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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-04-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Weekend News Bulletin
Monday April 4, 2016
 ESM should take IMF's place a long time ago, says President PavlopoulosPresident of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos had a phone contact on Saturday with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
According to government sources, Pavlopoulos noted that he as he has stated he believes that "from the moment the European Union and the eurozone have formed the ESM, it should have assumed IMF's mission and responsibilities (in the Greek programme) a long time ago. ESM's officials know-how is much better that the IMF's officials" he said.
On his part, Tsipras underlined that "Greece meets its commitments and will ask for explanations from the IMF. I will brief the country leaders and institutions on our positions. We must not allow to anyone to play with fire and we will not leave the country and Europe unprotected. Some want to bring a new crisis in Greece and to affect the British referendum and to wound Europe".
 PM Tsipras sends letter to IMF chief Christine LagardePrime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent a letter to IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Saturday.
According to government sources, in his letter Tsipras expresses his concern over Wikileaks revelations and underlines that the negotiations should be carried out with conditions of credibility and confidence which is currently undermined by Wikileaks revelations.
Moreover, the same sources said that Tsipras requests from the Fund to state clearly if these revelations are IMF's official positions.
 Gov't spokeswoman: Greece requests official explanations from the IMFThe Greek government asks for explanations from the IMF if the creation of bankruptcy conditions in Greece before the referendum in Britain is the Fund's official position, stated on Saturday government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili referring to Wikileaks revelations and IMF's director in Europe Poul Thomsen phone conversation with IMF's Delia Vesculescu.
 Greece is a safe country, says Alt. Defence Minister Vitsas"Greece is a safe country, however, whatever happens in other European countries is like it is happening in our country and for this reason we need to be constantly vigilant" said Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas in an interview with the Sunday newspaper Free Sunday.
He also expressed fears that "extreme voices in Europe that do not want Europe or democracy or the human rights may take advantage of these kind of (terror) attacks" he underlined and stressed the need to "react with more democracy and with better management of the safety issues as well as with the upgrading of the protection of the human rights".
 Wikileaks: IMF to threaten Greece with bankruptcyIMF's intention to put pressure on Greece threatening it with bankruptcy in order to pass its harsh measures, reveals Wikileaks in a phone conversation between IMF director in Europe Poul Thomsen and IMF's mission chief in Greece Delia Velculescu.
Poul Thomsen is allegedly trying the IMF to not return to Greece and the review of the Greek programme to be delayed until July; therefore, Athens will run out of cash and will be forced to accept IMF's demands for additional harsh measures not foreseen in the agreement.
IMF's director in Europe also said that the IMF will not agree with the review and that it will not accept a small package of measures. He proposes Greece to be found with the back against the wall with no cash and on the brink of bankruptcy in order to be forced to impose the measures the IMF wants.
So, the deliberations on the review will be delayed until July in order to coincide with the referendum for the Brexit and the Europeans to have additional time because they do not want to take decisions before the British referendum.
He also reveals that he is planning to blackmail German Chancellor Angela Merkel with IMF's withdrawal from the programme which will raise a series of difficult questions in German parliament.
On her part, Vesculescu said that July's agreement was a mistake because it offered to the Greek government a very strong argument to not accept the additional measures requested by the IMF, claiming that they are committed to implement only those agreed and nothing more.
 Europarliament VP Papadimoulis sends letter to Schulz and Gualtieri on IMF and Greek reviewEuroparliament Vice President and head of SYRIZA MEPs Dimitris Papadimoulis in agreement with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent a letter to Europarliament president Martin Schulz and to all the europarliament political party leaders (except Marine Le Pen) as well as to the head of the Financial Assistance Working Group for Greece Roberto Gualtieri.
In his letter, Papadimoulis stresses that Wikileaks' recent revelations regarding Greece's programme and IMF's intention to put pressure on Greece, on the state-members and the European institutions gives rise to serious concerns because they "put in jeopardy the economic and political stability in a period that Europe is facing huge challenges as the financial and the refugees crisis, issues of safety and the British referendum".
He also underlines that it is "important the IMF to state clearly its position and to clarify to what point the revelations express the Fund's policy and intentions". He also asks the recipients' contribution for a rapid and successful completion of the Greek review noting that the "successful completion of the review will give new incentives and a breath to the Greek economy and will create new perspectives for the Greek society".
 Alt. Tourism Minister Kountoura meets with tour operators from Saudi ArabiaAlternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura had a series of important meetings with representatives of tour operators and agencies of Saudi Arabia with aim the promotion of the Greek tourism and the attraction of tourists.
