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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-09-04

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

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

Tuesday, 4 September 2007 Issue No: 2688

CONTENTS

  • [01] Reconstruction effort after fires has national scope, PM stresses
  • [02] PASOK spokesman on reconstruction plan
  • [03] Greece tables initiative for European 'rapid reaction force' for natural disasters
  • [04] European Parliament discusses wildfires in Greece
  • [05] Minister of State on wildfire relief
  • [06] U.S. experts in Greece to assist in fires crisis
  • [07] U.S. Navy twice assists Greek firefighters
  • [08] Greek diaspora donates 1.2 bln dollars in aid for wildfire-affected regions
  • [09] President meets Molyviatis, party leader Papathemelis
  • [10] PASOK leader addresses rally in Crete
  • [11] KKE leader: Votes cast for ND, PASOK are 'lost votes'
  • [12] KKE leader addresses rally in Peristeri
  • [13] Alavanos sees government failure in fire crisis
  • [14] Alavanos attacks gov't over compensation to fire-stricken inhabitants
  • [15] European Investments Bank to provide financial aid for wildfires in Greece
  • [16] Positive assessment of measures for wildfire-affected inhabitants
  • [17] Federation of Greek Industries president on Emergency Fund
  • [18] Louis Group decides to donate 15 firefighting vehicles to Fire Brigade, municipalities
  • [19] Employment Minister Vassilis Magginas on JP Morgan
  • [20] Mytilineos Group completes merger plan with Aluminium, Delta Project
  • [21] Marfin Egnatia Bank expands its branch network
  • [22] Lampsa SA reports improved 1st half results
  • [23] Eurobank Properties to buy Romanian company for 14.5 mln euros
  • [24] Greek PMI eased to 53.6 in August
  • [25] Greek stocks eased slightly on Monday
  • [26] ADEX closing report
  • [27] Greek bond market closing report
  • [28] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday
  • [29] Press conference on environment by scientists, professional chambers
  • [30] Fires in Arcadia, Peloponnese are under control
  • [31] Cyprus to rebuild Artemida
  • [32] Fire in Vermio partially contained, rainfall causes flooding in Kozani
  • [33] Fire Brigade on alert for possible floods
  • [34] Attiko Metro offers assistance to fire stricken regions
  • [35] International summer school in Ancient Avdera, Thrace
  • [36] Illegal immigrants detained in Kastoria, smuggler arrested
  • [37] Wanted fugitive sentenced on fake travel documents charges
  • [38] Group of Romanian police officers visit Argolida
  • [39] Olympic Rowing Centre to become international training centre
  • [40] AEK Athens knocked out of Champions League
  • [41] Overcast, scattered showers on Tuesday Politics

  • [01] Reconstruction effort after fires has national scope, PM stresses

    The work for healing the wounds inflicted by August' s wildfires has only just begun, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed in statements on Monday. He also underlined that the reconstruction effort was a plan with national scope in that it would require a union of the country's forces. The prime minister was speaking just after chairing a meeting on measures for fire-stricken regions at the headquarters of Arcadia prefecture in Tripolis, in the central Peloponnese.

    "The obligation of the state does not stop at the immediate measures that we took and are carrying out for the relief of our fire-stricken citizens and areas," Karamanlis said, noting that much work needed to be done in order to restore the damage inflicted by the fires and create a "faster and more efficient state".

    He expressed his conviction that local governments, societies and ordinary citizens would rally together to support and help in the battle to "build a better tomorrow for all".

    "Many positive messages emerged through the trial we have undergone. Messages of heroism and self-sacrifice from those who battled the flames, messages of solidarity and humanity from those that contributed to the common effort. Messages of a new patriotism. We have an obligation to highlight these messages and upon them, all Greeks united to build our course from now on," the prime minister underlined.

    He said this course should ensure growth that was both robust and friendly toward the environment, while adding that Europe remained at Greece's side during this difficult hour and that the government would do everything in its power to ensure the greatest possible contribution of the EU to national reconstruction.

    According to Karamanlis, continuing the measures announced by the government at the same rate was the top priority and he said it as a "national necessity" that the people living in the Greek countryside should remain there and continue to work in the primary sector as farmers.

    The prime minister also promised full compensation for both crops and livestock losses and guaranteed income for farmers for as long as it took for agricultural land to once again become productive, support in replacing equipment and facilities, rapid replacement of livestock and ensuring the necessary quantities of animal feed were available, since grazing in the recovering forest would not be possible.

    In addition, the prime minister noted that reforestation in areas where it could not occur naturally would be carried out on the basis of specialist studies.

