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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-10

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

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

Friday, 10 October 2008 Issue No: 3017

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM, president briefed on Nimetz proposal
  • [02] Papandreou briefed by FM on latest Nimetz proposals
  • [03] PM seeks priority treatment for economic legislation
  • [04] PM meets with Mitsotakis, former French prime minister Villepin
  • [05] FM Bakoyannis meets British Minister for Europe Flint
  • [06] Valinakis meets British minister for Europe
  • [07] PM Karamanlis arrives in Malta on two-day official visit
  • [08] PASOK leader visits Petralona secondary school
  • [09] PASOK MPs request hearing on Vatopedi land deals
  • [10] Papariga: credit crunch a 'crisis of capitalism'
  • [11] Euro left leaders in Athens
  • [12] AHEPA raps Bush administration foot-dragging on visa waiver program
  • [13] Christofias receives former Greek PM Simitis
  • [14] Bill raises bank deposit guarantee
  • [15] BoG gov. reassures depositors
  • [16] PASOK proposes 7 amendments to loan holders' bill
  • [17] Gov't defends PPC management, comments on utility's performance
  • [18] PPC electricity rates lowest in Europe, minister says
  • [19] 8 new tourism facilities tenders
  • [20] Deputy FinMin Bezas addresses Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce
  • [21] Conference on small, medium-size enterprises
  • [22] MIG, Marfin, WIND Hellas reach partnership deal
  • [23] Transport minister meets delegation of Stewards' Union
  • [24] President Papoulias meets GSEVEE
  • [25] Greek stocks eased 0.36 pct on Thursday
  • [26] ADEX closing report
  • [27] Greek bond market closing report
  • [28] Foreign Exchange rates: Friday
  • [29] Parliament ratifies Acropolis Museum bill
  • [30] Bill on family reform tabled in Parliament
  • [31] Event by Education Ministry on International University of Thessaloniki
  • [32] Greeks leery of cloned food, EU study shows
  • [33] IMEPO working meeting in Tirana on illegal migration
  • [34] Cloud, showers on Friday
  • [35] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [36] Egyptian President reaffirms positions on Cyprus problem
  • [37] Downer: look to the future for successful talks Politics

  • [01] PM, president briefed on Nimetz proposal

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday met Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who briefed him on the latest developments surrounding the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugo-slav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) after the new package of ideas submitted by UN mediator for the name issue Matthew Nimetz.

    "We are in the midst of negotiations and have specific positions and goals; the talks will continue so that there can be a result that satisfies both countries, so that a solution can be found without winners or losers," stated Bakoyannis as she left the meeting with the premier.

    Asked to predict the outcome of the talks, Bakoyannis refused, saying that "we are engaged in negotiations, with due responsibility and seriousness, and we want the other side to do the same".

    Following her meeting with the premier, Bakoyannis also briefed Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias on the latest proposal submitted by Nimetz and stressed that Greece was "in the middle of a very difficult negotiation."

    [02] Papandreou briefed by FM on latest Nimetz proposals

    Main opposition PASOK party president George Papandreou on Thursday stressed that a "double name" formula to solve the FYROM "name issue" is unacceptable, following his briefing by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis over latest proposals submitted by UN envoy Matthew Nimetz a day earlier.

    "With our proposals and responsible stance we have formed a national 'red line', namely, adoption of a name (for FYROM) with a geographic qualifier to be used in all instances, and rejection of a double name," he said, adding that "the Nimetz proposals do not meet the terms of the national red line."

    "We obviously say no to any discussion on issues beyond that of the name; issues that are unacceptable to us," Papandreou added.

    Meanwhile, a government spokesman earlier said that the package of ideas submitted by Nimetz, within the framework of ongoing negotiations, is being evaluated with proper caution and a constructive attitude.

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos also pointed out that the Greek side has presented, in a very specific way, its positions, "having as an objective the definite solution of this very important issue in a mutually acceptable way."

    Responding to a press question on whether the prime minister and the foreign minister are planning to travel abroad to gain broader international support, Roussopoulos stressed that "any means that will be helpful in finding a solution to the issue has been employed, is being employed and will continue to be employed."

    [03] PM seeks priority treatment for economic legislation

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday met Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas and asked to be briefed on the schedule for Parliament's legislative work, while asking him to give priority treatment to legislation dealing with the economy.

    Specifically, the prime minister requested that priority be given to draft bills and measures responding to the international credit crisis and to encourage economic development, as well as those seeking to boost the welfare of lower-income strata.

