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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-01-12

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

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

Saturday, 12 January 2008 Issue No: 2792

CONTENTS

  • [01] Karamanlis, India's Singh discuss political cooperation
  • [02] PM: Greece-India cooperation of great importance
  • [03] PM Karamanlis in New Delhi: Potential for further growth of Greece-India relations
  • [04] Interior minister addresses Parliament on immigration
  • [05] Justice minister refutes claims of 'fixed' judge assignments
  • [06] Liapis on the Central Archaeological Council decisions, Zachopoulos affair
  • [07] Reporter testifies on Zachopoulos case
  • [08] Greek MPs and MEPs concerned over toughening of EU legislation on terrorism
  • [09] DM on priorities for 2008
  • [10] SYRIZA's Alavanos visits Iraklio
  • [11] Greek - UN aid to African countries
  • [12] House speaker receives Belgian, Spanish envoys
  • [13] Greek FinMin to visit Malta on Saturday
  • [14] Merchant marine minister meets IMO SG
  • [15] Government on port workers' strike
  • [16] Piraeus port workers demonstrate
  • [17] Import price index up 8.6 pct in November, yr/yr
  • [18] Eurobank seeks to expand activities in Turkey
  • [19] Alumil issues five-year 10-mln-euro bond loan
  • [20] Greek state bond yields up in December
  • [21] Greek stocks plunge 2.1% on Fri.
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Greek bond market closing report
  • [24] Foreign Exchange Rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [25] Ecumenical Patriarchate to establish Metropolis of Singapore
  • [26] Archbishop's health critical but stable
  • [27] Peloponnese city prepares for return of relics identified with St. Peter of Argos
  • [28] TEI students hold rally to demand more funding
  • [29] New Kalamata-Tirana inter-city bus route
  • [30] Partly cloudy on Saturday
  • [31] Cyprus signs contract with J&P ABAŚ Company to rebuild Artemida Politics

  • [01] Karamanlis, India's Singh discuss political cooperation

    NEW DELHI (ANA-MPA - S. Goutzanis)

    Enhancing political cooperation between Greece and India, as well as the economic and trade ties between the two countries, were the topics dominating talks between visiting Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh here on Friday.

    In statements afterwards, the Greek premier said that bilateral economic relations had been developing rapidly in recent years and that there were many potential areas of cooperation in business, trade, shipping and tourism between the two countries.

    He also underlined to his Indian counterpart Greece's role as an economic centre for southeastern Europe and examined possible cooperation in culture and education.

    Noting the very good cooperation between Greece and India within international organisations, he noted Athens' strong support for further expanding the United Nations Security Council. In terms of the European Union, meanwhile, Karamanlis said that Greece was seeking to find ways and means to upgrade the general framework of EU-Indian relations.

    The two premiers also discussed regional affairs in southern Asia, such as the current situation in Afghanistan and recent developments in Pakistan, while Karamanlis briefed Singh in detail on the Cyprus problem and thanked him for India's steadfast stance on this issue in recent years.

    The Greek prime minister additionally discussed the outstanding dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over FYROM's use of the name 'Macedonia', the situation in Kosovo and its repercussion on the stability and security of the Balkans and developments in Greek-Turkish relations.

    Thanking his Indian counterpart for his warm reception and hospitality, Karamanlis said that his presence in India's capital demonstrated the desire of the two sides to develop bilateral ties even further.

    Karamanlis arrived in New Delhi on Thursday for a three-day official visit accompanied by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos and the head of his press office Yiannis Andrianos.

    [02] PM: Greece-India cooperation of great importance

    NEW DELHI (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)

    Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis, shortly after his arrival in New Delhi on a three-day official visit to India, said the visit was an excellent opportunity for further development of bilateral relations and expanding cooperation between Greece and India in the political and economic sectors.

    "I place particular importance on Greece's cooperation with India, country of broad economic and political importance, with an outstanding role on the international scene," Karamanlis said, following his official reception by Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday morning.

    Karamanlis, who arrived in India on Thursday evening, said that there were many points of mutual interest, and that the two countries had exceptional cooperation in international organizations, adding that they could work jointly to further strengthen EU-India relations.

    "In recent years, our economic relations have entered a new phase, and my presence here will give new momentum to develop them further, to the benefit of both countries," the Greek premier said, adding that "we place great importance on strengthening our cooperation in the fields of education and culture."

