|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>‘uesday, 21 October 2008 Issue No: 3026
 Gov't reports double success in meeting Kyoto targetsGreece's environment ministry said it had hit two "home runs" on Monday, after its carbon emissions programme received a "thumbs up" in reports by both United Nations inspectors and the European Environment Agency (EEA).
A ministry announcement said that the report submitted by a team of experts to the UN Compliance Committee for the Kyoto Protocol had been positive, finding that Greece's national system for measuring carbon dioxide emissions met Kyoto Protocol requirements and UN specifications.
"The Expert Review Team (ERT) concludes that the national system, the institutional, legal and procedural measures established and processed by ministerial circular, is fully functional and Greece has the necessary procedures for planning, preparing and handling inventories and submitting them promptly to the UN secretariat," the ministry stated.
It noted that this expert report, based on a visit carried out in September, would then be used as the basis for a new meeting of the UN Compliance Meeting next month to decide whether Greece was ready to rejoin the Kyoto emissions trading mechanism, from which it had been temporarily suspended.
The second vote of confidence came from the EEA report released on October 16, which said that Greece was one of just four countries of the older EU member-states that were meeting Kyoto Protocol targets with the measures already in place.
In a second announcement, the environment ministry reported that Greece, along with Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom, were the countries that had formed the EU '15' who were meeting their target emissions in 2006 with existing domestic policies and measures.
According to official UN figures, Greece is still within its targets because emissions have increased by 24.6 percent relative to the base year, while the target was 25 percent.
Up to 12 of the original 15 EU member-states are expected to meet their targets by the year 2012 through a combination of domestic measures and use of Kyoto Protocol mechanisms.
The two ministry announcements come roughly 10 days after media speculation that Greece had failed to rejoin the Kyoto Protocol trading mechanisms when the Compliance Committee had convened and asked Greece to provide further clarifications regarding its emissions monitoring plan.
 Karamanlis talks with Gordon Brown on TuesdayLONDON (ANA-MPA)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived here on Monday afternoon where he will hold talks with his British counterpart Gordon Brown on Tuesday.
After his talks at 10 Downing St., Karamanlis will address a conference of entrepreneurs and shipowners before meeting opposition Conservative Party leader David Cameron in the afternoon.
On Tuesday evening, the Greek premier will inaugurate the exhibition "Byzantium: 330-1453" at the Royal Academy of Arts. He will return to Athens on Tuesday night.
 Greece again reiterates its position on FYROM 'name issue'A newspaper report in an Athens daily on Sunday claiming that the Bush administration and the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) held secret negotiations regarding the thorny "name issue" last July in a bid to overcome Greek objections expectedly generated reactions a day later.
"Greece has a standing position, known to all, with one voice, united, internally and abroad. We are in negotiations," Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said, in reference to Sunday's article citing documents pointing to collusion between the US State Department and FYROM's leadership over the "name dispute".
Bakoyannis reiterated that "we desire a composite name with a geographic determinant for all uses; our message is very clear," she reiterated.
Asked about the development on Sunday evening, Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos also reiterated that "Greece has clearly stated and will continue to state this to all (interested parties): there is no prospect of negotiation outside the UN framework, and, our standing position is a composite name with a clear geographical qualifier for all uses."
The article, which appeared in the Sunday edition of "Ethnos", generated a heated same-day denial by the government in Skopje.
 Congo to use term 'FYROM' for all bilateral, international purposesQuebec (ANA-MPA/C. Poulidou)
The Republic of the Congo will use the term 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' (FYROM) in boh bilateral relations and at international level, according to a Joint Communique signed by Greek deputy foreign minister Yannis Valinakis and Congo minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi following a meeting in Quebec on Sunday night on the sidelines of the 12th Francophone summit.
In substance, this means that The Congo has retracted its recognition of FYROM as 'Macedonia' several years ago, and comes just a few days after a similar action by Mexico, again after a meeting by Valinakis with Mexico's foreign undersecretary Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo in New York on Friday on the sidelines of the 63d session of the UN General Assenly
Gomez Robledo underlined that the Government of Mexico fully supports the United Nations efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution on the subject. He also assured that, pending settlement of the difference that has arisen over the name of that State, Mexico will provisionally refer to that State as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", in conformity with the relevant Security Council Resolutions 817/93 and 845/93, for all international and bilateral purposes.
