|Sunday, 26 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-03-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 9 March 2016 Issue No: 5128
 Tsipras: Aegean must become a sea of peace, cooperation and stabilityNeither Greece nor Turkey were the cause of the problems currently facing central Europe, Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday, during joint statements with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in Izmir. We will solve the problems of the refugee crisis together and no one will impose a solution upon us, the Greek premier added.
"The Aegean must become a sea of peace, cooperation and stability," Tsipras said. With sophisticated technology at their disposal, he noted, an inability to find the traffickers bringing refugees to Europe was not acceptable.
The future of relations between Greece and Turkey had to negotiate major challenges, one of which was dealing with the refugee crisis, he added, noting that the two countries are jointly pursuing a mechanism that will provide a legal entry into Europe, stop smugglers and drownings in the Aegean.
"We state together that what is happening in our sea is shameful for our culture. We must strengthen our relations, overcome mutual problems and build a better future for our people," Tsipras said.
The Greek prime minister also referred to the Cyprus issue and the increased number of airspace and other violations by Turkey in the Aegean, noting that this was not compatible with cultivating a good atmosphere in relations between the two countries.
Tsipras is in Izmir for the 4th High-Level Cooperation Council meeting focusing on trade, transport and tourism, which ended with the signature of bilateral agreements. He is at the head of a large government delegation of 10 ministers and representatives of 36 Greek businesses and organisations.
Speaking at the press conference, he also announced a new flight route that will link Athens and Ankara and an MOU of cooperation for the ports of Izmir and Thessaloniki. He also said the two sides signed an agreement to build a high-speed railway line linking Igoumenitsa in western Greece to Istanbul and said he hoped Izmir and Thessaloniki will also be linked by ferry.
Separate agreements involve building flood defences at Evros, the border region between Greece and Turkey, and a bridge at the border crossing of Kipi.
The General Secretary of Information and Communication, Lefteris Kretsos, also signed a cooperation agreement between Athens News Agency - Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA) and Anadolu news agency, the premier said.
On his side, Davutoglu said Greece and Turkey are sharing the burden of the refugee crisis, noting that Greece has been affected by the problem. He said the two sides are seeking solutions that will reduce refugee flows in the Aegean and end the dramatic situations at sea. "We will all have to share the burden of the refugee crisis," he said.
 PM Davutoglu to Tsipras: 'We're seeking solutions to end drama at sea'Greece and Turkey are sharing the burden of the refugee crisis, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday during a joint press conference with Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras in Izmir, noting that Greece has been affected by the problem.
Tsipras is visiting Turkey for the 4th Greek-Turkish bilateral High-Level Cooperation Council that focuses on trade, transports and tourism.
He said the two sides are seeking solutions that will reduce refugee flows in the Aegean and end the dramatic situations at sea. ""We will all have to share the burden of the refugee crisis," Davutoglu said.
He also commented on the bilateral agreements signed.
 Tsipras: Summit results a step forwardBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ Aroni, Spinthourakis)
"I think that the results of the summit could only be described as a step forward," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras early on Tuesday said and stressed the need to make more steps forward, because the images from Idomeni are tragic.
"If the officials are not moved by these images and if some believe that the problem does not concern the European civilization and the future of the EU, then they are wrong and there will be a huge impact on the EU," he stated.
The Greek prime minister expressed his content over the change of climate in the EU summit and the fact that the discussion was set on a good basis. "The discussion was focused on finding a substantial solution for curtailing refugee flows from Turkey in cooperation with Turkey," he underlined adding that Turkey presented some "tempting proposals," surprising many. The prime minister stressed, however, that these proposals included some key details that need to be worked out.
Tsipras stressed that the summit will continue on Tuesday in Izmir, where a "historic meeting" will take place on the updating of Greece-Turkey Readmission Agreement so that Ankara accepts all migrants who are entitled to international protection. "This agreement can be the first step for combating traffickers."
"Not only Greece was not isolated in this meeting, but the countries that wanted to isolate Greece did so," he stated and added: "Fences were actually built for those who wanted to build fences."
Tsipras estimated that the next summit on March 17-18 will be critical and stressed the importance of respecting the needs of each other.
Earlier, sources said that the EU summit was completed with an agreement between the 28 member states. According to the same sources, the 28 member states have decided to issue a joint statement.
 Merkel stresses need to make humanitarian conditions in Greece viableBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/Ch. Vassilaki)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel early on Tuesday referred to the negative impact of the continuing flow of refugees and migrants on Greece.
