|Friday, 22 February 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-09-28
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 28 September 2007 Issue No: 2709
 Dimitris Sioufas elected new President of ParliamentDimitris Sioufas of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party was elected president of the 300-member unicameral Hellenic Parliament on Thursday with 158 votes for and 141 blank votes, while only one MP was absent. In a statement immediately after the result was announced, Sioufas pledged to be a "President of all Parliament, all the wings, all the deputies".
An MP from Karditsa who served as development minister under the previous government, Sioufas was the candidate nominated by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for the parliament presidency.
Outlining his plans during his term in the third-highest office in Greece after the President of the Republic and the prime minister, Sioufas said he intended to introduce changes to Parliament regulations that would allow visiting heads of state and government and other distinguished foreigners to directly address the Greek Parliament.
He also outlined plans to further upgrade the annual Youth Parliament and to begin planning for the creation of a new and modern Parliament building equipped with necessary infrastructure at another location.
The former minister also emphasised the Parliamentary diplomacy would be among his priorities and referred to the destruction wrought by the mega-fires that swept Greece in August, saying that the "Parliament of the Hellenes will be creatively present" in efforts for the recovery of these areas.
There followed a hand-over ceremony, in which Sioufas took over from his predecessor Anna Psarouda-Benaki and stressed that, in doing so, he became "even more aware of the magnitude of my responsibilities and my mission".
"I wish to give the same assurances that I gave before the 300 MPs in Parliament that I will make every effort to live up to the trust that they placed in me, to meet the obligations that Parliament has both internally but also in Greek society, [to meet] the expectations of the citizens, because the Parliament is the centre, the nucleus of our democratic system and we must bring the centre of politics back here in Parliament," he said.
Psarouda-Benakis, on her part, expressed her satisfaction that the office of Parliament president was going to a "personality with extensive Parliamentary and political experience".
Greece's new parliament, which emerged from the September 16 general elections and was sworn in on Wednesday, convened shortly before noon on Thursday to elect the House's new president in a secret ballot.
Of the 299 MPs present, 158 voted for Sioufas, 141 cast blank ballots, while Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy for Lesvos St. Skopelitis was absent from the proceedings.
The parliament plenary will convene again at 6:00 Thursday afternoon to elect the House's five parliamentary 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 the Communist Party of Greece (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.
Dimitris Sioufas, a lawyer, was born in 1944 in Ellinopyrgos, Karditsa prefecture. He was first elected to parliament in 1981, and served as deputy minister of Health, Welfare and Social Insurance in the New Democracy government of Constantine Mitsotakis from August 1991 to October 1993.
In April 2000 he was elected Secretary of the ND Parliamentary Group (up to the March 2004 general elections), nominated by the then main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Karamanlis.
With ND's assumption of the government after the March 2004 elections, he was appointed Development minister, serving in the post from March 2004 to September 2007, just ahead of the latest general elections in which ND was re-elected to power.
In August 2007, he was awarded the Medal of Friendship of the Russian Federation by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Since the Constitution of 1975 came into effect, those serving as parliament president were Constantine Papaconstantinou, Dimitris Papaspyrou, Ioannis Alevras, Athanasios Tsaldaris, Apostolos Kaklamanis, and Anna Psarouda-Benaki.
Parliament votes for vice presidents, rectors, secretaries
Parliament voted on Thursday afternoon to elect its vice presidents, rectors and secretaries. With 293 deputies present during the process, out of a total of 300, the results were the following:
George Sourlas of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party was elected first vice president with 212 votes and 81 blank ones.
Elsa Papadimitriou (ND) was elected second vice president with 209 votes, 81 blank and three invalid votes.
Anastasios Nerantzis was elected third vice president with 209 votes, 81 blank and three invalid votes.
Filippos Petsalnikos (PASOK) was elected fourth vice president with 258 votes, 31 blank and four invalid votes.
Varvara Nikolaidou (Communist Party of Greece) was elected fifth vice president with 224 votes, 68 blank ones and one invalid vote.
Deputies elected to fill in the posts of rectors are Stavros Dailakis and Aris Stathakis (ND) with 225 votes and 68 blank ones, as well as PASOK deputy Yiannis Dimaras with 271 votes and 32 blank ones.
Lastly, the posts of secretary were filled by ND deputies George Anagnostopoulos, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, Olga Kefaloyianni and Christos Staikouras with 225 votes and 68 blank ones and PASOK deputy Mihalis Katrinis with 271 votes and 32 blank ones, as well as Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Elpida Pantelaki with 271 votes and 32 blank ones.
 Interior ministry general secretaries sworn inThe new general secretaries at the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation ministry - which now also takes over the portfolio of the former public order ministry - were sworn in on Thursday before Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
They included Vassilis Andronopoulos, in charge of public administration and electronic governance, general secretaries for interior affairs Patroklos Georgiadis and Athanassios Andreoulakos, Equality general secretary Evgenia Tsoumani and the new Civil Protection General Secretary Margaritis Mouzas.
After the ceremony, Pavlopoulos referred at length to the former head of civil protection Panagiotis Fourlas, stressing that he had made a major contribution and would remain a person that the minister would turn to for advice and for his services.
"As I told him, also, I await that in the future we will once again link up our fortunes in another endeavour that will befit his course of his efforts so far," Pavlopoulos added.
Commenting on the operation of the civil protection service after the merger with the public order ministry, the minister said that cooperation with other ministry services will become easier, unlike in the past when the same services were split between two ministries.
