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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-04-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 15 April 2011 Issue No: 3765


  • [01] FM Droutsas attends NATO conference in Berlin on Libya
  • [02] FinMin optimistic over recovery of economy
  • [03] Troika experts visit labour ministry, accept medium-term targets
  • [04] Strauss-Kahn: Greece will make it
  • [05] ND criticism on economy
  • [06] Education, health ministers hold meeting on Aretaio, Aiginiteo hospitals
  • [07] Gov't, Athens mayor discuss school complex
  • [08] Accenture survey on public sector enterprises by May 31
  • [09] Pamboukis received by Chinese Executive-Vice Premier Li Keqian
  • [10] Deputy FM to meet Euro Federation of Young Entrepreneurs
  • [11] Chamber president calls for political courrage, determination in reforms
  • [12] Greek unemployment jumped to 15.1 pct in Jan
  • [13] GSEE calls for change in economic policy
  • [14] Supreme Court finds for contract workers seeking permanent jobs
  • [15] Infrastructures ministry proposes decrease in toll fees of up to 30 pc
  • [16] Volos to have air link with Vienna
  • [17] Business briefing ...
  • [18] Stocks end sharply lower
  • [19] Greek bond market closing report
  • [20] ADEX closing report
  • [21] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [22] Anti-landfill protestors dig trench across road to Keratea
  • [23] Parliament to 'adopt' children of police, firemen killed on duty
  • [24] Hooded individuals interrupt James Watson lecture in Patras
  • [25] Bomb hoax at Employment ministry
  • [26] Stolen icons returned to Greece
  • [27] Cloudy on Friday
  • [28] The Athens newspaper headlines at a glance Politics

  • [01] FM Droutsas attends NATO conference in Berlin on Libya

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/G. Pappas)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said in Berlin, where the conference of NATO Foreign ministers is taking place, that the solution to Libya's crisis cannot achieved with military means alone.

    "Greece has stressed with consistency from the very beginning that a political solution is necessary and in this framework Greece has also submitted its own thoughts and proposals," Droutsas added in a statement to Greek correspondents and reporters in Berlin. Libya was the top issue on the agenda of NATO's conference and as Droutsas said it was stressed that "a political solution is necessary and indeed we agreed that the UN must assume the coordination."

    Droutsas stressed the need for the protection of the civilian population in Libya. "Precisely in this sector the role of NATO proved crucial and we confirmed this today as well in our meeting," Droutsas said noting that the important elements are two: "Firstly that all the operations of NATO are moving absolutely within the framework of the resolutions of the UN Security Council, this is an essential precondition for us. And secondly the participation as well of certain Arab countries in the operations in cooperation with NATO."

    Droutsas reiterated that Greece is facilitating these operations through the military bases, but is not participating actively in the military and war operations. He placed particular emphasis on the sector of humanitarian aid that is being raised imperatively for the Libyan population. "I had the opportunity once again to stress the important role that Crete can play in the coordination of the provision of humanitarian aid on the part of the international community and to express at NATO's table our availability for Crete to play this role," Droutsas said.

    [02] FinMin optimistic over recovery of economy

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou expressed optimism at Thursday's meeting of the ruling PASOK party's Political Council, during which all the serious issues preoccupying society were discussed, over the economy's recovery through the national plan for the country's exit from the crisis.

    The meeting, chaired by the party's National Council secretary Mihalis Karhimakis, focused on the course of the imple-mentation of the government's programmne, as well as the new programme, criticism over the effectiveness of government policy and social cohesion.

    The Finance minister said the economy is on a good path and, referring to restructuring, stressed that the government does not discuss such an issue because it does not constitute a solution for Greece.

    [03] Troika experts visit labour ministry, accept medium-term targets

    A team of EU-IMF 'troika' experts paid a visit to the labour and social insurance ministry on Wednesday for talks with ministry officials and accepted their medium-term forecasts for spending cuts amounting to 7.5 billion euro until 2015.

