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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-03-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 Issue No: 5140

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras chairs meeting on refugee issue
  • [02] PM Tsipras meets EP's Schulz in unofficial visit to Athens
  • [03] President Pavlopoulos to visit Israel on Tuesday
  • [04] Greek gov't seeks to begin negotiations on new labour agreement by end-June
  • [05] It's a political decision not to have state presence in Idomeni, says minister
  • [06] Misinformation harms the refugees, minister tells ANA-MPA
  • [07] U.S. to provide 20 mln euros in aid for refugee crisis to organizations, says official
  • [08] The conditon with refugees is changing, Refugee Crisis Body spokesman says
  • [09] About 200 refugees and migrants protest in Lesvos during visit by US official
  • [10] Teams of translators, interpreters to be sent to Idomeni camp
  • [11] New busload of refugees leaves Idomeni for Pieria camp
  • [12] Cosco subsidiary says closure of railway tracks by refugees creates 'serious' problems'
  • [13] 50,146 refugees in Greece on Monday
  • [14] Less refugees arrive at northeastern Aegean islands
  • [15] Significantly reduced is the number of the refugees arrivals to Piraeus
  • [16] Muslims in northern Greece sent 20 tons of aid to Idomeni
  • [17] ND leader Mitsotakis urges 'new Constitution for a new Greece'
  • [18] Greece on Turkish FM announcement regarding the call for the third round of tenders for licensing of exploration in Cyprus' EEZ
  • [19] Greek Foreign Ministry condemns terror attack in Pakistan
  • [20] ND slams SYRIZA MP on his FYROM statement
  • [21] Finance ministry preparing bill to promote use of plastic money
  • [22] Greece aiming to include projects worth 12 bln euros in 'Juncker package'
  • [23] Insurance premium production down 9.9 pct in Jan 2016
  • [24] Work at Thessaloniki metro resumes after four years
  • [25] ANA-MPA signs cooperation agreement with Kazinform
  • [26] Laurie Anderson to be guest Artistic Director of SNF Cultural Centre events in June
  • [27] Greek choreograpger Dimitris Papaioannou and team nominated for six Emmys
  • [28] Fire fighters battle to contain blaze at Aspropyrgos paint and ink factory
  • [29] Bells in Berlin, Mytilene to ring together, in art project raising awareness of refugees' plight
  • [30] Protesting refugees and migrants briefly close Thessaloniki-Evzones national highway
  • [31] Civil servants' union federation ADEDY to hold strike on April 7
  • [32] Two refugees wounded at Diavata over a dispute for charging phones
  • [33] Drug dealers arrested near the Greek-Albanian borders
  • [34] Ambulance workers announce four-hour strike on Tuesday
  • [35] Partly cloudy on Tuesday
  • [36] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Tsipras chairs meeting on refugee issue

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday chaired a meeting with government ministers and close associates to discuss the refugee issue at his offices in Parliament.

    On Wednesday the government is expected table a draft law in Parliament regulating legal aspects in the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement. It will also proceed to set up an institution having a supervisory role and upgrade the ministry for migration policy.

    The Government Refugee and Migration Policy Council has already approved the plan and timetable for the creation, within 20 days, of facilities that will provide accommodation for another 30,000 refugees and migrants.

    The government's priority is to improve conditions at Idomeni and for this reason it has increased the number of buses to transfer people from Idomeni to the accommodation centres.

    [02] PM Tsipras meets EP's Schulz in unofficial visit to Athens

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had an unofficial meeting with European Parliament President Martin Schulz as part of the latter's unofficial visit to Athens, just before he leaves for Cyprus this evening.

    According to information, during their meeting they discussed the refugee crisis and the Cyprus issue, while they also touched upon the participation of the European Parliament in the monitoring of Greece's negotiations with its lenders.

    [03] President Pavlopoulos to visit Israel on Tuesday

    President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos will carry out an official visit to Israel from Tuesday until March 31, at the invitation of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

    Pavlopoulos will meet the Israeli president on Wednesday morning and then visit the Holocaust History Museum. On Wednesday afternoon, the president will be conferred an honorary doctorate by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and give a speech on "European law and order in the labyrinth of the economic crisis".

