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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-01-27

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

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

Monday, 27 January 2014 Issue No: 4570

CONTENTS

  • [01] Earthquake on Cephalonia island
  • [02] European elections will be a tough political battle, Venizelos says
  • [03] PASOK leader raises Euroelections dilemma
  • [04] SYRIZA leader Tsipras calls for extraordinary EU Summit meeting on migration
  • [05] Government spokesman on Tsipras' letter to the European Council president
  • [06] Citizen Protection Minister Dendias on the country's correctional system
  • [07] Illegal migration is the problem, government spokesman Kedikoglou says
  • [08] DIMAR party's Central Committee session concluded
  • [09] Golden Dawn party announces Athens municipality, Attica Region candidates
  • [10] KKE party leader says EU hell for all its peoples
  • [11] Two opinion polls give SYRIZA marginal lead over ND
  • [12] Stefanos Tzoumakas launches new political party
  • [13] Labour Minister Vroutsis rejects scenarios of further wage and pension reductions
  • [14] Talks with Switzerland on the taxation of Greek deposits continue
  • [15] Escaped convict Ilir Kupa arrested in Albania
  • [16] Migrants arrested in Igoumenitsa port lacking travel documents
  • [17] Heavy rainfall during Friday night caused problems in Athens
  • [18] Airlift for 50-year-old liver transplant patient to Rome
  • [19] Results of Xanthi mercury accident reassuring
  • [20] Authorities in Patras seize 451 kilos of hashish
  • [21] Super League results
  • [22] Rainy on Monday
  • [23] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Earthquake on Cephalonia island

    A meeting chaired by Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis, is underway in the city hall of Argostoli on the island of Cephalonia hit by a strong earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter early on Sunday afternoon.

    The quake which was followed by strong aftershocks, caused property damage, landslides in the provincial road network and power outages.

    Mihelakis, accompanied by a high ranking National Defence General Staff officer, arrived on the island by order of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, on board a Hellenic Air Force C-130 transport plane.

    On their way to Cephalonia, also by order of the prime minister, are the general secretaries for civil protection, public works, health and education.

    Following orders by Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, the deputy chief of the Fire Brigade and the Greek Police (EL.AS) inspector in southern Greece are expected to arrive on the island on board a Super Puma helicopter. On board the helicopter are also Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization OASP officials. The damages caused by the earthquake will be assessed by Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) and regional authority civil engineers.

    The army, by order of Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, is ready to offer assistance to local authorities if necessary.

    An EMAK search and rescue team from the city of Patras will arrive on the island for precautionary reasons, while 30 police officers from the Regional Authority of Western Greece with patrol cars will reinforce the local police.

    Seismologists told ANA-MPA, that the aftershock activity, following the strong earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale that hit the Ionian Sea island of Cephalonia at 15:55 on Sunday, is "good news". The earthquake, that caused only material damage, was felt in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, and in many cities in the central part of the country, including Athens, Karditsa and Larissa.

    Twelve aftershocks stronger than 3.5 on the Richter scale (five of them stronger than 4 on the Richter scale) have already been recorded and according to seismologists, safe conclusions on how the phenomenon is progressing will be drawn after 24 hours.

    National Observatory of Athens Geodynamic Institute Research Director Athanassios Ganas told ANA-MPA that it was a "very strong, surface earthquake".

    According to a joint announcement by the National Observatory of Athens Geodynamic Institute and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) Geophysics Laboratory, the earthquake measured 5.8 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was 6 km north of Argostoli and 280 km west of Athens, at a depth of 17 km under the surface of the earth.

    Ganas said that the fault that gave the earthquake is "known and active", adding that on March 25, 2007 it gave another strong earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richer scale.

    [02] European elections will be a tough political battle, Venizelos says

    The European elections are very important for Greece, because political stability will have to be preserved considering that main opposition SYRIZA intends to raise an issue of government legitimacy, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos underlined in his party's Political Council meeting, sources said on Saturday. He also noted that based on these facts the European elections will be a tough political battle.

    As regards the center-left, he noted that the major effort for its reorganization should continue.

    According to sources, he also briefed his party's Political Council on the country's course and debt sustainability.

    Referring to his meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday, he said that they agreed to proceed with the preparation of relief measures for the vulnerable social groups.

    [03] PASOK leader raises Euroelections dilemma

    PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, addressing a party event in a downtown Athens hotel in light of May's double elections, raised the dilemma of the Euroelections. He also criticised the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and the Democratic Left (DIMAR).

