|Friday, 24 May 2013|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-07-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 5 July 2012 Issue No: 4113
 Development minister, EIB VP hold talks to free up fundingAccelerating procedures to overcome red-tape and to funnel capital to Greece-based SMEs via European Investment Bank (EIB) funding is a standing goal of the development and infrastructure ministry this month, Minister Costis Hatzidakis after a two-hour meeting on Wednesday with EIB Vice-President Plutarchos Sakellaris.
The government's talks with the EIB began on Wednesday, since in the first meeting mostly focused on technical details.
"July will be dedicated to negotiations with the European Investment Bank ... I trust that we shall overcome difficulties as soon as possible," he said.
On his part, Sakellaris clarified that there is no mistrust on the part of the EIB regarding the release of dedicated funds, although "there are various bureaucratic issues pending, which must be resolved by both the Bank and the EU, but by Greece as well."
 Greek, Bulgarian Presidents call for further development of 'excellent' bilateral relationsFurther development of the already "excellent" bilateral relations between Greece and Bulgaria, as President Karolos Papoulias described them, were discussed during a meeting on Wednesday with his visiting Bulgarian counterpart Rosen Plevneliev.
In joint statements to the press after the meeting, Papoulias said that Bulgaria is Greece's most important trade partner, despite the economic crisis, with more than 2.4 billion euros in volume in 2011 and Greek investment activity in the neighbouring country exceeding 3 billion euros.
Plevneliev arrived in Athens on Wednesday morning on his first state visit abroad since assuming the Bulgarian presidency in January.
Papoulias said that Greece considers the energy cooperation between the two countries as very significant, and spoke of a "spirit of understanding" between the two countries in a period of crisis and an "example of cooperation" between friendly states inside the EU.
Plevneliev, in turn, spoke of "very fruitful talks" at all levels, between the two peoples and governments and of an "immense dynamic for further strengthening the bilateral relations".
He wished success to the new Greek government and announced that he and Papoulias had agreed that the Greece-Bulgaria High-Level Cooperation Council, "which will enhance the friendship and cooperation between the two countries" will convene by the end of the year.
Plevneliev will attend an official dinner in his honour hosted by Papoulias on Wednesday evening, while on Thursday morning the two Presidents will have a working breakfast with businessmen from the two countries active in the other country. Afterwards, the Bulgarian President will go to Thessaloniki where in the afternoon he will be presented with an honourary PhD of the University of Macedonia.
 Bulgarian President visits Greek parliamentVisiting Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev and Greek parliament president Vangelis Meimarakis expressed their common conviction that the two countries can further expand their bilateral cooperation at all levels, during a meeting between the two officials on Wednesday, and reaffirmed the excellent relations between Greece and Bulgaria.
The two men also stressed the need for a joint effort in the face of the crisis that has hit Europe and for strengthening security and peace in the Balkans.
"The crisis that has hit Europe and our countries cannot be tackled with unilateral austerity and without development measures, as this leads to recession. Greece and Bulgaria can have a common direction in the new measures that will be taken so that we will be able to exit this recession, to the benefit of our citizens. Greece and Bulgaria can send a message of peace and development of the peoples of the Balkans," Meimarakis said.
Plevneliev, in turn, expressed full support for Greece's efforts to overcome the crisis.
"In Europe, and in Bulgaria, we are following with great interest and moral support what is going on in Greece. The decisions that will be taken here by the Greek government will also determine Europe's future," he said.
He further thanked Greece for its support, which he said helped his country achieve much in relation to the EU.
Plevneliev also put emphasis on the development of the two countries' bilateral relations, stressing that they must be further expanded at all levels. "I believe that we will do a very good job. There is common interest and dynamic, and we will work hard to achieve it," he added.
 Bulgarian President Plevneliev visits Acropolis MuseumBulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, speaking shortly after visiting the Acropolis Museum, where he was welcomed by Alternate Culture Minister Costas Tzavaras, and his guided tour by the Museum's director Dimitris Pantermalis, said "I am optimistic with the discussions and agreements we had with the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and I hope that by the end of the year the Supreme Greece-Bulgaria Cooperation Council will convene and for us to succeed in carrying out certain joint projects that will be to the benefit of the two peoples."
