|Monday, 26 October 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-11-20
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 20 November 2007 Issue No: 2753
 Socialist International launching big environment campaignLONDON (ANA-MPA - V. Mourtis)
The Socialist International (SI) has decided to launch a big campaign on the environment, according to a statement made by its President and PASOK party leader George Papandreou at the end of the Socialist International's relevant Committee session in Downing Street in London on Monday, with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown as host.
The Committee sought progressive policies and the assumption of initiatives on the environment since, as it assessed, it is an issue threatening mankind, according to a phrase used during the session and conveyed to the press by Papandreou.
Issues of Greek interest were also raised during the session, such as the re-election of Papandreou as PASOK leader, for which he was congratulated by his interlocutors and by Brown in particular, who also congratulated him for the good work he is carrying out at the Socialist International and promised to support all its initiatives.
Papandreou also referred to the destructive wildfires that took place in the summer, and in the Peloponnese in particular, while his interlocutors listened with great interest to PASOK's proposal for the reconstruction of the wildfire-ravaged regions.
The PASOK leader said in a statement that the environment is an issue of primary importance for Greece, that has a great opportunity of tackling it positively, but added that it will not have this opportunity and capability forever. He further said that Greece can play a leading role in handling environmental problems and have a comparative advantage on this issue.
Papandreou also requested that every party that is a member of the Socialist International assume specific initiatives in its country that will be evaluated and the best will be chosen and proposed for implementation in the other countries as well.
The Socialist International's Environment Committee ascertained that adequate technology exists at present to handle problems and that the resources that must be provided also exist. What is lacking, as it was stressed, is political will on the part of governments.
The Committee will be continuing its sessions in various parts of the planet in an effort to achieve greater sensitisation by citizens in countries where the sessions will be taking place. Sessions are scheduled to take place over the next two years in Chile, India, China, the United States, South Africa, Sweden and Greece.
 Government to table draft budget for 2008 on TuesdayMinister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos announced that the draft budget for 2008 will be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, right after a meeting of the full Cabinet on the budget beginning at 17:15.
 Cabinet to discuss new general election system on TuesdayThe inner cabinet meeting on Tuesday will be devoted to discussing proposed laws for a new parliamentary election system, Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos announced on Monday.
Questioned about the details of the proposals, he asked reporters to wait until the announcements following the government's meeting on Tuesday.
 Papoulias, Karamanlis receive Cyprus' ChristofiasThe Cyprus issue, Turkey's European course and the situation on the island republic in view of presidential elections in February were discussed in the agenda of separate meetings held in Athens between President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanis and visiting Cypriot House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias.
Referring to the meeting with Papoulias, Christofias -- a presidential contender in the Cypriot election -- stressed that he had the opportunity to thank the Greek president for his support for Cyprus' struggle and his current stance towards the long-standing problem.
Christofias said he briefed Papoulias on the course of the presidential election campaign in Cyprus and the outcome of opinion polls.
Referring to the meeting he had with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, he said he congratulated him for a natural gas pipeline inaugurated Sunday and pointed out that "everything depends on us too", responding to a question on the effect the Greek-Turkish relations have on the Cyprus issue.
"The development of relations with Turkey on behalf of Greece is not annoying to us. On the contrary, I believe ... these relations, if used correctly by the Greek government, and I believe they are, can help to change Turkey's stance on Cyprus, considering Turkey's wish to join the EU".
On whether elections in Cyprus affect Greek-Turkish relations, Christofias said no, adding that a constant exchange of views and coordination between the governments of Cyprus and Greece is necessary on issues concerning Turkey's course to the EU and the overall moves on the Cyprus problem.
 KKE leader holds talks with Cyprus House of Representatives SpeakerCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga held talks on Monday with Cyprus AKEL party Secretary General and House of Representatives Speaker Demetris Christofias, expressing her support for his candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus.
Asked by the press whether fresh initiatives must be taken on the issue of Cyprus, also in light of the upcoming elections in Cyprus, Papariga said that the issue "must not be kept dormant" but added that initiatives are up to the officials in Cyprus.
Referring to the content of her talks with Christofias, Papariga said that this time "we saw him more as our comrade who has submitted his candidacy for President of the Republic of Cyprus at the same time. We wish him success in this difficult mission with all our heart."
 Greece tables proposals on western Balkan countries at EU General Affairs CouncilBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)
Greece tabled a package with five specific proposals on giving a new impetus to the European course of western Balkan countries, during the European Union's General Affairs Council on Monday.
Referring to the Greek proposal, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said that Greece had the opportunity of tabling a very specific new initiative on the European prospects of the western Balkans.
