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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-12-11

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

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

Tuesday, 11 December 2007 Issue No: 2770

CONTENTS

  • [01] Government tables proposed election law reforms in Parliament
  • [02] PASOK reacts to proposed election law
  • [03] Alavanos lambasts government's proposed new election law
  • [04] FM Bakoyannis at General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels
  • [05] Prime minister Karamanlis confers with justice minister, Areios Paghos' new president
  • [06] Visit to Washington by Greek parliamentary delegation
  • [07] Greek deputy addresses forum in Washington
  • [08] Greek negotiator sanguine about achieving result on 'name' issue
  • [09] Environment Minister Souflias on climatic changes
  • [10] Gov't on the use of surveillance cameras in demonstrations
  • [11] Greek MP Pavlidis received by Ecumenical Patriarch
  • [12] President Papoulias congratulates President Putin
  • [13] MIG blasts 20% cap in stake for major utilities
  • [14] Deputy FM Doukas leads business, investment mission to Libya
  • [15] Barrot spokesman calls for rapid solution to OA issue
  • [16] FinMin Alogoskoufis addresses event on Greek economy
  • [17] Deputy minister inaugurates new HAI aerostructures unit
  • [18] GSEE calls for mass participation in Wednesday's general strike
  • [19] KKE's Papariga on Wed. strike
  • [20] Athens public transport workers to strike on Wednesday
  • [21] Tourism development minister meets with tourism association
  • [22] Employment minister replies to press allegations
  • [23] Meeting between FinMin and defence minister
  • [24] Reduced electricity rates for persons with disabilities being mulled
  • [25] Piraeus Bank announces deal for Arab Bank network on Cyprus
  • [26] State revenues up 5.2% in November
  • [27] Greek industrial production down 0.1 percent in October
  • [28] Increase in cars, motorcycles retail in Q3
  • [29] Wholesale turnover index up 5.9 percent in 3rd quarter 2007
  • [30] Exports, imports rise in value in October
  • [31] Public revenue up 5.2 pct in November 2007
  • [32] Greek stocks end 0.40% up
  • [33] ADEX closing report
  • [34] Greek bond market closing report
  • [35] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday
  • [36] Children's Ombudsman presents report
  • [37] Athens' senior citizens' Christmas event on Tues.
  • [38] Event in memory of Maria Callas in Geneva
  • [39] Bulgarian writer Tsonchev receives Hemus Balkan Award of Literature
  • [40] Coast guard intercepts and detains 113 illegal immigrants near Kos
  • [41] Diplomatic cars targeted in Athens
  • [42] Ankara condemns torching of diplomatic cars
  • [43] Rain causes landslides at fire-stricken villages on Mount Taygetus
  • [44] Lavrov hopes future UNSG report to reflect realities in Cyprus
  • [45] Spokesman says Russian FM's statements helpful for Cyprus
  • [46] Marcoullis satisfied with Council conclusions on Turkey-Cyprus relations
  • [47] Cyprus will not consent to Kosovo's secession Politics

  • [01] Government tables proposed election law reforms in Parliament

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday tabled the government's draft bill on general election law reform in Parliament, stressing that this aimed at a "a combination of the highest possible proportional representation with stable government".

    The draft bill, which will be discussed in Parliament after the Christmas holidays, increases the 'bonus' given to the party receiving the highest percentage vote in general elections by 10 seats - raising this number from 40 extra seats to 50.

    The greatest number of seats under the new system will be sacrificed by the party ranking second in the polls, which has to give up four seats for every two given up by the other opposition parties in Parliament, while coalitions of parties do not benefit from the proposed bonus.

    Whether a party is a coalition of collaborating parties or an autonomous party will be finally decided by the Greek Supreme Court.

    The bill also calls for a mandatory one-third quota of women candidates on election tickets.

    In order to come into force at the next general elections, the bill must be passed by two thirds of the Parliament or over 200 MPs. Otherwise, it will come into force for the election after next.

    [02] PASOK reacts to proposed election law

    Main opposition PASOK spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis on Monday expressed his party's opposition to the government's draft bill on election law reform, tabled earlier in the day.

    "With the draft bill on general election law, tabled in Parliament today, the government has proved that it is a deeply conservative force. It has proved that it does not want to endorse (PASOK leader) George Papandreou's and PASOK's proposal for an understanding on this very important issue for the country's political life," Ragoussis said in a statement.

    The spokesman also announced that after the party's political coordinating body meeting on Tuesday, PASOK's "detailed proposal on a new electoral law, which reinforces the autonomy of politics and upgrades our democratic institutions" will be publicised.

    [03] Alavanos lambasts government's proposed new election law

    The leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) group in Parliament on Monday targeted the proposed new election law changes suggested by the government for intense ridicule, calling them a "episode in a comic serial".

    "This started off with [main opposition] PASOK giving a 40-seat bonus. It continues with New Democracy, which gives a 50-seat bonus. I want to see when we reach the point where one of the two parties is given a 150-seat bonus," he added.

    He also commented on the latest developments regarding the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and the disagreements expressed by one of its largest shareholders, Marfin Investment Group, in OTE management decisions, saying that the government had been "caught in its own trap" on this issue.

    [04] FM Bakoyannis at General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday attended the EU General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels which discussed the Kosovo issue, western Balkans, Turkey's European prospects and the situation in the Middle East.