The Bulgarian president stressed that "Greece played a decisive role and supported Bulgaria in its European course. Of course Greece can also count on the hand that we give to it, a hand of solidarity and friendship" and pointed out that the region of southeastern Europe must not be underestimated.
"We are experiencing difficult times, we are in a crisis, however crises existed and will exist. I am, however, certain that Greece and Bulgaria constitute an islet of stability and are those that will be able to give to the region the peace and the prosperity that it deserves," he added while praising the Acropolis Museum at the same time and stressing that "a people that has given democracy to Europe, has written the history of Europe and has given its mythology, is displaying in an excellent way, in here in this museum, the wealth of not only Greece but of the entire world."
On his part, Tzavaras praised the Bulgarian president's character, calling him "a true friend of Greece."
During his tour of the museum, Pantermalis offered to the Bulgarian president a replica of the marble head of the "blonde youth", which dates back to 480 B.C.
 FM Avramopoulos holds talks with Bulgarian counterpartGreek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and his Bulgarian counterpart Nickolay Mladenov held talks on Wednesday and confirmed the joint will of Greece and Bulgaria to deepen the already excellent relations between the two countries in all sectors.
Avramopoulos said that in the past years Greece has established strong bonds of friendship and sincere cooperation with Bulgaria, something that is now having even greater importance since the two countries are in the ranks of the European family.
He stressed that "our will is to contribute, through our cooperation, to the shaping of an environment of stability, peace, friendship and cooperation in the wider region, so that the Balkans, that were sometimes the bad example, to be turned into an oasis of cooperation and security."
On his part, the Bulgarian Foreign minister, after thanking Avramopoulos for the warm welcome, referred to the meeting in the morning between the presidents of the two countries Karolos Papoulias and Rosen Plevneliev, stressing that they were assigned with starting the planning of the next Bulgaria-Greece government meeting and expressed the hope that it will take place in the second half of the year.
Referring to the agenda of the next Bulgaria-Greece government meeting, Mladenov said: "we must strengthen our cooperation not only on bilateral issues but also on issues concerning our neighbourhood's European prospect here in southeastern Europe and the challenges that all of Europe is facing today."
He also stressed the usefulness of the discussions regarding the next fiscal framework, with the Monetary and Economic Union, "to enable us to coordinate our positions better and for us to be more active as two members, that are not only neighbours but longstanding friends and strategic partners as well."
 PM calls on Parliament president to rescind decision giving bonus to House employeesPrime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday evening called on new Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis to find a way to reverse a decision by the previous caretaker Parliament president, Vyron Polydoras, to award a 1,000-euro bonus to nearly 1,300 Parliament employees as an "election entitlement".
According to reports, Samaras stressed that in a period of deep cutbacks, it's a "provocation" towards citizens that any such bonus to be allocated to Parliament's employees.
Meimarakis had expressed a similar intention earlier.
Meanwhile, associates of Polydoras merely said previously that if Meimarakis considers the decision a mistake then he should cancel the bonus.
When Polydoras signed the relevant decision, worth two million euros, he clarified that he approved only a 1,000-euro bonus for each employee instead of 4,000 euros they are "entitled" to, according to existing legislation.
Coalition parties discuss final touches to policy statement; agreement to divide electoral constituences, sources say
One of the immediate changes agreed on by the three parties in the coalition government during talks held late on Wednesday to prepare the government policy statement is the division of large electoral constituencies into several smaller ones that each elect a maximum of six MPs, AMNA sources said.
The negotiations to place the final touches to the policy statement that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will read out in Parliament on Friday began at 5:00 p.m. at the prime minister's offices, with Chrysanthos Lazaridis representing coalition leader New Democracy, former minister Costas Skandalidis negotiating for the PASOK party and Dimitris Hatzisokratis for the Democratic Left (Dem.Ar).
The same sources said that other issues concerning changes to election law and political system reforms will not be addressed immediately but left for the Constitutional revision to start in June 2013.
