|Sunday, 8 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-10-31
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 31 October 2007 Issue No: 2736
 Inner cabinet discusses new organization of civil protectionThe inner cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, convened on Tuesday to discuss proposed changes in the structure and organization of Greece's civil protection services. Announcing the results of the meeting, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said they had included a decision for changes to Greece's intelligence service EYP, which he said "will have to be organized on issues concerning the protection of human rights".
Pavlopoulos stressed that civil protection in Greece was being improved and pointed out that a draft bill now in Parliament already contained articles that clarified areas of overlapping or joint responsibility following the merger of the interior and public order ministries. This would mean that the country's local authorities and security services, as well as all other state agencies involved in dealing with disasters and accidents, would be able to operate in a better coordinated and more effective fashion.
Other issues settled by the bill were linked to critical decisions that had to be made in such situations, such as decisions to evacuate areas during a crisis. He noted that this responsibility would be given to local governments, as was reasonable, with security services in a supporting role.
Another area covered was that of a register of voluntary organizations so that they would be able to receive financial assistance and equipment that would allow them to play an important role.
Pavlopoulos also announced plans to improve the emergencies number 112, so that it also gave out information to those calling in from abroad to find out what was happening in Greece.
Regarding the government's plans for EYP, the minister announced that a draft bill would probably be tabled in Parliament before Christmas and would concern the democratic organisation and operation of the service.
Pavlopoulos said the government intended to introduce a public prosecutor operating within the framework of EYP who would have a specific term and be consulted for every decision connected to lifting confidentiality and related issues. According to the minister, this would put an end to all intervention by political figures that did not have any judicial capacity.
Another planned innovation was the creation of a coordinating council for the handling of information on an inter-ministerial level, so that information of national significance might be evaluated without infringing on individual freedoms.
Finally, Pavlopoulos said that EYP would be certified at the Council of Europe as the state agency responsible for safeguarding information and protection against electronic crime.
The interior minister stressed that EYP would be subject to organized and in-depth Parliamentary control and said that the government would ask MPs to take practical steps and set up the Parliamentary organs and procedures needed to put this into practice when the bill was being debated in Parliament.
 Foreign minister on illegal immigrantsAnswering other questions related to a rising tide of illegal immigrants entering Greece, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed that there was a significant increase in their numbers and that Greece could not cope with any more.
"We therefore need excellent coordination between domestic services but also cooperation with the European Union," she stressed.
According to Bakoyannis, the issue had been raised at all levels of the EU in order to be able to protect European borders. She stressed, meanwhile, that immigrants were not just a Greek problem since they saw Greece as a transit country for getting to the rest of Europe.
"As a consequence, this is an issue that concerns all of Europe, so that the cooperation of European services but also the money that must be given for a common coast guard are necessary for dealing with the problem," she underlined.
Asked whether the illegal immigrants were being facilitated by Turkey, Bakoyannis said the issue had been raised with Turkish authorities and the government had lodged demarches with the Turkish government on this issue. There would be closer cooperation between the two sides to jointly deal with the problem, which originated on the shores of Turkey, she added.
 KKE criticises draft bill on National Intelligence ServiceThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Tuesday criticized the government's draft law on the National Intelligence Service (EYP), indicating that it "harms fundamental individual rights and freedoms."
"The government, with the draft law on EYP, is aiming at the modernization and the adjustment of the action of state intelligence services to the new developments that have been shaped by inter-state decisions (the United States and the European Union) and the bilateral agreements of the New Democracy and PASOK governments at the expense of fundamental individual rights and freedoms," KKE said in an announcement.
"The main aim is the upgrading of the role of the intelligence services for the effective suppression of the popular movement, the monitoring of popular mobilizations, the creation of provocative events, etc," the announcement added.
The announcement further said that "the above is admitted frankly since the government is claiming that its aim is 'to orientate and adjust the mission and the actions of EYP to modern requirements so as to be in a position to effectively handle the major issues that are preoccupying our society, as well as the international community from the point of view of criminal threats'."
 Greece again calls for EU-wide action to combat illegal immigrationThe Greek government on Tuesday reiterated its call for a "coordinated and comprehensive" effort by the European Union to deal with the issue of illegal immigration, with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos outlining Athens' positions in a letter to the president of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee.
"It is clear that control and management of this phenomenon (illegal immigration) has a European dimension, and affects us all in the face of this reality, however, the Greek government is pushing forth with major and sincere efforts in order to deal with the problem, whereas the Greek taxpayer is burdened with huge expenditures, which, in reality, correspond to all European taxpayers," Pavlopoulos' letter read.
