|Friday, 20 October 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-09-10
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 10 September 2008 Issue No: 2992
 PM Karamanlis briefed by FinMin on CSFPrime minister Costas Karamanlis met Tuesday with economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis, to review the course of the Third Community Support Framework (CSF), the biggest part of which will be completed this year, while some programs under the CSF will be completed in 2009, and chiefly those concerning the fire-stricken regions of the country, according to statements made to the press by Alogoskoufis after the meeting.
The minister noted that Greece had on Monday signed with visiting EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hubner, an agreement for the disbursal of 90 million euros in EU aid for the fire-stricken areas, which he said would go to the reconstruction programs for those regions.
He said it was very significant that the EU was assisting in the reconstruction process, adding that there was good cooperation with the Community services also in the closing of the Third CSF and the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), and things were progressing well.
Alogoskoufis said that he also discussed with the prime minister a draft law currently in parliament concerning "very important issues" pertaining to the budget and the public finances.
The bill, he added, also concerns "the major issue facing our society, which is stamping out tax evasion", as well as transparency in the wider public sector through the abolition of ministries' special accounts, which would henceforth be contained in the state budget.
 Greek PM confers with Employment MinisterGreek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday met with Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia and was briefed over developments in the government plan to unify pension funds as part of a plan to reform the country's pension system.
Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Petralia said a ministry commission will begin -in the next few days- examining new professions as part of a plan to restructuring the list of heavy and unhealthy professions in the country. "It is the first time in 45 years that such an effort is made," she told reporters.
 PM and UN Sec-Gen speak on the phonePrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday spoke with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on the telephone. The call was made by the UN chief in the wake of a meeting in Athens on Monday between the Greek prime minister and the UN special envoy for the Cyprus issue Alexander Downer.
A new round of talks aiming at a solution of the Cyprus issue is set to begin between the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities on the island in two days.
 Bakoyannis relays Greek support for ChristofiasMeeting her Cypriot counterpart Markos Kyprianou in Athens on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis relayed the unanimous support of all Greece's leadership for the efforts of Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias to solve the Cyprus issue. The meeting was held just two days before the round of a new phase of negotiations between Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
In joint with Kyprianou after the meeting, Bakoyannis repeated the form that such a solution must take. She stressed that it should be achieved without artificial deadlines and arbitration, that it must be fair, viable and functional, be in accordance with the decision of the UN Security Council and with the values and principles of the European Union, in the framework of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation that had a single sovereignty, single nationality, a single international personality and no occupation armies.
Bakoyannis particularly underlined the Cyprus Republic's capacity as a member of the EU and the European dimension that any solution must have, stressing that this should ensure the safety and prosperity of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots without including "vague interventionist rights".
The Greek minister also noted that Christofias had "calmly and with determination" reaffirmed the good will and constructive spirit for a happy outcome to the negotiations, expressing hope that the Turkish-Cypriot side would do the same with encouragement from Ankara in the right direction.
Kyprianou expressed the gratitude of the Cypriot people and government for the support of Greece's leadership, adding that he had briefed the minister on the second and more substantive phase of the talks starting on September 11 between the two sides on the islands, adding that the present phase was a "crucial turning point".
Kyprianou said that this was the time of "proof" when the views and positions that had been expressed would be tested at the negotiating table. Cyprus was entering the talks with "restrained optimism," he added, while he reiterated the positions expressed by Bakoyannis on the form that a possible solution must take.
"A federal, bi-zonal, bi-communal solution is a huge concession on Cyprus' part," he stressed, noting that there had never been any geographic separation before the Turkish invasion of the island and that there was "no room for more concessions" regarding the form of the solution.
Responding to a question on a Turkish-Cypriot proposal to begin new talks on a "zero basis", Bakoyannis made the following statement:
"From the words I keep the essence and the essence is that Cyprus is a member of the United Nations and the EU and has acquired rights that no Cypriot wants to abrogate, neither Greek-Cypriot nor Turkish-Cypriot".