The three parties also agreed to modify the law passed by former interior minister Yiannis Ragoussis so that the children of illegal migrants born in Greece will not receive Greek nationality until they become 18 and only if they give up the nationality of their parents, rather than at birth.
With respect to the government's negotiations with the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika, the coalition intends to ask for the payment of taxes in a greater number of installments since the sums involved are large and tax-payers are having difficulty pay on time. They will also intend to oppose plans for the firing of 15,000 public-sector staff before the end of the year, finding that the reduction in terms of public spending is not significant and it would send the wrong message by increasing unemployment.
Instead, the government will counter-propose the abolition of state organisations and services and for the staff involved to either enter a 'labour reserve' scheme or be transferred following an evaluation.
 Foreign ministry announcement on statements by British PMForeign ministry secretary general Ioannis-Alexios Zepos on Wednesday summoned the ambassador of the United Kingdom in Greece, David Landsman and pointed out that recent statements by British Prime Minister David Cameron can create mistaken impressions, while making efforts for a consolidation of a climate of trust, which is essential for handling the economic crisis in Europe, more difficult.
The statement was issued by the foreign ministry on Wednesday.
Cameron, replying to questions by lawmakers in the House of Commons on possible waves of immigration from over-indebted countries in the euerozone, said that the taking of measures is possible for a restriction of migration, expressing however, a hope that this will not happen.
 Need for drastic public sector overhaul, gov't spokesman saysGovernment spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Wednesday referred to structural reforms that are necessary to be implemented in the public sector.
Speaking to an Athens-based radio station, he stressed that a drastic overhaul is necessary, pointing out that "structural reforms are not just pretty words. They are a new practice, a new way of operation for the public sector. The example of salaried committee memberships and the ministry special secretariats is indicative of the way this government wishes to operate. We have said that all of them will be abolished and decisions on whether some of them will have to be maintained will be made on an individual basis."
On the likelihood of lay-offs in the public sector, he said that "every effort will be made to have no more sacrifices". He added that debts owed by the state to private companies will also be repaid, SMEs will have access to bank loans and privatisations will proceed, underlining that the best way to tackle unemployment is to stimulate SMEs.
Referring to the negotiations with the troika he said that the repayment extension issue has reached maturity, adding that is not an easy process.
 SYRIZA urges public sector overhaul; says gov't has given up on 'renegotiating' bailout agreementsMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary spokesman Panagiotis Lafazanis stressed the need for a major overhaul of the public sector in statements to the private radio station Vima on Wednesday. At the same time, he said the governing coalition had given up all pretence of 'renegotiating' the terms of the bailout agreements for Greece.
"Renegotiation is now a thing of the distant past. It was promised before the elections as a diversion for SYRIZA, which was demanding the abolition of the Memorandum, it started to be nibbled down immediately after the elections and now it has virtually disappeared. No one talks of renegotiation, we have started talking about 'modifications'," Lafazanis said.
He also stressed that SYRIZA had at no time sought to renegotiate the memorandum since this was, by definition, based on a policy that was wrong.
"Lying at the core and heart of the Memorandum is internal devaluation, is austerity. The Memorandum must be abolished, anulled and we must enter new policy directions in order to stall the recessionary slide and slow open roads to recovery," he added.
Concerning the public sector, Lafazanis said that this needed major changes and modernisation that would lead to a new period of efficiency and results, break the stranglehold of bureaucracy, impose new principles of meritocracy and "finally end the gangrene of partisanship" in the state sector.
Lafazanis underlined the need to restore the prestige and dignity of civil servants, giving them "the opportunity to contribute and understand that they are contributing to the Greek public sector and Greek society".
 SYRIZA MPs send letter to PM over banks' treatment of fire disaster victimsSeveral banks are contravening the express instructions issued by the prime minister's office and taking money directly from the bank accounts of fire disaster victims in order pay off loan instalments, eight MPs of the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party revealed in a letter sent to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday.
They demanded that the prime minister personally intervene to stop this practice by banks in fire-stricken prefectures, which ignored an announcement issued by the premier's office on this issue after a similar complaint made by the SYRIZA MP for Messinia Thanassis Petrakos.