The Greek minister said the country's borders with non-EU states, and in a region where peace is threatened, result in waves of illegal immigrants attempting to enter the east Mediterranean nation's borders, and by extension, western Europe.
In quoting figures, Pavlopoulos cited the arrest of 13,151 illegals in September alone, of which 2,777 were intercepted in the southern and northern Aegean.
Regarding the number of political asylum requests fielded by the Greek government, an issue over which Athens has come under sharp criticism in previous years, Pavlopoulos cited a 35-percent increase in the number of applicants in Greece, as opposed to a decrease of 15 percent Europe-wide.
Finally, the top Greek minister, whose portfolio now includes the public order sector, said "Greece was now expecting a substantive response from Turkey within the framework of a bilateral (repatriation of illegal immigrants) agreement between relevant authorities, as well as the timely drafting of an EU-Turkey repatriation agreement ... It is particularly troubling that no essential progress has been made in negotiations (between Europe and Turkey," he underlined.
 Gov't responds to NGO's allegations of mistreatment of illegal migrantsThe government on Tuesday announced that it has ordered a first instance administrative investigation into a handful of particularly vicious allegations of mistreatment of illegal immigrants by coast guard personnel.
The allegations, made by the German NGO "Pro Asyl", received a fair amount of press coverage in the local press on Tuesday, with one centre-left daily, in fact, featuring the group's report as its front-page article.
In a press conference, Merchant Marine & Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis, whose portfolio includes the Greek coast guard, said he read the report and subsequently ordered the preliminary non-judicial probe.
"It is obvious that such behavior, if indeed it existed, does not reflect the Greek coast guard Moreover, according to official figures, the coast guard rescued 1,521 illegal immigrants in various operations, a number that corresponds to 21 percent of the total of illegals entering our country," Voulgarakis, the former public order minister, said.
Finally, the minister said that the strictest possible reprimands will be leveled if the allegations - including physical violence and humiliation - are proved true.
Greece's numerous islands in the eastern Aegean, most facing the opposite Turkish coast, have been inundated by waves of mostly Third World illegal immigrants in recent months, with most of the migrants attempting to cross over from Turkey on flimsy boats or inflatable dinghies.
 Gov't on FYROM 'name issue', T/C pseudo-stateGovernment spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos told reporters on Tuesday that Greece officially and publicly outlined its views last week on the peculiar mention of a Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state -- in Turkish-occupied Cyprus -- in a UK-Turkey memorandum, noting that clarifications were offered on behalf of the British government as well.
"Numerous UN resolutions can be looked up to define international legality on the issue," he said. He also stated that the Greek and Greek Cypriot efforts towards a fair solution to the issue never ceased.
Regarding the FYROM "name issue" and Monday's statements to the Athens daily "Eleftheros Typos" by the neighboring country's foreign minister, Roussopoulos stressed that all official statements are being assessed.
He made no comment on Antonio Milososki's reference to a "defeatist strategy".
"The (Greek) government, with respect to history and while being realistic, wages its battle over this long-drawn-out problem," he said. "We will do our best for a fair solution".
Finally, he said the government is not considering the option of a referendum.
 FM Bakoyannis to brief parliamentary committee on FYROMForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will be briefing the Parliament's Standing Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), on Thursday November 8, the committee's president Miltiadis Varvirtsiotis announced on Tuesday.
According to Varvitsiotis, the foreign minister requested the convening of the committee in order for her to brief its members on the FYROM's "name issue".
 FM to receive Spanish senatorForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will be receiving Wednesday morning Spanish Senator Pedro Agramunt who is a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the ministry announced on Tuesday.
 Socialist International Committee meeting in Tel Aviv, Ramallah endsThe Socialist International's Committee on the Middle East which convened on Monday and Tuesday in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, in the Palestinian territories, under the chairmanship of Greece's main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou, issued a joint statement at the end of its sessions, according to a PASOK press release publicised in Athens.
"Our Committee believes that the time has come for us to accept that a jointly acceptable solution which will make Jerusalem two capitals for two Nations, has decisive importance for a peace with a duration. We also believe that the time has come to recognize that the issue of refugees requires a just, creative and realistic handling that will take into consideration both the national character of the state of Israel and the expectations of the Palestinian people with the active contribution and support of the international community," said the Committee's joint statement, that for the first time met with agreement by the Labour Party of Israel, MERETZ and Fatah.
This joint position on two crucial problems concerning the region, meaning that of Jerusalem and of refugees, appears for the first time in a joint statement text in which government parties of Israel and Palestine agree, the PASOK press release notes.
