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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-12-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 19 December 2007 Issue No: 2776


  • [01] Karamanlis, Putin focus on energy relations; EU-Russia ties discussed
  • [02] PM Karamanlis meets with Russian President, Patriarch of Moscow
  • [03] Greek-Russian relations evolving into 'strategic relationship'
  • [04] PM Karamanlis' address at Kremlin official dinner
  • [05] FM Bakoyannis responds to Erdogan quip on FYROM
  • [06] FM Bakoyannis in Budapest on Wednesday
  • [07] Cyprus and Greece sign defence agreement on missile systems
  • [08] Gov't on Turkish army staff website quip regarding Dodecanese
  • [09] President Papoulias decorates Parliament President Sioufas
  • [10] KKE leader Papariga meets with KEDKE's board
  • [11] Cadre bids for leftist party' helm
  • [12] Greece, Russia, Bulgaria sign Protocol establishing pipeline project's int'l development company
  • [13] 2008 state budget a new start, FinMin Alogoskoufis says
  • [14] Culture Minister Liapis on 2008 state budget
  • [15] Tourism minister addresses debate on 2008 state budget
  • [16] Voulgarakis presents developmental plan for Greek ports
  • [17] SEB chief sees higher inflation, lower growth rate in 2008
  • [18] Papandreou reiterates support for state control of OTE
  • [19] Media strike on Wednesday, work-stoppage on Thursday
  • [20] PPC holds cooperation talks with Germany's RWE
  • [21] Merchant fleet statistics
  • [22] Greek stocks end 1 pct up on Tues.
  • [23] ADEX closing report
  • [24] Greek bond market closing report
  • [25] Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday
  • [26] Athens to double greenhouse gas reduction target
  • [27] Gov't: Roughly one million migrants live in Greece
  • [28] Child molesting case defendants appear before magistrate
  • [29] Illegal migrants from Egypt intercepted on Gavdos
  • [30] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Karamanlis, Putin focus on energy relations; EU-Russia ties discussed

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)

    Expanding energy cooperation between Russia and Greece dominated talks here on Monday between visiting Greek Premier Costas Karamanlis and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the two leaders' meeting also reportedly touched on the thorny Kosovo issue.

    In statements after the more than one-hour meeting, both leaders said the expansion of already burgeoning energy cooperation between the two countries substantially benefits Europe's energy sufficiency and security, with particular mention to a finalised three-nation pact (Russia, Bulgaria and Greece) to construct the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and proposals for the "Southstream" natgas pipeline linking Russian gas reserves with SE Europe.

    Putin, in fact, said a protocol signed earlier in the day in Moscow -- establishing an international company by the three sides to build the Burgas-Alexandroupolis line -- is the next-to-last step for constructing the pipeline.

    Military cooperation was also discussed, with Karamanlis directly referring to the purchase of 420 Russian-made armoured vehicles, whereas Putin said there is "no restriction" on the development of bilateral defence cooperation with Greece, including an i nterest to proceed with joint weapons production on Russian soil.

    Int'l developments

    In response to a press question regarding ostensible "criticism" of close Greece-Russia ties by EU civil servants -- the reporter's words -- Putin merely noted that domestic issues have dominated his attention of late, with no time to "deal with the state ments of respectable functionaries of Brussels."

    Moreover, he said EU-Russia relations are moving along "not so badly", while the Russian leader expressed hope that a long-term agreement with the Union will soon be concluded.

    Beyond Moscow's ties with the Union, Putin said he discussed the Kosovo issue and the Cyprus problem with the Greek leader, underlining that their views were similar.

    As per Greek-Russian relations, in particular, Putin said they are not restricted to merely the energy sector, but involve several other fields, adding that "certain (parties) don't delve deeply enough into the nature of this relationship".

    On his part, Karamanlis reminded that Greece is a European nation that operates within the framework of the European Union, adding however, "that our bilateral relations revolve on the basis of national interests".

    Asked about the Southstream project, Karamanlis said experts on both sides are examining its feasibility prospects, with predictions impossible at present.

    Turning to other matters, the Greek premier said Athens was ready to assist the Sochi 2014 Winter Games organisers and preparations, with Greece-based contractors also eager to win Olympics-related projects.

