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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-07-10

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

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

Tuesday, 10 April 2007 Issue No: 2640

CONTENTS

  • [01] Government announces immediate plans for Parnitha reforestation
  • [02] PM to meet foreign, interior ministers on Tuesday
  • [03] EU Mediterranean member-state FMs address letter to Tony Blair
  • [04] Serb FM receives Greek foreign ministry official, Greek ambassador
  • [05] Roussopoulos on Skaramangas Shipyards, timing of elections
  • [06] PASOK leader meets with workers at Skaramangas Shipyards
  • [07] PASOK leader addresses rally in Egaleo, calls for elections
  • [08] Defence ministry replies to statements by PASOK leader
  • [09] KKE's Papariga visits Demokritos, comments on elections
  • [10] KKE leader addresses officials from health sector
  • [11] KKE comments on protests by inhabitants of Kozani
  • [12] SYN leader supports efforts to defend public land in Ilioupolis
  • [13] Voulgarakis on the New Seven Wonders of the World list
  • [14] Culture minister to table bill on cultural heritage protection
  • [15] Greeks re-elected at OSCE session in Kiev
  • [16] Archbishop Christodoulos' health improving doctors say
  • [17] Foreign investors' participation in ASE at 50.67 pct in June
  • [18] Greek food enterprises in Fancy Food Show in New York
  • [19] Suburban Railway extension to Kiato inaugurated
  • [20] Thessaloniki Water dismisses reports over a merger plan with Athens Water
  • [21] Greece and Bulgaria the most popular tourist destinations for Romanians
  • [22] Greek closed-end investment funds' assets up slightly in June
  • [23] Greek stocks rally for 8th consecutive session
  • [24] ADEX closing report
  • [25] Greek bond market closing report
  • [26] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday
  • [27] Foreign national arrested on murder charges
  • [28] Attica police report dismantling large ring of people traffickers
  • [29] Coordinating committee of overseas Greek local administration officials convenes in Thessaloniki
  • [30] Forest fires on Samos now under control
  • [31] Three arrests on arson charges
  • [32] Elderly man arrested on cannabis charges
  • [33] National Bank branch in Oreokastro robbed of 152,000 euros
  • [34] Hot on Tuesday
  • [35] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [36] Papadopoulos proposes meeting with Talat
  • [37] President to meet with parties in light of Christofias' candidacy

  • [01] Government announces immediate plans for Parnitha reforestation

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias on Monday announced a series of measures of the speedy and immediate reforestation of the forest burned on Mount Parnitha and the preservation of the National Park's animal and bird life. In addition to the measures, the minister made it clear that the government would not tolerate any attempts to encroach on the burnt areas, either for construction or for use as grazing, and would crack down hard on offenders.

    "This is a most serious case for Attica and it must be understood in every way that Parnitha does not lend itself to this sort of activity," Souflias stressed.

    He made the announcements after a meeting held on Monday morning with Agriculture Development Minister Evangelos Bassiakos, local government and regional authority officials, the Parnitha chief forest warden, representatives of the Parnitha National Park management body, the Army's Geographical Service and a specialist expert from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).

    According to the minister, the government's plan for Parnitha will unfold on a particularly tight schedule in order to ensure a swift recovery for Attica and avoid nasty surprises over the winter, starting with the designation of the burnt expanses as land destined for reforestation by next month.

    He said this would open the way for carrying out works to protect against flooding and soil erosion, while the reforestation work will begin in the first days of November. In addition, extra staff will be hired in order to set up watches within the forest, which will be manned by staff from the forest service and volunteers, with the total budget of the project is estimated to be in the region of 30 million euros that will come from the coffers of the environment ministry.

    As part of the government's "race" to create a legal framework for the protection of Parnitha's forest, there will for the first time be special legislative measures for dealing with those that attempt to build in the areas that were burnt, while animal breeders that lead their flocks to areas pegged for reforestation will be barred from receiving European Union subsidies and funding.

    Those who try to build on the land that had been declared due for reforestation, whether within or outside the boundaries of the National Park, will be prosecuted under the law on structurally unsound and dangerous buildings, where demolition orders are carried out immediately by the forestry service and cannot be stayed or suspended.

    The minister also noted that announcing a specific schedule for the work in advance was a "risk" for the government, which might well need more time given the mountain's "complex morphology" but stressed that it was necessary.

    "The bodies involved must be bound to some form of time commitment and the citizens must be informed," he said.

    Outlining this schedule, Souflias said this would start with the declaration of the areas burnt as land due for reforestation within a month, since the Army's Geographical Service had already completed taking aerial photographs of the area, which would form the basis of the reforestation studies. At the same time, property registration will begin as a priority in all local authorities that contain or neighbour on areas of burnt forest on Parnitha.