The eight MPs further accuse the same banks of refusing to uniformly apply measures extended loans for fire-disaster regions by one year on the pretext of various "legal glitches". In their letter, they stressed that the need to stop these bank practices that were leading thousands of small business owners that had taken out loans to the brink of disaster.
The letter was signed by SYRIZA Parliamentary representative Panagiotis Lafazanis and the MPs Thanassis Petrakos, Efi Georgopoulou, Kostas Zacharias, Dimitris Kodelas, Maria Kanelopoulou, Vassilis Hatzilambrou and Vangelis Apostolou.
 SYRIZA strongly opposed to abolition of protected areas managing bodiesMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Wednesday strongly objected to the abolition of organizations managing protected areas, in response to a relevant list that has surfaced through the media in the "form of leaked information".
The Samaria National Park Management Body is among the roughly 20 public sector agencies about to be merged or abolished.
A statement issued by SYRIZA underlined that the decision was "not accidental" considering that "the region is vulnerable to pressures for commercial exploitation and the specific body serves as the only protective shield."
The Samaria region and the archaeological site of Knossos are the two most popular regions to tourists visiting the island of Crete, the SYRIZA statement said, adding that "the Samaria National Park Management Body receives no state funding whatsoever."
 EU Summit decisions effective in Greece and Portugal as wellPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Portugal's Socialist Party (PS) leader Antonio Seguro held a long telephone conversation earlier on Wednesday, focusing on the coordination of actions undertaken by their parties to ensure that the recent EU Summit decisions will be implemented in Greece and Portugal as well.
According to EU Summit decisions, the ESM will recapitalise Spanish banks directly, therefore, eliminating the impact on the Spanish public debt.
Venizelos had referred to the issue on Tuesday when he addressed the Economist Conference in Athens, stressing that Cyprus should also be included in the countries where the Brussels decision will be implemented.
 Angry PASOK reaction to Cameron comment on 'closing UK border' to GreeksIn an incensed reaction to British Prime Minister David Cameron and his earlier reference to the possibility of closing the United Kingdom's borders to Greek citizens if the country exits the eurozone, the PASOK party on Wednesday said it hoped "Cameron will either deny or rephrase what he allegedly said".
One of the two junior parties in Greece's coalition government, PASOK questioned whether the United Kingdom "which is not a member of the eurozone, is so concerning about the unity and stability of the eurozone as to threaten police measures that violate all the principles, the fundamental freedoms and rules of European law".
Instead of indulging in comments that were insulting and created an artificial nervousness in the markets, PASOK said Cameron should instead ensure that he provided explanations concerning the reports that the LIBOR bank lending rate had been manipulated by senior UK bank executives and what he had done to get Britain's finances in order.
 KKE party leader says the people can pay no moreCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said on Wednesday "we believe that a large part of working people cannot pay the tax authorities, not even with the arrangemnents taking place for them to pay 25%-30% of income, because the incomes are very low and if the cost of the PPC, heating, the cost of life are jointly considered in relation to the decrease of salaries, the payment of the tax authorities is impossible, even with instalments, of 25% or 30% of the salary."
Papariga further said "it is unacceptable for people with an income of 5,000 euros or unemployed to pay the tax authorities because they have a house, the unemployed person cannot turn the house into food," adding that "tomorrow there shall be a large part of working people who will be considered tax evaders, consequently they require defending so that they will not have confiscations."
Also speaking after her meeting with the directorate of the Panhellenic Federation of Employee Societies of IKA (POSE IKA), Papariga said in the process of the new government's policy statements in Parliament, to KKE "will not stay on all these general things that the government will say, but we shall claim the prime minister to reply how the social security foundation IKA will be supported and to state that for all the coming years pensions are secure."
 2 Greek NCOs sustain minor burns during explosion outside KabulTwo NCOs serving with a Greek military unit participating in the NATO peacekeeping force in Afghanistan sustained light burns on their hands during a incident at an alliance base in the country, following a propane cylinder explosion at a fuel depot outside Kabul.
The cause of the explosion remains unclear. It was recorded at roughly 12.40 GMT.
