Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Greece. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Greece. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 03, 2016

Παρασκευή, Μαρτίου 20, 2015

Greece to present new reform plan (20/3/15)

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has agreed to accelerate a list of economic reforms in order to avoid running out of money within weeks following a three-hour meeting with the leaders of France and Germany, the president of the ECB and the head of the eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers.

Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 17, 2015

Oil Prices Rising, Brent Crude Now Selling for Over $62 a Barrel

Brent crude has climbed to $62 per barrel in Asian trade on February 17, despite growing uncertainty regarding the Eurozone's future which has been caused by the recent failure in Greece's debt negotiations.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light crude futures for March delivery were traded at $53.16 per barrel, while on London’s ICE Futures exchange Brent crude for April delivery mounted by $0.70/1.1% reaching $62.10 a barrel.


Meanwhile the talks over a new financing deal for Greece broke down Monday, sparking controversy between Athens and its creditors. 


A growing uncertainty regarding the economic prospects of Greece within the bloc is predictably undermining the euro. 

In contrast, the US dollar is strengthening steadily. Experts note that the trend is likely to sour oil-market sentiments; however, Brent crude has beaten its second-highest record since the beginning of the year.
 [sputniknews.com]
17/2/15
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Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 04, 2015

Residents of Turkish Thracian province eye suing Bulgaria over floods. Bulgaria sends urgent note to Turkey and Greece on river levels.

Residents in the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne are considering suing the Bulgarian government over floods triggered by dams in the neighboring country, Turkish Forestry and Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu has said, expressing his support for such a move. ..

The Thracian city of Edirne, which borders Bulgaria, has been hit in recent days by floods from the Tundzha and Maritsa (Tunca and Meriç) rivers, as heavy rain that gripped the Balkans caused a sharp increase in the water levels of rivers in the area.

Eroğlu said the floods in the city, which prompted the evacuation of two villages on Feb. 2 after large sections of them were submerged, was caused by the sudden melting of snow melt in Bulgaria and dams constructed by the Bulgarian government “without considering flood margins.”

“They built some dams but unfortunately they don’t leave a marginal volume against floods,” he said on Feb. 4, answering reporters’ questions after the inaugural meeting of the EU River Basins Management Plans Project.

Eroğlu said Edirne residents had signaled that they were considering whether to sue Bulgaria, fed up with repeated overwhelming water flows that “put the city in lockdown.”

“When I was in Edirne, they [residents] said they will file lawsuit against Bulgaria about this issue if necessary. I also think it may be useful to do that,” he said.

Minister Eroğlu claimed that the Turkish authorities had warned their counterparts in Sofia “many times” about the issue, but now “our citizens have run out of patience.”

Joint project ‘at deadlock’

He also complained about Bulgaria’s “inaction” over the two country’s joint Tundzha Project, which was designed to take the flow speed and rate of the river under control in order to pave the way for its more efficient use in tourism activities.

“It was a joint friendship project. We completed everything … But when the time came for a bilateral agreement, the Bulgarian government didn’t do anything, although we sent the draft,” he said.

As the two countries have also failed to reach an agreement over the building of a joint dam on the Tundzha River, Ankara has drafted plan B to prevent floods in the region by constructing a dam on the Turkish side of the border, Eroğlu also said.

“We want to direct those waters to a dam on our soil by constructing a dam in Çömlekköy,” he stated, adding that the government planned to use excess water in irrigation during the summer months.

“Hopefully, we will be able to decrease floods from the Tundzha and Maritsa rivers,” Eroğlu added. 
   http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/residents-of-turkish-thracian-province-eye-suing-bulgaria-over-floods-minister.aspx?pageID=238&nID=77882&NewsCatID=351
  4/2/15

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  • Bulgaria is sending Turkey and Greece an urgent note on the levels of three rivers as well as of dams along the Arda River, the Environment and Water Ministry said on February 4, after days of heavy rainfall...