    He will then meet Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein and attend an official dinner given in his honour by Israel's president.

    On Thursday, President Pavlopoulos will visit the Jerusalem Patriarchate and meet Patriarch Theophilos III and his visit will conclude with a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    [04] Greek gov't seeks to begin negotiations on new labour agreement by end-June

    A national collective labour agreement ending March 31 will remain valid until the end of June, the Labour ministry said on Monday.

    In an announcement, the ministry said the government's intention was the restore fully freedom of collective bargaining and to begin negotiations on a new national collective labour agreement by the end of June.

    It added that a first meeting of experts to achieve this goal was scheduled for April 6. The Labour ministry underlined that it would welcome any decision by social partners to extend by the end of 2016 the validity of a national general collective labor agreement to avoid having any time pressure during negotia-tions.

    [05] It's a political decision not to have state presence in Idomeni, says minister

    The State is present in all the organized accommodation centers for refugees, but it's a political decision not to be present in Idomeni, Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas said on Monday speaking at municipal radio station "Athina 9.84".

    "There's no lack of state presence. On the contrary, there's intense presence in all the organized accommodation centers. In Idomeni, it's a political decision not to have an organized center, apart from the center used by the UNHCR and other NGOs," Vitsas said.

    "I'm saying this because it has to be understood that because these people are hoping to cross the borders, if we build an organized camp in this area we would essentially boost this hope, when we want to transfer them to accommodation centers in other areas ... I believe the decision was the right on," he added.

    Vitsas also said that about 1,500 people have so far been transferred from Idomeni to other camps and that big efforts have been made to convince refugees to come to the other centers.

    [06] Misinformation harms the refugees, minister tells ANA-MPA

    The misinformation that spread twice in Idomeni is bad for the refugees and puts their lives at risk, Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Toskas told ANA-MPA in an interview on Monday during a visit to Lesvos.

    "Our intention and the intention of most NGOs is to assist all those people. Therefore there should not be any kind of misinformation. Misinformation hurts refugees, places them in danger, especially in the area of Idomeni. We are trying to inform them by providing the right information. We tell refugees the truth: that the borders have closed, we tell them what options they have ... what is the asylum procedure," Toskas told ANA-MPA.

    "Now, some NGOs don't like this situation. What can we do? The NGOs that should stay are the ones that are useful for the refugees and support the country and international agreements best," he added.

    Toskas, who is in Lesvos to examine the progress made in the building of new infrastructure that will be used to process asylum petitions, also said Greece is discussing with Turkey the technical side of the readmissions.

    "The way readmissions will take place is being discussed now with the Turkish side and the European Union. We're discussing the technical side, like the start date. Therefore it's an issue that hasn't concluded yet, but will do so in the next few days," the minister explained.

    Commenting on the sharp drop in refugee flows, Toskas said it should be attributed to Turkey's will to control the situation and not the weather, noting that it is obvious the neighboring country cut flows to abide by the EU-Turkey deal.

    [07] U.S. to provide 20 mln euros in aid for refugee crisis to organizations, says official

    The United States will provide financial aid totaling 20 million euros to the UNCHR, the United Nations Population Fund and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent for their work on the refugee crisis in Europe, including in Greece, Western Turkey and the Balkans, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom said during a visit to Lesvos on Monday.

    Commenting on her visit, Higginbottom spoke warmly of the efforts of the locals to assist the refugees, as well as the authorities, while she also expressed her country's interest as well as the interest of U.S. President Barack Obama for the efforts to resolve the refugee crisis in the best way possible.

    Asked about the recent EU-Turkey deal, the U.S. official avoided commenting on it, but said there are many details and issues that remain to be examined in order to have a full picture. She added however that the deal is a first step in controlling refugee flows.

