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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-11-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Thursday, 6 November 2008 Issue No: 3039


  • [01] Greek leadership congratulates Sen. Obama over landmark election victory
  • [02] US ambassador on American election
  • [03] European Socialist Party adopts Papandreou proposal
  • [04] EU Commission progress report on Turkey
  • [05] EU Commissioner Rehn on Turkey, FYROM
  • [06] Deputy FM Kassimis on two-day visit to Uruguay
  • [07] Papoulias meets with Nat'l Commission for Human Rights
  • [08] Cohabitation bill ratified in principle
  • [09] Gov't unveils bids for OA
  • [10] Gov't support to low-income earners
  • [11] Ecumenical Patriarch on financial crisis
  • [12] Attica Bank says profits up 13.42 pct in Jan-Sept
  • [13] Emporiki Bank reports 121-mln-euro loss in Jan-Sept
  • [14] Piraeus Bank buys 31.3% in Proton Bank
  • [15] Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling says net profits down 3% in Jan-Sep
  • [16] AB Vasilopoulos reports mixed nine-month results
  • [17] Car registrations down 4% in Jan-Oct
  • [18] Stocks fall on profit taking
  • [19] ADEX closing report
  • [20] Greek bond market closing report
  • [21] Foreign Exchange Rates: Thursday
  • [22] President Papoulias to inaugurate exhibition in Corinth
  • [23] Greece sends humanitarian aid to Congo
  • [24] Army Apache helicopter crashes
  • [25] WWF-Hellas on climatic change
  • [26] Int'l Digital Film Festival this week in Technopolis
  • [27] Cloudy on Thursday
  • [28] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [29] Cyprus government congratulates Obama on his election Politics

  • [01] Greek leadership congratulates Sen. Obama over landmark election victory

    Greece's top political leadership on Wednesday sent its warm congratulations to US President-elect Barack Obama, following the Illinois senator's victory in Tuesday's closely watched presidential elections in the United States.

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias stressed, in his letter of congratulations, that "he (Obama) has already brought forth a breath of fresh air".

    Papoulias also underlined that "the large Greek-American community has shown appreciation for your positions on issues of Greek interest and I hope that during your term in office Greek-US relations will become stronger and more thriving.

    "I look forward to meeting with you, I wish you strength and success to all your endeavours," Papoulias concluded.


    In his letter, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said Obama's election victory "comes in a critical period", in which "the global economy is facing a serious recession".

    Karamanlis further expressed his sincerest congratulations for Obama's "landmark victory", noting that he looked forward to meeting with the newly elected US president in the near future.

    In echoing Papoulias, Karamanlis also stressed that Greek-Americans have contributed and continue to contribute substantially to America, and expressed appreciation for the "clear and steadfast" positions that Obama has adopted on issues of Greek interest.

    "We look forward to a close cooperation throughout your governance, so that these issues may be resolved, and to the advancement and enhancement of our relations at all levels," Karamanlis' letter concluded.

    President-elect Obama will be sworn into office during an inaugural ceremony on January 20.


    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou, in a statement, wished US President-elect Obama every success, adding that "as a Greek and as the leader of PASOK, I look forward to close cooperation with Barack Obama on the problems in our own region, so that they may be resolved in a spirit of cooperation, consolidation of peace, consolidation of values, International Law and a society of values".

    Papandreou noted that the American people, with their historic decision, turned a new page on Tuesday.

    "We can make a world that respects the environment, green economic growth. In the face of immense problems, I, as president of the Socialist International, will back every effort to confront the problems of our planet, of our fellow citizens throughout the world," Papandreou's statement concluded.


    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos underlined the positive aspect of the Obama victory, saying that "the dark era under President George W. Bush has come to an end ... it is very positive that there is optimism both in the United States and the rest of the world."

    Alavanos added, however, that the United States remains a superpower with aggressive elements, while he called for vigilance to protect global peace and prosperity.


    Conversely, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Wednesday expressed a view that the newly elected US president-elect will disappoint voters very soon, pointing out, however, that those who voted for him expressed discontent and a demand for change.

    "Vigilance is necessary because the United States is still governed by hardcore capitalists," Papariga opined, adding that it remains to be seen what the US foreign policy will be on a number of issues.

    FM on Obama election

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis on Wednesday said that Greece looked forward to an era of great changes, good cooperation with the US, and more fruitful cooperation with the EU, in reply to press questions on Democratic candidate Barack Obama's victory in Tuesday's Presidential elections in the US.

    Bakoyannis noted that the Greek government desired as soon as possible meetings with both with President-elect Obama and with his aides, in its capacity as the government but also that of current president of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    Responding to another question, Bakoyannis said that there would be a three-month transition period for the President-elect, stressing that there has been contact with his senior staff for some time now.