    Protection against flooding and erosion will be carried out chiefly through the construction of barriers using logs and tree branches and, where necessary, stone walls. Souflias announced that the Parnitha forest department had already starting preparing a logging chart, which would be ready in one week for the fir forest, while for the rest of the mountain's flora, it would be ready in 15 days. Though it won't be fully completed until the start of August, the actual work might begin earlier as sections of the study are submitted.

    The minister said that the appropriate bodies have contacted forestry cooperatives to set up wooden barriers, starting with the forest's larger ravines as a priority, while the work will be supervised by the Attica Reforestation Directorate and the Parnitha National Park management service. The work is scheduled to begin within 15 days so that it can be completed by the end of September.

    Regarding the actual reforestation itself, a plan for the work includes the completion in 10 days of a study of the terrain and the preparation of reforestation studies by the end of September so that work can begin in November.

    In order to assist the process of reforestation and protect the burnt areas, access to these on foot or for vehicles will be restricted, especially in the Molas region, with artificial barriers, while the forest roads Retsinada-Paleohori and Kastriza-Gefyra Mavrorematos will be closed to traffic at all times.

    In charge of protecting the forest's remaining wildlife and of monitoring its population is the Parnitha Forest service and the veterinary service, while the forest will be guarded through the hiring of additional seasonal staff with eight-month contracts but also of permanent staff that will be selected without going through the Supreme Council for Staff Selection (ASEP).

    "We can neither blackmail nor violate nature. All the experts recommend that, up to 800 metres, we let the natural regeneration of the plant life function and that is what we will do. We will also seek the opinions of Thessaloniki University professors and of the NTUA, as well as those of non-governmental organisations that are knowledgeable on the subject and those of the public. We need everyone's help, given that any action must be carried out methodically and in an organised way so as not to cause further damage. The terrain on Parnitha has a peculiar morphology and we must do the best we can within the proper time," Souflias said.

    [02] PM to meet foreign, interior ministers on Tuesday

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will have successive meetings with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos at 10:00 and 11:00, respectively, on Tuesday morning.

    [03] EU Mediterranean member-state FMs address letter to Tony Blair

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and the foreign ministers of the European Union's other Mediterranean member-states addressed a letter to former British prime minister Tony Blair on the occasion of his appointment as special envoy for the Quartet on the Middle East issue.

    In the letter, the 10 foreign ministers acknowledged the difficult task the British politician will be assuming, due to the situation prevailing, and referred to aims to be pursued on the Middle East issue.

    It said that a substantive political solution must be sought through negotiations, without conditions being set beforehand on the final status quo, even if the process is carried out in successive phases.

    The possibility of the deployment of a force of an international nature should be assessed, that will not replace but will accompany a peace plan and will be based on an intra-Palestinian agreement.

    The signatories also urge the speedy convening of an international conference in which all sides involved in the conflict will participate. Lastly, they expressed their support for the difficult mission that Blair must carry out.

    The ten foreign ministers met in Portoroz, Slovenia, on July 6.

    [04] Serb FM receives Greek foreign ministry official, Greek ambassador

    BELGRADE (ANA-MPA, TANJUG)

    Serb Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic on Monday received the director of the Greek foreign ministry's Diplomatic Academy, Ambassador Kyriakos Rodousakis, and the Greek Ambassador in Belgrade Christos Panagopoulos.

    Talks focused on very good cooperation existing between the diplomatic academies of Greece and Serbia, while the Greek ambassador proposed a visit to the Greek foreign ministry and the Diplomatic Academy by 20 young Serb diplomats.

    Jeremic thanked Rodousakis for this proposal, stressing the great importance of suitable training for young diplomats in his country.

    The head of Serb diplomacy and Panagopoulos also pointed out that Greek experience regarding accession to the European Union is of great significance for Serbia, which is also making efforts to become a member of the "European family."

    [05] Roussopoulos on Skaramangas Shipyards, timing of elections

    Government spokesman Thodoros Roussopoulos on Monday referred to the announced and anticipated layoffs in the Skaramangas Shipyards during the regular press briefing.

    He stressed that the employment ministry is following the issue closely and is in continuous consultation with representatives of Skaramangas workers in an effort to reach the best possible solution.

    Regarding the time when elections will be held and the government's intention to introduce the draft law on the voting rights of Greeks living abroad to parliament in October, he stated that relevant comments made by the prime minister still apply.

    [06] PASOK leader meets with workers at Skaramangas Shipyards

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou visited the Skaramangas Shipyards on Monday, "in order to hear about, but also support the workers in their problems", as he himself told reporters.

    The Skaramangas Shipyards, which have been fully privatised since 2002 and belong to the Thyssen Group, have announced 12 dismissals while a further 100 dismissals were anticipated, and, according to Papandreou, a further 300 employees were "living with the fear of dismissal".