"This was a disadvantage that Mr. Fourlas overcame through his own personal efforts. It was a disadvantage that no longer exists," Pavlopoulos said.
 Burns urges 'serious talks' to resolve FYROM name issueNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns on Thursday reiterated that the United States supports the process underway at the United Nations to resolve the differences between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the name issue. He made the statement after a meeting with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on the sidelines of the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly.
He declined to comment, however, on the incident in which UN General Assembly president and former FYROM foreign minister Srgjan Kerim had addressed FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski as president of the "Republic of Macedonia" before the UN assembly, on the grounds that he had not been present.
"All I can say is that I met with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis earlier this week and with the Macedonian President, yesterday night, and had a good discussion with him. Our view is that this is a very difficult, complex issue between Macedonia and Greece and that Ambassador (UN Mediator Matthew) Nimetz has an important role to play. And we hope that the two governments will work very hard and arrive at very serious talks in order to find a solution," Burns said.
Asked if he was confident, the US Undersecretary replied affirmatively.
"We are diplomats and we look forward. It is a difficult problem but I think that for Greece it is a very serious problem. And, of course, there is an existential issue for the government of Skopje, the government in Macedonia. Therefore, I hope that there can be progress between these two and we support Ambassador Nimetz in this process," he stressed.
Greece objects to FYROM's use of the name 'Republic of Macedonia' because it is shared by a northern Greek province on FYROM's border, arguing that it may give rise to future territorial claims against Greece that are not unprecedented in the volatile Balkans. It also objects to what it perceives as attempts to "usurp" Greek history, such as the claim by FYROM's mainly Slav population that they are descended from the ancient Macedonian king and general Alexander the Great, a historic figure that is widely considered a part of Greece's civilisation and culture and was born within the present-day limits of Greek Macedonia.
The United States recognised FYROM as the 'Republic of Macedonia' in November 2004, some 13 years after it broke away from the former Yugoslavia, in a decision that Washington said sought to reward the tiny republic's commitment to multi-ethnic democracy.
 Nimetz-Crvenkovski meeting in New YorkNEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)
The representatives of Greece and FYROM in the FYROM name talks, ambassadors Adamantios Vasilakis and Nikola Dimitrov respectively, will be invited soon to New York by UN special mediator on the FYROM name issue, Matthew Nimetz.
The UN mediator announced his intention after meeting on Thursday morning (Greek time) with FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski in New York on the sidelines of the 62nd UN General Assembly.
Nimetz told reporters that they reviewed the state of bilateral relations between Greece and FYROM, the name issue, which he said remains unchanged, and future prospects. Crvenkovski presented his country's known position and talks were held on its aspects, said Nimetz. He added that he will not reveal the contents of the talks pointing out, however, that there is a will to reach a UN-mediated amicable solution.
The UN mediator commented that the situation has not changed regarding the name issue and according to his judgement is not the right time to present a third proposal. Proposals are useful only if they have a chance for success, he said, adding that many ideas have been voiced on the issue which are sufficient for the talks.
On the incident caused by UN General Assembly President and former FYROM foreign minister Srgjan Kerim who addressed FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski as president of the "Republic of Macedonia", Nimetz reiterated that the temporary name "FYROM" adopted through a UN Security Council resolution is still in effect within the United Nations.
Nimetz emphasized that anything making the situation difficult is not helpful because it leads away from an atmosphere that would facilitate solution efforts.
 Deputy FM Doukas presides at Human Security Network annual working luncheonNEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)
Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas will preside on Friday at the Human Security Network annual working luncheon in New York held on the sidelines of the 62nd UN General Assembly meeting.
Greece, holding the network's one-year presidency since last May, will present a plan of action focusing on climate change and its effects on sensitive groups of population, women, children and people, who are forced to abandon their homes because of the dramatic changes in the earth's climate.
The network was founded in 1999 and its members are Greece, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, Austria, Slovenia, Jordan, Chile, Costa Rica, Thailand and Mali, while South Africa has an observer status.
The objective of the Greek initiative is to study the effects of the climate changes and global warming on the safety of sensitive population groups at a global level within the framework of the international dialogue for the protection of the environment currently underway.
Among the issues already tackled under the Greek presidency are the protection of sensitive population groups from acts of violence and exploitation, the human security policy in terms of regional and inter-state cooperation aimed at combating trafficking in people and immigration and development policy.
 EU and NATO foreign ministers' dinner in New YorkSecretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Theodoros Skylakakis attended on Thursday the dinner of EU and NATO foreign ministers in New York.
The event, hosted by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, took place on the occasion of the 62nd UN General Assembly meeting.
 US House committee supports July 8, 2006 Agreement on CyprusWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T.Ellis)
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee for Foreign Affairs adopted a resolution, introduced by Greek origin member Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida), expressing support for the implementation of the July 8, 2006 Agreement between Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on the problem of Cyprus.
The resolution is a steadfast position of the U.S. government for years, on the need to find a solution to the problem on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation through a process promoted by the United Nations, something which abides by the provisions of the July 8, 2006 Agreement, and baring this in mind the U.S government is being called upon to help actively towards the implementation of the Gambari Agreement without deviation, the resolution says.
The resolution expresses the Committee's full support to the implementation of the Gambari Agreement while it also ascertains that preparatory meetings of the technical committees will help towards advancing in negotiations on substantive aspects of the Cyprus problem.
Cyprus President Tassos 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.
They met again on 5 September 2007 in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Michael Moller.