Officials in Ankara and Athens will sent data on the levels of the rivers Maritsa, Tundzha and Arda. 

Torrential rain that began on February 1 has led to at least two deaths in southern and eastern Bulgaria, a number of missing persons, evacuations of about 600 people close to the swollen Kamchiya River, destruction of property and damage to road infrastructure estimated to exceed 12 million leva (about six million euro).

   http://sofiaglobe.com/2015/02/04/bulgaria-sends-urgent-note-to-turkey-and-greece-on-river-levels/
  4/2/15

Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 02, 2015

Evacuations as floods hit Greece, Albania, Turkey

 Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes after flash floods caused by heavy rains hit northwestern Greece, southern Albania and northwest of Turkey...

About 1,500 people had to be evacuated from their villages to safer zones after torrential rains hit the northwest Turkish province of Edirne on the border with Greece, causing the Tunca and Meric riverbeds to overflow, officials said Monday.

Four villages and several isolated farmhouses close to the city of Arta in Greece were also evacuated after heavy rains swept across the northwestern province of Epirus.

The historic Plaka Bridge near Arta also collapsed after at least four rivers in the region burst their banks, three of them near Arta and another closer to Greece's border with Albania.

[www.aa.com.tr]
2/2/15
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Flash floods hit Greece and Albania

A winter storm has brought flooding to parts of Greece and southern Albania.

No fatalities have been reported in either country, but considerable disruption has been caused by a combination of torrential rain and strong winds.


Rain began falling in Greece’s northwestern province of Epirus on Saturday, prompting the authorities to evacuate people from four villages near the city of Arta.

By Sunday, four rivers in the area had overflowed.

One high-profile casualty of the flooding was the Plaka Bridge, the largest arch bridge in the Balkans. The bridge, which spans the Arachthos River, was built by Konstantinos Bekas in 1866. It is reported that the whole of the central section of the bridge was washed away.

In southern Albania, scores of families and their livestock were moved from homes and farms in Vlore, Fier, Berat and Gjirokaster, south of the capital, Tirana.

In Gjirokaster, 220mm of rain fell between Saturday and Monday, more than would normally be expected in the whole of February.

In coming days, further troughs of low pressure moving through the Mediterranean could bring another 100mm to 150mm of rain to coastal areas of southern Albania and northwestern Greece.
Source: Al Jazeera

2/2/15
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Κυριακή, Φεβρουαρίου 01, 2015

Greece offers olive branch as search for allies begins

Greece sought to repair relations with its international creditors on Saturday (Jan 31) as the new anti-austerity government began a charm offensive in European capitals, even as Germany insisted it would not support any debt relief...

Just hours before Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis headed to Paris to seek support for a renegotiation Greece's massive loans, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he believed a deal could be reached with the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"No side is seeking conflict and it has never been our intention to act unilaterally on Greek debt," Tsipras said in a statement issued to the Bloomberg news agency.

In its first meeting with creditors since it took office, the Greek government clashed with the head of the Eurozone finance ministers on Friday over its plans to rethink its rescue package and to halve Greece's debt.

Tsipras, who will himself visit Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and French President Francois Hollande next week, said Greece had no intention of reneging on its commitments to the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

"My obligation to respect the clear mandate of the Greek people with respect to ending the policies of austerity and returning to a growth agenda, in no way entails that we will not fulfil our loan obligations to the ECB (European Central Bank) or the IMF," he said. "On the contrary, it means that we need time to breathe and create our own medium-term recovery programme."

This includes aiming to balance the budget - excluding debt repayments - and clamping down on tax evasion, corruption and policies which favour only a wealthy few, he said.

"I am absolutely confident that we will soon manage to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, both for Greece and for Europe as a whole," Tsipras said.

