|Sunday, 12 July 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-11-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 4 November 2008 Issue No: 3037
 Greek economic growth to exceed EU average in 2009-2010Economic growth rates in Greece will exceed Eurozone's average growth rates in the 2009-2010 period, the European Commission said in its autumn forecasts on the EU economy.
The EU's executive said it expected Greek GDP to grow by 2.5 pct in 2009 and 2.6 pct in 2010, sharply up from 0.1 pct and 0.9 pct in the Eurozone over the same period, respectively and growth rates of 0.2 pct and 1.1 pct in the EU-27. Greek economic growth was 3.1 pct in 2008, the Commission said.
The country's fiscal deficit was 3.5 pct of GDP in 2007 and was expected to fall to 2.5 pct of GDP this year. The Commission forecasts that the Greek fiscal deficit would fall to 2.2 pct in 2009 only to rise again to 3.0 pct in 2010. Public debt was 94.8 pct of GDP in 2007 and was expected to ease to 93.4 pct in 2008, 92.2 pct in 2009 and 91.9 pct in 2010. Greek unemployment is forecast to rise to 9.0 pct in 2008 (7.6 pct in the Eurozone and 7.0 pct in the EU-27), rising to 9.2 pct in 2009 (8.4 pct and 7.8 pct in the Eurozone and in the EU-27) and to 9.3 pct in 2010 (8.7 pct and 8.1 pct, respectively).
The EU executive also forecast that Greek inflation would rise from 3.0 pct in 2007 to 4.4 pct in 2008 and to fall to 3.5 pct in 2009 and 3.3 pct in 2010).
European Union economic growth should be 1.4% in 2008, half what it was in 2007, and drop even more sharply in 2009 to 0.2% before recovering gradually to 1.1% in 2010 (1.2%, 0.1% and 0.9%, respectively, for the euro area). The Commission's autumn forecasts show that the EU economies are strongly affected by the financial crisis, which is aggravating housing-market correction in several economies at a time when external demand is fading rapidly. While the important measures taken to stabilise financial markets have begun to restore confidence, the situation remains precarious and the risks to the forecasts significant. As a result, employment is set to increase only marginally in 2009-2010, after the 6 million new jobs created in 2007-2008, and unemployment is expected to rise by about 1 pp. over the forecast period after being at its lowest for more than a decade. More positively, inflationary pressures are diminishing as oil prices fall, and the risks of second-round effects fade away. After reaching the best position since 2000, the overall budgetary position is also set to deteriorate while the rescue packages could raise public debt.
"The economic horizon has now significantly darkened as the European Union economy is hit by the financial crisis that deepened during the autumn and is taking a toll on business and consumer confidence. Emerging economies are holding up better than the EU and the US, so far, but even they are unlikely to escape unscathed. We need a coordinated action at the EU level to support the economy similar to what we have done for the financial sector. The Commission last week set out a framework for recovery that aims to boost investment, sustain employment and demand. We are looking forward to hearing Member States' views and, especially, for a joint approach at the EU level ", said Joaquín Almunia, Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner.
The Commission's economic forecast projects EU economic growth to drop sharply to 1.4% in 2008. It was 2.9% in 2007. In 2009 the EU economy is expected to grind to a stand-still at 0.2% before recovering to 1.1% in 2010. The equivalent figures for the euro area for the period are 1.2%, 0.1% and 0.9%. In 2007 it was 2.7%.
 Gov't on economy, bank support packageThe state budget will move within the framework set by the presented draft plan, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros repeated on Monday, adding that the government position has not changed.
Antonaros also underlined that the forecast regarding the country's growth rate was provided by European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia and is close to that of the Greek government.
Regarding domestic banks' participation in a support programme announced by the government, he stressed that participation is voluntary and banks will have to realise that their own interests lie with the society's interest.
"The fact that certain banks are not interested in participating in the programme attests to the strictness of terms," he stressed.
 PASOK spokesman on economyMain opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papa-constantinou said on Monday that the government "cannot celebrate" over the Commission's autumn report on the economy, "as the economic staff has been trying to do since the morning," adding that problems for Greece and the eurozone are referred to in the report.