She also denied that Athens' stance of support for Cyprus' decisions was an attempt by Greece to shed its responsibilities.
"Greece, of course, supports, discusses but Cyprus as a sovereign state with an elected government is the one that makes decisions, except for that part of the guarantees that concerns Greek positions and decisions," she said.
In a reply to another question, meanwhile, Kyprianou ruled out a solution modeled by the Caucasus example for Cyprus, saying that there was no comparison:
"How ever many efforts Turkey may make to upgrade the pseudo-state, these will not meet any response," he stressed.
The Greek minister also responded to questions on illegal immigration, describing this as a very serious problem that required an overall EU policy.
"It is the number one problem in the EU and at the top of the agenda for the French presidency, which we hope will promote a solution," she said, adding that the issue had also been discussed with Turkey during meetings by herself and the prime minister.
After the meeting, Bakoyannis and Kyprianou sat down to a dinner given by Bakoyannis in her counterpart's honour. The Cypriot minister had earlier been received by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Greek President Karolos Papoulias and will be meeting the heads of the Greek political parties later on Tuesday.
 PASOK leader stresses support for ChristofiasMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday expressed complete support for the efforts of Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias to achieve a solution of the Cyprus issue, following a meeting with Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou at the party's headquarters in Athens.
"We demand that Turkey allow the Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots to decide for themselves their course and their fate and that it make a real contribution - since it bears grave responsibility due to its occupation of Cyprus Republic territory - to a solution of problem," Papandreou stated.
He added that the way toward a solution lay "within the framework of the United Nations, using the European acquis as a guideline".
Kyprianou said that he briefed Papandreou on the expectations but also the difficulties that were expected to arise during the second round of talks between Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on September 11, when the two sides sit down to discuss the central issues behind the Cyprus problem, as well as relaying the "goodwill, commitment and effort for the reunification of the island".
The Cypriot minister that the PASOK leader's expression of support for the process was very important, stressing the role of the political world in Greece, adding that Papandreou could help explain the Greek side's positions in the political circles that he moved in abroad.
"We believe that our positions do not give advantages to Greek-Cypriots but instead serve the legitimate interests of all Cypriots, both Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots," Kyprianou added.
He called on Turkey to make a real contribution to solving the problem and to let the Turkish-Cypriots negotiate in support of their own interests rather than the interests of Turkey. He also highlighted Turkey's responsibility for the 1974 invasion and occupation of the northern part of the island.
"Respect for human rights and the existence of a single state will be for the benefit of the entire Cypriot people," Kyprianou added.
 Tsipras holds talks with Cyprus FMCoalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party leader Alexis Tsipras expressed his party's "undivided support" for the Cypriot government's effort to find a just and viable solution to the political problem of the island republic, in talks he had with visiting Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou on Tuesday.
Kyprianou stated that the two sides will maintain contact and noted that the support to the President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias by Greece's political world has particular importance and strengthens him even further in this effort.
Tsipras further said that in the past the government of Cyprus and President Christofias have done their best to reverse the climate and to place the effort for the beginning of official talks on a positive base.
 Joint meeting between Nimetz, Vassilakis, Dimitrov on FYROM name issueNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
A joint meeting will be held in New York on Thursday between UN special mediator Matthew Nimetz, Greece's negotiator Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) negotiator Nikola Dimitrov on the FYROM name issue.
In the afternoon of the same day, separate meetings between the two sides will be held.
According to an announcement by the UN Secretariat, a joint meeting with the participation of Dimitrov, Vassilakis and Nimetz will be held in the morning of Thursday, September 11. Separate meetings will follow between the sides in the afternoon.
The announcement said that if it is necessary, it is probable that a new meeting will be held on Friday morning. However, this has not yet been confirmed.
 PASOK leader meets with Chambers' unionMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou met on Tuesday with the presidium of the Central Union of Chambers, headed by Union president George Kasimatis.
