|Monday, 17 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-11-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 12 November 2012 Issue No: 4219
 Greek Parliament endorses 2013 state budgetThe Greek parliament passed the 2013 state budget in the early hours of Monday, after a three-day debate in the plenary that wound up at midnight Sunday with a vote.
The budget was passed by 167 votes for, 128 votes against while four depuities declared themselves present in the 300-member parliament, carried by the votes of MPs from the New Democracy (ND) party, PASOK and the Democratic Left (DIMAR), the three parties backing the coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. 299 MPs participated in the vote.
Wrapping up the parliamentary debate, premier Samaras said that the country will either exit the crisis united or not at all, calling on all political and social forces of the country to rally for the former.
The prime minister also assured that the financing of the medium-term adjustment programme will go ahead without obstacles.
According to the 2013 budget, the country's general government deficit is expected to fall to 5.2 pct of GDP in 2013, slightly improved from the 6.6-pct figure this year, while the government will present a primary budget surplus of around 0.4 pct of GDP (after capital spending).
The new budget envisages that the general government deficit will total 9.442 billion euros in 2013, down from 12.882 billion euros in 2012. This decline is expected to come from the implementation of spending cuts worth 7.592 billion euros and budget revenue hikes worth 1.782 billion euros - measures agreed to between the Greek government and the EC-ECB-IMF troika for 2013. These measures include raising the retirement age by two years, pension cuts, reduction in special payrolls in the public sector, abolishing all bonuses in pensions, cutting family benefits and the inclusion of public sector enterprises in a single payroll system.
The budget envisages that the general government's debt will rise to 346.2 billion euros in 2013, from 340.6 billion euros this year, to 189.1 pct of GDP, from 175.6 pct of GDP respectively. It also envisages a primary surplus of 0.4 pct of GDP (748 million euros) next year after a primary deficit of 1.2 pct of GDP (2.396 billion euros) this year.
On the down side, the Greek economy will suffer yet another year of recession in 2013, with the country's Gross Domestic Product projected to fall by 4.5 pct, after a 6.5-pct decline this year. The Greek economy is forecast to shrink by 21.5 pct between 2008 to 2013, falling to 183.049 billion euros, down from 194.003 billion euros in 2012.
The unemployment rate is projected to rise to 22.8 pct of the workforce in 2013, from 22.4 pct this year, while the inflation rate is expected to fall to -0.8 pct next year from 1.1 pct in 2012. Next year's budget also envisages payment of the public sector's overdue debt to the private sector (7.0 billion euros) in two equal tranches (3.5 billion euros by the end of 2012 and another 3.5 billion euros in 2013).
Budget revenues (regular) are expected to fall by 5.6 pct next year from 2012 to 46.709 billion euros despite additional tax measures included in the budget. Direct tax revenues are expected to fall by 4.6 pct to 19.877 billion euros, income tax revenues are projected to fall by 20.6 pct, while property tax revenues are expected to rise by 15.5 pct to 3.176 billion euros. Revenues from indirect taxes are expected to fall by 6.8 pct in 2013 to 24.430 billion euros.
Budget spending are expected to fall by 9.8 pct to 55.802 billion euros, with primary spending falling by 6.2 pct to 44.650 billion euros and capital spending are projected to fall by 24.2 pct. The budget also envisages that spending on wages and pensions will fall by 10.5 pct to 17.511 billion euros and consumption spending will fall by 18.8 pct.
Capital spending is expected to fall by 24.2 pct to 4.9 pct of GDP in 2013 from 6.0 pct of GDP in 2012.
 Country will get loan, Samaras assures ParliamentThe country will either exit the crisis united or not at all, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told Parliament late Sunday night, calling on all political and social forces of the country to rally for the former.
In his speech during the debate on the 2013 budget ahead of a midnight vote, Samaras also asserted that the financing of the medium-term adjustment programme will go ahead without obstacles.
The disbursement of the entier outstanding 31.5 billion euro tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece will come on time, he said, adding that "the money will be disbursed in full and more beyond and for this more beyond I am working continuously."
"Some worry whether the money will come or not," he said, adding, "It is now time for the lenders to do what they have to do. We will get the money, even if some assume the opposite."
He also sent a message to Greek citizens that their sacrifices required by the medium-term adjustment programme would be the last and that social injustices will be corrected.