 FM Bakoyannis receives ODIHR Director Janez LenarcicForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis received on Monday the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Director, Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, in view of Greece's assumption of the OSCE Presidency.
Welcoming the Slovenian official at the foreign ministry, FM Bakoyannis stated that "Greece is ready for the presidency".
No statements were made after the meeting.
 Deputy FM Valinakis meets with the Greek-Canadian communityMontreal (ANA-MPA / Ch. Poulidou)
Deputy Foreign Minister Yannnis Valinakis met with members of the Greek-Canadian community in Montreal on his way back to Athens after attending the Francophone Summit in Quebec on October 17-19 heading a 12-member delegation.
Valinakis stressed that Greece is a strong country with a strong economy and an equal member of the EU pointing out that the Greek-Canadians should feel safe and proud.
He referred to the voting rights of the Greek expatriates stressing that consultations are being made with all political parties represented in parliament to ensure a 2/3 majority needed for the relative draft law to be passed. He stressed that the Greek government's intention is to give as soon as possible the right to vote to the Greeks abroad to strengthen even more the ties between Greece and the Greeks of Diaspora.
On the FYROM name issue, Valinakis pointed out that in the meeting he had in Quebec with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and foreign ministry officials he conveyed the discontent of the Greek government and the Greek-Canadians for the recent recognition of FYROM by Canada under the name "Macedonia". He stated that bilateral relations between Greece and Canada remain good adding that the Canadian government should reconsider its stance on the issue of FYROM.
The deputy FM also referred to Turkey's aggressiveness and pointed out that it should stop its irrational demands because the road to the EU passes through the respect of human rights and maintaining good neighbourly relations with Greece.
 Deputy FM Valinakis visits ICAOMONTREAL (ANA-MPA/H. Poulidou)
The dynamic development of civil aviation and its expansion to the field of transport, as well as matters concerning the safety of flights and the repercussions of air transport to the environment, are issues which are at the peak of international interest.
These topics were examined in the discussion which Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis had on Monday with the President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Robert Kobeh Gonzalez and the Secretary General of the Organisation, Dr. Taieb Cherif.
The international organisation of the Civil Aviation was founded in 1944, is under the auspices of the United Nations and is based in Montreal.
Valinakis underlined to his interlocutors that Greece "actively participates in the paving of the world strategy," noting "the need for respect of air traffic."
 Deputy Defence Minister to visit WashingtonWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)
Greek National Defence Deputy Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis was expected at Washington on Monday at the head of a Greek delegation in the talks of the US-Greece High Level Consultative Committee which will be held here October 23-24.
Plakiotakis' visit follows a visit by Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff, General Dimitris Grapsas last month.
The topics which will be discussed during the Greek-American talks include defence cooperation on a bilateral and Alliance level and the security situation in the broader region of Southeast Europe, the Middle East, the Black Sea and the Caucasus.
Apart from meeting U.S. officials, the Greek deputy defence minister will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the national cemetery of Arlington and will visit the monument of the victims of September 11 at the Pentagon.
Furthermore, he will speak on Greece's role in Southeast Europe, at the Centre of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.
He will visit the American Hellenic Institute, inaugurate an exhibition of Cretan artists at the Greek Embassy and attend a reception which will be hosted in his honour by Greek Ambassador Alexandros Mallias.
After Washington, he will depart for New York and Boston.
 State Department on Greece's course on Visa Waiver ProgramWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)
Deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood referred on Monday to the course of the process for Greece's accession to the US's Visa Waiver Program.
He stated that "the Greek government is in consultations with the American side for the fulfilment of the prerequisites of the visa waiver program. These consultations are in progress."
To a question whether Greece will soon acceed to the program, Wood stressed that he did not know. He only noted that "we are working hard in order for Greece to be able to acceed to the program".
 Papandreou: Economy on brinkMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday referred to a crisis in which Greek society finds itself, speaking after a session of his party's political council meeting.