 Souflias: Environmental protection a national matterIntensive efforts to clean up the Asopos River, with parallel identification of the liquid waste pipelines emptying into the River and the sealing off of those operating illegally, were commenced on Thursday by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works ministry crews, on orders of minister George Souflias, after traces of depleted chromium were detected in the river's water table.
Stressing that protection of the environment was a matter of national importance, Souflias noted that the responsibility for the cleaning operation belonged to the Prefectural Authority, but in order to render the ministry's intervention possible, Souflias issued a special ministerial decision classifying the task as a project of national importance.
Also by order of Souflias, the Environmental Inspectors have been conducting constant and entensive inspections since August 10 when the depleted chromium was first traced in the area of the river's water table.
Since then, Souflias said, 7 samplings have been carried out in the river, as well as 24 on-the-spot inspections at large industrial installations.
Based on those inspections, the extend of the area where high content of depleted chromium is traced were marked out, with high concentrations pinpointed at a specific pipeline and stream, Souflias said, adding that the Environmental Inspectors have also pinpointed the industrial units in the area whose activities are related to the concentration of depleted chromium and are linked to the specific affected locations. Also, other activitied were located in the same area, the waste of which contain high concentrations of depleted chromium but which are not linked to the specific affected locations.
The minister said that all confirned cases would be forwarded to the prosecutor for penal sanctions, while hefty fines would also be imposed at the recommendation of the Environmental Inspectors.
In the event of a repeat offence or non-conformation with the environmental legislation, the operation of the businesses in question would be halted, he said, adding that the inspections on the industrial units in the area will be continuous and repeated, while the penalties will be extremely severe.
In addition, Souflias said, he will call on the Prefectures of the area to re-examine all the liquid waste licences that have been issued by them, stressing that the responsibility for monitoring adherence to the environmental terms belonged mainly to the authority issuing such licences, which in this case as the surrounding Prefectures and Peripheries.The ministry, he explained, conducted inspections on activities it does not licence itself on a sampling basis or following complaints.
Souflias further said that the ministry would be introducing stricter limits on the concentrations of the hazardous substances in liquid waste (i.e. depleted chromium, nickel, arsenic, cadmium, etc.) nationwide, as well as intensified monitoring of the implementation of Joint Ministerial Decision 13588/725/2006 (Government Gazette 383B) concerning the management of hazardous waste.
"Protection of the environment is a project of national importance," Souflias said, stressing that all agencies and bodies involved, and chiefly the local governments, must display the required sensitivity and determination.
 Synaspismos CPC to convene SaturdayThe Central Political Committee of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party will convene on Saturday in order to discuss the results of the September 16 general elections in the country.
The meeting will be addressed by party president Alekos Alavanos and Nikos Hountis, central political committee secretary.
 Former president Stephanopoulos undergoes hip surgeryFormer president of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos successfully underwent arthroplastic hip surgery on Thursday.
Stephanopoulos was admitted Wednesday morning at the Nimits military hospital in central Athens for the scheduled procedure, which took less than two hours.
His attending physicians said afterwards that the surgery had been successful, adding that Stephanopoulos would remain in hospital for at least five or six days.
 ND Secretary visits former president in hospitalNew Democracy (ND) party Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis on Thursday visited former president of the republic Kostis Stephanopoulos at the NIMITS hospital where he underwent hip surgery.
Zagoritis wished the former president a speedy recovery and conveyed the greetings and best wishes of Prime Minister and ND president Costas Karamanlis.
 FinMin confers with Development minister ahead of Policy StatementNational economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis and development minister Christos Folias had a working meeting on Thursday morning.
An economy ministry announcement said that the two ministers examined all matters falling under their jurisdiction ahead of the new government's Policy Statement in parliament on Friday.
 Transport minister discusses Olympic Airlines issueTransport and Communications Minister Kostis Hadzidakis held his first meeting with unionists of the Civil Aviation Societies Federation (OSPA) on Thursday with discussion focusing mainly on the future of the ailing Olympic Airlines company.
The minister said that the meeting was held in a good climate and assured that his aim is for Olympic to be saved and to stay alive, letting it be understood, however, that there are many problems that have to be solved and what is necessary is sincere dialogue and realism and all the actual facts must be taken into consideration.
Hadzidakis reiterated that the instructions he has from the prime minister is for the company to be saved and announced that he has requested a meeting with EU transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot without, as he said, expecting something specific to result from this meeting.
 Marfin Egnatia Bank appoints deputy CEOMarfin Egnatia Bank on Thursday announced the appointment of Costas Vasilakopoulos as deputy chief executive at the bank, starting October 1.
A bank statement said Mr Vasilakopoulos was general manager at the Bank of Cyprus while he had worked as general manager in Ergasias Bank.
 Special committee set up for pension age limitA special committee of experts in the Social Security General Secretariat has been set up by decision of Employment and Social Protection Minister Vassilis Magginas to form a supportive position before the European Court on Greece's referral regarding the age limit of the pensioning off of men and women in the public sector.
 PASOK spokesman slams gov't over issue of age limit for women's pensionMain opposition PASOK spokesman Yiannis Raggousis on Thursday criticized the government over the issue of the age limit for women's pension.
"The (Prime Minister Costas) Karamanlis government is now seeking a life jacket to the social partners so as to deal with the repercussions of its mistaken options, with regard the age limit for the pensioning off of women," Ragoussis said.
He added that "the inadequate and mistaken efforts by the government towards the European Union authorities, led the country to the European Court and the Greek women to be in danger of losing their fundamental rights in the context of social security."
