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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-11-27

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

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

Tuesday, 27 November 2007 Issue No: 2759

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece signs accord with EU for NSRF programmes worth 20.3 bln euros
  • [02] Albanian president Bamir Topi meets PM, President
  • [03] President Papoulias hosts official dinner
  • [04] Papandreou meets Albanian president
  • [05] Albania's Topi meets with opposition party leaders
  • [06] Albanian president meets development minister
  • [07] FM Bakoyannis attends Annapolis conference on the Middle East
  • [08] PM Karamanlis briefed by interior minister on planning for Operational Plan on Public Administration
  • [09] Karamanlis to meet with Cyprus President on Tuesday
  • [10] PM Karamanlis meets LA.OS leader Karatzaferis
  • [11] PASOK leader criticises gov't on social security issue
  • [12] PASOK announces Central Congress Organising Committee composition
  • [13] Alavanos on pension reform, Synaspismos leadership
  • [14] Justice minister to carry out three-day visit to London
  • [15] Transport minister announces new 'green transport' committee
  • [16] Journalists' unions stress opposition to planned pension reforms
  • [17] 24-hour press strike on Tuesday in Greece against fund merger
  • [18] Education minister meets GSEE leadership
  • [19] Greece opposes genetically modified products in EU, minister says
  • [20] Proton Bank reports improved nine-month results
  • [21] Greek Post Savings Bank says pre-tax profits down 30.1% in Jan-Sept
  • [22] Public school teachers' unions hold strike
  • [23] S&B signs bauxite supply contract with Western Way Saudi Arabia
  • [24] MIG raises stake in OTE to 17.0735%
  • [25] Sato Group reports sharply improved nine-month results
  • [26] Mytilineos announces share split plan
  • [27] Greek trade deficit down 1.1 pct in September, yr/yr
  • [28] Greek stocks fell 0.39 pct on Monday
  • [29] ADEX closing report
  • [30] Greek bond market closing report
  • [31] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday
  • [32] UNESCO conference on management of inter-state underground water resources opens in Thessaloniki
  • [33] Two foreign detainees escape police lock-up facility on Lesvos
  • [34] Concert held in memory of Cypriot fighter Kyriakos Matsis
  • [35] Scattered showers on Tuesday
  • [36] Cyprus very well prepared for eurozone, says ECB Vice President
  • [37] Cyprus to raise the issue of illegal immigrants from Syria
  • [38] French Vice Admiral to visit Cyprus Politics

  • [01] Greece signs accord with EU for NSRF programmes worth 20.3 bln euros

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis has co-signed an agreement for the 13 programs of Greece's National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), on the basis of which EU funds totaling 20.3 billion euros will be earmarked for Greece for the period 2007-2013.

    The agreement was also signed, in Brussels, on behalf of the EU, by European Commissioners for regional affairs, Danuta Hubner, and employment, social affairs and equal opportunities Vladimir Spidla.

    Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Alogoskoufis expressed satisfaction over the fact that the process of drawing the EU assistance for Greece was beginning promptly, adding that early approval of the programs had been the result of good cooperation between the relevant Greek and EU services, while also noting that the Greek programme was in essence the second to be approved by Brussels.

    He also cited the tough negotiations carried out by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis with his European colleagues in 2005, when the Community funds for Greece were decided, and which will reach a total of 24.3 billion euros up to the year 2013.

    In later statements made during an afternoon event hosted by the Greek economy ministry in the Belgian capital, Alogoskoufis emphasized that Greece must now move more effectively in relation to past performances in order to better exploit the "very generous Community funding up until 2013".

    The Greek minister also reminded that Greece's NSRF was the first among the EU's previous 15 member-states to be approved, and the second in the EU-27.

    Alogoskoufis further stressed the particular contribution the NSRF will have in raising the general standard of living of residents in Greece, as well as to modernizing the Greek economy.

    He noted that the NSRF was of a transitional nature, given that, in essence, it would lead to disengagement of the Greek economy's growth from EU funds, and would also be instrumental in accelerating the rate of convergence of the Greek economy with the economies of the other EU member countries.

    Hubner, in turn, expressed satisfaction over the approval of the NSRF programs for strengthening the growth of the Greek economy, and welcomed Athens' commitment for implementation of the Lisbon Strategy.

    According to Hubner, the target of the programs is to improve the standard of living of the citizens in Greece through concentration of investments in key sectors such as innovation, strengthening SMEs, information technology, trans-European networks, and the environment.