"In today's summit of the 28 member states, we looked into ways to improve the humanitarian conditions in Greece and make then viable," Merkel said in statements to journalists after the EU summit with the participation of Turkey.
Regarding Turkey, the German Chancellor said that it has made important steps for the protection of its borders and the improvement of the refugees' living conditions. She also referred to the Syrian refugees' access to employment as well as programmes implemented for their support.
She underlined that the operation of NATO in the Aegean will contribute to combating traffickers' networks and said the proposal for refugees illegally entering Greece return to Turkey is "innovative" as well as the resettlement of an equal number of refugees directly from Turkey to European states. She noted that this would break the "vicious circle" of risky trips in the Aegean, as it would offer incentives for legal migration.
Finally, the German Chancellor said that the readmission agreement will be implemented once a final agreement is reached in the next summit on March 18.
 Negotiations based on EU-Turkey plan, not Visegrad proposals viewed as a success - gov't sourcesBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Aroni)
Greece considers a success the fact that the ongoing negotiations at the EU-Turkey summit in Brussels are based on the EU-Turkey plan and not on the demands made by Austria and the VIsegrad countries which asked to close Greece's northern borders, government sources said on Monday.
According to the sources, not only was Greece not isolated, but it managed to isolate the Visegrad countries which are now threatening to veto the decisions, but also Austria, which is reacting to the EU-Turkey plan.
 EU-Turkey summit on migrants discussing revised proposal, Tusk spokesman saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/Ch. Vassilaki)
The EU-Turkey summit in Brussels is currently discussing a revised proposal on a migration plan, according to a spokesman of European Council President Donald Tusk late on Monday.
In a tweet, Tusk mentioned that the dinner of the 28 EU leaders with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was cancelled but the press conference he gave would go ahead as scheduled.
 Turkey's proposals were extremely radical for the majority of EU member states, says Alt. FM Xydakis"There was convergence in practical issues and this is positive. We did not reach an agreement because Turkey's proposals were extremely radical for the majority of the EU member states," Alternate Foreign Minister responsible for European Affairs Nikos Xydakis stated to Athina 9.84 FM on Tuesday referring to the EU-Turkey Summit on the refugee issue.
"There was progress for Greece in relation to the rapid readmission of migrants to Turkey which is also a message to the migrants not to follow this route. Europe is putting pressure so that something changes until March 17, but the legal and institutional framework is based on a Greek-Turkish bilateral agreement on the implementation and acceleration of the readmission process. Turkey has shown that it wants to cooperate", said Xydakis.
 NATO force begins patrols along Turkish coast to control traffickersThe NATO force in the Aegean on Tuesday began patrols along the Turkish coast to control and stop the lines to Greece used by refugee and migrant traffickers.
The commander of the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), Rear Admiral Jorg Klein, was given diplomatic permission to enter Turkey's territorial waters on Monday night. Negotiations between the EU and Turkey were still underway in Brussels at the time, while the NATO Secretary General had talks on the same day with the Turkish prime minister and the Greek defence minister.
The SNMG2 flagship, the German frigate 'FGS-BONN', began patrols northeast of Lesvos in Turkish waters early on Tuesday morning, acting mainly on the information it was given by the Greek National Defence General Staff, the Hellenic Navy and the Hellenic Coast Guard about the movements of traffickers and migrants to the Greek islands.
The information was handed over to Rear Admiral Klein and NATO Maritime Command Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Giorgio Lazio during their recent visit to Athens.
Of the other ships in the SNMG2, the Turkish frigate "TCG-Barbaros" (F-244) is stationed between the Greek islands of Kos and Astypalaia, the Greek frigate "Salamis" is sailing off the island of Agios Efstratios, the British tanker "Mount1 Bay" is in the central Aegean between the islands of Andros and Chios, awaiting orders.
Also due to join the NATO operation are two more British ships and a French frigate, while a Canadian and Italian ship currently in Italy are scheduled to return.
 PM Tsipras hails Eurogroup commitment to debt relief talksPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomed statements by the Eurogroup on Monday according to which Greek debt relief talks will start as soon as the first program review has concluded.
"We welcome the Eurogroup's commitment to proceed with debt relief as soon as the review of the program is completed," Tsipras tweeted on his official account.
 Greek-FYROM buffer zone remains closedNobody has managed to cross the Greek-FYROM buffer zone as it remains closed since Monday morning.