    Speaking to reporters, Bakoyannis said "the Kosovo issue prevailed today at the General Affairs Council meeting. Specific decisions have not yet been reached. There was defused concern about the future. The discussion will continue at the European Council."

    Bakoyannis added, "we all start from a stable fact: that the European Union must not avoid its responsibilities on an issue which is European par excellence. Also, we all agree that it is very important for the European Union to maintain its unity. The Troika (EU-U.S.A.-Russia) has concluded its work. All recognized the enormous effort it made. Unfortunately, there were no concrete results given that there was no agreement between the two sides."

    "The basic problem is the safeguarding of the region's security. Consequently, there was an exchange of views on the timely development of the mission within the framework of the European defence and security policy. Of course, for this to happen, what is necessary to be found is the legal basis which will allow the decision for the assumption, as soon as possible, of the mission in the region.

    "Greece will continue to follow a responsible policy without hurried moves and decisions. A criterion of our decisions will be the safeguarding of stability and peace and the broader Greek interests in the region. In every case, Serbia's European course and of the broader region of the western Balkans must proceed with stable, concrete steps. In this direction is also moving the initiative which we recently promoted at the Council of the European Union," Bakoyannis said, adding that in continuation of this Greek initiative "we have agreed today to proceed to a substantial debate in the first half of 2008 on the European prospects of all western Balkans."

    Bakoyannis also assessed that there would not be a "speedy -that is withinin the next fifteen days- declaration of independence on the part of Kosovo", clarifying that the issue of recognition lies on each country separately but also an issue of broader consultations, not only on a European level but between the region's countries as well.

    Bakoyannis said that she would be meeting in Athens on December 22 with her Romanian and Bulgarian counterparts to discuss the issue.

    Regarding the issue of Greece recognising a possible independence by Kosovo, the Greek foreign minister said: "Greece will study the situation, Greece is a neighbouring country, Greece has frontiers in the broader region, Greece is a country which has various issues in the region and various interests in the Balkans."

    The issue of Kosovo was also the focus of a separate meeting Bakoyannis had with her Serbian counterpart on the sidelines of the EU council.

    The main direction is that Kosovo is a European issue, with the question of what forces would be sent to the region still remaining open, as some international organisations, such as the OSCE, are already there, Bakoyannis said.

    Regarding Turkey's European prospects, the Greek foreign minister said that "for the first time the Council underlines, beyond the need for a strict adherence to good neighbourly relations, the need for threats and actions putting in danger these relations to be avoided."

    As regards the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bakoyannis said that in the Council's decision were included "important messages to FYROM in a particularly sensitive moment," while "the importance of good neighbourly relations and the need to resolve important pending issues with neighbours for all western Balkan countries was also underscored" and the FYROM government is called upon "to make new efforts in a constructive mood for achieving a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue within the UN process framework."

    Regarding the Middle East problem, Bakoyannis said the EU was "dynamically present in supporting the Palestinians", noting that Greece will table, during the forthcoming Paris conference its own contribution "beyond and above all that we dispose through the EU and strictly on a bilateral basis regarding the issue of the Palestinians."

    [05] Prime minister Karamanlis confers with justice minister, Areios Paghos' new president

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met on Monday with justice minister Sotiris Hatzigakis and Areios Paghos (Greek supreme court) president Vassilis Nikopoulos, in his first meeting with Nikopoulos since the latter assumed his duties.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Hatzigakis described the new supreme court president as an excellent judge and temperate with respect to justice, adding that the government's intention was to have a justice system that truly satisfied thepublic sentiment and inspired confidence among the entire Greek people.

    "We believe, in fact, that the effort that has commenced for a 'velvet revolution' in Justice, through voluntary exodus (early retirement) and other provisions for accelerating administrative trials, will lead to such a result that Justice will always have its due prestige and be at the top, as befits it," Hatzigakis said.

    Nikopoulos, in turn, stressed that it went without saying that he desires the streamlining of justice, and was working in that direction, adding that much has already been done.

    [06] Visit to Washington by Greek parliamentary delegation

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)

    A six-member delegation of the Greek Parliament is currently participating in the sessions of the Inter-Atlantic Parliamentary Forum which is being held in the American capital.

    The head of the delegation, Fanny Petralia, was due to arrive in Washington later on Monday.

    On Tuesday, the Greek deputies will meet with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and attend a reception in their honor by the Greek Ambassador at the Embassy's old building.

    [07] Greek deputy addresses forum in Washington

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)

    Greek deputy and former minister Savvas Tsitouridis on Monday referred to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) during the sessions of the Intra-Atlantic Parliamentary Forum which is convening in Washington.

    The member of the Greek parliamentary delegation, following the reference to FYROM with the term "Macedonia" by U.S. deputy assistant defense secretary Daniel P. Fata, responsible for European Policy and NATO, underlined that "we must be very careful on such a matter, particularly within the framework of the body of NATO's Parliamentary Assembly and to use the name recognized by the United Nations and other international organizations."

    The Greek deputy noted that countries wanting to become NATO members are obliged to adhere to the rules of the Alliance and have good neighbourly relations with countries which are already members. "Greece wishes the accession of FYROM in the Alliance, but this will depend from the conduct and acceptance of the Alliance's rules," Tsitouridis said. Concluding, Tsitouridis underlined that "no one can preconclude the results" of the Alliance's summit in Bucharest in early April.