Kasimatis told reporters afterwards that one of the top issues occupying the chambers is that there will be no new "surprises", especially on tax issues, adding that the Union was opposed to surprises, particularly given that the country was currently in the last four-month period of the year and of execution of the 2008 budget, adding that the new tax measures were "steps backward" for the economy.
Describing the discussion with Papandreou as "constructive", Kasimatis said they exchanged views not only on taxation issues but also on the credit system, investments, port policy, the wider public sector, and the DEKO public utilities and organizations.
He expressed believe that many of the recommendations put forward by the Union "will found ground for new institutional changes that will aid not only the country's economy, but also the Greek citizen and consumer, to whom we must pay attention and provide protection".
Papandreou launched a series of meetings on Monday ahead of his visit to the 73rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF)
The PASOK leader will be visiting Thessaloniki from 11 to 14 September, combining his visit to the TIF with other activities and events, while he will speak at the Vellidis center on Saturday, September 13, outlining the PASOK positions, and will give a press conference at the Center at noon on the following day.
 Papandreou addresses PASOK Political CouncilMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandrou, addressing the party's Political Council on Tuesday, said that the political cycle of the Karamanlis government has closed, adding that the government has not succeeded in meeting the citizens' needs.
Papandreou added that as it has appeared from the presence of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in Thessaloniki over the weekend, "the citizens have lost their trust in the government due to its insistence on serving specific interests at the citizens' expense with untransparency and arbitrariness."
The PASOK leader further said that the government "is compressing the low and middle classes for the sake of the few and a feeling of insecurity is being created which is making the citizens feel poorer in comparison with the past and in relation to the rest of the European citizens."
Papandreou stressed that when he will be visiting Thessaloniki this week he will be providing "reliable answers as to how PASOK's pledge for a humane society will be turned into practice," adding that the focus shall be the citizen's income and his purchasing power, social issues and "untransparency and arbitrariness that one can see around him."
Papandreou will be leaving for Thessaloniki on Wednesday morning and, as he said, he will do this because he wishes to highlight three main issues before speaking at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).
"The first is the government's failure to protect the citizens' income, the second is the government's failure to secure quality of life and the third to highlight its failure to approach longterm strategic investments," he said.
 KKE Secretary General Papariga visits 73rd TIFCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Tuesday visited the 73rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), accompanied by deputies and cadres of the party.
She met with the presidents of Helexpo S.A., Aristotelis Thomopoulos, and of TIF S.A., Dimitris Bakatselos, who briefed her on the characteristics of this year's organization, the presence of the exhibitors and of the government's decision, which was announced by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, for the transfer of the Exhibition outside the centre of the city and the conversion of the present locality into a metropolitan park. Papariga was later given a tour of the Exhibition's pavilions.
In statements to reporters, Papariga stressed that "for the past 20 years, despite popular indignation and the people's resistance in important struggles which were made by the working people, the youth, the farmers the self-employed, finally the government's anti-popular measures are being implemented. Consequently, the time has come for the popular majority, the workers and employees who suffer, to rid themselves of the syndrome that they have before them a Goliath and to convert the present victors into definitely defeated. This is our firm message from now on. We are working in this direction."
 KKE SG delivers speech in ThessalonikiCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga addressed a rally of party supporters in Thessaloniki on Tuesday evening.
She presented the KKE's proposal for "the country's way out of the crisis."
Papariga said that "the KKE is a reliable force" and called on the working people "to become aware of their strength and to mobilize."
She also called on the working class to reject the policies of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party) and of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).
The KKE Secretary General furthermore launched a stinging attack against the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS).
 SYRIZA's Alavanos slams government tax measuresThe head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party group Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday strongly criticised the tax measures introduced by the government in the latest draft bill tabled in Parliament, during a public debate organised by SYRIZA.
Coming amid a long period of tax reductions for companies, the bill "indicates the negative result of this policy and the impasse that it has created," Alavanos said.
