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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-09-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Thursday, 27 September 2007 Issue No: 2708


  • [01] Greece's new 300-member parliament sworn in
  • [02] Premier Karamanlis briefed by FM Bakoyannis on NY talks
  • [03] FM spokesman hails UNSG statement on General Assembly FYROM incident
  • [04] U.S. State Department on FYROM issue
  • [05] Papandreou addresses PASOK MPs in tense session
  • [06] KKE Parliamentary group to 'highlight day-to-day problems'
  • [07] SYRIZA Parliamentary group holds first meeting
  • [08] ND Secretary sees possible change in election law
  • [09] President of Georgia to pay state visit to Greece next week
  • [10] Greek Green party stages protest outside environment ministry
  • [11] Gov't spokesman on 18th anniversary of murder of P. Bakoyannis
  • [12] Finmin and employment minister discuss policy for pension reform
  • [13] Piraeus Chamber of Commerce calls for bolder economic policy
  • [14] SYRIZA leader meets GSEE contract workers secretariat
  • [15] Tourist development minister on International Tourism Day
  • [16] Message on Int'l Tourism Day & women's role
  • [17] Fewer women work in Greek hotel and restaurant sectors than EU average
  • [18] Greece receives EU Commission warning over tuna fishery quotas
  • [19] Greek households' debt up 23.9 pct in Jan-July, yr/yr
  • [20] 2nd Greek Business Roadshow beginning on October 3
  • [21] Lavipharm complets 37.7-mln-euro share capital increase plan
  • [22] National Bank sells 3.5 mln shares of Hellenic Exchanges Holding
  • [23] Greek stocks end 1.42 pct higher
  • [24] ADEX closing report
  • [25] Greek bond market closing report
  • [26] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday
  • [27] Culture minister chairs meeting on restoration of ancient Olympia
  • [28] Flood protection work progressing rapidly, regional official reports
  • [29] Experts warn of traffic gridlock in Athens if measures not taken
  • [30] Coast guard intercepts 75 illegal immigrants on three islands
  • [31] Sixty illegal migrants, Turk smuggler intercepted off Samos
  • [32] Illegal immigrants and two traffickers intercepted in Xanthi
  • [33] Conference on Apostle Paul held in Corinth
  • [34] Fire at Thessaloniki textile plant
  • [35] AEK Athens beat Veria 1-0
  • [36] Overcast on Thursday
  • [37] Russian foreign minister to raise issue of July 8 agreement with UN and Turkey
  • [38] Spokesman calls for self-restraint regarding US stance on Cyprus
  • [39] Syrian Foreign Minister to personally look into ship case
  • [40] Cyprus considers ''compensation commission'' to be Turkish gimmick Politics

  • [01] Greece's new 300-member parliament sworn in

    Greece's new 300-member Parliament that emerged from the September 16 general elections was sworn in on Wednesday in a special ceremony in the unicameral legislature following the traditional blessing.

    "I swear in the name of the Holy Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity to keep faith in my Country and in the democratic form of government, obedience to the Constitution and the laws and to discharge conscientiously my duties," the MPs pledged, while the two Muslim deputies elected on the main opposition PASOK party's tickets in Xanthi and Rhodopi prefectures took a similar oath with their hand on a Koran.

    The MPs of the two smaller leftist parties (the Communist Party of Greece {KKE} and Coalition of the Radical Left {SYRIZA}), with the exception of KKE deputy Liana Kanelli, did not take a religious oath.

    KKE leader Aleka Papariga tabled a written statement with the Parliament presidium reminding her party's position for abolition of the religious oath, while the SYRIZA MPs entered Parliament immediately after the oath.

    This was the first plenary of the First Parliamentary Session of the 8th revisional Parliament (the 12th period of the presidential democracy in force since 1974).

    The first session of the new parliamentary period was inaugurated by acting parliament president and second vice-president of the preceding Parliament George Sourlas.

    In letters to the presidium, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced that he would take up his MP post in the Thessaloniki first electoral district -- he was also elected in the Piraeus second district -- PASOK leader chose a seat in Achaia -- he was also elected in Thessaloniki first district. KKE leader Aleka Papariga chose the seat in the Athens second district -- she was also elected in the Thessaloniki second district -- and newcomer Popular Orthodox Rally leader George Karatzaferis chose the Thessaloniki first district seat, while SYRIZA's Alekos Alavanos was elected from Irakleio, Crete. Political party leaders have the option of being candidates in two electoral districts, with the right to choose their parliamentary seat in either of those two districts if elected in both.

    Ruling New Democracy (ND), main opposition PASOK, KKE and SYRIZA deputies took up their parties' traditional seats, while newcomer LA.OS' deputies took seats to the left of ND behind the PASOK seats.

    Just before the oaths were taken, a blessing was held, officiated by Metropolitan Prokopios of Nea Krini and Kalamaria, who has been standing in at official functions for Archbishop Christodoulos. The 300 MPs were also given a portfolio containing copies of the constitution and the rules of Parliament.