    Emerging from the meeting, Sioufas denied that the meeting was in preparation for early elections, stressing that there was no reason to call early polls and that the government's concern was to deal responsibly and seriously with the international crisis.

    [04] PM meets with Mitsotakis, former French prime minister Villepin

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met on Thursday with former prime minister and ruling New Democracy (ND) party honorary leader Constantine Mitsotakis.

    No statements were made after the meeting.

    Karamanlis also met later with visiting former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin.

    [05] FM Bakoyannis meets British Minister for Europe Flint

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday evening met with visiting British Minister for Europe Caroline Flint.

    After the meeting, Flint said that the negotiations which are being conducted in Cyprus were an opportunity for progress.

    Flint, who arrived in Athens from Cyprus, said it was her wish to visit both Cyprus and Greece.

    On the agenda of the two ministers was Turkey's European course and the British minister expressed the position that the promotion of Turkey's course in Europe would be to the benefit of the region.

    To reporters' questions on the conference which will be held at the Foreign Ministry on Friday on the theme "The study of the modern history of Greece: The view of Oxford", Flint replied that it indicates the continuous interest of Greece and Britain for the culture and history of the two countries.

    Bakoyannis hosted a dinner in honour of Flint, with the participation of the two delegations.

    [06] Valinakis meets British minister for Europe

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis received visiting British Minister for Europe Caroline Flint on Thursday, with both underlining the need for European Union member-states to cooperate closely, particularly in the current difficult international financial conjecture.

    "We discussed bilateral but also important European issues, on which we are seeking cooperation," Valinakis told reporters after the meeting.

    Regarding the European Treaty, Valinakis said Greece and Britain were trying to have a "positive outcome".

    "We are expecting the Irish to present (at next week's EU Summit) their positions after their rejection of the Treaty, on how we should move ahead. And we want to believe that all other countries which must ratify it, they will do it within the fixed timeframes," the Greek minister added.

    "It is important for the Treaty to be adopted in order for Europe to advance and handle present challenges. One of these is the financial crisis. It is very important that, in difficult times, we should adopt a common European course towards a common European future," Valinakis noted. The two ministers also focused their talks on climate change and energy security.

    [07] PM Karamanlis arrives in Malta on two-day official visit

    VALETTA (ANA-MPA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Malta on Thursday afternoon for an official two-day visit and will be holding talks with the country's political and state leadership on Friday.

    At 09:35 local time (10:35 Greek time), Karamanlis will be having a private meeting with Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. Their meeting will last for 20 minutes and will be followed by official talks between the two delegations. The talks are scheduled to last 40 minutes and at 11:30 the Greek prime minister will be giving a press conference. Karamanlis will then be meeting President of the Republic Edward Fenech Adami.

    At 12:30 at noon, Karamanlis will visit Saint John's Cathedral in Valetta and at 13:30 he will attend a luncheon given in his honour by the Maltese President of the Republic.

    The Greek prime minister will visit the old city of Mdina at 15:15 and at 16:30 he will meet the leader of the main opposition party.

    Lastly, at 20:00, Karamanlis will attend a dinner given in his honour by the Maltese prime minister.

    [08] PASOK leader visits Petralona secondary school

    Main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou stressed that education plays the key role in the country's development and future during his visit to the 12th High School and Lyceum of Petralona in Athens on Thursday.

    Papandreou also pledged that PASOK will allocate 5 percent of GDP to education and 2 percent to scientific research, underlining that funding for education has declined during the past five years.

    [09] PASOK MPs request hearing on Vatopedi land deals

    Three main opposition PASOK party MPs on Thursday requested that the top executives of the Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation (HPREC) be summoned to a hearing before the responsible parliamentary committee regarding the Vatopedi Monastery land exchange scandal.

    The main opposition MPs addressed a letter to the chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Institutions and Transparency with the request that HPREC President Petros Papageorgiou and CEO Konstantinos Gratzios testify in a hearing about the depreciation of state owned land ceded to Vatopedi Monastery.

    [10] Papariga: credit crunch a 'crisis of capitalism'

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga on Thursday said that "the full extent of the crisis has not yet hit Greece," and predicted that when it did, it would run very deep. She was speaking during a press conference held in Athens to present the party's views for its 18th Congress.

    Papariga said that the working class movement must be ready to confront the crisis, stressing that "spirit of optimistic struggle" prevailed in her party. She said KKE was now sounding the charge for a counterattack against monopolies and multinationals, now that capitalism was facing a crisis. "The opponent is not as strong as we think," she added, noting that KKE was fully prepared to handle the new conditions.