    Following the official welcoming ceremony, Karamanlis met with India's external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, and was received by Indian President Pratibha Patil.

    Karamanlis' itinerary further includes the laying of a wreath at the Gandhi Monument and a trip to Agra and the Taj Mahal, after which the prime minister's party will spend the night in Jaipur.

    [03] PM Karamanlis in New Delhi: Potential for further growth of Greece-India relations

    NEW DELHI (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)

    The potential for further developing economic relations and trade between Greece and India was outlined by Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis, currently on an official visit to India, during a luncheon in his honor hosted by the local business chambers.

    "Greece is an ideal business partner for those wishing to become part of the economic growth of Southeastern Europe. Greece can serve as the entrance gate for Indian enterprises wishing to acquire a presence in the region. In collaboration with Greek enterprises, Indian businesses can extend their access to a region that will show spectacular growth in the coming years," Karamanlis said.

    The prime minister also outlined Greece's advantages, noting its strategic position as it was at the crossroads among Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, and was also the oldest and most experienced EU member country in the region, and the only member of the eurozone.

    Greece, he continued, has evolved into a banking and business hub, and an ideal springboard for the development of investments and business activity in SE Europe, given that more than 3,600 Greek companies and in excess of 2,300 branches of Greek banks were operating in that region.

    As a member of the eurozone, Greece enjoyed a stable political, economic and fiscal environment, he said, adding that the country's deficit had been reduced from 7.9 percent to 2.6 percent, while the rate of economic growth exceeded 4 percent in 2007, and the tax rate on business profits was reduced to 25 percent from 35 percent in 2004.

    The premier further highlighted the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, adding that Greece held a strategic position on the East-West energy corridor.

    Further, as a result of its economic policy, unemployment in Greece declined in 2007, while exports increased.

    Listing the specific sectors in which the two countries could dynamically develop their bilateral economic relations, Karamanlis made special mention of the agricultural sector, with particular reference to olive oil production, in which Greece holds third place world-wide.

    Special mention was also made of the shipping sector, with Karamanlis noting that Greece wishes to increase the number of charters of Greek-owned ships for the transport of cargoes from India to markets around the world.

    In the tourism sector, the prime minister said that the target was to increase the flow of visitors between the two countries and to attract more Indian tourists to Greece, adding that a direct flight between Greece and India could contribute in that direction.

    Karamanlis also highlighted sector of renewable energy sources, in which he said Greece offered ideal environmental conditions for the attraction of new investments in 'clean' forms of energy.

    Political relations between Greece and India were excellent, while their economic relations were growing at a rapid pace, Karamanlis said, but added that large margins existed for further improving cooperation.

    He noted that the relevant institutional framework was being firmly and systematically formulated, adding that many agreements have been signed, such as the agreement for the protection and advancement of investments, and that on scientific and technological cooperation.

    The institutional framework between the two countries must be completed, while priority must be placed on the signing of a dual taxation avoidance accord, as well as cooperation on air transport services, Karamanlis continued.

    The target of doubling bilateral trade by 2010 was both feasible and viable, the prime minister concluded.

    A scheduled meeting with Indian National Congress leader Sonia Gandhi was postponed after Gandhi was admitted to hospital.

    Morning meetings

    The Greek premier, who arrived in New Delhi on Thursday afternoon on a three-day official visit to India, said earlier on Friday that his visit was an excellent opportunity for further development of bilateral relations and expanding cooperation between Greece and India in the political and economic sectors.

    "I place particular importance on Greece's cooperation with India, country of broad economic and political importance, with an outstanding role on the international scene," Karamanlis said, following his official reception by Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday morning.

    Karamanlis, who arrived in India on Thursday evening, said that there were many points of mutual interest, and that the two countries had exceptional cooperation in international organizations, adding that they could work jointly to further strengthen EU-India relations.

    "In recent years, our economic relations have entered a new phase, and my presence here will give new momentum to develop them further, to the benefit of both countries," the Greek premier said, adding that "we place great importance on strengthening our cooperation in the fields of education and culture."

    Following the official welcoming ceremony, Karamanlis met with India's external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, and was received by Indian President Pratibha Patil.