    They noted the need for specific schedules for achieving the targets set, however, and went over the proposals for savings generated by increasing revenues and cutting spending point by point.

    The ministry estimates that it can save more than 1.4 billion euro from restricting spending on pharmaceuticals since measures taken last year yielded savings of 850 million euro, while spending on health care has been reduced by 1.07 billion euro relative to 2009.

    A further 100 to 200 million euro are expected to be saved by uncovering those receiving more than one pension or illegally claiming benefits.

    The ministry also hopes to greatly boost revenues by stamping out uninsured 'black' labour that now accounts for an estimated 25 percent of the total by introducing an electronic work card and measures concerning social insurance contributions.

    [04] Strauss-Kahn: Greece will make it

    Greece will make it if it fully implemented an economic restructuring program and the European Union moves ahead with a comprehensive solution to the debt problem facing other Eurozone states, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, director general of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters in Washington, ahead of a spring ministerial meeting of the IMF and the World Bank, Strauss-Kahn said: "As I have repeatedly said, I understand how painful it is for the Greek people, but I think Greece will make it. But to do this there is a program to be implemented. Greece will make it on the precondition that all aspects of the programme will be implemented as envisaged. I know it is difficult, but it must be done. The Greek government, which was very bold implementing several measures last year, should not lose its dynamism".

    He added that some of the measures do not perform as they were originally planned, such as the fact that rich people in Greece still were not paying taxes at levels they should be in any other European state and that's a problem for tax contributions. He underlined the responsibility of the European Union saying that Europeans must do what they have pledged.

    "We are still waiting for EU to implement a comprehensive plan and avoid piecemeal measures," he noted.

    [05] ND criticism on economy

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis on Thursday accused Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou of "setting off insecurity in the economy and systematically undermining the psychology of the market".

    He said Papaconstantinou makes conflicting statements as regards the measures set to be implemented and the time of the country's return to international markets, stressing that he "has no compass".

    Moreover, he rejected that the unemployment benefit should depend on the financial situation of the recipient, stressing that it is reciprocal in nature and does not constitute a social benefit. Mihelakis also expressed opposition to regulations that target the rights of children of large families.

    Referring to the situation in Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) branches and services, he said it is "in a state of dissolution and is responsible for the ordeal of tens of thousands of people; a situation that constitutes an insult to human beings".

    Mihelakis denied that ND leader Antonis Samaras foresaw elections based on statements he made on Wednesday and rejected a proposal made by Democratic Alliance's Dora Bakoyannis (a former ND MP), suggesting that political parties should reach an agreement on specific points to take country out of the crisis. "There is a chaos between us; an abyss called the memorandum," Mihelakis stated.

    Finally, as regards the situation at the national news agency ANA-MPA, he said ND has long stressed that the agency's "plurality is being attacked", while its "prestige is being hurt". He also referred to the high-profile resignation this week of the long-time ANA-MPA managing director. The spokesman underlined that ND's stance on the issue is being vindicated by the stance adopted by the Athens Journalists' Union (ESIEA).

    [06] Education, health ministers hold meeting on Aretaio, Aiginiteo hospitals

    Health Minister Andreas Loverdos on Thursday announced that health and education ministry officials had come up with a solution that would solve the immediate funding problems of two university hospitals, the Aretaio and Aiginiteo, that recently shut down due to lack of funding.

    He also denounced a sudden shutdown of the emergency shift at Alexandras Hospital due to a lack of beds and supplies as "sabotage" and said that the reasons given for the shutdown did not hold up under inspection.

    According to the minister, there were 37 empty beds in the hospital and the hospital stores were well-stocked with supplies at the time it closed its doors. He announced that he had ordered a formal internal inquiry conducted under oath into the affair and stressed that those responsible would face sanctions, while the hospital had been returned to active duty.

    Loverdos made the statements after a meeting with Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou and the heads of university medical schools on Thursday concerning the problems and payment issues that shut down Aretaio and Aiginiteio.