    On Thursday morning, the new Parliament plenary will convene again to elect the Parliament president, for which post majority leader Karamanlis has nominated MP from Karditsa Dimitris Sioufas. In the afternoon, the plenary will vote for the House's five vice-presidents, which are distributed among the three top parties, with the first three parliamentary vice-presidential positions going to the ruling ND party, the fourth position going to main opposition PASOK and the fifth going to KKE.

    On Friday, a three-day debate on the new government's policy statements begins, to be read out by Prime Minister Karamanlis, with the discussions ending at midnight Sunday, followed by a vote of confidence for the new government.

    [02] Premier Karamanlis briefed by FM Bakoyannis on NY talks

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Wednesday morning with foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, who briefed him on her meetings and talks in New York, where she attended the UN General Assembly.

    She told reporters afterwards that the New York contacts focussed mainly on the FYROM name issue, Greek-Turkish relations, the Middle East, and the environment and climate change.

    Asked to comment on the stance of UN General Assembly president Srgjan Kerim (from FYROM), who addressed the FYROM president Branko Crvenkovski as 'president of Macedonia' during the session -- despite UN General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions, under which the country is a member of the organisation with the name of FYROM -- Bakoyanis said that "Mr. Kerim confirmed the correctness of the Greek argumentation".

    "In his own way, he (Kerim) sent a precise message, that made it clear to all the friends and partners, that everything Greece maintains is indeed so," Bakoyannis said.

    Greece reacted strongly on Tuesday to the stance of the UN General Assembly's President Srgjan Kerim from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said in a statement:

    "Mr. Kerim, with his action today, and acting under instructions from his Government, has irreparably damaged for the duration of his term, his standing and credibility as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, as he did not respect the Resolutions of the Body over which he is presiding as well as of the Security Council of the United Nation, the Organization he has been called upon to serve.

    "This unacceptable action of Mr. Kerim reaffirms the provocative and uncompromising position of the Government of Skopje.

    "It reaffirms the Greek position.

    "Greece will not follow this road. This is what our position as a responsible member of the European Union and NATO, the oldest such member in the region, dictates.

    "The responsibility for the consequences of this uncompromising position belongs exclusively and completely to the Government of Skopje." Greece's permanent representative at the UN, ambassador Ioannis Mourikis, intervened and reminded Kerim that, according to Security Council and General Assembly resolutions that he presides over, FYROM is a member of the UN as FYROM.

    [03] FM spokesman hails UNSG statement on General Assembly FYROM incident

    Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Wednesday, commenting on a statement by the UN Secretary General's statement on the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), that "today's statement by the spokeswoman of the Secretary General of the UN confirms with clarity the existing reality concerning the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, placing the whole issue on its appropriate dimension."

    According to an ANA-MPA dispatch from New York, UNSG's deputy spokeswoman Maria Okabe, replying to a question on the incident occurring at the General Assembly on Tuesday, adopted the Greek position on a solution to the problem of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), stressing that the name used at the UN is FYROM.

    Replying to the question "on yesterday's incident at the General Assembly, what the Secretary General thinks of that unprecedented action by the president of the General Assembly to clearly violate the Security Council resolution and how he thinks it affects his mandate to find a solution between Greece and FYROM?", Okabe said:

    "As you know the Secretary General has a personal envoy for the Greeece-FYROM talks. His name is Matthew Nimetz. And we've talked to him and said what happened yesterday in the General Assembly demonstrated why a permanent solution is needed and he is continuing to work with the parties on this issue.

    "For his part the Secretary General urges both parties to redouble their efforts to resolve their differences through the established mediation efforts. Within the UN the Secretary General and the Secretariat observed the practice of using the name Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia or FYROM, as referred to in Security Council resolution.

    As to how it affects the future, we can't get in such a hypothetical situation. The important thing is that Mr. Nimetz is continuing his work."

    Greece reacted strongly on Tuesday to the stance of the UN General Assembly's President Srgjan Kerim from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) who addressed FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski three times as president of the "Republic of Macedonia."

    [04] U.S. State Department on FYROM issue


    The U.S. State Department on Wednesday noted the importance of Greece's position regarding the accession of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in NATO and the European Union.

    "We recognize Macedonia with its constitutional name. We also recognize that there is a serious and very sensitive matter for Greece and Macedonia in relation to the name issue. We wish to see the issue being solved through talks between Greece and Macedonia with the support of the United Nations," Deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.

    Casey added:

    "It's certainly in Macedonia's best interest, because we would like to see Macedonia have every entry ultimately into the kinds or Euroatlantic institutes that it would like to join. And obviously one of the member states that will have a very important say in that will be Greece. And certainly we recognize that part of ultimately resolving the other issues that are out there will be a Greek desire to see that issue resolved before anything else happens. So we would encourage that any discussions or statements made about this be done in a spirit and desire to see a peaceful and reasonable settlement reached between the parties as a result of negotiation."