    [04] Interior minister addresses Parliament on immigration

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday addressed Parliament during the debate on the report of the Inter-Party Committee for the observation of the phenomenon of immigration.

    "Immigration is a parameter of globalization and we must see it through the prism of peaceful co-existence of peoples. We are living the results of indifference for what is happening in states which are subject to dictatorship, war and poverty. Rules must be set, but they must not only be national ones," Pavlopoulos said.

    Pavlopoulos referred to the measures taken by the government for the lifting of the negative repercussions of the immigration phenomenon and the social incorporation of the immigrants. He attributed responsibility to Turkey for not responding to obligations stemming from the protocol regarding the return of immigrants to the country of origin, which it has signed with Greece.

    "Despite the existence of overwhelming data, the Turkish side usually refuses the re-entry or creates various problems of an operational nature for the purpose of its postponement," Pavlopoulos added.

    [05] Justice minister refutes claims of 'fixed' judge assignments

    Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis on Friday refuted suggestions by individual members of main opposition PASOK that the government was engineering the selection of the same public prosecutors and examining magistrates to investigate cases of crucial interest to the PASOK party.

    "The truth contradicts them in the most categorical way," Hatzigakis said, listing six high-profile cases recently investigated by justice that were each being handled by different examining magistrates and public prosecutors. He urged the PASOK MPs and trade unionists making these claims to apologize, describing their claims as "systematic and frivolous".

    He stressed that the selection of the examining magistrates that undertook each case was made by a decision of the local first-instance court justices' council based on objective and unimpeachable criteria.

    "It is clear that the irresponsible and groundless claims expressed against distinguished judges and organised Justice as a whole, are slanderous and malicious inventions serving party interests and political dead-ends," he stressed.

    [06] Liapis on the Central Archaeological Council decisions, Zachopoulos affair

    Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis was queried in Parliament on Friday by MPs of the main opposition PASOK and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) over issues concerning the ministry, with the former, at one point, referring to "witch-hunt" practices and "groundless scandal-mongering".

    Responding to a question concerning the re-classification of a Central Archaeological Council (KAS) decision regarding a Mycenaean burial site in eastern Attica prefecture (Fouresi site, near the Glyka Nera district), he sharply responded that "a scandal needs documentation, otherwise, it is mere slander."

    Meanwhile, opposition MPs called on the ministry to re-examine the Glyka Nera case and other cases handled by former culture ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos, an alleged victim of an extortion ring.

    Liapis said the influential KAS has recently come under intense scrutiny, stressing that numerous misstatements and inaccuracies have been heard, pointing out that it is an institution with a 170-year-long history in the protection and promotion of Greek cultural heritage.

    He clarified that its role is mostly consultative and most of its decisions are reached unanimously, with only 10-15 percent of decisions reached via majority votes.

    Finally, Liapis said anyone that believes they have been wronged can appeal to the Council of State, Greece's highest administrative court.

    [07] Reporter testifies on Zachopoulos case

    A local reporter testified on Friday for four hours before an investigating magistrate overseeing the ongoing Zachopoulos blackmail affair.

    Replying to press questions after his testimony, Aris Spinos said he was posed some 150 questions, which he answered. He added that he could have invoked "journalistic confidentiality", while merely noting that he identified a woman named "Dimitra", saying he believes she is a member of an extortion ring.

    Additionally, Spinos said he is not the person who handed over a DVD purportedly showing Zachopoulos and a former associate to Yiannis Adrianos, the head of the prime minister's press office.

    "I don't even know Adrianos" he said.

    A prosecutor was present during the session.

    [08] Greek MPs and MEPs concerned over toughening of EU legislation on terrorism

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday assured MPs and MEPs that "there would be no derogations from the state of law in the name of terrorism", during the debate over the incorporation of the European Council's proposal for the toughening of EU legislation in tackling international terrorism.

    Pavlopoulos underlined that "terrorism should be dealt with within an institutional framework that would not curtail individual liberties or human rights".

    "There cannot be a general definition of terrorism" the minister added.

    Yiannis Varvitsiotis, head of ruling New Democracy (ND) MEPs, maintained that there are resolutions taken by the European Council and tabled at the European Parliament which lead to "the restriction of individual freedoms" and urged the minister to advise Greek ministers not to back them.

