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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-12-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 31 December 2012 Issue No: 4259


  • [01] Stournaras urges return of Greek deposits from abroad
  • [02] PM Samaras on debt crisis
  • [03] PM Samaras says hope being reborn in country
  • [04] SYRIZA leader characterises Greece's future extremely gloomy
  • [05] Venizelos: Optimism for new year, but warns 'crisis is not over yet'
  • [06] SYRIZA on Lagarde list handling
  • [07] Government spokesman replies to SYRIZA on Lagarde list developments
  • [08] Democratic Left party calls for full clarification of Lagarde list issue
  • [09] KKE party leader on Lagarde list issue
  • [10] Opinion Poll shows 2013 will be worse than 2012
  • [11] ESPA funds absorption details to be released on Wed.
  • [12] Low shopper turnout on last Sunday of year
  • [13] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [14] Defendant in Lavrentiadis case released after testimony
  • [15] Police manhunt in central Greece after murder of gas station employee
  • [16] 28 arrests in operation against major drug ring
  • [17] Drug traffickers arrested with 69 kg of cannabis
  • [18] Panathinaikos beats Zalgiris Kaunas 67-66 in Euroleague Basketball game
  • [19] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

  • [01] Stournaras urges return of Greek deposits from abroad

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras urged Greek depositors who have sent their money abroad to bring it back to Greece now that the conditions have returned to normal, but warned them not to expect 'amnesty', in an interview with the Sunday To Vima newspaper.

    "Now that the conditions have normalized, all those who withdrew their deposits from the Greek banks should return them. This will be not only to the benefit of the national interest, but to their own benefit as well," Stournaras said, adding that an assets register "for everyone" will be introduced in 2013.

    He ruled out any kind of tax amnesty, however, for the repatriation of capital sent abroad.

    Stournaras said that the factors that will determine the course in 2013 will be the determination of the prime minister and the leaders of the two other parties supporting the coalition government and an acceleration of all the necessary changes to the state and the economy. "The fact that we distanced the danger of a return to the drachma does not mean that our national effort has ended. The struggle now begins to put in operation a new productive model that will support innovation, extroversion and entrepreneurship and will ensure an increase of employment," he said.

    Asked about the high rate of unemployment among young people, Stournaras said that the economy at this time was still full of isolated islets of privileged professions that held the doors to their professions closed to younger people.

    [02] PM Samaras on debt crisis

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, in an article published in the newspaper "Typos tis Kyriakis", stresses that "we have convinced that we can exit from the debt crisis. We secured unique loaning terms in history. We showed that we can make reforms and changes that will permit the country to stand on its feet again and the Greeks to take their fate in their hands".

    The prime minister further said that his priorities include the restarting of the economy with investments and jobs, the exploitation of the country's resources, the remedying of injustices, with priority for the weaker and with emphasis on health, education and simpler, fair and development-orientated taxation. He expresses certainty that "2013 will be a year for a leap to the future, for the revival of our country".

    [03] PM Samaras says hope being reborn in country

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, in an article in the Real News newspaper, refers to the battles that Greece must win in 2013.

    "Until a short while ago Greece showed signs of dissolution internally while nobody trusted it abroad," the prime minister said, adding that all this has changed today since hope is beginning to be reborn in the country, while reliability has been restored abroad.

    Samaras further said that what must be won is "the battle of growth, the battle of social cohesion, the battle of competitiveness, the battle of security, the battle of justice".

    According to the prime minister the big wager is "for us to believe in our value and strength. To remain united, so as to take the country's fate in our hands again".

    [04] SYRIZA leader characterises Greece's future extremely gloomy

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group president Alexis Tsipras, in an article in the Real News newspaper, characterises Greece's future as being extremely gloomy unless it raises by itself the issue openly and publicly that "the policy of the harsh fiscal restrictions that has been imposed through the memorandums causes a vicious circle of uncontrolled recession that will only end with social ruin and uncontrolled default".

    Tsipras added that Greece must "play a leading role in seeking alliances and a plan for a European-wide exit from the debt crisis, with societies remaining upright".

    [05] Venizelos: Optimism for new year, but warns 'crisis is not over yet'

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos expressed optimism on Greece's course and also his party's course in the new year, in articles appearing in the Sunday editions of 'Eleftheros Typos' and 'RealNews' newspapers, although he acknowledged that "the crisis is not over yet".

    Venizelos wrote that 2013 is the year of Greece's turnabout, noting particularly the first half of the year will be very difficult, calling it "the dusk and dawn of the crisis", but added that he is optimistic that "it will be the half-year of liberation from the vicious circle of recession".

    He outlined the hardships that the Greek people will face in the first half of the year, describing it as the "half-year of the additional income cuts to salaries and pensions, of the new tax regulations, the new electricity rates and the more expensive heating fuel".