The prime minister also attacked strongly the "drachma lobby" and everyone who now hope that Greece does not get the loan tranche. "While they doubt the money will come, I am fighting more fervently for it," he said.
Samaras accused the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras of "undermining unity because (the party) doesn't have a programme to propose. The party doesn't even have internal party agreement, how can it unify those outside it?" As for SYRIZA leaders, the premier described them as "the remainders of the backwardness and of the unions, which are falling apart."
The 2013 budget will open the path to making the loan viable, the premier said, and bring Greece back to the markets. Recovery has been sped up, while the government is trying to reduce recession to a lower level than that foreseen in the budget, according to Samaras.
"Once we complete the battle for (getting) the loan, our priority is to begin the struggle for recovery," he said. "We are looking for and provide solutions and we correct mistakes we have found. We have promoted reforms and applied them," he asserted.
 Loan tranche is necessary for country's survival, Finance Minister saysOpening his parliamentary speech on the 2013 state budget on Sunday night with responses to criticism, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras charged the opposition with having "no realistic alternative ... that would set the prerequisites for viable development."
Stournaras said that in three years Greece had "covered two-thirds of the road towards reestablishing order in the state budget" and towards "balancing the loss of competitiveness, from the eurozone's birth to 2009."
Referring to the expected loan tranche, he said it was necessary to repay bonds worth 5 billion euros coming due on November 16; to cover the primary deficit (by paying for wages and pensions); to cover the primary deficit in the trade balance of payments (7 billion euros worth of imports in medication, fuel, food, and equipment) and to recapitalize the banking system in order to restore confidence to depositors and be able to loan the private sector.
Responding to main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras, Stournaras said unilateral writing off of the loan would mean "immediate alienation abroad, because nobody will be able to loan to us and the country will have to face confiscation of its assets abroad. "Even if the external debt interests were to be written off, the primary deficit in the trade balance of 7 billion would remain without chance of being paid through loans."
He called for "self-control and a sense of responsibility" in voting on the budget, and expressed his certainty that the loan tranche will be disbursed and the programme towards viability will continue.
 The EU must help Greece find a solution, Venizelos saysThe key issue is to support real economy, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said in his speech to Parliament on Sunday, and called on the Eurozone countries to work with the International Monetary Fund towards a solution.
"Greece's slow death will mean the certain dissolution of Europe," he said, urging deputies to vote for the budget. "We did what we could; we cannot do anything else in fiscal terms," he added.
The former finance minister said that the country could recover, as long as it followed certain conditions. He named, among them, the immediate and full disbursement of outstanding loan tranches amounting to 31.5 billion, 5 billion, and 8 billion euros, the extension of the deadline to apply the medium-term budget plan, the securing of the viability of the debt and the full use of available European Union funds for regional development and social programmes.
Greek society must take advantage of its flexibility to change mentality and become friendlier to investments and development and build up agricultural production and animal breeding, as well as take advantage of its natural resources and rare minerals.
 DIMAR leader: Disbursement of 31.5 bln euro tranche must be demanded immediately after passing of 2013 budgetThe vote for the 2013 budget is a vote of decisive importance for the continuation of the efforts for fiscal consolidation, stability and the country's growth, coalition government junior member Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis said Sunday night, addressing a debate on the budget ahead of a midnight vote.
"It is a lasting struggle for change and improvement of the conditions of the loan agreement, for the advancement of the reforms in the state and the economy, he said, adding that following the passing of the budget, the disbursement of the entire outstanding 31.5 billion euro tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece must be demanded immediately.
 Cancel austerity measures and renegotiate, Tsipras tells gov'tThe only alternative solution to save Greece is to pass a single-article law that would "cancel all austerity measures that impoverish society," main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras said in Parliament on Sunday night.
Addressing a debate on the 2013 budget ahead of a midnight vote, Tsipras charged that creditors used the "good behaviour" of the present government to get anything they could approved before the popular explosion that was sure to come soon.
"We must stop the destructive austerity and sit at the negotiating table on equal terms...to discuss a complete European solution, restructing of the debt, and repayment of the remaining debt with a development clause, as happened in Germany in 1953," the SYRIZA leader added.
If creditors refuse to renegotiate, he explained, there should be changes in taxation that would balance state revenues and expenditures.