According to Papandreou, the former foreign minister, the Greek economy is heading to a "red zone" due to "neo-conservative policies and neo-liberal insistence, lack of transparency and lawlessness of those in power."
Papandreou said solutions to such problems will come via "socialist policies", especially defence of public good and citizens' interests.
He also referred to what he called a "credit asphyxiation" in Greece, saying a lack of liquidity in the domestic banking system is leading thousands of SMEs and households into collapse, blaming the government for this development, both for its policies and tardiness.
Concluding, he called for legislation to boost liquidity, but not as a "blank check".
 KKE SG Papariga on party's upcoming 18th CongressCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Monday evening presented the positions of the Central Committee in view of the party's upcoming 18th Congress. She was speaking at an open rally in the district of Nikea, Piraeus.
Papariga said that the congress' target is to utilise the impetus shaped for the strengthening of the social cohesion and support of the popular movement.
She said the two mainstream parties "are denounced by the people" and stressed that "their weakening is not enough if this is not accompanied with the strengthening of the popular movement."
She further noted that the KKE was now more mature and reliable and has as its target the clash with plutocracy and its overturning. Clash and overturning, as she said, in every sector and neighbourhood in the political and economic field. Victory is not the resignation of a minister or cadre, she stressed, but the overturning of the general policy.
 SYRIZA's Parliamentary Group convenesThe Parliamentary Group and Secretariat of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) convened on Monday in the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alexis Tsipras.
The meeting said "Yes" to the Parliamentary Fact-Finding Committee, proposed by the ruling New New Democracy (ND) party over the case of Vatopedi Monastery and a re-examination of the proposal, submitted by the main opposition PASOK, for the setting up of a Parliamentary Criminal Probe, on Thursday night.
At the end of the session, SYRIZA Parliamentary Group president Alekos Alavanos said that "the Parliamentary Group asks of all of Parliament's political parties to support SYRIZA's draft bill which is already at Parliament's Standing Finance Committee for the abolition of all the laws of the (ruling) New Democracy (ND) party and those of the (main opposition) Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) which foresee tax exemptions for the Church and the Monasteries."
 KKE, SYRIZA on Vatopedi probe by ParliamentThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Monday said that it will vote in favour of proposals for both a Preliminary Examination Committee and a Parliamentary Investigation Committee to probe the suspect land swaps between the Vatopedi Monastery and the Greek State.
The party stressed in its statement that it will make "every effort to avert cover-ups or the 'lumping together' of offences".
According to KKE, the findings of the investigation conducted by prosecutors on the case should be sent to Parliament immediately after an investigation committee is set up so as to reveal the identity of the individuals implicated by the evidence.
The party also noted that handing over the file to the Parliamentary investigation committee and Parliament's president would facilitate the imminent debate on whether to set up a preliminary examination committee investigating the acts of specific individuals, scheduled for Friday.
SYRIZA Parliament spokesman Fotis Kouvelis stated that his party will vote in favour of a proposal Wednesday to set up a parliamentary investigation committee, adding that "all evidence gathered during the preliminary investigation conducted by the Appellate Court Prosecutors should be presented to Parliament without further delay". Kouvelis added that SYRIZA wants an in-depth investigation into the case, which constituted a "direct attack on public interest".
 Sioufas reiterates Greek Parliament's support to CyprusThe Greek Parliament supports the efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem, the President of the Hellenic Parliament Dimitris Sioufas has said.
Speaking after a meeting Monday with visiting Cyprus House President Marios Garoyian, Sioufas said: "I would like to express, on behalf of the Hellenic Parliament and Greece in general, our support towards our common strategic target for a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem that will safeguard the rights of all the lawful citizens, and will ensure the cooperation between the two communities".
At the same time, Sioufas pointed out that "the solution of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, based on the UN resolutions and the principles of the European Acquis, is our steady target, for the last wall of division in Europe to fall".
Sioufas also expressed support towards the direct negotiations process between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and wished that a mutually acceptable solution will be achieved at the end of that process.
During the meeting, Garoyian briefed Sioufas about the latest developments in the direct negotiation process between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
He added that "it is a common ascertainment that the international climate has changed in favour of the Republic of Cyprus and its efforts to promote a solution to the Cyprus problem".
