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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-12-22
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 FM Avramopoulos concludes visit to LibyaAMNA--Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and Libyan International Cooperation Minister ╠ohamed Abdelaziz referred to a new page in relations of the two countries in joint statements after talks in Tripolis .
Avramopoulos, who paid on Thursday an official visit to Libya, met with President of the General National Congress of Libya Dr. Mohamed Yousouf Al-Megarief, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and International Cooperation Minister ╠ohamed Abdelaziz, with whom he discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations as well as developments in the region. The joint volition for a new start of cooperation in sectors such as tourism, construction, defence, port management, health and renewable energy sources was underlined during the Greek minister's talks with the Libyan leaders.amna
As regards the implementation of a "Joint Plan of Strategic cooperation" Avramopoluos and Abdelaziz said, in their joint press conference, that they agreed on a road map which will be implemented within the next six months and will be inaugurated with a joint business forum to take place in Tripolis on March 2013. Cooperation in commerce, investments, tourism and the provision of know-how in the sectors of services will follow up, while the conventional cooperation framework will be updated in the light of the important changes taking place in Libya.amna
The two ministers also said that talks also touched the issue of delineating the sea zones between the two countries without entering into details.
The Greek Foreign minister also announced Greece's intention to host for training cadres of the Diplomatic Service and the Police of Libya, while the Libyan side's sastisfaction was expressed over the training of officers of the Libyan army at the Greek military academies. Abdelaziz said on his part that "the Libyans who had graduated from Greece, are now leading cadres in Libya. They are very well prepared compared even with those who had been trained in the US and other European countries" and they are essential at the moment "since Libya is starting the reorganisation of its Interior ministry and places emphasis on security and defence issues".amna
In the framework of the visit, Avramopoulos held a meeting with the Metropolitan of Tripolis Theofylaktos and members of the Greek community, as well as with Greek businessmen who are active in Libya.
 SYRIZA leader in ArgentinaAMNA-- Meetings by the main opposition Radical Left Coalition's (SYRIZA) delegation, headed by Alexis Tsipras, began on Friday morning (local time) in Buenos Aires, the second stop in their tour of Latin America, with Argentinian Foreign Minister Hector Marcos Timerman.
Argentina's experience since 2003 onwards, in the direction of the reconstruction of a ruined economy, was the focus of the discussion, at which Greece's intention was stressed to strengthen bilateral relations between Athens and Buenos Aires at all levels.amna
"You must always remember that there is an alternative path. And that no one can do for the Greeks what they cannot do for themselves," Timerman stressed, while SYRIZA's leader added that "for us, this alternative path is the path of dignity".amna
A series of issues were raised at the meeting, such as Argentina's role in the G-20, the danger of the spreading of the crisis at global level, the danger of a flareup in the region of the southeastern Mediterranean, due to Syria, as well as the issue of the demilitarisation of the South Atlantic and Antarctica.
 FinMin ascertains change in climate for Greece's economyAMNA--Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras expressed his belief, in statements made Friday to the newspaper "Proto Thema", that the recent decisions by international firms and by the European Central Bank show a change in climate for the country.
"These decisions mean in essence that the climate and the psychology have changed. The feeling existing abroad is that Greece has passed the danger. Even at a purely budget level, you shall see that 2012 will close in a better way than predictions," Stournaras said.amna
The Finance minister further said that "we have now reached the bottom and what remains is for the upward course to begin," stressing however that "for us to receive the next tranches of 35 billion as well for 2013 and 2014 a series of actions must take place, such as the increase in the PPC's rates as well as the decrease in the prices of pharmaceuticals".
 Samaras named politician of the year by German newspaperAMNA--German financial newspaper "Der Handelsblatt" picked Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as the politician of the year in Friday's issue that featured a special section on distinguished personalities in 2012.
The commentary written on Prime Minister Samaras, who is described as "unwavering", was signed by Germany's former foreign minister Hans Dietrich Genscher, who described the Greek premier's course, expressed respect toward him and the certainty that he will be successful in his efforts.
"The decision to name Antonis Samaras 'politician of the year' could not have been better," Genscher wrote, adding that "2012 was his year". amna
Germany's veteran politician referred to the early years of Samaras' political career and his studies in the USA to note that "he knows the world and now the world knows about him". amna
He said that he met Samaras when both served as their respective countries' foreign ministers, adding that "the Greek politician's course has won respect and appreciation".
Referring to the outcome of the two general elections held in Greece in 2012, Genscher said that despite the fact that Samaras' political party did not have a strong majority, very soon it became clear that only he could win the necessary support and become the prime minister. He noted that the holder of the prime minister's office in Greece had to display the ability to impose his positions, assume responsibility and show self-confidence.