    The meeting was also attended by Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis, Deputy Minister of Interior Minister Thanassis Nakos, Deputy Minister of Rural Development Alexandros Kontos, local MPs, head of Civil Protection Panagiotis Fourlas and local officials. Also present were the Peloponnese region general secretary, the prefect of Arcadia and mayors of fire-ravaged regions.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Rural Development Alexandros Kontos announced that a plan is being drawn up for the complete rebuilding of the afflicted areas, after a meeting he chaired earlier at the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA) offices in Tripolis.

    A committee was formed with the participation of local government, trade unionist and cooperative movement officials to ensure that the distribution of livestock and animal feed donated by farmers from across Greece to the fire-ravaged regions will reach the people most in need, he said.

    The deputy minister stated that the committee in question will also assist in the efforts to support stockbreeding in the regions destroyed by the fires, adding that the number of animals lost in the blaze has not been determined yet, pointing out, however, that local animal breeders are already receiving compensation via speedy procedures.

    In addition, many farmers from different parts of the country have offered to donate young olive tree saplings to the region to regenerate the fire-ravaged olive groves of the Peloponnese.

    [02] PASOK spokesman on reconstruction plan

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Yiannis Raggousis spoke on Monday of the government "losing initiatives" as a result of Sunday's announcement of the reconstruction plan for wildfire-stricken regions by PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    Raggousis called on the government and the prime minister to "state their position on the 65 points of the plan presented by PASOK's leader and on his commitment for the creation of a separate environment ministry."

    PASOK's spokesman also raised the question "why the government and the prime minister have not apologised to the Greek people 10 days after the outbreak of the wildfires."

    [03] Greece tables initiative for European 'rapid reaction force' for natural disasters

    Brussels (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    Greece on Monday tabled a proposal for enhanced European cooperation in confronting natural disasters, during a meeting of European Union ministerial meeting on European Neighbourhood Policy.

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, who tabled the proposal on behalf of Greece, outlined the initiative in private meetings on the sidelines of the conference with EU Council of Foreign Ministers-General Affairs chairman and Portuguese foreign minister Louis Amado,Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, and France's secretary of state for European affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet, as well as the European Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas.

    In statements afterwards, Bakoyannis stressed that Greece was currently in a very difficult period given the recent wildfires, which she said caused destruction of immense proportions, adding that Greece had the solidarity of the entire EU and other countries in its firefighting effort.

    The Greek initiative, she said, called for the speedy establishment of a European "rapid reaction force' capable of, by virtue of a single telephone call, to rush to any country facing a natural disaster.

    At the initial stage, she explained, there needed to be a political decision for the commitment of specific forces from all the member countries. The goal is for those forces to be able to act as speedily as possible in a disaster, to establish cooperation and joint exercises of these forces, with a parallel provision for funding from the European Commission.

    Bakoyannis further stressed that Greece's target was to have the decision taken for establishing a European force with the required infrastructure -- which would be financed by the EU Solidarity Fund -- before the June 2009 European Parliament elections.

    She said there had been substantial response to the Greek proposal by its Eu partners, while the Portuguese Eu presidency has agreed for discussion of the initiative at the General Affairs meeting in October in Luxembourg.

    On her meeting with Dimas, Bakoyannis said that the commissioner's contribution to Greece's effort had been substantive, and that he backed the initiative being advanced by the country in the EU's institutional bodies.

    Bakoyannis said that she further briefed her EU counterparts on the application for assistance that Greece will submit to the EU Solidarity Fund, which she noted that prime minister Costas Karamanlis has already discussed with Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and regional policy commissioner Danuta Hubner, who recently paid visits to Greece after the devastating wildfires. She added that, at political level, she had met with clear-cut support from her European counterparts.

    "The fundamental message is that Europe is here. Europe stood by our side in solidarity in the difficulty we are going through and is determined to contribute to the reconstruction of the 'day after', which must be prepared well so that the funds to be received will have the best possible result," she said.

    Bakoyannis further tabled a proposal that the "Fire 4" pilot programme commenced a few months ago, which provides for cooperation among the Mediterranean countries in combatting fires, should evolve into a true programme and be renamed "Fire 5" with the participation of all the Mediterranean countries, aimed at a more coordinated cooperation effort in the Mediterranean region.

    She stressed that the greatest threat faced today by Europe and the world was climate change, "to which we must adjust quickly as individual countries and as Europe as a whole". This meant that all the measures must be taken that will ensure greater protection for the citizens, Bakoyannis said.

    [04] European Parliament discusses wildfires in Greece

    PARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)

    The European Parliament's session got under way in Strasbourg on Monday with the observance of a minute's silence for the wildfire victims, while a discussion followed on the wildfires in Greece with addresses by Greek and foreign Eurodeputies.

    Feelings of sympathy for the Greek wildfire stricken and the families of the victims were expressed by all sides.