    Asked whether she will continue to be general secretary after the party's Congress, Papariga replied that only the press appeared to be concerned about this issue. She stressed that KKE was a collective party, with nothing at the Congress decided in advance, and that she would act on the party's decisions.

    Papariga also expressed radical disagreement with the other parties regarding the cause of the current crisis, calling it a 'crisis of capitalism'. She also voiced doubts about the efficacy of the government's measures, saying that they amounted to giving the largest bank capital that it could then use to make profits.

    On the issue of collaboration between small and larger parties, she said these could not be overlooked but urged voters to show that they did not support the system at the next general elections.

    [11] Euro left leaders in Athens

    The executive board of the European Left Party (EL) will hold its regular session in Athens this week, followed by a joint press conference by Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) President Alexis Tsipras, EL executive board chairperson Lothar Bisky (The Left - Germany) and vice-chairperson Graziella Mascia (Communist Refoundation Party - Italy).

    The current international economic crisis, developments in international relations and climate change will be on the agenda, while a political-cultural event on Latin America is scheduled to take place on Oct. 11.

    [12] AHEPA raps Bush administration foot-dragging on visa waiver program

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA)

    The head of the largest and oldest Greek-American organi-sation, AHEPA, on Wednesday expressed his concerns over what he called the Bush administration's failure to include Greece in the visa waiver program.

    In a letter to the US president, AHEPA president Ike Gulas reminded that although Greece fulfills all the criteria for inclusion in the programme, it appears that the east Mediterranean EU and NATO member-state has "fallen victim" to the current US administration's displeasure over Athens' stance at the Bucharest NATO summit in April 2008, where FYROM's membership bid was experienced a "train wreck" because of the latter's failure to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the nagging "name issue".

    Gulas, who stressed that he spoke on behalf of philhellenes and three million Americans of Greek descent, said Athens has worked closely with US officials over the past few months to meet Homeland Security and State Department demands.

    Despite these initiatives, the AHEPA president added, the Bush administration has decided to "freeze" the visa waiver process.

    AHEPA, founded in 1922 as the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, also called on its members to send letters to the White House expressing their disapproval.

    The Bush administration recognised the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its so-called "constitutional name", days after George W. Bush was re-elected in November 2004.

    [13] Christofias receives former Greek PM Simitis

    The president of the Republic of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, received former Greek PM Costas Simitis on Thrusday, as the latter is currently on a visit to Nicosia.

    In a brief statement he made afterwards, Simitis said Christofias referred to developments on the Cyprus issue.

    The former leader of main opposition PASOK party also commented that a solution should be found after taking under consideration the legitimate interests of all sides involved.

    Financial News

    [14] Bill raises bank deposit guarantee

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Thursday tabled, in Parliament, a more-or-less exprected draft bill raising the minimum guarantee on bank saving deposits to 100,000 euros, up from 20,000 euros currently, and for a period of three years.

    Speaking to reporters, the minister reiterated that the domestic banking system was absolutely safe and solvent and noted that the draft legislation was part of the government's commitment to offer state protection to all savings.

    Meanwhile, Christos Gortsos, secretary-general of the Hellenic Bank Association, addressing a parliament committee considering draft legislation aimed at offering greater protection to borrowers, said Greek banks have not exposed themselves to "toxic" bonds, since they had the opportunity to enter a deregulated consumer and housing credit market in Greece as well as to expand in Balkan markets, achieving high growth rates.

    "It would be extremely odd to invest in such securities when one has the opportunity for organic profitability through traditional retail banking operations in a geographically expanded market," Gortsos said.

    He noted that the Greek banking market was not exposed to CDOs, nor was it largely exposed to the interbank market, two factors offering additional stability for the system.

    [15] BoG gov. reassures depositors

    Domestic bank depositors received yet another reassurance on Thursday by Bank of Greece Gov. George Provopoulos, who stressed that the banking system in the east Mediterranean is safe and stable, and will weather the turbulence caused by the massive international financial crisis.

    Submitting the Bank of Greece's 2008 Interim Report to Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, the central banker stressed that both the Greek economy and domestic banking system are in a comparatively better position despite crisis.

    "Profits will be affected but not to an extent that could cause concern," Provopoulos said, adding that "the conclusion is that bank depositors should rest assured that their money is safe."