A total of 13,000 refugees are estimated to have gathered at Idomeni.
 Greece remains pending after EU summit, says main opposition spokesmanGreece remains in abeyance after the recent summit, main opposition New Democracy spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Tuesday.
Since there were no specific binding and applicable decisions, Greece remains pending, as without the support of a common EU position, it will continue to face the current dramatic situation, he said.
"The efficient cooperation of Turkey is necessary. But, we are rather concerned over the Turkish demands, so that Ankara implements its constitutional obligations towards Greece and EU. In addition, the refugee-migrant issue cannot be a pretext or an excuse for Turkey's non-compliance with its liabilities as a candidate accession country," he underlined.
 34,183 refugees are currently in GreeceRoughly 34,183 refugees are currently in Greece, according to the Refugees Crisis Management Coordination body figures.
6,835 of then are on the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kastellorizo, Kos, Leros and Kalymnos. 8,341 are hosted in the region of Attica.
Moreover, 210 are in a hotel in the region of Fthiotida, 2,200 at Diavata camp, 3,256 at the hosting center at Herso, Kilkis region, 3,256 at Nea Kavala in Kilkis, 709 at Nea Karvali, 200 in Eleftheroupolis and 393 in the city of Kozani. The refugees at Idomeni camp (Greek-Fyrom buffer zone) are approximately 8,550 refugees.
 Coordinating body for migration asks Epirus minicipalities to allocate venues for refugeesThe Coordinating Centre for Management of the Refugee Crisis (CCMRC), the body responsible for overseeing the management of the refugee issue, has asked Epirus Prefecture to allow the use of five unused venues as temporary accommodation centers for refugees and migrants.
The venues proposed are a boarding school and a sports field in the village of Doliana, a students' hall in Tsepelovo in Zagori, which closed down on 2010, a section of the runway of the old airport in Katsika at the municipality of Ioannina, the closed military camp in Filippiada and a municipal farmers land in Preveza.
In its document sent to local mayors, CCMRC is asking them to give their feedback and comment on it, so as to proceed with the refurbishing of the venues as soon as possible.
 EU Court confirms Greece's obligation to recover 425 mln euro state aid from farmersBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Spinthourakis)
The European Court on Tuesday confirmed the obligation on the Greek State to recover from farmers unlawful state aid of 425 million euros paid as a result of adverse weather conditions that occurred in 2008.
The Court found that there were no adverse weather conditions in 2008 that could justify these measures.
The Court also rejected Greece's argument that as a result of the serious crisis affecting the Greek economy in 2009 the market conditions were not normal in Greece at the time.
 Alt. Defence minister discusses refugee crisis with German envoyAlternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas met on Tuesday with German Ambassador to Greece Peter Schoof, with whom they mainly discussed the refugee issue.
They also talked about issues of bilateral interest.
 Greece needs nominal debt haircut to recover, head of Parliament's State Budget Office saysGreece's debt as a proportion of GDP was double the average in Europe and a sign of the Greek economy's failure, as well as indicating that the country needs a reduction of its nominal debt in order to recover, the head of the Greek Parliament's State Budget Office Prof. Panagiotis Liargovas told MPs on Tuesday.
In a briefing with Budget Office Scientific Committee member Prof. Panos Kazakos, he noted that the Greek economy needs to adjust to the new global environment in order to return to sustainable growth. Debt relief by extending payments, adjusting interest rates and a moratorium on payments would not be sufficient to achieve this, he suggested, and Greece should strive for a nominal debt haircut "if such a thing is possible."
"Greece has arguments in order to push for certain things, as long as it can discern them. In this I am closer to the International Monetary Fund, which is talking about a serious restructuring [of debt] and not just an extension," he said.
According to Kazakos, Greece could raise the point that debt on such a scale was a deterrent for long-term investments or that continued migration flows might result in fiscal problesm and have a negative impact on tourism, a key driver of Greece's economy.
Liargovas also analysed the reasons why Greece had yet to exit the programme, unlike the other European countries that entered memorandum programmes. In Greece's case, he said, the initial conditions had been worse, the degree of austerity demanded had been extremely high, the policy mix adopted was based more on taxation and this was compounded by the mistaken calculations made by the institutions, a shortfall in revenues, delayed reforms, weak institutions and a clientelist state.