    European Solidarity, with speedy response and a reduction of bureaucracy were the points stressed in most addresses to enable European Union countries to face crises and natural disasters that can be caused in the future by climatic changes or by other causes.

    The political groups also prepared a joint resolution that will be presented for ratification on Tuesday.

    [05] Minister of State on wildfire relief

    Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Monday that a total of 45,600 wildfire-stricken people have received their initial compensation and the amount paid was 165,387,000 euros.

    Roussopoulos clarified that 210 people who were not entitled to compensation returned the benefit they had received, while 22,093 farmers and stockbreeders have been compensated with an amount totalling 31,991,000 euros.

    The minister further said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who participated in a meeting at the Arcadia prefecture on Monday morning, had on-the-spot information on all issues and held talks with local officials.

    Roussopoulos also announced that as he was informed by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias, flood-protection work in the Peloponnese has begun immediately and is taking place free of charge by big construction companies, "to which the government extends its thanks, as well as to our fellow countrymen who have supported the special account for the wildfire stricken."

    Flood-protection work in the prefecture of Evia will begin as of Tuesday, while in the prefecture of Ilia 50 specialised forestry officials from Parnitha are carrying out anti-corrosion work in Ancient Olympia and another 100 will be going by the end of the week.

    Roussopoulos announced that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met in Brussels with her counterparts from Portugal and Spain, the French alternate foreign minister and the relevant Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, while the promotion of the Greek initiative on strengthening European cooperation on natural disasters continued.

    Roussopoulos spoke of a very positive response, saying that it is indicative that the Portuguese Presidency will include the Greek initiative in the agenda of the General Affairs and Foreign Relations Council in October.

    The minister also said that, according to a briefing from the culture ministry, restoration work has already begun at the location of Ancient Olympia, while a group of Cypriot technicians has gone to the municipality of Zaharo, and to the village of Artemida in particular, to be involved in the reconstruction of the village and for this reason the Greek government thanks the Cypriot government and the Cypriot people.

    Roussopoulos referred to data provided by the Greek Police regarding arson arrests. Specifically, as he said, from 26/6/2007 until 22/8/2007 there were 48 perpetrators, 26 intentional and 22 through negligence and from 22/8/2007 until 1/9/2007 there were 34 perpetrators of whom 15 intentional and 19 through negligence.

    He also said that there are 13 cases of incendiary devices that are being investigated and added that the cases are at the stage of preliminary enquiries.

    As regards the reconstruction plan proposed by main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, the minister said that he will not comment on its points, terming them generalities.

    "What Mr. Papandreou did in 17 points was to outbid with money," Roussopoulos said and added that PASOK "promises and outbids with irresponsibility without facing the economy with the necessary respect and with knowledge of its needs."

    [06] U.S. experts in Greece to assist in fires crisis

    A group of six experts in fighting forest fires and dealing with natural disasters from the United States arrived in Greece on Monday to assist Greek authorities in dealing with the fires crisis and its aftermath, the U.S. Embassy announced.

    Among them is the US Forest Service's top fire-fighter and disaster-relief specialists from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

    The U.S. has also shipped another 250,000 dollars in relief supplies to the Greek Red Cross, which brings the total U.S. government assistance to Greece up to 1.5 million dollars to date.

    The purpose of the experts' visit, as agreement with the Greek government, is to provide immediate technical assistance and support to Greece's current response to the catastrophic fires, with particular attention to fire management and rehabilitation of burned landscapes, as well as emergency management systems.

    The team will visit the areas where Greek fire and recovery operations are currently underway, and observe operations staff at command locations. Based on its findings, the U.S. Forest Service will propose a longer-term capacity building and technical support program to the government of Greece.

    [07] U.S. Navy twice assists Greek firefighters

    Twice this summer, the Governor's Office of Chania, asked for U.S. Navy assistance to extinguish brush fires in western Crete, on July 30 and August 23. On both occasions, American firefighters successfully battled flames alongside Greek firefighters.

    According to a press release issued on Monday by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Athens, on August 23, around Lakki, Crete, a team of six civilian American firefighters and two U.S. Navy sailors worked with a large number of local Greek fire departments, including a contingent of Hellenic Navy firefighters.

    "The fire was approximately 2,000 acres and was threatening to get into the village," said Todd McKinzie, captain of Souda Bay Emergency Services. In addition to two American emergency vehicles, there were about 30 other fire engines from all over Crete battling the flames around Lakki.

    The American civilian and military firefighting team helped contain this brush fire throughout the night, and returned to the U.S. Navy base the next morning. "As firefighters, that's what we're here for," said McKinzie, "to help prevent loss of life and property."

    [08] Greek diaspora donates 1.2 bln dollars in aid for wildfire-affected regions

    The Greek diaspora all over the world have sped to contribute in financial aid to the fire-ravaged regions of Greece.