    Along those lines, he proposed that the Olympic year 2014 be declared "Year of Russia" in Greece, concurrently, "Year of Greece" in Russia, an idea that was accepted by the Russian side.

    In a reference to the ongoing year-long series of events showcasing the Russian language in the country, Karamanlis said a promise he made to the Russian leader in 2004, namely, the establishment of a Slavic studies department at the University of Athens, is nearing fulfillment.

    "In fact, as of the next academic year, a pilot programme for the teaching of the Russian language will begin in certain (Greek) secondary schools," Karamanlis stressed.

    [02] PM Karamanlis meets with Russian President, Patriarch of Moscow

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)

    Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis had a half-hour meeting on Tuesday morning with Russian president Vladimir Putin, in the context of a three-day official visit to Russia at Putin's invitation.

    Karamanlis arrived in Moscow on Monday evening.

    Greeting Karamanlis before their discussion, Putin noted that this was their fifth meeting, adding that each of the preceding meetings had been a success and expressing his conviction that this meeting, too, would be constructive.

    Putin praised Greece's contribution to Russia-EU relations, stressing also that bilateral relations between the two countries were at a very good level.

    Karamanlis, in turn, said that the historic ties of friendship between the two countries were further reinforced by their cooperation in the energy sector, which he said had positive effects not only on the two countries, but also on the wider region.

    The Greek prime minister described Russia as a "partner of strategic importance", adding that Tuesday's meeting would contribute to further development of their cooperation.

    Earlier, Karamanlis was received by Patriarch Alexios II of Moscow and All Russia, who noted that the Greeks and Russians were brother peoples with the shared heritage of Orthodoxy.

    Alexios said that the Orthodox Church of Russia had excellent relations with the Church of Greece, and expressed sadness over Archbishop Christodoulos' ailing health, adding that "we pray that he will overcome this difficulty".

    The Patriarch also noted the Greek prime minister's frequent visits to Russia, expressing conviction that the broadening of relations between the two peoples will continue.

    In reply, Karamanlis noted the important role the Patriarch has played in strengthening the Orthodox faith, noting that the historical and spiritual bonds between the two peoples went back many centuries, beginning from Byzantium, with the Ecumenical Patr iarchate, the mother church of both Churches, serving as a link.

    Karamanlis said that Christianity, and Orthodoxy in particular, could play a very significant role in protection of the human personality and moral values, adding that understanding, consensus and cooperation among the Christian Orthodox Churches was nece ssary today more than ever, and expressing hope that the Churches will continue their constructive dialogue with the other Christian faiths.

    The prime minister further said that the relations between Russia and Greece were at a very good level, as proved by the frequency of visits, and expressed conviction that his present visit to Russia would give new momentum to the cooperation between the two countries in many sectors.

    [03] Greek-Russian relations evolving into 'strategic relationship'

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)

    Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis stressed the dynamic development of Greek-Russian relations, which he said were evolving into a relationship of "strategic importance", speaking to an expanded meeting between the Greek and Russian delegations after private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Tuesday.

    Karamanlis, who arrived in Moscow on Monday evening on a three-day official visit to Russia at Putin's invitation, expressed great pleasure at visiting Moscow again, noting that the dynamic development of the relations between the two countries was "found ed on the common historical legacy of centuries, which has created unbreakable bonds between our peoples".

    The prime minister noted that 2008 would mark the 180th anniversary of the commencement of diplomatic relations between Greece and Russia, adding that, in that time, "Russia has actively manifestred its solidarity on vital issues of direct interest to Gre ece".

    Karamanlis also thanked Putin for Russia's "valuable, immediate and substantial help" during the devastating wildfires that ravaged several parts of Greece over the past summer, which he attributed to Putins "personal intervention".

    He further congratulated Putin on his United Russia's ticket recent victory in parliamentary elections.

    Putin, in turn, expressed satisfaction at this latest meeting with Karamanlis, which he said was held in a "climate of mutual understanding, open dialogue and constructive discussion".

    The Russian president also noted the "substantial progress in bilateral relations in all sectors", making special mention of the fact that the volume of trade between the two countries has been increasing at a rate of 40 percent annually in recent years.