Papaconstantinou said that the report's chapter on Greece bears the title "the double deficits are persisting" and added that what is predicted for Greece "is a slowdown in the growth rate, an increase in confidence and competitiveness, as well as an increase in inflation and unemployment."
"If these predictions are considered positive by the government, how should they be to be considered negative," the PASOK spokesman wondered.
Papaconstantinou pointed out that with regard to the growth rate (based on the report's predictions), "at the end of 2003 (when PASOK was in office) the growth rate was 5 percent, having a difference of 4.2 units from that of the eurozone, which was 0.8 percent."
According to predictions for 2008, as he said, the growth rate in Greece will be 3.1 percent, compared to 1.2 percent in the eurozone, "meaning a difference of 1.9 units. Every year that the New Democracy (ND) party is ruling, the country's growth rate is decreasing and our difference from the eurozone is increasing," the spokesman noted.
 PM Karamanlis arrives in BrusselsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived here on Monday afternoon and shortly afterwards met with European People's Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens.
Their talks focused on the repercussions of the international economic crisis on the European economy and on developments in the Balkans.
Karamanlis will be meeting on Tuesday morning with Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker and he will then be addressing, together with European Commission President Jose Barroso and European Parliament President Hans Pettering an event on the 10th anniversary of the death of statesman and New Democracy (ND) party founder Constantine Karamanlis.
 Informal EU FMs CouncilMARSEILLE (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)
A day before elections in the United States and with the participation of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, the European Union's 27 foreign ministers adopted a text proposal to the United States regarding cooperation on major international issues in which, as it was stressed, transatlantic relations will change chapter and that "American friends" remain "a great power but not dominant" in "a world that is complicated now."
The common European position is set out in a six-page text that summed up the informal Council that convened here on Monday afternoon to examine the situation in light of new developments, namely the international economic crisis and elections in the U.S.
The text underlines the complexity of the new international system, in which the Europeans were called on to play an active role in light of the crisis in Georgia and the international economic crisis.
It further pointed out that the Middle East chapter must constitute a top priority, including Iran and Iraq, while also referring to Afghanistan where "we Europeans are sharing a common vision with the United States and we already have many years of experience with our presence in the region."
Lastly, it focused on relations with Russia, a power that has changed and with which there must be dialogue.
 Papandreou at Stiglitz Comission meeting in ViennaVIENNA (ANA-MPA - G. Milionis)
Main opposition PASOK and Socialist International President George Papandreou on Monday said that Socialist International had to provide its own answer for a policy of "global democratic governance" that re-empowered citizens and allow a fair redistribution of wealth.
"We must, with our own answer, give back power to the citizen and place him at the centre of our policy, through a policy that highlights democratic institutions in our country and on an international level, through a global democratic governance that makes the call for social justice a priority," he said.
Papandreou made the statements after taking part in a meeting of the SI Commission headed by Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, a former World Bank vice-president, which was set up by SI to examine alternative ways for the world to weather the current financial crisis and feared recession.
In his statements, Papandreou emphasised the need to focus on the real economy and not profits, particularly on 'green growth' that allowed sustainable development and protected the environment.
Commenting on the crisis, Stiglitz was highly critical of the policies followed by the outgoing Bush administration in Washington, saying that these had failed to address the root of the problem and created difficulties for smaller and middle-sized businesses that weakened the economy, increased unemployment and led to many people losing their savings.
He stressed that the basic outline of the social-democratic answer would be based on the principles of social justice and transparency, while emphasising the problems faced by developing countries that were now dealing with the repercussions of a crisis generated in the United States.
 Papandreou statements after Stiglitz Commission sessionVIENNA (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)
Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou, speaking to reporters on Monday at the end of a Stiglitz Commission's meeting, said that the social democrats' proposals will play an important role in the overcoming of the world economy crisis.
Papandreou said nobody can predict the extent and the consequences of the crisis, but stressed that unless measures are taken in time there shall be a danger of wars for the control of energy sources and great pressures by waves of immigrants.
Referring to the presidential elections in the United States, Papandreou expressed the hope that Barrack Obama will win and assessed that "in such a case considerable ground will be created for shaping a policy based on the social democrats' proposals," while adding that, according to a briefing by Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, conflicting views exist in the U.S. Democract Party on the handling of the crisis.