    Papandreou said that the preceding PASOK governments had supported the Shipyards, which he said were the largest shipbuilding and repair unit in the eastern Mediterranean, and accused the New Democracy government of disdaining the shipyard and of not caring overall either about the dismissals, nor about employment or the defence industry.

    In addition, he said, the government owed the Shipyard 200 million euro from orders placed by the Hellenic Navy.

    He said that the response to dismissals and competitiveness could not be cheap wages, as was the case in shipyards in China and Korea but, rather, investment in the human and innovation, which would also open up new roads.

    "Whereas the Right leaves itself to the rules of the market, the difference is that we intervene and ourselves put forward the rules of the market in favour of the working people's interests," Papandreou said.

    He also endorsed open, transparent international tendering for armaments, criticising the government of 'secret procedures', adding that despite the fact that the international trend was concentration of the defence industry, it was not possible that countries such as Greece did not have a developed corresponding branch, and called for integrated planning that would also include agreements with international consortiums as well as the development of programmes and linking with the European defence industry.

    Regarding the dismissals, the PASOK leader noted the points in his party's platform concerning social labour and public sector support for dismissed older workers to help them meet the retirement requirements.

    Papandreou also met with the Shipyards' management.

    [07] PASOK leader addresses rally in Egaleo, calls for elections

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed a rally in the Athens district of Egaleo on Monday evening, concluding his three-day tour of Western Attica, calling for elections "here and now."

    Papandreou said that "this government must leave as soon as possible because it has made slander and mudslinging against its opponents a daily practice and it is filling public life with the poison of offsetting."

    The PASOK leader further said that "the government is tottering and those who are tottering will collapse under the weight of the bonds scandals."

    Papandreou added that seeing defeat coming, the Karamanlis government "is dealing its last card of desperation, panic and theatrics, the card of polarisation and offsetting," pointing out that "this is confirmation of guilt, covering up and of irresponsibility."

    He also said that resorting to polarisation "confirms that the mastermind of covering up is the leader of the rightwing party, who does not give explanations to Parliament but hides and mudslings."

    "This tactic of the government will not stop us, it does not deceive us and it does not touch us," he said and reiterated his personal commitment for "transparency everywhere and always".

    Papandreou went on to criticise the government of "remembering the people after four years, who now know, however, what hearing promises from (Prime Minister Costas) Karamanlis and the (ruling) New Democracy party means."

    He criticised the prime minister for a series of issues for which, as he said, "he lied to the Greek people and he is not implementing his election commitments."

    Lastly, Papandreou promised to extend the Metro to the town of Perama, stop building in open spaces, remove the prison from the district of Korydallos and deliver the army camps at Haidari and Agii Anargyri to the municipalities.

    [08] Defence ministry replies to statements by PASOK leader

    The defence ministry issued an announcement on Monday commenting on statements made by main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou during his visit to the Skaramangas Shipyards earlier in the day, reminding him of the policies of PASOK governments in the past.

    "The political responsibilities of PASOK for the present state of the Skaramangas Shipyards are clear and obvious. The dismissals of employees is the result of the unballasted policy of PASOK on the country's defence industry. From 1996 until 2004 economic funds running into hundreds of billions of euros were conveyed with untransparency and with intense shadows of corruption in the name of shielding national defence," the announcement said.

    Replying to PASOK's leader in particular, the general director of the General Department of Defence Armaments and Investments, Evangelos Vasilakos, said in his statement:

    "Fear of responsibility and hypocrisy found their absolute expression in today's (Monday) visit of 'solidarity' by Mr. Papandreou to the Skaramangas Shipyards. Vague talk, wish talk, empty words. This is the kind of solidarity given by PASOK to the employees. PASOK showed the same care for employees in 2002 as well when it 'privatised' the Skaramangas Shipyards by proceeding with direct awards of armaments programmes. Mr. Papandreou was a member of the Government Foreign Affairs and Defence Council (KYSEA) at the time. Doesn't he feel even a shred of responsibility today for the unacceptable contracts signed by PASOK at the time?"

    "The Ministry of National Defence expresses, once again, its strong dipleasure over the dismissal of twelve workers at the Skaramangas Shipyards and reiterates that the safest way for the resolution of any problems arising is dialogue and not tension. That is why it (the ministry) again warns the Skaramangas Shipyards management that, without the revocation of the dismissals, dialogue becomes particularly difficult," Vasilakos concludes.

    [09] KKE's Papariga visits Demokritos, comments on elections

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Monday paid a visit to the Demokritos research centre's staff association, during which she said that a "game" seemed to be underway to determine the date of the national elections.

    Commenting on the statements made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at the ruling New Democracy party's Congress over the weekend, she stressed that her party was not concerned about when the elections would be.