"You are the only ones in Europe not renegotiating the debt, and want to convince us that the loan is viable," Tsipras said in its criticism of the tripartite coalition government, which he termed as "dangerous for the country" for its "plans to sacrifice the country" to Germany.
 Greek bankruptcy a 'myth', Kammenos saysThe 2013 budget is like the Titanic, and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is its captain, playing music when the ship is sinking, leader of Independent Greeks (ANEL) Panos Kammenos said, in his parliamentary speech on Sunday.
Calling on "deputies who have not been involved in scandals" to vote against the budget, Kammenos said it was a "myth" that Greece would declare bankruptcy if it did not receive the outstanding tranche of the loan, and said the country still had hope as long as Greeks refused to submit to German plans.
The only solution for the country was a unilateral cancellation of the debt, he said, and he called on the prime minister to travel abroad and find support in other countries like the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Lisbon.
 Golden Dawn votes against 2013 budgetGolden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) will vote against the budget, party general secretary Nikos Mihaloliakos told a parliamentary debate on the 2013 state budget on Sunday evening.
Mihaloliakos also said his party would vote against the defence budget, which he thought was not high enough.
The Golden Dawn leader said the overwhelming majority of global transactions were based on speculation, not on real economy activities.
"They now say that if Greece exits the eurozone, the world economy will sustain damages amounting to 17 trillion...This capital is a bubble, bearing no relation to the real economy. Greece holds a needle to this bubble, and if it wants, it can blow the whole thing up," he said.
He also called on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to demand the immediate disbursement of the entire outstanding 31.5 billion euro tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece.
 KKE leader on 2013 state budgetCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga strongly attacked both Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' three-party coalition government and the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), while addressing a parliamentary debate on the 2013 state budget on Sunday evening.
Papariga accused SYRIZA of "expressing a section of Greek entrepreneurs, the so-called 'party of the drachma'," and charged that the government was "serving the interests of the monopolies".
"Whatever differences exist between the New Democracy (ND) pole (ND is the major party in the Samaras coalition government) and the SYRIZA pole will minimise in the very near future," the KKE leader predicted, because, as she said, they both "opted for the management of the system, (thus) working for the benefit of monopolies".
"What is dangerous, is to have a section of the population identify itself with one section of the interests of the bourgeois class and raise a foreign flag, the flag of a section of the capitalist class," Papariga added.
 PAME demonstration as parliament debates 2013 budgetThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) affiliated labor organization PAME staged a protest demonstration in downtown Athens' Omonia Square on Sunday afternoon as parliament was debating the 2013 state budget before a vote at midnight.
PAME condemned the budget as "supplementing and completing the massacre of the labor and social rights of the working class and the other popular strata".
"The clash with the monopolies, the government and the EU begins now at the places of work. This requires a plan, organization, steadfastness, patience, persistence and class intransigence," PAME executive secretariat member George Perros reporters, while Construction Workers' Federation board member Costas Ziogas stressed that there is no solution that would benefit both the people and the plutocrats.
 SYRIZA claims gov't in a panic, hanging from a threadThe main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), in a statement on the climate shaped following the ratification of a latest austerity package in Parliament, stressed that "the government is in a panic and hanging from a thread".
SYRIZA wondered whether "the government was blackmailing for the measures to pass and was lying about the disbursement of the tranche, or, was blackmailing only and the creditors were deceived?"
"It is the people who will take the situation in their hands and will impose developments with the democratic reversal of the Memorandum policy and those expressing it; supporting a new strategy for Greece and Europe based on the axes of solidarity, growth, the protection of public goods and the social state, the public control of the banking system, the redistribution of wealth and social justice".
 Minister reacts strongly to quip by SYRIZA MP over 'special court'An unprecedented remark by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) deputy Stathis Panagoulis in Parliament on Saturday, namely, that "those who have signed the Memorandums will beg to appear before a Special Court, rather than have the end of the US ambassador to Libya", drew strong reaction by Shipping Minister Costas Mousouroulis, who spoke of "permanent and traditional deniers of the country".
"They are undermining every prospect of the country because they cannot provide it themselves. They know that their carelessness is tossing Greece out of the international environment," Mousouroulis said.
 PASOK party leader says country at marginal pointPASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, speaking in an interview with the newspaper Ethnos tis Kyriakis, stressed that "the country is at a marginal point. We need the immediate and sincere response of our partners now for the international climate to change".