    "It is with great pleasure that I am meeting with the delegation of a friend country with which we are bound by historical ties," Putin said, adding that "we are certain that your visit is opening up a new page in the relations between our two countries, and a new stage for their future".

    [04] PM Karamanlis' address at Kremlin official dinner

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/S.Goutzanis)

    Greek-Russian relations "are in front of a very promising future and with our talks today we have given further impetus to our energy cooperation," visiting Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said in his address during an official dinner hosted in his honour by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday evening.

    The signing of the agreement for the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, "beyond its great economic significance, will constitute a very important step for achieving international energy security," Karamanlis said.

    "We look forwrd to the mutually beneficial cooperation of our two countries in other sectors as well, such as the natural gas. The financial and trade sectors are also presenting great prospects of cooperation," the Greek premier noted.

    Karamanlis also thanked President Putin for the help Russia extended to Greece last summer during the catastrophic wildfires, and referred to cooperation in the defence sector which, as he said, "is broadening through common actions."

    After referring to Russia's role in resolving international issues, the premier noted Moscow's "steadfast support to efforts for a Cyprus solution and Russia's constructive stance in relevant UN Security Council discussions."

    He also underlined that Greek diplonacy is active towards reinforcing the relations, of strategic character, between the European Union and Russia, while supporting the strengthening of a NATO-Russia cooperation.

    Earlier, Karamanlis met with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.

    [05] FM Bakoyannis responds to Erdogan quip on FYROM

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said here on Tuesday that Turkey should realise that NATO and European Union member-states "have specific rights as well as the possibility of exercising them fully."

    Bakoyannis, who is accompanying Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on a three-day-official visit to Moscow, made the statement when asked to respond to statements made earlier in Ankara by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who, in the presence of visiting Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, decried the possibility of "Macedonia" being asked to change its name with the promise, by NATO, of subsequent support for its request to join the Alliance.

    "On this matter, Turkey, as well as other member-countries of the Alliance, has been briefed on when and under what conditions Greece will exercise a right of veto. One would have expected that Turkey is aware that member-countries of NATO as well as of t he European Union have specific rights, as well as the possibility to exercise them (rights) fully."

    Greece sternly objects to the use of the name "Macedonia" by the neighboring state, charging that it implies irredentist designs and is, at best, historically misleading.

    [06] FM Bakoyannis in Budapest on Wednesday

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will travel to Budapest on Wednesday for a working visit, a ministry press release announced on Tuesday.

    Bakoyannis is scheduled to meet Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, Foreign Minister Kinga Goncz, leader of the opposition Viktor Orban and Budapest Mayor Gabor Demszky.

    Bilateral relations and issues of international and European interest will be at the focus of Bakoyannis' talks in Budapest, the press release said.

    [07] Cyprus and Greece sign defence agreement on missile systems


    The Defence Ministers of Greece and Cyprus signed here Tuesday an interstate agreement which addresses the issue of the ownership of the missile systems S300, TOR M1 and SUZANA.

    Cyprus Defence Minister Christodoulos Pashiardes told the press after signing the agreement, which followed talks between the two Ministers and their aides, that according to this agreement the Cypriot side transfers the ownership of the S 300 missiles to Greece in return for the ownership of two other missile systems.

    "The agreement settles permanently an issue pending for many years," Pashiardes said.

    Greek Minister of National Defence Evangelos Meimarakis said this was an important agreement in that it resolves a long standing issue which had troubled Athens and Nicosia for many years.

    Meimarakis also noted that the joint defence pact, agreed in the early 1990s between Cyprus and Greece, is still in place.

    "The agreement reached today, with all interested parties, settles a pending issue and integrates the weaponry systems into our defences," he said, adding that these systems are used to safeguard stability and peace in the broader region.

    The Cypriot Defence Minister said that he had the chance to discuss with Meimarakis about various other issues regarding the continuation and promotion of the cooperation between the two ministries. He also underlined the close, excellent and effective co operation between the two ministries.

    Meimarakis was received earlier in the day by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.

    [08] Gov't on Turkish army staff website quip regarding Dodecanese

    The Greek government on Tuesday merely referred to a reaction by foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos when asked to comment a peculiar statement found on a Turkish army staff website alleging the existence of a "minority" on the Dodecanese islan ds in the southern Aegean.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stated that the foreign ministry on Monday issued directions to the Greek embassy in Ankara to lodge a firm demarche with the Turkish government, adding that Athens rarely comments on Turkish army staff a nnouncements. He also stressed that the relationship between the military establishment and the political leadership in Turkey is an issue that concerns the EU.