    [05] Papandreou addresses PASOK MPs in tense session

    Tension broke out on Wednesday during the first meeting of the main opposition PASOK party's new Parliamentary group, just before the swearing-in of the new 300-member legislature, where party leader George Papandreou sought a surprise vote of conference via secret ballot from his party's MPs, a call that generated heated reactions from a portion of the deputies.

    In a subsequent compromise, a simple 'show of hands' ended the furor, as no deputies stepped forward to dispute Papandreou's leadership.

    Papandreou, in ending his address to PASOK's 101 deputies, said he wanted to strengthen his position vis--vis a pending "parliamentary battle" with ruling New Democracy party until a Nov. 11 election within PASOK to determine a new party leader, as current president George Papandreou has been challenged, so far, by top Thessaloniki-area MP and former minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    Venizelos, in fact, was the first to react sharply against Papandreou's request, followed by one-time prime minister and former PASOK leader Costas Simitis, who charged that such a procedure would compromise PASOK's unity.

    Former parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis was the one who proposed a mere 'show of hands', while asking if any deputy in the hall disputed Papandreou's leadership. Kaklamanis also rejected the secret ballot referendum.

    Following commotion in Parliament's senate chamber and the reactions, Papandreou withdrew from the hall, with the show of hands procedure following amid vociferous deliberations.

    In a later written statement, Papandreou expressed his satisfaction with the vote of confidence by PASOK's Parliament group, adding that the development eliminated any reason to insist on a secret ballot. Additionally, he termed his initial proposal as a political decision following the latest developments in the party.

    Papandreou address

    Earlier, during his address, Papandreou first engaged in self-criticism regarding the recent election result and the way he handled certain issues since his assumption of the party's leadership in February 2004.

    Papandreou stressed that every cadre in the party, including himself, have their share of responsibility for the election defeat. In terms of his own responsibility, he stated that it was a mistake not to "move forward" with major reforms in the party, saying he believed that a united PASOK would have been persuasive enough.

    He also acknowledged that he repeatedly resorted to "compromise solutions", ignoring the fact that different opinions were being publicly voiced, ones that undermined party unity, as he said.

    Furthermore, Papandreou said the causes that led to the party's alienation from its voter base and the 2004 election defeat were never really examined.

    The former foreign minister said that after the 2004 defeat, he had chosen not to steer towards a "collision course with practices and individuals representing negative party policy aspects."

    Referring to PASOK, he said the party had been identified with statism and had drifted away from its founding principles and society, whereas his mistake was to opt for "velvet changes" without major upsets, only seeking to find the lowest common denominator.

    "The question is whether the problem is superficial or strategic, and whether the causes that led to the recent election results are current or timeless?" he asked.

    In a bid to look to the future and beyond a Nov. 11 party leadership election, Papandreou cited three axes, namely, democratic, organised political dialogue; adoption of a distinct identity, and assumption of an opposition role in defence of the Greek people's rights via an alternative course.

    "The people will face hardships," Papandreou predicted, while again alluding to a "secret agenda" by ruling New Democracy party.

    On the all-important social insurance issue, he said the government's intends to increase retirement ages and change the way pensions are calculated.

    Referring to foreign affairs, he opined that the government was again caught off guard by a Canadian government decision to recognise the small, land-locked former Yugoslav republic to the north under its constitutional name, while Athens is also absent from the major international debate on climate change.

    He stated that PASOK can and should seek common ground with the "other Left", warning the government that there will be no vacuum in opposition activity and oversight of the government's work.

    Papandreou announced that he will nominate newly elected Ilia prefecture MP Michalis Katrinis for Parliament secretary, with Athens MP Yiannis Dimaras nominated for parliament dean.

    Long-time deputy Filippos Petsalnikos was nominated as fourth deputy parliament speaker, while Theodoros Pangalos and Haris Kastanidis are being proposed as PASOK parliamentary spokesmen with Dimitris Reppas remaining in his place as Parliamentary group secretary.

    [06] KKE Parliamentary group to 'highlight day-to-day problems'

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MPs on Wednesday pledged to do everything in their power to "highlight the day to day problems of the people and the country" in an announcement marking the opening session of the new Parliament.

    According to KKE's Parliamentary group, "the increase in KKE's electoral strength, with the momentum this contains in combination with the losses of the two urban parties of power, New Democracy and PASOK, creates the conditions to continue the struggle of the working class and lower strata from improved positions".

    KKE MPs also warned that the government was trying to quickly push through changes that would be painful for the working class, especially under the guise of social insurance reform. Among these changes it listed cutting back rights to early retirement and disability pensions, increasing the age of retirement and reducing the size of pensions.

    The party also noted that main opposition PASOK would not stand up to the government regarding its strategic choices, since the two parties had identical policies in this area and were both bound by the interests of big capital in the EU and NATO.