First aid was provided to the two injured servicemen, without further medical attention necessary, according to reports.
 SYRIZA on wounded Greek NCOs in AfghanistanRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group National Defence sector chief Thodoris Dritsas called on the Defence ministry to have a speedy and full clarification of the causes and conditions of the wounding of two Greek NCOs in Afghanistan, according to a party statement.
Dritsas said "apart however from the causes and the conditions, this wounding came to remind that in this martyred country a savage and bloody war is taking place after an intervention by NATO in which Greece is also participating," while reiterating SYRIZA's steadfast position that the Greek military mission must return from Afghanistan immediately.
Dritsas expressed the wish that "our fellow countrymen NCOs who were wounded in the capital of Afghanistan have indeed only light wounds and get well soon."
 Task Force chief meets with energy ministerEuropean Commission Task Force chief Horst Reichenbach and environment, energy and climate change minister Evangelos Livieratos agreed to continuation of the task force's cooperation with the ministry in the areas of the environment, energy and spatial administration as important tools for development, during a meeting on Wednesday.
Livieratos noted that the task force had been invited by the Greek government to assist in putting forward some new recommendations on matters related to the environment, energy and spatial management. He added that the discussion took place in a very good climate and with full comprehension of the problems, and expressed optimism that this good cooperation with the task force will continue in the future.
Reichenbach, in turn, said that discussions focused on specific areas, which are very important for Greece, in which the cooperation would continue, such as waste management, Renewable Energy Sources and the National Cadastre (Land Registry). He said these were three matters of great significance that substantially impact the country's growth.
 Labour minister reiterates gov't determination to implement all commitments"We will do everything possible to implement our commitments and necessary structural reforms," Labour, Social Insurance and Welfare Minister Yiannis Vroutsis said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Horst Reichenbach, the head of the EU's Task Force in Greece, the minister added that it was very significant to finally field an efficient public administration. He asked for the Task Force's help in implementing four actions in the framework of a government-sponsored e-governance programme, necessary to contain overspending, boosting informal labor and combating social insurance contribution evasion.
Reichenbach expressed an appreciation for the minister's determination in promoting changes in e-government operations and pledged that the Task Force will offer support and technical assistance to have immediate results.
 SYRIZA's Tsipras slams plan for sale of Hellenic Sugar Industry for only 40 mill.Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday warned the government not to go ahead with plans to "sell off public wealth for a song and especially the sale of those productive units that could be a lever for the productive reconstitution of the country".
Tsipras stressed that this would be tantamount to "the second biggest crime after the signature of the Memorandum [for bailout loans to Greece]" in statements after meeting with a delegation of workers from the Hellenic Sugar Industry (EBZ).
SYRIZA's leader strongly criticised a plan to sell off EBZ for what he called a 'paltry' 40 million euro, noting that the two factories owned by EBZ's subsidiary in Serbia were alone currently costed at more than 150 million euro. He also pointed out that EBZ was the largest agricultural-based industry in northern Greece and was currently making a profit that could be made even larger with the right plan and strategy. He also noted that the sale would not only affect EBZ's workforce but also thousands of farmers now growing sugar beet that supplied EBZ.
Tsipras promised that his party will stand at the side of workers in the coming period and stressed that privatisation processes in Greece, but also Europe and the rest of the world, had acted as sources of corruption and major scandals "especially in conditions with fast-track and pressure".
"We will not allow the same to happen here, especially at a time when the Greek economy is suffocating and suffering. We will strive for the Greek economy to have hope and prospects, so that they do not extinguish hope entirely through their choices," he said.
 State debt to private sector rose to 6.8 bln euros in MayPublic sector's overdue debt to the private sector rose to 6.8 billion euros in the January-May period this year, from 6.278 billion euros in the January-April period, Greece's Finance ministry said.
The finance ministry attributed this development to higher overdue debt by state hospitals (1.982 billion euros in May to 1.588 billion a month earlier). Government ministries' debt to the private sector also rose to 837.1 million euors in May from 796.7 million euros in April, while local authorities' debt fell to 781 million euros from 805.4 million euros over the same period, respectively. Social Insurance organizations' debt rose to 2.920 billion euros in May from 2.822 billion in April, while other legal entities' overdue debt rose to 281.3 million euros in May from 266 million euros in April.