    Spidla also expressed satisfaction over the approval of the programs, which he said further aimed at advancing employment and social integration.

    He said the programs approved aimed at economic growth on the basis of improved flexibility of the workforce and at the development of a more efficient public administration.

    Spidla further recalled that 12 programs have been approved for Greece since 2000 under the European Social Fund, from which one million Greek citizens have benefited.

    [02] Albanian president Bamir Topi meets PM, President

    Albanian President Bamir Topi, currently in Athens on an official visit, was received on Monday by President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias and also met Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Talks between Topi and Papoulias covered the entire range of Greek-Albanian relations and regional issues like Kosovo, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey and Cyprus.

    Papoulias stressed that the talks between them had confirmed the strategic importance of Greek-Albanian relations and ascertained that these were at a high level. He underlined Greece's steadfast support for Albania's European and Euro-Atlantic prospects, saying that this would contribute to the stability of the western Balkans. He also praised Albania's progress toward this goal and expressed hope that Tirana would be able to meet all the criteria for joining Euro-Atlantic structures.

    Papoulias highlighted the fact that Greece was the top investor in Albania and the country's second-largest trade partner and said he was closely monitoring the progress of the country's ethnic Greek population in order to work together with Albanian authorities on any problems that might arise.

    He also pointed to the presence of hundreds of thousands of Albanian immigrants in Greece that were helping the neighboring country's economic growth and fuelling the Albanian economy with the money they sent back home.

    In statements after his meeting with Papoulias, the Albanian president thanked him for the positive part he had played in the development of Greek-Albanian relations and in a gradual improvement of the standing and the legalization of Albanian immigrants living in Greece through a series of presidential decrees, in addition to an agreement for improving the education of Albanian children in their native tongue.

    Topi also referred to regional affairs, claiming that independence for Kosovo would contribute to a final peace settlement for the region and would be a valuable contribution to peace. Kosovo, Albania and Serbia all saw their future within the European family, he added.

    He said that he had invited President Papoulias to visit Albania, and that the Greek president had promised to carry out the trip very soon.

    [03] President Papoulias hosts official dinner

    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias hosted an official dinner in honour of visiting Albanian President Bamir Topi at the Presidential Mansion on Monday evening.

    "Skopje must completely respect the Ochrid Agreement, necessarily in order for the maintenance of the rights of all the inhabitants to be secured, including the rights of the multiple Albanian element," Papoulias said in his speech.

    Papoulias stressed that "Greece wishes the solution of the name issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), following negotiations within the framework of the United Nations, as is also the obligation of the two countries from the interim agreement." He added that "Skopje must know that their road towards unified Europe and NATO necessitate the maintenance of the obligations derived from this agreement."

    Referring to Kosovo, Papoulias stated that he looks forward "to the encouragement of the efforts of the involved sides for a mutually acceptable and viable solution to be found through negotiations" and wished "for the calmer and realistic voices to prevail."

    The Greek president also stressed the decisive importance for Greek-Albanian relations which the Greek minority in Albania assumes, adding that "we always note with satisfaction actions by the Albanian government for a solution of the problems of the minority. However, at the same time, we look forward also to other steps in this direction, which constitute also the criterion for the rapprochement of the European models. This is particularly valid for the education in the state minority schools, the school text books, the Greek language, the protection and exercise of the property rights and the participation of the Greek minority in public administration."

    [04] Papandreou meets Albanian president

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou met on Monday afternoon with Albanian President Bamir Topi, who is on a three-day official to the country.

    No statements were made after the meeting.

    [05] Albania's Topi meets with opposition party leaders

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Monday met with visiting Albanian President Bamir Topi, as the latter is on a three-day official to the country.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Papariga said the meeting focused on KKE's positions regarding the friendship between the two peoples and what she called the "common action between Greek and Albanian workers and equal rights".

    Regarding Kosovo, she said "we discussed the different position we have over the developments. Independence, even if it comes from an agreement, if it exists, absolutely does not guarantee future developments."

    Afterwards, Topi met with Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos.

    The leftist leader termed the meeting as "customary", adding that the visit contributes to the relations of the two peoples, namely, the Albanian migrants in Greece and the ethnic Greek minority in Albania.

    Finally, Topi had a half-hour meeting with Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) president George Karatzaferis in Athens.