    The meeting focused on the operation of the two hospitals but also problems faced by university doctors in general.

    Loverdos announced that plans for an evaluation of the work done by the two university hospitals, including teaching, research, clinical and administrative, by a firm of international evaluators and that based on this evaluation, they would then draw up a three-year plan that he said would allow them to operate "on a realistic and effective basis".

    Loverdos said the two ministries also agreed on a proposal to make the two hospitals and other university hospitals a part of the national health system so as to avoid problems with red tape. A final decision on the proposal would be made during the next meeting with university hospital doctors and, unless any other complications arose, would be made into law.

    Asked whether 28 percent of funding was enough to cover the needs of the two hospitals, the minister said that they had made a decision for "very specific funding" from the health ministry, giving 2.1 million euro to cover the ministry's obligations relating to interns in 2011.

    He said this would cover the needs of the hospitals "for the time being" and that there would be no more complications in the future following the solutions found.

    [07] Gov't, Athens mayor discuss school complex

    Regeneration of the Gravas school complex in north Athens, bordering on the Galatsi municipality, was the subject of a discussion held on Thursday between Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou and Athens Mayor George Kaminis.

    "We would like the school complex to remain open until late in the evening so that it can host activities. The security problem is created, first of all, by deserted facilities. This is a programme that takes a comprehensive approach toward matters of town planning and architectural regeneration of the school, and involves projects based on environmental policy," Kaminis said afterwards.

    Earlier in the day, Kaminis, accompanied by three deputy mayors, visited the Gravas complex and discussed the problems it faces.


    [08] Accenture survey on public sector enterprises by May 31

    The finance ministry expects a survey on the operation of public sector enterprises to be presented by Accenture -the US company which won an international tender on the issue- by May 31.

    The survey, to be used as a guide in the framework of a government program for restructuring public sector enterprises and organizations, will focus on four axes:

    1. A new labour environment (human resources management, introduction of flexible management mechanisms, hiring and payroll)

    2. Pricing policy

    3. State subsidies and dividend revenues for the state

    4. Operating costs and public sector enterprises' real estate property (initial estimates bring the value of the property to 8.0 billion euros).

    Accenture's contract for the survey is 67,650 euros.

    [09] Pamboukis received by Chinese Executive-Vice Premier Li Keqian


    Minister of State Haris Pamboukis was received here on Thursday with Chinese Executive-Vice Premier Li Keqian, as the former wound up an official visit to the Chinese capital.

    Amongst the highlights of Pamboukis' visit was the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement between Greece's Public Power Corp. (PPC) and the Chinese company Sinovel Wind Energy.

    "I had a very significant meeting with the Chinese government's vice-premier, who expressed China's trust and support towards the Greek government's and the Greek people's efforts to exit the crisis," Pamboukis said after the meeting.

    [10] Deputy FM to meet Euro Federation of Young Entrepreneurs

    Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis, in the framework of support for extended entrepreneurship, will participate on Friday in a three-day conference organised by the European Federation of Young Entrepreneurs, on the subject of "The Global Crisis as an Apportunity for Europe-Regaining Competitiveness Through Mass Entrepreneurship."

    Earlier, Kouvelis will receive the federation's directorate. The first day of the conference is devoted to the access of young entrepreneurs to "start up capital", the second to access to markets and the third to additional training.

    [11] Chamber president calls for political courrage, determination in reforms

    The Greek economy is not expected to return to growth rates before the end of 2013 as the impact of government measures on citizens and enterprises are extremely heavy and have led the real economy to a deep recession, Yannos Grammatidis, president of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, said on Thursday. Addressing an event on "The Truth and its Consequences: Counter-Incentives to Growth and Particularly in Attracting Foreign Investors", Grammatidis said, adding: "the situation is very difficult in dealing with, a synthesis of action and balancing act, a crossword for serious players", while he reiterated the Chamber's proposals for a modern Greece by 2020.