    Venizelos said that the dilemma is "whether the country will conclude with safety the only feasible and existing strategy leading to the final exit from the crisis and the memorandum, or whether it will take a different uncertain, indescribable and unproposed option that revokes sacrifices and leads to the start again for us to make again the same sacrifices from a worse point".

    The PASOK leader accused the opposition in its entirety of investing openly in disaster and the vanishing of the country's efforts. He accused SYRIZA in particular of an obsessed bid to come to power. As regards DIMAR, he termed its stance "contradictory".

    [04] SYRIZA leader Tsipras calls for extraordinary EU Summit meeting on migration

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, the European Left candidate for the European Commission presidency, on Saturday addressed a letter to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy requesting an extraordinary EU Summit Meeting to revise the Dublin II Regulation and ensure fair distribution of responsibility on the migration problem between EU member states.

    The letter was also forwarded to the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

    In response to the tragic incidents in Lampedusa, Italy and Farmakonissi, Tsipras cited article 15 of the European Union Treaty and called on Rompuy to undertake an initiative for an extraordinary European Council as soon as possible to focus on the revision of Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 (Dublin II) in compliance with article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union for the implementation of "the principles of solidarity and fair distribution of responsibility between member states on economic level among others" in the EU migration policy.

    He also hinted at the stance adopted by the northern EU states as regards the migration issue and the pressures exerted on the countries of the south.

    Tsipras said that the entire EU institutional framework on migration and asylum has to be reconsidered immediately to ensure that fundamental human rights will be protected across European territory. He also said that the EU migration policy is a failure, noting that the EU initiatives to tackled the migration problem in the countries of origin had no measurable results.

    He called for the adoption of effective rescue measures for migrants, creation of reception centers and adoption of a legal procedure and a new legal framework that will regulate effectively and fairly the migrants' access to all EU states in a fair and proportional manner taking under consideration, as much as possible, their own wishes as well.

    Tsipras also called on Rompuy to undertake an initiative for the immediate release of funds to effectively deal with the deteriorating humanitarian problem.

    [05] Government spokesman on Tsipras' letter to the European Council president

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Saturday accused main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras of "defaming his own country, seeking the abolition of FRONTEX and the massive inflow of illegal migrants in accordance with the policy agenda of the marginal political parties supporting him".

    In response to Tsipras' letter to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, the government spokesman underlined that "Greece is a state ruled by law, fully respecting international obligations and human rights while, at the same time, protecting its borders which are European borders as well".

    [06] Citizen Protection Minister Dendias on the country's correctional system

    Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias referred to the serious problems in the country's correctional system in an interview published in Tipos tis Kiriakis newspaper.

    Dendias underlined the need for the adoption of measures and the introduction of institutional reforms. He said that an "osmosis is taking place in the case of common crime and terrorists" and added that a high security prison will operate in Domokos, central Greece.

    He also said that the Greek Police (EL.AS) take all necessary measures to prevent a terrorist attack. Responding to a question on whether the 17N case file is reopened, he said that "everything is being examined and assessed".

    [07] Illegal migration is the problem, government spokesman Kedikoglou says

    The problem is illegal migration and not the migration policy in general as SYRIZA says, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Sunday underlined in response to an announcement by the main opposition party concerning the migration policy.

    "The problem of illegal migration is a central issue for the Greek EU Presidency, whereas SYRIZA refuses to see it," Kedikoglou pointed out.

    "Instead, (SYRIZA) wants us to accept all illegal migrants and send them to the rest of Europe which refuses to accept them," Kedikoglou underlined.

    "As opposed to SYRIZA, we have overcome the impasse by addressing the issue of illegal migration which is now being discussed across Europe," Kedikoglou noted.

    [08] DIMAR party's Central Committee session concluded

    The Democratic Left (DIMAR) party's Central Committee concluded its session on Saturday evening, approving with a great majority the Executive Committee's proposal on the party's tactics in light of the Euroelections.

    DIMAR president Fotis Kouvelis clarified that DIMAR aims at having a distinguished political role, while on the issue of the formation of the progressive pole, he stressed that the party's Executive Committee will be concluding necessary consultations as soon as possible, adding that the party's Parliamentary Group will be called on to take whatever decisions being the ultimate judge.

    [09] Golden Dawn party announces Athens municipality, Attica Region candidates

    The Golden Dawn party officially announced the candidacy of Ilias Kasidiaris for the Athens municipality and of Ilias Panayiotaros for the Attica Region, in an event held at a downtown Athens hotel.

    The party's spokesman said that citizens must trust Golden Dawn because it has proved that it has an honourable management, rejecting rumours of financing by shipowners.