Even concessions made by the government for the exemption of freelancers with a single employer from the measures contained a dangerous trap, since they indirectly legalised a system where salaried work was passed off as the provision of freelance services, relieving the employer from his obligations to pay social insurance contributions, the two extra salaries a year given under the Greek system and others, Alavanos noted.
Invitations to attend the event were addressed to the largest and most influential trade unions in the country, including the tax officers' federation.
 EU interior ministers on immigrationPARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)
The EU French Presidency has chosen the title of "For the rebuilding of a Europe of asylum" for the two-day conference held here for the interior ministers of European Union member-states, in the presence of European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot and with the participation of representatives of the citizens' society.
Greece's positions on the issue of immigration and asylum were defended by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. The conference was presided over by French Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux.
With the ultimate aim of creating a "Common European System on Asylum", the delegates made an initial account of progress achieved in cooperation among them, they studied the conditions for the creation of a "Support Bureau", as had been decided by the Council on April 18, and exchanged views on the criteria and the ways for providing asylum.
Speaking at the end of the conference, Pavlopoulos said that absolute agreement was reached among the member-states on obtaining a joint asylum system in Europe.
He said that the asylum issue "is one of the pylons of the Immigration Pact, we agreed absolutely on this part. We shall meet again on September 25 to close the rest of the issues as well, so that the October summit can ratify the Pact and enable it to become a reality."
 Roussopoulos on Vatopedio Monastery probeThe government was looking to justice to investigate the affairs of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos that had preoccupied public opinion in the past weeks, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Tuesday.
He was responding to a question about an inquiry launched by Supreme Court Prosecutor George Sanidas into real estate transactions involving the monastery.
The spokesman also exonerated the ministers implicated in the affair, saying that they had acted in accordance with the dictates of the Constitution in seeking the advice of the Legal Council of State.
"They sought from the Legal Council of State, which is the advisor of every minister, opinions that once given - and in one case the then deputy minister read the opinion and sought a second - they did what their duty prescribed, as this is described in the Constitution. They acted, in other words, within the framework of their remit and their duties," Roussopoulos said.
 Education minister to tour Thessaloniki on WednesdayEducation Minister Evripidis Stylianidis is scheduled to tour the prefecture of Thessaloniki on Wednesday to inspect school construction sites and inaugurate new school buildings in the region.
On Wednesday evening he will take part in the 1st Debate on Northern Greece organised by the newspaper "Macedonia" at the Makedonia Palace Hotel.
 EESC 'Entrepreneurship with a human face' conferenceBusinessmen must abide by their obligation to pay their share of taxes, economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday, addressing the second day of a two-day European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) biennial conference on "Entrepreneurship with a human face" in Athens.
Alogoskoufis said that the target was to broaden the number of socially sensitive businesses through enhancement of incentives in that direction, and noted that, in tandem, the consumers should reward such businesses with their attitude.
He stressed that in recent years Greek business enterprises have taken substantial steps in the direction of materializing actions in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility, but warned that this should not cause complacency.
Alogoskoufis said that implementation of law by businesses enterprises was the responsibility of everyone, and not only the State, and noted that the businesses themselves should proceed one step forward in the implementation of the laws and take measures with respect to their employees and the environment.
Economic and Social Committee Hellas president Christos Polyzogopoulos pointed out that many steps have been taken in Greece to create an auspicious business environment, but added that even greater effort was required with respect to further reduction of bureaucracy and management cost, promoting growth, with the focus on SMEs, and boosting competitiveness in general.
"We need to advance at a faster pace in actions and policies related to research and technology, as well as in the training and education of the human potential at business level," he added.
EU Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Meglena Kuneva, stressed the role of consumers as the driving force of the market European-wide, and noted that businesses and consumers should not be considered as antagonists between themselves in the new single market being created. She further underlined the importance of informing consumers on issues concerning them, and on enhancing the institutional framework on consumer issues, at EU level.
EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hubner, said that the Europe of the peripheries can stand at the side of entrepreneurship, and expressed satisfaction following her tour in Greece in the past days, during which, she said, she ascertained immense progress in important infrastructure projects.
 Parliament rejects tax bill objectionThe deputies of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party on Tuesday rejected the objection raised by the main opposition PASOK party on the constitutional nature of the tax bill, whose discussion had begun at the second Parliamentary recess committee.
Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis said that the bill's provision on the taxing with a 10 percent rate of self-employed professionals is not contrary to the constitution. On the contrary, it is being applied to lift inequalities and injustices that have been observed and to relieve the onesided burdening of salary earners and pensioners, he said.
The minister added that nobody is being categorised individually, but there are objective possibilities for tax evasion which, as it appears, some categories are exploiting on a wide scale.
 Transport minister meets EU Commissioner HubnerTransport Minister Kostis Hatzidakis had a meeting on Tuesday with visiting European Commissioner for regional policy Danuta Hubner, informing her on the progress of work to modernise the Greek Railways Organisation (OSE) and other transport infrastructure.
In statements after the meeting, Hubner reiterated the European Commission's emphasis on developing railroads and expressed satisfaction with the measures taken by Greece to promote environmentally-friendly transport.
Hatzidakis said he had briefed the Commissioner on the construction of a double electric rail line utilising telematics from Thessaloniki to Larisa that had already been completed, adding that two thirds of the Thessaloniki-Athens line will be essentially completed by November when the same line was extended up to Domokos.
Construction on the Athens-Thessaloniki and Athens-Patras axis will also be completed on schedule in 2013 and 2014, respectively, he added.
Plans for a restructuring programme for OSE that was recently announced by the government and which were directly linked with the progress of the infrastructure projects were discussed as well, the minister said.
Finally, Hubner was briefed on urban transport modernisation in the capital, the introduction of cycle paths in Greek cities and measures taken to protect the environment.
 Papandreou meets head of IT firms associationMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday met the board chairman of the Association of Information Technology Firms in Greece Pantelis Tzortzakis, who stressed that Greece needed to create a new ministry for technology, computing and communications.
Tzortzakis also presented the results of recent studies showing that Greece still ranked among the lowest countries in the European Union in terms of IT and communications technology use, saying that such a ministry would bring huge financial benefits by speeding up the application of the country's digital strategy.
 Proposals by Trade and Industrial Chamber of PiraeusThe president of the Trade and Industrial Chamber of Piraeus, G. Kassimatis, in proposals sent by the Chamber to the Economy and Finance Ministry on Tuesday regarding the taxation bill, noted that "every added burden to businesses in this present difficult situation for businesses, speeds up their eradication with all the unfavorable economic consequences."
The Chamber said "the businesses need relief, for example, to be rid of the painful economic and psychological provisions, objectivity of inspection with a steadfast reasonable system of synoptic procedures."
 Lawyers continue protest strike a gainst tax billIn an announcement on Tuesday, the Athens Bar Association announced that its members will continue to abstain from court appearances on Wednesday and Thursday, in protest over what they termed unfair and unconstitutional measures contained in the latest round of tax reforms.
Similar strike action was also decided by lawyers in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki over the same issues but also over the latest developments concerning the building of a new court building at the city's port.
 Greek industrial production down 1.4 pct in JulyGreek industrial production composite index fell by 1.4 percent in July, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Tuesday.
The statistics service, in a monthly report, said the industrial production index was up 3.9 pct in July 2007. The 1.4 pct decline of the index in July this year was attributed to a 2.1 pct fall in the manufacturing production index, an 1.0 pct rise in mining production index and a 0.4 pct rise in the electricity-natural gas-water production index.
 Greek exports up 14.1 pct in JulyThe value of Greek exports-deliveries jumped 14.1 pct in July to 1.657 billion euros, from 1.453 billion euros in the corresponding period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Tuesday.
