|Sunday, 31 May 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-09-22
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 22 September 2014 Issue No: 4765
 PM Samaras: Greece becoming energy hub for SE EuropeBAKU (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)
By participating in large-scale projects like the Southern Gas Corridor gas pipeline, "Greece improves its positioning and enhances its role in the international energy scene, becoming a 'hub' for Southeast Europe, as well as continental Europe," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Friday (local time) in Azerbaijan.
Samaras addressed an international event marking the 20th anniversary of the Shah Deniz natural gas field agreements and the beginning of drilling for the Southern Corridor pipeline network. The events are also being attended by delegations from Turkey, Italy, Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Croatia and UK.
The premier reviewed Greece's progress in energy diversity, saying that Greece was expanding storage capacity at its LNG terminal in Revithoussa by 73% to 225,000 cubic metres, upgrading gasification speed by 40% and improving the country's ports infrastructure. He also announced that "a second LNG terminal in northern Greece is also in the pipeline for the coming years."
Also, he said, the 2nd International round of Concessions was under way, consisting of 20 blocks in the Ionian and Cretan Seas, while the contracts for the concession of 3 more blocks were recently concluded.
Speaking of the Southern Gas Corridor, Samaras lauded the project as "a factor of long-term stability, peace and global cooperation," and one which Greece supported from the beginning.
"It is a vision of long-term cooperation among the countries and the people of such an extended region; indeed a model of global cooperation based on competitive prices which generate growth and promote environmental sustainability," he said.
Natural gas will be transported from the Shah Deniz field in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will pass Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy; also being considered are links to other countries in the Balkan region through a vertical Greek-Bulgarian pipeline (IGB).
The TAP pipeline will have an initial transport ability of 10 billion cubic metres of gas annually, with the investment in the Greek part of the pipeline (with a length of 870 klm) totalling 1.5 billion euros. The project will create 2,000 direct and 10,000 indirect job positions. TAP's shareholders are BP (20 pct), Socar (20 pct), Statoil (20 pct), Fluxys (16 pct), Total (10 pct), E.ON (9.0 pct) and Axpo (5.0 pct).
 Greece does not need new loan, FinMin Hardouvelis interviewGreece will not need a third loan because the Greek debt is viable, Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis told the Sunday Vima newspaper.
"The cycle of memorandums is reaching its end," he was quoted as saying. "Few things remain outstanding. I assure you that Greece is able to cover its needs through its financing programme. In addition, markets have shown in the last few months and under very difficult circumstances that they now trust the Greek economy. Rating agencies are constantly upgrading us and the interest rates from the free market are being reduced. We will not need a third loan support package; the Greek debt is viable," he clarified.
A further extension of the loan "is possible, financially and politically, as is a conversion of part of the loan with a variable interest rate to loans with a fixed interest rate," he added.
 FM Venizelos in a series of meetings while in New York for the Ministerial Week of the 69th UN General AssemblyThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following statement on Sunday:
"Within the framework of his participation in the Ministerial Week of the 69th UN General Assembly, in New York, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will meet at 09:45 (local time) tomorrow, Monday, 22 September, with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.
At 11:00 (local time), Mr. Venizelos will meet with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, and Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides. At 12:25 he will meet with the Foreign Minister of Qatar, Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, and at 14:30 he will meet with the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Riyad Al-Maliki.
At 15:30 (local time), Mr. Venizelos will meet with representatives of American Jewish organizations, and at 18:00 (local time) he will participate in an American Jewish Committee event on anti-Semitism in Europe.
Finally, at 19:00 (local time), Mr. Venizelos will attend a working dinner on the situation in the Middle East."
 FM Venizelos wants the election system amended; calls for the immediate recovery of debts to the social security systemIn an interview with the Sunday edition of "Real News" newspaper, the Vice President of the Government, Foreign Minister and president of junior coalition government partner PASOK party Evangelos Venizelos foreshadowed an "integrated radical proposal" for the non-perfoming bank loans (NPLs), especially those of SMEs. He also underlined his willingness to address the problem of mortgage NPLs.
Venizelos voiced his support for the immediate recovery of debts owed to the social security system - crucial to its viability - through a more effective settlement procedure offering the choice of more installments.