    KKE's Parliamentary group announced that it had appointed Antonis Skyllakos as secretary, Spyros Halvatzis and Achilleas Kantartzis as parliamentary spokesmen and would propose Vera Nikolaidou for Parliament Vice-President and Elpida Pantelaki for Parliament secretary.

    [07] SYRIZA Parliamentary group holds first meeting

    Newly-elected Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) MPs on Wednesday held their first meeting, shortly after a ceremony in which the new Parliament was sworn in. According to party leader Alekos Alavanos, the aim for SYRIZA's Parliamentary group during this session would be to become more useful and increase its impact on society.

    Alavanos said that SYRIZA had created a new model for conducting parliamentary opposition during the last Parliament because it not only criticised basic issues of government policy but was also "a force presenting programme positions and submitting proposals".

    He warned that the government had already given a foretaste of "the even more negative course it will take" and warned SYRIZA MPs that they would have to have to be aware of the major fronts on which the party would stand up and promote the positions of the Left and movements, such as the environment, social state, wages, high prices and social insurance reform.

    "We must be aware that apart from having the government as our opponent, we are also opposed by forces that are not physically present in the area where legislative work is done but which very often dictate and impose their positions and against which we must wage great battles," Alavanos said.

    As an example, he mentioned Greek banks that currently enjoyed profits unmatched elsewhere in Europe and at the same time imposed particularly harsh and painful terms on working people and lower income strata that had to be countered.

    [08] ND Secretary sees possible change in election law

    Ruling New Democracy's party Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis on Wednesday indicated that the government would very likely reform the current law for allocating seats in general elections, saying that this would be "logical".

    "Today we are being sworn in, we welcome new colleagues and wish them good strength [but] we are also thinking of those colleagues that are not here, who were with us in the previous Parliament," the party secretary noted.

    Many of these had "lost their seat because of the new election law," Zagoritis added.

    He stressed that changing this law would make sense in order to avoid the danger of elections failing to elect a government.

    "The election law must give a strong single-party majority in Parliament to the foremost party, so that a strong government is formed. Because, otherwise, there is a risk for the country and for the economy," he said.

    He also ruled out the prospect of ND requesting that the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party and its leader George Karatzaferis support Dimitris Sioufas in the election for Parliament President, in response to questions.

    "No. ND's Parliamentary Group will vote in favour of the choice of Mr. Sioufas, who is an old and experienced Parliamentarian. He has served as General Secretary of ND's Parliamentary group, as Parliamentary spokesman, he knows Parliament inside-out and will be a very good president," he stressed.

    [09] President of Georgia to pay state visit to Greece next week

    President of Georgia Mihkeil Saakashvili is due to arrive in Athens on Monday for a two-day state visit to Greece, at the invitation of Greece's President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias. While in Athens, Saakashvili will meet with Greece's state and political leadership.

    [10] Greek Green party stages protest outside environment ministry

    Members of Greece's Green Ecologists party on Wednesday staged a protest outside the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry in Athens in order to highlight their demand for a separate ministry to regulate the environment, natural resources and sustainable development.

    The protestors organised a picket outside the building, where they had symbolically placed toy bulldozers and other vehicles used in construction, while they carried placards listing 50 reasons why immediate measures to protect the environment had to be taken and demanded a meeting with Environment Minister George Souflias.

    They were received by public works general secretary Dimosthenis Katsigiannis, who noted their demands and promised to forward them to the minister.

    A spokesman for the Greek green party stressed that "a modern, serious and effective environmental policy in our country is now a demand of the great majority of society" and stressed that separating the environment ministry from public works would be a first step in this direction.

    [11] Gov't spokesman on 18th anniversary of murder of P. Bakoyannis

    Minister of State and Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos made a statement on Wednesday marking the 18th anniversary of Pavlos Bakoyannis' assassination by the November 17 terrorist organization.

    The statement said:

    "The anniversary of the cowardly assassination of Pavlos Bakoyannis is a strong reminder that the effort for the support and deepening of Democracy is constant and concerns all of us.

    "The national reconciliation was gained thanks to the struggles and the sacrifices of patriots such as unforgettable Pavlos Bakoyannis who, over and above any differences, saw that the progress of Greece and of the Greeks have as a starting point the unanimity in front of major and important matters."

    Financial News

    [12] Finmin and employment minister discuss policy for pension reform

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Employment Minister Vassilis Magginas had a meeting on Wednesday to prepare for the start of dialogue on social insurance reform and government's policy statements.

    [13] Piraeus Chamber of Commerce calls for bolder economic policy

    The Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a statement on Wednesday called on the government to implement a "bolder and more dynamic" economic policy.

    The Chamber called for the government's economic policy for the next four years to be "bolder, more dynamic, better studied and for there to be more properly classified in its developmental aspect in order to be effective."