    Former speaker of the House Anna Benaki-Psarouda noted that "we are witnessing a constant restriction of individual liberties for security reasons of the EU member states and the point is what mechanisms and how they are being used".

    Main opposition PASOK MEP Stavros Lambrinidis underlined that the European Parliament "has not approved any measure of those proposed by the European Council because none of these measures is covered by any legislation safeguarding the fundamental rights of European citizens.

    "Europe does not need a 'Big Brother' watching over it," he added and urged the government to adopt a tough line policy.

    Achilleas Kantartzis, Greek Communist Party (KKE) MP, argued that in case of approval there would be obstruction in the free circulation of ideas.

    Fotis Kouvelis, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MP, noted that "in fact the real victims of the new anti-terrorist campaign will be individual rights."

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) MP Athanasios Plevris also opposed the motion, making mention of "amplification of penalization".

    [09] DM on priorities for 2008

    Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, on the occasion of a celebration for the New Year, referred on Friday to priorities for 2008 concerning the ministry.

    Meimarakis said goals for 2008 included the reinforcement and consolidation of transparency in the defense procurement system, and an increase of Greek suppliers' share and presence in defense contracts.

    [10] SYRIZA's Alavanos visits Iraklio

    The head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) group in Parliament, Alekos Alavanos, on Friday wrapped up a visit to Iraklio on Crete, where he met local government officials.

    During statements after meeting Iraklio's mayor Yiannis Kourakis and Iraklio Prefect Evangelia Schinaraki, Alavanos said that the central issue for SYRIZA was to help promote major issues for society.

    Among such issues, he added, was closing the huge gap between production prices and the prices charged to consumers, over-exploitation by banks and price-gouging.

    Alavanos also took the opportunity to declare his party's support for striking workers at the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, who are seeking to avert government efforts to privatise the ports' lucrative container terminals.

    According to SYRIZA's leader, it was unwise to privatize the country's exits towards the sea:

    "It is as if someone were selling the door to their house, so that anyone could come in and do anything they wanted in or around their home," he said, adding that the port of Iraklio was also next in line for privatization if the effort succeeded.

    [11] Greek - UN aid to African countries

    GENEVA (ANA-MPA)

    Ambassador Frankiskos Verros, the Greek permanent representative to the UN, met here on Friday with Secretary General of UNCTAD (UN Conference for Trade and Development).

    After the meeting Verros announced Greece's decision for a financial contribution to the efforts in support, through trade, of the developing countries for the year 2008.

    More precisely, ambassador Verros said that Greece would finance a Centro African Conference for the co-operation in maritime customs control and the co-financing of the UNCTAD Ministerial Conference to be held in Accra, Ghana next April.

    [12] House speaker receives Belgian, Spanish envoys

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas received successively on Friday Belgian Ambassador Pierre Vaesen and Spanish Ambassador Juan Ramon Martinez Salazar.

    Talks focused on bilateral relations and European Union affairs, according to a House press release.

    Financial News

    [13] Greek FinMin to visit Malta on Saturday

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis will represent the Greek government to special celebrations organized in Malta for the accession of the country in the Eurozone from January 1, 2008.

    The Greek minister will visit Malta on Saturday following an invitation of the Prime Minister and Economy Minister Lawrence Gonzi. During his stay, Alogoskoufis will meet with Economy Deputy Minister Tonio Fenech.

    [14] Merchant marine minister meets IMO SG

    Merchant Marine & Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis met on Friday with International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary General Efthymios Mitropoulos and discussed issues of mutual interest for Greek shipping and the IMO.

    On the issue of the emission of pollutants by ships, Voulgarakis stressed that what is necessary are international rules which will be implemented on all the ships regardless of flag and activity sector. He added that "the only solution can be achieved through the apparatuses of the IMO and the MARPOL treaty."

    On his part, Mitropoulos thanked the minister "for the excellent cooperation that exists between the two sides and particularly for the contribution by Greece, which, fully recognizing the importance of the protection of shipping routes, offered one million dollars to IMO's special capital for safety."

    [15] Government on port workers' strike

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Friday denied that the government intended to force striking employees at Thessaloniki's port to go back to work through a civil conscription order.

    Commenting on the strikers' efforts to avert the government's plans to sell the exploitation rights to the port's container terminal, Antonaros said this was not a privatization but a concession for specific areas of the ports for a specific period of time.

