full respect and implementation of the UN resolutions, immediate cease-fire, to end violence and hostilities, particularly against civilians in Libya.

    Judging from the emissary's words, it seems that the regime is also searching a solution. What is necessary is a serious effort for peace and stability in the region. Greece will continue, in this effort, to offer its good services. We are in contact with all our partners and allies, we will brief them on our contacts as well as on Greece's ideas and proposals."

    Earlier on Sunday, the Greek premier's office announced the meeting following a request by Libyan prime minister al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi in a telephone call to Papandreou.

    The announcement by Papandreou's office also said that the Greek premier had a series of telephone contacts on the developments in Libya over the past 48 hours. He spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday, while on Saturday he spoke with the prime ministers of Qatar and Libya, and with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier Sunday.

    [02] Samaras:Commitment for policy based on principls and values

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras launched a scathing attack on the government over the economy, addressing a meeting on Sunday of the chairmen of his party's prefectural committees, and called on ND local organizations to intensify their presence in society in the coming weeks.

    The crisis of the economy and the country is deepening, the PASOK government is preparing new measures that will intensify the stifling of the economy, unemployment and the shut downs of businesses, Samaras warned, adding that the unprecedented measures that the PASOK government has imposed to date had scant results and the sacrifices of the people were going to waste.

    He said that the criticism he has made to now has proved correct, given that even ruling PASOK MPs not in government posts are now admitting that the Memorandum is not working.

    "ND will change the policy of asphyxiation. It will make the economy work for the country to exit the Memorandum," Samaras said, and said the program he will unveil will show how the economy can function.

    Samaras accused the government of not producing revenues, but only deficits, and pledged that ND will remedy the injustices against the low salary and pension earners.

    Speaking of a lack of credibility of politics, Samaras said that ND will bring back hope and dignity. ND's contribution to restoring the credibility of the politicians will be the submission of a framework of positions and solutions, and specific proposals, without populism and without cultivating excessive expectations.

    "Our commitment is a policy based on principles and values in order to restore hope and dignity," he said.

    [03] Samaras: PASOK is the country's problem

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras ruled out any prospect of co-governance with ruling PASOK or collaboration with the other parties of the so-called center-right sphere, in an interview to appear in the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper.

    "They are not asking us for responsibility, they are asking for complicity. We will not give it to them," Samaras said.

    He said that it was a matter of time before ND found itself again ahead of the ruling party and secured a clear mandate from a broad social majority, and also said he understands that "the people who are disappointed with PASOK are hesitant before taking the next step in ND's direction".

    Samaras stressed that the Memorandum is an example to be avoided, and accused PASOK of being the country's problem.

    "PASOK is a captive of its own lies and the impasses in which it has entrapped the economy," the main opposition leader said, and ruled out any room for collaboration.

    As for former ND minister and leader of the newly-formed Democratic Alliance party Dora Bakoyannis and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis, Samaras reminded that they had cooperated fully with the PASOK government's policy of implementing its impasses, and were thus jointly responsible, and stressed that the door to a pre-electoral or post-electoral collaboration "is closed".

    On the exploitation of the state's real property, Samaras accused the government of, with its policy, proceeding to a sell-off, and not exploitation, of the state assets. He added that he would not enter into any dialogue on the economy because "they are not asking us for responsibility, they are asking for complicity, and we will not give it to them".

    [04] FM Droutsas on Cyprus liberation struggle anniversary

    Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, speaking after the religious service held on the anniversary of the starting of the Cypriot liberation struggle in 1955 against British colonial rule, said "the struggle and the sacrifices of the Cypriot people inspire us."

    Droutsas linked "the continuing struggle of the Republic of Cyprus for survival and for vindication" with the "struggle of the Greek people for a future of pride and prosperity."

    [05] Government spokesman Petalotis in Cairo

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)

    Nestoras Tsanaklis, one of the national benefactors of Greece who offered to the Greek commmunity in Egypt as well as Komotini was honoured on Sunday by the Greek state at the Greek Cemetery of Saint George in old Cairo, where his grave is located.