    "We discussed Greece-Albania issues, and the life of immigrants here ... I have the feeling that a channel for better communication can be found," Karatzaferis, a former Euro-MP, said.

    The latter also said he brought up the issue of five ethnic Greeks of Himare convicted in September 2004 on various charges.

    [06] Albanian president meets development minister

    Visiting Albanian President Bamir Topi held a meeting on Monday with Development Minister Christos Folias and called for the support of the Greek side in Albania's accession course towards the Atlantic and European organizations.

    Folias, representing the government, hosted a luncheon in honor of the Albanian president and referred to "the extremely good relations between the two countries, noting that "neighbors are more important even from the family, because to them you turn to in an hour of need."

    President Topi noted that his compatriots who live and work in Greece are "citizens of Europe and constitute the new bridge of cooperation between the two countries."

    [07] FM Bakoyannis attends Annapolis conference on the Middle East

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)

    The invitation to Greece to participate in the international conference on the Middle East in Annapolis, Maryland, constitutes recognition of the Greek initiatives, the relations which have been developed, but also of the particular weight which Greece has acquired these past few years, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed in the course of a briefing in Washington on Monday.

    Bakoyannis expressed Greece's hope, but also that of the international community for the conference to be successful and in this context she underlined that it was in a spirit similar with that of Tuesday's conference that Greece's initiative had moved for the holding of a meeting of foreign ministers of UN Security Council members in September 2006 at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. Greece had proceeded in this move as then presiding country of the major UN body.

    Bakoyannis noted that the Greek government supports economically the efforts being made in the Middle East, while it participates in humanitarian missions in Lebanon. She said that Greece will be represented at the conference of donors which will be held in Paris in December.

    She also made known that Athens will promote "an initiative of the next generation" through which youth and children from Israel and the Palestinian Territories will be invited for a period in Greece.

    The Greek foreign minister conveyed the hope of the Greek side for the Annapolis conference to be "a starting point" of serious negotiations following the "Road map which no longer leads anywhere." Bakoyannis noted that the objective is the existence of two neighbourly states which will live alongside each other peacefully, in conditions of security.

    Finally, she noted that the problems in the Middle East are inter-linked, but she stressed that in the "heart" of the crisis is the Palestinian issue and she referred to the meetings being held just before the official start of the conference and the flurry of negotiations which have the full backing of the United States, aiming at the issuing of a joint communiqué. She also assessed that from the moment where great possibilities exist for progress to be achieved and, in this aspect, the U.S. and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acted correctly and "grabbed the bull by the horns."

    [08] PM Karamanlis briefed by interior minister on planning for Operational Plan on Public Administration

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Monday with interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who briefed the premier on his ministry's planning for implementation of the specialized Operational Plan on Public Administration.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Pavlopoulos said that the EU's 4th Community Support Framework (CSF), which covers the period 2007-2013, allows for a special Operational Plan for Public Administration enabling major reforms to be carried out with EU funding.

    After the passing by parliament of the law on management of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) and the 2008 stage budget, implementation can begin of the priorities that have been set out, which concern reforms in the structure of public administration, as well as matters related to curbing bureaucracy, Pavlopoulos said.

    Replying to questions, the minister said that the electoral law would be tabled in parliament before the House vote on the 2008 budget, and quite likely early next week.

    [09] Karamanlis to meet with Cyprus President on Tuesday

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is scheduled to meet Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos in Athens on Tuesday afternoon, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos announced.

    Immediately after their meeting, Karamanlis and Papadopoulos will have a working dinner.

    Asked whether Karamanlis will be raising the Cyprus issue and Turkey's obligations to implement the Ankara Protocol when the prime minister meets Turkey's foreign minister Ali Babacan in early December, Roussopoulos replied that the issues on the agenda were well known and raised by Greece at every opportunity.

    [10] PM Karamanlis meets LA.OS leader Karatzaferis

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis received at the Maximos Mansion on Monday evening Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis.

    The meeting focused on developments on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) issue.

    After the meeting, Karatzaferis stated that "we must remain in the framework of the Council of Political Leaders in 1992, regarding the Skopje issue," adding that the government "is moving in a tougher way of recent."

    "I'm pleased because the government has toughened its stance from last year to this year and is coming closer to our own positions," Karatzaferis said.

    Finally, he called for greater trust by the citizens to the political parties.

    [11] PASOK leader criticises gov't on social security issue

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday accused the government of "giving the final blow" to the country's social security system, which, as he said, "it (the government) has been undermining for the past four years."