    Stressing that there had been no discussion of a forced return to work for strikers, he said the concern of the merchant marine and island policy ministry was to allow the development of Greece's ports for the benefit of the economy, Greek citizens and the port employees.

    "Some people do not want this growth," he added.

    [16] Piraeus port workers demonstrate

    About 1,000 port workers marched in Piraeus on Friday to demonstrate against the government's plans to sell the exploitation rights of Piraeus port's container terminal.

    The march was headed by Piraeus Prefect Yiannis Michas.

    Minor incidents occurred in the evening. Police, with the use of rear gas, prevented a delegation of the demonstrators to enter the offices of the Piraeus Port Authority.

    [17] Import price index up 8.6 pct in November, yr/yr

    Greece's import price index in the manufacturing sector rose by 8.6 pct in November, compared with the same month in 2006, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service said the import price index was up 1.8 pct in November from October 2007. NSS attributed the 8.6 pct increase in the index in November to a 2.7 pct rise in import prices from the Eurozone and a 17.1 pct increase in import prices from other countries.

    Energy goods prices jumped 31.3 pct, reflecting high oil prices, while capital goods prices were up 1.7 pct in November. Durable goods prices rose by 1.1 pct over the same period.

    [18] Eurobank seeks to expand activities in Turkey

    Eurobank on Friday announced plans to further strengthen its presence in Turkey.

    The Greek bank's board presented a new corporate identity for its subsidiary in Turkey, Eurobank Tekfen, in a press conference held in Istanbul.

    Eurobank Tekfen operated a branch network of 37 units last year.

    "Our strategy for the future focuses on a more rapid growth in corporate banking and capital markets banking through the introduction of innovative products and services to large, medium and small enterprises in Turkey, estimated at around 2.5 million, Mehmet N. Erten, Eurobank Tekfen's chief executive told reporters. He added that the bank also aimed to further strengthen its presence in household services.

    Nikolaos Nanopoulos, chief executive in Eurobank EFG Group - owner of 70 pct of Eurobank Tekfen - told reporters that Turkey's banking sector was expected to continue its rapid growth rate to meet increasing needs of enterprises and citizens in the country, and noted that Eurobank wished to further expand its activities in the Turkish market.

    Tekfen Group, owner of the remaining 30 pct of Eurobank Tekfen, is one of the most significant group of companies in Turkey.

    [19] Alumil issues five-year 10-mln-euro bond loan

    Alumil Mylonas on Friday announced the signing of an agreement with Marfin Egnatia Bank to issue a 10-million-euro bond loand. The five-year bond is aimed to help the company's effort in refinancing its short-term borrowing. The bond loan is not negotiable in capital markets and cannot be converted into stocks.

    [20] Greek state bond yields up in December

    Greek state bond yields rose in December, following a similar trend in other Eurozone markets, the Bank of Greece said on Friday. In a monthly report on the Greek electronic secondary bond market, the central bank said that the 10-year benchmark bond recorded the biggest monthly increase (+22 basis points) to end at 4.66 pct, from 4.44 pct a month earlier, while the three-year bond's yield rose by 17 bps to 4.22 pct and the 30-year bond's yield rose by 9 bps to 5.05 pct. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bond fell to 29 bps in December from 32 bps a month earlier.

    State bond prices fell by 18 to 165 bps in December, with the 15-year benchmark bond price recording the biggest decline to 97.35 in December 31, from 99 from November 30. The three-year bond price fell to 98.84 from 99.02 and the 10-year bond price to 97.22 from 98.86, respectively.

    Turnover fell to 21.36 billion euros in December from 40.35 billion in November and 45.01 billion euros in December 2006. Average daily turnover was 1.12 billion euros from 1.83 billion in the previous month.

    The seven- to 10-year bond issues were most heavily traded securities in December, accounting for 44 pct of total turnover, with the 10-year benchmark bond recording a turnover of 6.6 billion euros.

    [21] Greek stocks plunge 2.1% on Fri.

    Greek stocks lost further sharp ground on Friday hit by a negative climate prevailing in international stock markets. The composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange dropped 2.10 percent to end at 4,858.35 points with turnover a heavy 625.5 million euros, of which 53.9 million euros were block trades.