The Foreign Minister suggested that the international discussions on the sustainability of the Greek public debt may begin shortly, underlining once more that the debt is, indeed, sustainable, to his view. He also had a few words to direct to the opposition regarding this key issue, noting that anyone who supports unilateral actions uttering "brave" demagoguery, is not aware how "international correlations" work.
Venizelos claimed to be in favour of amendments to the law governing the election of MPs in the Greek Parliament, as he claims the current 50-seat bonus to the majority party consists "a residue of the pre-crisis period". He instead would like to change the election system into one which would require broad political alliances for a government to be formed.
As regards the significant political issue of electing a new President of the Republic from the Parliament - as provided by the Greek Constitution - Venizelos assured that everything will take place under full transparency.
 President of the Republic does not have to be a politician, ND Political Committee Sec'y interviewThe next president of the Republic will be a person who stands for unity, with an international reputation, New Democracy Political Committee secretary Andreas Papamikos said on Sunday.
In an interview to Real News newspaper, Papamikos referred to the elections for president and said that in his opinion the candidate for president does not necessarily have to be a politician.
He also spoke of events under preparation for the 40th anniversary of the party's founding that will be open to all who have been involved with the party at any time in their lives and will provide an opportunity for the party to reorganise and expand.
 Main opposition SYRIZA party highly critical of the gov't, before Samaras-Merkel meetingIn the framework of the forthcoming meeting of Premier Antonis Samaras with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA party issued a statement on Sunday noting that "Mr Samaras is heading to Mrs Merkel as a supplicant, looking forward to her clemency. (Being) isolated politically, he resorts to his ultimate prop, having first made clear through the Finance Minister that the remission of Greek debt is not a choice, while the abatement of fiscal policy would constitute a sin".
SYRIZA added, that "The only bargaining chip of Mr Samaras as regards to Mrs Merkel, is the prospect of a SYRIZA government. Everything shows that the Samaras government cannot represent the interests of the country, that it cannot and does not want to negotiate and that it has completed its life cycle".
 Gov't spokeswoman says SYRIZA should be ashamed of itselfIn response to a comment from the Press office of main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA party on the imminent meeting of Premier Antonis Samaras with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi issued the following statement on Sunday evening:
"We already knew it, that they want Greece to fail. The fact that they utter it openly, is something they should be ashamed of.
SYRIZA, staunch to its undermining tactic against every effort the country makes, insists on being exposed to the eyes of the Greek people".
 PASOK spokesman criticises SYRIZA leader's visit to Pope FrancisMain opposition party Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) realised that its leader, Alexis Tsipras' visit to Pope Francis "had no appeal to Greeks, so they are now resorting to the known recipe of talking about conspiracy theories," PASOK spokesman Dimitris Karydis said on Saturday.
In a statement, the spokesman for the junior coalition partner said that Tsipras' visit to the Pope was "simply a communications ploy to improve the main opposition leader's personal profile," and charged the party with "demagogy, lying and cheap populism."
 Communist Party leader calls on people to open discussion on alternative pathsThe ideas of social liberation, scientific communism and the struggle to overturn capitalism in favour of socialism are still timely and as necessary as ever, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoumbas said at the Communist Youth party (KNE) festival at the Antonis Tritsis park in the Athens area on Sunday.
Referring to current events, the party leader spoke of blackmail, terrorism and false hopes and fake disagreements between coalition parties New Democracy and PASOK on one hand and main opposition party SYRIZA and other opposition parties on who is the best negotiator for the debt, who is not going to givin in and who has the best allies in the European Union.
He also said that the KKE is sincerely calling on the people to open discussion on a new path for the Greek people.
 Potami leader Theodorakis presents the party's 21 main positionsFollowing a marathon of 60 speeches by the party's Dialogue Committee members, the leader of Potami party Stavros Theodorakis presented on Sunday the party's 21 main positions on current issues, intended "to heal the country's wounds". He termed his party "a large movement of the radical centre" and "of changes".
Theodarakis criticized the parties forming the government coalition as incompetent, while also blaming parties of the Left for bewilderment. He claimed, that Potami brings with it "a new patriotism" that steers clear of "blind and dangerous nationalism", envisaging "a different Greece, productive and extrovert, a compeer member of the EU, without ambivalences and oscillations".