    She futher stressed that the foreign policy of every country is determined by a large number of criteria, adding that there was continuity in the foreign ministries of every country.

    Thus, Bakoyannis added, her foreign ministry would continue briefing foreign government's on Greece's views and national issues with the same consistency.

    [02] US ambassador on American election

    Athens dailies' front pages were thoroughly dominated on Wednesday by the news of US Sen. Barack Obama's historic victory on Tuesday in the closely watched US presidential election, whereas Greek leadership extended laudatory congratulations to the president-elect.

    Speaking at a packed banquet hall gathering of Obama supporters at a downtown Athens hotel hours earlier, US ambassador to Athens Daniel Speckhard again took the opportunity to praise the two major candidates, Obama and his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, as well as the unprecedented voter turnout and enthusiasm in America for the 2008 presidential race.

    Asked about the effect an Obama administration will have on Greek-US ties, Speckhard said that "in terms of Greece, a lot of the issues, as I have said before, are going to remain important and fundamental for both Greece and the United States.

    "But my sense has been that we very much have the same fundamental interests. So, whether it's stability in the eastern Mediterranean, whether it's Cyprus, whether it's other issues, you'll find that the interest of the United States is to find solutions that Greece is happy with, that your neighbors, the countries involved in these issues are happy with, and that promote stability in the region."

    Additionally, the US envoy, who first visited a noticeably low-key gathering of GOP supporters at another Athens hotel, said Washington was working hard with Athens to get Greece included in the visa waiver program, a development clearly amongst the Greek foreign ministry's priorities.

    " final negotiations are taking place right now. It's still possible that we'll see that (issue) solved before the end of this administration, and if not, I'm sure we will continue working on it until it's completed," he told reporters.

    Finally, asked about the nagging FYROM "name issue" that continues to sour Athens' relations with the one-time Yugoslav republic to Greece's immediate north, Speckhard said:

    "I think that, really, the future of that issue depends less on the United States, and more on Greece and your neighbor. The result will come when Greece and your neighbor find the solution that you can both live with. That's what's really important. It's the two parties that need to find the solution. The US has tried to facilitate that process, but at the end of the day, it is really a decision for your country and your neighbor.

    Other reactions

    Asked about what foreign policy issue he thinks will be a priority for the new Obama administration, former senior US diplomat Brady Kiesling -- who resigned from the US diplomatic corps while stationed in Athens five years ago in protest over the Iraq war -- stressed that "the Obama administration must implement a massive shift of taxpayer resources away from military-based 'security' and toward economic and environmental security. On the foreign policy front, this means negotiating a sustainable international economic system that includes environmental costs in the pricing of goods and services."

    On her part, Obama in Greece campaign head Yvette Jarvis, an early supporter of the Illinois Senator now set to become the first African-American US president, emphasised that she was immediately inspired by Obama.

    "I felt an immediate connection with him, I felt as though he spoke to me! His honesty, his humility, complacency, strength, patience, family values, incredible intelligence and oratory skills are all qualities of a formidable leader; secondary are his charm, good looks and humor.

    Jarvis, a Brooklyn native, broke Greece's "color barrier" a few years ago to become the first elected black official -- in the Athens municipality.

    [03] European Socialist Party adopts Papandreou proposal

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)

    The European Socialist Party adopted during its special session here on Wednesday a proposal by Greek main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou on a substantive readjustment of the stability Pact to enable economy backing funds to be led to supporting the real economy and not to be spent meaninglessly.

    Socialist leaders are expected to convey this proposal to the next European Union's summit, while speaking to reporters Papandreou stressed that whether this proposal will be ultimately accepted by the EU depends on the 22 right-wing governments. He also mentioned comments made by certain socialists that "it is not easy to change from an arsonist into a firefighter."

    "We socialists of Europe have hailed with great enthusiasm the great victory of Barack Obama, but we also had the opportunity of discussing the role of Europe and of the progressive forces in light of the EU summit, in relation to the economic and political crisis," Papandreou said after the session, adding that "we demand a Pact of viable, green development and social cohesion, with the citizen, that will make Europe invest in it, as well as in a different Europe, not merely of markets but of political and social cohesion."

    [04] EU Commission progress report on Turkey

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    The European Commission's annual progress report on Turkey, which was made public on Wednesday, referred also to issues of Greek concern, focusing on the 'casus belli' issue and stressing that the resolution ratified by the Great Turkish National Assembly in 1995 continues to be in force, while reminding of the conclusions reached by the European Council in December 2007, according to which Turkey must commit itself on the principle of relations of good neighbourliness and on the peaceful resolving of differences in accordance with the UN Charter, including the jurisdiction of the International Court at The Hague.