    The Chamber evaluates that "the public debt continues to increse, despite its reduction as percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the competitiveness of production continues to be at a low level and unemployment, and particularly the unemployment of youth, but also inflation, confirm in a categorical way the need for a substantial reform effort."

    [14] SYRIZA leader meets GSEE contract workers secretariat

    The head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alekos Alavanos had a meeting with the contract workers secretariat of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) on Wednesday, after which he expressed his party's support for contract workers' demands.

    He promised that SYRIZA would table a draft bill prepared by GSEE and the civil servants' union ADEDY regarding this issue in Parliament, possibly as early as next week, and expressed hope that it would be supported by all the opposition parties.

    [15] Tourist development minister on International Tourism Day

    Tourist Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos said on Wednesday, referring to International Tourismn Day for Women, celebrated on September 27, that "times are more demanding for Greek tourism today and the expectations of all who are involved are far greater".

    "At this new phase that we are in, we shall invest and we shall seek even more intensively quality in all its aspects. Quality that we want to promote both in infrastructures and in services," the minister said, adding that "women's personality is characterised by contribution, sociability and hospitality. And these characteristics provide quality for tourist services."

    Spiliotopoulos also said that "it is also important that we highlight the economic dimension of tourism and its contribution to the development course of the country and to regional development in particular."

    [16] Message on Int'l Tourism Day & women's role

    On the occasion of Thursday's International Tourism Day, the Panhellenic Federation of Tourism Businesses (POET) in an announcement on Wednesday expressed its optimism and faith that Greek tourism will continue to be a major national priority and speed up at a faster pace.

    "This year's anniversary is very accurately dedicated to the relation of women with tourism. It underlines the excellent importance of the role played daily by women in the tourism industry. Particularly in our country, already from the start of Greek tourism, a great nuber of women distinguished themselves and continue to distinguish themselves with their capabilities and their contribution to the whole scale of our tourism," POET said.

    [17] Fewer women work in Greek hotel and restaurant sectors than EU average

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Fewer women are employed in the hotel and restaurant sectors in Greece than is the average in the European Union, while there is a relatively large gap in pay between men and women in the sector.

    According to data released by Eurostat on Wednesday, women account for 44 percent of employees in the hotel and restaurant sectors in Greece, compared with an EU average of 56 percent.

    In terms of their pay, women earn 74 percent of the average pay for men in Greece, which is one of the biggest gaps in gender pay among the EU member-states for which figures are available.

    [18] Greece receives EU Commission warning over tuna fishery quotas

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)

    The European Commission has sent Greece and six other European Union member-states letters of notice because they failed to supply the Commission with data reporting the size of their bluefin tuna catch for 2007. The warning letters are the first stage in the process of taking legal action against an EU member-state at the European Court of Justice.

    The seven countries include Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain and have one month in which to reply to the Commission.

    Last week, the EU Commission closed the EU bluefin tuna fishery until the end of the year because the EU quota for 2007 had been exhausted due to overfishing in recent years.

    [19] Greek households' debt up 23.9 pct in Jan-July, yr/yr

    Greek households' debt to commercial banks totaled 89.3 billion euros at the end of July 2007, or 43 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday.

    The central bank, in its monthly report, said that the accumulated debt of Greek enterprises and households to banks, including corporate bonds, totaled 189.9 billion euros, or 91 percent of GDP at the end of the seven-month period from January to July 2007, an increase of 20.6 percent compared with the corresponding period last year.

    More analytically, enterprises' debt totaled 100.5 billion euros, up 17.7 percent, while households' debt rose by 23.9 percent in the same period. Credit expansion growth in the private sector eased slightly in July to 20.6 percent, from 20.9 percent in June. Credit expansion in total economy (including both the private and public sectors), however, grew slightly to 12.9 pct in July, from 12.8 pct in June.

    Mortgage loans, including securitized debt by banks, totaled 64.3 billion euros in July, up 23.8 percent from the same month in 2006, but down from a 24.5 percent growth rate in June.

    Consumer loans totaled 29.5 billion euros (including securitizations) with an annual growth rate of 22.5 percent in July, up from 22.2 percent in June.

    Credit card debt rose 4.4 percent to 7.8 billion euros. Greek enterprises' borrowing through bond issues totaled 16.4 billion euros, up 35.1 perccent from July 2006.

    The central bank, in its report, said the central government's deficit totaled 8.916 billion euros (4.3 percent of GDP) at the end of August, up 20.7 percent compared with the same month last year.

    [20] 2nd Greek Business Roadshow beginning on October 3

    The 2nd Greek Business Roadshow, organised by the Athens Stock Exchange with support by the Bloomberg agency, will begin on October 3 and last until October 4.

    The Roadshow will take place in Bloomberg's head offices in London, it will last for two days and will be attended by 38 Greek businesses, representatives of which will be holding over 700 meetings with 138 foreign institutional investors.