"At this hour of responsibility," Genscher wrote, Samaras changed "from the politician, who in the past condemned the implementation of necessary austerity measures, to the one who recognized what Greece's interest called for under the specific circumstances."amna
He said that Samaras "accepted the challenge to talk about past omissions made by him and Greece in order to draw the necessary conclusions. The clarity of his position and his ability to impose it laid the foundations on which the confidence of the European partners was built leading to the decision on the bailout package for Greece".
"Antonis Samaras proved what it means for a country to be ruled by a personality which, in a situation that seemed hopeless, can realize what the right path is and follows it against all obstacles," Genscher stressed.amna
He said that he resisted pointing the finger at others and, on the contrary, he did not hesitate to point at the wounds created by past Greek policy mistakes, a stance that "ensured him the respect of his people who are following him on the tough course toward a fresh start." He also stressed that "his courage and persuasiveness has won him the respect of his European partners."
In conclusion, Genscher noted that Samaras knows what defeat means and that each defeat can be an opportunity for a fresh start. "He knows that the course toward the country's recovery will include even tougher trials for the people of the birthplace of Democracy and for the leader of the government in particular. Anyone who has met him is convinced that he will make it," Genscher stressed.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Saturday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The sweeping changes in civil servants' salaries and pensions and the change of climate in Europe towards Greece, dominated the headlines on Saturday in Athens' newspapers.
AVGHI: "Venomous gift".
DIMOKRATIA: "Eight typhoons for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras".
ESTIA: "Antonis Samaras' European role".
ETHNOS: "End of an era"
KATHIMERINI: "Eurogroup: No additional measures will be needed in Greece".
PROTO THEMA: "Why the international rating agencies are playing again Greece".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Antipopular tax storm".
TO ARTHRO: "Control in Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras' hands".
TO PARON: "Stournaras is setting a party".
TO VIMA: "Miracle...miracle!".
TYPOS: "The huge reversals".
VRADYNI: "All the changes in professionals and farmers' pensions".
 Antiquity smugglers receive 16 years to life sentencesAMNA--Four men were sentenced by the Thessaloniki Court on Friday with 16-years to life sentences by for antiquity smuggling.
The case was revealed last October following a police operation in Gerakarou village near the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. Police recovered one hundred priceless ancient artifacts.
The "items of inestimable value" included gold, silver, copper and clay artifacts of varying sizes, dating back to the late 6th century BC; the smugglers were ready to sell them to a buyer for 10 million euros.
 Greeks have low expectations despite disbursement of bailout loan trancheAMNA--Greeks have low expectations following the disbursement of the bailout loan tranche, according to an opinion poll published in the Sunday issue of Ethos newspaper.
The opinion poll conducted by MARC polling company showed that only 20.2 pct believe that things will improve while 64.4 pct responded that they will worsen.
According to 54.5 pct of the respondents, the situation in the country will improve if new political parties are formed, while 35.9 pct believe that things will improve if the existing political parties are improved and renewed.
The majority of those who responded to the questionnaire (84.1 pct) are not satisfied with the way the political system operates and 81.4 pct believe that 2013 will be the year in which the political landscape will change. amna
Meanwhile, 44.5 pct of the respondents want New Democracy (ND) to expand toward the center of the political spectrum, 34 pct want Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) to adopt more moderate positions and 22.6 pct to become more radical. Also, 26.5 pct want PASOK to collaborate with other political forces of the center-left and 16.2 pct to return to its roots. As regards the Democratic Left (DIM.AR), 33.9 pct believe that it follows the wrong direction and 25.5 pct that its stance is submissive.
 Traditional Christmas service at MeteoraAMNA--The monastery complex at Meteora, in western Greece, will celebrate Christmas this year with a service that begins around 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve and concludes early on Christmas Day.
Meteora, on UNESCO's World Heritage List, is the second largest monastic community in Greece after Mt. Athos.
The monasteries, built on peaks on sandstone, were first occupied by hermits in the 11th century. A total of twenty-four monasteries were eventually built starting with the 14th century; eight of them are still in operation.amna
Lying at the feet of the monastery area is the town of Kalambaka, a popular winter tourism centre. The area also lends itself to several excursions through scenic natural routes.
 Prospects of cooperation between Greece, China in tourismAMNA--Prospects for cooperation between Greece and China in the tourism and culture sectors were examined at an event of the Greek-Chinese Chamber of Commerce at a downtown Athens hotel on Friday in the framework of the Money Show that coincided with the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of diplomatic relations between the two countries.amna
Tourism minister Olga Kefaloyianni said in her address that the big wager for Greek tourism and the relevant ministry is the considerable increase in tourist flows from China. The figure of about 80,000 Chinese tourists who arrived in Greece in 2011 can increase considerably in the near future, provided that there are the appropriate moves in this direction.
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