GERMANY HOLDS FIRM

Varoufakis was to leave for Paris on Saturday night with talks scheduled with French finance minister Michel Sapin and economy minister Emmanuel Macron on Sunday. Neither he nor Tsipras are intending to visit Germany, which has shouldered the bulk of Greece's loans and which strongly objects to Athens' plans.

Merkel on Saturday ruled out fresh debt relief for Greece, telling the Hamburger Abendblatt daily: "There has already been voluntary debt forgiveness by private creditors, banks have already slashed billions from Greece's debt."

"I do not envisage fresh debt cancellation," she said, as a new poll for broadcaster ZDF found 76 per cent of Germans oppose any reduction in debt.

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho also opposes any renegotiation of Greece's debt, saying it would "go against the interests of Portugal and the Portugese people".

Despite a restructuring in 2012, Greece is still lumbered with a debt pile of more than 315 billion euros, upwards of 175 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) - an EU record.

But in its first week in power, the government scrapped the privatisation of Greece's two main ports and the state power company and announced a major raise in the minimum wage.

Varoufakis also raised the stakes by saying that Greece wanted direct access to its EU-IMF creditors and would no longer work with their widely hated fiscal audit staff team, known as the "troika".

Martin Schulz, the German head of the European Parliament, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine on Saturday that this position was "irresponsible".

GREEK BANK FEARS

Varoufakis's comments followed a strained meeting on Friday with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who represents finance ministers from the 19-nation Eurozone. Dijsselbloem warned Athens that "taking unilateral steps or ignoring previous arrangements is not the way forward".

Greece has been promised another 7.2 billion euros (US$8.1 billion, S$10.9 billion) in funds from the EU, IMF and European Central Bank (ECB), but this is dependent on the completion of a review of reforms at the end of February.

  • Varoufakis has said his government does not want the loans, but there are concerns Greece cannot survive without them. These concerns are focused on Greece's banks, which are helping the state stay afloat by purchasing its treasury bills - and which are being supported by the ECB.
  • "If the ECB turns the tap off, it's over," Alexandre Delaigue, economics professor at the elite French military academy Saint-Cyr, told AFP.
The stunning success of Syriza in last Sunday's polls sent shockwaves through Europe and gave encouragement to other anti-austerity parties.

Tens of thousands of people, meanwhile, took to the streets of Madrid on Saturday in support of the Spanish party Podemos, which has been surging in polls ahead of elections later this year. Like Syriza, Podemos has found popular support by targeting corruption and rejecting austerity programmes aimed at lifting the countries out of deep economic crisis.

- AFP/fl

[channelnewsasia.com]
31/1/15 --1/2/15

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Παρασκευή, Ιανουαρίου 30, 2015

Greece warned against trying to reverse bailout deals

The head of the Eurogroup warned on Friday that Greece could not ignore its international obligations, after a first meeting with the new anti-austerity government that wants to renegotiate its multi-billion-euro bailout...

"Taking unilateral steps or ignoring previous arrangements is not the way forward," Jeroen Dijsselbloem, representing Greece's eurozone creditors, told a news conference after talks with the leftist government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

For his part, new Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Greece was willing to broker a deal, but not through the detested "troika" of fiscal auditors representing the country's international lenders.

Varoufakis, a maverick economist, said the government would seek "maximum cooperation" with the EU, the eurozone and the IMF and had already begun talks but would not cooperate with "a committee built on rotten foundations."

Dijsselbloem warned before arriving in Athens that the new Greek government is already setting itself an impossible task, raising expectations it cannot meet.

"If you add up all the promises (made in the election campaign), then the Greek budget will very quickly run totally off course," he said in Amsterdam.

Friday's talks come on the heels of warnings by the European Union and Germany that there was little support for reducing the debt, which the radical new government is hoping to cut in half.

New maverick Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will begin a tour of European capitals next week to press home Greece's case, meeting his British, French and Italian counterparts on Monday and Tuesday. Tsipras will also visit Italy and France next week.