Raggousis noted, that "as was revealed during the pre-election period, by the president of PASOK, George Papandreou, the government's responsibility on this development is enormous. More so, as is shown today, the Karamanlis government attempts to place in doubt the basic rights of the working people."
Raggousis added in his statement that "the government's recourse to the social partners does not nullify its responsibility and can neither cover its intentions, on the contrary, it confirms its complete weakness to support the social character of social insurance in our country."
 Intracom signs 2.2-mln-US dollar contract with RaytheonIntracom Defense Electronics on Thursday announced the signing of a 2.2-mln-US dollar contract with Raytheon for the production of electronic units of the navy anti-missile support system Phalanx.
The contract will be gradually completed by 2010 and comes as a continuation of an existing agreement between the two companies on the co-production of Phalanx systems.
Intracom Defense Electronics said its exports accounted for 67.6 pct of its turnover in 2006.
 Memorandum of economic cooperation between Crete, Egypt signedThe president of the Chamber of Commerce of Iraklio, Crete and the president of the Chamber of the Greek Islands Development Group, Nikitas Dolapsakis, signed a memorandum of cooperation with representatives of three Egyptian Chambers, including that of Alexandria, on Thursday.
The aim of the memorandum is to develop economic relations and commercial bonds between Crete, the Aegean Islands and Egypt.
 Euro/US dollar rate to reach 1.45 this year, analysisThe US dollar will continue its decline against the euro currency until the end of 2007, as short-term rates will fall and the US economy will slow down, according to forecasts by Eurobank's analysts. In the bank's latest report on foreign exchange rates, Eurobank's analysts said the US dollar's decline so far this year was in full accordance with a shrinking yield spread between the US and German bonds over the same period. The euro currency has surpassed the 1.41 barrier against the US dollar and it is expected to reach 1.45 in the next few months, Eurobank's analysts said.
The analysis noted that volatility has risen significantly in global markets as worries over the impact of a credit crisis on the world economy has led investors to reduce their risk positions. Eurobank expects this volatility to remain at high levels for a significant period of time because of a general economic uncertainty.
The Greek bank forecasts that an expected slowdown in the US economy will lead to negative growth rates in corporate profits in the third and fourth quarters of the year and to a gradual recovery in the second half of 2008. This negative trend in corporate profitability will affect mainly small and medium capitalization stocks. The report, however, noted that an expected slowdown in the US economy created investment opportunities in growth stocks.
 Greek PPI up 1.2 pct in August, yr/yrGreece's Producer's Price Composite Index (measuring both the domestic and foreign markets) rose by 1.2 percent in August, compared with the same month last year, after increases of 6.7 pct and 5.5 pct recorded in August 2006 and August 2005, respectively, the National Statistics Service said on Thursday.
The PPI was up 0.1 pct in August from July, after increases of 0.4 pct and 0.9 pct in the same months in 2006 and 2005, respectively, while the average producer's price index in the 12-month period from September 2006 to August 2007 rose by 1.6 percent, after increases of 7.6 pct and 4.4 pct in the same 12-month periods in 2006 and 2005, respectively.
The statistics service said the 0.1 pct monthly increase of the index reflected a 0.3 pct rise in the domestic market index and a 0.5 pct decline in the foreign market index.
The 1.2 pct increase of the index in August 2007, from August 2006, reflected a 5.4 pct increase in the intermediate goods index, a 3.6 pct rise in capital goods, a 2.7 pct increase in durable goods, an 1.6 pct decline in consumer goods and a 0.2 pct rise in energy goods prices.
 Greek hoteliers urge for new vision in tourism policyThe head of the Hotel Chamber of Greece on Thursday urged the government and the tourism industry to work together to form a new vision for the touristic development of the country.
Gerasimos Fokas, speaking to reporters in Ancient Olympia on the occassion of the World Tourism Day, said this new vision would result to a new strategic growth plan based on three pylons: environment, culture and quality, and will envisage bold and innovative actions. Fokas urged the new Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos to lead this effort.
"The rich and mainly unexploited cultural and natural capital of the country, our unique comparative advantage to become strong competitors in the international tourism market, we must learn to respect and manage with a great sense of responsibility, both citizens and the state," the head of the Hotel Chamber of Greece said.
Fokas noted that the reconstruction of fire-hit areas, using tourism as the main vehicle of growth, will be an opportunity to proceed with changes in tourism policy.
 Dionic issues 5.0-mln-euro bond loanDionic on Thursday issued a four-year bond loan worth 5 million euros, as part of a strategy to refinance its short-term debt into long-term debt with more favourable terms. The bond loans was issued and absorbed, through a private placement, by EFG Eurobank.
 Elmec Sport buys remaining stakes in subsidiaries for 20 mln eurosElmec Sport ABETE on Thursday announced the purchase of minority stakes in its subsidiaries Factory Outlet AEE, Factory Outlet Airport SA and Epirotiki AEKE. Following the purchases, Elmec Sport owns, directly or directly, 100 percent in the first two subsidiaries and 99.89 pct in Epirotiki AEKE (the remaining 0.11 pct is owned by EFG Eurobank Ergasias).
Elmec Sport issued an eight-year bond loan, worth 20 million euros, to finance the purchase of the minority stakes.
 Greek stocks end flat on ThursdayGreek stocks ended Thursday's session flat in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index eased 0.05 percent to end at 5,101.09 points, with turnover a strong 587.2 million euros, of which 153.82 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved higher with the Commerce (2.76 pct), Travel (1.57 pct) and Healthcare (1.34 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (1.79 pct), Financial Services (1.56ct) and Telecommunications (1.41 pct) suffered losses.