    The Greek-populated Dodecanese islands, of which the best-known are Rhodes, Kos, Patmos, Kalymnos and Leros, among others, were annexed by the Greek state in 1947 following a post-WWII treaty between Allied Greece and the occupying war-time power, Italy.

    [09] President Papoulias decorates Parliament President Sioufas

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias decorated Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas with the Grand Cross of the Order of Honor, during a special ceremony held Tuesday at the Presidential Mansion in Athens.

    President Papoulias congratulated Sioufas for his notable service to the Greek people and his role in the materialization of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project during his term as minister of development, characterizing it as a major national project.

    President Papoulias also referred to Sioufas' long political career, stressing that his work honors him and Greece, and wishing him success in his endeavor as parliament president.

    Accepting the medal, the parliament president stated that he is honored, and stressed that throughout his political career he has put the national interest first.

    The ceremony was attended government ministers and parliament vice-presidents.

    [10] KKE leader Papariga meets with KEDKE's board

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga on Tuesday met with the board of the Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE).

    In statements after the meeting, Papariga called on the government "to give back the money it owes to local government."

    She said that "most of this money are institutionalized funds which have been withheld and the state is obliged to give it to local government."

    At the same time, the KKE leader raised the obligations of local government "to pay the permanent or temporary employees, or other social programs, such as the programme 'help at home',"which must be broadened and not simply be a selective policy in the p oor neighbourhoods."

    [11] Cadre bids for leftist party' helm

    High-ranking Coalition of Left (Synaspismos) cadre Alexis Tsipras, a former Athens mayoral candidate, announced on Tuesday his candidancy for the party's leadership.

    Tsipras said that after Christmas he will present his positions and proposals on party's course heading towards the 5th congress in early March 2008.

    Financial News

    [12] Greece, Russia, Bulgaria sign Protocol establishing pipeline project's int'l development company


    Greece and Russia on Tuesday signed a Protocol on establishing the international project development company for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, shortly before the commencement of formal talks between visiting Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis and his host, Russian president Vladimir Putin, in Moscow.

    The Protocol was signed by development minister Christos Folias, who is accompanying Karamanlis on his three-day official visit to Russia, and general director of the Greek consortium "Bapline" (comprising Hellenic Petroleum-HELPE S.A. and Thraki S.A.) Ch ristos Dimas on behalf of Greece, general director of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis Pipeline Consortium (joint venture of the Russian Transneft, Rosneft and Gazprom Neft) Dmitri Yievstratov on behalf of Russia, and chairman of the board of the Project Compa ny Burgas-Alexandroupolis BG Stefan Gunchev on behalf of Bulgaria.

    In statements after the signing of the Protocol, Folias said that it was "a special day", adding that a new era was being launched not only in energy relations among Russia, Bulgaria and Greece, but also at many more levels.

    "We are know with the shovels in hand," Folias said, adding that the establishment of the project development company "that will materialise the vision of our leaders" had been set in motion.

    He expressed deep conviction that the projects will have commenced by the end of summer 2008, adding that the pace launched was "very fast".

    Russian deputy industry and energy minister Andrei Dementiev, who attended the signing ceremony, was equally optimistic in his statements, noting that "it is a project that had been much delayed, and now everything is ready for the commencement of constru ction in 2008", and adding his optimism that the details still outstanding would be ironed out quickly, so that materialisation of the project could proceed at a fast pace.

    According to the Protocol, the international company will be headquartered in the Netherlands.

    After the signing ceremony, the Greek and Russian officials went to the Kremlin to join Karamanlis and Putin in a broad meeting following a private discussion between the two leaders.

    [13] 2008 state budget a new start, FinMin Alogoskoufis says

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Tuesday addressed in Parliament on Tuesday the six-day debate on the 2008 state budget which began on Sunday and ends on Friday with a vote.

    "The 2008 state budget constitutes a new start for us to confront many of the difficulties which persist both in the Greek economy and the Greek society," Alogoskoufis said.