Papandreou said in a statement that "this joint decision highlights the possibilities of the Socialist International, as well as of socialist, democratic and peace loving forces of the world and of the Middle East to tackle effectively and decisively longstanding and major conflicts that have harassed humanity."
 PASOK leader Papandreou dismisses speculation of post-election expulsionsMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou ruled out the likelihood of party cadre expulsions if he is re-elected in a Nov. 11 party election in which he is one of three main contenders.
In an interview late Monday evening with the state-run NET television channel, he said that expulsions are not in his intensions, stating that such a move would only be a last resort, while describing expulsions as an "extreme tool".
Papandreou stated that he will seek a new party unity based on political agendas and "leftist and democratic ideas."
He stressed that he seeks a clear mandate for a "new beginning" that will be launched immediately, announcing what he termed as important party charter changes at an imminent party congress in January 2008.
Papandreou also stated that he will respect the outcome of the Nov. 11 election and called on all leading party officials and his two rivals, Evangelos Venizelos and Costas Skandalidis, to do the same.
Regarding the question on who can better confront Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and defeat him, he commented that he does not think that Karamanlis is a "model example to be copied", stressing that "the people will choose something different and not something that imitates the prime minister".
Regarding sharp criticism he has recently levelled against unnamed "vested economic interests" and local media owners, Papandreou said he wants transparent relations with power centers regardless of whether they control mass media or economic interests, adding that "transparent relations means that there are rules".
Referring to the so-called "swing to the left" as inferred from his addresses of late, Papandreou clarified that he will not adopt everything the rest of the left professes, stating certain parties on the left are conservative, referring specifically to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).
 Venizelos outlines economy policiesMain opposition PASOK leadership candidate Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday referred extensively to economic policy, outlining his goals for what he called a strong and competitive Greek economy.
The Thessaloniki deputy and former minister in successive PASOK governments also referred to a "fair redistribution" of wealth and a more effective social state.
"Despite the deep mistrust of citizens at the European level on whether or not a socialist government can implement an alternative populist program, there is an answer that must be given, as this is a condition for PASOK's victory," Venizelos said.
Among others, the law professor by training cited the creation of a fund for the new generation, a "social economy" fund and the recording of what he called "inflation of the poor", which possible differs from official inflation data.
 PASOK's Skandalidis tours Pella, Imathia prefecturesMain opposition PASOK deputy, former party secretary and one of the three contenders of the party's leadership Costas Skandalidis was on a tour of two Macedonian prefectures, Pella and Imathia, on Tuesday to promote his candidacy, stressing the "need to restore confidence among the candidates, party cadres and simple members."
The main opposition party is holding a nationwide vote on November 11 for the election of a new leader following defeat in last months general elections in the country. PASOK members and registered supporters and friends are set to vote in this much expected election.
Incumbent party leader George Papandreou and Thessaloniki deputy and former minister Evangelos Venizelos are the other two leadership contenders.
"The term 'confidence' must prevail during these last days. We must leave behind confrontations that are not up to the circumstances. We must restore the lost communication among us. This confidence should then become a contract of confidence with society and the people," Skandalidis said.
He was also due to address a supporters' rally in Katerini, Imathia prefecture later in the evening.
 SYRIZA, KKE table questions on higher education, social securityRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) President Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday tabled a a question in Parliament calling for the closing of various educational institutes in Greece that grant diplomas certified by foreign universities.
According to Alavanos, cooperation between these local institutes and foreign universities is in complete conflict with Article 16 of the Constitution, a unique -- for the western world -- provision that prevents all but the state from founding and operating universities.
The leftist leader also claimed that prohibition will solve any existing or likely conflict between Community and national legislation, considering that based on Article 251, Paragraph 7 of the EU Treaty, the Community fully respects the jurisdiction of member-states over their education system and the content of the curriculum offered, a position reiterated in the Reformed Lisbon Treaty, as he opined.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MP Spyros Halvatzis queried the prime minister over the issue of wage-earners' social and pension rights, while accusing the government of preparing a new anti-popular attack using "social dialogue" as a pretext.
 SYRIZA leader meets ecologists' party membersRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos met on Tuesday with a delegation from the Ecologists-Greens party, in view of an upcoming parliamentary debate on environmental issues.
Alavanos told reporters that an "identity of targets" on many issues was ascertained during the meeting, adding that Greece should "at last, adopt policies that tackle climate change and the greenhouse effect, the need of having a (separate) ministry for the environment and issues regarding energy saving."
 Parliament ratifies tax evasion billThe finance and economy ministry's bill on cracking down on tax evasion was ratified by the Parliamentary plenum on Tuesday night.