    A privatisation programme promoted by the government should be catholic and not fragmented.

    "With a system and a plan and not with instinctive improvisations such as prohibiting land sale. This kind of improvisations reduce the credibility of any other useful measure and maintain disbelief and doubts among the Greek and international investment community," he said.

    Grammatidis added that political courage and determination was need, confronting vested interests and views. "Our society is ready to accept any radical change as long it hears the truth and it is informed over where and how this country is going," he added.

    [12] Greek unemployment jumped to 15.1 pct in Jan

    Greek unemployment jumped to 15.1 pct in January from 11.3 pct in the same month last year and up from 14.8 pct in December 2010, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursdsay.

    The statistics service, in a report, said the number of unemployed people in the country totaled 756,795 in January, up by 189,663 or 33.4 pct compared with January 2010, or by 23,149 people or 3,2 pct compared with December 2010.

    The financially non-active population in the country was 4,302,315 persons, while the number of employed people totaled 4,267,584 in January this year. The number of employed people was down 178,159 compared with January 2010 (a decline of 4.0 pct), although it was up by 33,820 (0.8 pct) compared with December 2010.

    Young people were hit hard by unemployment, with the unemployment rate among people aged 15-24 at 37 pct in January 2011 from 30.4 pct in January 2010, while the rate in the age group between 25-34 was 21.3 pct (14.6 pct last year) and in the 34-44 age group was 12.6 pct (9.7 pct last year).

    The unemployment rate among women was 18.8 pct (14.9 pct in January 2010) and in men 12.4 pct (8.7 pct in January last year).

    Western Macedonia (22.7 pct), Southern Aegean (20.2 pct), Eastern Macedonia-Thrace (19.3 pct), Central Greece (17 pct) and Ionian Islands (17 pct) recorded the highest unemployment rates among the country's regions, while the Northern Aegean (7.1 pct) recorded the lowest unemployment rate although the rate was more than double compared with 3.0 pct in January 2010.

    The unemployment rate in Attica was 14.6 pct in January from 10.7 pct last year.

    [13] GSEE calls for change in economic policy

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), commenting in an announcement on data publicised by the Greek Statistical Service on Thursday on the 15.1 percent unemployment rate, called for an immediate "change in economic policy, before our country and Europe are turned into a continent with prospering figures and indexes but impoverished citizens."

    It also raises the issue of "strengthening the unemployment bonus, and the prolongation of the period of its payment."

    [14] Supreme Court finds for contract workers seeking permanent jobs

    Greece's Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favour of cleaners hired by the state's betting agency OPAP with temporary contracts between 1991 and 1998, finding that they served standing needs and should have been given permanent jobs.

    The decision, which will serve as a precedent for similar cases now pending before the courts, was greeted jubilantly by thousands of broader public-sector contract workers that had gathered outside the courthouse on Alexandras Avenue.

    Champagne bottles were cracked opened and contract workers poured out into the street blocking traffic when the court's decision was announced. They then carried out a march, preceded by a motorcade, from the Supreme Court to Athens City Hall in Kotzia Square.

    The civil servants' union ADEDY had declared a 24-hour strike on Thursday for all public-sector workers on temporary contracts, when the case would go before the court.

    A 24-hour strike had also been declared by the local authority workers' union POE-OTA for all contract workers in municipalities and municipal enterprises, as well as a four-hour nationwide strike from 7:30 until 11:30 a.m. for other staff.

    The Supreme Court plenum's decision concerned workers hired with temporary contracts before 2001, finding that they can be given permanent positions under labour law, and will serve as a pilot decision for cases involving the civil service and broader public sector.

    The court ruled that prior to the last revision of the Constitution there was no ban on converting temporary positions to permanent positions, enabling courts to judge cases for the conversion of contracts from temporary to indefine on the basis of labour law. In the specific case, the cleaners involved had been employed from 1991 to 1998 and had filed law suits before the Constitutional revision of 2001.