    At the same time, he noted that "the citizens are asking of the New Democracy (ND) government to continue speeding up its reform program," while he strongly criticized the main opposition PASOK party that "it has remained stuck to the impasses of past dec ades."

    "The government of (Prime Minister) Costas Karamanlis proves daily the credibility of its policy. To the blurred picture which is presented by the main opposition, the government counter-presents the clearness of its policy, with its sincerity and credibi lity, implementing its commitments. With a program and plan without surprises, we are creating a new impetus. The government's policy has already borne fruit," Alogoskoufis added.

    "With targeted initiatives we are strengthening social cohesion, we are giving an impetus to employment, entrepreneurship, investments, regional convergence, while we are safeguarding, despite the galloping increase in the price of oil, the rate of growth which is one of the greatest in the Eurozone," Alogoskoufis said.

    [14] Culture Minister Liapis on 2008 state budget

    Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Tuesday addressed Parliament's ongoing debate on the 2008 state budget.

    Regarding his ministry's work, Liapis noted that the year 2008 "is the year of the New Acropolis Museum," where a UNESCO international conference will be held in March for the return to Greece of antiquities. Within the same framework the already postpone d effort for the return of the stolen antiquities to Greece is intensified. At the same time, new exhibitions of the archaeological museum are being organized and the planning starts of its underground expansion and the conclusion of the work at the Tsill er Mansion of the National Theatre, so that the next winter season to find the actors of the National Theatre, again at their historic base."

    "Within the immediate coming days a committee will be set up for the modernization of the legislative framework for cinema, comprised by important personalities of the field, with international range," Liapis noted.

    "The National Library and the National Opera House acquire new buildings, while new taxation motives for the strengthening of the institution of grants are introduced. The first priority continues to be the restoration of the natural environment in Olympi a, with the anti-flooding safeguarding to have been completed by January 15," the minister added.

    Finally, the draft law for the abolition of violence in soccer stadiums is being concluded, which instutionalizes "Fans' Clubs" that will operate under the control, supervision and responsibility of the teams. "That is, they will constitute an internal pa rt of the teams so as to facilitate the real friends of sport," Liapis said.

    [15] Tourism minister addresses debate on 2008 state budget

    Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Tuesday evening addressed in Parliament the debate on the 2008 state budget.

    "If the New Democracy (ND) government has made a mistake, it is because it has placed the bar quite high, particularly in the sectors of reforms. However, we are determined to proceed with speed and boldness," Spiliotopoulos said.

    "Our national bet on tourism does not concern numbers but quality and in this intention we are determined to respond immediately and effectively. In 2020 world tourism in number of arrivals will be double the present and 1.5 billion people will visit some other country as tourists. Greece will not remain a non-participant in these challenges," the tourism development minister added.

    [16] Voulgarakis presents developmental plan for Greek ports

    Merchant Marine & Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis on Tuesday presented the 2008-2015 developmental policy for Greek ports.

    At a press conference, he stressed that the procedures for handing out to private interests part of the ports' activities, which, as he underlined, will maintain their public character, will be completed by the first half of 2008. The sellings will be mad e through an international tender.

    Voulgarakis mainly referred to the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki and stressed that for the former, the best model is the granting of a part of the Cargo section (SEMPO) and particularly of the existing pier II and of the future pier III, with parallel activity of the Piraeus Port Authority in pier I. For the second port, he said the best model is the total concession of SEMPO.

    Regarding the workers at the two ports, the minister said that through the procedure they have the right to choose voluntary retirement, in the case when they are nearing the pension age, or their transfer to the public sector.

    [17] SEB chief sees higher inflation, lower growth rate in 2008

    Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) president Dimitris Daskalopoulos predicted higher inflation and a lower growth rate for the Greek economy in 2008, warning that "we have difficult days ahead of us", speaking at a press conference on Tuesday.

    "Self-sufficient societies choose 'forward escape' in such periods. Any other choice leads to impasse. If we don't move ahead quickly, we will sink," Daskalopoulos said.

    Asked to comment on the change of leadership at the employment ministry, with the appointment of Fani Palli-Petralia to the helm following the resignation of Vassilis Magginas, the SEB leader said it was positive that the prime minister had displayed sens itivity on an issue of moral order, but added that the reform of the social security system was not an issue of faces, but one of change of approach.