    In reply, Fata agreed with Tsitouridis that the matter requires every attention and noted that it would be a pitty for the progress which has been made to be lost, if a mutually acceptable solution is not reached between the two countries.

    [08] Greek negotiator sanguine about achieving result on 'name' issue

    Ambassador Adamantios Vassiliakis, Greece's negotiator in talks with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) regarding the dispute over FYROM's use of the name 'Macedonia', on Monday said he was sanguine that the process would lead to a solution.

    "The government knows what it wants and I would like to believe that we will arrive at some sort of result. Whether this will be soon, tomorrow or the day after, I cannot say," Vassilakis said on the sidelines of an event marking the 50th anniversary of Macedonia University in Greece.

    Formerly Greece's ambassador to the United Nations, Vassilakis stressed that both Athens and the UN mediator Matthew Nimetz were making efforts to solve a thorny problem, while he highlighted recent statements by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis that the government was seeking a solution without winners and losers.

    "What we are interested in most of all is the stability of the region and protecting our interests," he added.

    [09] Environment Minister Souflias on climatic changes

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias on Monday said "the UN conference in Bali on climatic change must really constitute the starting point of a new world effort for the salvation of the planet from the phenomenon of the greenhouse effect, in which every country will assume its responsibilities according to the pollution it emanates."

    The minister added that "within this new effort, the world community is obliged to express in practice its solidarity towards the small countries which, although they have a smaller share of the phenomenon of the greenhouse effect, are affected much more from the consequences of the climatic changes."

    Souflias noted that at the international conference in Bali is turned the interest of the entire world community with the expectation and hope that a cohesive procedure is agreed upon which will lead until 2009 to a new plan for the confrontation of the climatic change, at which will participate and commit themselves all big countries and mainly the United States, China, India and Russia, which are the most pollutant countries.

    "I believe that here where are standing now, the threats are already visible and all henceforth see that we must proceed forward without lagging," Souflias said.

    [10] Gov't on the use of surveillance cameras in demonstrations

    Surveillance cameras will operate as stipulated by law, stressed government spokesman Thodoros Roussopoulos responding to a question by journalists on whether the demonstrations scheduled to take place within the framework of Wednesday's 24-hour nationwide strike will be monitored.

    The government takes under consideration only the views presented in the process of a dialogue, said Roussopoulos, following a question on whether the protesters' positions on the social security issue will have an impact on the government stance.

    He stated that Employment Minister Vassilis Magginas has engaged in dialogue with the interested parties and their views have been submitted in the competent committee within the framework of the dialogue underway.

    [11] Greek MP Pavlidis received by Ecumenical Patriarch

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A.Kourkoulas)

    Greek ruling New Democracy (ND) deputy and head of the Parliamentary Committee on Issues of Orthodoxy Aristotelis Pavlidis was received on Monday by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Fanar.

    Pavlidis, who had served as Aegean and island policy minister in the last ND government, discussed with the Patriarch issues relating to his new mission. Pavlidis was accompanied by Greece's Consul in Istanbul Alexandros Dimitrakopoulos.

    [12] President Papoulias congratulates President Putin

    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday and congratulated him on his 'United Russia' party's victory in the Dec. 2 parliamentary elections, it was announced here Monday.

    Financial News

    [13] MIG blasts 20% cap in stake for major utilities

    Marfin Investment Group (MIG) on Monday called on the government to withdraw a recently tabled provision preventing private investors from holding more than a 20-percent stake in a handful of "strategic" utilities, a development related directly to MIG's recent stock acquisitions of state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), the biggest telecoms and telephony company in the country.

    Conversely, MIG vice-president and executive board member Andreas Vgenopoulossaid the group would not seek recourse to the European Court over the stock ownership cap, while hinting that the Commission may itself, however, take up the matter.

    In a bid to allay the government's concern that bourse-listed OTE will slip out of the state's control through stock purchases on the open market - OTE announced late last week that MIG holds an 18.4551-percent stake in the blue chip company - Vgenopoulos proposed that shareholders themselves guarantee the state's interests in the utility.

    Additionally, the chief executive of MIG in Greece didn't mince his words in calling on the government to take back the provision "to the benefit of the Greek economy", while warning that the move may result in a lack of confidence by domestic and foreign investors.

    He also said that high-flying MIG, a Dubai-backed group whose presence in Greece over the recent period has been punctuated by several major purchases and investment, still aims to acquire 20 percent of OTE.

    "Now, we prevented from acquiring a bigger stake, something that was not in our intentions anyway," Vgenopoulos said, before launching into stinging attack on OTE president and managing director Panagis Vourloumis, referring, amongst others, to a "dictatorial governance of OTE" and attempts to create an impression of a "hostile takeover".

    He nevertheless repeated that MIG does not dispute the state's sovereign rights in the utility, but insists in a minority representation on OTE's board.

    [14] Deputy FM Doukas leads business, investment mission to Libya

    TRIPOLI, Libya (ANA-MPA / A. Lidorikis)

    Greece-based construction companies will have the opportunity to bid for infrastructure projects in Libya budgeted at 20 billion euros, visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas said here on Monday after meeting with the president of the managing committee of the country's Council of Housing and Public Utilities Works, Abu Zaid Omar Durba.

    The Greek deputy minister is currently paying an official visit to Libya at the head of a large delegation of Greek investors and entrepreneurs.

    The Libyan official referred to opportunities presented in the sectors of road construction, energy and telecoms infrastructure works, as well as waterworks and school construction all over the North African country.

