News in English 30-9-13
The budget for 2014 includes new taxes worth 1.5 billion euros – with the main burden falling on individuals (salaried workers, retirees, professionals, and personal businesses) – and dramatic spending cuts reaching 2.2 billion euros, in pensions, health care, education and defence. The budget draft will be submitted to parliament on 7 October. Legislation has already been passed for the implementation of these measures but it is possible the troika will request additional measures for the coming year.
New evidence is emerging concerning the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, the anti-fascist rapper stabbed to death in Athens on 18 September. According to the police ballistics report on the 9mm pistol legally owned by Elias Panagiotaros, it was from his gun that «unnecessary shots» were fired, during the funeral of the last junta member serving a life sentence, Nickolaos Dertilis, in January 2013
The father and girlfriend of Pavlos Fyssas offered testimony today at the Pireas courthouse before the 6th examining magistrate. The woman’s testimony is highly significant, because she was present throughout the entire incident and the antifascist activist and musician took his last breath in her arms.
Police are conducting ongoing searches to locate Golden Dawn’s secret weapons arsenal which, according to the prosecutor’s findings is «hidden in an unknown location». According to press reports, the Counterterrorism Service found two pistols, swastikas and SS helmets in the home of Christos Pappas in Ioannina. His office inside parliament was also searched but the results have not yet been disclosed
Four of the arrested Golden Dawn MPs will submit their pleas tomorrow. Pleas will be submitted by the party boss on Wednesday and by the parliamentary spokesperson on Thursday.
ERT’s police correspondent reports that one of the eight suspects has apparently confessed his involvement in the murder and has revealed the names of his accomplices. Among the arrested is a person claiming to be the driver of the assailant, George Roupakias’ car, contradicting Mr. Roupakias’ statement about events that night. The alleged driver’s presence at the murder scene has been verified, as well as his contact with other key people invlolved in the killing. Also arrested is the so-called ‘henchman,’ George Patelis, who heads Golden Dawn’s local branch in Nikaia, Pireus. G. Patelis is reported to be one of three people who had a verbal argument with Pavlos Fyssas the night he was killed. Among these eight arrestees, is an insurance consultant from the Moschato area, G. Patelis’ wife, who regularly organised lectures containing hate speech at local branches of the party, and the female companion of Mr. Lagos, who was also actively involved in Golden Dawn. There are 10 more arrests pending, for which the prosecutor has issued warrants. The police have stated that after more than 300 telephone conversations have been examined, a new round of about 20 arrests will follow, and are likely to include serving policemen. The Financial Crime department’s report on the financial details and activities of Golden Dawn is being awaited with much interest, and due to be published in the coming days.
Legislation for the suspension of state funding to political parties whose leading members or MPs, have been accused or prosecuted for criminal activities, has been submitted to the parliament, and is being discussed today
In a press conference given today by the Deputy Prime Minister, Vangelis Venizelos clarified that the government is not blackmailed by anyone and that him personally never considered seriously the claims of Golden Dawn’s MPs on their resignation. He stressed out that the Constitution provides with precision what should be done in case of MP’s resignation, so there is no question of elections. He ended up, stating that all the discussion on elections are politically groundless and dangerous, calling upon everyone to see what is happening in Italy with the governmental instability, and how markets react to it.
On the same context, the president of DIMAR, mr. Fotis Kouvelis, speaking at a private television channel, opposed on the announcement of elections due to the developments with the far-right-wing party, saying that «we should not let the Golden Dawn become a factor of the developments». But he did not rule out the probability of elections within 2013.
During a speech yesterday at the party’s youth festival, SYRIZA president, Alexis Tsipras, noted that the murder of Pavlos Fyssas will go down in history, along with the murder of Petroulas, of Lambrakis, Temponeras and others.» He reminded everyone that the Prime Minister, Mr. Samaras, only a few days earlier, was equating Syriza with Golden Dawn, and complained that neo-Nazis «denounce the “extreme” actions of Left-wing parties, thus pushing them to respond with violence and extremism. Mr. Tsipras called upon the youth to isolate fascism in a democratic and peaceful manner, mainly ideologically and morally.
Government Spokesman, Mr. Simos Kedikoglou, commenting on Mr. Tsipras’ speech, characterised it as «an unacceptable and divisive delirium».
The ministry of Finance has nominated Konstantinos Maniatopoulos as president of the Hellenic Republic Asset Developement Fund (TAIPED).
Prior to the nomination, Mr. Maniatopoulos was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company of Public Assets.
Employees of the Thessaloniki water company, members of the movement «SOS Water» and SYRIZA party officials disrupted a meeting between the administration and representatives of banks and other commercial representatives. The meeting was scheduled in the context of the upcoming tender for the privatisation of the water company. The meeting was to be held in the offices of the Water supply Company, at Tsimiski Street. However the protesters gathered outside the building with banners and slogans against its privatisation, and a group of them went inside the offices and disrupted the meeting.
The National Federation of Teaching and Research Employees (POSDEP) is calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Joint Ministerial Decree regarding the availability of employees of Universities. They are calling upon all unions of employees in Teaching and Research to join the struggle of university employees, and have scheduled a 48 hour strike for 1-2 October.
Meanwhile, former rectors of the Kapodistrian University have expressed their opposition to the closure of the University of Athens. «No matter how big a blow the University has suffered», they ask for its immediate reopening.
The Union of Hospital Doctors of Chania, Crete released a statement following the surprise visit of the Minister of Health to the city’s hospital.
«The ‘so-called’ Minister of Health came to visit our Hospital, in silence and pretty much like ‘a thief’, unexpectedly through the back door, and escorted by heavily armed police men,» they said. After only a few minute meeting with the hospital administrator and a few others, he left as quickly as he arrived, apparently fearing the «warm welcome» he would receive from doctors and hospital employees.
Panathinaikos and Olympiakos soccer fans arrested for involvement in a scuffle at Mesologgi have appeared before the prosecutor this afternoon. One person who sustained injuries during the scuffle has been hospitalised in a critical condition.
A support gathering was held outside the Thessaloniki courthouse yesterday morning in solidarity with the people who were arrested during the re-occupation of the Orphanage squat. All were released and the date of their court hearing was set for 16 December. They are accused of disturbing the domestic peace and for contravention of the royal decree against occupation of public property.
The great popular singer Poly Panou was buried at 3 pm at the cemetery of Kokkinos Milos. The public had been paying their last respects since the morning.
Solidarity events in support of ERT’s employees continue at ERT’s premises in Agia Paraskevi. Sakis Tsilikis will be with us tonight, performing songs with his friends and colleagues, in protest against ERT’s ‘black screen’ imposed by the Samaras government. Joining him on stage are Dimitris Psarianos, Vasilis Gisdakis, Kostas Karalis, Alexandra Koniak, Vasilis Panagiotides, Anastasia Malandrenioti, Eleana Finokalioti, and Alkeviades Konstantopoulos. The great percussionists Nikos Touliatos will accompany them along with other distinguished musicians.