    Tribute to the great Greek was paid on Sunday morning by Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and government spokesman George Petaalotis who laid a wreath at the grave after a memorial service was held.

    Tsanaklis was the second president of the Greek Community in Cairo and gave a considerable part of his fortune for the construction at the beginning of the past century of the oldest and biggest church of the Greek community in the Egyptian capital.

    [06] Papariga: PM lying when he says' no new measures'

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga warned that the prime minister was lying when he assures the Greek people that there will be no new measures, in an interview with the Sunday edition of Eleftherotypia newspaper.

    Papariga said the pact on the euro was the harbinger of long-term bad news for salaries, pensions and labor rights, and warned of the consequences of the sell-off of the country's real estate holdings, companies and infrastructures.

    "They cannot exit the crisis by razing only the popular strata. A part of the accumulated capital must also be destroyed," Papariga said.

    She also said that the KKE does not fear snap elections, but added "woe to the people if they expect the anti-popular policy to be reversed through elections".

    [07] Tsipras on SMEs

    In the coming period the Coalition and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) will be giving special emphasis to the problems of the small and medium-size enterprises and in general to those forces that are placed in the middle economic classification, according to a statement by the head of SYRIZA's Parliamentary Group Alexis Tsipras at the Nationwide Conference of Professional and Handicraftsmen and Merchants of the Coalition held on Sunday.

    Tsipras said that the "small and very small enterprises are almost the majority of enterprises in the country and for us to realise what great importance the uprooting of small and medium-size enterprises has, 55 percent of jobs in our country have to do with the small and medium-size enterprises."

    The Coalition leader accused the government that "its only concern is for the banks to be saved," while referring to the discussion on the restructuring of the debt he said that his party had predicted it 10 months ago.

    [08] LAOS calls for debt restructure, early elections

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis on Saturday called for restructuring of Greece's debt and immediate general elections, speaking during a visit to Larissa to attend a party youth organisation event.

    "We cannot survive on our own as a nation. The government must decide as soon as possible to proceed to a restructure of the debt and to immediately call (early general) elections," he said during a press conference.

    Karatzaferis warned that the country was daily sinking deeper, while the political parties were each following their own path.

    Although the March 25 EU summit decisions gave Greece a small breather, he said, restructure of the country's debt is inevitable because Greece cannot pay off a 300 billion euros debt, and recommended that Greece should tell its lenders that it will give them 10 billion euros annually over the next 30 years.

    Turning to foreign policy, Karatzaferis charged that Turkey was "doing as it pleases" in the Aegean and that Greek prime minister George Papandreou was "at a loss and frightened", while also noting that Turkey is the 15th largest economic power in the world whereas Greece was 15th from the bottom.

    On the Libya crisis, the LAOS leader reiterated that "Arab blood must not be shed by Greek arms".

    [09] Kouvelis officially elected president of Democratic Left party

    Veteran leftist politician Fotis Kouvelis was formally elected president of the new Democratic Left party with a sweeping majority at the close of the party's four-day inaugural congress on Sunday.

    Kouvelis, who was uncontested, was elected with 97.31 percent from among 670 delegates. He received 652 votes, while 18 blank votes were also cast.

    [10] Democratic Left inaugural congress

    Dialogue, if it lacks the element of two-way communication, turns into a monologue and offers nothing to society, Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said Saturday night at the new party's inaugural congress, in reply to an invitation for dialogue by prime minister George Papandreou at the congress session on Thursday.

    Kouvelis said that Democratic Left was putting forward proposals for tackling the problems, but they were not being heard.

    He further stressed that the prerequisites do not exist for collaboration with the ruling PASOK party, adding that a condition for such cooperation at any level is program convergence and credibility, "which does not exist".

    Conversely, a broad collaboration of forces is necessary among the Democratic Left, the forces of ecology and social-democrats and politically independent individuals so that the prerequisites for changes may be created.