    Through the mobilization of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), more than 1,200,000 dollars have been collected, until now, worldwide in support of the fire-affected inhabitants of the Peloponnese and the island of Evia in central Greece.

    The Greek Australians donated 755,000 dollars.

    Greek Canadians donated 200,000 dollars and the SAE countries of the former Soviet Union 200,000 euros.

    [09] President meets Molyviatis, party leader Papathemelis

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday received visits from former foreign minister Petros Molyviatis, who has been appointed president of the newly formed Fire Victim's Support Fund, and Democratic Revival party leader Stelios Papathemelis.

    Molyviatis briefed the president on the efforts being made to address the crisis created after the fires and informed him that 62,372,437 euros had been deposited in the fund up until now.

    He also thanked the people that had contributed to the fund, praising the solidarity and generosity shown by the Greek people at this crucial hour and giving assurances that every last euro would be spent for the purpose it was given.

    Papathemelis briefed the president on his party's positions regarding the fire victims.

    Leaving the presidential building, Papathemelis stated that hope should be restored in the regions devastated by the recent fires and stressed that the lost credibility of politics should also be restored.

    [10] PASOK leader addresses rally in Crete

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, addressing an election really in Ikalio, Crete, on Monday evening, called for "a new change" which he termed "a necessity and demand of the Greek people, a national renaissance."

    Papandreou stressed, "today, hope is being reborn in the country. Thirty-three years after the founding of PASOK, hope is being reborn in the country.. it's time for the government of mockery and unreliability to topple."

    "Never again such an incompetent government, such partisanship in the state, such indifference to human lives which were lost, such a destruction of the environment, such indifference to our historic symbols," Papandreou said, referring to the recent catastrophic wildfires which swept the country.

    The PASOK leader accused the government of showing "criminal indifference and incapability" and promised that he will give all his strength "for what has been lost to be rebuilt."

    "The government's cycle has closed, it has closed and the New Democracy government is leaving as of September 17 and the new PASOK government gets to work," he said.

    Papandreou accused the government that "in leaving, it is attempting to transfer its own crisis into a crisis of democracy and is using illicit means to buy conscience (votes). In its effort to cling to power, the New Democracy becomes ruthless and dangerous for democracy, it has tuned lies into an official government policy and sows fear and division in society."

    He committed himself that "there will be a distribution of income, an end to unequal taxation in support of capital and at the expense of labour, an end to the increase of idirect taxation and the creation of good working conditions for all Greeks."

    [11] KKE leader: Votes cast for ND, PASOK are 'lost votes'

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said on Monday that whatever scares the ruling New Democracy party (ND) and the main opposition PASOK party should be a cause for relief to the people and, since the two mainstream parties feared the prospect of a self-sufficient government failing to emerge from the September 16 general elections, "this would be good for the people".

    During a press conference at the Zappion Press Centre in central Athens, Papariga rejected any prospect of collaboration with any other political party, stressing that the KKE had principles that it would not betray or sell out.

    She reiterated that any vote cast for ND or PASOK was a "lost vote" because those two parties would not change, while conversely every vote for the KKE and against the two-party system would be a "vote won".

    "We (the KKE) cannot beat them, but we can make things difficult for them," Papariga said.

    Replying to a question on the positions of the Coalition of the Left Movements and Progress (SYN) that it, too, would not collaborate with any other political party, Papariga said that SYN's platform contained "positive elements" and, as a total, "expresses the needs of a labour stratum that wants some changes", but "there is no antithesis in the field of economy" nor did it have a clear-cut stance against the two-party system.

    The KKE, she said, proposed abolition of the anti-social insurance laws of 1992 onwards, investment of the social insurance funds' reserves in state bonds, retirement at 55 for women and 60 for men, with retirement at 30 years of social insurance, abolition of all private intervention in the health sector and pensions, and abolition of health contributions, as well as the doubling of farmers' pensions.

    [12] KKE leader addresses rally in Peristeri

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga addressed a rally in the Athens district of Peristeri on Monday evening, stressing that KKE "expresses what is new because it is against the establishment of capital."

    Papariga added that strengthening KKE "means the strengthening of youth belonging to the working class" and noted that the young generation must become the generation of great popular change.

    Lastly, the KKE leader pointed out that "something very good is about to happen in the polls on September 16 and this is proved, as she said, by the fact that the drums of danger talk and of terrorising the people have started."

    [13] Alavanos sees government failure in fire crisis

    The leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alekos Alavanos on Monday accused the government of failing to govern effectively during statements made in the central Greek town of Lamia.

    "What is now being presented as a problem, that we might be heading toward a lack of governance, is actually our present," Alavanos said. He was referring to speculation that the upcoming elections might yield a hung Parliament, in which neither major party had an absolute majority.

