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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 8 August 2008 Issue No: 2965


  • [01] Premier Karamanlis issues message on Olympic Games
  • [02] FM Bakoyannis visits Beijing press centre; responds to FYROM query
  • [03] PM Karamanlis confers with rural development and food minister
  • [04] PASOK on economy, inflation
  • [05] KKE, SYRIZA comment on inflation
  • [06] New president of Authority against money laundering elected
  • [07] Macedonia-Thrace minister visits Mount Athos
  • [08] State budget incomes increase by 11.5 pct
  • [09] Hellenic Petreleum reports 25 percent increase in net profits
  • [10] Consumer's price index increases by 4.9 percent
  • [11] Greek stocks end 0.34 pct lower Thursday
  • [12] ADEX closing report
  • [13] Greek bond markert report
  • [14] Foreign Exchange rates: Friday
  • [15] Wildfires across Greece
  • [16] International Sculpture Symposium on Crete
  • [17] Man arrested for arson
  • [18] Drug dealers arrested in Athens
  • [19] Dutch fells off hotel room balcony
  • [20] Foreign national killed in car accident in Athens
  • [21] Greek team arrives at Olympic Village Politics

  • [01] Premier Karamanlis issues message on Olympic Games

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis issued a message on Thursday, in view of the Beijing Olympic Games' opening ceremony on Friday, expressing Greece's wishes to athletes and members of the Olympic family from all over the world "in the hope that the Olympic Games will continue inspiring the peoples of the planet with their sublime values."

    Referring to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the prime minister noted: "Four years ago, in the summer of 2004, the Olympic Games returned to their cradle. Greece had then undertaken a double task: to organize in safety and successfully the planet's greatest athletic event, but to also highlight in a strong manner the principles and values on which the Olympic spirit was forged."

    "With sacrifices and hard work, by uniting our forces to achieve the great target, we Greeks have succeeded beyond the most optimistic expectations. In our nation's history, 2004 will remain for ever as a landmark-date, the beginning of a new era of confidence to the forces and capabilities of Hellenism," Karamanlis underlined.

    "Today, the torch passes to China, the most populated country of the planet. A country which, just like Greece, bares the responsibility of continuously responding to its great and ancient civilization," Karamanlis said, adding that the challenge remained the same as in 2004, as in 1896 and in 776 BC, when the first Olympic Games in history took place at ancient Ilida, in the Peloponnese, that is "to prove on the one hand that surpassing the limits, which many times we arbitrarily set for ourselves, is an inseparable part of the nature of mankind, and on the other hand to prove that, replacing enmity and violent rivalry by fair play, competition and cooperation between men and peoples is not only a desirable and pressingly necessary target but a feasible one."

    "With these thoughts and in the hope that the Olympic Games will continue inspiring the peoples of the planet with their sublime values, we Greeks, as the historic guardians of the Olympic spirit, send our best wishes to the athletes and the members of the Olympic family from all over the world, to all those who serve the ideals of sport away from all that adulterates healthy competion," Karamanlis concluded.

    [02] FM Bakoyannis visits Beijing press centre; responds to FYROM query


    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who arrived here on Wednesday to represent the Greek government at the XXIX Olympic Games, visited the Main Press Centre (MPC) in the Chinese capital.

    In a brief exchange with accredited sportswriters at the press centre, Bakoyannis was initially queried on the issue of representation of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) Olympic team here, as the "name issue" matter has soured relations between the two neighbours over the past few months.

    The Greek FM merely noted that necessary moves have been made at political and IOC level to ensure that the appropriate procedures will be followed to the letter by the Olympic delegation from FYROM, i.e. the name of the country as listed by the IOC, for instance.

    A day earlier Greek diplomats and sports officials took the issue up with Beijing organisers after an official BOGOC website referred to FYROM athletes as "Macedonians" during their arrival at the Olympic Village, a noun taken from the large northern Greece province of Macedonia that official Greece strenuously rejects.

    Bakoyannis, however, stressed that the Greek side will continue to maintain a low-key in the nagging dispute, unless provoked.

    'We are a serious country that hosted the last Olympic Games with absolute success and we will not be bothered with anything that it is on the verge of being regarded as ludicrous," she reminded.

    "The name under which FYROM will appear in the opening ceremony is registered with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as was the case at the Olympic Games in Athens and Sydney," Bakoyannis added.

    [03] PM Karamanlis confers with rural development and food minister

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis conferred Thursday with Rural Development and Food Minister Alexandros Kontos and was briefed on efforts made in support of professional farmers.

    The option to return the special tax imposed on fuel consumption for farming purposes only to professional farmers starting next year is being examined, Kontos stated, adding that he briefed the PM on the course of major land improvement projects underway across the country.

    The minister also updated the PM on the agricultural research draft law aimed at linking research with production with the purpose of producing quality and competitive farm products.

    [04] PASOK on economy, inflation

    The main opposition PASOK party on Thursday accused the government of being "incapable of achieving the targets of the budget".

    "Inflation being at 4.9 percent, proves that the government is incapable of achieving the targets of the budget," party spokeswoman Maria Karaklioumi told reports at her briefing.