    "Let them hold them whenever they like. What is important is what the ballot box will bring, that it won't bring more of the same. There must be a different result. A feature of this difference will be the percentage given to KKE, because new problems are coming, so there must be new struggles," she added.

    She also agreed with an assessment that main opposition PASOK was deliberately attacking KKE:

    "There is no doubt that there is a carefully worked out, top-level plan by PASOK's leadership. This is in any case apparent because the attack comes before the elections. If PASOK's leadership had some of its own facts to use against KKE, it should have done so sooner," she said.

    Noting that similar attacks had taken place before the local government elections, Papariga also slammed PASOK's attacks as "mud-slinging" and said they were not based on political arguments.

    Earlier, she had expressed support for the problems outlined to her by the Demokritos staff, following a change of management at the Institute and the scrapping of a nuclear reactor that had operated there from 1961 until 2004.

    [10] KKE leader addresses officials from health sector

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga addressed a gathering of officials from the health sector on Monday evening, saying that she believes that the election period will not last for long, adding that for as long as it does a vigorous discussion and confrontation must take place on the major problems facing the people.

    Papariga further said that the discussion must focus on such issues as the incomes of working people, pensions, health, the environment and education.

    Referring to her party's tactics, the KKE leader said that "it wants the seed of a radical political conscience to be created in the election struggle because in the years to come the attack on working people will be very great in the health sector as well."

    Lastly, Papariga assessed that the cycle of the two major parties alternating in power has reached its limits and stressed that "the weaker the political system will be after the elections so much the better for the people."

    [11] KKE comments on protests by inhabitants of Kozani

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued an announcement on Monday, referring to protests by inhabitants of the city of Kozani, in northern Greece, and condemning what it said was the "authoritarian government image".

    "The violent suppression of the indignant inhabitants and unemployed shows, on the one hand, the authoritarian government image and, on the other, it highlights another major problem that the beating up of workers by the Riot Police is a consequence:The anti-popular results of the policy of capitalist restructuring (privatisations, etc), a policy that was started by PASOK and is being continued by the New Democracy (ND) party."

    The announcement added that "it has also been confirmed in the case of DEH (the Public Power Corporation) that the focus of attention for ND and PASOK is not the working man, as ND and PASOK claim hypocritically. It is the interests of capital."

    [12] SYN leader supports efforts to defend public land in Ilioupolis

    Coalition of Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alekos Alavanos on Monday met the mayor of Ilioupolis and underlined his support for the municipality's efforts to preserve public ownership of several hectares of land now under dispute. He also noted Constitutional protection for forests and public lands seemed to carry little clout in Greek courts.

    "In Greece the Constitution for the protection of forests, for the defence of public lands, does not apply. What does apply are the measures passed by the Sultan [during Ottoman rule prior to Greece's liberation in 1821], that are cited by land-grabbers and in the ways that they themselves interpret these, not the Greek courts," Alavanos stressed.

    The municipality is currently fighting to retain some 22 hectares of urban land, 16 hectares on the side of Mount Hymettus and a further 600 hectares up to the peak of Hymettus that are currently being contested.

    SYN's leader also attacked the government and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis for appointing as his advisor a member of the team that was currently contesting these pieces of public land, in addition to other potentially profitable properties in Argyroupolis and Alimos, and of appointing him to the board of the Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation, which was in charge of managing the state's real estate assets.

    [13] Voulgarakis on the New Seven Wonders of the World list

    Monuments cannot be treated like beauty pageant contestants, commented Culture Minister George Voulgarakis on Monday in response to a question on the results of the online vote for the New Seven Wonders of the World announced last Saturday in Lisbon.

    Referring to the fact that the Acropolis in Athens was not among them, Voulgarakis stated that Greece is not concerned with the vote in question held without the formal participation of state governments and institutions, nor international organisations like UNESCO.

    The entire affair has nothing to do with the true value of monuments, said Voulgarakis. "It concerns a private company with subjective questionnaires. We are satisfied with the statement made by UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura that he should not have allowed this vote to take place", he added.

    New Seven Wonders of the World is an alternative to the Seven Wonders of the World, developed by a vote organized by the Swiss New Open World Corporation (NOWC).

    [14] Culture minister to table bill on cultural heritage protection

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis will table a draft bill on "Measures for the protection of cultural commodities" at the Parliamentary Cultural Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

    The bill anticipates the enactment of a specialised Cultural Commodities Substantiation and Protection Department that will systematically monitor movement at international auction firms, museum catalogues and will cooperate with prosecuting authorities to claim ancient, Byzantine and modern-day monuments that have been sold illegally both at home and abroad.

    The department will be assisted by a committee of experts composed of university professors, researchers and experts in archaeology, architecture and cultural heritage law.

