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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-12-19

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek foreign ministry condemns 'heinous murder' of Russian ambassador in Ankara
  • [02] PM Alexis Tsipras to visit Crete on Tuesday and Wednesday
  • [03] Pitsiorlas: Completing the 2nd review will be 'change the agenda'
  • [04] Nine in 10 visiting Greece this autumn were satisfied with their stay, survey finds
  • [05] Corruption prosecutors to investigate Skaramangas shipyard sale in 2002

  • [01] Greek foreign ministry condemns 'heinous murder' of Russian ambassador in Ankara

    Greece's foreign ministry on Monday strongly condemned the murder of Russia's Ambassador to Turkey Andrey G. Karlov by a gunman at an art gallery in Ankara, and extended its "sincerest condolences" to his family, friends and the Russian foreign ministry with a tweet posted on the ministry's twitter account @GreeceMFA.

    "Greece unequivocally condemns the heinous murder of #Russia's Ambassador to #Turkey. Sincerest condolences to his family&friends @mfa_russia," the ministry tweet said.

    [02] PM Alexis Tsipras to visit Crete on Tuesday and Wednesday

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will carry out a two-day tour of Crete on Tuesday and Wednesday, accompanied by a delegation of ministers.

    Tsipras is due to arrive at 'Nikos Kazantzakis' airport in Iraklio at 10:00, while his first stop will be the Iraklio port authority. He will then go to Mesara to speak with local organisations and discuss farming and other problems in the area, followed by a visit to Gergeri. The prime minister is then scheduled to speak at the Atlantis Hotel in Iraklio on Tuesday night.

    On Wednesday, Tsipras is due to visit Lasithi and meet with local officials and organisations, including farmers.

    He will be accompanied by Minister of State Christoforos Vernardakis, Rural Development and Foods Minister Vangelis Apostolou, Shipping and Island Policy Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis and Alternate Economy and Development Minister Alexis Charitsis.

    [03] Pitsiorlas: Completing the 2nd review will be 'change the agenda'

    Completing the second review of the Greek programme will be the turning point that will "change the agenda," Deputy Economy and Development Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas said in an interview with the internet radio station Amagi on Monday.

    "Today we are still in the midst of an awkward discussion on fiscal policies and measures. Truth be told, whoever is in government has a very difficult job... Immediately afterward we will enter the discussion about growth models and that is where everyone's views will be judged," he said.

    The deputy minister said that several major projects in transport infrastructure and tourism would start to have an impact "investment-wise" in 2017, which he said would be a "crucial year for a change of atmosphere".

    Pitsiorlas underlined that both the government and the opposition must close ranks behind completing the review, given that the pressures from the creditors were increasing and had to be fended off. "It is not good to invest politically in the country hitting a dead end," he pointed out. The different views and terms for completing the second review put forward by the German side and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were a reality that the country had to face united, he added.

    "If the government fails to complete the review, the country fails," Pitsiorlas pointed out and noted that all Greek governments had "agreed to surpluses with a knife to their throat."

    "We are making huge efforts to succeed because the programme imposes excessively harsh terms," he added, noting that the completion of the second review was not an appropriate field for political antagonism.

    [04] Nine in 10 visiting Greece this autumn were satisfied with their stay, survey finds

    Greece's efforts to extend the tourist season beyond the summer are on the verge of success, according to the findings of a survey carried out by QED Market Research for the national tourism organisation EOT, released on Monday. The survey was carried out at the 13 'gateways' into Greece between October 12-24, and gauged satisfaction among tourists that had visited the country with encouraging results.

    Nine in 10 tourists rated their visit as 'very good' to 'excellent', citing the good weather, lower prices in comparison with competing destinations and fewer crowds as their main reasons for choosing to visit Greece in the autumn.

    The survey used a sample of 2,179 departing tourists, via personal interviews, at 10 of the largest Greek airports and three border crossings. The participants were both men (52 pct) and women (48 pct) aged 20 to 60 years old. The questionnaire was available in five languages: English, German, Italian, French and Russian.

    The results showed the following:

    Four in 10 rated their visit as 'excellent'

    Four in 10 air travellers and 3 in 10 road travellers said the country had exceeded their expectations

    Six in 10 said they were likely to recommend Greece as a destination to others

    Five in 10 said they were likely to return

    Regarding the reasons why the chose to visit Greece, six in 10 air travellers said the sun, sea and Greek food, five in 10 tourists referred to the country's hospitality, natural beauty and a sense of relaxation, five in 10 road travellers said the shopping and food, nine in 10 air travellers visited Greece for purely recreational reasons and one in four road travellers for professional reasons.

    [05] Corruption prosecutors to investigate Skaramangas shipyard sale in 2002

    Greece's corruption prosecutors on Monday announced the launch of an investigation into the 2002 privatisation of Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas. According to their initial findings, there are indications of significant losses for the Greek state through the sale, amounting to more than 53 million euros.

    The evidence regarding the sale of the shipyards to the German-led consortium HDW/Ferrostaal will now be forwarded to the chief of the corruption prosecutors' Eleni Raikou, following evidence uncovered by Corruption Magistrate Ilianna Zamanika and assistant magistrate Giorgos Evangelou during their own investigation of defence procurement programmes.

    Among others, the German consortium failed to fork up the sums promised for a share capital increase while, in what the prosecutors view as highly suspicious timing, the privatisation agreement coincided with the signature of a contract to refurbish the German submarines bought by Greece, with both signed on May 31, 2002. The investigation also showed a lack of a transparency in the tender process leading to the sale and violation of European Commission guidelines.

    An earlier investigation conducted by the European Commission's Competition directorate also concluded that the Greek state had suffered losses through the sale and that HDW/Ferrostaal offer had been chosen illegally, with evidence that members of the Greek government and shipyard officials had acted to give the German consortium a clear advantage over other participants in the tender.

    Among others, with full information on the shipyards financials and pending contracts, the German consortium was able to successfully bargain for trade-offs and benefits, such as buying the shipyard without liability for accrued fines, interest and other outstanding debts.

    The prosecutors have not ruled out the possibility that the damage to the state may be even greater than initially estimated, especially if the goal of the privatisation was to keep the shipyard running and preserve jobs, since it was afterward allowed to fall into decline and hundreds of jobs were lost.

    The investigation will focus on whether the evidence supports charges of criminal breach of faith at the expense of the public sector.


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