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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-12-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Eurogroup approves ESM's short-term measures for Greek debt
  • [02] Euripides Laskaridis' 'Relic' at Athens' BIOS for three nights in December
  • [03] Up close and personal with ancient Greek sites and texts through 'ToposText' app
  • [04] Greek physicist Asimina Arvanitaki awarded 'New Horizons in Physics' prize

  • [01] Eurogroup approves ESM's short-term measures for Greek debt

    The Eurogroup on Monday approved the short-term measures for relieving Greek debt recommended by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and these will begin to be implemented in the coming weeks, ESM chief Klaus Regling announced at a joint press conference with Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici. He noted that the measures would help improve the sustainability of Greece's debt.

    Moscovici also noted that there had been significant progress in the second review, with the two sides very close to a staff level agreement.

    Below follows the full statement issued by the Eurogroup on Greece:

    "The Eurogroup welcomes the progress that has been made in reaching full staff-level agreement between Greece and the institutions in the context of the second review of the ESM programme. In particular, the Eurogroup welcomes the agreement with the European institutions on a budget for 2017, which confirms the agreed primary balance target of 1.75% of GDP and which allows for the national rollout of the Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI), which establishes a genuine social safety net.

    The Eurogroup notes that staff-level agreement should include measures to reach the agreed fiscal target for 2018 (a primary balance of 3.5% of GDP), as well as reforms to enhance growth and cost competitiveness, including further substantial reforms of the labour market, the opening up of closed professions and the removal of barriers for investment.

    In particular, the Eurogroup recalls that the appointment of the members of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations (HCAP) should be implemented before the end of January 2017 to make the fund fully operational.

    The Eurogroup recalled that the primary surplus target of 3.5% of GDP reached by 2018 should be maintained for the medium-term. We also recalled the importance of a fiscal trajectory that is consistent with the fiscal commitments under the EU framework. In order to ensure compliance with the fiscal targets in a sustainable manner after the completion of the programme, the Greek authorities commit to agree with the institutions on a mechanism and structural measures that would ensure this.

    Today the Eurogroup discussed again the sustainability of Greek public debt with the objective to regain market access. In this context, the Eurogroup endorsed today the full set of short-term measures on the basis of proposals by the ESM and preparatory work by the EWG, which will be implemented by the ESM following this meeting. Those measures will consist of:

    The smoothening of the EFSF repayment profile within the current weighted average maturity of up to 32,5 years;

    The waiver of the step-up interest rate margin amounting to 200 bps related to the debt buy-back tranche of the 2nd Greek programme for the year 2017;

    The use of the EFSF/ESM funding strategy as markets allow to reduce interest rate risk without incurring any additional costs for former programme countries. This measure will be implemented through: (i) exchanging the EFSF/ESM back-to back notes supporting the bank recapitalization loans to Greece, (ii) the ESM entering into interest rate swaps to mitigate the risk of higher market rates and (iii) introducing matched funding for future disbursements to Greece under the current programme.

    The short-term debt measures will have a significant positive impact on the sustainability of Greek debt.

    The Eurogroup calls upon the institutions and Greece to swiftly resume negotiations in order to reach staff-level agreement as soon as possible, based on a shared conditionality, as agreed in August 2015, and mandates the EWG to assess this. The Eurogroup stands ready, in line with usual practice, to support the completion of future reviews provided that the policy package, including the contingency fiscal mechanism as agreed in the context of the first review, is implemented as planned. The Eurogroup confirms that the programme implementation, as well as policy conditionality and targets, will be reviewed regularly based on input from the institutions.

    The IMF staff reconfirmed today its intention to recommend to the Fund's Executive Board a new financing arrangement for Greece as soon as possible once staff-level agreement is reached in accordance with established Fund policies.

    The full implementation of all prior actions related to the second review and the completion of national procedures would pave the way for the ESM governing bodies to approve the supplemental Memorandum of Understanding."

    [02] Euripides Laskaridis' 'Relic' at Athens' BIOS for three nights in December

    After a successful and much-discussed European tour taking in 18 international festivals and 10 European countries, the irreverent solo dance performance "Relic" by Euripides Laskaridis and the Osmosis team will be on for three nights at BIOS in Athens, on December 14, 21 and 28, ahead of an appearance at the London Barbican during the London International Mime Festival on January 31- Feb 2.

    "Relic" has been performed at the Biennale de la Dance in Lyons, the Chantier d' Europe at the Palais de Tokyo, the Dublic Dance Festival and many others. There have been only four performances in Athens, two during the Athens Festival in 2015 and two at Roes in April 2016.

    [03] Up close and personal with ancient Greek sites and texts through 'ToposText' app

    History and archaeology enthusiasts, researchers, students but also ordinary travellers can now have access to thousands of mythical and historical locations and a slew of ancient texts referring to them with one click on their smartphones, through the new free app called "ToposText".

    The idea belongs to Brady Kiesling, a former ancient historian and archaeologist from California who returned to scholarship after working for twenty years as a diplomat for the U.S. State Department in Israel, Morocco, Greece, and Armenia. The implementation was done by IT company Pavla AE and was supported by the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation.

    According to its creators, TT presents 5,000 places relevant to the ancient Greek world - from ancient cities and shrines, medieval castles and towers, modern museums and excavation sites - primarily in Greece but including major places from Spain to the Caucasus. The application links those places to the ancient authors who wrote about them in Greek or Latin, using a huge library of ancient texts married to a detailed gazetteer.

    Selecting a site from either the list or the map opens up a table of two-line snippets from ancient authors, headed where available by a modern description. Selecting from this index list, which can be filtered by date, genre, and relevance, connects one to the full text of 240-odd works in English translation, some with the original Ancient Greek as well. Thus, at a glance and from any location, you can select and read the passages in ancient literature that give a place its historical and cultural meaning.

    The app is available for iOS and Android smart phones and tablets and a new website will be available on Dec. 7.

    The ToposText website includes:

    -A portable library of ancient texts with more than 530 sources on Greek history, mythology and geography in English

    -A database with more than 5,350 ancient locations, modern museums and archaeological sites, which covers the entirety of the ancient Greek world.

    -An interactive map and index which links every location with the ancient source which has some reference to it

    -An index of thousands of proper names

    -Specific coordinates that allow the user to enlarge an area in the map enough to actually see the ancient ruins

    An event to present the application to the public will be held on December 7, at the Historical Library of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, at 19:00. Speakers include Dr. Eleni Korka, director general of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage at the ministry of culture, Brady Kiesling, Dr. Elton Barker, co-founder of Pelagios Project at the Open University in the UK and Dr. Stavros Paspalas, deputy director of the Australian Archaeological Institute.

    [04] Greek physicist Asimina Arvanitaki awarded 'New Horizons in Physics' prize

    Greek physicist Asimina Arvanitaki was among six "promising junior researchers" awarded the 2017 'New Horizons in Physics' Prize. The 100,000-dollar prize presented to Arvanitaki on Sunday is awarded to promising junior researchers who have already produced important work and was given to Arvanitaki "for pioneering a wide range of new experimental probes of fundamental physics."

    The recognition comes for her groundbreaking work bridging theory and experimental approaches in particle physics, through small-scale experiments that she designed herself, focusing on supersymmetry, dark matter and additional dimensions.

    The award ceremony was held on Sunday at NASA's Ames Research Centre in California.

    Arvanitaki graduated from Athens University and received her post-graduate degree from Stanford University in California. In 2014 she joined the Perimeter Institute and since 2016 she took over the Stavros Niarchos Foundation "Aristarchus" Chair in Theoretical Physics at the Perimeter Institute, funded with eight million dollars by the SNF.

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