The Big Cap index eased 0.04 pct, the Mid Cap index fell 0.33 pct and the Small Cap index rose 0.06 pct. Sprider (10.34 pct), Hatzioannou (10.27 pct) and Klonatex (9.68 pct) were top gainers, while General Trade (20.0 pct), Plias (5.88 pct) and Tzirakian (5.59 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 154 to 102 with another 44 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.32%
Personal & Household: -0.52%
Raw Materials: -0.01%
Travel & Leisure: +1.57%
Food & Beverages: -0.11%
Financial Services: -1.56%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alapis, OTE and DEH.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 24.50
Public Power Corp (PPC): 26.48
HBC Coca Cola: 39.30
Hellenic Petroleum: 11.00
Emporiki Bank: 20.50
National Bank of Greece: 44.74
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 25.06
Titan Cement Company: 36.10
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market rose to 2.122 billion euros on Thursday, of which 1.247 billion were buy orders and the remaining 875 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 915 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year benchmark Greek and German bonds was 0.30 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.68 pct and the German Bund 4.30 pct.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate fell to 3.95 pct from 4.25 pct on Wednesday, the two-day rate rose to 4.30 pct from 4.25 pct, the one-month rate was 4.40 pct and the 12-month rate rose to 4.73 pct from 4.70 pct.
 ADEX closing reportFutures contract prices were mixed in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover at 120.876 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.40 pct and the September contract on the FTSE 40 index at a premium of 0.36 percent.
Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 5,389 contracts worth 72.051 million euros, with 29,914 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 371 contracts worth 12.244 million euros, with 1,334 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,729 contracts worthr 22.476 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (1,967), followed by Eurobank (788), Marfin Investment Group (1,432), PPC (1,073), National Bank (513), Intracom (975), Mytilineos (1,062) and ATEbank (742).
 Foreign Exchange Rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.429
Pound sterling 0.704
Danish kroner 7.515
Swedish kroner 9.294
Japanese yen 164.6
Swiss franc 1.671
Norwegian kroner 7.812
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.427
Australian dollar 1.620
 WWF Hellas issues report on wildfires devastationThe Greek chapter of the WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) on Thursday released a report on the repercussions of the recent wildfires in the Peloponese, following working visits by specialised personnel to the devastated regions and in cooperation with the Thessaloniki Aristotelion University's Forestry Management Laboratory.
According to WWF data, a total of 1,772,654 stremma of land was burned in the Peloponese, of which 55 percent (975,180 stremma) was forestland and shrubbery, 41 percent (781,043 stremma) was farmland, and 1 percent (16,432 stremma) was roads and buildings.
Of those, the report said, more than 300,000 stremma were protected expansed under the Natura 2000 network.
The areas of exceptional ecological value most seriously ravaged by the fires were: the Kaiafa lake and forest, where 22.5 percent (7,577 stremma) of the protected expanse was burned; Olympia, where 21.3 percent (670 stremma) of the protected expanse burned; the Foloi plateau with 29,943 stremma (30.7 percent of the protected area); Mt. Taygetos with 86,542 burned stremma (16.3 percent); Mt. Parnonas with 45,066 stremma burned (8.1 percent); Mts. Barbas and Klokis and the Selinounda Gorge with 30,476 stremma burned (50.4 percent); and the Vouraikos Gorge, with 6,362 burned stremma (29.2 percent).
"The rare viodiversity of the region was harmed to a large degree. The endemic species of both the flora and the fauna suffered severe damage," WWF Hellas member Panagiota Maragou said, adding however that "we are not worried about what nature will do from here on, but what man will do".
She said that the remaining areas, and particularly the surviving pockets of greenery inside the burned expanses, must be protected since they will serve as the nuclei for the rebirth of the rest of the forest.
WWF Hellas president Dimitris Karavelas announced a series of actions and commitments by the ecological organisation for protection and monitoring of the forest at scientific, research, informational and legal level.
 Thessaloniki Prefect, EU Commissioner discuss Lake Koronia crisisBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)
Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis and European Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas met in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the ecological crisis at Lake Koronia and ways of alleviating its repercussions.
In statements afterward, Psomiadis said that the process to holding a tender for necessary infrastructure was now entering the final phase after delays caused by red tape and a lack of personnel were overcome.
He also announced that the prefecture was accelerating the process for eradicating illegal dumps in the framework of closer cooperation with the EU on environmental issues.
 Problems with tainted water at fire-ravaged MegalopolisThe massive summer fires that ravaged the region around Megalopolis in the central Peloponnese appear to have also affected water quality in the region, authorities said on Thursday. Testing conducted by Arcadia Prefecture health and hygiene services showed that levels of micro-organisms in the water supply of the Megalopolis basin exceed acceptable limits.
The problem affects the water supply to the villages of Paradisia, Derveni, Soulou, Isoma, Karyes, Chirades, Isaris, Gefyra, Rapsomati and Malota, where authorities have banned consumption of the water.
Megalopolis Mayor Panagiotis Bouras said the municipality was monitoring the situation and had initiated procedures for a comprehensive testing of the water supply throughout the area in order to protect public health and hygiene. In the meantime, the municipality is distributing bottled water to the villages affected, as well as to day-care centres for small children as a precaution.
 Conference on protection of monuments, archaeological sitesRepresentatives of UNESCO will be analysing issues concerning the protecion of monuments and archaeological sites during a conference to be held in the culture ministry's auditorium on Friday.