She said that the time is very difficult for the western Balkans and the peoples of these countries need a specific vision, a specific goal than can be none other than the European vision.
The foreign minister further said that the governments of EU member-states, as well as the European Commission, have the possibility, based on the Greek proposals, to proceed with specific moves that will reliably convey this message to all the peoples of the western Balkans.
"We believe that we will be having the possibility of discussing this proposal in more detail in December at the EU summit," she said.
Bakoyannis added that the initial response by her European counterparts, and by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, was very positive.
"We all realise that it is a difficult period that requires a substantive, aggressive and effective European policy on this issue," she said.
A discussion was also held at the General Affairs Council on the situation in Kosovo and as Bakoyannis said "the general impression that prevailed was not very optimistic."
Lastly, Bakoyannis held bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Council with her counterparts from Ireland, Denmark and Belgium, whom she briefed on Greece's positions regarding the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
 101 US House of Representatives sign resolution against FYROM propaganda; urge mutually acceptable solution to 'name issue'WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA / T. Ellis)
Nearly one-fourth of all US House of Representatives have signed a high-profile Resolution urging the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to cease its use of propaganda - mostly irredentist -- and work with the United Nations and Greece to find a mutually acceptable solution for the long-standing "name issue" separating Athens and Skopje.
The US House Resolution also calls on FYROM to respect and implement provisions of Article VII of the "interim agreement" of September 1995 agreed to by Athens and Skopje -- a landmark deal that normalised relations between the two Balkan neighbours in practically every sector, sans one, the thorny "name issue".
In pointing to provocations, the Resolution cites textbooks still used by the landlocked former Yugoslav republic's military academies and the recent renaming of Skopje's airport into "Alexander the Great" airport. Along these lines, the US House Resolution calls on the country's leadership to revise school textbooks and maps.
The Resolution was introduced last May by the co-chair and co-founder of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY); the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe, Robert Wexler (D-FL); the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Europe Elton Gallegly (R-CA), and fellow co-chair of the Hellenic Caucus Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).
Only three other US House Resolutions - out of the 816 introduced during the current 110th Congress - have been signed by more that 100 members, namely, a Resolution on the genocide in Darfur; Japanese policy during WWII and one regarding the Armenian Genocide.
 Acceleration of repair of fire-stricken homes discussedEnvironment, Town Planning and Public Works minister George Souflias met Monday with the head of the Special Emergency Support and Relief Fund, veteran diplomat and former foreign minister Petros Molyviatis and the members of the Fund's board, to discuss acceleration of the procedures for the repair and reconstruction of the homes that were damaged during the past summer's wildfires.
Replying to press questions afterwards on the floods caused over the weekend by heavy to torrential rainfall, Souflias explained that no problem had arisen in areas such as Mt. Parnitha and the Alfeios River, where anti-flooding interventions have been carried out, despite the heavy volume of rainfall.
Souflias said that the anti-flooding works on Mt. Parnitha had been very effective, thus no problems were recorded in Attica prefecture due to the heavy rainfall, while anti-flooding projects carried out by major construction firms in the fire-stricken areas, such as along the Alfeios, had also been effective.
Regarding the region of Komotini, which suffered massive flooding over the weekend, Soulfias noted that the volume of rainfall had reached approximately 20 centimetres, "in other worlds the volume of rain that falls in Athens in half a year", adding that more anti-flooding projects needed to be constructed in the stricken regions by the regional and prefectural authorities.
With respect to the repair and reconstruction of the fire-stricken homes with financing from the Special Emergency Support and Relief Fund, Souflias said the repairs permits would be issued within two months from the submission of the relevant applications, and to expedite this the staff at the relevant services in Pyrgos, Ileia prefecture -- where he said the greatest devastation was recorded -- would be reinforced, while the procedures for reconstruction of destroyed homes would also be sped up.
Speaking in turn, Molyviatis said that approximately 250 applications for repairs have been submitted so far in Ileia, adding that efforts were being made to materialise the prime minister's decision that all the homes of the fire-stricken in the area would be repaired free of charge.
He said the money for the repairs would be given in three tranches, in accordance with progress in the repair work, while with respect to reconstruction, three types of houses have already been approved.
Molyviatis further described as "very, very good" his cooperation with Souflias, adding that the Fund has earmarked 2.7 million euros for immediate payment of the 100 forestry workers who built the wooden dams and other anti-flooding works for the protection of the Ancient Olympia archaeological site.
