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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-12-23

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't wants 2016 to be a year of recovery for Greek economy: spokeswoman
  • [02] Czech FM cools rhetoric by inviting Greek counterpart Kotzias to Prague
  • [03] Environment ministry urges Athenians not to use fireplaces on Christmas to avoid smog
  • [04] File with 500,000 bank accounts from 'Lagarde list' delivered to prosecutor
  • [05] Bodies of 13 migrants who drowned off Farmakonisi transferred to Leros

  • [01] Gov't wants 2016 to be a year of recovery for Greek economy: spokeswoman

    The government wants 2016 to be a year when the Greek economy will recover, government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said on Wednesday, after a cabinet meeting chaired by the prime minister.

    "The government's goal is for 2016 to be a year of recovery for the Greek economy and for citizens who have been affected in recent years by the economic crisis to feel relief," she told journalists.

    Gerovasili said the cabinet approved Alexis Tsipras' 11 immediate government actions for the next period, as well as his proposals for pension reform with a commitment not to cut main pensions. She said the government will put forward alternative measures to keep that commitment.

    The government will also initiate in early January the procedure to prepare the tender for TV licenses.

    [02] Czech FM cools rhetoric by inviting Greek counterpart Kotzias to Prague

    Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek invited Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias to visit Prague as soon as possible and vowed to return the visit on Wednesday, in an effort to restore relations between the two countries which soured after the Czech President said his country will join the Eurozone when Greece leaves it.

    The comment made in to Slovak news agency prompted the Greek foreign ministry to order the immediate return of the country's ambassador to the Czech Republic, Panagiotis Sarris, to Athens for consultations. The remark made by President Miloš Zeman was considered by Athens as the last straw is a series of hostile statements towards Greece which started last summer and continued until last week with no sign of abating and despite the moderate response by the ministry's spokesman, Konstantinos Koutras.

    Speaking to Kotzias on the phone, Zaorálek said he regretted the statements made by the President noting that they don't reflect those of the Czech government, which believes Greece is neither responsible for the economic or the refugee crisis. The Czech foreign minister also asked Kotzias to allow the Greek ambassador to return to Prague.

    Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka also echoed the mood in statements made on Tuesday, as he criticized the President for his comments saying he cannot say who will be in the Eurozone and who will not, considering that the Czech Republic is not a member of the monetary union.

    "I'm not in favour of kicking the weakest country," he said, adding that Greece was the "favourite black sheep" during the economic crisis and is not the "favourite black sheep" during the refugee crisis. "This doesn't mean it [Greece] has done everything perfectly. I just want to note that Greece wasn't the cause of the financial crisis; it was the greed of the financial markets. And it wasn't Greece that caused the war in Syria," he noted.

    Sobotka also said that when his country joins the Eurozone, it may then state its opinion clearly to other member-states. "In the discussion with Greece we must clearly mention the Greek mistakes, such as on the issue of guarding the borders of the Schengen area," he added.

    [03] Environment ministry urges Athenians not to use fireplaces on Christmas to avoid smog

    The Environment and Energy ministry warned Athenians on Wednesday not to use their fireplaces, or solid fuel and biomass stoves for the next three days, as weather conditions will favour the creation of smog.

    On Tuesday, the National Weather Service's air pollution monitoring station network said it had recorded particularly high levels of PM-10, greater than 100 micrograms per cubic meter, raising the alarm for citizen's health.

    According to the ministry, the weather conditions in the next few days – no wind and thermal inversion – will favour the accumulation of pollution in the atmosphere.

    [04] File with 500,000 bank accounts from 'Lagarde list' delivered to prosecutor

    A file with about 500,000 bank account records of all those persons, legal and natural, included in the so-called "Lagarde list" were delivered on Tuesday evening by the secretary general of the Greek cabinet, Mihalis Kalogirou to Chief Prosecutor Elias Zagoraios.

    The record, to which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras referred to during the cabinet meeting earlier in the day, is from a USB stick delivered to Kalogirou by former HSBC IT employee Hervé Falciani, who revealed the names and bank accounts of thousands of ban customers, during the secretary's visit to Paris.

    The material passed on by Falciani includes bank account records which are expected to shed a light to the "Lagarde list" case, as well as reveal depositors and money routes, and hence the feeders of these accounts.

    The file, which is encrypted, is extensive and will require technical expertise and special software to open it. The prosecution is expecting clarifications as to whether the decryption will take place during the holidays or right after.

    [05] Bodies of 13 migrants who drowned off Farmakonisi transferred to Leros

    The bodies of 13 refugees, among which are seven children, were transferred to the hospital of Leros on Wednesday following the sinking of a six-meter boat with 29 people onboard off the island of Farmakonisi this morning.

    The Greek Coast Guard has managed to rescue 15 persons (13 men and two women), while a full scale search and rescue operation is underway to locate one more person who migrants said is missing. According to the coast guard, the boat sank after it started to take on water and capsized.

    Shipping and Island policy Minister Thodoris Dritsas and the Coast Guard expressed their deep grief for the incident.


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