    Sector indices ended lower with the exception of the Financial Services index which rose 0.56 percent. Food/Beverage (5.53 pct), Chemicals (3.81 pct), Personal/Home Products (2.75 pct) and Commerce (2.58 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    The Big Cap index fell 1.87 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.11 pct down and the Small Cap index fell 0.86 pct. Lannet (18.75 pct), Informer (7.98 pct) and Space Hellas (4.93 pct) were top gainers, while Microland (14.90 pct), Tria Alpha (9.84 pct) and Quality (9.52 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 189 to 61 with another 47 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.10%

    Industrials: -1.51%

    Commercial: -2.58%

    Construction: -0.88%

    Media: -1.50%

    Oil & Gas: -2.36%

    Personal & Household: -2.75%

    Raw Materials: -1.22%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.01%

    Technology: -0.27%

    Telecoms: -0.54%

    Banks: -2.22%

    Food & Beverages: -5.53%

    Health: -2.18%

    Utilities: -1.15%

    Chemicals: -3.81%

    Financial Services: +0.56%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Eurobank, Alpha Bank and Bank of Piraeus.

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

    Alpha Bank: 24.54

    ATEbank: 3.90

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 35.58

    HBC Coca Cola: 29.60

    Hellenic Petroleum: 11.56

    National Bank of Greece: 45.02

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 20.60

    Intralot: 12.20

    OPAP: 26.00

    OTE: 24.40

    Titan Cement Company: 30.60

    [22] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices ended Friday's session with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange while turnover jumped to 274.842 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.37 percent while the January contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.48 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 17,695 contracts worth 228.606 million euros, with 25,818 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was 419 contracts worth 12.030 million euros with 692 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,772 contracts worth 19.861 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (2,634) followed by Eurobank (1,215), Marfin Investment Group (1,304), PPC (578), National Bank (1,034), Alpha Bank (946), Intracom (941), Postal Savings Bank (533) and ATEbank (1,142).

    [23] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market jumped to 3.108 billion euros on Friday, of which 1.883 billion were buy orders and the remaining 1.225 billion euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 855 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year benchmark Greek and German bonds was 0.38 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.45 pct and the German Bund 4.07 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved lower. National Bank's overnight rate fell to 3.87 pct from 4.07 pct on Thursday, the two-day rate eased to 3.95 pct from 4.07 pct, the one-month rate was 4.22 pct and the 12-month rate fell to 4.65 pct from 4.68 pct.

    [24] Foreign Exchange Rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.491

    Pound sterling 0.761

    Danish kroner 7.506

    Swedish kroner 9.473

    Japanese yen 162.47

    Swiss franc 1.644

    Norwegian kroner 7.881

    Canadian dollar 1.520

    Australian dollar 1.667

    General News

    [25] Ecumenical Patriarchate to establish Metropolis of Singapore

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate on Friday announced the creation of a new ecclesiastical jurisdiction in southeast Asia, based in Singapore, to oversee Orthodox Christian parishes in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

    The decision was taken after a unanimous vote to detach the regions from the Metropolis of Hong Kong, and to establish the Metropolis of Singapore.

    Meanwhile, Archimandrite Nektarios Tsilis was unanimously elected as the new Metropolitan of Hong Kong, with a jurisdiction over Orthodox parishes in the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

    The Holy Synod also announced that Archimandrite Daniel Zelinsky of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States was unanimously elected assistant bishop to Metropolitan Constantine of Irinoupolis (Tanzania and the Seychelles).

    [26] Archbishop's health critical but stable

    Ailing Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece continues to reject the advice of his doctors to be hospitalized in order to undergo medical tests and has chosen to remain at home, the archiepiscopate announced on Friday. The archbishop's condition was described as stable but critical.

    Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki stated that the Archbishop's health was deteriorating at a pace that gave rise to concern but was not especially rapid.

    Commenting on the rumored jockeying for position by prelates aspiring to succeed the Archbishop, Metropolitan Anthimos stressed that these rumors were created by the circles of the prelates involved, who should be careful how they chose their associates.

    Meanwhile, the Archdiocese press office announced that Father Thomas Synodinos, representing the Archbishop, received officials of the Chinese embassy to Athens who conveyed the wishes of the Chinese people for the Archbishop.