    "The budget served as a pretext for holding the September 2007 early elections," she said, adding that the budget "yet for another year fells short of its targets."

    Earlier in the day, PASOK's economy rapporteur Louka Katseli, while commenting on the July inflation rate, accused the government that "instead of adopting measures in immediate support to the households' purchasing power and strengthening the market, the only thing it does is to declare that it will continue in the same path, thus accentuating the deep economic crisis which itself has provoked."

    [05] KKE, SYRIZA comment on inflation

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Thursday commented on inflation in the country.

    "The stabilization of inflation at high levels, also for the month of July, shows how damaging it is for the working class the agreement for an increase of one euro per day in salaries, which was signed by the cadres of the (ruling) New Democracy party and (main opposition) PASOK with the industrialists," the KKE announcement said.

    The KKE announcement further stressed that "the decisive quest for a real increase in salaries, with the organization of the struggle in every labor sector, is of urgent need for the working family."

    On his part, SYRIZA deputy Panagiotis Lafazanis said that "inflation and mainly the cost of living is very high, with salaries and pensions at rock bottom, while the government indifferently plans a new taxation raid against the working people. We are speaking of a perfect formula for an economic impasse."

    [06] New president of Authority against money laundering elected

    Supreme court's prosecutor Stylianos Grozos was elected on Thursday President of the Independent Authority against Money- Laundering (National Authority for Combating the Legalization of Income from Criminal Activity) after the resignation of public prosecutor George Zorbas.

    Grozos was elected unanimously by the 11 members of the Supreme Judicial Council of the Supreme Court (Areios Pagos).

    [07] Macedonia-Thrace minister visits Mount Athos

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Margaritis Tzimas on Thursday visited the monastic community of Mount Athos.

    He discussed with the monks matters concerning the projection of the historic significance of Mount Athos, the preservation of the monasteries, protection against wildfires and the natural environment.

    A delegation of monks handed over to Tzimas a memorandum on issues regarding the preservation of the mobile cultural and religious heritage of Mount Athos.

    Financial News

    [08] State budget incomes increase by 11.5 pct

    The budget's incomes increased in July by 11.5 per cent, the finance ministry announced on Thursday.

    According to data released by the ministry, in the January-July 2008 period, incomes increased by 6.7 compared to a 5.7 per cent increase in the six-month period.

    According to the data the VAT increased by 5 per cent in the month of July, while the 11.5 per cent increase in July is due to an increase in custom incomes by 12.8 per cent and an increase by 9.6 per cent of incomes at tax offices of the country. Other categories of state income showed an increase of 24.2 per cent.

    [09] Hellenic Petreleum reports 25 percent increase in net profits

    Hellenic Petreleum on Thursday reported a 25 percent increase in its first half net profits to 227 million euros. EBITDA profits increased by 17 percent to 362 million euros, while turnover increased by 37 percent totaling 5.2 billion euros.

    [10] Consumer's price index increases by 4.9 percent

    The Greek consumer's price index increased by 4.9 percent in July, compared to the July 2007 index, the National Statistics Service said on Thursday.

    The index showed a small decrease of 0.8 percent compared to last month.

    [11] Greek stocks end 0.34 pct lower Thursday

    Greek stocks ended slightly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday. The coomposite index of the market ended the day with losses at 3,427.07 points, 0.34 percent down, with turnover rising to 244.759 million euros.

    Most sectors moved lower, with the Food & Beverages (+2.53 pct), Oil and Gas (+2.45) and Insurances (+2.09) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Raw Materials (-2.46 pct) and Technology (-1.35) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index fell by 0.58 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.18 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index increased by 0.22 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 111 to 102 with another 62 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.19%

    Industrials: -0.76%

    Commercial: +0.25%

    Construction: -0.06%

    Media: +0.20%

    Oil & Gas: +2.45%

    Personal & Household: -0.72%

    Raw Materials: -2.46%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.69%

    Technology: -1.35%

    Telecoms: -1.27%

    Banks: -0.87%

    Food & Beverages: +2.53%

    Health: +1.12%

    Utilities: +1.00%

    Chemicals: +0.29%

    Financial Services: -1.04%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Piraeus Bank, Public Power Corp (PPC) and Alpha Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 18.64

    ATEbank: 2.50

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 19.00

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.32

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.54

    National Bank of Greece: 31.54

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 15.96

    Intralot: 9.72

    OPAP: 23.88

    OTE: 13.96

    Piraeus Bank: 18.52

    Titan Cement Company: 25.20

    [12] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended mixed in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thurday, with turnover at 77.326 million euros. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a premium of 0.28 pct and the August contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.18 pct.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 7,251 contracts worth 68.493 million euros, with 32,477 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 5,936 contracts worth 8.167 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank (1,156 contracts) followed by National Bank (807), Piraeus Bank (554), Marfin Investment Group (521), PPC (420) and OTE (370).

    [13] Greek bond markert report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond markets totaled 1.485 billion euros on Thursday, of which 795 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 690 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1,065 million euros. The 10-year Greek bond yielded 4.89 pct.