    He added, however, that the change of face at the ministry offered an opportunity for a new beginning.

    [18] Papandreou reiterates support for state control of OTE

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Tuesday toured the main offices of state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) in northern Athens, where he met with the telecoms utility's management and the employees' representatives.

    During the meetings, the one-time foreign minister expressed his party's support for keeping the telephony company under state control.

    Addressing OTE personnel, he stated that he shares their concerns over OTE's future, stressing that the company has played a decisive role in the modernisation of the Greek economy and the country's technological development.

    He stated that OTE's investments were also very successful, pointing out that the listed company should remain an essential "tool" in the hands of the Greek state in efforts focusing on the country's advancement in the sectors of technology, information, communication and telecommunications.

    [19] Media strike on Wednesday, work-stoppage on Thursday

    The trade unions of professionals and journalists are escalating their warning strike action, reacting to the planned unification of their social security funds.

    Lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, engineers and journalists will hold a 24-hour warning strike on Wednesday, December 19, while on Thursday, according to decisions by each of the sectors, they will either hold a work stoppage or a 24-hour strike.

    ANA-MPA news services will be off-line between 6 a.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday, and from 12:00 noon to 15:00 on Thursday, in participation in the 24-hour strike on Wednesday and a three-hour work-stoppage on Thursday in the media sector.

    At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, the strikers will gather in central Athens and then march to the employment ministry and Parliament to submit resolutions with their demands.

    [20] PPC holds cooperation talks with Germany's RWE

    The Public Power Corporation (PPC) in an announcement on Tuesday said that the confidential talks for the signing of a cooperation memorandum between the German company RWE and PPC are continuing.

    According to the PPC, the memorandum of cooperation will be tabled for debate and approval at the PPC's board meeting on Thursday. The memorandum of cooperation will be signed providing it is approved by the boards of the two sides.

    Main opposition PASOK head of the party's Development Department, Mihalis Hrysohoidis, in a statement on Tuesday said that "the sudden return of the matter of the PPC's cooperation with the German company RWE at the PPC's board meeting on Thursday causes logical concern to consumers and workers, because the government is maintaining with its moves and conduct a hidden agenda for the future, for the strategic cooperations and role which it plans for the PPC within the framework of the electric energy marke t."

    [21] Merchant fleet statistics

    The Greek merchant fleet numbered a total 2,055 vessels in October 2007, according to figures released on Tuesday by the National Statistics Service (ESYE).

    More specifically, the merchant fleet comprised 2,055 vessels totalling 37,164,404 gross registered tons (grt).

    Of those vessels, 625 were freighters, 505 were tankers, and 925 were passenger ships and other vessels.

    [22] Greek stocks end 1 pct up on Tues.

    Greek stocks ended higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, pushing the composite index of the market slightly above the 5,000-level. The index increased by 1 pct to end at 5,020.19 points, with turnover a low 394.01 million euros, of which 77.1 mi llion euros were block trades.

    Most sectors ended higher with Financial Services (2.92 pct), Food & Beverages (2.55 pct) and Constructions (2.18 pct) posting the biggest gains of the day. Raw Materials (0.89 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses.

    The Big Cap index ended 1.27 pct higher, the Mid Cap index was up by 0.22 pct and the Small Cap index increased 0.25 pct.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 122 to 109 with another 58 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.27%

    Industrials: +1.52%

    Commercial: +0.51%

    Construction: +2.18%

    Media: +1.01%

    Oil & Gas: +1.08%

    Personal & Household: -0.16%

    Raw Materials: -0.89%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.87%

    Technology: +0.11%

    Telecoms: +1.28%

    Banks: +0.84%

    Food & Beverages: +2.55%

    Health: +1.35%

    Utilities: +1.39%

    Chemicals: -0.02%

    Financial Services: +2.92%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Bank of Piraeus, Vivartia, DEH and National Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 23.94

    ATEbank: 3.86

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 36.30

    HBC Coca Cola: 29.50

    Hellenic Petroleum: 11.50

    National Bank of Greece: 44.52

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 23.02

    Intralot: 13.96

    OPAP: 27.70

    OTE: 23.58

    Titan Cement Company: 31.38

    [23] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices ended upwards in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover jumping to aspectacular 509.947 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a fair price and the December contract on the FTSE 4 0 index at a premium of 0.38 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 31,780 contracts worth 418.283 million euros, with 35,144 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was 741 contracts worth 22.886 million euros with 981 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 36,740 contracts worth 45.137 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Investment Group (8,216 contracts) followed by Intracom (5,487), Marfin Popular Bank (2,699), ATEbank (2,675), Post Of fice Bank (2,340), Titan (1,684) and National Bank (1,556).