Papandreou termed the Vienna discussion "very productive" saying that at presdent "bankers and investors are withdrawing their money from the developing economies and are bringing it back to main centres, resulting in economic asphyxiation being created in a number of countries."
Referring again to the Stiglitz proposals, he spoke of a new agency to supervise the international monetary system and of the proposal for the creation of an international social protection fund, under whose umbrella 500 million people will be placed, while its budget will only amount to 50 billion dollars.
PASOK's leader also commented on the EU's Maastricht Treaty, saying that he did not desire a slackening of the Maastricht criteria but support for small and medium-size businesses and protection for the unemployed since, as he said, the problem lying ahead will not be inflation but recession, while noting that certain ideas of John Meynard Kames must be utilised again.
Representatives of Germany, France, Chile, Brazil and Morocco were absent from Monday's Stiglitz Commission session. Attending the session were representatives from Europe, Africa, India, Asia, Latin America and Russia, while also present was Socialist International Secretary General Luis Ayala, and Papandreou said that a proposal was made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to host the Commission's next session in London. Lastly, a future session will be taking place in Geneva, where contact will also be made with the heads of international organisations.
 Papandreou in Brussels on TuesdayVIENNA (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)
Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou will be leaving the Austrian capital for Brussels on Tuesday to meet European Commission President Jose Barroso, the Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and EU High Commissioner for Common Foreign Policy and Defence Javier Solana.
Papandreou will be meeting on Wednesday with the members of PASOK's Europarliamentary Group and the President of the European Parliament's Socialist group Martin Schultz, while he will then be participating in the special meeting of European socialist party leaders.
 PM Karamanlis confers with health ministerPrime minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Monday with health minister Dimitris Avramopoulos to discuss general policy and matters falling under the ministry's authority.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Avramopoulos said that problems that have been chronic in recent years in the health sector were reaching the stage of resolution.
Regarding the problem of duty shifts at hospitals, Avramopoulos stressed that the goal was to sign, in a few days, a collective labor agreement with the doctors so that the relevant EU Directive may be implemented in Greece.
He also said that there was agreement with the economy and finance ministry for additional hirings in the health sector afterwards.
Asked whether doctors were threatening to close the hospitals, Avramopoulos said that the ministry was in the final stage of its discussions with the doctors' unions in order to resolve the problem with the duty ships, stressing that a new collective agreement must be signed.
The ministry, he continued, has reached agreement both with the doctors and the economy ministry, and this outstanding issue was nearing its end, so that the Community Directive could be applied in Greece.
 Papandreou newspaper interviewMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said that he refused to give a "carte blanche" to the banks 'as the government wants to", referring to a 28 billion euros support package for the banking system decided by the government, in an interview with Eleftherotypia newspaper appearing in the daily's Monday edition.
Outlining his own party's proposals for the economy, Papandreou said that they included:
- Support measures only for those banks needing them, and only with the ensurance of guarantees of the state's role in their decisions, with the benefits being passed on to the real economy.
- Support of the medium and low incomes brackets through an extraordinary "solidarity subsidy", a heating subsidy, increase in the VAT rebate rate to farmers, and expansion of the recipients of the EKAS low-pension benefit.
- Support of development and particularly the SMEs with the reinstatement of the tax-free ceiling for self-employed professionals, reinforcement of the gurantees system and public investments.
- Support of the unemployed through incentives for the absorption of youths on the job market, subsidized social work, particularly for older dismissed employees, and increasing the unemployment benefit.
- Measures for the protection and relief of borrowers, including a freeze on the loan obligations of the financially weaker brackets and the SMEs up until the end of 2009.
Regarding dialogue with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance and collaboration on individual issues aimed at building a social state, Papandreou said that with SYRIZA "we want a dialogue without conditions and coercion from any side".
"We believe in dialogue. We don't fear it," Papandreou said.
"Let's be frank, it is very easy to find those points that divide us from SYRIZA. But what we want is to find those points that unite us, points that concern the citizen: reinforcement of income, building a social state, the new decentralization of the state, environmental issuesand to build around them a collaboration that I believe will be beneficial for the country, that will guarantee deeper and solid changes," Papandreou added.