    [16] PASOK proposes 7 amendments to loan holders' bill

    Main opposition PASOK on Thursday said that it would not back the government's draft bill to protect loan holders in its present form and would table seven proposed amendments to provide more substantial protection to borrowers.

    PASOK spokeswoman for economic issues Louka Katseli dismissed the draft bill as a "ruse" and said it did not provide substantial protection to borrowers that were losing their homes, having to deal with compound interest and other unfair and abusive practices used by banks.

    The seven amendments proposed by PASOK would seek to address the draft bill's shortcomings in terms of foreclosures, auctions of foreclosed properties, protection against unjustified charges on loans and credit cards, the size of debts, penalty interest rates and the abusive practices used by the debt collection firms employed by banks.

    She particularly criticised the draft bill for failing to change the procedure used in foreclosures, saying this would render ineffective the measure of increasing the minimum debt allowing such foreclosures to 20,000 euros.

    Specifically, PASOK proposes an outright ban on foreclosures of a household's main residence, wants to allow debtors to seek the stalling of a foreclosure up to five days before the property is auctioned, seeks to extend the definition of main residence to the home occupied by the spouse and dependents of the debtor and extend protection from foreclosure of a main residence to loan guarantors.

    The party also wants to extend current measures protecting farmers against compound and penalty interest rates - which sets an upper ceiling on their total debt to double the amount they originally borrowed - to also cover those taking out consumer loans, credit card loans and mortgages for their first home. Finally, PASOK wants to scrap compound interest on all housing and consumer loans, as well as credit cards.

    [17] Gov't defends PPC management, comments on utility's performance

    Public Power Corp. S.A.'s (PPC) electricity rate is the lowest in the EU in terms of real prices and third in terms of nominal rates, Deputy Development Minister Stavros Kalafatis stressed Thursday in Parliament, in response to a tabled question by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MP Fotis Kouvelis on the course of the listed public utility.

    Kalafatis said the government wants to maintain this position, adding that it follows developments closely and will intervene when necessary.

    "Development Minister Christos Folias has made that clear. We will not let PPC follow the course of Olympic Airlines," he said, in reference to the debt-burdened and ailing national carrier.

    On his part, Kouvelis referred to "social discontent" caused by power rate hikes, and blamed management for the power company's condition.

    Kalafatis admitted that PPC's annual reports showed negative results, with losses reaching roughly 58.1 million euros. PPC management has blamed the "red ink" on skyrocketing international fuel price, pointing out that the company's operational cost is affected by the burden of carbon dioxide emission rights purchases.

    He added, however, that PPC's management can provide the necessary responses to the competent Parliament committee.

    [18] PPC electricity rates lowest in Europe, minister says

    The rates charged by the Public Power Corporation SA (PPC) for electricity were the lowest in the EU in terms of real prices and the third-lowest in terms of nominal prices and the government did not intend to let this change, Deputy Development Minister Stavros Kalafatis stressed Thursday in Parliament. He was replying to a question tabled by Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) MP Fotis Kouvelis regarding the financial woes of the public utility.

    At the same time, he made it clear that the government was closely following developments and would intervene when necessary. "Development Minister Christos Folias has made that clear. We will not let DEH become another Olympic Airlines," he added.

    On his part, Kouvelis referred to the social discontent caused by the electricity rate increases and blamed PPC's management for the "tragic state" of the power utility's finances.

    Kalafatis admitted that the PPC's year-end reports showed losses reaching roughly 58.1 million euros, which the management blamed on rising fuel costs, and pointed out that the company's operational costs were being affected by the added cost of buying carbon dioxide emission rights. He added, however, that the PPC's management can supply answers to the appropriate parliamentary committee.

    The deputy development minister stressed that PPC, being one of the biggest public utility companies and the employer of thousands, had to remain profitable. The government's goal is market deregulation and the greatest possible consumer protection, he added.

    [19] 8 new tourism facilities tenders

    Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Thursday announced the launch of eight new tenders by Tourism Development Co. (ETA), the completion of two others while another five tenders are in their final stage.

    Presenting ETA's strategic plan, Spiliotopoulos said the ministry aims to improve management of state property, while he noted that ETA manages real estate property valued more than 1.2 billion euros.

    The minister said that Savvas Real Estate will take over the Tsagarada Xenia Hotel, paying an annual lease of 144,000 euros and will invest 1.5 million euros to restore facilities.

    J&P Avax, Vioter and Vernicos will take over the Faliro Marina for a 2.5-million-euro annual lease, paying a down payment of 35.7 million euros. Both contracts have a 35-year duration.