    [15] Greeks re-elected at OSCE session in Kiev

    Two Greek MPs were re-elected to their previous posts at the 16th Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly that ended in Kiev, Ukraine on Monday.

    Ruling New Democracy MP and Chairman of the Greek Parliament's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense Panagiotis Kammenos was re-elected Parliamentary Assembly vice president, while main opposition PASOK MP and party spokesman Petros Efthimiou was re-elected Finance, Energy, Environment and Technology Committee vice-president.

    Efthimiou was also elected chairman of the Socialist Group delegations representing the 56 OSCE countries.

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis congratulated the head of the Greek delegation Panagiotis Kammenos for the successful representation in view of Greece's bid for the OSCE presidency in 2010.

    [16] Archbishop Christodoulos' health improving doctors say

    The health of Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, appeared to be good in the past three days according to an announcement issued by his doctors at Aretaion Hospital in Athens on Monday.

    "On Sunday he developed a wave of fever that was dealt with. His clinical picture is gradually improving, his spirits are good and allow him, as in previous days, to confer with his close associates for work reasons," the announcement added.

    The archbishop again received a visit from honorary New Democracy president and former premier Constantine Mitsotakis, who said he found Christodoulos to be dealing with his problem with courage and high morale.

    "He is recovering and I think that everything will go well, with the help of God. We discussed everything, he was cheerful, interested in everything. I depart reassured," Mitsotakis said.

    Financial News

    [17] Foreign investors' participation in ASE at 50.67 pct in June

    Foreign investors' participation in the Athens Stock Exchange totaled 50.67 percent in June, official figures showed on Monday.

    Foreign investors significantly raised their participation in blue chip stocks to 57.24 percent, from 54.63 pct in May, in medium capitalization stocks to 44.89 percent (from 41.25 pct) and in small capitalization stocks to 18.92 pct (from 14.22 pct).

    Foreign investment capital inflows in the Greek capital market totaled 1.63 billion euros in June, while Greek investors were net sellers in the market, with outflows totaling 1.63 billion euros.

    Turnover jumped 21.7 percent in June to 9.97 billion euros, from 8.196 billion euros in May, while average daily turnover was 474.91 million euros on a monthly basis and 441.55 million euros on an annual basis.

    The Greek market's capitalization eased 1.3 pct in June to 178.5 billion euros, from 180.85 billion in May.

    [18] Greek food enterprises in Fancy Food Show in New York

    A total of 37 Greek enterprises are participating in the 53rd Fancy Food Show in New York, an international food exhibition bringing together around 2,400 exhibitors (up 5.0 pct from last year) from the United States and 73 countries around the world, presenting more than 140,000 high-quality food products.

    The Fancy Food Show was organised for the first in 1955 and is considered one of the top food exhibitions in the world.

    Speaking to ANA-MPA, P.Papastavrou, the president of Hellenic Export Promotion Organisation said Greek products have established their position in the international market "thanks to intensifying actions taken by HEPO", and urged Greek food enterprises to use self-control mechanisms to preserve product quality.

    [19] Suburban Railway extension to Kiato inaugurated

    The new Proastiakos suburban railway line to Kiato, in the prefecture of Corinth -- in the Peloponnese, southern Greece -- was inaugurated on Monday, with the ceremony attended by Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis. The new 21km-long double railway line features 7 bridges and 17 crossings, while trains will travel with a maximum speed of 200 km/hour.

    Liapis commented that the Proastiakos Railway now services 142 routes and will be used by more than 20,000 passengers daily, adding that ticket fares will be low in order to be competitive.

    He also said that the drafting of the Proastiakos Railway extension to Lavrio will soon be completed, stressing that the modernisation of the Greek railways is a priority of the transport and communications ministry

    Responding to election time-related questions, he stated that we have entered the final stretch, but no election date has been set.

    The ruling New Democracy party will be the winner in the coming elections, being the only reliable, responsible political force, he said.

    [20] Thessaloniki Water dismisses reports over a merger plan with Athens Water

    The Thessaloniki Water and Drainage Enterprise on Monday dismissed press reports that the Athens Water and Drainage Enterprise had submitted a merger offer.

    George Skodras, chief executive in the company, speaking to ANA-MPA said he was informed over the alleged offer through the papers and stressed that he was satisfied by the fact that Thessaloniki Water was at the focus of business interest. He noted, however, that such a merger plan could not offer significant benefits to either company.

    [21] Greece and Bulgaria the most popular tourist destinations for Romanians

    The Greek islands and the Bulgarian coasts are the most popular summer holiday destinations for Romanians, according to the National Association of Tour Operators in Romania, given that the number of Romanian tourists visiting Greece and Bulgarian has doubled within a year.

    Roughly 1 million Romanians will spend summer holidays abroad, while the number of foreign tourists visiting Romania is expected to rise 25 percent in 2007 reaching 500,000.