    He said the ruling New Democracy party had responsibility for its failure to handle the crisis in the fires as government, while main opposition PASOK was also to blame for the laws it created in the past, while describing the state as "incapable of doing even the basics".

    [14] Alavanos attacks gov't over compensation to fire-stricken inhabitants

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos on Monday evening launched an attack against the government regarding the procedures for the paying of compensation to individuals affected in the wildfire-ravaged regions.

    Alavanos was addressing an electoral rally in Larissa, central Greece.

    He spoke of "a communication tactic to buy votes", at the same time terming as "politically unprecedented" the procedure of compensation through banks.

    "Those who promised the founding of the state managed to leave Greece without a state," said Alavanos who added that "the time has come for the Left to change the political landscape."

    Financial News

    [15] European Investments Bank to provide financial aid for wildfires in Greece

    The provision of financial aid by the European Investments Bank for the handling of the consequences of the recent destructive wildfires has been announced in a letter addressed to the government by its President Philippe Maystadt.

    Responding to an appeal made by Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, the European Investments Bank approved in principle a loan for Greece, that will reach 100 million euros at an initial stage, with a duration exceeding 20 years and with the most favourable financing terms.

    At a second stage, when there shall be a fuller assessment of the damage caused by the wildfires, the final amount of the loan to be provided for the country will be determined. The loan will finance programmes in the framework of the reconstruction and development of the regions affected.

    Finance Minister Alogoskoufis made the following statement: "The immediate response by the European Investments Bank constitutes a tangible indication of its solidarity, as well as of the European Union in its entirety, towards Greece. The government is proceeding with a plan to handle the damage caused by the wildfires and with the preparation of a Special Plan for the Reconstruction and Development of the Regions Affected."

    [16] Positive assessment of measures for wildfire-affected inhabitants

    The president of the National Confederation of Greek Trade, D. Armenakis, in an announcement on Monday described as "an important political intervention" the immediate creation of the Support Fund for the Wildfire-Affected Inhabitants "on the private sector model because the excessively slow movement of the state apparatus was overcome and creates prospects for effectiveness."

    Meanwhile, the board of the Organization for the Insurance of Export Credits decided for measures to be taken for the support of exports in the prefectures which were affected by the wildfires. The measures will be valid for two years.

    [17] Federation of Greek Industries president on Emergency Fund

    Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) President Dimitris Daskalopoulos said on Monday that it wass time "for a collective initiative and action for a business community with social sensitivity and a feeling of responsibility. The business world has already shown that it offers and participates willingly."

    Daskalopoulos was speaking in the framework of a meeting of SEB's General Council, at the Federation's offices, in the presence of Petros Molyviatis and Theodoros Papalexopoulos, the president and vice president respectively of the Emergency Fund.

    "SEB is adding its own contribution for coordination between the Emergency Fund and businesses, so that this money will serve a purpose and create a prospect of hope for the people of the devastated regions," Daskalopoulos added.

    [18] Louis Group decides to donate 15 firefighting vehicles to Fire Brigade, municipalities

    The Louis Group has decided to purchase and donate 15 firefighting vehicles, valued at 700,000 euros, to support the Greek Fire Brigade and all the municipalities in which it is active.

    According to a relevant announcement, five of the firefighting vehicles will be delivered to the Greek Fire Brigade, while 10 vehicles will be given to the municipalities in which the Group is involved with hotels.

    Louis Hotels and Louis Hellenic Cruises have sent various commodities and equipment to the wildfire-stricken regions.

    [19] Employment Minister Vassilis Magginas on JP Morgan

    Employment and Social Protection Minister Vassilis Magginas said on Monday that the international JP Morgan financing organisation has deposited to the bank accounts of the TEADY, TSEYP, TEAYFE and TEAPOKA social security funds the amounts of money corresponding to them from the repurchase of the 280 million euros bond, as well as interest for the second quarter.

    Referring to the same issue, General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Yiannis Panagopoulos called for "the return of all the money to all the funds and, indeed, with interest from the first day of their issuing (with the payment of interest by the brokerage companies and the mediators who profiteered)."

    Panagopoulos also called for "the stringent punishment of the guilty and of the accomplices, no matter how high they may be" and "full judicial clarification also in accordance with the report of Mr. Zorbas," adding that "no expediency and no communications trick will write off our demands."

    [20] Mytilineos Group completes merger plan with Aluminium, Delta Project

    The shareholders of Mytilineos, Aluminium of Greece and Delta Project on Monday approved a merger plan of the three companies, signaling the creation of one of the largest listed industrial groups in the country.