    Increased participation is being noted compared to last year's Roadshow, given that the businesses that had participated in the Roadshow last year were 30 and the institutional investors 92.

    It is a very important business event, that is proved by the level of the representation of companies. The roadshow will be attended by 81 company representatives, of whom 30 hold posts of presidents, CEOs and general directors and 14 of economic directors.

    [21] Lavipharm complets 37.7-mln-euro share capital increase plan

    Lavipharm on Wednesday announced the successful completion of a share capital increase plan. The listed company said its share offer was oversubscribed by 101 percent and that the plan raised 37,721,376 euros. Lavipharm offered 11,787,930 new common nominal shares to its shareholders.

    [22] National Bank sells 3.5 mln shares of Hellenic Exchanges Holding

    National Bank on Wednesday announced the successful offering of 3,559,961 shares of Hellenic Exchanges SA Holdings in private placement to foreign and domestic institutional investors through an accelerated book building procedure.

    A bank statement said the offering was very successful raising the final offer price at 22.5 euros per share. Credit Suisse and NBGI were co-ordinators of the book-building process, while National Securities, sales representative in Greece.

    [23] Greek stocks end 1.42 pct higher

    Greek stocks jumped 1.42 percent higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, helped by a strong rebound in other European markets. The composite index ended at 5,103.47 points with turnover a heavy 655.73 million euros, of which 253.99 million euros were block trades.

    Most sector scored gains, with the Telecommunications (2.97 pct), Healthcare (2.82 pct) and Food/Beverage (2.75 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Chemicals (0.32 pct) and Insurance (0.10 pct) suffered losses.

    The Big Cap index ended 1.50 percent higher, the Mid Cap index ended 0.53 pct up and the Small Cap index jumped 1.69 percent. Viosol (20 pct) and Desmos (10 pct) were top gainers, while Ideal (8.99 pct), Allatini Ceramics (7.94 pct) and Alsinco (5.56 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 190 to 63 with another 51 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.10%

    Industrials: +1.43%

    Commercial: +1.19%

    Construction: +0.56%

    Media: +0.55%

    Oil & Gas: +0.79%

    Personal & Household: +0.51%

    Raw Materials: +0.45%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.36%

    Technology: +2.31%

    Telecoms: +2.97%

    Banks: +1.03%

    Food & Beverages: +2.75%

    Health: +2.82%

    Utilities: +1.68%

    Chemicals: -0.32%

    Financial Services: +0.26%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Marfin Popular Bank, EXAE, OTE and National Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 24.74

    ATEbank: 4.00

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 26.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 39.30

    Hellenic Petroleum: 10.98

    Emporiki Bank: 20.58

    National Bank of Greece: 44.70

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 25.00

    Intralot: 27.70

    Cosmote: 24.50

    OPAP: 26.96

    OTE: 25.94

    Titan Cement Company: 36.14

    [24] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices ended Wednesday's session in the Athens Derivatives Exchange with significant discount, while turnover was a moderate 137.369 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index ended at a discount of 1.55 pct and the September contract on the FTSE 40 index at a premium of 0.38 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 6,585 contracts worth 87.181 million euros, with 29,432 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 381 contracts worth 12.513 million euros with 1.250 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,390 contracts worth 23.820 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (4,689), followed by Marfin Investment Group (3,164), Eurobank (1,063), PPC (2,221), National Bank (408), Intracom (684), and ATEbank (220).

    [25] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market rose to 1.999 billion euros on Wednesday, of which 947 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 1.052 billion euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 965 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell to 0.30 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.68 pct and the German Bund 4.30 percent.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate rose to 4.25 pct from 4.15 pct on Tuesday, the two-day rate rose to 4.25 pct from 4.15 pct, the one-month rate was 4.40 percent and the 12-month rate was 4.70 pct.

    [26] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.424

    Pound sterling 0.706

    Danish kroner 7.515

    Swedish kroner 9.283

    Japanese yen 164.23

    Swiss franc 1.665

    Norwegian kroner 7.833

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.432

    Australian dollar 1.628

    General News

    [27] Culture minister chairs meeting on restoration of ancient Olympia

    Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Wednesday chaired a meeting at his ministry on the restoration of ancient Olympia after the damage inflicted by the massive fires in August.

    The meeting decided to commission a study on extending existing fire protection systems to the Kronios Hill adjacent to the archaeological site, a ministry announcement said.

    In addition, it was decided that the number of forestry workers cutting down trees to create flooding and soil barriers in the areas due for reforestation should be increased. These areas include the Kronios Hill, the Zouni Hill, the Olympic Academy and Coubertin Monument.

    A comprehensive study on the restoration of the grounds around the site is to be submitted at the end of October and planting will begin on November 15, while extra staff will be hired to work on the maintenance of architectural elements in the grounds of the German Archaeological Institute.