The conference, titled International Heritage and Cultural Routes - New Orientations, will be organised by the department of prehistoric and classical antiquities in cooperation with the Greek sector of Icomos and the Technical Chamber of Greece.
Speakers will include the director of UNESCO's International Heritage Centre, Francisco Bandarin, the general director of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), Mounir Bouchenaki and the Council of Europe's general director for Education, Culture and Heritage, Battinai Dragon.
The conference will be inaugurated by Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis.
 Change of visa application process at US EmbassyEffective October 1, 2007, the U.S. Embassy in Athens will modify its procedures for non-immigrant visa services, an Embassy press release announced on Thursday.
In order to streamline the process and provide effective service, the Embassy will limit applicants who can apply for a visa without a scheduled appointment.
Applicants over the age of 80 and under the age of 14 who do not require an interview may continue to drop off their applications between 12:00 and 1:00 without an appointment.
All other applicants, including seaman, applicants over 60 years old and those with recently expired visas, are kindly requested to schedule appointments via the Embassy website (www.usembassy.gr) or through its call center, e-value, by telephone. E-value can be reached by land line at 188.8.131.520, or by cell phone (Cosmote) at 901.200.6313, (Vodafone) at 901.694.6313, or WIND (TIM) at 901.160.6313 for a small fee.
 Preventive measures against foot and mouth disease taken on borders with Bulgaria, TurkeyCases of foot and mouth disease in Bulgaria and Turkey, near the borders with Greece, are posing a threat once again for livestock in the northern prefecture of Evros.
A case of foot and mouth disease have appeared in Turkish territory and at a distance of about 50 kilometres from the Evros borders.
Veterinary services of the Evros Prefecture are monitoring developments and have taken all the necessary preventive measures over the past 48 hours, in cooperation with customs services, to prevent the disease from spreading to livestock in the country.
 Court slaps another eight years on convicted robber PaleokostasA West Macedonia Three-member Criminal Appeals Court on Thursday sentenced convicted criminal Nikos Paleokostas to an additional eight years in prison for his part in a robbery committed with his brother Vassilis in 1995. The sentence comes just days after a Larissa Criminal Appeals Court ruling sentencing Paleokostas to 21 years in prison.
The trial on Thursday was for the robbery of a branch of Emporiki Bank in the prefecture of Kozani, where 21.5 million drachmas had been taken.
Paleokostas, 47, was taken to a Kozani court under stringent security and did not have legal counsel, so a lawyer was appointed to him by the court.
He denied the charges against him but afterward said that he did not intend to exercise his right to lodge an appeal.
In the next few days, Paleokostas will also stand trial for other offences that he is accused of committing in the northern Greek prefectures of Kastoria and Thessaloniki.
 Three defendants in MEVGAL case to be tried on December 17Three defendants will be tried before an Athens court on December 17 in connection with the MEVGAL case.
The defendants are Panayiotis Adamopoulos, former general director of the Competition Committee, Panayiotis Anagnostopoulos, a customs clearance agent, and Constantine Konstantinidis, a grain merchant.
They are being charged with extortion and bribery, following a disclosure made by MEVGAL last September that they asked it for 2.4 million euros to enable it to have havourable treatment by the Competition Committee.
 Samos coast guard arrest 35 illegal immigrantsThirty-five illegal immigrants of various nationalities, the majority of them men, were arrested on Thursday morning northeast of the Prassos headland on the Aegean island of Samos.
The illegal immigrants had reached Samos from the nearby Turkish coast in two inflatable boats that they destroyed as soon as they saw the coast guard vessel approaching.
They were transferred to Samos Hospital for a precautionary medical check and then taken to the island's Reception Centre for immigrants.
 Fire at Thessaloniki textile plant extinguishedA fire broke out at a Thessaloniki textile plant in near the 'Titan' cement factory area on Wednesday afternoon was extinghuished early Thursday, firefighters said.
A strong team of 26 firemen and 12 fire engines battled the blaze, limiting the extent of the damage.
Raw materials and machinery were destroyed by the fire, the causes of which were being investigated by the Fire Department.
 Foto exhibition by Camillo NollaAn individual exhibition by Camillo Nollas titled "Tobacco shops" will be presented by the National Bank's Cultural Foundation and the Greek Photography Centre in the framework of the 14th Photography Month, which is operating this year under the general title of "Between Memories and the Future."
The exhibition will be inaugurated on Tuesday, October 9, at the National Bank's Cultural Foundation in central Athens, and will last until November 4.
Camillo Nollas photographs the industrial heritage left by the tobacco trade in Greece. His photographs depict premises with images that create feelings of curiosity, surprise, mystery, melancholy and even pity.
 Overcast, rise in temperatures on FridayOvercast weather with southerly, southwesterly winds are forecast throughout the country on Friday with wind velocity reaching 4-5 beaufort. Scattered showers in northern and western mainland Greece. Temperatures will range between 16C and 30C. Partly clody in Athens, with light, southerly, southwesterly winds and temperatures ranging from 18C to 30C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 17C to 25C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe new crisis in the main opposition PASOK party that broke out Wednesday during the first meeting of the party's new Parliamentary Group that emerged from the September 16 general elections after party leader George Papandreou called for a secret ballot vote of confidence in himself as party leader for the period until the November 11 election in the party for a new leader or renewal of his own tenure, and the strong reactions to the call by high-profile party MP Evangelos Venizelos, who is Papandreou's main opponent for the party leadership, and by former party leader and ex-prime minister Costas Simitis, dominated the front-pages of Thursday's dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Operetta situations in PASOK - New outburst in the Parliamentary Group".