    Speaking to reporters after chairing a party meeting on the government's initiative to open a dialogue on reforming the social security system, Papandreou said Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was "promoting policies that could be summed up as 'no' to public social security, 'no' to state funding of the system, 'no' to dealing of problems faced by the social security system."

    The government, the PASOK leader claimed, "says yes to the reduction of pensions, yes to the increase of the retirement age limit and yes to privatization in favor of private interests."

    Papandreou said the government "is the only government in the world that extends an invitation for dialogue without having formulated a specific proposal. Either the government is not capable, or it is mocking us."

    He also claimed that the government "has no intention of solving the security social problem, it intends to dissolve it, something that PASOK had forecast in the pre-election period."

    Regarding the mergers of various funds, Papandreou said this should take place "with full understanding and agreement with interested agencies," and expressed his opposition to the transfer of funds' deficits.

    [12] PASOK announces Central Congress Organising Committee composition

    Main opposition PASOK announced the members of the Secretariat of its Central Congress Organising Committee (KOES), which were hand-picked by party leader George Papandreou to head the Committee's 11 sectoral subcommittees.

    As stated by Papandreou at the most recent meeting of his party's National Council, no cadres who in the past have served in a PASOK government or had held or hold a parliamentary position have been appointed to the KOES, nor have cadres of major trade union organizations.

    A PASOK announcement said that the party was moving ahead to its next Congress with the "aim of formulating a new progressive political and social majority, adding that the first priority of a successful outcome of this venture is the renewal and unity of the party's forces, combined with the deployment of experienced cadres on the front line of PASOK's daily action in parliament and in the social struggles".

    Papandreou named General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) former president Christos Polyzogopoulos -- who resigned from the umbrella union confederation over the past summer to pursue a political career -- as Secretary of the KOES.

    [13] Alavanos on pension reform, Synaspismos leadership

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos on Monday merely noted that the leftist party -- which leads the current SYRIZA grouping represented in Parliament -- is "discussing a leadership restructuring", when asked to comment on several press stories this week claiming that he will leave the Synaspismos helm in order to concentrate on SYRIZA.

    Speaking on Monday, and with reference to SYN's party conference in late January, Alavanos referred to "positive conditions" for SYN's course ahead of the conference.

    Meanwhile, in reference the ongoing opposition reaction to whatever government proposals for social security reform, Alavanos said his party's stance not to participate in dialogue over the issue is now justified, instead pointing to a "spider's web" aimed to entangle "political and labor union forces".

    [14] Justice minister to carry out three-day visit to London

    Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis is to carry out a three-day visit to London starting on Wednesday this week, the justice ministry announced on Monday.

    The aim of the minister's visit is to learn about modern correctional systems, where prisons stop being 'warehouses for people' and to discuss issues dealt with by a common European policy, such as fighting illegal pornography and sex-related crimes on all levels (sexual tourism, child pornography on the Internet, rape, publishing the personal data of rapists after their final conviction and others) but also the transfer of convicted foreigners to prisons in their country of origin.

    Hatzigakis will discuss the above issues with UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw and the Minister of State David Hanson, who is responsible for UK prisons.

    While in the UK, the Greek minister will visit prisons for an on-the-spot demonstration of how they operate and to witness the problems for prisoners living within them, with emphasis on methods for prisoner rehabilitation.

    According to the announcement, all the issues above were "an escalating priority at international meetings of the Council of Europe and the EU, in Spain and in Rome," while the issue of transferring foreign prisoners to their country of origin was a joint initiative undertaken by Hatzigakis with his Cypriot counterpart Sophoclis Sophocleous.

    [15] Transport minister announces new 'green transport' committee

    Transport Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Monday announced the creation of a new permanent committee staffed by specialist scientists that will be responsible for suggesting and promoting policies for greener, cleaner transport using new environment-friendly technologies in Greece.

    Among issues to be dealt with by the new committee he listed natural gas, hydrogen, bio-fuels and hybrid technologies, the use and extension of cycle paths and other ways to reduce air pollution.

    Alexandros Vrachnos, president of Tram SA, will take over as chairman of the "Green Transport Committee".

    Financial News

    [16] Journalists' unions stress opposition to planned pension reforms

    Following a meeting on Monday, the Greek journalists' pension fund EDOEAP and the four unions that participate in this issued a joint announcement that stressed their opposition to government plans to merge EDOEAP with other, less financially robust pension funds.