    [22] Greek closed-end investment funds' assets up slightly in June

    Greece's closed-end investment funds' net assets totaled 405 million euros in June, from 401 million in May, for an increase of 3.7 million euros, official figures said on Monday.

    A monthly report by the Association of Institutional Investors said that the average numerical return of Greek-listed closed-end investment funds was 9.20 pct in the first six months of the year, while the average weighed return 11.39 pct over the same period. All funds reported positive internal value returns, ranging from 5.02 pct to 15.83 pct.

    The funds were trading at an average discount of 20.97 pct in June.

    [23] Greek stocks rally for 8th consecutive session

    A positive climate in international stock markets and strong interest for blue chip stocks helped the Athens Stock Exchange extending its rally for the eighth consecutive session on Monday. The composite index of the market rose 0.71 pct to end at 5,036.69 points with turnover a strong 463.78 million euros.

    National Bank's share rose to new all-time highs. Sector indices moved higher, with the Chemicals (4.64 pct), Utilities (2.35 pct) and Telecommunications (1.43 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Technology (0.74 pct), Insurance (0.47 pct) and Healthcare (0.33 pct) suffered losses.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.73 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.61 pct higher and the Small Cap index eased 0.32 percent.

    Varvaressos (16.33 pct), Atermon (15.15 pct) and Rainbow (13.07 pct) were top gainers, while Vis (9.93 pct), Alapis (6.03 pct) and Lavipharm (6.0 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 134 to 129 with another 42 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.47%

    Industrials: +0.29%

    Commercial: -0.14%

    Construction: +0.93%

    Media: +1.03%

    Oil & Gas: +0.21%

    Personal & Household: +0.42%

    Raw Materials: +0.07%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.74%

    Technology: -0.74%

    Telecoms: +1.43%

    Banks: +0.58%

    Food & Beverages: -0.08%

    Health: -0.33%

    Utilities: +2.35%

    Chemicals: +4.64%

    Financial Services: +0.11%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Piraeus Bank and OPAP.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 23.90

    ATEbank: 4.02

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 21.98

    HBC Coca Cola: 33.70

    Hellenic Petroleum: 12.00

    Emporiki Bank: 21.32

    National Bank of Greece: 44.28

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 26.96

    Intralot: 25.16

    Cosmote: 23.06

    OPAP: 26.78

    OTE: 23.10

    Titan Cement Company: 43.88

    [24] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices maintained their discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 95.894 million euros.

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.72 pct, while the July contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.31 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 5,422 contracts worth 72.117 million euros, with 40,410 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 214 contracts worth 7.018 million euros, with 1,363 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,667 contracts worth 16,758 million euros, with investment interest focusing on ATEbank's contracts (1,452), followed by Eurobank (584), PPC (1,081), Piraeus Bank (734), National Bank (643), Alpha Bank (874), Intracom (813), Viohalco (348) and Marfin Popular Bank (1,134).

    [25] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.893 billion euros, of which 952 million were buy orders and the remaining 941 million euros were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 900 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bond was unchanged at 0.22 pct, with the Greek bond yielding 4.90 pct and the German Bund 4.68 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved higher. National Bank's overnight rate was 4.06 pct, the two-day rate rose to 4.07 pct from 4.0 pct, the one-month rate was 4.10 pct form 4.09 pct on Friday and the 12-month rate rose to 4.58 pct from 4.55 pct.

    [26] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.373

    Pound sterling 0.681

    Danish kroner 7.499

    Swedish kroner 9.241

    Japanese yen 169.48

    Swiss franc 1.671

    Norwegian kroner 7.976

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.437

    Australian dollar 1.595

    General News

    [27] Foreign national arrested on murder charges

    A 23-year-old Romanian national has admitted to killing a 29-year-old man in the region of Gouvies on the island of Crete.

    The culprit was arrested in Athens and was transferred to Crete after confessing to stoning Dionyssis Messinis to death.

    The victim had been reported missing since Tuesday and his body, bearing head wounds, was washed ashore on the Gouvies Beach on Saturday morning, while his car and mobile phone were also found in the same region, as well as a stone with traces of blood, believed to have been used in the attack.

    [28] Attica police report dismantling large ring of people traffickers

    The Department Against Trafficking in People and Prosecution of Organised Crime of the Attica police on Monday said it had succeeded in dismantling one of the largest and best organised rings in the people-trafficking and sex trade after a two-month investigation that culminated in a huge police operation on Sunday.

    Police carried out simultaneous raids on 34 different locations in Athens that were supervised by Appeals Public Prosecutor Dimitris Papangelopoulos and the head of Athens First-Instance Court public prosecutors' Panagiotis Poulios.