Sixteen representatives of tour operators activating in Riyadh visited Greece within the framework of fam trips included in the broader planning for the opening of Greek tourism to dynamic markets of the Middle East.
The minister thanked them for their visit and referred to the targeted programme of actions with aim the promotion of Greece in Saudi Arabia. She also referred to the imminent 2nd GreekTourism Workshop that will take place next week in Riyadh.
 IMF: We do not comment on leaks and supposed reports"We do not comment on leaks and supposed reports of internal discussions" said IMF in an announcement referring to Wikileaks revelations.
In its announcement the International Monetary Fund reaffirms its stable position which is the need for a durable solution for the financial challenges Greece is facing. A solution which puts Greece on the path of sustainable growth supported by a set of credible reforms matched by a debt relief from its European partners.
The necessary reforms and targets (of the Greek programme) must be based on credible assumptions.
As the IMF has already reiterated, says the Fund's announcement, there is a trade-off on what is feasible on reforms and the amount of debt relief needed.
 Refugees and migrants continue to arrive on the Greek islands888 migrants and refugees arrived on the island of Lesvos, 463 persons reached the coasts of Chios island and 31 migrants and refugees arrived on Samos in the last 48 hours.
A few hours before the first readmission of migrants to Turkey and the implementation of EU-Turkey's agreement a large number of refugees and migrants continue to arrive on the Greek islands.
 Curator of Athens Festival Jan Fabre resignsNewly appointed Curator of the Athens and Epidauros International Festival Belgian Jan Fabre resigned on Saturday following a series of reactions caused by his decision the first year of his tenure to "consist of a tribute to Belgium".
 Nadia Murad visits refugees in IdomeniNadia Murad Basee Taha, visited on Sunday the refugees' camp in Idomeni.
The 21 year-old woman Nadia Murad Basee Taha was abducted by ISIS from her village last August, she was used as a sex slave and raped until she managed to escape and go to Germany. More than 3,000 Yazidi women and children remain prisoners of jihadists, according to estimates.
Murad held talks with her compatriots that are in Idomeni and other refugees and met with representatives of non-governmental organisations.
In statements to ANA-MPA, she said that the condition in Idomeni and Piraeus port is unacceptable and noted that what we are before a 'humanitarian crisis".
She said that all the refugees told her that they are waiting the borders to open and she told them that the borders will not open and it would be for their own interest to be transferred to temporary hosting centers.
Nadia Murad underlined that the transfer procedures must be accelerated and that additional hosting centers should be created.
 Frontex officers arrive on Lesvos to assist migrants' readmission to TurkeyApproximately 350 Frontex officers from Germany, France, Portugal, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania arrived on Saturday and Sunday on Lesvos to assist in the refugees and migrants readmission process to Turkey.
EU-Turkey agreement on the readmission of migrants from Lesvos is scheduled to start on Monday and 250 migrants will be sent back to Turkey accompanied by a Frontex officer.
The procedure will be carried out with two, leased by Frontex, Turkish-owned vessels.
According to information, the first readmissions do not refer to families but to individuals from north African countries, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Congo.
 Patras-Athens march for the unemployedA march from Patras to Athens organised by Patras municipality with aim the implementation of measures against unemployment started on Sunday at 09:30 from the port city of Patras.
Patras mayor Costas Peletidis who is leading the protest march stated "we demand from the government to take immediate measures for the relief of the jobless and with our participation in the march we are sending a message of hope that the policy that was us passive spectators, sheep ready to be slaughtered without a word, will not pass. We protest demanding work for all as well as measures for the protection of the jobless".
The protest will finish in Athens on Sunday 10 April.
 Weather ForecastMostly fair weather and north-northeasterly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 7 on the Beaufort scale. Partly cloudy in the afternoon in the northern and western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 06C-22C. Mostly fair in the eastern parts with temperatures between 07C-22C. Scattered clouds over the Aegean islands and Crete, 11C-21C. Fair in Athens, 08C-21C; the same for Thessaloniki, 10C-20C.
 Athens Headlines at a glanceAVGHI: The agreement on the taxes.
ETHNOS: (Prime Minister Alexis) Tsipras' answer to IMF's conspiracy: We will not leave Thomsen dissolve Europe.
KATHIMERINI: What Brussels and IMF ask for the completion of the Greek review.
PROTO THEMA: Germans represent Greece on labour issues.
REAL NEWS: Shame...Disgrace!
RIZOSPASTIS: Escalation of the popular action before the antipopular developments.
TO VIMA: Mr. Schulz, the matchmaker.
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