    Five more tenders have entered their final stage, Corfu casino, Vytina Xenia Hotel, Skiathos Xenia Hotel, Rhodes Golf and Anavyssos (Attica).

    The new eight tenders include the Nafpaktos spa, two large real estate properties in Kala Nera, Magnesia prefecture, as well as the previously state-run Xenia chain hotels on the island Thassos and at the northern Greece sites of Platamonas and Pelio.

    Spiliotopoulos said ETA will invest 4.3 million euros for the Athens-area's Alimos Marina, Vouliagmeni beach and marina, along with funding for the Kaiafas and Ypati spas this year, while it planned to invest 15 million euros over the next two years.

    ETA's profits rose by 7.0 percent in 2007.

    [20] Deputy FinMin Bezas addresses Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce

    Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Antonis Bezas addressed the 5th Taxation Conference of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce on Thursday on the theme of "Taxation competition and reformist policies being promoted in crossborder transactions taxation," stressing that new actions are required to make the taxation system more objective in the sector of business activity.

    Bezas said the new actions may concern the modernisation of the existing legislative framework in the sector of intragroup pricing "which constitutes a challenge for tax administrations internationally."

    The deputy minister further said that crossborder economic activity is being dealt a blow in past years by the taxation problems that are appearing in relation to determining intragroup pricing.

    Bezas went on to say that relevant legislation is aimed at the avoidance of double taxation for businesses, of a group, that are established in different countries.

    [21] Conference on small, medium-size enterprises

    A conference of the Working Group for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises (OSEP) and the holding by the EOMMEX organisation of a Scientific Conference on "Innovation Poles, High Technology and Small and Medium-Size Enterprises, Technological Parks and Incubators" will be held in Athens on October 15-17. EOMMEX President George Souflias will be the Working Group's coordinator for the 2007-2009 period.

    The EOMMEX SA's Plan of Action aims, among other things, at promoting cooperation between the Greek small and medium-size enterprises, universities and Research Centres and supporting newly-established innovatory businesses in focused theme regions and supporting and promoting the extroversion of Greek small and medium-size enterprises in the region and strengthening and extending Greece's role and influence in the framework of OSEP.

    [22] MIG, Marfin, WIND Hellas reach partnership deal

    Marfin Investment Group (MIG), Marfin Popular Bank (MPB) and WIND Hellas on Thursday announced they had reached a commercial partnership agreement aimed to take advantage of new opportunities in the telecommunications and e-banking services in Greece.

    The three companies, in a statement, said the partnership agreement was based on their common vision to offer convergence services in telecommunications and IT and to developing advanced banking services based on mobile telephony technology.

    MIG, MPB and WIND Hellas said their partnership agreement will cover commercial, marketing and technology sectors, using SingularLogic's know-how in IT and their strong presence in Southeastern Europe.

    The three companies said the plan aimed at offering significant value for their shareholders, customers and workers.

    [23] Transport minister meets delegation of Stewards' Union

    Transport and Communications Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Thursday evening held a meeting with trade unionists of the Stewards' Union (EISF). The trade unionists said they were satisfied with the meeting and the discussion on issues concerning the privatisation of Olympic Airlines.

    EISF president Taxiarchis Hristou said that they received answers from the minister which he described as satisfactory.

    On his part, Hatzidakis clarified that the initial adjustment foresees for all the employees of Olympic Airlines who were hired before January 1, 1993 that they will receive an increase of labour stamps by 50%. For the stewards, over and above this adjustment, there will be to their already worked labour stamps a further increase to the tune of 50%.

    The minister commited himself that in the debate which will take place with the investors, the government will be in contact with the stewards so as to discuss their employment in the new company.

    [24] President Papoulias meets GSEVEE

    Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias received the General Confederation of Greek Small Businesses and Trades (GSEVEE) board and was briefed on the sector's problems.

    Commenting on the international conjuncture, the President stressed that "this a crucial time for all of us, Europe and the rest of the world, and you are the social stratum that feels the financial crisis more than anyone else, being the backbone of the economic system."