 PASOK spokesman on American electionsThe main opposition PASOK party said Monday it had "great expectations" from the possible election of Barrack Obama to the Presidency of the United States.
Replying to a relevant question on Monday, party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said that PASOK "expects change, which is the Democrat candidate's main slogan."
Papaconstantinou added that it expects "a different economic policy," pointing out that the crisis started from there. It also expects "a different foreign policy and hopes for this" and of course "the shaping of a progressive majority in the world."
 Employment minister holds talks with Cyprus President ChristofiasNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)
Greece's Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, commenting on Monday on the European Commission's prediction that unemployment in Greece will reach 9 percent in 2008 (7.6 percent in the eurozone and 7 percent among the "27") and 9.2 percent in 2009, said that the Greek economy has endurance and that the policy of stability and mild adjustment being applied by the government has produced results.
Replying to a relevant question after meeting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, Petralia stressed that while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts a growth rate of 0 percent for the eurozone, for Greece it predicts 2 percent.
The Greek minister said her meeting with President Christofias was "very interesting" and, as she said, it focused on the preparation of policies from both countries to prevent an increase in unemployment.
Petralia announced that the president of Cyprus will be visiting Athens soon and stressed that the Greek government is a steadfast supporter of his efforts to achieve a viable and just solution to the issue of Cyprus.
She added that such a solution must respect the principles of international law absolutely and must be fully in line with the values of the European acquis communautaire.
 Petralia meets with Cyprus counterpartEmployment and Social Securities Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, who is paying an official visit to Cyprus, on Monday stressed that protection workers' rights, and especially of lower-income groups, from the ongoing financial crisis is among ministry's top priorities.
She made the comments after a meeting with her Cyprus counterpart Sotiroula Haralambous in Nicosia.
The two ministers signed a two-year collaboration programme on employment, exchange of know-how, vocational orientation, rights of the disabled, security and health in work relations.
The Cyprus employment minister thanked the Greek government for its assistance and stressed that Greece and Cyprus share common interests in the European Union.
 Karamanlis congratulations to Canada's Harper for re-electionGreek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday relayed his congratulations to his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper for the latter's re-election.
Karamanlis, in his letter, refers to the strong historical, political and cultural bonds between the two countries, which, he said, are reinforced even more by the existence of prosperous and dynamic Greek-Canadian communities in Canada.
 Prosecutor in Vatopedi probe requests assistantThe public prosecutor in charge of the investigation into the Vatopedi monastery land swap scandal, Efstathia Spyropoulou, has requested that a second prosecutor be assigned to the case to assist in the investigation.
According to reports on Monday, the prosecutor has submitted an official request with her superior, Appeals Court Chief Prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos, who is now considering her request.
Spyropoulou has apparently found large discrepancies between the assessed values of land involved in the deals according to evaluations by tax offices and those of a body of sworn public evaluators.
She is also about to request the findings of a disciplinary hearing conducted by a lower court into the involvement of the notary Katerina Peleki, wife of former minister George Voulgarakis, in the drafting of the contracts for the land swaps.
 FYROM president replaces name issue representativeSKOPJE (ANA-MPA/N. Frangopoulos)
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) President Branko Crvenkovski, addressing Parliament on Monday during an off-the-agenda discussion on the issue of the country's name, announced that he has decided to end the tenure of ambassador Nikola Dimitrov as the country's representative in the UN sponsored negotiations with Greece on FYROM's "name issue".
President Crevenkovski added that in Dimitrov's place he was placing Martin Protoger, director of FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's office.
He explained that he was doing this with the purpose of overcoming "the absurd situation" in which his country had found itself in the negotiations on the pending name issue, "where the country had two representatives and the impression was being created that the country lacked a unified position on the name issue."
 More than 30 bidders participate in OA privatisation procedureThe government on Monday expressed satisfaction over developments in a closely watched privatisation procedure for national carrier Olympic Airlines.
Speaking to reporters, Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis said more than 30 business and investment groups expressed interest in buying Olympic Airlines' three companies, namely, its flight activities, the carrier's Athens airport technical base and the ground services operations.
A deadline for submitting bids ended Friday at midnight. with submitted bids currently evaluated by the government's investment advisors. An inter-ministerial privatisations commission will meet after the evaluation is completed to unveil the names of bids, probably within the next few days.