Potami leader said that his party is the latest product of society, coming to challenge a system which seemed almighty "but is not invincible".
Theodorakis would like to see a government organized in a more effective and agile way, with less special advisers and a smaller number of ministers, without any deputy ministers. He also mentioned that he would like to address the issue of bureacracy through the establishment of an Independent Legislation Authority, which would codify new laws and formulate their final text.
On the issue of corruption, he supported the establishment of an anti-corruption European Commissioner with supranational competence in conducting investigations.He also underlined the need to substitute "Dublin III" with a Common European Asylum System.
 Two newspaper polls give SYRIZA the lead over NDMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leads over coalition party New Democracy (ND) in two new opinion polls published in Sunday newspapers.
An Alco poll conducted for Proto Thema newspaper showed SYRIZA garnered 26% over ND's 22.2%, while in an MRB poll published in Real News newspaper, SYRIZA collected 23.6% over ND's 19.9%
In the Alco poll, PASOK got 4.3%, Independent Greeks (ANEL) 3.1%, Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) 6.2%, Democratic Left (DIMAR) 1.7%, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 4.4%, Potami 4.3%, Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 1.1% and Ecologists-Greens 1%.
According to MRB, Elia got 4.2%, ANEL 3.2%, Golden Dawn 6.7%, DIMAR 1%, the KKE 5.1% and Potami 5.6%.
Asked how the two parties' leaders compare in terms of trustworthiness, 33.5% found ND leader and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras more reliable over 32.5% preferring SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras in the Alco poll, while the MRB poll gave them 26.6% (Samaras) and 26.2% (Tsipras).
 Greek Police deny report that 'jihadists are being trained in Greece'Greek Police strongly denied that jihaddists are being trained in Greece, early on Saturday morning, in response to a news item by private TV station Antenna.
It said that a company based in Markopoulo, on the eastern coast of mainland Attica, is under investigation as of February 2014 for granting fake aeroplane mechanic or pilot certificates to people of Greek descent and foreigners.
The company has been in existence since 2010 and was active abroad as well but "the investigation did not provide proof or indications that 'jihadists' were either trained or took part in the company's irregular examinations," police said.
It added that the case file was forwarded to the prosecutor on August 29, while the company's licence has been suspended.
According to Antenna's report, investigation of the company began after Greek Police received tips by U.S. secret services that Greek specialists at the company were training jihadists, while authorities identified 800 people who have received certificates. According to police sources, most of these individuals originate from African and Asian countries, along with Greeks and other European nationals, but no relation to jihadists were confirmed. American authorities have been informed of the investigation.
 Australian unions say 'no' to October visit of Golden Dawn party membersMELBOURNE (ANA-MPA/S. Hatzimanolis)
Representatives of 15 of Australia's largest labour unions appealed to Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison in a letter to forbid entry to representatives of extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party members planning to visit the country in October.
The same request was made by the city council of Darebin, in the Melbourne area.
In their letter, the unions said that Australians have a proud history of bravery and sacrifice in fighting and defeating fascism in the 20th century, and called on all Australians to be united once more and express their revulsion against hate and violence propagated by groups like that of Golden Dawn.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on four-day visit to Thrace, northern GreeceResidents of Orestiada, in the northern prefecture of Thrace, warmly welcomed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is on a four-day visit to the area as of Saturday.
Bartholomew was welcomed at the Orestiada Square by Metropolitan Damaskinos of Didymoticho, Orestiada and Soufli and political, church and armed forces representatives, as well as by cultural organisations, pupils and people scattering flowers.
Deputy Foreign Minister Kyriakos Gerontopoulos represented the government. Also attending were Deputy Education Minister Alexandros Dermetzopoulos, Deputy Interior Minister Giorgos Dolios and MP Marinos Ouzounidis.
The Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the area's rich ecclesiastical history, in his address, and to the historical and strong connections it had with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He later went to the Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Theodore, where a celebratory liturgy is taking place.
Earlier, on his way to Orestiada, the church leader stopped at a border guardhouse and blessed the officers and soldiers there.