Debt rating agency Fitch said Greece was still likely to reach a deal with its creditors but only after protracted talks damaging to the economy.

"There is a high risk that protracted and difficult negotiations will sap confidence and liquidity from the Greek economy," it said in a note.

Ahead of the meeting, Greek stocks lost another 1.59 percent a day after after plunging on concerns about the first moves of Tsipras's radical new administration to roll back several reforms underpinning the bailout.

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz, the first visiting foreign dignitary to meet Tsipras' government, on Thursday said the prime minister had assured him that Greece would seek "common ground" with its EU peers.

But in an interview late on Thursday, Schulz said Tsipras' coalition alliance with the Independent Greeks, a hardline nationalist party, was "not something good for the country."

"This government will enter into confrontation with the European Union at a time when dialogue is needed," he told SKAI TV.

Elected on Sunday, the new government has already begun to roll back years of austerity measures demanded by the EU and the International Monetary Fund in return for the huge bailout granted to avoid a financial meltdown in 2010, and says it will negotiate to halve the debt.

‘Debt reduction not on radar'

But European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said a reduction of the 315-billion-euro debt linked to the bailout "is not on the radar".

"I don't think there's a majority in the Eurogroup... for a reduction of the debt," he told Germany's ARD television, referring to the eurozone's finance ministers.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's vice-chancellor and also its economy minister, said he expected Greece to "stick to its commitments" for fiscal and economic reform made in exchange for the bailout.

He was critical of a decision by the new government to scrap the privatisation of the two main ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, and the biggest Greek power company, decisions which have also drawn a rebuke from China that has a major investment in Piraeus.

  • The Greek central bank said 4.0 billion euros in private deposits had been withdrawn from banks in December.

But Daniele Nouy, head of the European Central Bank's Supervisory Board, said despite the post-election turbulence, Greek lenders were "pretty strong".

First row over Russia statement

Tsipras' government managed to have its first foreign policy row this week after it complained to Brussels over allegedly not being consulted when the EU threatened new sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine.

EU foreign ministers eventually overcame Greece's reluctance and agreed Thursday to extend the sanctions against Russia.

Tsipras' Syriza party has been seen as pro-Russian, with Moscow's ambassador becoming the first foreign official to be received by the prime minister after his election victory. Many party members are former Communists.

Tsipras, who ousted the conservatives of former prime minister Antonis Samaras, has said Greece is no longer prepared to bow to the "politics of submission”, in a clear swipe at its international creditors.

Varoufakis has said the government wants "a pan-European New Deal" to encourage growth and help the continent deal with Greece's crisis.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

http://www.france24.com/en/20150130-greece-warned-against-trying-reverse-bailout-deals/
30/1/15

Τετάρτη, Ιανουαρίου 28, 2015

Greek PM Tsipras pledges radical change, markets tumble

Leftwing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras threw down an open challenge to international creditors today by halting privatisation plans agreed under the country's bailout deal, prompting a third day of heavy losses on financial markets...

A swift series of announcements signaled the newly installed government would stand by its anti-austerity pledges, setting it on course for a clash with European partners, led by Germany, which has said it will not renegotiate the aid package needed to help Greece pay its debts.

Tsipras told the first meeting of his cabinet members that they could not afford to disappoint the voters who gave them a mandate in Sunday's election, which his Syriza party won decisively.

After announcing a halt to the privatisation of the port of Piraeus yesterday, for which China's Cosco Group and four other suitors had been shortlisted, the government said on Wednesday it would block the sale of a stake in the Public Power Corporation of Greece (PPC).

It also plans to reinstate public sector employees judged to have been laid off without proper justification and announced rises in pension payments for retired people on low incomes.

Uncertainty over the new government's relations with the European Union went beyond economic policy. A day before the EU is expected to extend sanctions against Russia for six months, it was unclear if Athens would back its European partners on this move, after dissenting over a joint statement from the bloc on Ukraine yesterday.