Hatzidakis said airline companies, investment funds and other groups are included in the 30 bidders, while he added that Greece-based Aegean Airlines and Lufthansa are not included. He did not comment on a reporter's question on whether Air France was in the list.
 Greek PMI shrank to 48.1 points in OctoberActivity in the Greek manufacturing sector shrank in October, for the first time in 21 months, with the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) falling to 48.1 points from 50.8 in September.
The sharp decline in the index reflected a shrinking production, employment and inventories, as the Greek manufacturing sector suffered from the effects of a global credit and financial crisis. New orders declined for the first time in two years.
The Purchasing Managers' Index measures business activity in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector and readings below 50 a shrinking activity.
 Kerasma and Partenariat conference endsThe 3rd International Kerasma and Partenariat Conference of the Greek Food, Wines and Beverages Industry, organised by the Exports Promotion Organisation (OPE) ended in Athens on Monday.
The event was held thanks to the support of the Finance and Economy ministry, under whose auspices the conference was held, and thanks to cooperation between OPE and all the food, wines and beverages federations in the country.
The conference was attended by over 100 super market representatives, large scale distribution networks and people influencing public opinion in 18 overseas market-targets. In addition, 90 of the most important Greek businesses in the food, wines and beverages sectors had the opportunity of presenting their products and to highlight their special characteristics.
The aim of the conference was the creation of preconditions for the development of cooperation between Greek and foreign businessmen and informing foreigners on the special characteristics and the nutritious value of Greek food and wines, as well as the presentation of other possibilities in using the products.
 German-Hellenic Business Association conference in StuttgartA symposium on "The real estate market and tourism in Greece" will be held in Stuttgart on November 7 within the framework of the German-Hellenic Business Association, DHW, conference hosted in cooperation with the German-Hellenic Association for the Protection of Real Estate Owners, DHSG, active in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The conference will provide information to real estate owners in Greece who reside in Germany.
 Thessaloniki chamber head decorated by Emperor of JapanThessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Dimitris Bakatselos, the honorary consul general of Japan in Thessaloniki, was decorated by the Emperor of Japan Akihito recently with the Order of the Rising Sun.
The chamber president received the award in recognition of his contributions to the promotion of friendly relations between Japan and Greece, according to a statement issued by the Japanese embassy in Athens.
 Eurobank most active securities firm in OctoberEurobank led the list of most active securities firms in the Athens Stock Exchange in October, with a market share of 17.18 pct, followed by National-P&K (14.47 pct), Investment Bank (12.42 pct), Piraeus Securities (9.60 pct), Euroxx (6.69 pct), Alpha Finance (6.18 pct), Eurocorp (5.53 pct), HSBC (2.99 pct), UBS (2.44 pct) and Proton (2.05 pct).
Investment Bank maintained its leading position in the January-October period, with a market share of 20.90 pct), followed by Eurobank (15.58 pct), National-P&K (14.92 pct), Piraeus (8.07 pct), Euroxx (6.49 pct), Alpha Finance (6.31 pct), Kappa (4.60 pct), Eurocorp (3.47 pct), Proton (3.33 pct) and HSBC (2.56 pct).
 Mytilineos, Motor Oil in energy joint venture projectMytilineos SA and Motor Oil, two Greek-listed companies, on Monday announced a joint partnership through Corinth Power S.A. for the construction, operation and management of a combined-cycle energy unit, to be located within Motor Oil's refinery at the Aghii Theodori coastal site, west of Athens.
The two companies signed a joint venture agreement, under which Motor Oil Hellas SA will have a 35-pct equity stake in Corinth Power, with the remaining 65 pct owned by Mytilineos SA is expected to comprise part of the Endesa Hellas energy portfolio in Greece.
 United Textiles S.A. financing process continuedFollowing a new request by the economy and finance ministry to United Textiles S.A. management, formerly Naoussa Spinning Mills S.A., for more time to complete a re-financing process, its general assembly unanimously decided to adjourn and convene again on Nov. 21.
According to an announcement made in the general assembly meeting held on Oct. 31, "the company is still in a critical stage considering the significant delays recorded and the immediate completion of the process is deemed as imperative."