Speaking during the debate preceding the bill's ratification, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said that the government is not considering the possibility of reaching an arrangement on pending tax issues, denying relevant press reports.
"I wish to make it clear that neither are we considering nor will we proceed with any form of arrangement on concluding pending tax issues. Tax evasion cannot be tackled with such measures," Alogoskoufis said.
 Social insurance dialogue to resume in parliament next weekThe discussion on reform of the social insurance system will resume in parliament next Tuesday, November 6, according to an announcement.
Parliament president Dimitris Sioufas addresed a letter inviting the members of the parliament's standing Economic and Social Affairs Committee to an exchange of views, with the participation of representatives of the social partners, on the items of the first unity of issues (funding, contribution-evasion, tackling unregistered work, and exploitation of the social insurance funds' assets and properties) in the framework of the Dialogue on the country's Social Insurance System.
Employment and Social Protection minister Vassilis Magginas has called on representatives of the social partners, comprising the main umbrella trade union and employer organizations in the country, to participate in the discussion.
 Merchant marine minister holds talks with South Korean maritime affairs ministerMerchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis on Tuesday held talks with South Korea's Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Moo-hyun Kang, who is currently heading a Korean delegation to Athens to promote the candidacy of the Korean city Yeosu to host the EXPO 2012.
"I promised that in cooperation with my colleagues, the foreign affairs and finance ministers, we shall examine the candidacy of the Korean city with the necessary attention," Voulgarakis said after the meeting.
The minister added that they also discussed the Bilateral Maritime Agreement signed in Athens on September 4, 2006, and both sides agreed that the substantive implementation of the Agreement is considered expedient to further promote what he said was excellent bilateral cooperation.
"As you are aware, our country has also concluded an Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Korea, according to which the criterion for the exemption of maritime profits from double taxation is basically the ship's flag, an arrangement that covers our maritime interests," Voulgarakis noted.
 KEPE report on private, public involvement in railways, portsA report by the Programming and Economic Research Centre (KEPE) stresses the need for the presence of private initiative in the activities of transportation agencies, as well as the parallel participation of the public sector in sectors where the social commodity element must also exist, with the aim of probing the possibilities of coexistence between the private and public sectors in the sensitive field of transportation.
During Tuesday's presentation by KEPE of the book titled "Methods of restructuring and privatising railways and the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki," by Dimitris Athanasakopoulos, it was stressed that transportation has become an inseparable part of the production process, introducing methods that secure the timely transportation of products, low cost and security.
According to the report, an important role in restructuring transportation is played by both railways and ports, mainly those of Piraeus and Thessaloniki which, due to Greece's geographical position, constitute a Balkan gateway to the Mediterranean. As far as railways are concerned, the need is stressed for the modernisatioin not only of the network, but of the way they function as well, adjusted to European models.
 Zorbas to appear before Parliament committee on WednesdayThe head of Greece's independent authority for combating money-laundering George Zorbas is to appear before a Parliamentary committee this coming Wednesday in a hearing dealing with the issue of over-priced structured bonds bought by Greek pension funds. His appearance was requested by MPs from main opposition PASOK, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).
 EU statistics service shows decline in temp work rate in GreeceBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Aroni)
Rates of temporary employment in Greece declined in 2005 relative to 2000 but a significant number of workers were employed on a temporary basis against their will, according to a survey released on Tuesday by Eurostat.
Those employed on a temporary basis in Greece against their will in 2005 accounted for 10.7 percent of women and 7.3 percent of men, while the total percentage of temporary workers was 14.7 percent for women and 10.2 percent for men.
Overall trends in Greece bucked those in Europe, however, with the overall percentage of those with temporary contracts actually declining from 17.3 percent of women and 13.3 percent of men in 2000.
According to the report, roughly one in three temporary workers is employed for less than six months and would prefer something more permanent (30 percent among women and 41 percent for men). In the 25 EU member-states, by contrast, those employed with contracts of less than six months and desiring something else account for 43 percent of women and 48 percent of men.
Rates of temporary work among the young are also lower in Greece, with 45 percent of workers under 30 employed on a temporary basis compared with 60 percent in the 25-member EU.
The majority of temporary workers in the EU are employed in agriculture (18 percent), as domestic help (13 percent) and in hotels and restaurants (10 percent).
 Greek social spending at 26 pct of GDP in 2004, EurostatBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)
Social spending in Greece rose to 26 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product in 2004, Eurostat announced on Tuesday.
The EU executive's statistics agency, in a report, said social spending was 27.3 percent of GDP in the EU-25 and 27.6 pct in the EU-15. Sweden (32.9 pct) recorded the highest percentage of social spending in the EU, while Latvia the lowest (12.6 pct).