    [08] The conditon with refugees is changing, Refugee Crisis Body spokesman says

    The situation is beginning to change as refugees and migrants realize that remaining at Idomeni and hoping that the borders will open is an impasse, the spokesman of the Coordinating Body for the Management of Refugee Crisis George Kyritsis said in statements to Skai TV on Monday.

    "By persuasion, awareness and dignity, we will manage to transfer the refugees and migrants from the port of Piraeus and Idomeni to other hosting facilities," he said.

    Regarding the reduction of flows, Kyritsis said that this is a condition for the agreement with Turkey to work. "We want to see if the reduction of refugees flow is a result of compliance by the Turkish side," he added.

    He also assured that Amygdaleza will not be used as a refugee accommodation centre.

    Kyritsis underlined that the government will send interpreters and translators at Idomeni to help with the refugees' informa-tion.

    [09] About 200 refugees and migrants protest in Lesvos during visit by US official

    About 200 refugees and migrants who are detained in the registration center of Moria in Lesvos protested against their confinement during a visit by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom to the island on Monday.

    Security measures were tight at the center because of the US official's visit, but also because of a separate visit of Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Toskas. Protesters chanted "freedom, freedom" near the area where Syrian refugees are registered, requesting that they be released from Moria. The section visited by Higginbottom had already been sealed off by police as a precaution.

    Moria is currently housing 1,588 people according to data released by the government today, with refugees being kept separately from migrants who do not fulfill refugee criteria.

    [10] Teams of translators, interpreters to be sent to Idomeni camp

    Teams of translators and interpreters will be sent to Idomeni in an effort to end rumour-mongering and the misinformation fed to the refugees and migrants at the camp on Greece's northern border with the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the spokesman for the Coordinating Body for Management of the Refugee Crisis Giorgos Kyritsis said on Monday.

    In statements to the new website News247.gr, Kyritsis said that there were also plans to set up a system of loudspeakers, through which announcements on all issues will be made.

    "We know that this false information is being spread via the social media, as well as by word of mouth.... Such rumours spread like wildfire through dry grass among desperate people. Among those spreading them are people that genuinely wish to help but achieve exactly the opposite. We know that there are also some that are playing games at the expense of the refugees and, to some extent, at the expense of the country. We ask that the supporters, volunteers and non-governmental organisations cooperate with Greek authorities in order to protect the refugees from misinformation and dangerous situations," he said.

    [11] New busload of refugees leaves Idomeni for Pieria camp

    One more coach carrying 38 refugees, main families from Iraq and Syria, arrived at the Nea Chrani camp in Pieria from Idomeni on Monday. They joined another 153 already at the camp before them, while 70 were taken to the Ktima Irakli camp on the Katerini-Elassona road and another 400 to the Nireas Camping.

    The camp was set up in the Nea Chrani football pitch by the local volunteer group "O Topos Mou", which appealed for more volunteers to assist in caring for the refugees.

    A new camp will be set up in the neighbouring Imathia prefecture at the 722 army base, while another 382 have been set to the Armatolou Kokkinou army camp in Veria, where the arrival of the first coaches was greeted by protests.

    [12] Cosco subsidiary says closure of railway tracks by refugees creates 'serious' problems'

    Officials at Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT), a subsidiary of Chinese giant Cosco, said on Monday the closing of the railway tracks by refugees and migrants in Idomeni are causing serious problems to Greece's image.

    For the past 10 days, refugees and migrants stranded in Idomeni have camped on the railway tracks that cross from Greece into FYROM to protest the closing of the borders.

    "Consider that we as a company have invested in selling a delivery time to our customers and that is not possible right now, while our competitors can use this against us," company officials told ANA-MPA, adding that despite repeated assurances by authorities that the problem will be solved as soon as possible, nothing has been done yet.

    PCT handles about 250 freight carriages per week which are sent to central Europe and having to change course through Bulgaria adds another two days of transport and increases the cost, they said.

    [13] 50,146 refugees in Greece on Monday

    50,142 refugees and migrants were on the Greek territory on Monday while 232 new arrivals were recorded until 07:30.