 Study for the restoration of fire ravaged regionsThe estimated cost of the restoration of the fire ravaged regions in Greece, in a total of 7 prefectures, will be roughly 650 million euros according to a study prepared by 150 experts. The study was presented on Monday by Rural Development and Foods Minister Alexandros Kontos and Minister of State and government spokesman Thodoros Roussopoulos.
Kontos stated that the government goal is to have all fire-ravaged regions restored immediately and become even better that they used to be before the devastating wildfires.
On his part, Rousopoulos commented that the State is judged by the work done when the spotlight is out, stressing that development studies for the restoration of the regions affected have been completed within just a month and a half of the catastrophe.
 Greece donates one million US dollars to fight sea piracyLONDON (ANA-MPA / T. Lambropoulos)
Greece will donate one million US dollars to support efforts to eradicate sea piracy in the Malacca Straits (between Malaysia and Indonesia), while Athens will present initiatives to protect the marine environment through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Greek Merchant Marine Minister George Voulgarakis said on Monday.
Addressing IMO's 25th annual assembly here, the minister said Greece, as a member of IMO, was fully in support of the organisation's aims and principles regarding safety and sea protection issues.
Voulgarakis noted that regional or unilateral measures were not compatible with the international nature of the shipping industry, in which Greece holds a significant market share with 3,600 vessels.
Additionally, he said the country would welcome any radical revision of the maritime educational system. Finally, Voulgarakis met with his counterparts from Turkey, Japan and with the British Transport Minister.
 Roussopoulos backs TV channel for broadcasting photo of child rapistAsked to comment on a decision by the Greek TV channel ANT1 to broadcast a photograph of a man accused of raping a nine-year-old girl on nationwide television, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Monday said that "in the case of such heinous crimes, the rules regarding personal privacy cannot apply".
 Greek and Cypriot culture minister discuss cooperative actionGreek Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis and his Cypriot counterpart Akis Cleanthous met in Athens on Monday and discussed ways of developing joint action between their two countries against antiquities smuggling, as well as ways that Greece might contribute knowhow on organising archaeological excavations and setting up museums.
The above will be the basic elements of a programme to be designed by a mixed Greek-Cypriot committee created in order to improve bilateral cooperation on cultural issues.
In statements afterward, Liapis noted that Greece and Cyprus were not only linked by their political relations but also formed a continuous cultural zone.
"We therefore attach great importance to protecting our cultural heritage and developing our modern culture," he added.
Cleanthous said the meeting was a follow-up of a previous meeting and the signature of a memorandum a few months earlier with then culture minister George Vougarakis.
"From now on, we will coordinate the action of the two ministries. In 2012, Cyprus will take over the presidency of the European Union and in that framework we have alot of work to do in terms of preparation. Most of all, where we lag behind is in highlighting our cultural heritage and in developing archaeological parks and museums. Huge leaps forward have been made here in Greece in terms of know-how. What we are seeking is Greece's support, which in this case is not in question," he said.
 Employment minister and ESHEA board discuss pension reformEmployment Minister Vassilis Magginas on Monday met the board of the Athens Journalists' Union ESHEA in order to outline the government's intentions regarding the journalists' social insurance and pension fund in the framework of a government policy for pension fund mergers.
While Magginas described the meeting as "useful and constructive", ESHEA President Panos Sombolos warned that journalists would not let the government carry out its plans without a fight.
"The journalism world is opposed to the government's announcements for pension system reforms. The sector is in turmoil. We will not stand by with our hands crossed if the indications of the government's plans do not change," he stressed, urging journalists to prepare for a struggle.
Magginas also had meeting on the same issue on Monday with representatives of the Athens Bar Association.
 Papariga meets OTOE, stresses opposition to pension fund mergersCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Monday underlined her party's opposition to pension fund mergers in a meeting with the bank workers' union OTOE.
"We definitely support the withdrawal of an amendment with which a huge amount of money - some say 580 million euros but it could be much more - is given to Alpha Bank, transferring its employee fund to this temporary fund they have made, which is the downhill path toward a truncated Social Insurances Foundation (IKA)," she said.
She added that the fund mergers planned by the previous and present government aimed at the "downwards equalisation of workers" and a reduction of the rights they had gained.
 SYN leader meets with Albanian ambassadorCoalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alekos Alavanos met on Monday with Albanian ambassador in Athens Vili Shefki Minaroli,whith whom he discussed bilateral issues.
Alavanos said after the meeting that the community of Albanian workers in Greece and their families, as well as the Greek ethnic minority in Albania, were elements tht could create steadfast relations between the two peoples, and consequently it was important to solve even their most minor problems.
He also reiterated his party's position that all the children born in Greece should have the right to Greek citizenship, and that all working immigrants should also have the right to apply for Greek citizenship after five years of living and working in the country.