Tsipras, who met Russia's ambassador to Athens on Monday and the Chinese envoy the next day, told ministers that the government would not seek "a mutually destructive clash" with creditors. But he warned Greece would not back down from demanding a renegotiation of debt.

"We are coming in to radically change the way that policies and administration are conducted in this country," he said.

Financial markets have taken fright. Greek bank stocks plunged more than 22 percent today, taking their cumulative losses since the election to 40 percent.

The overall Athens stock market fell almost 8 percent , while Greek five-year government bond yields hit around 13.5 percent. This marked their highest level since a 2012 restructuring which wrote off a large proportion of Greek debt held by private investors.

Newly-appointed Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who meets Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the euro zone finance ministers' group on Friday, said negotiations would not be easy but he expected they would find common ground.

"There won't be a duel between Greece and Europe," he said, in his first meeting with reporters since taking office.

Varoufakis said he would meet the finance ministers of France and Italy - both countries which have pressed for a change of course in Europe from rigid budget orthodoxy - in the coming days.

France has ruled out straight cancellation of Greece's debt, about 80 percent of which is held by other euro zone governments and multinational organisations such as the IMF. However, Paris has said it would be open to talks on making Greece's debt burden more sustainable and Tsipras is expected to meet President Francois Hollande before an EU summit on Feb. 12.

The response from Germany was frosty. Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Athens should have discussed the halt to privatisations with its partners before making an announcement.

"Citizens of other euro states have a right to see that the deals linked to their acts of solidarity are upheld," he said, adding that it would be the "wrong solution" for Greece to quit the euro but that it was up to Athens to decide.

Fears that talks between the new government and its creditors would break down, with unforeseeable consequences for Greece's future in Europe, fuelled the third successive day of f turmoil on the markets.

Tsipras said the government would pursue balanced budgets but would not seek to build up "unrealistic surpluses" to service Greece's massive public debt of more than 175 percent of gross domestic product.

Priorities would be helping the weakest sections of society, with policies to attack endemic cronyism and corruption in the economy, reduce waste and cut Greece's record unemployment.

The new government also confirmed it would stop the planned sale of state assets, in line with its election pledges.

Shares in PPC, which is 51 percent owned by the state and controls almost all of Greece's retail electricity market, were down nearly 13 percent, while Piraeus Port stock fell nearly 8 percent.

"We will halt immediately any privatisation of PPC," Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told Greek television a few hours before officially taking over his portfolio. "There will be a new PPC which will help considerably the restoration of the country's productive activities," he said.

The previous government of conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras passed legislation last year to spin off part of PPC to liberalise the energy market under a privatisation plan agreed under the EU/IMF bailout.

  http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/180606/greek-pm-tsipras-pledges-radical-change-markets-tumble
28/1/15
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Κυριακή, Ιανουαρίου 25, 2015

Spain's anti-austerity Podemos hails Greek ally Syriza


Spain's anti-austerity party hailed on Sunday its Greek radical left-wing ally Syriza which appeared on course for a stunning election victory.
"Hope is coming, fear is fleeing. Syriza, Podemos, we will win," said Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias shortly before exit polls were issued in Greece showing Syriza leading Sunday's vote.

"In Greece tonight, we are already hearing that. We are hoping we will hear the same thing in Spain soon," he told a gathering of about 8,000 party faithful in the eastern city of Valencia.

"We are going to be smiling tonight."

According to exit polls, Syriza took between 35.5 percent and 39.5 percent of the vote, ahead of the conservative New Democracy party of incumbent Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Spain's conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy earlier Sunday warned austerity-weary voters against the temptation to back Podemos in elections due this year.

He said that hard-won economic recovery must not be lost by a voter "leap in the dark".

"We can not bet our future and that of our children in a frivolous game of Russian roulette," Rajoy told a congress of his Popular Party in Madrid.