    The announcement stressed that EDOEAP is a private-sector legal entity whose management is elected by all the members of the participating unions, which are those of the Athens and Macedonia-Thrace journalists' unions, ESHEA and ESHEMTH, and the Athens and Thessaloniki daily newspaper personnel unions, EPHEA and EPHETH.

    These four unions consider all manner of funds and reserves belonging to EDOEAP non-negotiable and underlined that EDOEAP does not receive any kind of state assistance.

    The announcement also asserted that the independence of EDOEAP and preserving its funds and reserves acted as a guarantee for the freedom of the press, while any other measure concealed a desire to make the media dependent on those in authority.

    It also points out that the workforce in the media had the sad privilege of high mortality rates, with an average life span less than that of industrial workers, and a high incidence of work-related ailments, it said.

    Finally, the announcement underlined that any reorganization of social insurance funds should be based on expert planning and the acceptance of those insured in order to be positive. Otherwise, it added, it amounted to a plan to "deviously lay hands on funds and reserves that did not belong to them for their own benefit."

    [17] 24-hour press strike on Tuesday in Greece against fund merger

    The Athens Journalists' Union (ESIEA) on Tuesday will hold a 24-hour strike (from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday) as a result of the Union's standing opposition to what it described as a framework of proposals for journalists' pension funds, made last week by Labour and Social Insurances Minister Vassilis Magginas to ESIEA's elected board of directors.

    Among others, the government has 'floated' an initiative to merge Athens journalists' primary pension fund (TSPEATh), one of the most robust in the country, with the physicians' fund, the engineers' fund and the previously troubled Athens lawyers' fund, a prospect that ESIEA has heatedly opposed.

    ESIEA's president, veteran police reporter Panos Sobolos, has stressed that the board has called on MPs and Euro-MPs that are members of the Union to a meeting, whereas it will also request meetings with the prime minister himself and political party leaders.

    [18] Education minister meets GSEE leadership

    Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis met on Monday with the leadership of Greece's largest trade union umbrella GSEE (General Confederation of Employees of Greece) with talks focusing on issues of training in relation to labour market conditions.

    Speaking to the press, Stylianidis termed the meeting "constructive," and had asked that GSEE's Institute and Academy, which are agencies registered with his ministry, carry out joint research on the real needs of the labour market in Greece over the next twenty years.

    [19] Greece opposes genetically modified products in EU, minister says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)

    Greek Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Alexandros Kontos said at the EU Council of Agricultural Ministers here on Monday that Greece opposes the production and distribution of genetically modified products in the European Union.

    "The issue of the genetically modified organisms is particularly important," Kontos said, while he spoke of the "difficult technical, economic and other political aspects of it, which necessitate alertness so as to avoid any negative repercussions on the level of security of foods and animal fodder, which circulate in the area of the European Union."

    [20] Proton Bank reports improved nine-month results

    Proton Bank on Monday said its consolidated pre-tax profits totaled 32.98 million euros in the nine-month period from January to September, from 30.47 million euros in the corresponding period last year, while consolidated after tax earnings rose to 27.41 million euros from 26.63 million over the same period, respectively.

    Net interest revenues totaled 33.15 million euros, from 4.66 million euros last year, while net commission revenues jumped to 30.68 million euros from 11.9 million euros in 2006.

    Group net pre-tax profits totaled 32.69 million euros in the January-September period, from 29.71 million euros last year, while net after tax profits rose to 27.37 million euros from 26.06 million euros in 2006.

    Loans jumped 58.65 pct to 1.332 billion euros, while saving deposits rose 42.43 percent to 1.428 billion euros.

    Proton Bank said assets totaled 2.257 billion euros, up 47.42 percent, while consolidated net income jumped to 97.96 million euros in the January-September period, from 41.01 million euros in 2006.

    Proton Bank operates a branch network of 28 units and plans open one more unit by the end of the year.

    [21] Greek Post Savings Bank says pre-tax profits down 30.1% in Jan-Sept

    Greece's Post Savings Bank on Monday reported a 30.1-percent decline in its nine-month pre-tax profits to 83.95 million euros, down from 120.81 million euros in the corresponding period last year.

    After-tax profits fell 19.66 pct to 73.75 million euros, from 91.8 million euros over the same period, respectively, reflecting lower results from financial transactions.