    [24] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.903 billion euros on Tuesday, of which 805 billion were buy orders and the remaining 1,098 billion euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily tra ded security with a turnover of 527 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was at 0.32 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.61 pct and the German Bund 4.29 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved slightly downwards. National Bank's overnight rate was 3.77 percent from 4.02, the two-day rate stood at 3.82 percent from 4,02 per cent, the one-month rate stood at 4.52 percent from 4.92 per cent an d the 12-month rate fell to 4.84 percent from 4.93 per cent.

    [25] Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.453

    Pound sterling 0.720

    Danish kroner 7.521

    Swedish kroner 9.513

    Japanese yen 164.75

    Swiss franc 1.673

    Norwegian kroner 8.090

    Cyprus pound 0.589

    Canadian dollar 1.461

    Australian dollar 1.683

    General News

    [26] Athens to double greenhouse gas reduction target

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias on Tuesday noted that the Greek government will meet Kyoto Protocol objectives regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, while he announced that Greece will double reduction l evels on the 150 industries operating in the country in the period 2008-2012.

    Based on the initial plan forwarded to the European Union, a projected gas emission reduction was 8.9 percent, whereas now it will be raised 16.6 percent.

    "The increase was the result of consultations with the EU, considering that the EU has decided gas emission cuts of 20 percent by 2020," Souflias said.

    "Greece, within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, has undertaken a commitment that the average greenhouse gas emissions increase in the period 2008-2012 will not exceed 25 percent compared to 1990," he said, adding: "Based on the national plan that has received EU approval, the gas emissions increase will exceed 25 percent until 2007 with a gradual reduction until 2012 that will result from the measures already adopted".

    Moreover, additional measures have been adopted to tackle the climate change such as intensification of inspections, promotion of renewable sources of energy, operational plans against air pollution in major urban centers, natural gas use and environmenta lly friendly transportation means.

    Souflias stated that this is a complete policy that will help the country meet the Kyoto Protocol objectives, stressing that it is unthinkable to accept that there are no measures that can tackle climate change.

    Referring to the UN Conference on Climate Change, held recently in Bali, he underlined that a last-minute compromise allows for optimism.

    [27] Gov't: Roughly one million migrants live in Greece

    Non-EU foreign nationals with residence permits in Greece number 481,501, according to mid-October figures announced by the interior ministry on Tuesday on the occasion of World Migrants Day.

    Foreign nationals currently living and working in Greece are estimated at between one million and 1.07 million people. A total of roughly 370,000 illegal immigrants took advantage of a first legalisation scheme in 1998, while an additional 350,000 acquire d legal status in 2001, the government said.

    Meanwhile, many former legal residents from eastern Europe (primarily Polish nationals) left the country for other EU states upon their home country's accession to the European Union. Based on the EU-established Migrant Integration Policy Index in 2004, t he job market in Greece is regarded as uncertain for migrants.

    Roughly 63 percent of the immigrants come from non-EU state Albania, corresponding to 303,225 legal permits; followed by recent EU member-state Bulgaria (27,182); the Ukraine (19,005); EU state Romania (15,884); Georgia (12,990); Pakistan (12,126); Russia (10,704) and Egypt (10,356).

    The gradual opening of the European job market to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals -- the two countries became EU members in 2007 -- is expected to reduce the number of migrants from former eastern European countries. On the contrary, the continuous attem pts of mostly Third World foreign nationals from Asia and the sub-Saharan Africa to reach the country is expected to raise their numbers in the illegal job market, as their legalisation appears impossible under current conditions, a relevant report stated .

    The overwhelming majority of migrants are young people aged between 19 and 40, constituting 56 percent (268,324) of legal migrants, while 17 percent are second generation children of migrants (80,860).