 ASE president addresses int'l conference in New YorkASE president Spyros Kapralos successfully completed a series of meetings in New York in the framework of the 10th international conference on investment opportunities in Greece, organised by Capital Link on Thursday last week.
Addressing the conference, Kapralos said the impact from a current credit crisis would be felt in the real economy. "History has tought us that financial crises are accompanied by a general economic recession," he said, adding that listed enterprises should be very cautious during this period in order to exit the crisis unharmed, while he underlined the need to raise liquidity, replanning their borrowing obligations, investment plans and cutting operating spending.
The president of the Athens Stock Exchange also presented investment opportunities in the Greek market, saying that the composite index of the market was currently at its lowest levels in the last decade, as a percentage of the country's GDP, while dividend return of several enterprises was at the highest level in the last few years.
Kapralos also met with international fund managers, while he rang the closing bell in the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, 31 October.
 Greek stocks end 2.83% upGreek stocks continued moving higher for the fifth consecutive session at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market 2.83 pct higher to end at 2,118.63 points. Turnover remained a low 268.2 million euros, of which 9.6 million euros were block trades.
All sectors moved up, with the exception of the Travel sector which ended 0.21 pct down. Healthcare (11.54 pct), Food/Beverage (8.34 pct), Raw Materials (6.99 pct), Utilities (6.01 pct), Constructions (4.37 pct), Media (4.33 pct) and Technology (4.32 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.
The FTSE 20 index rose 2.47 pct, the FTSE 40 index was 4.37 pct up and the FTSE 80 index rose 3.32 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 225 to 30 with another 32 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +3.68%
Personal & Household: +1.39%
Raw Materials: +6.99%
Travel & Leisure: -0.21%
Food & Beverages: +8.34%
Financial Services: +0.77%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, OPAP and PPC.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 11.58
Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.32
HBC Coca Cola: 11.80
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.76
National Bank of Greece: 17.98
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.30
Bank of Piraeus: 9.96
Titan Cement Company: 13.94
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a low 85.943 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 2.37 pct. Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 13,251 contracts worth 74.155 million euros, with 29,064 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,193 contracts worth 10.995 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,474), followed by OTE (619), PPC (1,154), GEK (2,043), Marfin Popular Bank (1,211), Mytilineos (980) and Hellenic Postbank (1,391).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market remained a low 281 million euros on Monday, of which 80 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 201 million were sell orders. The five-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2011) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 140 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds surged to 165 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 5.47 pct and the German Bund 3.82 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates eased slightly. The 12-month Euribor rate was 4.85 pct, the six-month rate 4.78 pct, the three-month rate 4.73 pct and the one-month rate 4.41 pct.
 Foreign Exchange Rates: TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.292
Pound sterling 0.803
Danish kroner 7.503
Swedish kroner 9.93
Japanese yen 127.39
Swiss franc 1.495
Norwegian kroner 8.547
Canadian dollar 1.546
Australian dollar 1.925
 Ecumenical Patriarch laments Patriarchate's continued problems in TurkeyEcumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos) on Sunday addressed an event in the northern Greek city of Drama marking the 17th anniversary of his enthronement, where the "Primus inter pares" of the world's Orthodox Church leaders expressed bitterness over continuing problems facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey.
Bartholomew again touched on the difficulties faced by the ancient Patriarchate in exercising its duties and in the preservation of the millennia-old Christian Orthodox heritage in the neighbouring country, an EU hopeful.
Addressing the event on Sunday evening hosted by the Bishopric of Drama and the local prefecture and municipality, the Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out that "Turkey is still searching for its identity".
"Unfortunately, we suffer the consequences of the fermentation and conflicts underway in the country, both those out in the open and those that take place unnoticed," the Ecumenical Patriarch said, before reiterating his standing support for Turkey's EU accession, despite whatever reactions expressed by a segment of the Turkish populations and certain institutions, as he said.
Bartholomew made a special reference to the Church-owned orphanage on one of the Marmara Sea islands, Büyükada or Prinkipo, the largest of the Princes Islands. The case involving the Patriarchate orphanage was recently adjudicated by the European Court of Human Rights, with a ruling handed down in favor of the Patriarchate.