    On the economy, Kouvelis said the government was following a conservative policy and proposed, instead, a renegotiation and restructure of the country's debt, and called on the government to act in that direction.

    He further criticised the government for continuing to tax the working people while it was doing nothing to clamp down on tax evasion, the black economy and corruption.

    The congress winds up Sunday afternoon with the election of a party president, secretary and central committee.

    [11] President begins visit to Azerbaijan on Monday

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will begin a three-day state visit to Azerbaijan on Monday, during which he will hold talks with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

    Indicative of Athens' political volition to boost the already dynamic relations with Baku, with emphasis on economic and energy cooperation, is the fact that Papoulias will be accompanied by foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas, maritime affairs minister Yiannis Diamantidis, deputy finance minister Filippos Sahinidis and deputy environment, energy and climate change minister Yiannis Maniatis, who will sign cooperation agreements in the sectors of energy, shipping, the environment and culture.

    Papoulias' visit comes after a series of frequent high level visits between the two countries, beginning with Aliyev's visit to Athens in early 2009.

    The two Presidents will inaugurate the 4th Greek-Azeri Business Forum, while during the visit a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed between Greece's public natgas corporation DEPA and the Azeri state oil company SOCAR for intensifying negotiations aiming at the signature of an agreement between the two companies enabling DEPA to purchase Azeri natural gas directly from supplier SOCAR rather than via the Turkish state-run gas company BOTAS.

    This is considered the "ripest" agreement to be signed by an EU country with SOCAR for supply of Caspian natural gas, and will make Greece the first EU member to get natural gas directly from the Caspian. The agreement will be signed by Sahinidis on behalf of Greece.

    Equally important is the maritime cooperation agreement to be signed by Diamantidis, which will open many fields of cooperation both for the transport of oil from Azerbaijan and due to the Azeri merchant fleet's position in the Mediterranean.

    Droutsas in turn, will sign a cultural cooperation agreement for the years 2011-2013, which includes matters falling under the jurisdiction of the ministry of culture and the ministry of education, which are considered fundamental for all further cooperation.

    The fourth agreement, to be signed by Maniatis, aims to promote environmental cooperation between the two countries, with Greece providing knowhow in a variety of areas such as feasibility studies and structural material, waste and water management, and exploitation of renewable energy sources (RES).

    Papoulias and Aliyev themselves are due to discuss a broad range of political and economic matters and bilateral relations, regional issues of concern to the international community, and brief each other on matters of national interest.

    Financial News

    [12] FinMin: Debt restructure 'out of the question'

    Greece on Saturday ruled out a restructuring of the country's public debt, while the European Commission said it saw now reason for such a move, in response to a foreign press report earlier in the day that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is pressing for a restructure, which was also denied by the IMF.

    Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou, in a statement to Reuters news agency in Cernobbio on the sidelines of a business conference, said "there is absolutely no chance of a restructuring of the Greek debt", adding that those who talk about a restructuring "fail to understand that the costs would much outweigh the benefits".

    In Brussels, Commission spokesperson Jens Mesters said that "all support measures are in place, and there is no reason now to start thinking of this possibility of restructuring Greece's debt".

    The comments came in reaction to a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel earlier that IMF officials were urging a restructure of Greece's debt.

    In Washington, the IMF denied the report and reiterated its support of the Greek government's position.

    "As we have said consistently, the IMF supports the Greek government's position of no debt restructuring and its determination to fully service its debt obligations. Any reports claiming otherwise are wrong," an IMF spokeswoman told Reuters.

    In a preview of an article that is due to appear on Monday, Der Spiegel, which did not cite any sources, said that the IMF was doubtful that the Greek bailout efforts will succeed and was pressing for a restructure of the Greek debt. It said that this position was maintained by high-level IMF representatives in contacts in recent days with officials of European governments.