    Over half the number of refugees were recorded at northern Greece (28,548) most of them were at Idomeni camp (11,426), at Herso in Kilkis (3,900) and at Nea Kavala (3,520).

    2,068 refugees were identified on Lesvos, 1,371 on Chios island, 2,879 are hosted in Central Greece and finally 14,430 are in Attica region with 5,467 of them being at Piraeus port.

    [14] Less refugees arrive at northeastern Aegean islands

    The number of refugees and migrants arriving at the islands of the northeastern Aegean has been significantly reduced over the last 24 hours.

    A total of 144 persons, mainly Pakistani refugees, have arrived since Sunday.

    More specifically, 17 persons arrived on Lesvos, 63 persons arrived on Chios, and 64 on Samos.

    [15] Significantly reduced is the number of the refugees arrivals to Piraeus

    The number of the refugees inflows from the islands of Aegean Sea to Piraeus was significantly reduced on Monday, since the ferry "Ariadni" that docked at the port early in the morning carried only 17 refugees and migrants from Chios and Mytilene.

    Later in the morning the 'Blue star 2' ferry is expected to dock without any refugees and migrants aboard. Should be also noted that on Sunday there has been no arrivals of refugees from the islands of Aegean Sea.

    According to the latest counting, on Monday the number of the refugees settled at the port arrangements raised to 5,330 persons.

    [16] Muslims in northern Greece sent 20 tons of aid to Idomeni

    The Muslim communities of Komotini and Xanthi in northern Greece gathered and sent 20 tons of humanitarian aid in ten trucks to the makeshift refugee camp of Idomeni, the Muftis of the two communities said on Monday.

    "It is a debt of conscience towards our fellow men who were wronged and forced to leave their countries," the Mufti of Komotini Metcho Tzemali, and of Xanthi Mehmet Sinikoglu said in statements. "We pray God gives courage to the refugees for a better life," they added.

    The items gathered were offers made by Muslims living in the region of Thrace.

    [17] ND leader Mitsotakis urges 'new Constitution for a new Greece'

    A bold revision of Greece's constitution was overdue and conditions for such a move were now ripe, main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday, speaking at an event at the Centre for European Constitutional Law on "Is our Constitution resilient and what must change."

    "The new Greece that we envision needs a new Constitution," Mitsotakis said, adding that the revision must begin from Parliament and must be sufficiently bold to tackle the ingrained problems. The time had come for a new political generation to write its own Constitution, he added.

    Outlining the form that such a new Constitution must take, ND's leader said that it must be simpler and upgrade Parliament, ending its involvement in judicial functions. He also called for the abolition of article 16 dealing with the legal accountability of ministers, noting that Parliament could not replace the justice system. He also suggested greater involvement of the president in the election of independent authorities and the judiciary.

    Finally, he stressed the need for a constitution that protected a government's term in power and the stability of governing cycles, which he said should be increased to five years from four. Specifically, he noted that an inability to agree on a president should not interrupt a government's term in power, while it should be made harder to call snap elections on the pretext of issues of "national importance".

    He also called for an end to the state monopoly on university-level education, while adding that the debate on a revision of the constitution must begin immediately.

    [18] Greece on Turkish FM announcement regarding the call for the third round of tenders for licensing of exploration in Cyprus' EEZ

    Foreign Ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras stated on Monday in response to journalists' questions on the Turkish Foreign Ministry announcement regarding the call for the third round of tenders for licensing of exploration for hydrocarbons in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ):

    "The Republic of Cyprus is a member state of the United Nations and the European Union, and, like every sovereign state, it is exercising its sovereign rights over the EEZ and continental shelf deriving from international law, customary and conventional.

    Turkey needs to abandon its threatening rhetoric and respect the inalienable rights of the sovereign Republic of Cyprus. The incitement of artificial crises and tensions does not benefit the course of the negotiations or the management of the unstable situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. In fact, it is extremely counterproductive" said Koutras.