    [28] Flood protection work progressing rapidly, regional official reports

    The head of the Peloponnese Region Aggela Avouri on Wednesday reported that works to protect against flooding and soil erosion in the areas devastated by mega-fires in August were making rapid progress.

    "We are progressing at a rapid pace in order to achieve the recovery of damaged infrastructure and protect the areas affected," Avouri said, noting that the regional authority was in close and constant cooperation with ministries, prefectures and municipalities in order to properly deal with the immediate problems of the public.

    [29] Experts warn of traffic gridlock in Athens if measures not taken

    Experts on Wednesday sounded the alarm regarding traffic conditions in the Greek capital Athens over the next few years.

    Foreign and Greek transportation experts stressed the need for immediate measures to deal with ever increasing traffic in central Athens, during an event held at the National Hellenic Research Foundation. New Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis also participated at the event.

    According to official figures, the number of vehicles in the wider Athens region increases by 150,000 annually. If this trend continues, 95 percent of the road network in the Greek capital will be clogged up during most hours of the day by 2010. In addition, roughly 30,000 cars are illegally parked on the city's streets, while hundreds of abandoned vehicles make the situation even worse.

    Speaking at the event, Hatzidakis stressed that he is aware of the dire situation ever since his term in the European Parliament, while he stressed that all major European cities face traffic congestion although the problem in Athens is much greater, with an estimated increase of 130 percent in the number of private cars since 1990.

    [30] Coast guard intercepts 75 illegal immigrants on three islands

    The Greek coast guard on Wednesday reported that 75 illegal immigrants had been intercepted in the vicinity of the Aegean islands of Lesvos, Kos and Farmakonisi. Among them were three women and four children.

    The women and children were among 34 immigrants arrested in various locations on Lesvos, 35 men were caught in a coastal area on Kos and six men on the northeast coast of Farmakonisi.

    All groups claim that they crossed to the islands from the coast of Turkey.

    [31] Sixty illegal migrants, Turk smuggler intercepted off Samos

    Coast guard officers arrested 60 illegal migrants and a Turkish national off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Samos, .

    Twenty were spotted north of Cape Prasso while the remaining 40 were intercepted a few hours later. The illegal migrants were taken to the local hospital to undergo medical tests for precautionary reasons while the alleged smuggler was led before a prosecutor.

    [32] Illegal immigrants and two traffickers intercepted in Xanthi

    Police in Xanthi, northeastern Greece on Wednesday reported the arrest of eight illegal immigrants and two suspected immigrant smugglers - a 33-year-old Greek man and a 20-year-old Albanian.

    The illegal immigrants were of Iraqi and Chinese origin and were riding in a private car driven by one of the immigrant smugglers, while his accomplice was in another car acting as a lookout. They were caught on the 1st kilometre of the Xanthi-Lagous national highway.

    [33] Conference on Apostle Paul held in Corinth

    The 1st International Conference on the Apostle Paul ended on Wednesday in Corinth, where it had begun the previous Sunday. The conference was held to mark the 1950th anniversary since the Apostle Paul wrote his Letters to the Corinthians and included discussions on a variety of issues, such as Corinth at the time of the Apostle Paul, analysis of his letters and teaching and his role as the founder of the Church of Corinth.

    [34] Fire at Thessaloniki textile plant

    A fire broke out at a Thessaloniki textile plant in the 'Titan' area on Wednesday afternoon. Eleven fire-engines and 22 firemen were sent out to put out the blaze.


    [35] AEK Athens beat Veria 1-0

    AEK Athens beat Veria 1-0 away on Wednesday evening and is at the top of the standings with Xanthi with six points.

    Results of the Greek Super League soccer matches played over the weekend:

    Panionios Athens - Levadiakos Livadia 2-0

    Apollon Kalamaria - Aris Thessaloniki 0 -0

    AEK Athens - Atromitos Athens 2-0

    Olympiakos Piraeus - OFI Crete 6-2

    Larissa - Veria 1-1

    Ergotelis Crete - Panathinaikos Athens 0-3

    Xanthi - Asteras Tripoli 2-0

    PAOK Thessaloniki - Iraklis Thessaloniki 3-0

    Veria - AEK Athens (played Wednesday)

    Standings after two weeks of play:

    Xanthi 6 points

    AEK 6

    Olympiakos 4

    Panathinaikos 4

    Panionios 4

    Larissa 4

    PAOK 3

    Atromitos 3

    Ergotelis 3

    OFI 3

    Aris 2

    Apollon 1

    Veria 1

    Levadiakos 0

    Asteras 0

    Iraklis 0

    Weather Forecast

    [36] Overcast on Thursday

    Overcast weather with southerly, southwesterly winds are forecast throughout the country on Thursday with wind velocity reaching 4-5 beaufort. Rain in northern and western mainland Greece. Temperatures will range between 10C and 27C. Partly clody in Athens, with light, southerly, southwesterly winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 27C. Scattered showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 25C.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [37] Russian foreign minister to raise issue of July 8 agreement with UN and Turkey


    Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov assured Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, during a meeting in New York on Wednesday, that Russia's positions on the Cyprus problem were stable and that he would raise the issue of implementing the 8 July 2006 agreement during meetings he will be having with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Babacan.