Garoyian also reiterated that "the solution should be consistent with the UN resolutions, the principles and values of the European Union, should be based on the High Level Agreements between the two sides, should be viable and functional, and should be an agreed settlement that safeguards one sovereignty, one citizenship, one international personality of Cyprus, the human rights and freedoms of the people of Cyprus, without settlers and occupying troops".
Finally, Garoyian thanked Sioufas and the Greek Parliament for their "long-term support towards the Greek Cypriots' struggle for freedom and reunification".
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Direct negotiations for a Cyprus settlement between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are underway.
 'Arms Trade Treaty' requested from the UNA proposal by more that 2,000 MPs from 124 countries, among them 26 Greek deputies, was expected to be tabled Monday at the United Nations, requesting urgent negotiations for the conclusion of an "effective international Arms Trade Treaty" for the control of illegal arms trading, the Greek section of Amnesty International announced on Monday.
Such a treaty, the international organisation added, will help save human lives, averting serious violations of human rights and curbing the ongoing destruction of means of livelihood.
As more than 1,000 people lose their life daily through armed violence, the deputies demonstrated their support for the conclusion of a treaty on the control of arms, by signing a relevant declaration which was due to be handed to the UN General Assembly's Disarmament and International Security Committee (1st Committee), Ambassador Marco Antonio Suazo FernŠndez, on Monday, Amnesty International added.
 Media strike on WednesdayThe ANA-MPA will not disseminate any news items between 6 a.m. on Tuesday and 6 a.m. on Wednesday due to a nationwide strike called by journalists' unions in the country.
 Construction of Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline not postponedSOFIA (ANA-MPA/B. Borisov)
Bulgarian Regional Development Minister Asen Gagauzov on Monday denied press reports that the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline will be postponed.
Speaking on state radio and other Bulgarian mass media, which gave great publicity to a relevant dispatch by a foreign news agency, the Bulgarian minister clarified that there was a misunderstanding with the interview he gave to the specific news agency.
According to reports by the Bulgarian press, Gagauzov is said to have stated that the construction of the oil pipeline will be delayed and instead of starting at the end of the current year or the beginning of the next year, it will finally start in October 2009 and will be completed in 2011. However, the Bulgarian minister attributed these reports to a minisinterpretation.
"There is no postponement. We are continuing according to the programme," Stefan Guntsev, director of the political office of Gagauzov and representative of Bulgaria at the supervision council of the Greek-Russian-Bulgarian construction company, told ANA-MPA.
According to Guntsev, after its recent setting up, the supervision council not only has approved the Administrative Council but has also completed a big bulk of work.
 FinMin meets Romanian development ministerEconomy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis met here Monday with visiting Romanian Development Minister Laszlo Borbely with talks focusing on bilateral economic cooperation, European Union issues and the handling of the current global credit crisis in the framework of the Community.
 Bill on OA employees tabledThe transport and communications minisry on Monday tabled a bill in parliament on "Social relations for the employees of the companies Olympic Airlines S.A., Olympic Airways-Services S.A., and Olympic Aviation S.A.".
The provisions of the bill regulate issues concerning the personnel of the above companies in the event the company they are employed at is placed into a regime clearance under Article 144 of Law 3429/2005; the creation of an SA to carry out and exploit the land-based services of aircraft servicing and technical exploitation of the ground services for technical maintenance of aircraft, and the exercise of all other related commercial exploitation.
 Transport disruption expected due to 24-hour strike TuesdayThe 24-hour nationwide strike called by public and private sector labour unions will cause serious disruptions to public transport services on Tuesday.
The main demands of the strike, called jointly by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), are the adoption of measures to deal with the high cost of living and unemployment, and the social security issue, as well as in protest of the privatization of state companies.
The Hellenic Railways (OSE), proastiakos suburban train and tram will be suspending service all day, while the metro, urban electric railway service (ISAP) and trolley bus will run from 9am to 9pm and the blue buses from 8am to 6pm.
The air traffic controllers will strike from 12 at noon to 4pm and no flights will be made inside the Greek national air space.
Most of the Olympic Airlines (OA) flights will be cancelled and only one flight per destination will be made due to the participation of the Federation of Civil Aviation Unions (OSPA) in the strike.