    [10] KKE party leader says EU hell for all its peoples

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas, addressing a party event in the city of Thebes on Saturday evening, sharply criticised the European Union and the European orientation of Greek parties.

    "Mr. Samaras, as the head of the Greek Presidency of the EU and Mr. Tsipras, as the candidate president of the Commission, are playing a leading role in the deception that the EU can become the promised land for the peoples of Europe. The EU is hell for all its peoples", he said.

    Koutsoumbas furter compared the EU with a "lions' pit" and added that "the Greek people are alone in facing the wild beasts tearing them apart".

    [11] Two opinion polls give SYRIZA marginal lead over ND

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leads by a marginal 0.6 over New Democracy (ND), according to an opinion poll conducted by Alco and published in Proto Thema newspaper.

    According to the poll results, SYRIZA leads with 22.2 pct, followed by ND with 21.6 pct, Golden Dawn with 7.7 pct, PASOK 4.7 pct, Communist Party (KKE) 4.6 pct, Independent Greeks (AN.EL) 4.3 pct and Democratic Left (DIM.AR) 3.2 pct.

    Most of the respondents, 45 pct, want national elections to be held at the end of the government's four-year term, 37 pct want them to take place with the European elections and 16 pct with the election of the President of the Republic.

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is regarded most suitable for prime minister by 33 pct of the respondents followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with 27 pct. Also, 57 pct believe that SYRIZA does not have the right staff to implement its programme, while 67 pct believe that if elected SYRIZA will not meet its pledges.

    Another opinion poll by Metron Analysis published in Sunday's Ethnos, shows SYRIZA leading by a marginal 0.8 with 20.5 pct followed by ND with 19.7 pct. Golden Dawn has 6.9 pct, PASOK 4.3 pct, KKE 3.4 pct, AN.EL 3.2 pct and DIMAR 2.5 pct. The undecided voters are 32.7 pct.

    Most suitable for prime minister is Antonis Samaras (31 pct) followed by Tsipras (16 pct), while 52 pct believe that SYRIZA will win the elections.

    Also, 59 pct think that the country should not go to elections now and 56 pct are in favour of the formation of new political parties.

    [12] Stefanos Tzoumakas launches new political party

    Former PASOK MP and government minister Stefanos Tzoumakas on Sunday launched a new political party, named "Socialist Party".

    Tzoumakas, who was among the founding members of PASOK, said that "this is an economic, social and leadership crisis", noting that "the European Right has imposed a neo-liberal strategy focusing on the dissolution of the social state and the state of law." He also said that "the memorandums are the core of neo-liberal extreme-right policies".

    Financial News

    [13] Labour Minister Vroutsis rejects scenarios of further wage and pension reductions

    Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, speaking to ANA-MPA on Saturday, rejected scenarios of further reductions of wages and pensions.

    He assured that there will be no such reductions, adding that scenarios of this kind are the product of morbid imagination and are being refuted by reality.

    Labour ministry officials noted that they create fear and are not based on real facts or scientific studies, underlining that the abolition of the minimum wage option, included in a recent report by the Centre of Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) on the Greek economy, is also an imaginative scenario.

    [14] Talks with Switzerland on the taxation of Greek deposits continue

    The talks for an agreement concerning the taxation of Greek deposits in Swiss banks continue, finance ministry sources confirmed on Sunday.

    As regards foreign media reports according to which, Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has stated in the margins of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos that there will be no agreement with Greece on the issue, the same sources referred to a communication they had with the Swiss authorities which are expected to refute the reports.

    On Monday, Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis will visit Switzerland to meet with his Swiss counterpart and prepare the meeting of the finance ministers of Switzerland and Greece scheduled to take place on February 4 in Athens in the context of the Greek EU Presidency focusing on the issue of the taxation of Swiss bank deposits on EU level.

    General News

    [15] Escaped convict Ilir Kupa arrested in Albania

    Albanian convict Ilir Kupa, who had escaped from Trikala Prison in central Greece last March, was arrested in the early morning hours on Saturday in Albania.

    Kupa had managed to evade capture and crossed the borders into Albania following a shootout with Greek police in the region of Epirus, northwest Greece, on July 21 when another fugitive from Trikala Prison, Marian Kola, was shot dead.

    After that incident, a special team was put together by the Greek police to collect information on Kupa's whereabouts. During his visit to Albania last December, Greek Police (EL.AS) Chief Nikos Papagiannopoulos raised the issue in the meetings he had with his Albanian counterpart and the interior minister and agreed on bilateral cooperation for Kupa's arrest.