    Abu Zaid Omar Durba also underlined the "particularly friendly relations" between Libya and Greece, a factor, as he said, that offers many advantages for Greek business activity in the North African country.

    Doukas also met with the president of the Public Tourism Organisation, Amar Al Mabrook Elttayef, for talks on the possibilities of establishing direct air routes and coastal shipping links between the two countries.

    The Greek minister has been invited to address the second international conference on energy and development, organized by Libya's National Council of Planning and the local Business Council.

    Doukas is accompanied by representatives of Hellenic Petroleum (EL.PE) and Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) as well as executives from the energy, telecommunications, trade, tourism, shipping and construction sectors.

    [15] Barrot spokesman calls for rapid solution to OA issue

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni)

    A spokesman for EU Commissioner Jacques Barrot reiterated here on Monday that a legally sound solution for ailing Greek national carrier Olympic Airlines (OA) must be found as soon as possible.

    Speaking during a regular press briefing, spokesman Michele Cercone was also queried over the prospect of a "Sabena-type" solution for OA, to which he replied that the Commission is not responsible for selecting the best solution for the carrier, merely reiterating that Barrot himself said that such a solution is possible, as are others.

    Asked about air links to islands and under-developed areas -- a concern repeatedly aired by the Greek government -- he said Community law allows subsidisation under the condition that procedures for tendering such air transport services are transparent.

    Finally, he reminded that European carriers retain the right to receive a one-time only cache of state support as part of a "bail out" programme, something OA benefited from in the 1990s, and that the Commission took Greece to the European Court for subsidies granted to OA between 1994 and 2004.

    [16] FinMin Alogoskoufis addresses event on Greek economy

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis addressed an event organized in Athens on Monday by the "Constantine Karamanlis" Institute for Democracy, on the theme "The Greek economy: Dynamic course, New prospects".

    "The next generation of denationalizations concern public businesses of a strategic character which manage infrastructures and networks," the minister said.

    Alogoskoufis clarified that "the denationalizations which are being planned cannot be done only with the rules of the Stock Exchange and certainly cannot be done in opposition with the declared government policy."

    The minister said that the prospects of the Greek economy are improving day by day and that the progress is visible and was rewarded by the Greek people in the recent general elections.

    [17] Deputy minister inaugurates new HAI aerostructures unit

    Deputy Defence Minister Costas Tassoulas on Monday inaugurated the fifth production unit at Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) S.A., which manufactures cutting-edge aerostructures made out of composite materials such as carbon fiber or fiberglass.

    In a brief address, Tassoulas stressed that the new unit would help broaden HAI's technological horizons and increase its outward orientation.

    The new unit is designed to manufacture parts of the NH-90 and EC-135 helicopters built by Eurocopter, as part of a 20-year cooperation agreement between HAI and Eurocopter. HAI's new unit is also expected, among others, to begin a joint project with Alenia Aeronautica of the Finmeccanica group for the manufacture of cargo doors for the new 787 plane.

    The construction of the new building was carried out by Aktor ETE and the total cost of the investment, including the installation of production equipment and training, was more than 34 million euros.

    [18] GSEE calls for mass participation in Wednesday's general strike

    The Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) in an announcement on Monday called for a mass participation in Wednesday's general strike in protest against the 2008 state budget, the changes in the social security system and privatizations.

    GSEE expressed belief that the strike will be a complete success in the private, public and broader public sector.

    The Athens Metro, trains and trams will operate from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to facilitate the working people who want to take part in the rallies.

    In Athens, the rally by GSEE and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) will start at 11:00 a.m. at Pedion tou Areos.

    [19] KKE's Papariga on Wed. strike

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Monday called for the greatest possible participation in Wednesday's strike, called by the country's main trade unions against government-proposed reforms of the social security system.

    "All Greece must be transformed into a river of protest by struggling wage-earners, in the public and private sector," she said during a tour of a major shopping mall in northern Athens.

    "On Wednesday Dec. 12, everything, shops, plants, all work places must be closed, dead," she noted, adding "we must stop measures tabled now by the government against health, social welfare, retiring age limits and pensions."

    [20] Athens public transport workers to strike on Wednesday

    Public transport workers in Athens will participate in the nationwide 24-hour strike called by the public and private-sector trade unions on Wednesday, December 12 to protest against the government-sponsored social security system reform.

    ETHEL buses, ILPAP trolleys and the Proastiakos railway (TRAINOSE) will participate in the 24-hour strike, while the HSAP electric railway and the metro (AMEL) personnel will hold work stoppages from the beginning of the shift until 10:00am and from 15:00 until the end of the shift.

    Tram services will be interrupted from the beginning of the shift until 09:30 and from 16:00 until the end of the shift.

    The EXPRESS bus drivers serving bus routes to and from Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport will participate in the strike from 04:25 until 24:00.

    For more information, passengers can dial OASA information number 185 or visit the website www.oasa.gr <http://www.oasa.gr>.

    [21] Tourism development minister meets with tourism association

    Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Monday discussed a series of matters concerning the sector of tourism in general, with members of the Association of Tourism Enterprises and of Car Rentals.

    After the meeting, the minister stated that what was discussed was "the need for further development of the sector's services, within the framework of promoting site seeing, luxury and countryside tourism."

    At the same time, issues concerning Car Rentals was examined and stressed was the important role of the sector in the upgrading of the quality of the Greek tourism product and the more effective projection of the modern and qualitative Greece abroad.