The private airline Aegean Airlines announced that 23 of its flights will be cancelled while 26 will change time.
 Successful EOT presence at Quality Travel FairThe pavilion set up by the Greek National Tourism organisation EOT at the Quality Travel Fair 2008 in Copenhagen attracted many visitors and distributed large quantities of printed material on tourist destinations and facilities throughout Greece, as well as useful tips for those visiting the country, according to an EOT announcement on Monday.
Visitors were also offered a "gastronomic introduction" to the country when they came to the pavilion, in the form of a glass of ouzo.
The two-day annual trade fair organised by the Danish tourism magazine Rejsemagasinet Vagabond was held on October 18-19 at Copenhagen's Oksnehallen exhibition centre and attracted more than 15,000 visitors. It had over 50 participants that included tourism organisations, travel agencies, airlines, hotel chains and other bodies working in the tourism sector.
 Hellenic Fish Farming seeks protection against creditorsHellenic Fish Farming on Monday applied for legal protection against its creditors, citing significant liquidity problems and noting that it was examining alternative scenarios to restore its operations and implement its business plan.
The company attributed its cashflow problems to lack of funding from its main creditor banks and to the general unfavourable situation of the global economy amid a credit crisis.
Hellenic Fish Farming was discussing the issuance of a syndicated bond loan with its creditor banks, but the plan was aborted.
 Current accounts deficit up 13.4% in Jan-AugustGreece's current accounts deficit widened by 13.4 percent in the January-August period, to 21.989 billion euros, the Bank of Greece said on Monday. The central bank, in a report, attributed this development to higher deficits in the trade balance and the incomes balance during the eight month period.
The trade deficit grew by 3.6 billion euros, reflecting a 2.641 billion euros increase in net payments on fuel imports. The trade deficit, excluding fuel and ships, showed export revenues grew 14 percent while import payments rose by 8.1 percent.
The services surplus grew by 1.216 billion euros in the January-August period, reflecting an increase in net revenues from transportation services (1.140 billion euros), while gross revenues from transportation services (mainly commercial shipping) grew by 22.8 pct. Net proceeds from travel services grew by 242 million euros, while the incomes deficit widened by 1.068 billion euros, reflecting higher net payments on interest, dividends and profits.
The current transfers surplus grew by 874 million euros, reflecting higher transfers from the EU to the Greek government. The financial transactions balance showed that direct investment recorded a net inflow of 1.166 billion euros, with the portfolio investment category recording a net inflow of 12.593 billion euros. The other investment category recorded a net inflow of 5.483 billion euros.
 Piraeus Bank reports 23% hike in 9-month profitsPiraeus Bank Group on Monday reported a 23-percent increase in nine-month net profits to 441 million euros, while announcing that saving deposits grew 48 percent over the same period.
The group said pre-tax profits totaled 537 million euros in the January-September period, from 437 million last year, up 23 percent, while financial results rose 24 pct to 476 million euros.
Commenting on the results, Mihalis Sallas, the Group's chairman, stressed that the Greek banking system remained solid and healthy and was capable of taking advantage of growth opportunities in the region, as soon as markets returned to normal operations.
Sallas said Piraeus Bank will maintain a positive trend in its figures in the fourth quarter of the year and noted that market conditions have led the Group to slow the growth of its lending activities, particularly abroad.
Saving deposits, including retail bonds, totaled 31,597 billion euros at the end of September, up 48 pct from the same month last year. Saving deposits in Greece grew 45 pct over the same period, more than triple the average growth rate of the Greek market (14 pct, estimate).
Piraeus Bank said the Group added 178 new branches, 46 in Greece and 132 abroad, in its network. Capitalization totaled 3.2 billion euros, based on market figures on October 17, ranking seventh in the Athens Stock Exchange.
 Industrial new order index down 4% in AugustGreece's new order index in the industrial sector fell by 4.0 pct in August, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service announced on Monday.
The statistics service, in a report, attributed the 4.0 pct decline of the index to a 25.4-pct drop in capital goods' orders, a 13.6-pct drop in durable consumer goods and a 3.2-pct decline in non-durable consumer goods orders.