    [19] Greek Foreign Ministry condemns terror attack in Pakistan

    The Foreign Ministry condemns in the strongest possible manner the terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan that caused the death and injury of hundreds of citizens, in an announcement released on Monday.

    "Our thoughts are with the families of the victims in these difficult hours. We express our solidarity with the government and people of Pakistan, and we stress the urgent need to respect diversity and build tolerance in every society".

    [20] ND slams SYRIZA MP on his FYROM statement

    New Democracy said on Monday a statement by SYRIZA MP Makis Balaouras that he wouldn't object to Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) being recognized as "Macedonia" by Greece undermines the country's efforts to negotiate a solution to the long-running name dispute.

    "This undermines the national strategy line," ND said in a statement, adding that Balaouras is not the only SYRIZA MP to have made such "and even worse" statements on the issue "at a time when crucial negotiating battles are underway".

    The party also called on the prime minister and the foreign minister to clarify their position.

    [21] Finance ministry preparing bill to promote use of plastic money

    The finance ministry will table a draft bill in the next 10 days extending and encouraging the use of debit and credit cards, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on Monday, responding to questions by opposition MPs in parliament.

    "For us it is extremely important, as plastic money is the main way to tackle tax evasion or a portion of tax evasion. But I think it will have an effect and positive impact on mitigating the issue mentioned," Tsakalotos told Democratic Coalition MP Vasilis Kegeroglou who asked on the exorbitant rates charged by banks for interbank transactions.

    Financial News

    [22] Greece aiming to include projects worth 12 bln euros in 'Juncker package'

    The Greek government is promoting infrastructure projects totaling over 12 billion euros for inclusion in the "Juncker package" and which concern mainly metro extensions, building of road and railway facilities as well as freight centers, Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis said on Monday.

    Speaking at an event organized by the Chamber of Small Industries in Thessaloniki, the minister said the government is already cooperating with the European Investment Bank (EIB) on projects the government wants to include in the "Juncker package", noting that "what has been requested by the Commission have already been submitted".

    Spirtzis also said Greece will present its proposal to EU ministers on April 20-21.

    [23] Insurance premium production down 9.9 pct in Jan 2016

    Life insurance contract production continued falling in January, remaining on a trend which began in July 2015 after the imposition of capital controls in the country, while damage insurance contracts also fell in the first month of 2016, with premium production falling 9.9 pct in January, compared with the same month last year. Life insurance contract production fell 12.4 pct and damage insurance contract production fell 7.7 pct in the month, a report by the Association of Greek Insurance Companies showed on Monday.

    The report was based on data offered by 56 insurance companies which account for 94.4 pct of the market (damage contracts) and 99.9 pct in life insurance contracts.

    Premium production in the life insurance sector fell 6.4c pct in January compared with January 2015, while the production in the Life insurance sector (unit linked) fell 18.6 pct over the same period.

    [24] Work at Thessaloniki metro resumes after four years

    Construction work at the tunnels of Thessaloniki's unfinished metro resumed on Monday after four years of inaction due to legal and financial problems, the company and the Infrastructure ministry announced.

    Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis inaugurated the operation of the first Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) named "Hercules" at the main section of the tunnels while "Aktor", the second TBM will resume operation in April. "Hercules" is covering 10 meters per day.

    Giannis Milopoulos, the president of the company responsible for overseeing the construction project, Attiko Metro, and construction company "Aktor" estimate work will be completed by 2020. On his side, Spirtzis said the ministry has already signed a contract to conduct archaeological work at the site worth 25 million euros which will start very soon.

    General News

    [25] ANA-MPA signs cooperation agreement with Kazinform

    The Athens News Agency-Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA) signed a cooperation agreement with Kazakhstan's national news agency "Kazinform."

    The agreement was signed in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, by the Director General of Kazinform Dauren Diyarov and the president and general manager of ANA-MPA Michalis Psilos. The agreement provides for the exchange of news, videos, graphs and information materials on bilateral and international issues.