    [22] Employment minister replies to press allegations

    Employment Minister Vassilis Magginas on Monday denied that he was employing staff without putting them on social security, in reply to allegations made in the Greek press. He also claimed that the report by the journalist was obtained by violating his privacy and misleading tactics and that it formed part of a wider campaign to besmirch his reputation.

    The minister said that an Indian family living at a home that he owns in the region of Koropi in Attica were there as his guests, living rent-free, and that he had given the house for their use because the eldest of their three children was so severely disabled that the family had difficulties finding rented accommodation in the area, where the father was employed at a local import firm.

    He stressed that the family provided him with no service apart from their occupation and presence in the property.

    [23] Meeting between FinMin and defence minister

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis held talks on Monday with National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis at the finance ministry.

    They discussed the defense ministry's draft law "Adjustments of issues concerning war invalids, of the defense ministry's personnel and other provisions".

    [24] Reduced electricity rates for persons with disabilities being mulled

    Development minister Christos Folias met Monday with the presidium of the National Confederation of Persons with a Disability, who presented the minister with their demand for reduced Public Power Corporation (PPC) rates for their members.

    Confederation president Yannis Vardakastanis told ANA-MPA that the minister accepted the request in principle.

    Vardakastanis added that the Confederation would submit, by the Christmas holiday, its proposals for the reduced electricity rates, while by the end of January the ministry would table a relevant bill in parliament.

    [25] Piraeus Bank announces deal for Arab Bank network on Cyprus

    Piraeus Bank on Monday announced a deal for the acquisition of Arab Bank's branch network on Cyprus for 15 million euros.

    Arab Bank has four branches on Cyprus, as well as a privately-owned building of 4,600 square metres in Nicosia, a staff of 105, loans totalling 126 million euros (74 million Cyprus pounds) and deposits of 246 million euros (144 million Cyprus pounds).

    Piraeus Bank has already received permission from Cyprus central bank to operate a subsidiary under the name Piraeus Bank (Cyprus) Ltd that is expected to launch operations in 2008 with at least 13 branches and a staff of 160.

    [26] State revenues up 5.2% in November

    State revenues increased by 5.2% in November resulting in the 11-month period January-November 2007 increasing at a rate of 6.1%.

    The revised objective of the state budget foresees an increase of 6.4%. The data on the course of the revenues were made public on Monday by the Economy and Finance Ministry.

    Analytically, in November the revenues at the customs increased by 11.6% and in the taxation offices by 2.7%. In the 11-month period, the revenues from Value Added Tax (VAT) at the taxation offices marked a 13.1% increase.

    During the same period, the whole of the regular revenues of the budget showed a 7.8% increase, against an annual revised target of 8.1% foreseen by the budget.

    [27] Greek industrial production down 0.1 percent in October

    Greece's industrial production composite index fell by 0.1 percent in October 2007 from the same month the previous year, according to data released on Monday by Greece's National Statistics Service (NSS).

    The decline of the index was a result of a 0.7 percent decline in the manufacturing industry production index, a 5.7 percent decline in the mining and quarrying production index and a 4.8 percent rise in electricity, natural gas and water production.

    [28] Increase in cars, motorcycles retail in Q3

    The turnover index for cars and motorcycles, service, oil and lubricants retail rose by 6.3 per cent in the 3rd quarter of 2007, stated the National Statistic service of Greece.

    [29] Wholesale turnover index up 5.9 percent in 3rd quarter 2007

    The wholesale turnover index for the third quarter of 2007 in Greece increased 5.9 percent from the same period in 2006, according to figures released by National Statistics Service on Monday.

    [30] Exports, imports rise in value in October

    The value of imports rose by 9.8% in October 2007 against the same month a year earlier to total 4,963.1 million euros, Greece's National Statistics Service (NSS) said on Monday.

    The value of exports increased by 3.2% in comparison with October 2006, totaling 1,403 million euros, the NSS said in a monthly statement.

    [31] Public revenue up 5.2 pct in November 2007

    Budgetary revenues rose by 5.2 pct in November 2007 compared with the same month last year, the economy and finance ministry said on Monday. According to figures released by the ministry, revenues over the 11-month period between January and November rose by 6.1 pct, against the year's revised target of 6.4 pct.

    Total revenues to tax offices in November rose by 2.7 pct while revenues from customs offices increased by 11.6 pct.

    Tax office revenues from VAT over the first 11 months of 2007 increased by 13.1 pct.

    [32] Greek stocks end 0.40% up

    Greek stocks ended marginally higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market to 5,154.08. The index increased by 0.40 pct, with turnover a moderate 393.7 million euros, of which 85.4 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors ended higher with Telecoms (4.03 pct), Chemicals (2.79 pct), Retailing (2.58 pct) and Mass Media (2.54 pct) scoring the biggest gains. The biggest losses were recorded in Foods & Beverages (-2.11 pct) and Utilities (-1.09 pct). The Big Cap index ended 0.56 pct higher, the Mid Cap index rose 0.16 pct and the Small Cap index picked up 1.42 pct.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 156 to 88 with another 58 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: unchanged

    Industrials: +0.89%

    Commercial: +2.58%

    Construction: +0.68%

    Media: +2.54%

    Oil & Gas: +1.44%

    Personal & Household: +0.02%

    Raw Materials: +0.10%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.30%

    Technology: +2.18%

    Telecoms: +4.03%

    Banks: +0.27%

    Food & Beverages: -2.11%

    Health: +0.67%

    Utilities: -1.09%

    Chemicals: +2.79%

    Financial Services: +0.40%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, National Bank, OPAP and Bank of Piraeus.