    The revised Constitution now expressly forbids the conversion of contracts from temporary to indefinite so the ruling will not apply to anyone hired after 2001.

    [15] Infrastructures ministry proposes decrease in toll fees of up to 30 pc

    A proposal by the Hellenic State to the construction joint ventures of the five motorways includes a decrease in the price of all toll fees by 25-30 percent for three years, as well as a decrease in the sections under construction by 50 percent.

    The ministers of Finance, George Papaconstantinou, Infrastructures, Transport and Networks, Dimitris Reppas, as well as deputy minister Yiannis Mangriotis announced at a joint press conference the creation of a special account at the Bank of Greece, amounting to 500 million euros, as a guarantee for the continuation of the loaning of the companies, that are constructing the projects, as well as the creation of a special company of the public sector, with the capital being the titling of the public sector's future revenues from the toll fees. Reppas assessed that these revenues for the public sector are estimated at 20 billion euros for the entire period of the awarding.

    The amount collected will also be used for decreasing the public debt, meaning, as the Finance minister explained, that from this capital bonds which are expiring can be bought off, or bonds from the bank market. The company will be SA Company of the Public Sector and will have the title "Greek Motorways."

    [16] Volos to have air link with Vienna

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)

    The beginning of the new Vienna-Volos-Vienna flights as of May 21 that will be carried out by the Austrian "Lauda Air" airline company and will be taking place every Saturday until October 1 is expected to give a new impetus to tourist movement to Greece from Central Europe and from Austria in particular.

    According to the Greek Tourist Organisation's Austria Office, this new air link will contribute to attracting the interest of many trip organisers who are aiming at enriching their programme with new less visited tourist destinations in Greece.

    Greece is visited by over half a million Austrian tourists every year and Austria, in absolute figures, is in eighth place regarding foreign tourist arrivals in Greece.

    [17] Business briefing ...

    -- MIG Real Estate SA on Thursday said it will pay a dividend of 0.15 euros per share to shareholders from May 4, after a regular general shareholders' meeting approved a board plan to distribute profits to shareholders. The shareholders' meeting also approved another board to buy back up to 250,000 own shares in a period of 24 months at a maximum price of 5 euros each and at a minimum price of 1.0 euro each.

    -- A reduction of 25-30 pct of all road tolls for the duration of three years, as well as, a 50-pct reduction of the motorway stretches under construction was suggested on Thursday by the ministry of infrastructure, transport and networks to concessionaires of five national motorways.

    -- Sidenor SA on Thursday said it has signed a deal with Alpha Bank to issue a common bond loan worth 20 million euros. The proceeds from the bond loan will be used to refinance the company's existing debt.

    -- Bond spreads widened significantly in Greece and Portugal, reflecting market worries over a possible debt restructuring by the two Eurozone countries, a Bloomberg report stated on Thursday. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 985 basis points in midday trade, with the Greek bond yielding more than 13 pct for the first since 1998.

    -- A free SMS service alerting consumers to the three cheapest petrol stations in their area is to be launched by the regional development and competitiveness ministry, following an agreement struck with mobile phone companies. A ministry announcement on Thursday said that mobile phone providers have agreed to offer the service without charge in the framework of Corporate Social Responsibility.

    -- Hygeia Group, a Greek-listed clinic, on Thursday announced a board decision for a share capital increase plan, worth 89,930,826 euros at a ratio of one for one at a price of 0.50 euros per share.