 Stocks jump 4.87% to 2-month highsStocks rallied at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, pushing the composite index of the market to its highest level in the last two years.
The index jumped 4.87 pct to end at 650.27 points, with analysts attributing this sharp advance to expectations that the government will accelerate its privatization and reforms program. Turnover, however, remained a low 33.629 million euros.
The Big Cap index ended 4.76 pct higher and the Mid Cap index jumped 4.73 pct. The Commerce (1.44 pct) sector was the only one to end lower, while Telecoms (8.0 pct), Personal Products (6.22 pct), Raw Materials (5.99 pct) and Travel (5.27 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.
Cyprus Bank (3.41 pct) and Folli Follie (1.58 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end lower, while Ellaktor (9.17 pct), OTE (8.0 pct), Alpha Bank (7.69 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (7.36 pct) were top gainers.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 104 to 32 with another 14 issues unchanged. Creta Farm (30 pct), Kloukinas (29.84 pct) and HOL (20 pct) were top gainers, while Minerva (9.91 pct), Attica Holdings (7.79 pct) and Lazaridis (6.82 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +5.11%
Personal & Household: +6.22%
Raw Materials: +5.99%
Travel & Leisure: +5.27%
Food & Beverages: +5.93%
Financial Services: +4.01%
The stocks with the highest turnover were HBC Coca Cola, National Bank, Alpha Bank and OPAP.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 01/01/26
Public Power Corp (PPC): 01/02/28
HBC Coca Cola: 15.68
Hellenic Petroleum: 01/05/25
National Bank of Greece: 01/01/45
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.73
Bank of Piraeus: 0.25
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.55 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover improving slightly to 8.578 million euros.
Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,989 contracts worth 3.471 million euros, with 20,555 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 36,495 contracts worth 5.107 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (12,922), followed by National Bank (6,671), Cyprus Bank (5,251), OTE (2,694), PPC (1,115), OPAP (1,854), Cyprus Popular Bank (3,640), Piraeus Bank (622), GEK (177), Coca Cola 3E (182) and MIG (105).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. Dollar 1274
Pound sterling 815
Danish kroner 7548
Swedish kroner 8817
Japanese yen 101.78
Swiss franc 1219
Norwegian kroner 7629
Canadian dollar 1291
Australian dollar 1240
 Alternate Culture Minister Tzavaras' interview on AMNA Web TVThe new Modern Art Museum in Athens will be completed in seven months at the latest, Alternate Culture Minister Costas Tzavaras said on Wednesday, during an interview on AMNA Web TV, underlining that procedures will be sped up in an effort to further support the production of modern culture.
Tzavaras expressed optimism for the prospects of culture in Greece despite the crisis the country is experiencing.
He underlined that immediate action will be taken to solve the problems faced by the ministry including personnel shortage, housing and lack of funds.
 'A Century and a Year' of Kiosks in Athens celebrationsThis year marks a century and one year of one of the most popular "institutions" in Athens, the Greek kiosk, and the Kiosky's network, in collaboration with the City of Athens, is celebrating the anniversary with a series of events and the publication of a luxury volume delving into this part of the city's history.
The commemorative book "A Century and a Year of the kiosk 1911-2012" contains rare historical and contemporary photographic material, while a series of anniversary events will kick off on Thursday in central Syntagma Square, where a "retro" kiosk of the 1950's will be set up, with products of that period.
On the left and right of the kiosk there will be life-size human figures without faces for visitors who wish to be photoraphed, and will be able to take the black-and-white photograph with them free of charge as a memento.
Stilt walkers will be giving out balloons to children, while a period newspaperman will be running through the crowds calling out the news of the day.
The Syntagma event will run Thursday from 10:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the evening, while the City of Athens band will provide a musical backdrop in the afternoon with period songs.
 Police identify, draw up charges for 28 involved in February riots in AthensGreek police have identified and drawn up criminal charges against 28 people that they say participated in serious acts of vandalism and looting during rioting that occurred in central Athens last February.