    According to Der Spiegel, the IMF believes a restructure is necessary in order to reduce Greece's fiscal burden.

    [13] Finance Ministry on press speculations on fiscal data

    The Finance Ministry said on Tuesday that the figures on the country's fiscal deficit for 2010 are prepared by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), which then forwards them to Eurostat for review before publication by the latter on April 26.

    Prompted by press speculation on the final fiscal figures for 2010, the ministry also said that given the need to safeguard and further consolidate the credibility of the country's statistical figures, it will not comment on or confirm such press reports before the formal announcements are made by the authoritative agencies.

    [14] Hellenic Petroleum workers launch 10-day strike

    Employees of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPA) on Sunday launched a 10-day strike that could potentially disrupt the smooth supply of the market with fuel in the coming days.

    The employees at ELPE, which controls three of the four oil refineries in Greece, are striking in demand of "the safe staffing of the new units that are commencing operation at the (ELPE) industrial installations in Thessaloniki and Elefsina".

    Market sources told ANA-MPA that the problems are not expected to arise immediately, given that there are ample reserves in fuel stations and at the installations of the fuel marketing companies, while supply will be normal from the fourth refinery, that of Motor Oil.

    Given, however, that ELPE controls three of the country's four refineries -- in Aspropyrgos, Elefsina and Thessaloniki -- and more than 60 percent of the market, the strike could cause fuel shortages, especially if there is a flurry of drivers rushing to fill their tanks, in which case the reserves will dry up earlier, the sources said.

    The ELPE management has filed a petition in court asking that the strike be declared illegal.

    [15] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.425

    Pound sterling 0.888

    Danish kroner 7.516

    Swedish kroner 9.009

    Japanese yen 119.51

    Swiss franc 1.316

    Norwegian kroner 7.867

    Canadian dollar 1.379

    Australian dollar 1.375

    General News

    [16] Five Qatari workers injured in Libya transported to Crete

    Five people wounded in Libya, residents of Qatar, were transported to the Greek island of Crete late Saturday by a Qatari C-130 helicopter, with 40 more evacuees on board, which was headed to Qatar. They are accompanied by six relatives, who also disembarked on Crete.

    The five injured evacuees were admitted to Chania hospital in serious condition.

    According to an announcement by hospital director H. Doulgerakis, the injured people are residents of Qatar who were working in Libya. They were transported from Libya to Crete by a Qatari C-130, which had 40 more people on board and was headed to Qatar.

    Doulgerakis said a sixth injured person died on the aircraft during the flight, which prompted the C-130 pilot to ask permission to land at the military airport in Souda, on Crete.

    The five injured people, four men and a woman, are aged 34-39.

    According to the hospital's director of medical services George Archontakis, the six injured people had been hospitalised in a Libyan hospital between March 13 and 18.

    The five are in serious condition, and four of them are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), while the other is in another clinic in the hospital.

    One of the four in ICU underwent surgery on Sunday by orthopedic surgeons as he had suffered multiple wounds in the lower extremities and possibly had gangrene in his right leg.

    The woman, also in ICU, had head injuries from shrapnel and had been operated on in Libya, while the other two in ICU had suffered head and chest wounds and broken bones.

    The fifth patient was being treated in the hospital's neurosurgery clinic.

    Archontakis said that no foreign objects were found in two of the patients, and did not rule out the possibility that they were injured in a traffic accident, while the other three had shrapnel from shells.

    According to sources, the five injured persons are accompanied by six relatives, who traveled with them. Of the 11 people who were disembarked on Crete, 6 hold Libyan passports and five have no travel documents. The same sources said that all 11 were from the rebel ranks.

    It was made known later that the six who held Libyan passports have been given a 15-day temporary residence permit.

    The C-130 left Crete later for Qatar with the remaining people on board and the corpse of the dead man.

    [17] Dutch-flag freigher runs aground off Carpathos, no injury or oil spill

    A Dutch-flagged freighter ran aground north of Diafani, off the island of Carpathos, but no injuries or oil spill were reported.