    They arrested 11 suspected members of the ring, eight men and three women of different nationalities that included Greeks, Moldavians, Kazakhs and Ukrainians, and further 62 men and women from Greece, Albania, Poland, Armenia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Nigeria and Venezuela that are accused of facilitating vice in others and prostitution.

    The 62 arrests were carried out in bars, strip shows and similar establishments, while police also released three women from the Ukraine that were being held against their will and forced into prostitution through use of violence.

    The raids also revealed a phone centre operated by the gang in a Patission apartment equipped with 36 phone lines, where 12 women per shift arranged appointments for sexual services with clients.

    Through collaboration with Interpol, Europol and police links between Greece and other countries, a further two people were arrested in the Ukraine and another seven members of the gang are wanted, including five Greeks, one Russian and one Moldavian.

    Greek Police launched their investigation two months earlier based on information received from Ukrainian authorities, who armed them with the alias and telephone number of a man that had brought two young women from the Ukraine to Attica and forced them to work as prostitutes.

    During the two months of the investigation, police discovered that members of the ring had sent money orders to the tune of 200,000 euros to eastern countries where the gang's accomplices were based and where the women originated.

    Also informed about the investigation and operation were the National Centre for Social Solidarity and non-governmental organisations, which will undertake the treatment and support of the three women released and other victims of the gang's criminal activity.

    A total of 152 people were detained for questioning during Sunday's raids, while those placed under arrest are to appear before a public prosecutor on Monday.

    [29] Coordinating committee of overseas Greek local administration officials convenes in Thessaloniki

    A conference on the theme of "Immigrants and local administration" will be organised by the Network of Elected Greek Overseas Local Administration officials of Europe in the framework of the Network's 4th general assembly taking place in mid-December.

    The decision was taken during the Coordinating Committee's 4th session that was held at the offices of the Council of Hellenes Abroad in Thessaloniki, Macedonia.

    "The aim of the event is to enable us to contribute to an exchange of views and the transfer of know-how, mainly from western Europe, on the way with which the issue of immigrants has been handled and is being handled by European Local Administration," the Network's President Ilias Galanos, a municipal councillor in the city of Frankfurt, said in a statement to the ANA-MPA.

    [30] Forest fires on Samos now under control

    A forest fire that broke out on the Aegean island of Samos at Roikia, Mytilenies was now under control though the flames were constantly rekindling, fire-fighters announced on Monday.

    Taking part in the fire-fighting effort were 39 fire-fighters with 13 vehicles, 55 fire-fighters on foot and voluntary fire-fighting crews on the island, while eight fire-fighting aircraft and two helicopters were dousing the flames from above. Also enlisted in the fire-fighting effort were 15 members of the fire department's Special Disaster Response Unit EMAK, with another 40 due to arrive on Monday, who will comb the area putting out small fires that still burn.

    "This is an ecological disaster for Mytilinies," the prefect of Samos told reporters, noting that the a state of emergency had been declared in the area and an effort was being made to set the boundaries of the fire-stricken area in order to give compensation to the victims who lost farmhouses, forest, cultivated land and farming equipment and facilities.

    The head of Civil Protection stressed that refuelling and replenishment of water supplies had been flawless, while the village of Mytilinies had been successfully protected from the fire.

    Another fire also broke out on Samos on Monday at Pagonda, an area burnt during the fire of 2000 but was quickly quenched by fire-fighting aircraft dropping water from above.

    A meeting with the islands prefects and Mayors on the fires will be held on Friday, chaired by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

    [31] Three arrests on arson charges

    Three individuals, all relatives, ages 19, 34 and 73, were arrested on two counts of arson in the prefecture of Ilia in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, on Sunday night.

    The older individual was named by the other two as being morally responsible for two arson attacks on July 2 and 7 in the region of Karatoula that destroyed a few acres of forestland.

    According to their testimonies, the 73-year-old persuaded them to set the fires to incriminate a local man with whom they were involved in a farmland dispute.

    [32] Elderly man arrested on cannabis charges

    Police in Messini, Peloponnese, in southern Greece, have arrested a 72-year-old man at an outdoor cannabis plantation consisting of 54 individual plants. A search of his house turned up a total of 75.3 grams of hashish.

    The man will be led before a prosecutor in the city of Kalamata later in the day.

    [33] National Bank branch in Oreokastro robbed of 152,000 euros

    Two armed men robbed a branch office of the National Bank of Greece, located in Oreokastro in the northern prefecture of Thessaloniki, of 152,000 euros on Monday.

    Police launched a manhunt to arrest the bank robbers.

    Weather forecast

    [34] Hot on Tuesday

    Temperatures are expected to increase slightly throughout the country, while winds will gradually weaken. Winds northerly moderate. Temperatures in Athens ranging between 24C and 38C and in Thessaloniki from 22C to 36C.