 Finance ministry suspends sale of NPLs from banks to other financial institutionsThe finance ministry tabled in parliament on Tuesday an amendment extending for the second time a ban on the sale of non-performing mortgage and business loans of small and medium-sized businesses from banks to other financial institutions until April 15.
The first ban would expire on March 15.
 Greek employers cautious over new hiring prospects in Q2, Manpower saysGreek employers remain cautious over hiring plans in the second quarter of 2016, Manpower said in a report on employment outlook released on Tuesday.
Manpower said that from the 750 employers included in the survey, a 18 pct expects an increase in the number of workers, an 8.0 pct a decline, a 70 pct expects no change in workforce and a 4.0 pct of employers said they did no know if there would be any changes in the next quarter.
Seasonally adjusted figures showed that employment outlook was +5 pct, relatively unchanged for the second successive quarter, but down four percentage points compared with the same period last year.
The workforce is expected to increase in seven out of nine sectors of economic activity in the next three months, led by the financial services, insurance, real estate and services to enterprises. Employers in the agricultural sector remained cautious over their hiring plans along with the sectors of commerce and manufacturing. However, employers in the construction and electricity/natural gas/water sectors expect a decline in new hirings in the second quarter of 2016.
Employers in the wider Attica region expect a moderate rate of new hirings, while employers in Northern Greece are more cautious. Both regions are down in expectations over new hirings compared with the same period last year.
Large enterprise employers are more optimistic over new hiring prospects in the next three months.
 More women in top management positions, Grant Thornton surveyThe percentage of women in senior executive positions grew to 24 pct from 22 pct, but still one in three enterprises have no women participation in top management positions, Grant Thornton said its global survey released on Tuesday to mark the celebration of Woman's Day.
In Greece, the percentage of women holding top management positions was stable at 27 pct, while a 29 pct of Greek enterprises have no women in their top management teams.
The survey said it was encouraging that the vast majority of respondents said there were both the necessary structures and support for women to remain in their top management positions in the long-term.
Elpida Leonidou, partner in Grant Thornton in Greece said: "It is very logical to have this difference between men and women considering that women are more burdened with the raising of their children and housekeeping".
 Private sector employment up in January-FebuaryEmployment in the private sector grew in February, with official figures showing a positive balance of hiring/dismissals by 14,437 job positions in the month.
According to a monthly report by the Ergani IT system of the Labour ministry, new hirings totaled 118,358 in February, while dismissals amounted to 103,921 in the month. Compared with February 2015, the balance showed a negative trend of 687 job positions, although the monthly data for February were the third highest positive figures for any February since 2001.
In the January-February period, new hirings totaled 228,848 job positions, while dismissals amounted to 224,365, leaving a positive balance of 4,483 new job positions, the third highest performance since 2001.
It should be noted that, with the exception of 2002, 2014 and 2015, the first two months of each year presented a negative balance.
 Attica Bank says growing stronger after recapitalizationAttica Bank on Tuesday said that its capital adequacy rate was around 20 pct, more than double the minimum requirements by supervisory authorities and an increasing penetration in the Greek market through its network and its partners.
Responding to press reports, the bank said its successful recapitalization exercise in 2015 was achieved without the participation of Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, without burdening the Greek taxpayer, and became a landmark in the Greek banking system and a remarkable fact inside and outside the borders.
Attica Bank said it fully complied with a regulatory framework of operation of the domestic financial system and noted that the bank was controlled by the Bank of Greece using the same methodology as for the country's systemic banks.
 Thrace Plastics invests 2.0 mln euros on system upgradeThrace Plastics on Tuesday announced a 2.0-million-euro investment to install new system software in all its subsidiaries with the aim to improve automation of financial integration process, international standards of financial information and budget and to achieve a more efficient monitoring of productive process. Thrace Plastics said the project will begin from its subsidiaries in the United States at the end of March and was expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
 Car registrations down 17 pct in FebCar registrations fell 17 pct in February amounting to 6,990 vehicles (new or used ones), down from 8,424 in the same month last year, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Tuesday.
The statistics service, in a monthly report, said that new car registrations totaled 3,595 in February, down 36.3 pct from the same month in 2015.
In the January-February period, car registrations totaled 17,655, down 5.7 pct compared with the same period last year. New car registrations fell 19.2 pct to 9,843 vehicles in the two-month period, from 12,176 in the January-February period in 2015.