The turnover index in the industrial sector grew by 13.5 percent in August, compared with the corresponding period last year, reflecting a 13.7-pct rise in manufacturing (mainly oil products and chemicals) and a 2.2 pct-increase in mining.
 Foreign investors maintain their position in ASEDespite a prevailing unfavourable climate, foreing investors are maintaining their position in the Athens Stock Exchange, Spyros Kapralos, president and chief executive of Hellenic Exchanges, said on Monday.
Addressing a congress of the World Lottery Association on the island of Rhodes, Kapralos noted: "We are witnessing one of the most violent financial crisis in history, a crisis resulting largely from greed and easy money practices by a large number of traders in the banking sector, hedge funds and other financial vehicles".
He stressed that despite continuing rescue measures announced by national governments, the banking sector still faced challenges in various fronts. Kapralos said banks needed to restructure their portfolios and to boost their capital, since they faced a weak growth in lending, increased bad debt and prospects of more bankruptcies. In contrast with 1929, the global economy has more defences nowadays, while central banks will lower interest rates to boost liquidity in the system and national governments will offer both the liquidity and guarantees needed to restore confidence in the banking system. If necessary, the banking sector will be partly nationalized, he said.
 Greek stocks end 0.35 pct higherGreek stocks moved cautiously higher in the Athens Stock Exchange, unable to follow other European shares' rally as turnover remained low. The composite index rose 0.35 percent to end at 2,124.80 points, with turnover at 249.9 million euros, of which 6.2 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved lower, with the Healthcare (6.01 pct), Insurance (4.94 pct), Constructions (3.69 pct), Chemicals (3.44 pct) and Industrial Products (3.19 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Food/Beverage (5.31 pct), Utilities (4.20 pct) and Telecommunications (3.06 pct) scored gains.
The FTSE 20 index rose 0.27 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.57 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index fell 2.29 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 158 to 81 with another 37 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.89%
Personal & Household: +1.00%
Raw Materials: -0.54%
Travel & Leisure: +1.35%
Food & Beverages: +5.31%
Financial Services: +0.03%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Marfin Popular Bank and EFG Eurobank Ergasias.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 10.20
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.60
HBC Coca Cola: 10.50
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.26
National Bank of Greece: 17.88
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.32
Bank of Piraeus: 9.64
Titan Cement Company: 15.92
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices maintained their discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a low 83.084 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.20 pct, with volume totaling 11,707 contracts worth 66.448 million euros, with 26,797 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,672 contracts worth 16.381 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (5,581), followed by Eurobank (1,011), Marfin Investment Group (453), OTE (704), Piraeus Bank (742), Alpha Bank (812), Marfin Popular Bank (1,845) and Intralot (340).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 870 million euros on Monday, of which 435 million were buy orders and the remaining 435 million euros were sell orders.
The 10-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 590 million euros, while the yield spread between the Greek and German bonds rose to 0.87 pct, with the Greek bond yielding 4.89 pct and the German Bund 4.02 pct.
In money markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 5.14 pct, the six-month rate was 5.06 pct, the three-month rate 5.00 pct and the one-month rate 4.66 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates: TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.353
Pound sterling 0.777
Danish kroner 7.513
Swedish kroner 9.998
Japanese yen 137.54
Swiss franc 1.542
Norwegian kroner 8.857
Canadian dollar 1.602
Australian dollar 1.951
 Bakoyannis boards Next Generation 'Peace Boat'Coming on board the "Peace Boat" organised by Greece's "Next Generation Initiative" when it docked at Piraeus Port on Monday, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed to the 120 girls from Israel and Palestine that had just completed a four-day cruise on the vessel that "we are all in the same boat".
"Either we all arrive at a port of peace and security together, or we all sink together," the foreign minister underlined.
"Our dream is to see you grow up and live in an environment of peace. To become mothers of children that live together and do not feel afraid or under threat and for us all to be friends in the region," she added, during a small celebration held on the top deck to mark the end of the cruise that was held in the framework of the 'Next Generational Initiative' adopted by the foreign minister a year ago at the Annapolis summit on the Middle East.