    Net interest income rose 16.74 pct to 215.42 million euros, while loans rose by 20.98 percent to 5.882 billion euros. Post Savings Bank said its loan to deposits rate improved further in the January-September period, from 42.98 percent in September 2006 to 45.34 pct in the end of 2006 to 52.77 pct in September 2007. Saving deposits rose 3.94 pct to 11.148 billion euros, while financial transaction results showed profits of 26 million euros.

    Angelos Filippidis, the chairman of the board, said the new management aims to rapidly restructure the bank's assets.

    [22] Public school teachers' unions hold strike

    The public school teachers' unions held a 24-hour strike on Monday to press their opposition to whatever pension reforms the government proposes and to demand increased funding for the education sector.

    In a rally that culminated outside Greece's Parliament in downtown Athens, the strikers also reiterated a standing demand -- which dominated last year's mobilizations -- for a 1,400-euro minimum salary for newly hired public school teachers.

    [23] S&B signs bauxite supply contract with Western Way Saudi Arabia

    S&B Industrial Minerals SA on Monday announced the signing of a draft agreement with Western Way Industrial Development Co. Ltd. of Saudi Arabia for the annual supply of 1.1 million tons of Greek bauxite to an new alumina production unit to be built south of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

    A S&B statement stated that Western Way, based on Saudi Arabia's comparative advantage in natural energy sources, plans to build a virtualized electricity and alumina production industrial complex, with a production capacity of 1.6 million tons of alumina annually. The production will require 3.6 million tons of bauxite annually.

    The contract has a 10-year duration, beginning in 2010, when the alumina plant is expected to be completed.

    The final contract is expected to be signed in the first half of 2008.

    [24] MIG raises stake in OTE to 17.0735%

    Marfin Investment Group on Monday said its equity stake, direct and indirect, in the state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) rose to 17.0735 percent, while its majority stake in Attica Holdings rose to 56.19 percent.

    MIG said its equity stake in bourse-listed OTE includes a 10.5627-pct, or 51,772,970 shares, in total return equity swaps, while in Attica Holdings MIG recently purchased 197,345 shares, or 0.189 percent.

    [25] Sato Group reports sharply improved nine-month results

    Sato Group on Monday reported a 25.5 percent increase in its nine-month sales to 64.9 million euros, from 51.7 million euros in the same period last year, and said that domestic sales rose 31.3 pct while international sales were up 10.7 pct.

    Gross profit margin rose to 46 percent of sales, from 44 pct last year, while pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) soared 92 pct to 5.72 million euros in the January-September period, from 2.982 million euros in 2006. After tax and minorities earnings totaled 795,000 euros, unchanged from 2006.

    Sato said it a logistics center in Elefsis, budgeted at 16.189 million euros, was currently under way and noted the expansion of its home furniture and accessories unit "Entos".

    [26] Mytilineos announces share split plan

    A Mytilineos repeat general shareholders' meeting on Monday approved a board plan for a share capital increase plan and a stock split.

    Under the plan, Mytilineos's share price will be cut to 1.07 euros per share, from 2.55 euros currently, through the issuance of 68,190,531 new common nominal shares to be granted to the company's existing shareholders at a ratio of four to 10.

    The meeting also approved a share capital increase plan, worth 876,735 euros, raising the company's equity capital to 125,080,916 euros, or 116,898,053 common nominal shares worth 1.07 euros each. The new shares will be granted to existing shareholders at a ratio of four to 10.

    [27] Greek trade deficit down 1.1 pct in September, yr/yr

    The Greek trade deficit fell by 1.1 percent in September, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Monday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said the trade deficit totaled 2.747 billion euros in September, from 2.779 billion euros in the corresponding month in 2006. The value of import-arrivals totaled 4.287 billion euros in September from 4.348 billion euros last year, a decline of 1.4 percent, while the value of export-arrivals totaled 1.54 billion euros, from 1.569 billion in 2006, a decline of 1.9 percent.

    The trade deficit in the nine-month period from January to September totaled 26.414 billion euros, from 23.421 billion euros last year, for an increase of 12.8 percent, while the value of export-deliveries totaled 12.667 billion euros from 12.339 billion last year, for an increase of 2.7 percent.

    [28] Greek stocks fell 0.39 pct on Monday

    Greek stocks ended lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, but the market managed to hold to 4,900 support level. The composite index fell 0.39 pct to end at 4,906.46 points with turnover a moderate 428.9 million euros, of which 64.8 million euros were block trades.