    [25] Greek stocks eased 0.36 pct on Thursday

    Greek stocks ended Thursday's session with minor losses, as reduced trading conditions combined with a positive note in other European markets helped to put a brake in a several-day sharp decline in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index fell 0.36 pct to end at 2,503.01 points, with turnover at 242.1 million euros.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the Telecommunications (5.91 pct), Personal/Home Products (2.07 pct) and Oil (1.69 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Utilities (2.65 pct), Media (2.63 pct) and Technology (1.78 pct) scored gains. The FTSE 20 index eased 0.12 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.59 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index fell 1.37 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 147 to 91 with another 46 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +1.68%

    Industrials: -0.87%

    Commercial: +0.63%

    Construction: +0.37%

    Media: +2.63%

    Oil & Gas: -1.69%

    Personal & Household: -2.07%

    Raw Materials: -0.18%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.04%

    Technology: +1.78%

    Telecoms: -5.91%

    Banks: +0.39%

    Food & Beverages: -0.84%

    Health: -1.68%

    Utilities: +2.65%

    Chemicals: -0.18%

    Financial Services: +1.66%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 13.90

    ATEbank: 2.02

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.40

    HBC Coca Cola: 10.90

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.16

    National Bank of Greece: 24.20

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 11.28

    Intralot: 6.08

    OPAP: 20.50

    OTE: 10.50

    Bank of Piraeus: 12.14

    Titan Cement Company: 24.00

    [26] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday,ith turnover shrinking to 84.758 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.56 pct.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 10,958 contracts worth 76.444 million euros, with 29,918 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 7,231 contracts worth 7.87 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (1,400), followed by Marfin Investment Group (869), PPC (954), Piraeus Bank (414), Marfin Popular Bank (594), Intralot (408) and Mytilineos (313).

    [27] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds widened further to 0.95 pct in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with turnover rising to 681 million euros, of which 270 million were buy orders and the remaining 411 million were sell orders.

    In money markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month Euribor rate was 5.512 pct, the six-month rate 5.448 pct, the three-month 5.39 pct and the one-month rate 5.126 pct.

    [28] Foreign Exchange rates: Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.379

    Pound sterling 0.795

    Danish kroner 7.513

    Swedish kroner 9.734

    Japanese yen 138.94

    Swiss franc 1.558

    Norwegian kroner 8.430

    Canadian dollar 1.552

    Australian dollar 1.965

    General News

    [29] Parliament ratifies Acropolis Museum bill

    The discussion on and the ratification of the culture ministry's bill on the Acropolis Museum was completed at the Parliament Plenum on Thursday. The bill was supported by the deputies of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and was voted against by all the opposition parties.

    Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis, replying to criticism by the opposition on the establishment of the new Museum in the form of a legal entity of public law, reiterated that it was selected with the criterion of its greater administrative and financial self-sufficiency and added that it will maintain its public character and will function under the ministry's stringent control and supervision.

    Liapis also reacted strongly to accusations concerning the cost of the Museum's inauguration. The minister spoke of "historically inaccurate, unacceptable and populist cries," adding that "this money will not be given by any budget and no social group will be deprived of it, as some are claiming with these miserable remarks of theirs" and pointing out that "it is an offer by the Finance ministry for an event, an advertising umbrella in an international network."

    [30] Bill on family reform tabled in Parliament

    A draft bill prepared by the Justice ministry and tabled in Parliament concerning "reforms for the family, the child and society and other arrangements" establishes a drastic decrease in the time of separation required for the dissolution of a marriage with "automatic" (consensual) divorce and the conclusion of a Free Cohabitation Agreement between heterosexual people.

    Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis, outlining the main points contained in the bill during a press conference on Thursday, termed the reforms radical and said that "I am pleased because a considerable reform is taking place."

    According to the bill, the separation time between husband and wife will decrease to two years, from four that applies today, as unchallengeable proof of a marriage's collapse, meaning the time anticipated for the beginning of procedures for the issuing of a consensual divorce.

    The Free Cohabitation Agreement, exclusively between people of a different gender, is set up wiith a notary document and is entered in a special register, while it is dissolved either with a corresponding notary deed, or with a marriage between the two people who have concluded the agreement or between the one with a third person.

    Children that have been born or that shall be born are recognised as "genuine" children and are equated absolutely with children born during marriage.

    [31] Event by Education Ministry on International University of Thessaloniki

    The Education Ministry on Thursday evening initiated a series of events for "The strengthening of the extroversion of the Greek state University and the evolution of Greece from a country of brain haemorage and export of students into an International Educational Centre".

    Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, addressing the event for the presentation of the International University, noted that the spearhead of the ministry's effort bearing the title "Study in Greece" was the Thessaloniki based International University.

    Stylianidis, having referred to the ministry's work in universities and speaking on the role of the International University of Thessaloniki, noted that "the culmination of our reform in the field of extroversion constitutes the foundation and operation of the International university. This University is characterised by greater flexibility and speed, consolidating a new awareness, a different philosophy and a modern mentality in the field of higher education in Greece."