Also addressing the country's political forces, Venizelos said that "the nation must be united in this difficult international negotiating".
 PASOK communications secretary tenders resignationPASOK communications secretary Yannis Datseris on Sunday tendered his resignation, in a letter to party leader Evangelos Venizelos.
A few days earlier Datseris, in a radio interview, had described PASOK as a "post-dictatorship bubble". Also, in a newspaper article, he had criticized former PASOK minister Andreas Loverdos over opinions contained in a political book he wrote.
The reasons for Datseris' resignation were not made known.
 KKE party spokesman says measures are lethalCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Parliamentary spokesman Thanassis Pafilis, speaking in Parliament on Friday, said that "the tranches of the loans are accompanied by endless lethal measures for the people. The latest developments must constitute a lesson on the character of the European Union".
Pafilis added that whoever believes that there can be a friendly policy for the people in the EU creates illusions and stressed that the Greek people must not bow to these measures and that "we call on them for disobedience and insubordination to reverse this policy".
 Administrative Reform minister on employees' mobilityAdministrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis, speaking in Parliament on Friday night, expressed the conviction that the policy of horizontal, numerous, blind, unconstitutional and inapplicable layoffs will be avoided with employees' mobility.
The minister informed Parliament that the transfer of employees will go ahead in a way safeguarding the greatest possible mobility in the interests of the service and the serving of the citizen.
On the question of suspension, Manitakis said it concerns cases of posts that are being abolished and the aim is the immediate transfer of employees to services.
 SYRIZA leading ND by 2.7%, poll showsAn opinion poll carried out by the Kapa Research company for the Sunday weekly "Vima" shows the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leading the New Democracy party by 2.7 percent.
According to the poll, SYRIZA is preferred by 23.1 percent of respondents and following are ND with 20.4, Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) 10.4, PASOK 7.5, Independent Greeks 6.4, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 5.7 and Democratic Left 4.6.
However, 42.5 or respondents prefer a coalition government dominated by ND, compared to 37.6 percent for a coalition government dominated by SYRIZA.
ND leader Antonis Samaras is considered most suitable political leader to be prime minister, with 38.25 percent, as against 33.35 percent for SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras.
Lastly, 35.3 percent want elections to be held immediately, while 51.6 want more time to be given to the government.
 FM in Sofia on MondayForeign minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Sofia on Monday for a tripartite meeting of the foreign ministers of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania to discuss developments in the region and progress in the EU enlargement process.
The ministers are also expected to discuss the ongoing negotiations for a new EU Fiscal Framework, efforts to deal with the economic crisis at European level, cooperation among the three countries in all sectors, and the latest developments in the Middle East.
From Bulgaria, Avramopoulos will head to Egypt to take part in the meeting of EU-Arab foreign ministers and a meeting of the EU Action Group-Egypt.
A foreign ministry announcement said that the minister's second visit to Egypt in just two months underlines the indivisible bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two countries and the high level of their bilateral relations, which are expected to be reaffirmed during Avramopoulos' meeting with the Egyptian foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr.
In the past two years, in light of the significant developments in the Arab world, Greece has worked consistently for reinforcement of the EU's relations with the Arab League, and with Egypt specifically, the ministry announcement said.
 Serbian President convinced Greece will overcome econ difficultiesVisiting Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Sunday expressed his conviction that Greece will overcome its economic difficulties, speaking on the island of Corfu on the last stop of a three-day visit to Greece.
"Governments change, but the people do not," he said, and noted the historic ties of friendship between the Greek and Serbian people.
He also reiterated his satisfaction over his contacts with the Greek leadership, which he said comprehends the Serbian issues and fully supports Serbia's course to EU membership.
Nikolic arrived on Corfu at noon from a visit to the Mt. Athos all-male monastic community, where he visited the Chilandari monastery where Serb monks reside.
He then went to the islet of Vido to pay respect at the Mausoleum of the Serb soldiers of WWI, while he will wind up his visit on Sunday afternoon with a visit to the Serb museum of WW1 memorabilia.
 Serbian President Nikolic visits Allied cemetery of Zeytenlik in ThessalonikiSerbian President Tomislav Nikolic visited the Allied cemeteries of Zeytenlik, in Thessaloniki, on Saturday morning, and referred in statements to the traditionally excellent relations between Greece and Serbia and the mutual mood for cooperation.