Like Syriza, Podemos has found considerable popular support by rejecting austerity programmes adopted to try to lift the countries out of deep economic crisis.
AFP
http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/121313.aspx
25/1/15
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Σάββατο, Ιανουαρίου 17, 2015

Greece arrests four over foiled Belgium terror attacks

At least four people were arrested in Athens on Saturday (Jan 17) as part of a probe into an extremist cell that was dismantled in Belgium this week before it could carry out any attacks, a Greek police source said.
Greece's anti-terror police were seeking to determine whether those arrested included Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the 27-year-old suspected mastermind of the cell who according to media reports may have been planning the foiled attacks from Greece.

The arrests took place in the Pangrati district of the Greek capital in the middle of the day, the source said. Several mobile phones were also seized.

European nations have arrested dozens of Islamist suspects in the wake of the Belgian anti-terror raids, during which two suspects were killed.

Belgium said the cell was planning to kill police officers.

Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan descent, is a notorious extremist who spent time in Syria. His alleged involvement comes at a time of heightened fears in Europe about the threat posed by young Europeans returning home after fighting alongside extremist groups in the Middle East.

Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 15, 2015

Bulgarian PM proposes creating gas hub on border with Turkey

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said on Thursday at a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry that he favored the idea of creating a gas hub on the border with Turkey.
“An intersystem gas pipeline with Greece should be built using European money.

Besides, I acquainted our partners with our joint idea with the European Commission to build a gas hub on the Turkish border, if the project (for the construction of a gas pipeline between Russia and Turkey) is really implemented,” Borisov said.
  The Bulgarian premier also confirmed a ban on shale gas extraction in Bulgaria using the hydraulic fracturing method.  “We have stated on numerous occasions that unless a technology is found to guarantee the absence of environmental problems in the most fertile part of Bulgaria, we’ll keep the moratorium on shale gas extraction. Our position is clear and understandable to our partners,” the Bulgarian premier said.
Gazprom head Alexey Miller said on Wednesday that EU countries should hurry up with the construction of infrastructure to receive Russian natural gas from the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project. “They have a maximum of several years for this. This is a very tight schedule. To comply with it, work for the construction of new trunk gas pipelines should be started in EU countries right now. Otherwise, these gas volumes may be redirected to other markets,” the Gazprom head said.
The Turkish Stream gas pipeline project is the sole route for Russia’s future supplies of 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe currently delivered via Ukraine, Miller said.
The Gazprom head made this statement in response to a question about the fate of Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project.
“The project is closed. The Turkish Stream is the sole route, which can deliver 63 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas transited across Ukraine so far. There are no other options,” Miller said.
  • Gazprom has notified its European partners about its Turkish Stream gas pipe plans and now their task is to create the necessary gas transport infrastructure from the border of Turkey and Greece, the Gazprom head said.
  http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/771414
  15/1/15 

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Κυριακή, Ιανουαρίου 04, 2015

Germany: Greek euro exit is now possible, report says

 Germany is prepared to accept a Greek exit from the euro, the magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

"The German government considers a Eurozone exit by Greece to be almost inevitable if opposition leader Alexis Tsipras leads the government after the election and abandons budgetary discipline and does not repay the country's debts," Der Spiegel reported on its website, citing unnamed government sources.


Tspiras’ radical left coalition SYRIZA is the most likely winner of the upcoming elections on Jan. 25, according to the polls. SYRIZA has strongly criticized the unpopular austerity measures imposed by the terms of the bailouts that the Greek government accepted in 2010 and 2012.

The German government had considered a Greek exit from the euro in 2012, but ultimately rejected the idea out of concerns for the threat it would pose to the entire European Monetary System. There was a danger that "contagion," or credit risk, would spread to other EU nations, like Spain and Ireland and Portugal, which were also struggling with financial crisis at that time.

According to the report, the German government believes that reformed financial regulations in the EU will ring-fence Greece, and control contagion risk.