The Patriarch said the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate will prefer to have the landmark building returned instead of any monetary compensation, while he also promised to seek recourse to the Turkish courts over 24 Greek Orthodox charitable estates (Vakufs) confiscated by the Turkish state in previous years.
The Patriarch on Monday was set to arrive in the western port city of Patras to attend a series of civil and Church events in his honor.
 Pella archaeological site inauguratedThe significant archaeological site of Pella, northern Greece, formally opened on Monday, with Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis among the first dignitaries to tour the site and an under-construction archaeological museum expected to open in the first half of 2009.
Pella was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Macedon. The city was founded by Archelaus (413-399 BC) as the capital of his kingdom, replacing the older palatial settlement of Aigai (Vergina).
Pella was later the seat of King Philip II and his son Alexander the Great.
 Greek conductor awarded by Russian presidentMOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th.Avgerinos)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev bestowed, through a presidential decree, Russia's Medal of Friendship to Greek artistic director and conductor of the Novosibirsk Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre Theodoros (Teodor) Currentzis.
According to the decree, the medal is being bestowed to Currentzis and a number of other international artists, including theatre and opera director Peter Stein and Venice Film Festival director Marco Müller "for the great contribution to the conservation, development and popularization of Russian culture abroad."
Currantzis is very popular in Russia and has received three times the Russian National Theatre award "Golden Mask".
 More strikes by teachers in highschools, TEITeachers in highschools and Technological Educational Institutes (TEI) are working up to more strike action in the near future, their respective unions said on Monday. Meanwhile, the administration of the Piraeus TEI warned that the institute would quickly run into serious cash flow problems unless it received more funding, without enough money to cover the cost of consumables or its electricity bills.
Piraeus TEI president Lazaros Vryzidis warned that the TEI would likely be unable to accept the roughly 1,200 students expected to apply for transfers.
TEI teaching staff unions are already planning to turn out for teacher protest rallies in all towns and cities having TEIs and in Athens on November 6, on which day there will be a work stoppage, while 24-hour strikes are being planned for November 19 and November 25.
Highschool teachers will take part in the November 6 rally outside Athens university gates and will hold a two-hour work stoppage on the same day from 12:00 to 14:00 for staff on the morning shift and 14:00 to 16:00 for those on evening shifts.
 Sixty seven illegal migrants arrested in AegeanFixty three illegal migrants were intercepted in two different incidents by the Coast Guard on Sunday while attemting to approach with dingies the coast of the eastern central island of Samos.
According to their testimonies, the migrants had set sail from the Turkish coast.
In a separate incident on Sunday in the sea region northeaste of Agathonissi islet, a Coast guard patrol spotted a dingy with a 19 year old illegal migrant. The suspect's questioning revealed that he had left from the Turkish coast together with 13 other illegal migrants who had already disembarked on Agathonissi and were arrested by the local police.
All the illegal migrants were sent to local hospitals for a check up. The local authorities are carrying out a preliminary investigation
 ATM thieves chased away by policeThe attempt by three unidentified individuals in the district of Evosmos, western Thessaloniki, to steal a bank ATM by loading it onto a truck was foiled by patrolling police officers whose presence made them flee the scene leaving behind both the ATM and their truck.
The automated teller machine was installed in the front entrance of a supermarket store and the culprits had used wire rope to remove it. The three took off with a car that had no license plates.
 Transport ministry agreement for 2011 Special Olympics signedGreek Transport Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Monday signed a cooperation memorandum with the organising committee of the 2011 Special Olympics World Games in Athens, pledging the ministry's assistance in the successful organisation of the event.
The minister noted that this was a big athletic event that required a lot of preparation, especially on the part of the transport and communications ministry. According to Special Olympics organising committee president Gianna Despotopoulou, an estimated 7,500 athletes and 2,500 coaches were expected to come to Greece for the games, in addition to some 3,000 officials from 1,832 countries, 25,000 volunteers, 40,000 family members of the athletes taking part and 3,000 journalists covering the event.
 Fair on TuesdayFair weather with northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 26C. Fair in Athens, with 3-5 beaufort northerly winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 25C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 21C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe ongoing financial crisis, the upcoming ECOFIN conference on Tuesday and EU Summit on Friday dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Window for benefits for low incomes".