Nikolic said he is "absolutely satisfied" with the contacts he had with the Greek leadership on Friday, which as he said "understands the Serbian issues very well" and "fully" supports Serbia's course towards the EU.
He further said that Greece could request the mediation of Serbia in differences existing "with its northern neighbours and our southern neighbours".
Nikolic also said that "Greece is experiencing a crisis that it had never ever experienced" in its modern history, "a crisis that Serbia has been experiencing over the past twenty years".
The Serbian president has left for Ouranoupolis to visit Mount Athos, while on Sunday he will be visiting Corfu and the island of Vido to participate in events in memory of the thousands of Serbian soldiers killed during WWI.
 'Der Spiegel': Disbursement of next tranche wrapped upThe disbursement of the next tranche to Greece is an "agreed to affair", according to the German "Der Spiegel" magazine, adding however, that "...official approval is still pending".
Moreover, the magazine claims that the troika (European Commission, IMF and ECB) is asking from the Greek government a list of the names of the civil servants who will be laid off by the end of the year. A report by the magazine from Thessaloniki mentions that the troika expects 2,000 employees to leave the public sector by the end of the year.
That latter report was categorically denied on Saturday by the relevant minister.
 Gov't sources categorically deny German magazine reportAdministrative Reform ministry sources on Saturday categorically denied the report appearing in the German "Der Spiegel" magazine claiming a demand by the EC-ECB-IMF troika over a list of names of public sector employees to be made redundant by the end of the year, stressing that "neither do lists exist, nor did the troika request such a thing".
The sources added that not even a relevant draft bill is ready yet, whereas a relevant circular on the implementation of the arrangement of employees' mobility in the public sector has not been issued.
Sources reminded that on Friday Minister Antonis Manitakis reassured that suspension does not mean a laid off, but a transfer to department with a personnel shortages, especially ones serving citizens.
 48-hour pharmacy strike on Nov 26-27Pharmacies throughout Greece will stage a 48-hour strike on November 26 and 27, and will call another 24-hour strike on the day that parliament discusses the implementation of the Middle-Term Fiscal plan regarding the section on the health sector.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. Dollar 1,29
Pound sterling 0,81
Danish kroner 7,57
Swedish kroner 8,7
Japanese yen 101,95
Swiss franc 1,22
Norwegian kroner 7,41
Canadian dollar 1,29
Australian dollar 1,24
 'Nordic Explorer' arrives in Greece for hydrocarbons explorationThe 'Nordic Explorer', a Norwegian research vessel that will conduct geophysical exploration for hydrocarbons in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete, arrived in the old port of the western city of Patras on Sunday to refuel and pick up supplies.
The Greek government has launched a tender of oil and gas exploration in the Ionian and seas south of Crete, with tests and results to be announced by the Norwegian company Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS), which owns the vessel.
Immediately after its refueling, the 'Nordic Explorer' will head to the northern Ionian, in order to begin its geophysical exploration.
The research will be carried out over an area of 225,000 square kilometers, in a maritime zone between 100-400 km off the coasts of western Greece and southern Crete. The studies are expected to be completed by the end of the year, while an assessment is expected to be ready by the summer of 2013.
The studies will not burden the state, which expects to benefit by around 12-13 million euros from the sale of data to oil exploration firms. The cost of such seismic studies or tests is estimated at around 15 million euros.
Two Greek specialist geologists from the environment ministry will be on board the vessel as representatives of the Greek State and in order to train on the new techniques used by PGS.
Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Evangelos Livieratos paid a visit to the research vessel om Sunday while it was docked at Patras harbor.
During his visit to the vessel, Livieratos was accompanied by a delegation of environment ministry, party, local government and regional officials, as well as former environment minister Yiannis Maniatis.
In statements concerning the ship's arrival, the minister said that this was a "crucial juncture for Greece's contemporary reality, its geostrategic position in the region and the prospects that are opening, we hope, in the area of investments, growth and the creation of new wealth and jobs".
 WWI armistice anniversary commemoratedThe signing of the armistice treat between the Allies and Germany on November 11, 1918 that ended WWI was commemorated on Sunday with a laying of wreaths ceremony at the Allied military cemetery of Zeytinlik and the Heroes' Monument of the Third Army Corps in Thessaloniki.
