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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-09-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek economy shrinks 7.7 pct in H1
  • [02] Recovered Rubens painting unveiled, will be returned to Belgian museum from where it was stolen
  • [03] Contraband cigarettes seized
  • [04] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Greek economy shrinks 7.7 pct in H1

    (ANA-MPA) - The Greek economy remained in deep recession in the first half of 2011, with the country’s Gross Domestic Product shrinking by 7.7 pct in the January-June period, compared with a decline of 2.35 pct in the same period last year, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that GDP fell 7.3 pct in the second quarter of 2011, exceeding a budget target for a decline of 6.9 pct. The statistics agency attributed this negative development to a sharp decline in turnover in the services sector and to a large decline in investments. The country’s Gross Domestic Product shrank 8.1 pct in the first quarter.

    Gross fixed capital investments dropped 17.9 pct in the second quarter of 2011 compared with the same period last year, while consumer spending fell 6.8 pct (private consumption down 6.1 pct and public consumption down 9.7 pct). On the other hand, the country’s trade deficit fell by 26.5 pct in the same period.

    Export of goods and services fell 4.1 pct (exports of goods rose 2.2 pct and exports of services fell 3.8 pct), while imports fell 7.6 pct (imports of goods fell 7.1 pct and imports of services dropped 9.2 pct).

    [02] Recovered Rubens painting unveiled, will be returned to Belgian museum from where it was stolen

    (ANA-MPA) - Greece on Thursday publicly presented a stolen Rubens painting that was recovered by Greek police a week earlier in an Athens seaside suburb, during a press conference by culture and tourism minister Pavlos Geroulanos, who said that the painting will be turned over by the Greek state to the Belgian museum from where it was stolen in a robbery a decade ago.

    Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens' 1618 "The Hunt for the Caledonian Wild Boar Hunt" (28 X 52 cm), stolen in 2001 from the Ghent Museum of Fine Arts, was recovered by Greek police on September 1 in an Athens seaside suburb, while two people -- a 65-year-old former antique store owner and a 40-year-old woman -- were arrested after the painting was found in the trunk of their car.

    According to police the pair was, by all accounts, not involved in the original museum heist, and the investigation was now focused on how the painting by the 17th century Flemish master came into their possession.

    Undercover police posing as buyers offered up to six million euros for the painting, and the pair was arrested at a final meeting set up for the transaction.

    Geroulanos, during a joint press conference on Thursday with citizens protection minister Christos Papoutsis and Greece's National Gallery director Marina Lambraki-Plaka at the gallery, commenting on reservations that have been voiced as to the authenticity of the painting, said categorically: "The painting was purchased as a Rubens, it is recorded as a Rubens work in the catalogues of the Ghent museum -- to which it belongs -- and was stolen as a Rubens work".

    "The Greek state will turn over this painting to the Ghent museum, which has identified it as the work of the Master," the Greek minister added.

    Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was a prolific 17th century Flemish Baroque painter and proponent of an exuberant Baroque style emphasising color, movement and sensuality, and is known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.

    [03] Contraband cigarettes seized

    Thousands of packages of contraband cigarettes were seized by port authorities in the western port of Patras on Thursday, hidden in a trailer house.

    During a search of the vehicle, which was headed for Italy, authorities found a total of 3,105 packets of contraband cigarettes hidden in a secret compartment.

    Two foreign nationals -- the 52-year-old driver and a 56-year-old passenger, were arrested.

    [04] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The state of the economy, the EU-IMF troika's pressure for new measures and planned protest strikes were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Thursday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The Greeks are paying for the government's incompetence".

    AVGHI: "Social unrest - Storm of reactions, strikes and rallies".

    AVRIANI: "Swiss bank UBS predicts civil war in Greece in the event of default".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Another bomb - No tax exemption for incomes above 40,000 euros".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government reducing civil service salaries and verbally abuses civil servants".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Buildings with and without construction permits subject to the same fee for transfer of ownership".

    ESTIA: "Zero Hour for Greece".

    ETHNOS: "Haircut and reserve labor as of October 1".

    IMERISSIA: "Market now 'investing' in implementation of the measures".

    KATHIMERINI: "Pressure from outside, reactions inside".

    LOGOS: "Shock measures bringing early elections".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Acceleration (of the measures) does not change the need for new measures".

    NIKI: "Households in despair".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Battle alert everywhere against the new horrific anti-popular measures".

    TA NEA: "Troika demands new measures".

    VRADYNI: "Uprising is the response to the barbarity".

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