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

    Alpha Bank: 24.10

    ATEbank: 3.86

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 36.02

    HBC Coca Cola: 28.50

    Hellenic Petroleum: 10.68

    National Bank of Greece: 46.50

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 23.74

    Intralot: 13.90

    OPAP: 27.80

    OTE: 24.48

    Titan Cement Company: 31.30

    [33] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices ended with small premiums in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover easing to 161.989 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.24 percent and the December contract on the FTSE 40 index at a premium of 0.38 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 7,940 contracts worth 108.150 million euros, with 31,092 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was 368 contracts worth 11.616 million euros with 937 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 22,450 contracts worth 29.575 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Investment Group (7,585 contracts) followed by Piraeus Bank (4,211), Intracom (1,872), Post Office Bank (1,237), ATEbank (1,036) and Marfin Popular Bank (637).

    [34] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.485 billion euros on Monday, of which 720 million were buy orders and the remaining 765 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 445 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds remained at 0.34 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.53 pct and the German Bund 4.21 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates remained mostly unchanged. National Bank's overnight rate was 3.87 pct from 3.72 pct on Friday, the two-day rate increased to 4.02 from 3.79 pct, the one-month rate stood at 4.92 from 4.9 pct and the 12-month rate rose to 4.85 pct from 4.73 pct.

    [35] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.483

    Pound sterling 0.725

    Danish kroner 7.520

    Swedish kroner 9.493

    Japanese yen 165.85

    Swiss franc 1.668

    Norwegian kroner 8.055

    Cyprus pound 0.589

    Canadian dollar 1.491

    Australian dollar 1.684

    General News

    [36] Children's Ombudsman presents report

    The Children's Ombudsman in Greece presented the conclusions, interventions and proposals of the independent authority during the four years since its establishment on the occasion of the International Children's Day of Broadcasting on December 12, the day television and radio stations around the world dedicate some or all of their programming to kids.

    According to Children's Ombudsman Giorgos Moschos, a total of 1,180 complaints were filed over the past four years, 38.14 percent concerning education, 18.71 percent domestic problems, 12.4 percent health, welfare and social security issues of minors, 12.3 percent immigrant and refugee children reception problems and 6.6 percent abuse and exploitation of minors.

    Most of complaints (50 percent) are made by the children's mothers (27.7 percent) and 24.7 percent by fathers. The children themselves have made 5.6 percent of the complaints while the special hotline number 800.11.32000 has been established to further facilitate communication with children.

    The report mentions that welfare and children protection in Greece are problematic not being able to meet the rising needs.

    The main problem for children's institutions in Greece is the poor level of welfare services provided by the state. The situation is equally problematic regardless of whether it concerns children with disabilities, neglected children, or children whose parents are in the process of a divorce and fight for custody rights.

    Infrastructure is inadequate and not specialized and there are no psychologists or social workers in schools in spite of repeated calls made by children requesting such a service, according to the findings presented by the independent authority.

    [37] Athens' senior citizens' Christmas event on Tues.

    The city of Athens will host its annual Christmas celebration for senior citizen members of the municipality's friendships clubs on Tuesday at a downtown Athens hotel.

    The event, once again organised by the city's social welfare department and friendship clubs section, will feature a festive menu, music and gifts.

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis will also attend the event.

    [38] Event in memory of Maria Callas in Geneva

    GENEVA (ANA-MPA)

    The Association of Greek Women of Geneva will organise an event in memory of Maria Callas on Tuesday, on the 30th anniversary since her death, including addresses and documentaries on the life of the late Diva.

    The event will be presented by the Greek general consul in Geneva, Tereza Aggelatou, and journalist Maria Stika.

    The event is held with the support of the Greek Parliament Foundation and its President Dimitris Sioufas and General Secretary Nikos Stefanou.

    [39] Bulgarian writer Tsonchev receives Hemus Balkan Award of Literature

    SOFIA (ANA-MPA/B. Borishov)

    A great Bulgarian writer and MP, Doncho Tsonchev, was the recipient of the fourth "Hemus" Balkan Award for Literature established by the Thessaloniki-based South East Europe Centre of Culture and Book.

    In a special ceremony held at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria the centre president Charalambos Barbounakis, also the president of the Publishers' Association in Northern Greece, underlined the Balkan dimensions of the honored author's work and his contribution to the establishment of closer relations between the Balkan peoples.

    Accepting the award Tsonchev stressed that "the time has come for the dialogue of cultures to evolve into a culture of dialogue" adding that the Balkan peoples should "forge new relations of true friendship and cooperation as equal partners in the united Europe".

    The award ceremony was held in the presence of the Greek ambassador to Bulgaria and leading Bulgarian intellectuals.

    [40] Coast guard intercepts and detains 113 illegal immigrants near Kos

    The Greek coast guard on Monday morning intercepted and detained 113 illegal immigrants that were discovered aboard the 12-metre Turkish vessel "Berivan" near the Aegean island of Kos.

    Coast guard officers used warning shots to force the vessel, which was sighted off the islet of Pserimos in the vicinity of Kos, to head for the shore.