The military cemetery Zeytinlik contains the graves of the Serbian, French, English, Italian and Russian soldiers who died in battles on the Thessaloniki front during World War 1.
Wreaths were laid by representatives of the Macedonia-Thrace ministry, the local government, the Army and the consular authorities of the countries who's dead are buried in the Allied Cemetery, in the various country sectors, while a minute of silence was observed afterwards and the national anthems of the countries and of Greece were played.
 Body of murdered foreign national foundA 42-year old Polish national was found murdered in an abandoned house in the Athens district of Kessariani early Sunday.
The dead man bore a wound in the back from a sharp instrument, according to Athens Security Police, who are investigating the killing.
 35 illegal immigrants intercepted, two migrant smugglers arrestedThirty-five illegal immigrants, including 8 women and 10 children, were intercepted on Saturday in the region of Keramidi, Magnisia prefecture.
The migrants had earlier been left off by a speedboat at a coast near the area, after paying an unknown sum each.
Later, police arrested two men aged 52 and 40, in a car near Larissa, and found in their possession and confiscated two wireless radios tuned in to the police and coast guard frequencies and ammunition. The ongoing investigation revealed that the two men were the smugglers that left off the 35 illegal immigrants near Keramidi earlier in the day.
Two more persons, a man and a woman, were also arrested near the point where the illegal immigrants had been disembarked, charged with being accessories and members of a migrant-smuggling ring.
 More than 880 kilos cannabis discovered stashed in forestA stash of 883 kilograms of cannabis was found by police secreted away in a remote forest region in the area of Lista, Thesprotia prefecture on Sunday.
Police found 25 stacks with 790 packets containing a total of 883.445 kilos of cannabis. The narcotic, which had been smuggled into Greece from Albania, had been hidden by the unidentified smugglers, who would take various quantities from the stash for sale on the Greek market, police said.
A manhunt has been launched in the wider area for the discovery and arrest of the drug traffickers, while an investigation is underway by the Ioannina police narcotics squad.
 Wildfire in Arcadia containedA wildfire that broke out Sunday in a forested area in Dragouni, in the wider region of Ano Doliana in Arcadia prefecture was contained in the early afternoon, firefighters said.
The fire was blazing in a difficult-to-access forest and shrubbery expanse, but the immediate mobilization of a large force of firefighters enabled the speedy containment of the blaze.
The Fire Brigade was investigating the causes of the fire, which burned some 5 acres of forest and shrub expanse.
 Kenya's Raymond Bett wins Athens Classic Marathon, sets new race recordKenya's Raymond Kimutai Bett won the 30th Athens Classic Marathon on Sunday, clocking in at a record-breaking 2 hours, 11 minutes and 35 seconds (2:11:35).
Bett covered the 42-kilometer distance in record time, beating the previous record of 2:11:40 set by Morocco's Abdelkerim Boubker at last year's event (2:11:40), while he was followed by fellow Kenyans Paul Kibet Kosgei in second place with 2:12:20 and Alex Sumko Kirui in third with 2:12:26, leading runners in the ultra-distance race that this year marks the 2,502nd anniversary of the 490 BC Battle of Marathon.
Bett had also won the 28th Athens Classic Marathon in 2010, again at a record time of 2:12:40.
The Panhellenic Marathon Championship was held in tandem, with Michail Parmakis winning the men's title, clocking in at 2:21:56, and placing ninth in the overall standings. He was followed by Christoforos Merousis with 2:22:10, placing 10th overall, and third in the Panhelllenic Marathon Championship was Georgios Karavidas at 2:27:17, placing 12th overall.
The first woman to finish the Classic Marathon was Kenya's Chemtai Consalater Yadaa with 2:40:00, who placed 24th in the overall standings, followed by Ukraine's Svitlana Stanko second with 2:40:07 (25th overall) and Viola Chelangat Kimetto, also from Kenya, in third with 2:40:28 (26th overall).
The winner of the Panhellenic Championship (women) was Magda Gazea with 2:44:42 (fifth overall in the Panhellenic Marathon Championship and 37th in the overall Classic Marathon), followed by Deniz Dimaki with 2:50:42 (8th in Panhellenic and 55th in Classic Marathon overall standings) and Dimitra Iordanidou with 2:51:27 (9th in Panhellenic and 57th in overall Classic Marathon).