 Finance Ministry uploads corrected versions of ENFIA tax payments invoices to TaxisnetThe Finance Ministry uploaded on Sunday at the Taxisnet public network the corrected versions of the due Universal Real Estate Ownership Tax (ENFIA) payments invoice of private individuals and companies. The first of six installments of ENFIA tax for 2014 is due end-September, while the sixth one is due end-February 2015.
The latest versions of ENFIA payments invoices are based on all amendments the government introduced to this novel, controversial real estate tax in its first iteration, following popular reactions to the way it was initially implemented in specific real estate categories.
It has already been made known by the ministry, that any payments already made based on the previous version of the ENFIA payments invoices, will be offset against the ENFIA tax obligations of the citizens or companies involved, as detailed in their latest versions of the tax invoices.
 Greece needs 10,000 new entrepreneurs, Dev't minister interviewThe proposal to modernise the legislation on societe anonymes (SAs), which dates to 1920, will be ready by the committee working on it in November, Development and Competitiveness Minister Nikos Dendias told Sunday's Dimokratia newspaper.
The troika of Greece's lenders has requested that the legislation on defaulted business loans be overseen by some agency, he added.
Asked whether a solution to the issue would include means to determine the types of business defaults, Dendias said this would be determined by a comparison between a business' financial statements and those of its owner. "The law gives general terms, does not clarify who is who," he added.
"The troika has proposed, as a thought, that some agency oversees the application of this legislation, if there is agreement. First we must agree on how to regulate that and then see if it needs a regular, daily oversight in its implementation or whwether a periodical check can be carried out. We shall see," he said. There is no margin to benefit those who have assets that do not justify their business' financial problems, he stressed.
Asked about home auctions, he replied, "If we heal the causes, there will be no need for regulations. If we regulate the housing and business loans, only the crooks will still have a problem."
Dendias said the government's concern was to encourage young people to become entrepreneurs and not to be discouraged by failure. "Whoever fails once, we will not hang him at Syntagma Square, if, of course, he is not a crook. Developed countries forgive failure and we must do so too. We need at least 10,000 new business owners. Unemployment cannot be absorbed by the state," he pointed out.
 Ancient Amphipolis caryatids wearing kothornoi, parts of bases clearedThe two caryatids found at the Kasta Tomb in Ancient Amphipolis were uncovered entirely by excavators, the ministry of Culture announced on Sunday, showing they are standing on marble bases and wearing shoes.
The full height of each caryatid is 2.27 metres and they are wearing chitons - or full-length draped dresses, tied in the middle - and a long himation, or a shawl-like cover over their dress, with fringes and several folds. They are wearing kothornoi, resembling platform boots or shoes and best known for being worn by ancient Greek actors. Their shoes preserve traces of red and yellow pigments, while their toes are depicted in very fine detail.
The bases they stand on have not been fully cleared. They are 1.33 metres in length and 0.68 metres in width, and their height has been uncovered to about 0.30 metres. The two bases are 1.68 metres apart from each other. Sections of the caryatids' arms were found near them.
In the continuing excavation, there is evidence of yet another room lying beyond them. According to the ministry, oxygen and monoxide measurements inside the chamber are at normal levels, with a high humidity index (87%) and temperature ranging between 21.5C and 22.70C.
Support and other technical work is continuing.
 Patras area seismic activity continues with two more quakes, 4 and 4.5 on Richter scaleNo damages or injuries have been reported over two earthquakes that again struck the sea area southeast of Nafpaktos, central Greece, on Sunday morning.
The quakes struck at 03.45 (4.5 on the Richter scale) and 04.15 (4 Richter). They were felt at Messolongi on the mainland and at the major southern Greek port city of Patras, Rio and elsewhere on the Peloponnese. They were followed by several smaller tremors.
Another 4-Richter-scale quake struck the same area on Friday. An official of the National Observatory of Athens Geodynamic Institute said that there has been continuous seismic activity in the area since Friday.
 Ferry to Italy crashes into islet, passengers evacuated safely at Corfu, cars still onboardThe Italian-flagged ferry boat "Europalink", which crashed into an islet off Corfu early on Sunday morning but whose passengers were evacuated safely at the port of Corfu, has two large cracks on the side and several smaller ones, Port Authority officials at this Ionian island said.