    The Turkish immigrant-smuggling vessel had been spotted by a military outpost while sailing in Turkish waters toward the Greek sea border and was placed under surveillance. The crew of a Greek coast guard vessel initially tried to prevent the Turkish boat from entering Greek territorial waters but then had to change tactics when the Berivan's operator attempted to ram the Greek patrol boat.

    A second coast guard patrol boat was called in and opened fire near the vessel in an attempt to make it submit to an inspection, forcing the Turkish boat toward the eastern coast of Pserimos where both the crew and the illegal immigrants on board disembarked.

    The coast guard reported arresting 113 men, most of whom claim to be from Afghanistan, while they suspect that a crew of at least four Turkish immigrant smugglers are concealed among them and are confident that they will be found. The Turkish boat was towed to the harbour in nearby Kalymnos. The arrests were carried out with the assistance of a small military unit stationed on Pserimos. The men placed under arrest will be taken to Kalymnos using a passenger ferry.

    [41] Diplomatic cars targeted in Athens

    The police counter-terrorism unit was investigating on Monday attacks shortly after midnight targeting cars with diplomatic license plates registered to foreign missions in Athens.

    The attacks took place between 00:25 and 00:49 when unidentified individuals set ablaze two Turkish embassy cars parked in the district of Pagrati, an Italian embassy car in Galatsi and the Philippine embassy attaché's car in Ambelokipi.

    No traces of incendiary devices were found on the scene, and no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks as yet.

    [42] Ankara condemns torching of diplomatic cars

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A.Kourkoulas)

    Turkey's foreign ministry on Monday condemned the torching of two Turkish embassy vehicles in Athens hours earlier, although a spokesman said such actions would not affect "the process of dialogue and cooperation with Greece."

    "These attacks cause us great sorrow and we condemn them," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a press release issued in Ankara, adding the its embassy in Athens was making necessary consultations with the Greek foreign ministry and relevant authorities.

    "We are waiting for Greek authorities to locate the culprits, compensation for damages and the safeguarding of the propriety and well-being of all our employees in Greece," the press release also state.

    A police counter-terrorism unit was investigating the early morning attacks against vehicles with diplomatic plates registered to foreign missions in Athens.

    The attacks took place between midnight and 1 a.m. when unidentified individuals torched two Turkish embassy cars parked in the east Athens district of Pangrati, an Italian embassy car in the Galatsi district and the Filipino attaché's car in the Ambelokipi district.

    [43] Rain causes landslides at fire-stricken villages on Mount Taygetus

    Heavy rains resulted in landslides around villages of Mount Taygetus in areas burnt during the summer fires, Peloponnese authorities reported on Monday.

    Some roads have been made impassable but none of the villages have so far been cut off because there are alternative access roads.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [44] Lavrov hopes future UNSG report to reflect realities in Cyprus

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country will propose to the UN Security Council to pay special attention to the initiative by President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos to promote implementation of a UN-brokered agreement in July last year, aiming to help resume negotiations towards a political settlement.

    He also expressed the hope that future reports on Cyprus by the UN Secretary General will reflect the realities in Cyprus.

    Lavrov was speaking after talks with President Papadopoulos as part of his two-day official visit to the island.

    Papadopoulos said their talks took place in "the well known friendly spirit that exists between the two countries" during which they discussed "ways and means of strengthening our relations in a wide field of commercial, research, educational and other activities".

    President Papadopoulos expressed "gratitude for the constant support, and the principled attitude which Russia takes concerning Cyprus", noting that the Russian FM is "very knowledgeable about the Cyprus problem".

    In his remarks, Lavrov confirmed his country is very satisfied with its relations with Cyprus. The talks covered a "rich agenda, culture, tourism military and technical cooperation, education. We discussed yesterday (Sunday) and today (Monday) how to promote these".

    "We also discussed the Cyprus problem. Russia is interested in finding a settlement which will be based on Security Council resolutions which will be the outcome of an agreement between the two communities that will be just, supported by the people of Cyprus", he said.

    The Russian FM added his country welcomes "the recent eight point initiative by President Papadopoulos which was addressed to the UN", adding that this initiative is a move, "a very good mechanism to start implementing the July 8 Agreement which was endorsed by the leaders of the two communities and supported by the UN".

    "As we discuss Cyprus at the SC, we will be proposing to pay special attention to the proposals by President Papadopoulos and I hope this will bring results," Lavrov underlined.

    Asked why he did not meet Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, Lavrov said his contacts involved four visits and he could not visit the "rest of Cyprus."

    On much talk about the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and less talk about the occupation of Cyprus by Turkish troops, Lavrov said, speaking through an interpreter, that "on Cyprus, we must talk, use specific fundamentals. We are talking about real facts, because the government of the Republic of Cyprus is making many efforts to support the Turkish Cypriot community so that economic cooperation between the two communities increases."

    He said President Papadopoulos reconfirmed his readiness for reunification of the country, adding "I hope in the future the UN Secretary-General's reports will detail the real facts". Lavrov said he was surprised to see that in his recent report, the UN Secretary-General made no clear reference to the eight point proposal by President Papadopoulos, which aims to implement the July 8 agreement signed with the contribution of the UN in 2006.

    "We call on both sides to become active in the direction of finding a solution which will be commonly accepted, based on the previous agreements signed and based on UN resolutions on Cyprus," the Russian FM added.