Motorcycle registrations jumbed 31.4 pct to 2,229 in February, from 1,696 in February last year, while new motorcycle registrations rose 30 pct to 2,065 from 1,588 in 2015.
In the January-February period, motorcycle registrations totaled 3,942, up 8.4 pct from last year, while new motorcycle registration rose 6.5 pct to 3,638.
 Sea cruise association expect less passengers this yearThe Association of Cruise Shipowners and Shipping Agencies met with Shipping and Island Policy Minister Theodore Dritsas and discussed developments in the port of Piraeus ahead of the summer season and government initiatives regarding migrants and refugees temporarily accomodated in the port's passenger terminals.
Association members said that sea cruise reservations were down for this summer, with Th. Kontes, president of the Association speaking to ANA-MPA stressing that some companies, such as AIDA, cancelled their arrivals to Greece -following terrorist attacks in Turkey- and turned to western Mediterranean destinations. He noted that Greece will have around 350-400,000 less sea cruise passengers this year compared with 2015.
Kontes said the sea cruise companies asked for better docking facilities in the port of Santorini.
 ASE suspends trading in TeletyposThe Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday announced it was temporarily suspending trading in the shares of Teletypos -a Greek-listed TV company-, valid immediately. In an announcement, ASE said the suspension will be valid until Teletypos offered information over a share capital increase plan and its actions after a waiver from creditor banks has ended.
 Greek stocks extend rally for ninth sessionGreek stocks edged higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, extending their rally for the ninth successive session, ignoring a negative climate which prevailed in other European markets. The composite index of the market ended 0.76 pct higher at 563.67 points, off the day's highs of 573.35 points, reflecting market optimism over developments in negotiations to complete the first review of the Greek bailout programme. The index is up 18.85 pct in the last nine sessions. The Large Cap index rose 0.91 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.65 pct higher. Turnover was an improved 77.599 million euros, in volume of 126,319,685.
GEK Terna (9.79 pct), Viohalco (6.90 pct), Alpha Bank (5.26 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (4.79 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day among blue chip stocks, while Ellaktor (3.57 pct), Grivalia Properties (2.89 pct) and Coca Cola HBC (1.81 pct) suffered heavy losses.
National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Among market sectors, Health (7.15 pct) and Banks (3.51 pct) scored big gains, while Real Estate (1.99 pct) and Food (1.81 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly advancers led decliners by 60 to 50 with another 20 issues unchanged. Fieratex (30 pct), Athina (19.51 pct) and Nikas (19 pct) were top gainers, while Intertek (23.78 pct), Yalco (20 pct) and Pegasus (20 pct) were top losers.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank significantly to 9.27 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 9.53 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 9.44 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.17 pct. There was no turnover in the market.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to -0.025 pct from -0.024 pct, the nine-month rate eased to -0.080 pct from -0.079 pct, the six-month rate fell to -0.138 pct from -0.136 pct, the three-month rate fell to -0.216 pct from -0.215 pct and the one-month rate was -0.287 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe March contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.52 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,862 contracts with 14,180 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 88,806 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (41,334), followed by Alpha Bank (9,643), Piraeus Bank (17,489), Eurobank (12,160), MIG (1,401), OTE (1,571), PPC (1,300), OPAP (652), Mytilineos (322), Hellenic Petroleum (399), Motor Oil (282), GEK (521), Ellaktor (1,061), Folli Follie (124) and Jumbo (114).
 Refugee camp at Idomeni: nothing like Glastonbury, bar the mudWith their numbers at 13,000 and counting, overnight rain brought more misery for the refugees now literally stuck at the camp in Idomeni, near the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Stuck at the border and stuck in the mud, their hopes of crossing the border were evaporating a great deal faster than the water from the rain-soaked blankets that they spread out in the sun to dry on Tuesday morning.
FYROM authorities have kept the passage to the no-man's land closed since Monday, allowing no one through, and no one knows when and under with what conditions the flow of refugees will resume.
People's faces were visibly haggard after a night of battling to keep their families dry, digging ditches around the tents in an effort to keep the water away. The day for most began with the usual making of the tea over open fires, with water boiled in tin cans, and then lining up to queue for food.
The longest line was in front of the non-governmental aid organisation Praksis, which hands out 18,000 sandwiches - two for each adult and one for each child - with cheese, lettuce and egg. The camp is also still growing, with dozens more tents going up in adjacent fields. Despite the appeals made by aid workers, no one wants to leave and temporarily go to a relocation centre, where the conditions are much better.