    [18] Stocks end sharply lower

    A significant worsening of the climate in the Greek bond market, amid speculation of a debt restructuring, caused a negative effect on the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, pushing the composite index of the market below the 1,500 level again. Bank shares came under heavy selling pressure. The index fell 2.83 pct to end at 1,487.76 points, with turnover rising slightly to 96.177 million euros. The Big Cap index dropped 3.41 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.11 pct down and the Small Cap index fell 1.76 pct. All sector indices ended lower with the Health (8.07 pct), Banks (5.02 pct) and Financial Services (3.90 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Piraeus Bank (5.88 pct), Eurobank (5.71 pct), ATEbank (5.36 pct), Alpha Bank (5.32 pct) and National Bank (5.20 pct) were top losers among blue chip stocks. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 118 to 29 with another 54 issues unchanged. Varvaressos (9.09 pct), General Trade (9.09 pct) and Karamolegos (8.45 pct) were top gainers, while Altec (16.67 pct), Douros (11.39 pct) and Alapis (11.11 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: -1.92%

    Commercial: -0.04%

    Construction: -2.79%

    Media: -0.33%

    Oil & Gas: -0.99%

    Personal & Household: -1.11%

    Raw Materials: -1.31%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.91%

    Technology: -0.88%

    Telecoms: -1.02%

    Banks: -5.02%

    Food & Beverages: -1.46%

    Health: -8.07%

    Utilities: -2.84%

    Chemicals: -0.84%

    Financial Services: -3.90%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 4.27

    ATEbank: 0.53

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.51

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.50

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.26

    National Bank of Greece: 5.83

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.96

    OPAP: 15.25

    OTE: 7.75

    Bank of Piraeus: 1.28

    Titan: 17.45

    [19] Greek bond market closing report

    The Greek 10-year bond yield surpassed the 13 pct level for the first time since 1998 in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, pressured by intensifying speculation over a restructuring of the country's debt. The two-year bond yield jumped to 17.8 pct, while uncertainty over the sustainability of the Greek debt pushed Greek CDS (Credit Default Swaps) above 1.06 pct.

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 996 basis points from 939 bps on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 13.36 pct and the German Bund 3.40 pct. Turnover in the market was an improved 231 million euros, boosted by the intervention of the European Central Bank in the market with the aim to ease tensions. A total of 202 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 29 million were buy orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 97 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved slightly higher. The 12-month rate was 2.10 pct, the six-month rate 1.62 pct, the three-month 1.33 pct and the one-month rate 1.15 pct.

    [20] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.17 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover remaining a low 39.046 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,661 contracts worth 32.776 million euros, with 28,214 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,438 contracts worth 6.270 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,261), followed by Eurobank (769), OTE (700), Piraeus Bank (1,909), Alpha Bank (1,399), Marfin Popular Bank (474), PPC (452), OPAP (458), Cyprus Bank (374) and ATEbank (306).

    [21] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.451

    Pound sterling 0.889

    Danish kroner 7.518

    Swedish kroner 9.101

    Japanese yen 120.81

    Swiss franc 1.298

    Norwegian kroner 7.920

    Canadian dollar 1.401

    Australian dollar 1.382

    General News

    [22] Anti-landfill protestors dig trench across road to Keratea

    Anti-landfill protestors in Keratea surprised authorities with some unexpected commando tactics in the early hours of Thursday, when they managed to dig a two-metre trench across one lane of Lavrio Avenue and completely block access via the first entrance of Keratea by piling rubble and earth on the other lane.

    The digging work was carried out by unidentified individuals under the cover of darkness, so that the road was entirely impassable on Thursday morning.

    A public prosecutor has been sent out to inspect the trench, by order of first-instance court chief public prosecutor Eleni Raikou.

    A statement on the issue was also made by the Lavreotiki municipality, where Deputy Mayor Vassilis Thiveos said that the local authority had no idea who was responsible for digging the trench and piling up the earthworks.

    Thiveos told the ANA-MPA that he first heard about it at 8:30 a.m. from his neighbourhood kiosk owner and that he had also received threatening telephone calls from an unidentified source.

    Noting that the situation had "got out of hand" and that the local authority was unable to control it, he urged the state to adopt a responsible stance and reply to the municipality's proposal on the waste management issues.

    Thiveos announced that a delegation from Lavreotiki municipality will visit an injured police officer being treated at the 401 military hospital and then, along with police trade union representatives, would meet Citizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis in an effort to have police pulled out of what he called a "political issue".