    The shareholders also approved the separation of activities in alumina and aluminium production to Aluminium (a non-listed 100 percent subsidiary of Mytilineos Group), while all energy assets by Delta Project along with an electricity and thermal co-production unit will be offered to Endesa Hellas SA, a joint venture between Mytilineos Group and Spain's Endesa. A company statement said the two decision simplified the group's structure.

    A shareholders' general meeting also approved a share capital increase plan worth 99,891,977 euros, raising the company's equity capital to 124,204,181 euros, or 48,707,522 common shares of a nominal price of 2.55 euros per share.

    [21] Marfin Egnatia Bank expands its branch network

    Marfin Egnatia Bank on Monday announced the opening of five new branches, one in Athens and the four others in the cities of Giannitsa, Nafplio, Katerini and Mytilene.

    [22] Lampsa SA reports improved 1st half results

    Lampsa SA, owner of the luxury Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens, on Monday reported an 18.6 pct increase in its six-month turnover to 18.710 million euros, from 15.779 million euros in the same period last year.

    Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) rose 27.4 pct to 5.837 million euros, from 4.583 million euros over the same period, respectively, while pre-tax profits totaled 3.238 million euros in the January-June period in 2007, form 2.609 million in 2006, for an increase of 24.1 percent.

    Hotel Grande Bretagne reported a 5.9 percent rise in room occupancy rates in the first six months and an 8.1 pct increase in average room prices.

    Consolidated turnover (including results by Hyatt Regency Belgrade) totaled 28.216 million euros, EBITDA were 9.648 million euros and pre-tax profits 5.171 million euros, up 61.1 pct, 99.9 pct and 135.7 pct, over the same period last year, respectively.

    [23] Eurobank Properties to buy Romanian company for 14.5 mln euros

    Eurobank Properties on Monday announced the signing of a pre-agreement for the purchase of a Romanian company -owner of a commercial property under construction in the Romanian city of Iasi.

    Eurobank Properties said it would pay 14.5 million euros for the purchase of the Romanian company and said that the commercial property was already leased by SC Praktiker Romania SRL with a 15-year contract.

    [24] Greek PMI eased to 53.6 in August

    Greece's seasonally-adjusted Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) eased to 53.6 points in August from 54 in July, but remained on a growth trend, figures showed on Monday.

    The index, measuring business activity in the manufacturing sector, showed that Greek manufacturers continued raising their production levels with rapid rates in August, reflecting higher volume of sales and strong demand from the domestic market. Greek enterprises also hired additional staff despite a slower growth rate in employment in August. Import prices grew strongly in the month reflecting strong domestic demand.

    Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector, while below 50 a shrinking sector.

    [25] Greek stocks eased slightly on Monday

    Greek stocks eased slightly in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, as investors took profits after Friday's strong advance. The composite index fell 0.16 percent to end at 4,904.58 points with turnover a strong 362.73 million euros.

    Most sectors ended lower with the Utilities (2.31 pct), Travel (1.92 pct) and Media (1.43 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while the Food/Beverage (1.90 pct), Raw Materials (0.67 pct) and Technology (0.14 pct) scored gains.

    The Big Cap index eased 0.33 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.38 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 0.71 pct.

    Elviemek (9.78 pct), Desmos (8.57 pct) and Axon Holdings (5.47 pct) were top gainers, while ANEK (9.30 pct) and Texapret (7.69 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 192 to 77 with another 36 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.36%

    Industrials: -0.04%

    Commercial: -0.82%

    Construction: -0.02%

    Media: -1.43%

    Oil & Gas: +0.04%

    Personal & Household: -0.79%

    Raw Materials: +0.67%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.92%

    Technology: +0.14%

    Telecoms: -0.42%

    Banks: -0.21%

    Food & Beverages: +1.90%

    Health: -0.35%

    Utilities: -2.31%

    Chemicals: -0.29%

    Financial Services: -0.89%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 23.66

    ATEbank: 3.70

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 22.30

    HBC Coca Cola: 35.94

    Hellenic Petroleum: 10.34

    Emporiki Bank: 20.36

    National Bank of Greece: 44.20

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 25.44

    Intralot: 25.92

    Cosmote: 22.90

    OPAP: 26.14

    OTE: 23.84

    Titan Cement Company: 35.76

    [26] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices saw their discount shrinking further on Monday in the Athens Derivatives Exchange, with turnover a low 111.711 million euros.

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.20 percent, while the August contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.03 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 6,420 contracts worth 83.709 million euros, with 45,301 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 308 contracts worth 9.730 million euros, with 1,217 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,647 contracts worth 18.271 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Hellenic Petroleum's contracts (5,169), followed by marfin Investment Group (536), PPC (667), Piraeus Bank (568), Cosmote (696), Alpha Bank (457), Motor Oil (268) and Post Savings Bank (321).