Police announced that 22 of the individuals identified are Greek nationals, 16 men and six women, and the remaining five men and one woman are foreign nationals. The suspects are between the ages of 18 and 48 years old and live in various regions of Attica, Ilia, Achaia, Larissa and Iraklio on Crete.
In the work of identifying the 28 people involved, police said a crucial role was played by information supplied by members of the public via calls to the counter-terrorism service and other police departments after video footage and photographs of those involved were made public by order of a public prosecutor.
The charges drawn up against them include arson, causing explosions, violation of laws concerning weapons and explosives, inflicting dangerous or grievous bodily harm, theft, vandalism, disturbing the peace, drug violations and fencing.
Some of the 28 will also face charges of illegal possession of explosive devices with intent to expose other people to danger, committing crimes of violence with facial features concealed, resisting arrest and repeated counts of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm on police officers acting in the line of duty.
The individuals involved are suspects in the break ins, damage and looting of a number of high-street shops and banks, including an Omonia shop selling weaponry for use as stage props, clothing and other goods stores, photography and mobile phone equipment shops, a jewellery shop and a bank. Police allege that they were also in groups carrying out attacks on police forces, injuring police officers and torching a motorcycle belonging to a DIAS motorcycle police patrol.
The evidence gathered against all 28 has now been forwarded to the Athens first-instance court prosecutor.
 Family quarrel between 3 foreign nat'ls lands them in hospitalThree foreign nationals, all members of the same family, aged 24, 21 and 28, were arrested on Wednesday in the village of Loggos, near the south-central city of Lamia, when a quarrel amongst themselves led to the stabbing of two and the head injury of the third.
The three men, Albanian nationals, remained hospitalised under police guard at a Lamia hospital.
Two of the three sustained stab wounds to the abdomen.
Police are seeking another suspect, 28, who is allegedly involved in the incident.
 Athens lawyer commits suicide by jumping off roofA 44-year-old Athens lawyer put an end to his life at 12:25 p.m. on Wednesday by jumping of the roof of a three-storey building at 11 Apollonos Street in Plaka.
The man did not live at the specific address and the police are conducting an inquiry into the reasons that apparently led him to take his own life.
 Woman, 44, arrested for outstanding debts of 2.3 million euro to stateA 44-year-old woman was arrested in Corinth on Wednesday for outstanding debts to the state of 2,308,577.89 euro. The woman was led before a Corinth public prosecutor.
 Roughly ton of stolen copper found in car; two arrestedPolice came with roughly a ton of copper, in the form cables cut in pieces, during a random check of a private car in the early morning hours on Wednesday in in Viotia prefecture, south-central Greece.
The car's passengers, two men aged 37 and 58, were arrested after being unable to justify the origin of the copper found in their vehicle.
For the record, the region has been plagued by thieves targeting railway line cables and power transformers belonging to the Public Power Corp. (PPC) grid.
 Wildfire breaks out on Rhodes islandA wildfire broke out on Wednesday evening in a forested area on the island of Rhodes near the village of Apollonas. Firefighting forces on the island have been mobilised to place it under control and prevent it from spreading to a nearby forest, one of the few regions on the island that have not experienced fires in the past years.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glanceThe government' plan for the civil servants and the privatisations programme and Task Force chief Horst Reichenbach's statements on the course of the Greek economy, mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Ministries' committees and special secretariats to be abolished".
AVGHI: "Fast(er) track... looting!".
DIMOKRATIA: "The first battle".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Blackout in citizens' pockets and queues of despair outside PPC branches".
ESTIA: "Governmental co-habitation difficult".
ETHNOS: "Who will leave the public sector until 2015".
IMERISSIA: "Signal to international markets with express privatisations".
KATHIMERINI: "Privatisations and hirings reduction in public sector"
LOGOS: "How much the Troika's visits to Greece cost the Greek markets".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Reichenbach's red card on course of economy".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Labourers' red line is the end to sacrifices for the crisis".
TA NEA: "Public sector: Haircut instead of layoffs".
VRADYNI: "360 euros unemployment benefit to unemployed professionals".
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