    On July 8 2006, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the presence of the then UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari signed an agreement, involving bicommunal discussions by technical committees of issues affecting the day-to-day life of the people and, concurrently, consideration by expert working groups of substantive issues of the Cyprus problem. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    Lavrov expressed appreciation to President Papadopoulos "for his consistent position for developing Russia-EU partnership and more issues which concern the international community and the EU".

    Asked about Russia's reaction in the event of a unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo and recognition of this independence by other states, Lavrov said in this event "those countries will violate international law. We do not support violation of international law".

    Lavrov said a "unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo and recognition of this independence will not remain without consequences".

    "This will create a chain reaction throughout the Balkans and other areas of the world. Those who devise such plans must weigh up the consequences very carefully," he said on the day mediation efforts between Serbia and Kosovo Albanian leaders officially ended.

    [45] Spokesman says Russian FM's statements helpful for Cyprus

    Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas said on Monday that the government welcomes the support from Russia, noting that remarks by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov are helpful and supportive of the Cyprus question.

    Replying to questions, Palmas said it was well known that statements from political persons, whose countries play a decisive role in international affairs, are presented in a diplomatic way, in order to maintain balances and create prospects for progress, which is in fact desirable in the case of the Cyprus problem.

    Palmas said that Lavrov was quite clear in matters of principle, which the international community adopts and are in line with the Cypriot positions, and gave as an example the dedication to a UN agreement of July last year, the disagreement with the stance of the UN Secretary General regarding the lifting of the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, and other issues.

    Asked if Russia would not approve the UN chief's report to the Security Council, Palmas said he did not wish to jump to conclusions but referred to remarks according to which ''Russia will not accept such a proposal (on the so-called isolation) at the Security Council.''

    Commenting on the UN Secretary General's report on the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months, Palmas said it contained both positive and negative elements.

    ''In general, there is a balanced approach,'' he said, adding that rarely did one find references that blamed one or the other side.

    ''This is a customary practice of the UN,'' he concluded. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [46] Marcoullis satisfied with Council conclusions on Turkey-Cyprus relations

    BRUSSELS (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said she was satisfied with the context of the conclusions adopted Monday by the General Affairs and External Relations EU Council which are to be ratified by the EU-27 heads of state on Friday.

    Marcoullis said that despite the amendments made on the conclusions' text regarding enlargement, the two paragraphs on Cyprus remained unchanged.

    The Cypriot FM said that the wording regarding Turkey's support in reaching a Cyprus settlement has been changed for the better.

    Marcoullis said she was satisfied with this development since "the old wording could be interpreted in various and dangerous ways".

    "The new adopted text calls upon Turkey to support the implementation of the agreed procedure of the July 8th Agreement which would lead to the comprehensive and viable solution of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and based on the EU principles", Marcoullis said.

    She described the reference on the July 8 Agreement and its connection with a comprehensive and viable solution as very important.

    "This development is very important because Turkey is now expected to act towards the support of those efforts to implement the July 8th Agreement", she stressed.

    Marcoullis described as positive the reference, which says that Turkey should make concrete steps towards the creation of a good climate for a comprehensive solution.

    In her statements, Marcoullis said the conclusions also refer to Turkey's EU obligations and the fact that Ankara has not yet met its obligation to implement in full the additional protocol, which provides for the extension of the Customs Union agreement between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus.

    The conclusions, Marcoullis added, note that Ankara has made no progress in normalizing its relations with Nicosia.

    "We managed to pass all those strong messages to Turkey in a way that leaves no room for false interpretations", she underscored.

    Marcoullis said that the conclusions refer to the Intergo-vernmental conference end of December during which two more EU-Turkey negotiating chapters will open, chapter 28 on public health and consumers protection and chapter 31 on inter-European networks.

    "These are two chapters which have no political dimension and cause us no problems. We gave our consent for their opening", she concluded.

    The paragraphs on Cyprus are as follows:

    "Recalling its conclusions of 11 December 2006, the Council notes with regret that Turkey has not fulfilled its obligation of full non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement and has not made progress towards normalisation of relations with the Republic of Cyprus. The Council will continue to follow up and review progress made on the issues covered by the declaration of the European Community and its Member States of 21 September 2005 in accordance with its conclusions of 11 December 2006. Swift progress on these issues is expected.

    "Recalling the Negotiating Framework, the Council also expects Turkey to actively support efforts to implement the agreed 8th of July process leading to a comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and in line with the principles on which the Union is founded including concrete steps to contribute to a favourable climate for such a comprehensive settlement".

    On July 8 2006, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the presence of the then UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari signed an agreement, involving bicommunal discus-sions by technical committees of issues affecting the day-to-day life of the people and, concurrently, consideration by expert working groups of substantive issues of the Cyprus problem.

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

    [47] Cyprus will not consent to Kosovo's secession

    NICOSIA (CNA-ANA-MPA)

    The Cypriot government reaffirmed its position of principle for a Kosovo settlement, based on international law and UN Security Council decisions on issues concerning secessionist acts, said Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas, stressing that the Republic will never consent to a secession and recognition of Kosovo.

    ''God forbid that Cyprus should agree, even if the rest of the EU decides to recognise the independence of Kosovo, even if there are reactions to our behavior", the spokesman said, explaining that if Cyprus agrees on Kosovo's secession which is pursued in such a unilateral way would cause problems to its own case.

    He noted that for the Cyprus Republic is a position of principle, fully in line with the International law and international laws and principles that are very important for small states.

    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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