    It also stresses that every threat or action that could have a negative effect on relations of good neighbourliness and on the peaceful resolving of differences must be avoided. The report also records Greece's complaints of violations of Greek air space by Turkey.

    The Commission's report further underlines the need for handling the problems of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, mentioning a recent ruling by the European Human Rights Court on the ownership of the building housing the Prinkipos island Orphanage. For the first time, the Commission also notes in its report the need for respect for the Greek citizens' inherittance rights.

    It further points out that the Greek minority is continuing to face problems concerning education and property rights and special mention is made of the issues concerning the Greek minority of Imbros and Tenedos. In general, the Commission underlines that Turkey has achieved no progress in safe-guarding cultural multiformity and promoting respect and protection of minorities in accordance with European norms.

    [05] EU Commissioner Rehn on Turkey, FYROM

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)

    European Union Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn underlined here on Wednesday the special dangers being created by the global economic crisis in accession candidate countries and the need to further strengthen their relations with the EU, while presenting the annual reports on progress acchieved by these countries in their course towards accession to united Europe.

    Referring to Turkey, the Commissioner noted the limited progress achieved over the past year. On the question of Turkey's stance on the issue of Cyprus, he said that it must contribute positively to efforts to solve it.

    Asked why the Commission does not consider the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) fit to begin accession negotiations, the Commissioner said that not only the Commission but other international organisations as well have ascertained the problems created during the last elections in the country.

    As regards the pending issue with Greece on the name question, Rehn said it was not part of the EU's negotiating framework with FYROM, adding that the Commission believes that the time has come for its solution and encourages all the sides involved to reach a compromise solution.

    [06] Deputy FM Kassimis on two-day visit to Uruguay

    MONTEVIDEO (ANA-MPA/S. Aravopoulou)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, on a two-day to Uruguay, had a number of meetings with Vice President Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Foreign Minister Gonzalo Fernandez and Deputy FM Pedro Vaz Ramela in Montevideo.

    Discussions focused on bilateral issues concerning the economic and commercial sector.

    Kassimis referred to Uruguay's strategic geographical position for the promotion of Greek products in Latin America and to the assistance Greece can provide for the promotion of Uruguayan exports to SE Europe. An agreement was reached for an exchange of business missions to examine new investment potential.

    Uruguay is a firm supporter of Greece as regards the FYROM name issue and Cyprus and Foreign Minister Fernandez underlined that Greece and Uruguay share the same positions on all major issues, stressing that his country, aside from its strategic position, also offers security and stability to investors.

    Kassimis further visited a Greek school in Montevideo that is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and the City Hall Museum featuring a special wing with replicas of the most famous ancient Greek works of art.

    A formal dinner given in his honor by the Greek ambassador to Montevideo was attended government officials and leading members of the country's business community, among them many Greek expatriates.

    [07] Papoulias meets with Nat'l Commission for Human Rights

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday suggested that the correctional system in Greece needs radical reform, speaking during a meeting with the board members of the National Commission for Human Rights, NCHR.

    During the meeting at the presidential mansion in Athens, the NCHR board handed over to the president its annual report,which this year focuses on conditions in the Greek jails and prisons.

    NCHR is a statutory National Human Rights Institution having a consultative status with the Greek state on issues pertaining to human rights protection and promotion.

    [08] Cohabitation bill ratified in principle

    Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said on Wednesday that the bill regulating the cohabitation agreement, marriage, divorce, adoption and social and human relation in general, under present-day conditions was "radical and pioneering, at least for Greek political reality."

    The bill was ratified in principle by the majority in Parliament. The main opposition PASOK party, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party voted against it, while the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) voted "present."

    Speaking on the bill on "reforms for the family, the child, society and other arrangements," Hatzigakis said that the changes carried out in society shape directly people's personal relations.

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) party rapporteur Katerina Papacosta said the bill was of "extreme importance for Greek society and the Greek framily," while main opposition PASOK party rapporteur Theodora Tzakri termed "shortsighted and deadlocked" the arrangement that excludes same sex couples from concluding a cohabitation agreement.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) representative Antonis Skyllakos said the enactment of the agreement was a fragmental measure, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) rapporteur Theodoros Dritsas spoke of a bill that was "far behind needs and reality that confirms social conservatism" and Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) rapporteur Athanasios Plevris termed it a "monument of hypocrisy."