Eurostat said more than half of social spending in Greece (50.9 pct) accounted for pension payments (12.8 pct of GDP), with 26.5 pct for healthcare and healthcare services (or 6.7 pct of GDP), 6.9 pct for family benefits (1.7 pct of GDP), 5.9 pct for unemployment benefits (1.5 pct of GDP), 5.0 pct for disability benefits (1.3 pct of GDP) and 4.7 pct for social exclusion programs (1.2 pct of GDP), compared with 28.3 pct, 7.8 pct, 6.5 pct, 8.1 pct and 3.4 pct, in the EU, respectively.
Eurostat said the budget was the main source of funding for social protection measures (30.5 pct in Greece compared with 37.3 pct in the EU-25), employers accounted for another 37.3 pct (38.6 pct in the EU-25) and 23.5 pct came from workers contributions (23.5 pct in Greece, 20.9 pct in the EU-25).
 Greek Tourism minister pledges action to improve tourism qualityGreek Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Tuesday expressed his intention to initiate actions aimed to improving the country's touristic product. Addressing a conference in Athens, organized by the Association of Hellenic Touristic Enterprises (SETE), the Greek minister urged for the close cooperation of businessmen in the sector and pledged to do his best so that Greek tourism could face stronger competition. "We are not here to create hurdles, but to solve them," he noted.
Spiliotopoulos said the Greek tourism product must improve significantly. "We must be ready to fulfil the traveler's expectations," he noted. The Greek minister underlined the need to bridge a gap between tourist arrivals and tourism revenues, currently running at 6.0 pct and 3.0pct, respectively, a development urging for the need to boost quality and re-establish Greece in the world tourism map.
The conference said global tourist arrivals this year will rise by 5-6 percent on average, with prospects of rising by 4-5 percent next year. According to IPK, an international research organization, Greek tourism suffered from an unfavourable ratio of price-quality in lower category hotels. The organization stressed that Greece needed to improve significantly quality and services in lower category hotels. Also, a low access of technology and Internet use raised hurdles in Greece's effort to strengthen its presence in modern distribution channels, while it noted that the country delayed efforts to attract low-budget air carriers, a delay that undermined efforts to promote city break tourism in the country.
IPK said while demand for air travel grew 28 percent in the last five years globally, in the Greece demand for air travel rose by 18 percent.
 Tourism minister meets Rented Rooms, Apartments ConfederationTourist Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Tuesday discussed a series of issues concerning the sector and the prospects of Greek tourism in general with the president and the members of the Confederation of Businessmen for Rented Rooms and Apartments of Greece.
Issues discussed included the prospect of classifying accommodation in accordance with "keys", the creation of a database, the registration and provision of statistical data on accommodation in Greece and the registration of rented rooms and apartments for each region.
According to statements made by the minister, the need was discussed for the creation of distinct titles and the course of financing programmes for modernising infrastructures.
"We discussed with great emphasis the role of technology in improving services provided and the importance of compulsory training as a basic ingredient for the quality of Greek tourism," Spiliotopoulos said.
 Romanian travel agents visit KateriniA delegation of 46 travel agents from Romania on Monday visited Paralia Mayor of the Pieria prefecture, Macedonia, George Keramidiotis and exchanged views aimed at strengthening relations between the two sides and the promotion of cooperation in the tourism sector.
During the meeting, the mayor of Paralia referred to the Municipality's big tourism exhibition in Bucharest, noting that the municipality of Paralia "particularly appreciates the cooperation with the tourism representatives from the friend country." He added that every summer, thousands of Romanians prefer Paralia, Katerini.
 Transport minister addresses Greek ICT ForumTransport and Communications Minister Costas Hatzidakis on Tuesday addressed the closing session of the Greek ICT Forum, noting the government's decision to implement a new dynamic in telecommunications which will be based on the utilization of new technologies.
Analyzing the basic targets of the government's policy in the telecommunications sector, he said that they are:
The citizens, the state and the businesses to acquire speedy and effective electronic networks links on the basis of the requirements of the 21st Century.
For many and good jobs to be created in a sector with dynamism and strong prospects.
For the current services to the consumers to be improved.
For the lifting of the exclusion of vulnerable and geographically isolated groups of the population.
 Eurovillages+' network presents goals at Philoxenia trade showTen development companies, eight from Greece and two from Italy, comprise the "Eurovillages+" Network of European Countries, an inter-state project being implemented within the framework of the Leader+ community initiative.
The objective of the "Eurovillages+" project is to develop resilient, high quality tourism in the European countryside, based on sustainable development in tandem with respecting local traditions and the environment.