    Father Synodinos underlined the excellent relations between the Chinese and the Greek people and conveyed the Archbishop's wishes for success in the hosting of the Beijing Olympic Games.

    [27] Peloponnese city prepares for return of relics identified with St. Peter of Argos

    Relics identified with Aghios Petros -- St. Peter the Wonder-worker, Bishop of Argos -- and ostensibly kept for centuries in St Mark's Basilica in Rome, will be returned to the Peloponnese city of Argos, southern Greece, on Saturday.

    The Roman Catholic Church decided to relinquish the relics identified with Argos' patron saint following coordinated efforts by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and Metropolitan Iakovos of Argolida prefecture.

    Special events are planned for the formal reception of the relics.

    [28] TEI students hold rally to demand more funding

    Students at Technological Educational Institutes (TEI) on Friday held a protest rally and march toward Parliament to demand higher levels of funding for TEIs and protesting against a community directive that equates their degrees with those awarded by colleges operating as franchises of foreign universities.

    Their professors also joined in the rally after their federation declared a three-hour work stoppage between 11:00 and 14:00 so that they might attend.

    Protestors complained about chronic underfunding of TEI colleges, shortages of books and teachers, poorly-written notes, laboratory practicals that failed to take place and poorly defined professional rights for their sectors. They also demanded a 15 percent increase in funding for education in general, more generous funding for TEI and uniform higher education that was public and free for all.

    [29] New Kalamata-Tirana inter-city bus route

    The Messinia inter-city bus service (KTEL) on Friday launches a new direct route from Kalamata, a coastal city in the southern Peloponnese, to the Albanian capital Tirana. The first bus on this route departs on Friday afternoon and has so far attracted a large number of enquiries from Albanian economic migrants now living in Messinia.

    The service is envisaged to run three times a week in each direction, departing at 17:30 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Kalamata and returning from Tirana at 15:30 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

    Weather Forecast

    [30] Partly cloudy on Saturday

    Partly cloudy weather with northerly, northeasterly winds are forecast in all parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 4 beaufort. Fog in the morning in the north. Temperatures will range between -2C and 15C. Overcast in Athens, with northerly, northeasterly 4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 4C to 15C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 4C to 10C.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [31] Cyprus signs contract with J&P ABAŚ Company to rebuild Artemida

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A.Viketos/CNA)

    The Republic of Cyprus signed here Friday with J&P ABAŚ company a contract to rebuild Artemida community in Greece, which was badly hit during last summer's catastrophic forest fires.

    The contract, exceeding 8,5 million euros, was signed at the Interior Ministry by the Ministry's Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savides and by Yiannis Constantinou on behalf of J&P ABAŚ company.

    Speaking to the press during the signing ceremony, Interior Minister Christos Patsalides said the Cyprus government decided to undertake this project in the benefit of Artemida's habitants and the people of Greece in general.

    He also stressed that the project is another proof of the fraternal relations between Cyprus and Greece and a practical contribution of the Republic of Cyprus, which must, when required, undertake its responsibilities and fulfill its obligations.

    He expressed the belief that the will and desire of the people of Cyprus is expressed through this act, and congratulated the interior ministry's competent authorities for working rapidly with a view to fulfill Cyprus President's announcement for the reconstruction of Artemida.

    Speaking on behalf of J&P ABAŚ Company, the member of the Board of Directors Efthyvoulos Paraskevaides, congratulated the Cyprus government for its initiative to rebuild Artemida and underlined that the company is undertaking this project, being aware of its responsibility to complete it rapidly and to offer high quality.

    The Ambassador of Greece to Cyprus Demetrios Rallis thanked the Cyprus Government, President Tassos Papadopoulos and all the people of Cyprus for their initiative to offer their help at this difficult moment for the people of Greece.

    The project includes work on 80 structures, of which 48 are residential. The main square in Artemida village will be reconstructed and renamed "Cyprus Square".

    The overall cost of rebuilding Artemida is estimated at 14.5 million euro.

    The government of Cyprus decided last September to undertake the cost of rebuilding the village. So far, it has allocated 300,000 euro to anti-flood projects around the village.

    In addition to this, a team of Cypriot town planners, architects and civil engineers have visited the area and submitted a report to the government regarding the urgent needs for the reconstruction of the village.

    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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