    President Papadopoulos said his meeting with Lavrov was held in a very friendly atmosphere and that the Russian minister assured him of Russia's support.

    Lavrov was due to meet Babacan on Wednesday and the UN Secretary General on Friday.

    ''I had a very warm meeting with Mr. Lavrov, who assured me that Russia's positions regarding the Cyprus problem remain stable and will not change,'' the president said.

    He added that they discussed the Gambari process and that Lavrov ''stressed that the whole substance of the Gambari process is the preparation in the committees.''

    Asked about the case of a ship sailing from the closed port of Famagusta for Syria, President Papadopoulos expressed certainty that the issue would be solved amicably.

    ''We believe Syria is a friendly country and in the traditional atmosphere of friendly cooperation we will have a friendly solution,'' he added.

    Asked what he expected from his meeting with US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Nicolas Burns, President Papadopoulos said ''Mr. Burns asked to see me and we will have a general discussion about the Cyprus problem.''

    He added that the US have stated they support the Gambari process and ''they will have to accept that the implementation of the Gambari agreement is the only available process today, if we want to proceed to substantive negotiations, without divergences and without conditions regarding its implementation.''

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    President Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on 8 July 2006, during a meeting in Nicosia in the presence of UN official 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.

    [38] Spokesman calls for self-restraint regarding US stance on Cyprus


    Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas said on Wednesday that ''we must show self-restraint'' regarding the US stance on the Cyprus problem.

    Palmas was commenting on remarks by US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Nicolas Burns after a meeting in New York with Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyannis that now is the time to get the international process on Cyprus rolling again and get some momentum behind this process, and that the United States were ''really dedicated to that.''

    The spokesman reminded that President Tassos Papadopoulos was due to meet with Burns on Wednesday.

    He pointed out that ''we should not give the Cypriot people the impression that we will be reaching a solution soon or create expectations that there would be talks on the substance of the problem soon, leading to a comprehensive settlement of our national problem.''

    ''We must show restraint, we must be satisfied by the fact that there is mobility and interest on behalf of the international community, the UN and a country such as the US, which are playing a significant role in the international political scene,'' he said.

    Palmas noted that in the international arena there were ''many complicated interests'' and that the views and positions of countries and international organisations did not depend solely on law but mainly on interests.

    ''As a small member state of the international community we should always move down the lane of law, as law was the only way for some small states, such as Cyprus, to gain some positive results for the problems we are facing,'' he said.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [39] Syrian Foreign Minister to personally look into ship case


    Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Al Muallem assured his Cypriot counterpart Erato Kozakou Markoullis on Wednesday that he would personally look into the case of a ship sailing from the closed port of Famagusta to a Syrian port and inform the Republic of Cyprus within the next few days.

    The two ministers met in New York and, according to Markoullis, Muallem assured her that the so-called foreign minister of the Turkish occupation regime had not visited Syria under any official capacity and had not had any meetings with officials there.

    He added that no agreement had been signed between Syria and the puppet regime regarding a maritime connection between the occupied areas and Syria.

    ''The Syrian government recognises only the Republic of Cyprus and the Cypriot Government and does not recognise the pseudostate,'' Markoullis said.

    Markoullis told CNA that their discussion was very constructive and that they agreed the two countries had to work towards strengthening relations through a political dialogue.

    Furthermore, Markoullis said her Syrian counterpart had invited her to visit his country and that she had accepted the invitation.

    [40] Cyprus considers ''compensation commission'' to be Turkish gimmick


    The Cypriot Government considers the so-called compensation commission for Greek Cypriot properties in the Turkish occupied areas to be a ''gimmick'' aimed at causing unrest and problems for the Republic of Cyprus and counterbalancing the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas said on Wednesday.

    Commenting on press reports that the so-called commission of the occupation regime had begun notifying the lawyers of Greek Cypriot interested parties that they would soon be summoned to settle their cases, Palmas said the state could not officially know what contacts were being made privately between those wishing for an amicable settlement.

    ''On the other hand, however, I would like to remind the position of the Government concerning the so-called commission. We consider it, and insist on this, to be a gimmick, a committee created in order to cause unrest and problems for the Republic of Cyprus and of course to act as a counterbalance to the ECHR,'' the spokesman pointed out.

    He added that ''the cost and possibilities this commission has cannot tackle the problems faced by the refugees, some of whom are trying, through some committee, to get their properties back.''

    ''The Republic of Cyprus, as a member state of the international community, with all legitimate means, will try to secure the interests of the whole of the people of Cyprus, in the adversities we are facing and will continue to face, due to the invasion and occupation and due to the deadlock in the Cyprus problem,'' he said.

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