Minaroli said he and Alavanos had a "constructive" discussion regarding the Greek ethnic minority in Albania and the Albania migrants in Greece, on which he said they agreed.
The Albanian envoy added that Alavanos was of the view that the Albanian immigrants in Greece were no longer only a factor of the Greek social and economic life, but must also be protected by their rights as citizens.
He said Greece should do more, particularly for the youty, for the second generation immigrants that have grown up and been educated in Greece.
 President to tour MessiniaPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will visit Messinia prefecture on Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, Papoulias will unveil the bust of the 1821 Greek Revolution hero Theodoros Kolokotronis in the hero's birthtown of Ramovouni, in Mila, Meligala, while at noon he will be declared an Official Citizen of Kalamata, at a special ceremony at the Town Hall, during which Papoulias will also be presented with the Gold Key of the City.
The government will be represented at the unveiling ceremony by education deputy minister Andreas Lykourentzos.
 Athens short-listed as host-city for 1st Youth OlympicsThe International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday included Athens in a short list of candidate-cities to host the first-ever Youth Olympic Games of 2010, allowing the city to take part in the next stage of the selection process.
The head of the committee organising Athens' bid for the youth version of the Olympics, Minos Kyriakou, expressed his satisfaction that the Athens candidacy had so far met the IOC's approval.
"If the Youth Games of 2010 are held in Athens, the young athletes will have an opportunity not just to learn about Olympic history but also to experience the country that was the oldest school for the Olympic Spirit. We would be proud to serve the Olympic Movement by once again capturing the imagination of young people regarding Olympic ideals," he said.
The main points highlighted in the city's bid portfolio were the legacy of the 2004 Olympic Games held in Athens and the unique environment of Athens that would help bring international publicity for the inaugural Youth Games.
It also focused on the continuity of Olympic ideals expressed in Athens through the ages, from the ancient Parthenon of the time of Pericles to the modern Calatrava roof over the 2004 Olympic Stadium; the ultra-modern facilities built for the Olympics in Athens, combined with the shot-put and wrestling events in the birthplace of the Olympics and the original stadium at Ancient Olympia; the Olympic Youth Village, which will be housed in one of the Olympic villages for journalists built for the 2004 Games at the Aghios Andreas coast; the minimal requirements for further construction, making the Games more environmentally-friendly; and the universal support for the Athens candidacy from the government, main opposition party and the city of Athens.
In addition, the organisers of the bid highlighted the International Olympic Academy at Ancient Olympia and the educational programmes on the Olympic Games it provides to young people, the development of educational and cultural programme using the latest multimedia technology for the young athletes and the fact that visiting Athens will be an unforgettable experience for those taking part.
 US Embassy to remain closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving holidayThe US Embassy in Athens, including the Consular Section, the General Consulate in Thessaloniki, and all US government offices in Greece will remain closed on Thursday, November 22, in observance of Thanksgiving, a US national holiday.
 Ministers meet with US energy secretary BodmanEconomy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Monday met with visiting US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman for talks that touched on energy cooperation in the wider region.
Earlier, Bodman was received by Development Minister Christos Folias for an exchange of views on the energy strategy in the wider region, as both sides agreed over the need for closer bilateral cooperation at all levels, particularly in the area of alternative energy sources.
According to a development ministry announcement, Folias stressed that energy strategy was becoming a "good pipeline of peace, security and cooperation, both in the region and the world."
 Development minister gives 'Retail Business Awards 2007'Development Minister Christos Folias gave the "Retailer of the Year 2007" award to the Folli-Follie company on Monday night, as the top business in the retail sales sector that distinguished itself for its performances in 2007. The minister was also given an honourary award for his contribution to the retail trade.
The ceremony for the "Retail Business Awards 2007" was held at the Athens Golf Club, completing the process carried out by the Direction publishing organisation and the Retail Business magazine for the sixth consecutive year.
Folias said in his brief address that encouraging entrepreneurship is the top priority for the country.
"We are all working together for the success of our country. For shaping conditions of progress and prosperity for all Greeks," he said.
 Industrial new orders down 4.5 pct in September, yr/yrGreece's industrial orders composite index, measuring both the domestic and foreign market, fell by 4.5 percent in September, compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 25.7 pct in September 2006, the National Statistics Service said on Monday.
The statistics service, in its monthly report, said the industrial orders average index in the 12-month period from October 2006 to September 2007 rose 3.2 pct, after a 10.6 pct in the previous 12-month period.