    [27] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.285 billion euros on Monday, of which 890 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 405 million were sell orders.

    The 10-year Greek benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 435 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.34 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.58 pct and the German Bund 4.24 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved higher. National Bank's overnight rate rose to 4.35 pct from 4.30 pct on Friday, the two-day rate rose to 4.25 pct from 4.15 pct, the one-month rate rose to 4.50 pct from 4.47 pct and the 12-month rate was 4.80 percent.

    [28] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.374

    Pound sterling 0.681

    Danish kroner 7.508

    Swedish kroner 9.457

    Japanese yen 159.12

    Swiss franc 1.661

    Norwegian kroner 7.995

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.447

    Australian dollar 1.672

    General News

    [29] Press conference on environment by scientists, professional chambers

    Representatives of scientific institutes and professional chambers announced the establishment of an Observatory for Natural and Manmade Environmental Disasters in a press conference held at the Athens Bar Association building on Monday.

    They also called for the adoption of immediate measures aimed at the effective protection of the environment -the forest ecosystem in particular- while thwarting any expectations arising from its destruction.

    They suggested that the redrawing and reconstruction of the fire-afflicted regions should proceed in a viable manner, and called for flood risk assessment, stressing that the damages caused in buildings should be carefully recorded to ensure safe restoration.

    In addition, steps should be taken to keep the fire victims in their regions through the adoption of moral, psychological and economic support measures, while the natural and cultural heritage should be protected to ensure socio-economic growth in the fire ravaged regions.

    All burned regions should be declared protected areas for reforestation to get immediately underway, while forest maps should be ready by the year 2009 and the National Land Registry should be completed within the next 12 years.

    The Athens Bar Association President Dimitris Paxinos also announced the establishment of a team of jurists who will resort to the Council of State (supreme administrative court) to block any anti-environmental legislation.

    Participants in the press conference were representatives of the Geotechnical, Economic and Technical Chambers of Greece, the Medical Association, the Greek Bar Associations, the National Technical University of Athens and the Association of Council of State Court Judges.

    [30] Fires in Arcadia, Peloponnese are under control

    The fires in the prefecture of Arcadia are under control, the blaze in Mt. Parnonas is receding, while firefighting forces continue to battle the flames on the ground and from the air in order to fully extinguish all fires in the region of Peloponnese, firefighters reported on Monday

    Rainfall was recorded in the prefecture of Corinth on Sunday causing no serious problems to the burned areas.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis chaired a meeting in the Prefecture of Arcadia on Monday held with the participation of military, police and fire brigade authorities, the Peloponnese region general secretary, the prefect of Arcadia and the mayors of the fire ravaged regions.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Rural Development Alexandros Kontos is visiting the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA) offices in the city of Tripolis to inspect the recording of damages underway leading to the immediate advance payment of compensation to fire victims.

    In addition, all DNA tests for the identification of 52 badly burned victims in the recent fires have been completed by the responsible police agency.

    [31] Cyprus to rebuild Artemida

    A five-member team of technical experts from Cyprus arrived in Athens on Monday morning and are already on their way to Artemida, Ilia Prefecture. The team will study the situation in the fire-ravaged village before preparing its proposals for the rebuilding of Artemida, which has been undertaken by the Republic of Cyprus.

    [32] Fire in Vermio partially contained, rainfall causes flooding in Kozani

    The wildfire in the forest region of Koutoulo in Tria-Pente Pigadia on Mt. Vermio in the prefecture of Imathia, northern Greece, has been partially contained, firefighters said on Monday.

    The fire was caused by lightning on Saturday afternoon and spread quickly, forming two major fire fronts. Firefighting is being hampered by the remoteness of the region while water-dropping aircraft were unable to take part in the firefighting efforts as soon as the blaze broke out, allowing the fire to spread.

    Firefighting forces on the ground were significantly assisted in their efforts by Sunday's rainfall in the region, while 70 firemen on foot and 8 fire engines assisted by volunteer firefighters were dispatched to the region earlier at noon.

    Meanwhile, the gusty winds and heavy rainfall recorded on Sunday night in Kozani, northwestern Greece, caused serious problems in the city.

    Power outages were recorded while many houses and stores were flooded.

    [33] Fire Brigade on alert for possible floods

    The Fire Brigade announced on Mondaythat it is now in a state of alert to confront possible floods, while strong forces still remain at the scenes of wildfires in the Peloponnese and in other locations where forest fires broke out on Monday.

    Two new forest fires broke out at noon in the region of Akros at Epidaurus, in the prefecture of Argolida, and in Myrsini, in the prefecture of Preveza, and are still continuing although they are no cause for concern.