    [32] Greeks leery of cloned food, EU study shows

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)

    Greeks and most other Europeans are strongly opposed to the cloning of animals for food production, according to the results of a flash Eurobarometer study presented by the European Commission on Thursday.

    The study was carried out to assess citizens' attitudes towards animal cloning. It indicated that the vast majority of citizens have a good degree of knowledge of what is animal cloning: 81 percent in the 27 EU member-states and 84 percent in Greece stated correctly that "cloning is making an identical copy of an existing animal".

    Secondly, the study showed that a very high percentage of citizens were negative about cloning for human consumption as 81 percent in the EU feels that the long term effects of animal cloning on nature are unknown while 84 percent of EU respondents stated that we don't have enough experience about the long-term health and safety effects of using cloned animals for food. In Greece, 91.7 percent stated that there wasn't enough experience on the long-term health and safety effects of using cloned animals for food.

    EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said: "The survey provides us with valuable insights into the attitudes of EU citizens toward the use of animal cloning technology for food production. The European Commission has now before it the opinions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Group of Ethics (EGE) and also the Eurobarometer survey. The Commission will now proceed with the analysis of these elements before considering whether and what action may be necessary."

    With regard to when cloning may be justified, EU respondents noted that animal cloning for food production should never be justified by an average of 58 percent (63 percent in Greece) while 41 percent thought that it may be justified to improve the robustness of animals against diseases (48 percent in Greece) and 44 percent thought it would be justified if used to preserve rare animal species (52 percent in Greece).

    Amongst other issues, almost four out of 10 of those asked (38 percent) believe that none of the potential benefits presented to them (health or economic) would justify breeding cloned animals for food production. Out of those believing that there are benefits to animal cloning, 54 percent in the EU expressed the opinion that the procedure might help solve the worldwide food problems (48 percent in Greece). However, 54 percent of the respondents in the EU felt that animal cloning would ultimately not benefit consumers (56 percent of Greeks) and 44 percent in the EU felt that animal cloning would ultimately not benefit farmers.

    The food industry emerged as the sector that would ultimately benefit if animal cloning for food production purposes was allowed: 86 percent of EU respondents and 93 percent of Greeks shared this opinion.

    EU citizens stated they are "not at all likely" to buy food derived from cloned animals (43 percent) or from offspring of cloned animals (41 percent).

    [33] IMEPO working meeting in Tirana on illegal migration

    A Hellenic Migration Policy Institute (IMEPO) delegation will hold an exploratory working meeting in Tirana on Oct. 14, within the framework of a special programme co-financed by the EU and the Greek state on the repatriation of illegal migrants.

    The programme focuses on the creation of mechanisms for a more effective and viable implementation of readmission agreements reached between Albania, the European Union and interested third countries.

    The Greek delegation will also present conclusions of a study on the number of illegal migrants in Greece.

    Weather Forecast

    [34] Cloud, showers on Friday

    Cloudy and showery weather with northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 8C and 26C. Partly cloudy in Athens, with 5-7 beaufort northeasterly winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 23C. Cloudy and showery in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 13C to 20C.

    [35] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The international stockmarket crisis and its repercussions in Greece dominated the front pages of Athens' dailies on Thursday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The Greek economy not in danger - (Economy and finance minister) Alogoskoufis reiterates his assurances".

    APOGEVMATINI: "The world reliving 1929 - Neither the 0.5 percent reduction in bank rates halted the plummet of the European stock markets".

    AVGHI: "Global domino effect - The interventions by the central banks created fears of worse days ahead".

    AVRIANI: "Depositors will not lose a single euro - Alogoskoufis commitment on the entirety of deposits in all the banks operating in Greece".

    CHORA: "Cash is the King - The stockmarkets sighing throughout the world - Interest reduction a kiss of life".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "They reduced interest by half a percentage point and gave a kiss of life to borrowers".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "15 'keys' to securing your money - After the guarantee for deposits of up 100,000 euros, what the economists recommend on deposits, bonds and repos - Warning bell by the Bank of Greece over 'red' loans".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Black days - Recession on the horizon - Nightmarish prospects for US and Europe seen by the International Monetary Fund'.

    ESTIA: "The government exacerbating the crisis - It deprives the economy of resources".

    ETHNOS: "They're searching for salvation 'recipes' - Coordinated reduction of interest rates in Europe, US, Asia".