The statistics service said the value of import-arrivals totaled 4.916 billion euros in July, from 5.013 billion euros in July 2007, for a decline of 1.9 pct.
 Greek hotel industry's profits up in 2007, reportThe Greek hotel sector has transformed into a two-speed industry, with 58 pct of hotels reporting profits and 42 pct losses, a survey by Stat Bank said on Tuesday.
The pan-hellenic survey, based on a sample of 795 hotel enterprises, said that despite the fact that 334 hotels reported losses in 2007, the Greek hotel industry in general showed a positive performance. Stat Bank said the 795 larger hotels reported losses totaling 23.2 mln euros in 2005, returning to profitability in 2006 (one million euros) and in 2007 (82 million euros).
Also, 221 enterprises improved their profits while another 119 enterprises cut their losses in 2007.
Stat Bank said it expected a larger number of hotel enterprises to report a worsening of their results in 2008, leading either to the closure of some businesses or starting a round of mergers and acquisitions in the sector.
Enterprises in the sample reported a turnover of 2.58 billion euros, up 7.34 pct from the previous year, with the 100 largest hotel enterprises accounting for 52 pct of total turnover.
 Greek stocks end flat on TuesdayGreek stocks ended flat on Tuesday, after Monday's specta-cular advance, as investors either took profits or found no news to open positions in the market. The composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange ended 0.05 pct higher at 3,276.56 points, with turnover easing to 215.4 million euros, of which 2.1 million were block trades.
Most sectors moved lower, with the Oil (2.52 pct), Healthcare (2.36 pct) and Media (1.83 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Utilities (3.93 pct), Food/Beverage (3.44 pct), Insurance (2.99 pct) and Telecommunications (1.49 pct) scored gains.
The FTSE 20 index rose 0.21 pct, the FTSE 40 index eased 1.06 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 0.62 pct lower. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 161 to 70 with another 47 issues unchanged.
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended with small discounts in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 108.089 million euros. The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.18 pct and the September contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 1.95 pct.
Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 8,955 contracts worth 81.474 million euros, with 31,311 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index no contracts were traded.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 26,164 contracts worth 25.904 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Ellaktor's contracts (13,948), followed by OTE (1,947), PPC (792), National Bank (1,627), Alpha Bank (2,187), Intracom (723), Marfin Popular Bank (1,164) and Mytilineos (786).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.520 billion euros on Tuesday, of which 570 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 950 million were sell orders.
The 10-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 630 million euros, while the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds rose to 0.77 pct, with the Greek bond yielding 4.85 pct and the German Bund 4.08 pct.
In money markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 5.33 pct, the six-month rate 5.17 pct, the three-month rate 4.96 pct and the one-month rate 4.51 pct.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.52%
Personal & Household: -0.30%
Raw Materials: -0.53%
Travel & Leisure: -0.79%
Food & Beverages: +3.44%
Financial Services: -0.43%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OTE and Piraeus Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 16.78
Public Power Corp (PPC): 16.54
HBC Coca Cola: 16.76
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.96
National Bank of Greece: 32.80
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 14.20
Piraeus Bank: 17.68
Titan Cement Company: 25.60
 Foreign Exchange rates: WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.425
Pound sterling 0.809
Danish kroner 7.516
Swedish kroner 9.544
Japanese yen 154.12
Swiss franc 1.612
Norwegian kroner 8.097
Canadian dollar 1.515
Australian dollar 1.752
 Firefighting efforts continue in Central, Western MacedoniaFirefighting efforts continued on Tuesday to extinguish wildfires in Central and Western Macedonia.
A fire that broke out at noon on Sunday on Mt. Beles in Kilkis prefecture was burning fir and beech tree expanses. A strong team of 38 firemen on foot, assisted by a 17-strong team of EMAK emergency operations men, but efforts were hampered by the inaccessible terrain. Firefighting planes joined the operation at the first light of day.