    In money markets, interest rates changed slightly. The 12-month Euribor rate was 5.37 pct, the six-month rate was 5.20 pct, the three-month rate 5.00 pct and the one-month rate 4.51 pct.

    [14] Foreign Exchange rates: Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.559

    Pound sterling 0.798

    Danish kroner 7.520

    Swedish kroner 9.488

    Japanese yen 170.51

    Swiss franc 1.645

    Norwegian kroner 8.061

    Canadian dollar 1.633

    Australian dollar 1.712

    General News

    [15] Wildfires across Greece

    A wildfire that broke out Thursday morning in a forest region in Kamari, Elefsina, southern Greece, is in progress. Strong firefighting forces on the ground, assisted by two water-dropping aircraft and a helicopter, participate in the efforts to contain the blaze.

    A major firefighting operation is underway on the north Aegean island of Thasos, to extinguish the wildfire that broke out in a forest region near Limenaria. Two water-dropping aircraft, a helicopter and a strong firefighting force on the ground participate in the efforts to put out the blaze.

    Meanwhile, firemen from the prefecture of Kavala, northeastern Greece, are combating a wildfire that burns grassland in the municipality of Eleftheroupolis.

    The wildfire that broke out earlier on Thursday in Lakkoskiti, in the monastic community of Mt. Athos, northern Greece, has been put under control. Ten firemen on foot assisted by two water-dropping helicopters participate in the ongoing efforts to fully extinguish the blaze.

    Wildfire on Thassos under control

    A wildfire who burst out on Thursday on Thassos island, in the northern Aegean, is being partly under control. The fire broke out in a forest near Limenaria. Four water-dropping aircrafts, two helicopters and a strong firefighting force on the ground participate in the efforts to put out the blaze.

    According to the Fire Brigade the fire burned 500 stremma of forestland.

    Another fire broke out due to a thunder at 3 o'clock Thursday afternoon in a forest near Ano Kotylio village, in the Arcadia prefecture, central Peloponnese. One water dropping helicopter and a major force of firefighters are taking part in the operation.

    Wildfire in Lakkoskiti, Mt Athos

    The wildfire that broke out Thursday morning in a wooded ravine in the region of Lakkoskiti on Mt Athos, in Halkidiki northern Greece, is in progress without threatening any of the monasteries nearby.

    Two water dropping helicopters participate in the fire-fighting efforts while a 10-firemen strong force is on its way to the area.

    Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Margaritis Tzimas is currently on a pilgrimage visit to the monastic community of Mt Athos and according to statements by Civil Protection Agency alternate general secretary Nikos Kortsaris, who is accompanying him, the blaze is expected to be put under control soon as a result of the coordinated fire fighting efforts underway.

    [16] International Sculpture Symposium on Crete

    Artists from Britain, France, Germany, United States and Greece participate in the 3rd International Sculpture Symposium in the Heraklion municipality of Paliani on the southern Aegean island of Crete. The symposium entitled "Wine and Spirit" is open to the public and will last until August 20.

    Visitors will have the opportunity to watch the artists carve sculptures in huge limestone blocks. All sculptures will remain in the municipality of Paliani, the smallest municipality on Crete, to be on display.

    [17] Man arrested for arson

    A 27 year old man was arrested in Athens on Thursday morning for arson. The perpetrator was spotted by police officers while trying to put fire at a dustbin. The man confessed to the police that a little while earlier he had put fire to another bin in the same area.

    The arsonist who had been arrested in the past on the same charges was sent before the prosecutor.

    [18] Drug dealers arrested in Athens

    Two men , a 28year old Greek and an Albanian national were arrested on Wednesday by the Athens Anti-drug Squad on drug dealing charges.

    In their possession officers found and confiscated 6 kilos and 630grams of heroine, a small quantity of cocaine, 35 bullets and 11 thousand euros.

    The two men were sent before the public prosecutor.

    At an appartment in Athens, police also found 3 kilos and 250 grams of heroine, hidden in a pot at the terrace.

    [19] Dutch fells off hotel room balcony

    A 28year old Dutch fell from his second floor hotel room at Hersonissos, eastern Crete. The tourist who suffered skull fractures and bruises was hospitalised at Venizelion Hospital.

    The Dutch tourist and his wife arrived on Wednesday at Heraklion, Crete and afterwards they left for their hotel. Late at night he fell off the balcony of his second floor hotel room and according to witnesses he was drunk.

    [20] Foreign national killed in car accident in Athens

    One person was killed and three were slightly injured, all Albanian nationals, in a car accident in Athens on Wednesday night.

    According to traffic police, their car crashed into the road barrier separating opposite traffic lanes, overturned and collided with an oncoming vehicle. An investigation is underway to determine the causes of the accident.

    Olympic Games

    [21] Greek team arrives at Olympic Village

    The Greek national team arrived on Thursday at the Olympic Village in Beijing. The head of the Greek delegation Isidoros Kouvelos exchanged souvenirs with the Olympic village mayor, and the hoisting of Greek flag followed.

    The Greek national anthem was playing while the Greek athletes entered the village.

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis , Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis, the President of the Greek Olympic Committee Minos Kyriakou were present at the ceremony.

    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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