APOGEVMATINI: "PASOK headed towards dissolution, but probably remaining with Papandreou at the helm - Following yesterday's stormy Parliamentary Group meeting, 'divorce' and the creation of a new party a possibility".
AVGHI: "We will not take part in the prefab dialogue on the social insurance sector - Alavanos (SYRIZA leader): Solutions are being methodised, with women and youth as the first victims".
AVRIANI: "Get rid of the extortionist before he breaks up PASOK - Sick minds pushing George to ridicule".
CHORA: "PASOK an arena - How the storm broke out in the parliamentary group - The behind-the-scenes of the great massacre".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "PASOK a pressure cooker without a safety valve - Everyone fears 'explosion' in the main opposition party".
ELEFTHEROS: "Too tough to die - PASOK at the brink of enmity and dissolution, with Papandreou winning the impressions".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Two parties in one - PASOK on the verge of dissolution following Papandreou-Venizelos-Simitis clash in the parliamentary group".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The wind bags have opened in PASOK - Sudden proposal by George ignited rift".
ESTIA: "Picture of dissolution in PASOK - Head-on clash between Venizelos and Papandreou".
ETHNOS: "Danger of division in PASOK - Storm in the parliamentary group following George's unexpected move".
KATHIMERINI: "The rift in PASOK deepens - Storm in parliamentary group and direct Venizelos and Simitis clash with Papandreou".
LOGOS: "Trench battles in PASOK - Reactions over the vote of confidence asked by Papandreou".
NIKI: "With inexplicable proposal, Papandreou brought the party to the verge of partition".
PONTIKI (weekly): "First divorce rehearsal - Papandreou cast down the gauntlet, and is prepared to do so again in the run-up to November 11".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Action for the popular interests inside and outside parliament - Announcement by the KKE parliamentary group".
TA NEA: "The crisis at the extremes, fears for the unity - They averted rift in PASOK at the last minute".
TO VIMA: "They confronted the nightmare of division through a show of hands".
VRADYNI: "Papandreou head-on clash with Simitis-Venizelos - PASOK on orbit of open rift".
 US want new beginning with government of CyprusNEW YORK (CNA/ANA-MPA)
US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns pointed out on Wednesday that the US administration ''wants to have a new beginning with the government of Cyprus.''
Burns, who was speaking after a meeting in New York with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, said he was ''very pleased to have this meeting,'' adding that he mentioned to the president that ''our government wants to have a new beginning with the government of Cyprus.''
''There is no question that these have been eventful last few years particularly at 2004. We believe it is very important, our two governments that have so much business to do with each other, that we have a good close relationship. I told the President, on behalf of our government, we will create that climate for a new relationship and I think he was pleased to hear that,'' Burns added.
Burns said that, ''given the fact Cyprus is a member of the EU it makes sense that our two countries should be very close, should talk to each other and should be working together.''
He noted that ''on the question of the problem of Cyprus, that is going on for so many decades, I said the US government has a very clear view, that the international community should not postpone the effort to try to bring peace to Cyprus, so we are recommending to the UN Secretary General that he make a new attempt, to appoint a negotiator, to lead international negotiations for peace on Cyprus.''
''I said the United States would be very supportive of that and of course will be actively involved on that, as we have been, going all the way back to the mid 1970s, every government of the US since that time,'' Burns pointed out.
Referring to his recent visit to Turkey, Burns said he told the Turkish leadership that ''surely with good will and with concerted effort of Turkey and Greece, of course the Cypriot government and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, all these people could help the international community and the United Nations to find a way forward.''
''We know it is not going to be easy, it may take a very long time, but we shouldn't have the opinion that somehow everything is difficult and there is not possibility of movement,'' he pointed out.
Burns said he looked forward to further meetings with President Papadopoulos ''so we can move forward on this very important issue of resolving the problem in Cyprus, the division of the island,'' adding that ''the position of our government is that Cyprus should be reunified and it should be reunified on a bizonal and bicommunal federal basis, and that will be the position of our country.''
Asked when he would be visiting Cyprus, Burns said he has accepted an invitation and would ''try very hard to schedule that in the period ahead.''
''I am looking forward to it very much. It has been a long time since we have had a senior level official visit to Nicosia to meet with the Cypriot Government and I am looking forward to that,'' he added.
Regarding the 8 July 2006 agreement, Burns said it was ''a positive step forward'' and that ''if there is to be a new effort by the United Nations, and of course that is the decision of the Secretary General, there is a lot that we can draw of some other plans in the past, not all of them, not identically, not completely perhaps, because there will have to be a new effort.''
''There is lot of history here and there is a lot of progress made over a long time. We should take the best ideas that could form a common denominator, a common foundation for a new effort,'' he added.
Replying to questions, Burns said ''we could see promise in a lot of the efforts that have gone in past and that we should take the best parts of them and move forward.''
''There are a lot of positive things that we can take from past efforts. But from now on we are going to start a new effort as well. And that new effort could combine elements of all the positive things we have seen in the past,'' he concluded.
 President Papadopoulos: USA want renewed UN effort on CyprusNEW YORK (CNA/ANA-MPA)
President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos described as "useful and constructive" his long meeting on Wednesday with US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns.
The president said he stressed that Cypriots will not sacrifice the substance, merely to have a procedure, and pointed out that Burns expressed the hope that now is the time for a renewed effort from the US, pledging that he will ask the UN Secretary General to make a new effort to resume negotiations on Cyprus.