    Despite the difficulties, however, Venizelos expressed optimism that 2013 will be "the year of the national recovery" but also the year of PASOK's political recovery, as it is the time when the party's "nationally and socially responsible choices" will be "fairly assessed".

    [06] SYRIZA on Lagarde list handling

    The Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA, in an announcement over the weekend on the Lagarde list issue and the creation of a Parliamentary Investigating Committee, stressed that "one of the biggest scandals of the past years, that is linked directly to corruption, controlled illegality, extensive tax evasion, that characterised the operation of the two-party political system of the past decades, is being attempted to be limited to the person of Mr. Papaconstantinou. It is a mockery. A new effort to deceive the Greek people".

    [07] Government spokesman replies to SYRIZA on Lagarde list developments

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, replying to the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) regarding the issue of the Lagarde list, said that "the circumstances require responsibility and not political adventurism".

    Kedikoglou also said that "the government is moving with seriousness and consistency on the basis of specific evidence and observing institutional procedures strictly. It is not playing with the laws and the institutions and it is not resorting to communication tricks of the SYRIZA type on supposed 'hundreds of names that had been deleted from the Lagarde list'."

    [08] Democratic Left party calls for full clarification of Lagarde list issue

    The Democratic Left party, in an announcement on developments regarding the Lagarde list issue, stressed that "Parliament's political initiative on the probing of the penal and political responsibilities that result, from clear indications, as they are reflected in the file forwarded by the Supreme Court, must aim at the full clarification of the case and the attribution of responsibilities for every person involved".

    It also noted that society that is suffering is also demanding the clarification of the case with the attribution of responsibilities, as well as the handling of extensive tax evasion.

    [09] KKE party leader on Lagarde list issue

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said over the weekend that "the case of the Lagarde list brings to the surface once again the decay of the political system, as well as the conscious effort for the law on the responsibility of ministers to remain in force".

    Papariga added that their must be no writeoff, all the limits must be exhausted and there must be punishment both inside and outside Parliament.

    [10] Opinion Poll shows 2013 will be worse than 2012

    A new Kapa Research opinion poll commissioned by "To Vima" newspaper, shows that the Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA comes in top position with regard to citizens' voting preference, followed by the liberal New Democracy party.

    Results show that people believe 2013 will be an even worse year than 2012 for Greece (64%), but want the country to remain part of the euro zone (76.5%).

    With regard to voting preference, the main opposition SYRIZA party scored 22.6% compared to New Democracy's 21.5% and the extreme right Golden Dawn's (Chrysi Avgi) 9.8%.

    PASOK comes in fourth place with 6.2%, followed by Communist Party (KKE) 5.2%, Democratic Left (DIMAR) 5% and Independent Greeks (ANEL) 3.8%.

    The public opinion rejects the current three-party coalition government, formed by ND, PASOK and DIMAR, but the same goes also for the main opposition SYRIZA.

    Up to 77.3% of respondents said they were a little or not at all satisfied with the current government, while SYRIZA scored 79.3% in the same question.

    Respondents said they preferred Antonis Samaras for prime minister (46.1%), against SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras (31.4%).

    Financial News

    [11] ESPA funds absorption details to be released on Wed.

    The political leadership of the Ministry of Development, Infrastructure and Networks is to announce on Wednesday detailed information on the course of European funds absorption by the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA).

    In an announcement on Sunday - sparked by press reports on the use of European funds by ESPA, the ministry clarified that "details made public in recent weeks in relation to ESPA do not correspond to the real picture regarding absorption of funds in 2012."

    It added that final details will be released on Wednesday.

    [12] Low shopper turnout on last Sunday of year

    Shops throughout Greece opened on Sunday, the last Sunday of the year, despite a strike called by shop employees, but merchants expressed concern over the low turnover rather than the strike.

    According to figures from the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE), shopper turnout was much lower than last Sunday (the Sunday before Tuesday's Christmas holiday). The figures were collected via a survey conducted throughout the entire holiday season, which will then be processed and forwarded to the Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks ministry in the context of the dialogue that has commenced on allowing shops to open on Sundays.

    "The weather was the cherry on the cake," ESEE president Vassilis Korkidis told AMNA, noting that shopper turnout on the market was low, with the Christmas market rates some 15-20 percent lower than last year nationwide, while the Piraeus market was some 25 percent lower than the Christmas season last year.

    The federation of private employees called a 24-hour strike on Sunday and staged a protest demonstration in Athens' main commercial street of Ermou, near Syntagma Square.

    According to the holiday shop hours announced by merchant federations, shops were to remain open to 6:00 p.m. open Sunday, while on Monday, New Year's eve, shops would be running from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Shops will remain closed on Tuesday (New Year's Day) and Wednesday, and will return to normal shop hours on Thursday, January 3.