The German government has neither confirmed nor denied Der Spiegel’s story on Sunday.

" Greece has fulfilled its obligations in the past. The federal government assumes that Greece will continue to meet its obligations,” government spokesman Georg Streiter said in a brief statement to German media.

The years of austerity imposed by the bailout programs have soured sentiment against the coalition government of the New Democracy and Panhellenic Socialist Movement political parties. The coalition has cut wages and social services, increased taxes and laid off public sector workers.

Germany’s opposition Left Party has blamed Chancellor Merkel’s coalition government for deliberately triggering crisis and instability in Greece ahead of elections on Jan 25.

The Left Party’s co-chairman Bernd Riexinger described the move as “lighting a bomb.”

“Greece would be destabilized ahead of the elections with such open blackmail in public,” Riexinger said. He warned that following speculation in the press, Greek citizens might rush to the banks.
www.aa.com.tr/en

4/1/15
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Δευτέρα, Δεκεμβρίου 29, 2014

Evacuation of burning Italian ferry completed (Hundreds of passengers brought to safety)

All remaining passengers on board an Italian ferry that caught fire in the Adriatic Sea off the Greek island of Corfu have been rescued, Greek officials have said.

The blaze left seven people dead. Six bodies were recovered from the water around the stricken Norman Atlantic on Monday, a day after the body of a 62-year-old Greek man was pulled from the heaving sea.
 
A 24-hour evacuation operation that proved to be extremely difficult was concluded shortly after midday.

Many of those rescued said the fire, which broke out at dawn on Sunday, triggered panic which the crew appeared ill-prepared to deal with.
One of the first passengers rescued told reporters after arriving in the Italian port of Bari he had thought he was going to die as parts of the ferry, with 478 passengers and crew on board, became engulfed by thick smoke as it travelled from Greece to Italy.
"We did not know what to do. The staff had no idea how to get people off the boat," he said.
"The lifeboats did not work, there was only one of them in the water and none of the crew were there to help people."

Others said they stayed huddled on the vessel's upper decks, pelted by rain and hail and struggled to breathe through the thick smoke.
A passenger recalled people being awakened by "the smell of burning plastic" and that the heat from the fire felt like the floors were "boiling".

The evacuation was completed nearly 36 hours after the fire broke out on the car deck and left the huge vessel drifting dangerously in high seas off the coast of Albania.

'Mystery'
With the evacuation complete, questions are being raised as to how the fire started and why it was not contained.
Bari prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe announced a criminal investigation which will seek to establish whether negligence contributed to the disaster.
The Italian owner of the boat, Carlo Visentini, said he would cooperate fully.
He insisted that the vessel, which was leased to Greek operator ANEK ferries, had passed a technical inspection which included its firedoors on December 19.

Al Jazeera's Simon McGregor-Wood, reporting from Italian coastal city of Brindisi, said what caused the fire remained a mystery.

"But what we do know from various sources is that the fire took hold in the car deck," he said. "There were 200 vehicles of all kinds including several tanker trucks containing olive oil, which it is expected to have contributed to the fire."
 [aljazeera.com]
29/12/14
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251 People Rescued, 227 Still on Board Norman Atlantic Ferry (Italian Navy)

251 out of more than 470 passengers of the Norman Atlantic passenger ferry, which caught fire Sunday as it was sailing from Greece to Italy, have been rescued and 267 are still on board, the Italian Navy stated Monday.
 
"251 people have been saved, 227 are still on board," the Italian Navy said on its official Twitter page.

 
The Norman Atlantic ferry, which caught ablaze in the Ionian Sea, has been taken under tow, with the fire on board partially under control, the Greek shipping ministry reported on Sunday.
The towing rope, used by the Italian ship Marietta Barretta to tow the burning Norman Atlantic ferry, has broken, the website of the Il Messaggero newspaper reported.
The government rescue team is now trying to reattach the ship to one of the four tugs, which are close to the Norman Atlantic. When the tow rope is reattached, the ferry is likely to be moved to the Italian port of Brindisi.