The 4.5 pct decline in the industrial orders index in September, reflected a 9.2 pct drop in intermediate goods orders, an 8.0 pct rise in capital goods, an 1.1 pct decline in durable goods and a 2.0 pct rise in non durable goods.
The domestic market's orders index rose by 1.3 percent in September, while the foreign market's orders index dropped by 12.1 percent.
The statistics service said the turnover index in the industrial sector rose by 3.1 pct in September, compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 3.6 pct in September 2006. The average index in the 12-month period from October 2006 to September 2007 rose 2.6 pct, after an increase of 16.1 pct in the previous 12-month period.
The 3.1 pct increase of the turnover index in September reflected a 3.3 pct increase in the manufacturing sector and a 7.9 pct decline in the mining sector.
 Olympic Airlines clarifications on lease of planesOlympic Airlines (OA) on Monday issued clarifications regarding the lease of aircraft.
Specifically, in an announcement, OA said that two of the four planes it leased from the Spanish company HOLA Airlines SA with wet lease contracts presented faults.
The planes in question are a Boeing 737-400 and a Boeing 737-300.
For the other two aircraft, also Boeing 737-300, their contracts expire at the end of the year.
 OTE eyes establishment of real estate management subsidiaryHellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) on Monday said it was examining a plan to set up a real estate investment company as part of a strategic plan to make a more efficient use of the group's real estate assets.
In an announcement to the Athens Stock Exchange, OTE said such as a plan could be realised with the transfer of a series of selected properties to a real estate management company.
OTE said the plan was currently evaluating alternative scenarios, a procedure likely to be completed in the next few months.
 Greece offers opportunities and perspectives to new Greek American businessmenThe head of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged a new generation of Greek-American businessmen to base their operations in Greece, taking advantage of the access offered by the country to all markets in the Balkans and Southeastern Europe.
Constantinos Mihalos, addressing a symposium on "Meeting the Needs of Young Greek Americans: Opportunities and Perspectives" in Washington D.C., said the Greek government has promoted a package of measures that have established the country as a land of opportunities for investments. Mihalos said that businesses owned by Greek Americans could base their operations in Greece taking advantage of a network of more than 4,000 Greek enterprises operating in the wider region.
Mihalos also called for closer cooperation in the export of Greek products and services to the United States and said the Greek state was supporting such cooperations.
The symposium was held in Washington D.C., November 16-18, under the auspices of the Greek ambassador to the US, Alexandros Mallias. It was organised by the Hellenic American National Council and the American Hellenic Institute at the premises of Georgetown University.
 Tourism Enterprises optimistic over outlook of sectorThe Panhellenic (national) Federation of Tourism Enterprises on Monday expressed its optimism over the outlook of Greek tourism, despite recent unfavourable developments, such as a surge in international oil prices and an expected economic slowdown next year.
The Federation, however, underlined its concern over the fact that Greece has lost a large number of visitors from Britain over the last five to six years.
In a statement to the press, the Federation said increasing competition from regions using a weakened US dollar as a national currency added to chronic weaknesses of Greek tourism -- particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises -- to adjust to rapidly growing demands of tourists, a combination mainly affecting the Ionian islands.
The Federation noted that Greek tourism, although it has made significant progress in the last few years, must work on a new growth strategy.
 J&P-AVAX in Jordan airport expansion projectJ&P-AVAX, a Greek-listed construction group, on Monday announced the signing of final contracts between the government of Jordan and the Airport International Group (AIG) for the operation, maintenance, expansion and modernisation of Jordan's Quenn Alia International Airport for a period of 25 years.
AIG Group comprises J&P Overseas Ltd, J&P-AVAX, Abu Dhabi Investment Corporation, Noor Financial Investment Company, EDGO Investment Holdings Ltd and Aeroports de Paris Management SA.
J&P-AVAX owns 50 percent of the consortium, with the remaining 50 percent owned by J&P Overseas, while both companies own 19 pct in the contract. The project is expected to be ready in three years. The budget, 430 million euros, will be covered with loans from International Finance Corp., the Islamic Development Bank, Calyon, Natixis and Europe Arab Bank.
Under the plan, the Queen Alia Airport will have a new terminal with the aim to serve around 12 million passengers annually.
 Olive oil from Lesvos wins 'Mario Solinas 2007' quality awardThe first prize of the International Olive Oil Council, the "Mario Solinas 2007" Quality Award in the medium fruitiness olive oil category, was won by a producer based in the town of Plomari on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos.
The firm Rafteli-Protouli M. Co was honored with the distinction.
Commendations in the extra virgin olive oil category were also picked up by the Agricultural Cooperative Aggelianon and Cretan Natural Products Bios Aplous, both based in Rethymno, on the large island of Crete, for the high score they garnered in the same category.