Only a few say they have decided to apply for the relocation programme, for which they must have earlier applied for asylum in order to qualify.
The only relief for those at the camp comes from the volunteers that come from all over the world to help in any way they can. Among them a group of young people from Denmark, Germany, UK and the United States that first met on the Aegean island of Lesvos and then followed the refugees to Idomeni, setting up a tent next to a caravan and daily making and handing out hot tea.
 Photo exhibition on women refugees at Syntagma metro station until SundayAn exhibition of pictures taken by photojournalists of women refugees will be on show at the Syntagma metro station exhibition area until Sunday, as part of events marking International Women's Day that have been organised throughout the month by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality and the Centre for Studies on Equality Issues (KETHI).
Also supported by the Athens metro company Urban Rail Transport SA, the exhibition features the work of seven photographers and photojournalists, with images of women making the long journey from the Middle East to Europe via Greece.
 1,300 refugees and migrants to arrive at Piraeus port on TuesdayThree ferries with 1,300 refugees and migrants from the islands of eastern Aegean are expected to dock at Piraeus port on Tuesday.
More specifically, "Blue Star 1" will carry 795 refugees from Mytilene and Chios. "Diagoras" will carry 313 refugees from Rhodos and "Nisos Mykonos" will carry another 222 from Samos.
 Supreme Court upholds sentence for two and clears one in Sea Diamond sinkingGreece's Supreme Court upheld on Tuesday the sentences handed down by lower courts to the captain of the cruise ship Sea Diamond, the general manager of the shipping company Louis Hellenic Cruise Lines, and the second officer for the vessel's sinking in 2007 in Santorini.
The ship ran aground on a volcanic reef within the caldera of the Santorini, began taking on water and eventually sank two hours later with most of its fuel still on board. Two French tourists were reported missing and are assumed dead while the other 1,500 passengers and the crew were evacuated.
The three men were initially convicted of negligence and were handed down 21 to 36-month suspended prison sentences, but the Supreme Court cleared the second officer of any wrongdoing, saying that since the Captain was at his post when the incident occurred, he was responsible.
 Free access to museums, archaeological sites for families with Solidarity CardSome 150,000 families that qualify for welfare and have been issued the 'Solidarity Card' will have free access to museums and archaeological sites in Greece, Culture Minister Aristidis Baltas and Alternate Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity Minister Theano Fotiou announced on Tuesday. During a press conference held at the National Archaeological Museum's cafe, the ministers said the measure will benefit an estimated 400,000 individuals living on less than 400 euros a month.
Baltas also announced that negotiations are currently underway with public transport bodies in order to extend discount travel enjoyed by higher education students to those currently studying at Greece's art schools and national theatres. He noted that these were measures that did not seem overly ambitious but "express precisely the way we understand culture under current conditions and how we understand SYRIZA's parallel programme [for the humanitarian crisis]."
The minister went on to announce that the culture ministry, in collaboration with the state broadcaster ERT, is planning a big concert at the Peace and Friendship Stadium within the next month in order to raise money for the refugees, noting that several Greek artists had expressed interest in the event.
 Work stoppages on Athens metro lines 1,2 and 3 on ThursdayStaff on all three lines of the Athens metro system, including the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway, have announced warning work stoppages next Thursday. The strike action is from the start of the shift until 8:00 in the morning and from 21:00 at night until the end of the shift.
The metro staff are demanding the start of talks for the signature of a new collective agreement "without prerequisites from the management" and to maintain public transport and passengers access to "safe transport with low fares."
 Rain on WednesdayRain and winds from variable directions are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Rain in the northern and western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 07C-17C. Clouds and rain in the eastern parts and temperatures between 09C-18C. Clouds and rain in the afternoon over the Aegean islands and Crete, 13C-18C. Rain in Athens, 12C-17C; the same for Thessaloniki, 08C-14C
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Political agreement for program review and debt
DIMOKRATIA: BABEL-A summit without an agreement
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Extravagant demands from Turkey
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Trapped migrants and ... Greece
ESTIA: Only Greece in memorandum
ETHNOS: Strong signal for debt relief
IMERISSIA: Expectations for a solution
KATHIMERINI: Turkish bazaar in Brussels
KONTRANEWS: The discussion on debt relief starts
TA NEA: Pensions in half
NAFTEMPORIKI: Institutions to return
RIZOSPASTIS: Thousands of refugees trapped
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