    Regarding the education of non-EU foreign nationals, 13.4 percent are tertiary education graduates, 59.3 percent have secondary education, 16.2 percent have finished grade school and 9.2 percent have little or no schooling.

    Roughly 5 percent of legal migrants are home owners and their average family income is 1,550 euros, 28 percent lower than the average Greek family income. About 20.5 percent of their income is spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages; 19.6 percent on hou sing, water bills, fuel, electricity, and 10.6 percent on transportation.

    Roughly 32 percent of all legal migrants work in construction; 20.5 percent are females employed as household help; 12.8 percent are employed in manufacturing; 11.6 percent in commerce and repair work; 8.2 percent in hospitality and restaurants, as well a s 6 percent in the agriculture.

    Uninsured migrants correspond to roughly 13 percent of overall migrant population, compared to local uninsured workers, who correspond to 4 percent of the workforce.

    [28] Child molesting case defendants appear before magistrate

    Four defendants accused in a shocking child molestation case in the working-class Ilion district of west Athens were led Tuesday before an examining magistrate to face multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.

    The case of alleged sexual exploitation of three children, two brothers aged 8 and 9 and their 11-year-old sister, by their 33-year-old mother came to light last Friday.

    Called to appear before the magistrate are the mother of the children, her partner, an 83-year-old pensioner and a local priest, the latter two charged with rape.

    The grandmother, who won custody of the children after complaining to authorities that one of the boys was being sexually abused, will also testify.

    [29] Illegal migrants from Egypt intercepted on Gavdos

    Six Egyptian illegal migrants, all young males, were intercepted late Monday afternoon on the southernmost Greek island of Gavdos, southwest of Crete.

    They had arrived in Gavdos on board an old trawler which was later found sailing adrift off the small island coasts before being towed to safety at the Agia Galini port by a local fishing boat.

    All six illegal migrants are being held at the Chania Port Authority facilities on Crete until procedures for their repatriation are completed.

    [30] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The eleven reforms in the social security system that enter into effect as of Jan.1 2008, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' and Russian president Vladimir Putin's agreements over energy and defence contracts, the dozens of unlicenced houses all over Greec e and the National Railway Organisation's (OSE) deficit, dominated front-page headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Cutbacks in pensions from New Year's Day".

    APOGEVMATINI: "11 changes in social security system due to a former government's (PASOK) bill."

    AVGHI: " Vassilis Magginas' (former Employment Minister) expulsion did not appease public rage over government's planned social security reforms"

    AVRIANI: "Karamanlis-Putin deal on energy, banking and defence contracts - Despite reactions by U.S and Europe".

    CHORA: "The changes in pensions in 2008".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "New labour strikes begin on Wednesday - Petralias' statements give hope for solution "

    ELEFTHEROS: "11 reforms in social security enter into force from Jan.1 2008"

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Three opinions over social security issue - Ministers' different approaches on social security reforms' development"

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: " 'Orgies' in northeastern Attica: Unlicenced buildings and canteens turn into villas".

    ESTIA: "Government weakening just three months after general elections".

    ETHNOS: " Government and the 'Magginas syndrome'- Government wants to avoid similar cases that would further damage its image"

    KATHIMERINI: "OSE deficit jumps to 7.5 billion euros - Plan for merger of 3 out of 4 OSE subsidiaries".

    LOGOS: "Will the Employment Minister's replacement signal a change in government policy? - Petralia eager for best possible solution"

    NIKI: "Government damaged by 'Magginas scandal' - Heavy atmosphere at Maximos mansion (government headquarters)."

    RIZOSPASTIS: "High cost of living vanishes working class' income."

    TA NEA: "Government retreats on four issues - Petralia building bridges towards large unions".

    VIMA: "Government now promises smooth changes in social security - A challenge for new Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia"

    VRADYNI: "11 changes in pensions due to gradual implementation of bills ratified in the past (under PASOK governments)".

    We wish to inform the readers of the English Daily News Bulletin that the bulletin will not be published on Thursday, December 20, in view of a 24-hour strike on Wednesday declared by the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) in protest over the country's soci al security system. The next edition of the bulleting will appear on Friday, December 21.

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

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