    The vessel, carrying a shipload of coal from Turkey to France, had a six-member foreign crew on board.

    The Greek tugboat "Aegeas" was dispatched from Piraeus port to the freighter's assistance.

    [18] Incident in Exarchia

    Incidents broke out late Friday night in the Exarchia district of central Athens when groups of youths attacked a team of MAT riot police with rocks and firebombs.

    The youths then set fire to garbage dumpsters.

    Calm was restored at about 1:30 a.m.

    [19] Three injured in brawl between two foreign families

    A shooting incident late Friday night in Anthoussa, Attica prefecture in which two men were injured and a woman suffered stab wounds, was attributed by police to long-standing differences between two Albanian families.

    The three injured people, all Albanians, have been admitted to hospital.

    The members of one of the two Albanian families went to the home of the second family, where they shot and wounded two men and knifed a woman.

    The perpetrators are wanted.

    Police said the two families had long-standing differences, and have pressed charges against each other on several occasions.


    [20] Super League results

    Champion Olympiacos Piraeus beat Kavala 3-1 at home in games played for the Greek Super League over the weekend, while Panathinaikos Athens lost 1-0 away from Panseraikos Serres and AEK Athens beat Atromitos Athens 1-0 at home.

    In other action:

    Olympiacos Volos-Xanthi 3-0

    Asteras Tripoli-Aris Thessaloniki 1-2

    PAOK Thessaloniki-Larissa 1-0

    Kerkyra-Panionios Athens 1-2

    Ergotelis Crete-Iraklis Thessaloniki 1-0

    Standings after 28 weeks of play:

    1. Olympiacos Piraeus 70 points

    2. Panathinaikos 57

    3. AEK 46

    4. PAOK 44

    5. Olympiacos V. 44

    6. Aris 39

    7. Kavala 38

    8. Ergotelis 36

    9. Xanthi 35

    10. Panionios 34

    11. Iraklis 33

    12. Atromitos 30

    13. Kerkyra 30

    14. Asteras 28

    15. Larissa 25

    16. Panseraikos 23

    Weather Forecast

    [21] Local showers on Monday

    Overcast skies are forecast throughout most of Greece on Monday, with local showers in the northeastern part of the country and the Peloponnese.

    Fair in Athens, turning to cloud in the afternoon, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 19C. The same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures of 6-20C.

    [22] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The economy and imminent arrival of a European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' team of inspectors were the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers.

    APOKALIPSEIS: "Bankruptcy: One step closer".

    AVGHI: "Change of page needed - Failure of Memorandum less than a year after its introduction concludes a circle of harsh economic policy and exhausts society's limits".

    AVRIANI: "Government of national salvation, without a single politician".

    CHORA: "Stricter criteria for rent subsidy".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "8 billion euros bomb razes salaries, pensions, benefits and...Papaconstantinou".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: " 'No pay' virus in government".

    EPOCHI: "Radioactive Iodine-131 in Greece and Europe".

    ETHNOS: "Where the money is going... - Secret salary increases and special benefits in certain public services continue."

    KATHIMERINI: "Implementation of the Memorandum demands up in the air".

    LOGOS: "Government sewing new 'suit' for us".

    NIKI: "More expensive loan payments".

    PARASKINIO: "Louka Katseli (employment minister): I insist on transparency in and the accountability of the banks".

    PARON: "PASOK turns against Papandreou".

    PROTO THEMA: "What the 'Express Service minister' (finance minister Papaconstantinou) is hiding - Raptopoulos (Express Service road assistance company owner) owes 133 million euros to IKA (the state's troubled Social Security Foundation) and hasn't made payments in 20 years".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Governmental measures bring hell to the life of the people and the youth".

    TO VIMA: "We want to save you, but can you? - Trichet and Van Rompuy to visit Greece to back the changes".

    VRADYNI: "The reductions in salaries, doctors', security corps' and judges' salaries".

    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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