The Mario Solinas quality awards for extra virgin olive oils are acclaimed internationally. The award ceremony was held in Madrid within the framework of the 95th International Olive Oil Conference.
A total of 73 high quality olive oils from Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Spain, France, Iran, Italy, Portugal, Syria and Tunisia were featured in the 7th annual competition, with only six honored after receiving the highest score in the three categories of intense, medium and slight fruitiness.
 Jumbo Group reports improved Q1 resultsJumbo Group on Monday reported an 18.27-pct increase in sales and a 23.86-pct rise in profits in the first quarter of the financial year (July 2007-June 2008).
Turnover rose to 89.410 million euros and after tax profits to 10.696 million euros. Pre-tax profits rose 24.35 percent to 17.366 million euros in the July-September period, from 13.945 million euros in the corresponding period last year.
The company said its gross profit margin rose to 48.25 percent, up from 47.93 pct last year, while the pre-tax profit margin also rose to 19.42 pct from 18.45 pct and the after tax profit margin to 14.82 pct from 14.15 pct.
Jumbo's management will seek shareholders' approval to a plan to pay a 0.32-euros per share dividend to shareholders, up 39 pct from last year.
Jumbo Group operates a retail network of 39 units, of which 16 are in the greater Athens area, 21 in the provinces and two in Cyprus. The company will open another unit in the greater Athens area and its first Balkan store in Sofia, Bulgaria by the end of the year.
 Market inspections in view of Christmas holidaysThe personnel increase in the local government inspection agencies and the adoption of a draft law on the unification of fines imposed were stressed by Supra-Prefect of Athens and Piraeus Dina Bei during a meeting with Deputy Development Minister George Vlachos on Monday.
The meeting focused on the intensification of market inspections in view of the Christmas holidays.
The supra-prefect, referring to the unification of the fines imposed, stressed that the previous development ministry leadership had acknowledged the need but the process had stopped at the establishment of a joint committee with Greek National Union of Prefectural Local Authorities (ENAE).
 Athens municipality dues increasing 1 pcCleanliness and lighting dues will be increasing by 1 percent compared to last year, from 3.5 to 4.5 percent, as well as the structure of dues in each region, according to a majority decision taken on Monday by the Athens municipality's Municipal Council that was voted against by all opposition groupings.
However, the full exclusion of large families from paying cleanliness and lighting dues was also decided and families with three children will be recorded so that the possibility of exempting this category from paying dues can also be examined as of next year.
Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, addressing the Municipal Council, expressed regret because his proposal was rejected by the remaining municipal groupings, saying that "I feel regret that you will be voting against, because you will also be voting against the exemption of dues for large families."
 Greek stocks plunge 1.98 pct to end below 5,000 markGreek stocks suffered heavy losses during Monday's session at the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index of the market fell 1.98 percent to end below the 5,000 level, at 4,995.31 points, with turnover a heavy 541.4 million euros, of which 87.9 million were block trades.
All sectors ended lower with the Financial Services (3.23 pct), Chemicals (3.18 pct), Technology (3.04 pct) and Industrial Products (2.99 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day. The Big Cap index fell 1.97 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.47 pct down and the Small Cap index dropped 1.98 percent.
Omega (8.57 pct), Lanacam (8.14 pct) and Ippotour (7.25 pct) were top gainers, while Praxitelio (19.05 pct), Euroline (9.82 pct) and Alter (9.46 pct) were top losers. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 245 to 27 with another 27 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.47%
Personal & Household: -2.15%
Raw Materials: -2.43%
Travel & Leisure: -1.25%
Food & Beverages: -2.23%
Financial Services: -3.23%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, National Bank, Cosmote and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 24.50
Public Power Corp (PPC): 25.00
HBC Coca Cola: 27.46
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.74
Emporiki Bank: 20.74
National Bank of Greece: 44.30
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 24.44
Titan Cement Company: 31.00
 ADEX closing reportFutures contract prices ended mixed in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a strong 262.21 million euros. The December contract on the Big Cap index was traded at a discount of 0.70 pct, while the December contracts on the Mid Cap index at a premium of 0.19 pct.
Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 15,937 contracts worth 211.032 million euros, with 36,092 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 496 contracts worth 30.602 million euros with 641 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 13,091 contracts worth 19.094 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Investment Group's contracts (3,194), followed by Eurobank (501), Marfin Popular Bank (783), PPC (472), Piraeus Bank (498), National Bank (1,029), Alpha Bank (586), Intracom (1,292), Viohalco (449), Mytilineos (538) and ATEbank (1,372).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.362 billion euros on Monday, of which 572 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 790 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 590 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.31 percent with the Greek bond yielding 4.40 pct and the German Bund 4.10 pct.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved higher. National Bank's overnight rate rose to 4.08 pct from 4.07 pct on Friday, the two-day rate also rose to 4.08 pct from 4.07 pct, the one-month rate rose to 4.19 pct from 4.16 pct and the 12-month rate rose to 4.63 pct from 4.58 pct.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.477
Pound sterling 0.720
Danish kroner 7.512
Swedish kroner 9.357
Japanese yen 162.87
Swiss franc 1.651
Norwegian kroner 8.142
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.443
Australian dollar 1.658
 Amb. Mallias, ND cadre Karahalios address SAE America regional symposiumWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA / A. Ellis)
"The Karamanlis government is looking forward to a dialogue with Greeks abroad regarding tomorrow's Greece," ruling New Democracy (ND) party strategy and political planning secretary Nikos Karahalios said over the weekend, speaking at the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) regional symposium of the United States.
The symposium, hosted here at Georgetown University, is entitled "Meeting the Needs of Young Greek Americans: Opportunities and Perspectives in the USA and Greece".
Karahalios emphasised that ND is trying to avoid petty partisan politics, while adding that the vision for a Greece in the year 2020 transcends the traditional dividing lines of liberalism and social-democracy. He also stressed that Greek society should focus on issues of the future and not become self-absorbed with issues of the past, such as the FYROM "name issue", for instance.
The keynote speaker during the second and last day of the symposium was Greek ambassador to the United States Alexandros Mallias, who underlined the importance for Greece and the United States to have common interests in the Balkans, while he touched on the issue of energy transport from the Caspian Sea region to European markets via Greece. '
He also pointed out that the FYROM issue does not just revolve around the name of the landlocked republic to Greece's north, but is a distinct issue of solidarity between NATO member-states.
"Greece wants full implementation (by FYROM) of all necessary criteria for full membership, primarily good-neighborly relations criterion", he stated.
Amb. Mallias described the values as well as the strategic and geopolitical framework on which Greek-US relations are based, underlined Athens' role in international trade as a world shipping power and the country's transformation into a regional energy hub -- one day after a landmark pipeline bringing Caspian Sea natgas ed from Turkey to Greece was inaugurated by the Greek and Turkish prime ministers.
The senior Greek diplomat also outlined the standing strategic choice made by Greek leadership to substantively contribute to the SE European countries' stability and their subsequent accession into the EU and NATO, while expressing opposition to a two-speed accession course for countries wishing to become members of the Euro-Atlantic structures.
Amb. Mallias observed that the existence of democratic institutions does not constitute sufficient NATO and EU accession criteria, considering that there are countries that do not feel comfortable with current borders. He also underlined that good-neighborly relations constitute precondition for accession into these organisations.
The symposium featured a concert by New York-born singer Elli Paspala and the screening of the Maria Iliou film "The Journey: The Greek American dream".
 Culture minister inaugurates 'history of the coin' exhibitionCulture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Monday evening inaugurated "the history of the coin' permanent exhibition at the Coins Museum in Athens.
Roman, Byzantine medieval and modern coins are on exhibit.
"Behind these daily objects is presented the monetary system, the issuing authority, the purchasing value, the ideology and the propaganda," Liapis said.
 Petroleum company in Thessaloniki robbed of 170,000 eurosThree gunmen robbed a petroleum company in the region of Ilioupoli, in the northern city of Thessaloniki, of 170,000 euros on Monday.
The robbers entered the company's offices, threatened the employees at gunpoint and seized the money from the cash desks before making their getaway on high-powered motorcycles.
 Amarousion municipality carries out emergency simulation exerciseA simulation exercise concerning the evacuation of a building following an earthquake and the simultaneous breaking out of a fire on the first floor was carried out successfully at the Town Hall of the municipality of Amarousion, north of Athens, on Monday. The exercise was planned in the framework of the interior ministry's Political Protection programme.
The evacation of the building was carried out in an exemplary fashion and in accordance with relevant instructions, while fire brigade units arriving at the scene freed an employee trapped on the first floor, as was anticipated by the scenario of the exercise that was completed in a quarter of an hour.
 Zoniana investigation extended to Gazi in IraklioPolice on Monday morning announced that they were extending their investigation in the Cretan village of Zoniana, in the highlands of Rethymno prefecture, to houses belonging to Zoniana inhabitants in the region of Gazi in the prefecture of Iraklio.