From October 16-20, the 120 girls aged 12-15 from Israel and Palestine visited Ancient Olympia, Delphi, and the Acropolis and lived together on board the vessel, in an effort to encourage a spirit of mutual acceptance, cooperation, understanding and trust.
"Ancient Greece gave birth to some of the grandest ideas in the world: democracy, human ideals, the Olympic Games and the Olympic Truce. We will continue the initiative and hope that next year we will have more children from Israel and Palestine so that they can come to know and understand each other," Bakoyannis said, stressing that Greece strongly desired to see peace in the Middle East.
The gathering was also addressed by Israel's Ambassador to Athens Ali Yahia, who thanked Bakoyannis for her interest in Middle East peace, and the Palestinian Authority's envoy Mustafa El-Ajouz.
The initiative was a follow-up to the Working Meeting of Women Leaders of the Middle East held at the Athens resort of Lagonissi in June, organised by the Greek foreign ministry. The ship used was the EasyCruiseOne belonging to the cruise company set up "serial entrepreneur" Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
 Film director Ken Loach in AthensControversial UK film and TV director Ken Loach was in Athens on Monday, addressing an audience at the Ianos bookshop in central Athens. Known for provocative films of intense social realism like 'Sweet Sixteen' or 'Cathy Come Home' and a penchant for using unknown actors drawn from the environment he seeks to portray, Loach was in the city as the guest of the 21st Film Panorama organised by the Greek newspaper 'Eleftherotypia', which awarded him during the closing ceremony on Sunday night for his contribution to the art of film-making.
"For many, if a film doesn't have an American accent, then it's not a film," was Loach's opening sally as he addressed the gathering, outlining the strongly political, left-wing views that have marked his films since the start of his career in the early '60s until his most recent successes like "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" in 2006, which came away with the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, or the 2007 "It's a Free World".
"A film must pose questions to those that rule us. It must ask exactly those things that the leaders do not want us to ask. The most important thing for me is not how a film is made but why," the 72-year-old Loach told his audience, stressing the need to have a "purpose" behind film-making but admitting that he had also "been guilty" of lapses on this score.
At another point, he said that people had become used to not going to films about what is happening in the world and that there had to be variety in films, just there was in the books stocked by a library. More controversially, he suggested that cinema theatres should belong to local authorities, just like libraries, with people who knew cinema in charge of them rather than managers that were only interested in how much popcorn was selling during the interval.
 Greek academic awarded French distinctionNoted economist Maria Negreponti-Delivani, the thrice elected rector of the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, has been awarded France's prestigious Legion d' Honneur, Chevalier Class, following a presidential decree signed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Negreponti-Delivani will receive the medal at a special ceremony hosted by the French embassy in Athens next month.
The Greek academic was honoured for her contribution to the promotion of scientific cooperation between Greece and France.
 Remnants of human skeleton found in ravineScattered bones of a human skeleton were found on Sunday in a ravine at a rugged forested area near Dasohori village in Messinia perfecture, southern Greece.
At the same spot were found a pair of shoes, a pair of denim slacks and remnants of a shirt. The findings indicate that the skeleton belongs to a man, who has not been identified, and that the death occured about a year ago.
The remnants were collected and sent for testing. A preliminary investigation is being conducted by the local police station.
 Police says suspects part of major robbery ringPolice on Monday announced the arrest of five suspects wanted in connection with a string with sensational robberies in and around the Athens area that netted some two million euros.
Four men were listed as Georgian nationals, aged 21 to 33 years old, along with a 30-year-old local man. A 29-year-old Greek national, reportedly now in Russia, is believed to be the mastermind of the group.
The suspects are charged with six armed robberies and three robbery attempts against banks, post offices and cigarette wholesalers.
A search of suspects' homes reportedly revealed firearms, disguises, a security guard uniform, two stolen motorcycles and other evidence now being examined by the crime laboratory.
The perpetrators in the robberies wore security guard uniforms or costumes, reports state.
 Overcast on TuesdayOvercast weather with northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 5-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 9C and 24C. Cloudy in Athens, with 4-5 beaufort northerly winds and temperatures ranging from 15C to 23C. Rain in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 21C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceRuling New Democracy's proposal of the establishment of a fact-finding commission on the Vatopedi monastery scandal to be discussed in parliament on Wednesday dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Week of developments and....surprises - The political barometer rises".