    He also indicated the local authority's willingness to meet with interior minister Yiannis Ragoussis and Environment Minister Tina Birbili to discuss the issues.

    Local residents strongly oppose government plans for a landfill site to receive the capital's refuse in Keratea, taking the case to court and also staging numerous protests and clashing with platoons of riot police permanently stationed in the area for the past weeks to protect the landfill contractors' heavy machinery.

    [23] Parliament to 'adopt' children of police, firemen killed on duty

    The Greek Parliament Conference of Presidents on Thursday unanimously adopted a proposal by Parliament President Philippos Petsalnikos to adopt 15 children of police officers and firemen that lost their lives in the line of duty.

    The initiative was along the same lines as that taken by Parliament last year, when it adopted the 42 orphan children of Greek Airforce and Army Air Force officers killed in the line of duty.

    The 'adopted' children will be given an annual stipend until they come of age, or until 25 years if they are students. The amount given will range from 10,000 euro for a single child, 18,000 euro for two siblings, 21,000 euro for three children and 25,000 euro for four.

    [24] Hooded individuals interrupt James Watson lecture in Patras

    A hooded individual apparently tried to hit Nobel laureate James Watson during a lecture he gave at a University of Patras auditorium on Thursday.

    Luckily, two other professors blocked the hooded assailant from getting near Watson. The suspect had entered the lecture hall along with another small group of hooded individuals, all of whom fled the scene within minutes.

    The octogenarian Watson, one of the discoverers of the structure of DNA, was unhurt.

    [25] Bomb hoax at Employment ministry

    A phone call made by an unidentified person to the newspaper "Eleftherotypia" at 16:20 that a bomb had been placed at the Employment ministry resulted in Pireos street remaining closed for about an hour on Thursday afternoon and disrupting traffic.

    The caller said that a bomb was going to explode in 20 minutes and police sealed off the area, while after the 20 minutes the building was checked by bomb disposal experts without anything suspicious being found.

    [26] Stolen icons returned to Greece

    Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos on Thursday attended a ceremony for the handover and return of six stolen post-Byzantine icons - taken from churches in Greece and found in a London art gallery - at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens.

    Geroulanos said the return was a great success and the result of cooperation between prosecuting authorities and the culture ministry with the Greek Embassy in London.

    The icons dated from the 18th and 19th centuries and had been taken from the churches of Tsagarada and Zagori, where they will soon be returned.

    Weather Forecast

    [27] Cloudy on Friday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 2-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 1C and 22C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with southerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 7C to 21C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 4C to 18C.

    [28] The Athens newspaper headlines at a glance

    Reactions to the government's medium-term fiscal plan and the possibility of a decision to restructure Greece's debt in June mostly dominated the headlines in the Thursday edition of Athens' dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "First subsidies at 3 billion euro".

    AVGI: "A slow death with savage cuts".

    AVRIANI: "[PM George Papandreou] fears mutiny and threatens elections".

    CITY PRESS: "Return to traditional values"

    DEMOKRATIA: "Papaconstantinou waived a fine!".

    ELEFTHEROS: "[Gov't Vice-President Theodoros Pangalos]: Politicians are pimps and voters their clients".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Tax office attack on 500,000 professionals".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "There is no money".

    ESTIA: "This is how they ruined the economy".

    ETHNOS: "George to seek vote on everything Friday".

    IMERISSIA: "Schauble bomb regarding the debt. Crucial decisions to be taken in June".

    KATHIMERINI: "Objections to the 23-billion-euro plan".

    LOGOS: "The draw is tomorrow!".

    METRO: "Zero hour for contract workers..."

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Decisions in June concerning Greece's debt".

    ???: "Income criteria for unemployment benefit as well".

    NIKI: "Just one word from him is make us" (criticism of statement made by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou)

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The popular answer to the crisis counter to capital -government - EU - IMF".

    TO PONTIKI: "Reply to the troika"

    VRADYNI: "Forest maps 'burn' properties".

    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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