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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-04-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Country shocked by pensioner's suicide
  • [02] State debt to private sector up in Feb.

  • [01] Country shocked by pensioner's suicide

    AMNA / Hundreds of people gathered in Syntagma Square, opposite Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, around the spot where a 77-year-old retired pharmacist had ended his own life earlier in the day, reportedly because he was despondent due to financial problems linked to the economic crisis.

    Responding to a call made over social networking sites, people from all corners of the greater Athens area began

    "The way he chose is a statement of a political position and stance. If this man had killed himself at home there would not have been such a stir, as there had not been for the previous ... suicides. It is an incident that we must look at amongst many other incidents of suicide in our country, the country of sun and laughter," the head of the Attica Pharmacists' Association, Costas Lourantos, said in statements to the AMNA.

    Under the tree where the pensioner shot himself, the pharmacists' association, of which he had been a member, laid a wreath at the spot where he took his own life, while others laid flowers and notes alongside.

    According to a suicide note he left behind, the 77-year-old was pushed to despair by his dire financial situation.

    According to Lourantos, the pensioner had faced serious health problems and had been on the point of penury when he made the decision to take his own life.

    The 77-year-old had been a member of the association until 1994, when he had sold his pharmacy.

    He killed himself just before 9 a.m. on Wednesday, standing on the stairs across the street from Parliament and shooting himself in the head with a handgun.

    Police and an ambulance rushed to the to gather in Syntagma to silently protest, many under a banner reading "Let's not get used to death".scene but the man was already dead.

    Political reaction

    Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Wednesday evening termed as "tragic" the suicide of the pensioner.

    "It is a tragic event that one of our fellow citizens put an end to his life. In these difficult hours for our society we must, all of us, the state and citizens, support people by our side, who find themselves in despair," Papademos said.

    On his part, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said he felt "shock" at the incident.

    The ND leader also noted that this was not the first death of this kind that had occurred in recent months in Greece, where rates of suicide reached record levels, at least by Greek standards. "This is what I meant when I spoke of a national depression," he added.

    "Death is not just bankruptcy but for someone to live without hope," he said in a statement, stressing that this "makes even more urgent our obligation to extricate Greeks from the mire and from despair".

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos commented that the "suicide of the pensioner at Syntagma Square provokes mismatched and cheap comments, because some people do not have the same degree of sensitivity," he said, while addressing an event for writers and artists at the Benaki Museum in Athens. amna

    [02] State debt to private sector up in Feb.

    AMNA / State debt to the private sector rose in February, with overdue debt totaling 6.32 billion euros from 5.94 billion euros in January, the Finance ministry said.

    The ministry, in a report, said that pension funds were the biggest debtors with overdue debt of 2.79 billion euros, followed by state hospitals (1.46 billion), municipal authorities (1.045 billion), government ministries (731 million euros) and other legal entities (258 million euros).

    The general government reported a cash surplus of 2.17 billion euros in the first two months of 2012, up from a surplus of 964 million euros in the same period in 2011. Primary budget surplus was 3.085 billion euros in the January-February period, from 1.87 billion euros last year.

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