APOGEVMATINI: "ND's grass roots scolded the ministers for the back-stabbings".
AVRIANI: "Multiple blows in parliament over former prime minister Costas Simitis' ministers' criminal responsibilities in the Vatopedi scandal".
CHORA: "The collusion propels an ND-PASOK co-governance - The two parties together marginally amass 50 percent of the vote".
ELEFTHEROS: "Dispute even over a government reshuffle - Fear regulating the Prime Minister's decisions".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Rift in main opposition PASOK and SYRIZA party on the establishment of an preliminary investigation commitee (in parliament, in a proposal tabled by PASOK that will be debated in the House on Wednesday) on the Vatopedi scandal".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "ND a boiling pot - ND MPs abandon the idea of abstention from the voting for the establishment of a fact-finding commission on the Vatopedi case".
ESTIA: "ND in danger - Vatopedi case will act as a catalyst".
ETHNOS: "ND party a bomb that is ready to explode - Party cadres strontly scolded the ministers".
TA NEA: "The fact finding commission leads to ministers' sacrifices - Karamanlis in search of a way out of the crisis".
VRADYNI: "USA-FYROM collusion - Turmoil over top secret documents' revelation".
 Spokesman assures Greek Cypriot side will not walk out of direct talksNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou assured on Monday that President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias had no intention of abandoning direct talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to solve the Cyprus problem.
Stephanou noted that the Greek Cypriot side was participating in the process with the sole aim of achieving a just, viable and functional settlement, and pointed out that if the Turkish Cypriot side did not want a solution, this would become apparent through the process.
''The Greek Cypriot side wants a solution of the Cyprus problem and so far has proven its will to reach a settlement, with the reasonable positions it is expressing and the rational positions it is submitting at the direct negotiations. And it is at the table of the direct negotiations that each side will be judged,'' Stephanou said.
He pointed out that the process is still in its early days and that the basis of the solution is already agreed on by the two communities, ''a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality.''
Stephanou added that the policy of President Christofias has already borne fruit and that the international community is convinced of his determination and dedication to finding a settlement.
Asked about possible timeframes for reaching a settlement, Stephanou said the experience of 2004, with arbitration was ''traumatic.''
Replying to questions, Stephanou said talks are now focusing on governance, which will be followed by the property issue.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 Resolution on Cyprus adopted by European Green PartyNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The European Green Party has supported a resolution on Cyprus, which says that the political settlement in Cyprus should ensure a demilitarised and reunified island, without guarantors, based on the principle of "one citizenship and a common federal state", on UN resolutions and the acquis communautaire.
The resolution, tabled by the Ecologists-Environmentalists Movement, was adopted by an overwhelming majority during the 9th meeting of the European Green Party in Paris, despite objections by some German members of the European Green Party.
On the resumption of talks on the resolution of the Cyprus issue, "the European Greens appreciate and encourage the efforts of the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus who have begun full-fledged negotiations on September 3rd 2008, aiming at a peaceful and sustainable resolution of the Cyprus issue".
The European Green Party notes it appreciates "the final proposed resolution plan will come out of these talks, that is from the Cypriots themselves, under the supervision and guidance of the UN and it will be finally put to the members of the two communities in a new referendum".
"We believe that the solution should ensure a demilitarised and reunified island, without guarantors, based on the principle of "one citizenship and a common federal state", on the UN resolutions and EU acquis", it added.
It also calls on "EU leaders to enhance and support the new efforts of the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, to get over the standstill and difficulties and to finally achieve the desired resolution of the Cyprus issue".
"The Ecologists-Environmentalists Movement considers the resolution a significant success in the presentation of the Cyprus issue at a European conference where international issues dominated the discussions, such as the economic crisis and the European elections", a statement said.
The Cypriot movement has undertaken to organize the next meeting of the European Mediterranean Green Parties in Cyprus from 21-23 November which will examine EU relations with Mediterranean countries. Euro MPs as well as representatives of Mediterranean Green parties have been invited to attend.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Direct negotiations for a Cyprus settlement between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are underway.
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