 Two illegal immigrants injured in leap off moving truckTwo illegal immigrants hoping to get to Italy as stowaways in a truck ended up injured in hospital on Monday, after attempting a death-defying leap off the vehicle when the truck was still in motion.
The two men had hidden in the back of a truck parked in Igoumenitsa port without being spotted by the driver because they believed it was bound for Italy. When the truck set off, however, they realised that it was heading back inland toward Macedonia.
At the 70th kilometre of the Ioannina-Igoumenitsa road near the village of Neraida in Thesprotia, and while the truck was still in motion, they jumped off and were both injured, one lightly and the other seriously.
The two men were taken to a hospital in Filiata and the more seriously injured man was then transferred to the university hospital in Ioannina.
 Island court postpones attempted murder trial for foreign nationalThe trial of 24-year-old Swedish national Calle Michael Jonsson, who stands accused of attempted murder, was postponed by a Mixed Jury Court on the island of Kos on Monday because lawyers for the defence and those representing a civil suit in the case stayed away.
The young Swede has been accused of the attack in 2001 of a young islander, who was stabbed eight times and almost died. At the time, Jonsson was an 18-year-old highschool student that was spending his holidays on the island. He has strenuously denied any involvement in the incident since he was first placed under arrest.
On April 4, 2005 a Mixed Jury Court on the island of Rhodes had unanimously acquitted the young Swede due to reasonable doubt but this decision was later repealed by the Greek Supreme Court and the trial was due to be repeated on Monday.
It was postponed, however, due to an ongoing strike of several months by lawyers on Kos in order to demand adequate staffing of the island's courts.
 President: ground should be prepared for new UN initiativePAPHOS (ANA-MPA/CNA)
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos believes that the current period could serve towards preparing the ground for a new UN initiative towards a settlement.
Commenting on reports that the UN were preparing for a new initiative in 2008, President Papadopoulos pointed out the position of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that if the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides were willing to begin substantive negotiations, then he would examine the possibility of launching a fresh initiative.
Speaking on Sunday during a visit to Kato Pyrgos, in the Paphos area, President Papadopoulos reiterated his position that this period should not be wasted but used to prepare for issues of substance, as provided for in the UN Security Council resolution of June.
''Preparation is not something we have discovered. It is the quintessence of the Gambari process. So, this period, and we are ready for it, could be used to begin work at working groups to prepare the ground, so that the Secretary General can have additional motives and more reasons to begin his initiative,'' he added.
Referring to the opening of the Ledra Street crossing point in Nicosia, President Papadopoulos said that in order for it to open the Turkish Cypriot side should agree to the opening of the Pyrgos-Limnitis crossing point, on the northwest.
''The two are connected. In order for the Ledra Street crossing point to open, which is a very symbolic move but at the same time it will help mainly the Turkish Cypriot community, the Turks must show their good will, allowing the opening of this crossing point. I do not agree with opening the one crossing point and not the other,'' the president added.
Replying to questions about Ledra Street, President Papadopoulos said that ''when the Turkish Cypriots, the Turkish army, is saying that the buffer zone between the two crossing points is under the control of the Turkish forces, it is not possible for us to accept the opening of the crossing point.''
''We have said, and I reiterated this to the UN Secretary General and I reiterate it now, that irrespective of our positions on where the buffer zone begins - something which will emerge in time - the moment the UN secure the consent of the Turks that the buffer zone is under the absolute control of the UN, we are ready to open the crossing point, as long as we get the consent of the Turkish Cypriots for the opening of the Limnitis crossing point,'' he concluded.
Efforts to open a crossing point to and from the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus at Ledra street have so far failed because the Turkish military refuses to move from the vicinity and in addition it claims part of the buffer zone, created after the end of hostilities during the 1974 Turkish invasion.
 President Papadopoulos to visit GreeceNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/CNA)
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos will be in Greece from November 26 to 29 for a working visit, during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
President Papadopoulos arrives in Athens on November 26 and on the same day he will attend an event in honour of Kyriacos Matsis, who fought and fell in the EOKA struggle against British colonial rule, in the mid 1950s.
On November 27 he will have consecutive meetings with President of the Hellenic Parliament Demetrios Sioufas and President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias.
He will also hold talks with Karmanalis, after which statements will be made to the media, followed by a working lunch with the Prime Minister.
On the same day he will meet the leaders of Greek political parties.
Furthermore, on November 28, President Papadopoulos will visit Artemida village, which sustained severe damage due to recent fires and which the Republic of Cyprus has undertaken to rebuild.
President Papadopoulos, who flies back to Cyprus on November 29, will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Markoullis, Minister of the Interior Christos Patsalides, and other officials.
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