    Kazinform was founded 95 years ago and broadcasts news in Kazakh, Russian, English and Arabic. It is also planning to broadcast news in Chinese and Spanish. It employs more than 100 reporters and correspondents in Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyz-stan.

    Kazinform is a member of the International Union of News Agencies 'Oana' (Organization of News Agencies in Asia and the Pacific) in which ANA-MPA is interested to participate as an observer, given that hundreds of thousands of Greek migrants and expatriates live in Australia and New Zealand.

    [26] Laurie Anderson to be guest Artistic Director of SNF Cultural Centre events in June

    American experimental performance artist, composer and musician Laurie Anderson has been engaged as guest artistic director of events organised by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) in June, as part of its "Metamorphosis: The SNFCC to the World" introductory events programme.

    The events, featuring a selection of artists from various countries, will be hosted at the SNFCC centre - currently in the final stages of construction - on June 23-26 and admission will be free. Anderson will herself be performing as part of the programme, presenting an experiential performance.

    The 'Metamorphosis' event will introduce the full range of SNFCC facilities to visitors for the first time, including the Greek National Opera and Greek National Library that are housed in the new building.

    Limor Tomer, General Manager of Concerts & Lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will act as the Events' Performance Curator, while Anderson will be the guest Artistic Director. Additionally, Robert Storr, Dean of Yale School of Art, will curate the video art program during the events.

    The programming will include, among others, guided tours, concerts, art installations and performances, as well as educational and athletic events for children and families, including the evening race SNF Run-Running into the Future.

    The events will take place in various locations of the project, as the SNFCC aspires to become a meeting point between Greek and foreign artists?some of whom will present their work to the Greek audience for the first time ?and a hub which will facilitate creative partnerships between them.

    In addition to Andersen, artists featured in the four-day programme include a concert by Syrian musician Omar Souleyman playing Syrian folk music, enhanced with pop and punk elements, the American-Iraqi musician Amir ElSaffar and the Two Rivers Ensemble presenting a "jazz" version of traditional Iraqi music, the Xylouris White duo featuring legendary Cretan musician Giorgos Xylouris and the Australian Jim White, a concert by Greek singer Eleftheria Arvanitaki and a series of musical happenings will be organised in collabo-ration with the Athens Conservatoire, among which some of the leading names of the Greek jazz scene.

    Additionally, the innovative contemporary classical piece "Water Passion, after St.Matthew", by internationally renowned Chinese composer Tan Dun, will be presented to the Greek audience for the fist time.

    All events are free and are supported through an exclusive grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

    [27] Greek choreograpger Dimitris Papaioannou and team nominated for six Emmys

    Renowned Greek choreographer and performer Dimitris Papaioannou and his talented team have been nominated for six Emmys for the opening ceremony they created for the 2015 European Games in Baku.

    The ceremony, titled "Origins", has been nominated in the categories of artistic direction, direction, costumes, music and lighting

    Papaioannou and his team will travel to Los Angeles to attend the 43rd Daytime Emmy Awards on May 1. The choreographer is also personally nominated for two awards in the categories "Outstanding Directing Special Class" and "Outstanding Art Direction / Set Decoration / Scenic Design".

    [28] Fire fighters battle to contain blaze at Aspropyrgos paint and ink factory

    Fire fighters in Attica came out in force on Monday, in efforts to contain a blaze that broke out at a paint and ink factory on Megaridon Street in Aspropyrgos earlier the same morning.A force of 81 firefighters and 27 fire-engines, eight people on foot and five water tankers are now battling the fire.

    [29] Bells in Berlin, Mytilene to ring together, in art project raising awareness of refugees' plight

    Bells in Berlin and the town of Mytilene on Lesvos will ring in synchronisation on Tuesday, as part of a Greek-German collaborative art project to raise awareness about the refugee crisis. At noon on Tuesday, the bell at Agios Athanassios Cathedral in Mytilene and the Freedom Bell in the Tower of Schoeneberg Town Hall will toll at the same time, forming a "notional connection" in a call for sensitisation and action.