APOGEVMATINI: "Medicines free for all low pensioners - Government will offer immediate support to the weaker".
AVRIANI: "Depositions and detentions begin on the Siemens and frigate scandals".
CHORA: "The cooking pot revolution - Original protest in the struggle against the high cost of living".
ELEFTHEROS: "The ministries are 'independent states' - Several ministers forging personal strategy".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Cry of agony from pensioners, doctors, home owners".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The hour of the State - Interview/intervention by George Papandreou on the crisis and the future".
ESTIA: "Social-statism revives in Greece - Article by (former minister) Stefanos Manos on the plan for the banks".
ETHNOS: "One million home-owners in line - After the co-ownership tax, the ETAK opens up new wounds".
TA NEA: "Extortion by banks with immense interest rates - Now they don't want the 28 billion euros help package".
VRADYNI: "The box of social benefits opens - 'Relaxation' of Stability Pact being prepared by the European leaders".
 Christofias and Talat discuss the executive and legislatureNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat continued here Monday their discussions on the federal executive and had a preliminary exchange of views on the legislature.
In a statement to the press, after their three hour meeting, UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Taye Brook Zerihoun said the two leaders will have two meetings again next week, one on Tuesday November 11 and the other on Friday November 14.
Invited to say if there has been a narrowing of the gap on the executive, Zerihoun said he could not get into details, adding that "indeed they are dealing with these issues. There are many complicated issues you know better than I, and they are moving forward, I can assure you about that," he added.
Asked if the UN will have a more energetic role in case there is no impressive progress by the end of the year, the UN diplomat said that it was a bit too early.
"We are here at the request of the parties, we have offered the SG's good offices and we are flexible to the needs and desires of the parties", Zerihoun said, adding that this is a decision the SG will have to make at any rate, "but we will help in any way they want us to help them."
Zerihoun said the leaders started Monday's meeting with a one hour tete-a-tete. They then took up their discussions on the federal executive and again instructed their representatives to continue the discussions in an effort to narrow remaining differences, he added.
Following that, he said, the leaders continued with a preliminary exchange of views on the legislature.
He also said that during the next meeting cameras and video will be invited in to take pictures to update media footage.
 Czech House President urges Turkey to recognise CyprusNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Czech President of Parliament Miloslav Vlcek has said that Turkey must fulfill its EU obligations including the a priori recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.
Vlcek, who is in Cyprus for a three-day official visit, heading a parliamentary delegation and a group of businesspeople, discussed Monday with President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian the Cyprus issue, Turkey's EU course, bilateral relations, as well as the Czech Republic's assumption of the next EU Presidency.
The Czech official said that one of the main reasons of his visit is to listen to the positions of the Greek Cypriot side regarding the Cyprus issue, the possibilities for a viable and just solution as well as "to offer help and contribution towards this direction".
"I would be very happy if the Czech Republic, during its EU Presidency, could contribute to the promotion of the solution of the Cyprus problem", he added.
Referring to Turkey, Vlcek said that Turkey's EU accession could help efforts to reach a solution, provided that Turkey fulfills all obligations it has undertaken, including the a priori recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.
In his statements, the President of the Cypriot House of Representatives expressed conviction that the Czech EU presidency would be a successful one and said that Cyprus agrees with the priority issues to be promoted by the Czech Republic during its six months term.
He said that the Czech Republic has always been following policies based on principles, adding that there is no doubt that during its six months rotating Presidency Prague will be successful in matters concerning the EU, Cyprus and Turkey.
Garoyian also referred to the Cyprus problem, saying that the Greek Cypriot side demonstrates good will and undertakes initiatives to achieve a solution, noting that the solution should be functional, viable and just.
He said that Turkey illegally occupies the northern part of Cyprus, has brought over the years more than 160,000 illegal settlers, violates daily the human rights of Cypriots as well as the provisions of international law, ignoring at the same time the European law and acquis communautaire.
In addition, Garoyian referred to the importance of Vlcek's visit to Cyprus and said that beginning of December he would be visiting Prague.
"We are convinced that this exchange of visits will give a new impetus to our relations and will mark the beginning of more close and productive ties for a better coordination of our Parliaments", he said.
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