    [13] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.338

    Pound sterling 0.829

    Danish kroner 7.572

    Swedish kroner 8.689

    Japanese yen 115.20

    Swiss franc 1.226

    Norwegian kroner 7.447

    Canadian dollar 1.331

    Australian dollar 1.288

    General News

    [14] Defendant in Lavrentiadis case released after testimony

    Constantine Ballis, a defendant in the case concerning insecure loans, has been released following his voluntary testimony before the investigator in the case regarding Proton Bank's loans to companies of interest to Lavrentis Lavrentiadis.

    Ballis, who appeared voluntarily before the 2nd special investigator and made his testimony, reportedly delivered evidence on the Lavrentiadis case.

    Ballis is being accused of involvement in two loans for 20 and 70 million euros respectively.

    [15] Police manhunt in central Greece after murder of gas station employee

    Police in central Greece's Neo Monastiri region, Domokos, launched a manhunt on Sunday evening to locate the culprits of the murder of a 44-year-old gas station attendant.

    According to police, two persons using stolen cars with stolen registration numbers, threatened the employee with a Kalashnikov riffle and asked for the money in the cashier.

    Under unknown circumstances, the robbers fired and shot the 44-year-old man dead.

    Strong police forces have already arrived in the area and have blocked all roads to the cities of Lamia, Larisa and Karditsa.

    [16] 28 arrests in operation against major drug ring

    Police on Sunday launched a major operation in Thessaloniki, Volos and Agrinio and made 28 arrests in a major drug trafficking ring.

    Three police officers were among the arrestees in the operation, which was continuing.

    [17] Drug traffickers arrested with 69 kg of cannabis

    Two Albanian nationals (a man and a woman) were arrested in the northern region of Kalpaki in Ioannina after found carrying 69 kilos and 845 grams of cannabis in the woman's luxury car. When police signalled to him to stop for a check, the driver drove backwards suddenly and injured a policeman and damaged a police patrol car. The car was eventually stopped and the couple was arrested.


    [18] Panathinaikos beats Zalgiris Kaunas 67-66 in Euroleague Basketball game

    Panathinaikos Athens beat Zalgiris Kaunas of Lithuania 67-66 in a Euroleague Basketball Group E qualifier played in Athens on Friday evening. The 10-minute intervals had the following results: 22-13, 43-33, 54-49, 67-66.

    [19] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The developments in the case of the so-called 'Lagarde list' of Greeks with large bank deposits abroad and the implication of former PASOK finance minister George Papaconstantinou (the finance minister at the time that Greece took recourse to the EU/IMF bailout loan and Memorandum of severe austerity measures) dominated the front-page headlines in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    AGGELIOFOROS: "The difficulties that 2013 will bring, analyses for EU, Greece".

    AVGHI: "They're burning 'burnt' cards to save themselves - Referral of only Papaconstantinou (former PASOK finance minister) over the Lagarde list a fiasco".

    DIMOKRATIA: "The authentic Lagarde list blows everything sky-high - Nuclear explosion for the IMF duo".

    EPOCHI: "Molotov...list - Venizelos (PASOK leader), Papandreou (former prime minister, ex PASOK leader) jointly to blame, as well as Samaras (current prime minister) and New Democracy (Samaras-headed ND party) for knowing but keeping silent".

    ETHNOS: "He, they and the mysteries of the Lagarde list - The burning report of the prosecutors and the SDOE (finance ministry's financial crimes squad) submitted to parliament".

    EXPRESS: "Organizational changes in tourism sector - Transfer of authorities from EOT (Greek National Tourism Organization) to (tourism) ministry foreseen in bill".

    KATHIMERINI: "The Lagarde list ignites developments - The behind-the-scenes of Papaconstantinou's implication and the new field of investigation of the judicial authorities".

    LOGOS: "Alaska-size deposits off Crete - Scenarios of mythical deposits".

    NIKI: "Earn good money from your bank deposits - New opportunities following the recapitalization of the banks".

    PROTO THEMA: "Wanted: The unbelievable liar and arrogant Papaconstantinou - Dragged by the ear to Special Court and Korydallos prison".

    REALNEWS: "He burned Greece to cover up for the family - The 'cousin' to face court - Papaconstantinou interview".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Message from KKE (Communist Party of Greece) to the people for the new year - May 2013 be the year of the people's emancipation".

    TO PARON: "Papaconstantinou to face felony charges of tampering with and concealing public documents - He purposely altered the (Lagarde) list to save himself and his relatives - No issue of statute of limitations expiry".

    TO VIMA: "Interview with Stournaras (finance minister) - Ultimatum to those on the lists (of Greeks with large deposits abroad): Bring back the money to save yourselves - Announces assets registry as of the new year".

    VRADYNI: "Social security guide - New Year begins with upsets for old and new insured".

    We inform our readers that the AMNA News Bulletin will not be published on Tuesday, New Year's Day. It will appear again on Wednesday January 2, 2013. We would like to wish our readers a Happy New Year.

    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: ANTONIS SKYLLAKOS

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