Participants will present their goals and actions on Thursday during a press conference in Thessaloniki within the framework of the 23rd Philoxenia International Tourism Exhibition taking place on Nov. 1-4 at the HELEXPO exhibition centre.
 Retail sales turnover index up 7.7 pct in August, yr/yrRetail sales turnover index rose 7.7 percent in August 2007, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Tuesday.
The retail sales volume index (turnover in fixed prices) rose 3.7 percent in August from the corresponding month in 2006, reflecting an 1.3 percent increase in the food store index and a 6.0 pct rise in the other store category index over the same period.
The statistics service also announced that the number of Greek and foreign passenger ships arriving in Greek ports in the first quarter of 2007 totaled 110,435, while the number of passengers arriving to Greek ports totaled 179,000 in the same period. The number of passengers travelling with passenger ships in the country totaled 2,080,000, the statistics service said.
 ASE approves listing of new shares issued by Praxitelio Clinic, Imaco, Alpha BankThe Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday announced a board decision to approve the listing and trading of an additional 12 million new shares issued by Praxitelio Clinic, a result of a share capital increase plan. ASE's board also decided to place Praxitelio Clinic's existing 27 million euros under surveillance and to allow the re-trading of the shares from November 9, at a price of 0.72 euros per common share and 0.65 euros per preferential share.
ASE also approved the listing a 4,454,850 new shares issued by J&P Avax SA and the beginning of trading in the market on November 2.
The Athens Stock Exchange also approved the listing of 6.8 million shares issued by Imaco Media SA, 2.8 million shares issued by Alpha Bank.
 ASE surpasses 5,300-level on Tues.Greek stocks jumped to new 71-month highs in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The composite index of the market rose 0.41 percent to end at 5,310.88 points with turnover a heavy 515.37 million euros.
Most sectors, however, ended lower with the Insurance (1.87 pct), Raw Materials (1.63 pct) and Oil (1.30 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while the Banks (0.87 pct), Industrial Products (0.60 pct) and Food/Beverage (0.45 pct) scored gains.
The Big Cap index rose 0.60 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.51 pct lower and the Small Cap index eased 0.18 percent. Tria Alpha (10.0 pct), AEGEK (9.84 pct) and Altius (7.87 pct) were top gainers, while Ideal (9.60 pct), ANEK (7.53 pct) and Space Hellas (7.36 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 155 to 85 with another 57 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.22%
Personal & Household: -0.11%
Raw Materials: -1.63%
Travel & Leisure: +0.32%
Food & Beverages: +0.45%
Financial Services: -0.40%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Marfin Popular Bank, Lampsa and Eurobank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 25.10
Public Power Corp (PPC): 28.00
HBC Coca Cola: 43.62
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.88
Emporiki Bank: 21.00
National Bank of Greece: 47.70
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 26.66
Titan Cement Company: 34.52
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended mixed in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover shrinking further to 75.80 million euros. The December contract on the Big Cap index was traded at a discount of 1.24 pct, and the November contract on the Mid Cap index at a premium of 0.70 percent.
Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 4,461 contracts, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 181 contracts. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,424 contracts with investment interest focusing on PPC's contracts (1,604), followed by Marfin Investment Group (772), Marfin Popular Bank (1,437), OPAP (442), Piraeus Bank (392), National Bank (696), Alpha Bank (527), Titan Group (400), Intracom (590) and ATEbank (148).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.462 billion euros on Tuesday, of which 732 million were buy orders and the remaining 730 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 865 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.27 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.51 pct and the German Bund 4.24 percent.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate was 4.05 pct, the two-day rate rose to 4.15 pct from 4.05 pct on Monday, the one-month rate rose to 4.18 pct from 4.15 pct and the 12-month rate rose to 4.65 pct from 4.60 pct.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.452
Pound sterling 0.702
Danish kroner 7.514
Swedish kroner 9.251
Japanese yen 166.73
Swiss franc 1.688
Norwegian kroner 7.782
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.387
Australian dollar 1.581
 Ninety-four stolen neolithic artifacts returned to GreeceA group of 94 neolithic-era artifacts that had been stolen from the central Greek city of Larisa in 1985 have been returned to Greece, the culture ministry announced on Tuesday. The antiquities have been temporarily stored at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens while awaiting transfer to the Archaeological Museum of Larissa where they belong.
The archaeological treasures were stolen 22 years earlier during an armed robbery at the house of collector Constantinos Theodoropoulos in Larisa and were then sold to a museum in Munich. They include stone and clay seals, stone tools and vials and some 63 marble and clay figurines. According to the National Museum's curator, these last stand out because depictions of the human form "were special in the neolithic era".