    Fifteen firemen and seven vehicles are being used in Epidaurus and in Preveza, where the fire is in an inaccessible ravine, 30 firemen and 10 vehicles are tackling the blaze, backed by four firefighting aircraft and one firefighting helicopter, the Fire Brigade also announced.

    As regards the wildfires in the prefectures of Messinia, Arcadia and Laconia, in the Peloponnese, according to the briefing by the Fire Brigade, they have been extinguished but small fires still exist and firefighting forces are still on standby to confront the possible rekindling of the fires.

    [34] Attiko Metro offers assistance to fire stricken regions

    Attiko Metro SA, responding to a transportation ministry call, will send three teams of volunteers to the fire stricken regions in the Peloponnese to assist in the damage restoration efforts and help those affected by the devastating fires, it was announced on Monday.

    The volunteer teams are made up of engineers, electricians, plumbers and personnel trained in providing first aid. In addition, an Attiko Metro SA emergency team has been placed at the disposal of the Fire Brigade consisting of volunteers and outfitted vehicles.

    [35] International summer school in Ancient Avdera, Thrace

    The 11th International Summer School of Greek language and culture is underway in Ancient Avdera with the participation of 150 students and scientists, among them, Greek expatriates, and delegations from Moldova, Bulgaria, FYROM, Serbia, Georgia, Chile, Egypt, Russia, Taiwan, Syria, Hungary, Poland, and Germany.

    The event, held in the region of Thrace, northeastern Greece, is also attended by Muslim community students while a hospitality programme directed to local Roma community students is being implemented for the first time this year.

    A total of 30 literature, philosophy, music, dance and theater teachers are taking part in the international summer school, organized by the Thrace Fund and the SE European Initiative for Development and Cooperation.

    A summer school student delegation is scheduled to visit Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday.

    [36] Illegal immigrants detained in Kastoria, smuggler arrested

    A group of 12 Albanian illegal immigrants were detained and one of their two smugglers, also Albanians, were Monday by border guards outside Argos Orestiko in Kastoria prefecture, police said on Monday.

    The border guards arrested one of the smugglers, a 24-year-old Albanian, while the second Albanian smuggler evaded arrest by fleeing, and was being sought by police.

    According to police, the illegal immigrants were picked up by the two smugglers from the border region in two cars.

    [37] Wanted fugitive sentenced on fake travel documents charges

    An Athens court imposed a 12-month prison sentence on Australian national Tony Mokbel, 42, accused of holding fake travel documents.

    Antonio Sajih Mokbel, 42, a prominent figure in the Australian underworld known as "The Octopus" and "Fat Tony" and one of Australia's most wanted criminals, with outstanding warrants and convictions in serious drugs and homicide cases, was arrested in the Athens seaside suburb of Glyfada on June 5 on charges of holding fake documents.

    The Council of Appeals Judges ruled last month in favour of his extradition to Australia responding to an extradition request submitted by the Australian Federal Police. Mokbel's attorneys have contested the decision and a final ruling on his case will be issued by the Supreme Court on October 9.

    [38] Group of Romanian police officers visit Argolida

    A group of Romanian police officers on Monday visited the Police Department of Argolida, eastern Peloponnese. The Romanians are being hosted at Argolida prefecture by the prefecture's Union of Police Personnel.

    The Romanian police officers were welcomed by Argolida police director George Kakavas and they discussed issues of mutual interest. The Romainian guests were also given a tour of picturesque Naflpio.

    Sports

    [39] Olympic Rowing Centre to become international training centre

    A contract was signed in Munich on Monday by which the Olympic Rowing Centre at Schinias, north-eastern Attica, will be turned into an international training centre for the International Rowing Federation (FISA).

    According to an announcement by the Olympic Real Estate SA company, the rowing centre at Schinias will now be included in the list of FISA's three international training centres, together with Seville and Munich.

    This development also provides the country with an important step in the sector of international sports tourism, while at the same time the facility's viability will be strengthened and the region of Schinias wil be promoted internationally.

    Soccer

    [40] AEK Athens knocked out of Champions League

    AEK Athens was knocked out of the Champions League third preliminary round after losing 4-1 to Sevilla of Spain in the second leg match played in Athens on Monday night.

    Sevilla had won 3-0 in the first leg in Spain.

    Aggregate: 7-1.

    AEK Athens will now play in the UEFA Cup where it will face Salzburg of Austria.

    Weather Forecast

    [41] Overcast, scattered showers on Tuesday

    Overcast and rainy weather with northerly, northwesterly winds are forecast throughout the country on Tuesday with wind velocity reaching 5-6 beaufort. Scattered showers in western mainland Greeece, the northern Ionian, Epirus, Thrace and the northwestern Peloponnese.Temperatures will range between 16C and 32C. Partly cloudy in Athens, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 22 to 31C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 20C to 28C.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana-mpa.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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