    Most sector moved lower with the Commerce (3.16 pct), Food/Beverage (2.18 pct) and Technology (1.69 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Raw Materials (0.85 pct), Oil (0.83 pct) and Financial Services (0.72 pct) scored gains.

    The Big Cap index fell 0.11 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.22 pct lower and the Small Cap index dropped 0.20 pct. Logismos (9.71 pct), Praxitelio (9.01 pct) were top gainers, while Lannet (9.84 pct), Sprider (8.38 pct) and Taxapret (7.84 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 165 to 97 with another 43 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.65%

    Industrials: -1.66%

    Commercial: -3.16%

    Construction: -1.57%

    Media: +0.47%

    Oil & Gas: +0.83%

    Personal & Household: -0.37%

    Raw Materials: +0.85%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.81%

    Technology: -1.69%

    Telecoms: -0.93%

    Banks: +0.44%

    Food & Beverages: -2.18%

    Health: -0.49%

    Utilities: -1.36%

    Chemicals: -0.40%

    Financial Services: +0.72%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Eurobank and DEH.

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

    Alpha Bank: 22.94

    ATEbank: 3.80

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 30.00

    HBC Coca Cola: 26.30

    Hellenic Petroleum: 10.76

    Emporiki Bank: 20.50

    National Bank of Greece: 43.10

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 22.62

    Intralot: 12.40

    OPAP: 26.40

    OTE: 24.78

    Titan Cement Company: 30.98

    [29] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices ended mixed in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a strong 191.636 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.76 pct and the December contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.56 pct.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 11,703 contracts worth 151.729 million euros, with 32,430 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was 325 contracts worth 9.877 million euros, with 861 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,995 contracts worth 19.578 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Investment Group (1,928 contracts), followed by Eurobank (771), Marfin Popular Bank (1,675), Piraeus Bank (853), National Bank (1,084), Apha Bank (587), Intracom (915), Postal Savings Bank (1,250).

    [30] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.485 billion euros on Monday, of which 823 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 662 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 453 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.325 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.40 percent and the German Bund 4.06 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate eased to 4.12 pct from 4.14 pct on Friday, the two-day rate also fell to 4.12 pct from 4.14 pct, the one-month rate eased to 4.19 pct from 4.22 pct and the 12-month rate rose to 4.63 pct from 4.62 pct.

    [31] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.496

    Pound sterling 0.723

    Danish kroner 7.515

    Swedish kroner 9.363

    Japanese yen 162.25

    Swiss franc 1.650

    Norwegian kroner 8.101

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.475

    Australian dollar 1.697

    General News

    [32] UNESCO conference on management of inter-state underground water resources opens in Thessaloniki

    A two-day international conference on management management of inter-state underground water resources in the Mediterranean region opened on Monday morning in Thessaloniki, attended by scientists, experts and representatives of the Mediterranean countries.

    The delegates, during Monday's morning session, examined the management of underground water resources in the border regions of the countries of North Africa, which in the past has led even to war.

    The conference is taking place at the UNESCO Network Seat at Thessaloniki's Aristotelion University (International Network of Water Resources Centres for the Balkans), with most delegates representing the countries of the Euro-Med Cooperation (NEDA), North Africa from Morocco to Egypt, and also the Middle East (Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Leganon and Turkey), due to drought-related problems.

    UNESCO seat coordinator, Professor Iakovos Ganoulis, said that extraction of drinkable water from underground reserves in border regions continues to comprise a standing cause of disagreement among the governments of various countries. Disagreements and conflicts over the exploitation of water resources occur not only in North Africa and the Middle East, but also in the Balkans, and even in the wider region of the Evros River, at the borders among Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, Ganoulis said, adding that all these issues must be discussed with the purpose of finding solutions and the signing of inter-state agreements.

    [33] Two foreign detainees escape police lock-up facility on Lesvos

    Two Albanian prisoners, held on charges of violation of narcotics legislation, escaped at dawn on Sunday from a police lock-up facility on the island of Lesvos.

    The two prisoners, identified as Niko Gjesar, 30, and Bardhul Toca, escaped through a 20cmX65cm ventilation shaft after removing the shaft window's wiring with a metal file they broke off a restroom window in the lock-up facility.

    According to police, the Albanians escaped with the assistance of a Greek detainee, who did not escape.

    A Sworn Administrative Inquiry (EDE) has been ordered into the circumstances of the escape.