    Using information collected by the special police team, the Albanian police raided the house, where Kupa was hiding, in the region of Tirana and arrested him. Procedures for his extradition to Greece are underway.

    Kupa was among a group of 11 inmates, all Albanian nationals, that escaped from Trikala Prison on March 22, 2013 and subsequently went on a crime spree that, among others, resulted in the death of a young woman hit by a stray bullet during a police chase in Isthmia, Corinth in April and the killing of an officer in Distomo. Four of the fugitives are still at large.

    [16] Migrants arrested in Igoumenitsa port lacking travel documents

    Port officials in Igoumenitsa, in northwestern Greece, discovered 58 migrants travelling in a truck equipped with Iranian licence plates and heading for Italy, who lacked travel documents and were arrested.

    Most of the migrants were from Syria and about eight from Somalia, while according to what they told port officials they were taken from Athens to a region in northern Greece where they boarded the truck. The migrant traffickers' fee for taking them to Italy ranged between 2-3 thousand euros.

    The truck's 38-year-old Iranian driver was arrested and the truck was confiscated.

    [17] Heavy rainfall during Friday night caused problems in Athens

    The Fire Brigade responded to over 150 calls for help on Friday night following flooding caused by heavy rain in Athens.

    The boundary walls of a churchyard in the district of Kessariani collapsed damaging 7 cars and 2 motorcycles parked nearby and cars on Messogion Street were immobilized by flood waters.

    The districts hit most were Piraeus, Egaleo, Kallithea, Nea Smirni, Neos Kosmos, Dafni, Vironas, Holargos, Agia Paraskevi and Halandri.

    [18] Airlift for 50-year-old liver transplant patient to Rome

    A Hellenic Air Force C-130 transport plane airlifted a 50-year-old man from Thessaloniki to Rome on Saturday morning to receive a liver transplant.

    The order for the airlift was given by Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos in response to a request from EKAB ambulance service. The costs of the flight were covered by EKAB.

    [19] Results of Xanthi mercury accident reassuring

    A special company from Thessaloniki carried out measurements on Saturday in the city of Xanthi, in northern Greece, where a large quantity of mercury had been leaked during the transfer of laboratory machinery of the Dimokritio University of Thrace nine days ago and had alerted authorities when it had been publicised, and the results were below limits set by international health regulations.

    Officials of the company specialising in the collection and removal of mercury took measurements along the section of the street where the mercury leak had taken place and in a part of the wider region of the apartment building housing the University's scientific laboratory, as well as the installations where the scientific laboratory's equipment had been taken.

    [20] Authorities in Patras seize 451 kilos of hashish

    Coastguard officers at the seaport of Patras, southern Greece, found and seized roughly 451 kilos of hashish hidden in a truck carrying oranges, it was announced on Sunday.

    The drugs were hidden in a crypt in the floor of the truck, headed to an Italian port, and were found with the help of a sniffer dog.

    The 56-year-old driver, a foreign national, was arrested.

    Soccer

    [21] Super League results

    Games played for the Super League on Saturday had the following results: Kalloni Lesvos - Apollon Smyrni 0-0, Atromitos Athens - PAS Yiannina 1-0 and Panathinaikos Athens - Platanias Crete 1-0.

    The games between Levadiakos Livadia - Aris Thessaloniki, Asteras Tripoli - OFI Crete, PAOK Thessaloniki - Veria, Panthrakikos Komotini - Panionios Athens and Xanthi - Olympiacos Piraeus will be taking place on Sunday while Ergotelis Crete - Panetolikos Agrinio will be playing on Monday January 27.

    Weather forecast

    [22] Rainy on Monday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday. Winds 4-6 beaufort. Temperatures between -2C and 14C. Local showers in Athens with northerly 5-6 beaufort winds and temperatures between 7C and 11C. Cloudy with sleet or snow in Thessaloniki with temperatures between -1C and 3C.

    [23] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    ETHNOS: Big coalition Greek-style. METRON ANALYSIS poll.

    VRADYNI: Catch up with arrangements on self-insurance - age limits.

    EPOHI: Advance notice of new memorandum.

    KATHIMERINI: Terrorists fund with 10 million euros.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Document-bomb on kickbacks.

    RIZOSPASTIS: Callup for backing of KKE in Euroelections and everywhere.

    PROTO THEMA: How SYRIZA can become a government.

    TO ARTHRO:Games with fire due to political cost.

    TYPOS: Dendias: 17N file open.

    Realnews: Crude extortion over 'haircut'.

    FREE SUNDAY: Pre-electoral exaggerations threaten economy.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ANTONIS SKYLLAKOS


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