Earlier, the Greek Minister of National Defense Nikos Dendias reported that the Norman Atlantic angled down 7 degrees. At the same time, a representative of the ANEK company, chartering the ferry, said to the Skai Greek TV channel, that angle of the heel was not dangerous......................http://sputniknews.com/europe/20141229/1016349172.html
29/12/14
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Κυριακή, Δεκεμβρίου 28, 2014

Winds hamper burning ferry rescue off Greece (About 160 rescued)

At least one person has been killed and hundreds more remain trapped after an Italian ferry with almost 500 people on board caught fire off the Greek island of Corfu, the Italian Navy has confirmed.
About 160 people have been rescued so far, while Italian and Greek helicopter crews prepared to work through the night to airlift passengers in pairs off a burning ferry adrift in the Adriatic Sea.

The Norman Atlantic, carrying 222 vehicles, 411 passengers and 55 crew, was 44 nautical miles northwest of the island of Corfu when it sent a distress signal after a fire started in the lower deck, Greek coast guard officials said on Sunday.
Greek vessels rushed to give assistance after picking up its distress signal, the coastguard added.
The evacuation was being carried out in difficult conditions, with rescued passengers saying gale-force winds were lashing the vessel.
Seven vessels were next to the ferry to take passengers on board. Two Greek firefighting ships were on their way, while Italian and Greek aircraft circled overhead.

Bad weather
Italian navy spokesman Riccardo Rizzotto said four helicopters were already at the scene and the ship's captain had told coastguards that the ferry was now drifting towards the Albanian coast.

"The weather conditions are so bad we need an extraordinary level of support, which is effectively what is being put in place," he said.
The fire was said to have broken out in the ferry's parking bay, which can hold some 200 vehicles, the AFP news agency said.

Greek television network Mega said there were tankers holding olive oil in the bay.

Defence Minister Nikos Dendias told the channel that Italian authorities had responded to a Greek plea for assistance and had now taken charge of the rescue operation.
The Norman Atlantic had left the Greek port of Patras at 05:30am (03:30 GMT) and had been heading to the Italian port of Ancona when the fire broke out.
 [aljazeera.com]
28/12/14

Italian-flagged ferry with 466 people on board evacuated due to fire / Un ferry en feu au large de la Grèce: sauvetage en cours (VIDEO YT)

An Italian-flagged ferry with a total of 466 people on board was being evacuated on Sunday after a fire broke out in one garage off the island of Corfu in western Greece, the local Coast Guard said.

The "Norman Atlantic" was sailing from the port of Patras in western Greece to Ancona in Italy with 411 passengers, 55 crew members and 220 vehicles on board when the fire started under yet unclear circumstances.


For precaution measures authorities decided to evacuate the people to ships which were sailing nearby at about 30 nautical miles off Corfu. 

Xinhua
28/12/14
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  • Un ferry en feu au large de la Grèce: sauvetage en cours

Un incendie s'est déclaré, dimanche, sur un ferry grec avec 411 passagers et 55 membres d'équipage à son bord. Le "Norman Atlantic" avait quitté le port grec de Patras à 05h30 (03h30 GMT) dimanche matin en direction du port italien d'Ancona, et a envoyé un signal de détresse alors qu'il se trouvait à 33 miles nautiques de la petite île grecque d'Othonoi, en mer Adriatique. Le feu aurait pris dans le garage du navire, avant de se répandre rapidement.

Une opération de sauvetage est en cours pour évacuer les 466 personnes à bord, ont annoncé les garde-côtes grecs.
 [rtl.be]
28/12/14
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Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

«Παριστάνετε τα "καλά παιδιά" ελπίζοντας στη στήριξη του διεθνή παράγοντα για να παραμείνετε στην εξουσία», ήταν η κατηγορία πο...