    [34] Concert held in memory of Cypriot fighter Kyriakos Matsis

    A concert was held at the Athens Concert Hall on Monday evening in memory of Cypriot fighter Kyriakos Matsis, who was killed in the 1955-59 EOKA struggle against British colonial rule.

    The concert was attended by President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias and visiting President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos.

    The Modern Music Orcestra of Greek Radio and Television (ERT) interpreted compositions by Michalis Christodoulides, with the participation of singers Manolis Mitsias and Jenny Drivala.

    The concert was also attended by Greek Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Development Minister Christos Folias, Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis and alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros.

    The event was organized by the Council of the Historic Memory of the Struggle "EOKA 1955-59", the Kyriakos Matsis Foundation, the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus and the Federation of Cypriot Organisations in Greece.

    Weather Forecast

    [35] Scattered showers on Tuesday

    Scattered showers with southwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 6-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 03C and 20C. Partly cloudy in Athens, with southwesterly 6-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 08C to 17C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 05C to 10C.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [36] Cyprus very well prepared for eurozone, says ECB Vice President

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus is very well prepared for its accession to the eurozone, on January 1st, 2008, Vice President of the European Central Bank (ECB) Lucas Papademos said on Monday.

    Addressing an audience at the Central Bank of Cyprus, Papademos said that on its road to the euro, Cyprus has made remarkable progress in improving the living standards of its people, thanks to an extended period of stability-oriented macroeconomic policies.

    "It is, therefore, not a surprise that Cyprus is among the first of the new EU Member States to adopt the euro. And in many respects, Cyprus can serve as an example for other countries as regards the question of how to successfully pursue economic reforms and convergence", he said.

    The ECB Vice president added that the key factors in Cyprus' economic success have been the fact that inflation has remained contained and the favourable conditions for both real and nominal convergence.

    "It is, therefore, fair to say - and I am pleased to say - that Cyprus is well prepared for its accession to the euro area. Congratulations. However, a strong commitment to both fiscal consolidation and further structural reform remains essential in order to reap the full benefits of being part of Europe's Monetary Union", he added.

    Present at the event were among others, Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris, Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Athanasios Orphanides, government officials, local and foreign bank representatives, as well as members of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    Addressing the event, Minister of Finance Sarris said that Cyprus is awaiting with optimism its accession to the eurozone as well as the exploitation of the benefits stemming from its accession.

    He noted that Cyprus' fiscal policy should continue "its right course" and added that the public's concerns regarding the adoption of the euro are being addressed with success.

    The Governor of the Central Bank described Cyprus' accession to the eurozone as historical and said that through this step, the long term stability of the Cypriot economy will be achieved.

    "The introduction of the euro will be the beginning of a new era. With the right handling and the right policies, the euro will bring many benefits to the Cypriot economy", he concluded.

    [37] Cyprus to raise the issue of illegal immigrants from Syria

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Marcoullis said on Monday that she gave instructions to Cyprus' Ambassador in Damascus to raise before the Syrian authorities the issue of the transfer of illegal immigrants from Latakia to the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, on a ship conducting illegal routes between Syria and Cyprus' occupied areas.

    Invited before her departure for Athens to comment the arrival of illegal immigrants to Famagusta from Latakia, Marcoullis said it was obvious that these sea routes were used for the illegal transfer of illegal immigrants and noted that this issue will be raised before the Syrian Authorities, while the European Commission will be briefed on this development.

    Marcoullis said that what matters is not the origin of this immigrants but the fact that they arrive to an illegal port of Cyprus, without the approval of the official Cypriot authorities.

    Famagusta has been declared by the government of Cyprus a closed port following the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island.

    The UN has branded the illegal regime in occupied Cyprus "legally invalid" and called on all states not to recognise or facilitate it in any way.

    The Republic of Cyprus entered the EU in May 2004. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [38] French Vice Admiral to visit Cyprus

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Chief of the French Mediterranean Navy Vice Admiral Jean Tandonet arrives in Cyprus on November 28 for a three-day official visit.

    According to Cyprus' Ministry of Defence, Vice Admiral Tandonet will meet on November 29 the Permanent Secretaries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexandros Zenon and the Ministry of Defence Petros Kareklas.

    After the meetings, an official welcoming will be held at the headquarters of the General Staff, followed by a meeting with Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Constantinos Bisbikas.

    The Vice Admiral will also visit National Guard units and sites of tourist and historical interest.

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


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