    [35] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The outcome of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party's 3-day 7th Congress, which ended on Sunday, the reforestation of Mt. Parnitha following the previous week's devastating forest fire, and the re-auditing of tax statements, were the main front-page items in Monday's dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "These are our targets - ND Congress ends with dynamic address by prime minister (Costas Karamanlis)".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Karamanlis' vision for the 21st century Greece".

    AVRIANI: "Theodoros Pangalos (main opposition PASOK party founding member and MP) blows the (political) system up in the air".

    CHORA: "ND a tight fist - Karamanlis: The reforms cannot be halted, they are our duty".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Reshuffle or early general electons - The Congress is completed - Back to work".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Uproar over Parnitha at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" referring to a demonstration held outside parliament Sunday evening in demand of protection of the country's forests.

    ESTIA: "Polarisation a big mistake - It turns against those who cultivate it".

    ETHNOS: "200,000 taxpayers (tax statements) being put through the sieve - Tens of thousands are called on to go by the Tax Bureau again".

    TA NEA: "The society of the citizens sent their message: Reforestation, now!".

    VRADYNI: "New Dynamic for the reforms - Karamanlis: The changes are our duty to the land".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [36] Papadopoulos proposes meeting with Talat

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has sent two letters to Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, one on the issue of missing persons and another on a UN-brokered agreement, in July last year, Government Spokesman Vasilis Palmas said here Monday.

    He also said that the meetings of the representatives of the leaders of the two communities, Tassos Tzionis and Rashid Pertev, have reached their peak and it was considered advisable to make an effort to push forward the July agreement, which aims at the resumption of substantive negotiations with a view to reunite the island, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    Replying to questions, Palmas said "there are two letters, one for a joint meeting on the issue of missing persons in the presence of the tripartite Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) and another letter to try to promote the July agreement, based on what was agreed with Mr. (Ibrahim) Gambari last year".

    Replying to questions, the spokesman said the aim is to hold the joint meeting on the issue of missing persons within ten days.

    Palmas said the government had tried to keep the two letters out of the limelight, noting that "at this stage, we believe that the letters should not have been leaked".

    "A year has gone by since the signing of the July 8 agreement. Frequent meetings between Tzionis and Pertev took place over the past year but these have reached their peak. Nothing more could have been achieved through these meetings. The July agreement provided that the leaders of the two communities should try to push forward the agreement. Since a year has gone by without any substantive results, it was considered advisable to try through this meeting to push forward the agreement", Palmas explained.

    The July 8 agreement, he added, "is the only agreement on the table that can create preconditions for progress", adding that this was the idea behind the letters, "nothing more and nothing less".

    Palmas said the letter was sent some days ago and explains the reasons for suggesting a meeting.

    Responding to criticism that Papadopoulos was not in favour of a meeting with Talat in the past, he wondered "when did the government had ever said that there should not be any meetings between the representatives of the two communities."

    "What we had said is that such a meeting should have a purpose and substance to it. And in this case, there is a purpose as well as substance for a meeting to take place. We, as the government, are trying to do everything possible to create the preconditions for progress," the spokesman stressed.

    Asked what had intervened to warrant such a meeting, Palmas replied: "a year of stalemate and impasse as far as the July 8 agreement is concerned and because we have the political will to achieve progress, we ought to make this move, in the hope that new conditions will be created" to help make headway towards a political settement.

    Palmas also said that so far there has been no reply from the Turkish Cypriot side.

    President Papadopoulos and Talat agreed on 8 July 2006, in Nicosia in the presence of Ibrahim Gambari, to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to-day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    [37] President to meet with parties in light of Christofias' candidacy

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos will be meeting on Tuesday with the political parties participating in the government, namely AKEL, the Democratic Party (DIKO) and the Social Democrats Movement EDEK, during which they are expected to dissolve their cooperation, after AKEL decided to run for the February 2008 elections with its General Secretary Demetris Christofias.

    Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas said on Monday that President Papadopoulos would be announcing his candidacy very soon and will then have meetings with the civil society and political parties.

    Palmas noted that after AKEL's decision, ''it appears that the tripartite cooperation will dissolve'' and that DIKO and EDEK have clearly stated their support to Tassos Papadopoulos' candidacy and thus ''tomorrow possibly the divorce of the tripartite cooperation will become official.''

    Regarding the four AKEL Ministers in the government, Palmas said he would be meeting them soon to discuss the latest developments.

    ''I think it is matter-of-course that the Ministers will place their resignations before the President of the Republic,'' he added.

    Asked about the reasons that AKEL decided to run for the elections with its General Secretary, Palmas stated that President Papadopoulos directions to him were to refrain from any comment on Christofias' speech during the party's extraordinary assembly held here on Sunday.

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