Invited to comment on Burns' statement for a new beginning in relations between Cyprus and the US, President Papadopoulos said the US diplomat "expressed their (US administration's) desire to further strengthen bilateral relations".
According to President Papadopoulos, Burns had said that relations are developing very well and there is a room to further enhance them.
President Papadopoulos said that Burns repeated on three to four occasions that the only government which the US administration recognizes is that of the Republic of Cyprus, noting that Burns conveyed these remarks to Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan during his recent visit to Ankara.
Regarding the US position that a UN envoy should be appointed on Cyprus, President Papadopoulos said that according to the Americans, "the way to speed up procedures is for the Secretary General to appoint an envoy. I told him that Ban Ki-moon, in line with statements made by his predecessor Kofi Annan, said the UN wish to see beforehand indications for political will from both sides before proceeding". President Papadopoulos said Burns is aware of this position and told him that the US will ask the SG to appoint an envoy when he deems is the right time.
President Papadopoulos said the Americans also acknowledge the role of UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Michael Moller. However, to speed up the procedure, what is necessary, in his opinion, is the appointment of a special representative of the UNSG.
"This is not something new. It is something which we want and the UNSG wants, and the issue is when would be the right time for such thing", Papadopoulos added.
The Cypriot president said that Burns has repeatedly expressed the wish to visit Cyprus. "He told me he wants to come to Cyprus and to have more meetings and I told him he is welcome to visit whenever he wants but to also respect our sensitivities, which we all know about".
To a question if he has ascertained urgency from the international community to see a resolution of the Cyprus issue, the president replied positively, noting that everyone has their own reasons. Asked why the Americans want to see a Cyprus solution soon, the president replied "Surely they want to see the Cyprus problem solved within the framework of their wider strategic interests. We want that too".
Asked if he had information about the meeting on Cyprus that was held in New York, and convened by Sweden's foreign minister, President Papadopoulos said the Swedish ambassador informed his Cypriot counterparts in New York and Washington, noting that it was an informal meeting where no decisions were taken. He said they exchanged views on what can be done to speed up the UN process. The president remarked that he considers serious the joint statement made after the meeting that "whatever is to be done should be done with transparency and that the Republic of Cyprus should be fully informed".
Regarding the case of the ship that sailed from the closed port of Famagusta to a Syrian port, the president expressed the view that the issue was exaggerated. "Syria stated that it recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus and that no agreement was made on a governmental level, it was a purely private agreement". He added that "Syria is a very friendly country and I hope that without the high tones which have prevailed in the last few days, we will be able to reach a friendly arrangement".
Asked if he does not attach any political dimension to the issue, the president pointed out that it surely has a political dimension and a dire political repercussion "but we should not be led to the point where our relations with friendly Syria are collapsing".
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.
They met again on 5 September 2007 in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Michael Moller.
 Papadopoulos: UN-brokered agreement cannot be sidelinedUNITED NATIONS (CNA/ANA-MPA)
A UN-brokered agreement, to help resume substantive negotiations towards a political settlement in Cyprus, cannot be sidelined simply because the Turkish side does not accept it, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos stressed on Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference at the UN seat, he also said that the July agreement is at present "the only game in town" and called on the international community to address itself to the Turkish side to persuade Ankara to comply with the agreement without any deviation.
"It is not right to sideline an agreement, which meets all the preconditions that will pave the way towards a solution, because the Turkish side does not accept it. At some stage the UN Secretary General must inform the Security Council as to who is to blame for the absence of progress towards a settlement," the president told the press.
The July 8, 2006 agreement, he explained, is important in that it provides for working groups and technical committees to deal concurrently with day to day issues that affect the daily life of the people on the island and with issues of substance of the question of Cyprus.
"The implementation of the agreement has not progressed because the Turkish side was not happy with it," he explained.
The agreement, brokered by the UN, was clinched between Papadopoulos and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat.
"Let us begin a new process. The Gambarri agreement has the full support of the Secretary General, the five permanent members of the Security Council and the European Union who ask that it is implemented," he added, responding to questions from UN-based foreign correspondents.
The president expressed hope that with the help of the UN a new process can be put in place and pointed out that the July agreement is "the only game in town."
Replying to other questions, he said the Cyprus issue is a long-standing problem which has remained unresolved because "there is no way to facilitate the solution which the Turkish side wants."
The Turkish side, he explained, wants "a loose confederation and I want a bizonal bicommunal federation", stressing that a solution of two states in Cyprus, which the Turkish side is seeking, shall never be accepted.
Invited to comment on remarks by the Turkish foreign minister that there is a huge gap between the views of the two sides, the president said that the status quo cannot be allowed to prevail and it is unacceptable. Cyprus' northern areas are still under Turkish occupation since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded.
"We have the good will and every reason, legal, political and practical to reach a settlement," he said, pointing out that the minister's reference to two "states in Cyprus" indicates how shallow Turkey's position on the reunification of the island is.
Papadopoulos dismissed suggestions from the press that a UN-proposed solution plan (the Annan plan) which was rejected by the Greek Cypriots could come back.
"The Annan plan belongs to the past, as the Secretary General himself has said, since it was rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriots in a referendum in April 2004," he noted.
On Turkey's EU accession course, Papadopoulos said that Cyprus has long backed Ankara's bid to join the Union but pointed out that there will be no favourable treatment for Turkey.
"Turkey has to comply with the acquis communautaire," he said. After the press conference, Papadopoulos hosted a lunch for the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council.
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