Commenting on the return, Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis stressed that dealing with theft and the illegal trade in antiquities remained at the centre of the culture ministry's policies and said he was satisfied with the outcome in this specific case.
The minister also read out a message from his predecessor George Voulgarakis, who was unable to attend the ceremony for the handover of the antiquities.
"An effort that had remained outstanding for about 20 years has been completed and brought to the surface a huge political issue: the inefficiency that exists in public affairs when there is no continuity in the state and its functionaries," Voulgarakis' statement stressed.
Liapis particularly concurred with a statement by Voulgarakis that "Greek successes in the area of stamping out antiquities smuggling create and reinforce a new climate in Greece and abroad for a new approach to the great moral problem of illegal trade in cultural treasures".
 Exhibition on Giorgio de Cirico at Onassis Cultural Center in New YorkNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
The exhibition "Giorgio de Cirico and Greece" is being presented at the Onassis Cultural Center in New York, with 35 paintings and sculptures which belong to the Foundation "Giorgio and Iza de Cirico" in Rome.
Alexander S. Onassis Foundation president Antonis Papadimitriou said on Tuesday "it is a very important exhibition which is incorporated in the cycle of exhibitions which we have presented to date, such as Cycladic Culture, Athens-Sparta, Alexander the Great, the Byzantium, Art under Ottoman rule and others," adding that "de Cirico unites antiquity with modern art."
The exhibition will be inaugurated on Wednesday and last until January 6, 2008.
 Fulbright Foundation Greece to celebrate 60th anniversaryNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
The Fulbright Foundation of Greece, engaged in offering opportunities to Greek and American students, teachers, scholars, and artists wishing to pursue a wide variety of educational projects, will celebrate its 60th anniversary by hosting a conference in Athens in April 2008.
Numerous Fulbright scholarship recipients, academics and artists attended an event hosted at the Greek consulate in New York within an effort to promote and bolster the Fulbright program in Greece.
The foundation was launched in 1946 at the initiative of US Senator James William Fulbright after the Fulbright Act 584 was passed by the US Congress. Now, the Fulbright Foundation has branches in 140 countries.
Since 1946, roughly 250,000 people have been granted a Fulbright scholarship, including national leaders, US House of Representatives, foreign ministers, UN secretary generals, while many scholars were later honored with Nobel and Pulitzer prizes.
 Liv Ullmann on cinema production in GreeceSwedish actress Liv Ullmann on Tuesday termed the state concerning cinema production in Greece, due to the non-implementation of the law on 1.5 percent, "unacceptable for a European Union country."
The figure concerns 1.5 percent of the gross revenues of television channels which they must invest in the cinema production, or the acquisition of rights, of Greek and European films.
In a personal letter to EU Commissioner Viviane Reding, the Swedish actress and president of the European Film Directors and Audiovisual Works Federation (FERA) mentioned, among other things, that "as far as we know, this law was never implemented by the private television channels and only partly by the public television of ERT."
 Search at sea for missing Swiss diver, passenger on cruiseThe coast guard on Tuesday announced the launch of two separate search and rescue operations at sea - one to find a missing Swiss diver and a second for a 40-year-old woman, a passenger on a cruise, that may have fallen into the sea.
The search for the missing 67-year-old Swiss man has been underway at Astros Kynouria since dawn, after the elderly diver-speleologist was reported missing on Monday night.
The missing man and two other foreigners had gone diving together to explore an underwater cave in the area but he failed to resurface with his companions. Also participating in the search are private divers expert in cave-diving and an inquiry has been launched by the local coast guard.
The search for the missing woman is underway in sea south of the island of Nisyros and west of the island of Tilos. She was a passenger on the Italian cruise ship "Costa Atlantica" and, according to the captain, it is possible she went missing after falling into the sea.
The ship was carrying out a cruise of the Mediterranean with stops at Greek islands, with 2,150 passengers and a crew of 854 on board.
Participating in the search for the woman is a Super Puma helicopter and two inflatable coast guard vessels, while the cruise ship has remained in the area to take part in the search.
 HSAP train services from Thissio to Piraeus to end early on FridayThe management of the HSAP electric overground train running from Kifissia to Piraeus have announced that services between Thissio and Piraeus will end at 22:00 on Friday in order to carry out works along that section of the line.
Passengers for all stations to Piraeus will be able to use their HSAP ticket to complete their journey on regular bus routes on that day.
 Overcast on WednesdayOvercast weather with easterly, southeasterly winds are forecast in all parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 6-7 beaufort. Scattered showers in northern amd western mainland Greece. Temperatures will range between 07C and 24C. Partly cloudy in Athens, with light, southeasterly, 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 13C to 22C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 08C to 18C.