    KATHIMERINI: "Shock measures are not calming the situation in the markets - First-time coordinated reduction of interest - Partial nationalization of banks in Britain".

    LOGOS: "Life-belt with 0.50 percent interest reduction...by 7 central banks - Efforts to ameliorate the repercussions of the global financial crisis".

    NIKI: "The crisis also hit the (social security) Funds - Worry over the pensions and the benefits of the insured".

    PONTIKI (weekly): "Help me, oh poor ones, so that I will not become like you... - Is the system collapsing, or are they looting us again?"

    RIZOSPASTIS: "No tolerance - Outcry over the Funds' stolen monies and the people's needs - New anti-popular measures for management of the crisis".

    TA NEA: "Global SOS on loans, deposits - Panic from the plunge in the stockmarkets".

    TO VIMA: "The interest rate cut creates hopes for recovery - Coordinated intervention by seven central banks".

    VRADYNI: "Breather for borrowers - The concerted reduction of (the key) interest rate by 0.50 percent by central banks".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [36] Egyptian President reaffirms positions on Cyprus problem

    CAIRO (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reiterated the longstanding positions of his country on the Cyprus problem, during a meeting in Cairo on Thursday with Cypriot House of Representatives Speaker Marios Garoyian.

    Speaking after the meeting, Garoyian said Egypt's positions and policies regarding the Cyprus problem are totally in line with international law, UN resolutions and the principles and values that should dictate the relationship between states, with respect towards the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the Republic of Cyprus.

    The meeting focused on the Cyprus problem, the Middle East question and bilateral relations between Cyprus and Egypt.

    Garoyian said he briefed the Egyptian President on developments in the Cyprus problem, explained the Greek Cypriot positions and referred to the problems faced due to the Turkish stance.

    He added that he conveyed to Mubarak the regards of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and reiterated an invitation to visit Cyprus. Mubarak said he would do everything possible to visit the island.

    Referring to the role of Egypt in establishing security, peace and prosperity in the wider region, Garoyian said this role is recognised by Cyprus and the EU and all those who really wish for the Mediterranean basin to be one of peace and cooperation.

    The House president said they also reaffirmed the excellent relations between the two countries and noted that Mubarak agreed that the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the two parliaments during Garoyian's stay in Egypt would help promote common goals and broaden cooperation.

    Asked how Egypt could contribute to a Cyprus settlement, Garoyian said the country enjoys friendly relations with Turkey and supports positions of principle concerning the Cyprus problem, which gives it the opportunity to express its positions and give good advice towards achieving peace and stability.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [37] Downer: look to the future for successful talks

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    UN Secretary General Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said here Thursday it is important for everybody in the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement to look to the future and to make the negotiations a success, noting however that this can be done but requires great acts of statesmanship.

    Speaking to the press after being received by President of the Republic Demetris Christofias following his meetings in New York, Washington and Brussels on the Cyprus question, Downer said he had a very good talk with the president and he was ''very much looking forward to the talks tomorrow (Friday) morning'' between the two leaders as part of the ongoing direct talks.

    Asked if the UN will have a more active role, Downer noted ''I wouldn't say that, I think the important thing for the UN is to be helpful and that I don't think the UN can really offer to be more or less than that''.

    Downer said he hoped the UN ''are being helpful at this stage and we just continue to offer our help and the leaders have set their objectives''.

    '' It's clear'', he added, that ''what they ultimately want to achieve, they want to achieve a peace settlement'', adding the UN has its mandate and the Security Council is facilitating the meetings.

    ''We will be helpful in any other way we possibly can'', he said, adding ''I would like to feel that we are able to talk to the leaders and bring in a perspective that it is hopeful''.

    On his talks in Brussels, Downer said he met people at the European Parliament, Enlargement Commissioner Ollie Rehn, and other officials and had discussions with the EU member states.

    He also said he is looking forward to going to Paris soon to meet the French presidency. ''They are very supportive of the peace process, they want this peace process to be successful and that is encouraging'', the former Australian foreign minister said.

    Asked what he thinks of statements made which are contrary to what has been agreed as the basis to continue talks, Downer said ''I don't think its going to be helpful if I add a whole new level of commentary here and to statements that are being made. I think it is important for everybody to look to the future and to make the negotiations a success and I think they can be but its going to require great acts of statesmanship''.

    On Friday's meeting between President Christofias and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat, Downer said it will be ''another meeting in what will be a process that will take a bit of time''.

    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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