Two parallel races were also held, the 10-kilometer road race and the 5-kilometer road race, which were won respectively by Amine Khadiri of Cyprus with 31:50 and Konstantinos Nakopoulos of Greece with 15:24.
The runners, who set off from Marathon at 9:00 a.m., were cheered on by young and old alike who lined up on the streets along the route.
The 42-kilometer Classic Marathon is based on the legendary run carried out by the ancient hoplite Pheidippides who ran all the way from the battlefield of Marathon to the ancient city of Athens to bring news of the Greek victory over the invading Persian army, and traces the actual route he is believed to have taken. Pheidippides died as soon as he arrived in Athens, shouting 'Enikikamen' (we won). Pheidippides' effort inspired the modern Marathon event, which covers roughly the same distance as that between Marathon and central Athens and was created for the first-ever modern Olympic Games of 1896.
 Classic Marathon side-race runner dies of heart attack laterA 59-year-old Greek runner who took in a 10-kilometer parallel race of the Athens Classic Marathon on Sunday subsequently suffered a heart attack an hour later and died in hospital despite doctors' efforts to stabilize his condition.
The runner finished the race but later, after having left the Panathenian (Kallimarmaro) Stadium, he suffered a heart attack and was rushed to downtown Evangelismos Hospital, where he subsequently died.
The Greek athletics federation SEGAS expressed its regret at the death of the runner.
 Super League resultsOlympiacos Piraeus beat AEK Athens away 4-0 in a match played over the weekend and retained its lead in the Greek Super League soccer championship.
In other action:
OFI - Veria 2-0
PAS Yiannina - Xanthi 1-0
Levadiakos - Aris Thessaloniki 2-1
Atromitos Athens - Panionios Athens 1-0
PAOK Thessaloniki - Platanias Crete 2-0
Panthrakikos - Asteras Tripoli 1-0
Kerkyra - Panathinaikos 12/11
Standings after ten weeks of play:
1. Olympiacos 28
2. PAOK 23
3. Panionios 18
4. Atromitos 17
5. Asteras 17
6. OFI 13
7. PAS Yiannina 12
8. Platanias 12
9. Panathinaikos 12 - (9 matches)
10 Kerkyra 10 - (9 matches)
11 Aris 10
12 Veria 9
13. Xanthi 9
14. Levadiakos 9
15. Panthrakikos 9
16. AEK 5
NOTE: Panathinaikos has had two points deducted.
 Partially overcast on MondayGreece will be partially overcast on Monday, while winds of 5-6 beaufort velocity will be blowing in the Aegean.
Scattered cloud in Athens, with winds of 3-6 beaufort and temperatures ranging from 7C to 23 C.
The same in Thessaloniki, with light winds of 3 beaufort and temperatures of 7-18C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe economic crisis, the package of new austerity measures passed by a slim majority in parliament on Wednesday night and the parliamentary debate on the 2013 budget, which will end with a vote at midnight Sunday, were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
AGGELIOFOROS: "Memorandum 3: The 15 measures that will change our lives - The bitter bill amounts to 19 billion euro and mean austerity up to at least 2016".
AVGHI: "Political negotiation with government of the Left".
DIMOKRATIA: "The equation that blows up in the air".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Prosecutor warns of risk of expiry of statute of limitations on many charges against (former PASOK minister) Akis (Tsohatzopoulos)".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Teiresias (inter-bank credit market watchdog) to be abolished".
EPOCHI: "Society in turmoil, government in panic".
ETHNOS: "The landmines in the parties, government and Europe".
EXPRESS: "Samaras (prime minister) will demand immediate disbursement of the 31.5 billion euro (outstanding tranche of EU/IMF bailout loan)".
KATHIMERINI: "The 31.5 billion euro by September, and the 'bonus' gradually".
KERDOS: "How the debt will be reduced".
NIKI: "7 big opportunities to fill your wallet".
REALNEWS: "They want the 'keys' to the country - Blatant blackmail by the Troika".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Disobedience to the system - The people must become the protagonist".
TO ARTHRO: "Why Greece needs an escrow account".
TO VIMA: "Greece in turmoil - Rage over the measures and the humiliations".
VRADYNI: "Pensions: The new sweeping changes".
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