 President says Ledra Street not to open if Turkish troops remainNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Tuesday that the government was not going to open the Ledra Street crossing point in Nicosia with the presence of Turkish troops and the Turkish demand for control over the buffer zone.
He added that ''if the Turkish side leaves the issue of the status of the middle line to be resolved by the UN, as we have proposed, instead of insisting on recognition of a status of dominion over the area, and if they accept the withdrawal of the troops from the area, the crossing point may open very soon.''
Replying to questions, President Papadopoulos said ''there are solid issues that we pointed out from the very first day and there has been no movement,'' adding that he did not believe there were many people who would accept the opening of the crossing point if the Turkish side insisted on controlling the intermediate buffer zone and posting troops in the area.
''A crossing point aiming at cultivating a good attitude for relations between the two communities will become a source of bitterness and friction when the citizens pass to and from the Street and see Turkish troops reminding them that the occupation is here,'' he added.
Asked if the Turkish side has handed its response to the UN, President Papadopoulos said ''everything is in the hands of UNFICYP, which for some weeks now, or even months, has been having contacts with the occupation forces on one hand, because it is not a matter of the Turkish Cypriot community, and our security forces on the other hand, and I hope that in the end the Turkish side will accept that which we have accepted.''
The National Guard, the island's army, removed on March 8 the wall in Ledra Street, which was erected soon after the Turkish invasion. The government of Cyprus clarified that the demolition of the wall does not mean the opening of the crossing point to and from the Turkish occupied areas, unless security issues are addressed.
In a statement, the members of the Security Council ''urge both communities to work with the UN to open Ledra Street crossing.''
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 Papadopoulos: Reaction to British-Turkish agreement to escalateNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The government intends to escalate its response to a British-Turkish agreement, President Tassos Papadopoulos said here Tuesday, adding that any moves Nicosia takes are carefully thought out as it considers the matter very grave.
"The government is proceeding with firm steps, in a composed manner and with the appropriate moves in response to the strategic partnership agreement London and Ankara have signed," he said, adding that any action taken will be announced, as appropriate, once it has been taken, unless otherwise decided.
Asked if government action will escalate in the immediate future, President Papadopoulos replied: "yes, but I repeat the issue is very serious and very delicate and has great prospects and is associated with many other issues."
The president, who was speaking to the press during a visit to the offices of the Culture Hall in Nicosia, declined to elaborate on any other move the government might be taking.
Last week, the Prime Ministers of Britain and Turkey, Gordon Brown and Tayip Erdogan respectively, signed in London a Strategic Partnership Agreement In the document, London and Ankara say they will work within the UN, the EU and bilaterally to promote direct commercial, economic, political and cultural contacts between the UK, the EU and the Turkish Cypriots.
They will also provide "continued help for "TRNC" authorities/universities in their attempts to engage with the Bologna process" and will uphold "the right of representation of the Turkish Cypriots in the European Parliament."
The UN has described the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime ("TRNC") in occupied Cyprus as "legally invalid" and has called on all states not to facilitate it in any way and not to recognize any other state in Cyprus except the government of the Republic of Cyprus.
 British High Commission regrets postponement of joint ForumThe British High Commission in Nicosia expressed regret Tuesday over the postponement of a Cyprus-British Forum, that was to have taken place this weekend as part of the London-Nicosia structured dialogue.
"We regret that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided that the meeting will not take place this weekend," High Commission spokesman Nigel Boud has told CNA.
Boud expressed the British government's will to continue "to look for opportunities to build upon and strengthen our relations" with Cyprus.
The Forum was planned to take place in the coastal town of Paphos, where a meeting was arranged between the Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Markoulllis and British Foreign Office Minister of State Kim Howells, responsible for the Middle East and Migration Policy issues.
In statements Monday before departing for Serbia on a two-day official visit, Markoullis said "the meeting was scheduled to take place in the framework of efforts to improve relations between Cyprus and Britain".
"Unfortunately", she added, "this forum cannot take place as a result of the agreement, recently signed between the UK and Turkey".
Last week, the Prime Ministers of Britain and Turkey, Gordon Brown and Tayip Erdogan respectively, signed in London a Strategic Partnership Agreement.
The document prompted the reaction of the government of Cyprus which described it as "a negative development" and said it will act to protect its national interests.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
The self proclaimed "state" in occupied Cyprus is recognised only by Turkey. United Nations resolutions 541 and 550 call on all states not to recognise the Turkish Cypriot regime and to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
Cyprus became a full EU member state in May 2004.
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