Another blaze was burning forest expanses in the Papranitsa and Kitka areas of the Promachonas district in Aridaia, Pella prefecture, where firefighting efforts were also hampered by the inaccessible terrain.
A third fire that broke out in an expanse of mixed forest and pasture in the region of Antartiko in Prespes, Florina prefecture, was still burning on Tuesday, as a force of 30 firemen with 14 fire engines and a 30-strong team on foot were battling the blaze.
Meanwhile, a fire that broke out at Ieropigi in Kastoria prefecture, near the border with Albania, burned 300 stremmas of forestland before being partially contained on Tuesday.
Also, a fifth fire that broke out in an oak forest in the Vitsi municipality, in a location known as Pimeniko, burned seven stremmas of forestland before being brought under partial control.
 Culture minister on film industry proposalsCulture Minister Mihalis Liapis met on Tuesday with the members of a special committee set up to examine problems relating to the Greek film industry and formulate proposals for its upgrading. The committee is chaired by Greek-French film director Costa-Gavras.
Liapis told journalists that his ministry had "the political will to give incentives and criteria" for the national film industry's development. He added that he would be meeting next week with trade unionists of the sector to discuss the committee's proposals while final arrangements would be ready by October so that they become law probably before the opening of the Thessaloniki Film Festival in November.
 WADA official praises Greek anti-doping billVisiting WADA official Rune Andersen, director for standards and harmonisation at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), on Tuesday praised a draft bill for tackling doping in sports that was recently tabled in Parliament by the Greek government.
"With this bill, the institutional framework for fighting doping becomes stronger and more effective worldwide," Andersen stated in Athens.
The draft bill was the central focus of a meeting between Andersen and Deputy Sports Minister Yiannis Ioannidis, which was also attended by the head of Hellenic National Council for Combatting Doping (ESKAN) Hara Spiliopoulou.
 Fair on WednesdayFair weather with northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 35C. Fair in Athens, with 4-6 beaufort northerly winds and temperatures ranging from 23C to 33C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 31C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe investigation launched by Supreme Court prosecutor George Sanidas over the exchanges of properties between the State and the Mt. Athos monastery of Vatopedi, which have drawn sharp fire from the opposition parties, and reactions to economic policy announcements by the prime minister at the 73rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspaper.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Prosecutor begins investigations into Vatopedi transactions".
APOGEVMATINI: "According to poll, 60 percent of citizens foresee ruling party New Democracy's(ND) victory in general elections, despite the fact that ND's popularity is at nadir point."
AVGHI: "Karamanlis in a rejection cluster - His explanations on ministers' 'grey' business dealings insulted the people".
AVRIANI: "The ones who have burgled monasteries and Church property must be imprisoned ".
CHORA: "Monks and public workers land encroachers! - Prosecutor's investigation on Real Estate Vatopedi, after Sanidas intervention".
ELEFTHEROS : "Former ND's minister Yannis Kefaloyannis to Karamanlis : Expel the corrupt from ND".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Most trusted ministers provoke unreversal damage to ND". MP's barrage against Merchant Marine Minister George Voulgarakis after TIF: We must preserve ND's integrity".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "100 million euros 'sacred' burglery - Vatopedi: Prosecutor George Sanidas releases a burning report".
ETHNOS: "Karamanlis image turns to smithereens - Two polls indicate his Waterloo at TIF".
KATHIMERINI: "Continuing fires against George Voulgarakis (merchant marine minister) - ND members' new statements".
NIKI: "Karamanlis' swan song - Prime Minister's disappointing 'performance' at TIF".
RIZOSPASTIS: "People follow their own battle path to reverse the euro-route - Block on the new antisocial attack".
TA NEA: "Major scam in Vatopedi - Prosecutor orders investigation".
TO VIMA: "Three million citizens in Tax Bureau's target - Declared incomes under 12,000 euros in question".
VRADYNI: "MPs and citizens call for initiatives - Polls indicating people's dissatisfaction and constraint sound warning bell for government".
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