    The parallel tolling of the bells aims to unite two landmark locations in the refugee crisis: the island of Lesvos, whose coasts symbolise the passage into Europe, and the city of Berlin as the destination of the refugees' odyssey. The sound of the two bells as the toll will be mixed and broadcast via the internet.

    Behind the symbolic action are Greek artist and activist Varvara Papadopoulou and the German artistic platform "Neue Berliner Raume", working with the Mytilene church and the Schoeneberg Town Hall.

    Papadopoulou, who is a front-line volunteer in the refugee crisis herself, noted that art "must be a punch in the stomach" and that most artists had a "comfortable" relation with the crisis.

    "When you have 5,000 people in a public space, such as Piraeus port, and hundreds of refugees are arriving by boat so that you have to give priority to women and children because there aren't enough tents for anyone, then you have a state of war and in this state, artists must be on the front line," she said.

    [30] Protesting refugees and migrants briefly close Thessaloniki-Evzones national highway

    A group of protesting refugees and migrants on Monday blocked the lanes to Evzones on the Thessaloniki-Evzones national highway, demanding the opening of borders. The group set off from the hotel in the Evzones region near the border and walked to the national highway, where they carried out a sit-down protest.

    In statements to the ANA-MPA, a woman identifying herself as Seima from Mosul in Iraq said they were protesting because they had no idea what would happen now.

    "We have been here for roughly a month and a half and, since the border closed, we don't know what will happen. We want someone to give us some hope that we will be able, in some way, to continue our journey," she said.

    The protest ended a short while later, before 17:00 in the late afternoon, and the road was once again opened to traffic.

    [31] Civil servants' union federation ADEDY to hold strike on April 7

    The civil servants' union federation ADEDY on Monday announced a 24-hour strike on April 7 against planned social security reforms.

    It will also hold a rally at Klafthmonos square, at 11 am.

    [32] Two refugees wounded at Diavata over a dispute for charging phones

    Two refugees were injured on Saturday during a dispute for the charging of mobile phones, at the temporary hosting center of Diavata in Thessaloniki. According to witnesses in the altercation were involved 30 refugees and migrants.

    The two wounded were slightly injured and were transferred to the hospital, while eight of the implicated were conducted at the Police Station of Diavata.

    [33] Drug dealers arrested near the Greek-Albanian borders

    Police arrested a 49 and a 27-year-old, both of Albanian nationality, near the Greek-Albanian border for drug dealing.

    Ioannina drug squad found 1 kilo and 300 grams of heroin hidden in the car of the two Albanians.

    The car, the drugs, four cellphones and 370 euros were confiscated and the arrested will be sent to Ioannina prosecutor.

    [34] Ambulance workers announce four-hour strike on Tuesday

    Ambulance service (EKAB) staff have announced a four-hour work stoppage on Tuesday, starting at 9:00 and ending at 13:00, during which they will carry out a march to the health ministry.

    The EKAB workers' Athens union said that staff were owned back pay for overtime and night shifts for 10 days in December 2014 and all the months since December 2015, as well as travel bonuses for all 2015.

    "Since the union's efforts to meet with management to resolve the financial discrepancies have brought no result, we call on the health ministry's political leadership to immediately provide a solution," the union said.

    Weather forecast

    [35] Partly cloudy on Tuesday

    Clouds and south-southwesterly winds are forecast for Tuesday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the northern parts of the country and temperatures ranging from 02C-18C. Clouds and rain in the western parts with temperatures between 05C-19C. Mostly fair in the eastern parts, 05C-20C. Partly cloudy over the Aegean island with possibility of rain over Crete, 10C-18C. Mostly fair in Athens, 08C-19C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, 06C-17C.

    [36] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    DIMOKRATIA: Intertwined interests kill the islands and the villages

    ETHNOS: The gray plan of the Turks in the Aegean-Thrace

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Pensions at 58

    ESTIA: Debt as a "holy grail"

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: War is the father of all profits

    TA NEA: Mud rain instead of policy

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Austerity with duration

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