The ship was doing the Patra-Igoumenitsa-Ancona route, with 692 passengers, a crew of 70 and 306 private cars, when it crashed into the islet of the Peristeres group NE of Corfu for unknown reasons. Passengers were put up in hotels, while authorities will be trying to turn the ship at its moorings to clear it of the cars still inside.
Water is being pumped out while private divers will be conducting more detailed checks on the damage.
The Port of Corfu authorities have banned the ship's leaving until a certificate of safety is issued after repairs. No injuries have been reported as of Sunday afternoon.
 Lady Gaga charms Greek audience at OAKAPop singer Lady Gaga came, conquered her Greek fans and left after a two-hour concert at the Olympic Stadium (OAKA) facilities on Friday, completing yet another leg of her "ArtRave: The Artpop Ball Tour" that began in Dubai on September 10.
An award-winning singer and songwriter, Lady Gaga is also known for her stage transformations, which in Friday's concert included changing on the set with her back to the public. She also draped a Greek flag around her and told her audience among other things that just as the Acropolis and the Parthenon survived, so will the Greeks. She also addressed her audience in the Greek equivalents of "thank you very much," "kisses," and "I love you," which charmed her fans who had paid from 38.5 to 115.5 euros to attend.
Although the venue was not full, people had stood in line since 7:30 a.m. (the concert began around 9:00 p.m.) to get good tickets, while others waited for her outside the hotel she stayed at in Syntagma Square to see her as she was leaving for the concert. (She arrived in Greece dressed as Sandro Boticelli's Venus, carried by her staff.)
Lady Gaga was accompanied by 14 dancers and 5 musicians, while her stage set up required 28 containers. Two large LED screens were also set up and the show included machines spewing confetti.
Despite repeated calls for an encore, she kept to schedule and ended the concert two hours later, around 23:15.
 Thessaloniki seafrong street gets brief respite from traffic for World Carfree DayThe major thoroughfare of Nikis Avenue in northern Greece's Thessaloniki was turned over to pedestrians and cyclists as of 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, to honour World Carfree Day - at least until 5:00 p.m., when traffic will be restored.
The section of the street shut off to cars from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. comprises the junction at Eleftherias Square on Venizelou up to the emblematic White Tower. Strollers and cyclists enjoyed the waterfront under fair weather while cars and buses were diverted without traffic piling up on major side streets.
Nikis Avenue, also known as "the old beach", was built in 1873 after the dismantling of the city's southern wall. During the Turkish occupation it used to be called Beyaz Kule (White Tower Street). After liberation it was named after the White Tower and later renamed Nikis (Victory), from military parades held there following Thessaloniki's liberation.
 Mostly fair on MondayGenerally fair, becoming overcast at places but raining only at higher elevations and mostly in the afternoon. Variable winds generally from 2 to 4 Beaufort but reaching 5 and 6 at sea, both the Aegean and Ionian. Temperatures from 14C (18C on the islands) to 31C. In Athens, generally fair with variable winds 2 to 4 Beaufort, climbing to 5 at night. Temperatures from 19C to 32C. In Thessaloniki, overcast with rain on mountains later on and limited visibility early in the morning. Same winds, temperatures from 18C to 29C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Speaking of PM Samaras' trip, "Samaras going to (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel for loan"
DIMOKRATIA: "The middle class is up in flames"
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The annointment and the money", main opposition SYRIZA leader Tsipras' visit to the Vatican, followed by the party's economic proposals programme
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The puzzle of the 180", referring to the MP majority to approve a new president next year
ETHNOS: "The last round - Up in the air with the troika [of lenders], debt and presidential elections"
KATHIMERINI: "The plan for the end of the troika"
LOGOS: "Pension [regulations] topsy-turvy"
RIZOSPASTIS: Urges forward "For a world taking the measure of dreams and man!"
TO VIMA: Speaking of the ND and SYRIZA leaders, "Samaras-Tsipras unmasked!"
VRADYNI: "Pension at 53 for long-term insured, mothers, danger-full professions"
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