    Financial News

    [09] Gov't unveils bids for OA

    The government on Wednesday unveiled the names of bidders who expressed interest in three international tenders to sell Olympic Airlines. The list of bidders was presented after an Inter-ministerial Privatization Commission meeting chaired by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, with Development Minister Christos Folias, Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia and Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis.

    The Inter-ministerial Commission was briefed by the government's financial and legal advisors after they completed evaluation of the submitted bids.

    A total of 13 bids were made for Olympic Airlines' flight operations; 15 for ground handling and 10 for its maintenance and aircraft repair sector.

    The four investment consultants (Lazard, Alpha Bank, Emporiki Bank and NBGI) said the list included: Athens Airways, Chrysler Aviation, Fouad Al Ghanim Group, MyAir, Qatar Airways, Sky Europe and SkyOne for "Pantheon", Athens Airways, Ellaktor, Hellenic Cargo Group, Goldair and Swissport for OA's ground handling services and Athens Airways, Foud Al Ghanim Group and Iberia for OA's technical base.

    One European company, with activities in air transport, is also a bidder, along with five investment funds, for the Greek national carrier's flight operations; one foreign company and seven investment funds are additional bidders for the ground handling services and six investment funds for OA's technical base.

    [10] Gov't support to low-income earners

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday predicted a slowdown in the inflation rate to below 4.0 pct - probably in October - from 4.6 pct in September, and said that a 2009 budget to be tabled to Parliament this month will include measures to support lower-income earners, such as pensioners and debtors.

    Speaking to reporters, Alogoskoufis presented decisions taken during an ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, in the framework of preparing a common European stance against the credit crisis, while he stressed that Greece showed greater resistance to the crisis compared with other Eurozone countries.

    The minister said the 2009 budget will be based on a draft budget plan already tabled to a Parliamentary commission while he noted that prospects of a further widening of the budget deficit were very limited.

    The government will make every effort to supporting lower incomes and the real economy, not only with fiscal actions, but promoting reforms and boosting investments from EU structural funds and joint ventures between public sector and private companies.

    Alogoskoufis also said the new budget will envisage measures to relieving certain categories of debtors mainly suffering from a current financial crisis and stressed that the government would not deviate from a fiscal discipline drive.

    He said Greece, along with other countries, supported a proposal that the IMF should be the supervisor of the international financial system and stressed that a common EU stance would be decided next Friday during an EU Summit.

    Alogoskoufis also said that Greek bankers will finally need the government's plan to supporting the banking system, saying that the plan was necessary because the economy needed liquidity. The Greek minister said the banking system should not pull the economy's safety valve and warned that the government has ways of directing banks towards a more responsible behavior, while he reiterated that the government would not make any changes in the plan. He also criticized practices during this period of crisis aimed to undermine the country's credit system for the own benefit. "This will not allow," he said.

    [11] Ecumenical Patriarch on financial crisis

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew directly referring to the international economic crisis while speaking Wednesday during the inauguration of a renovated convention hall at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, ACCI.

    "Entrepreneurship and the so-called industrial production is a basic factor indicating creativity," the Ecumenical Patriarch stated, adding that, unfortunately, many overlook the fundamental element of creativity both as an incentive and as the ultimate goal of a business initiative.

    "Human beings are made to be creators and are blessed with creative energy," he said, pointing out that Greek businessmen have gained the reputation of displaying impressive generosity and charitable work during hard times for the Nation urging the ACCI members to do the same.

    He also stated that in 2010 Istanbul will be the European Capital of Culture and that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will host an exhibition focusing on creations of Greek architects.

    [12] Attica Bank says profits up 13.42 pct in Jan-Sept

    Attica Bank on Wednesday reported a 13.12-pct increase in its pre-tax profits and a 13.42 pct rise in after tax profits in the nine-month period from January to September 2008, compared with the same period last year.

    Commenting on the results, Tryfon Kollintzas, the bank's chairman and chief executive, attributed the positive result the management's priority in managing credit risks, cost control and effective use of capital.

    Attica Bank said assets totaled 4.530 billion euros, up 16.03 pct from the 2007 and 29.18 pct compared with the nine-month period in 2007.

    Lending, pre-provision, totaled 3.609 billion euros, up 19.69 pct, with mortgage loans totaling 567.1 million euros (up 17.71 pct), while saving deposits totaled 3.265 billion euros, up 23 pct from the same period in 2007.

    Risk provisions rose 12.27 pct to 24.4 million euros, net interest rose 13.98 pct to 77 million euros and net commissions rose 7.82 pct to 26 million euros. Results from financial assets showed a loss of 1.1 million euros in the nine month period, while revenues from operating activities totaled 107.9 million euros, up 2.05 pct from last year.

    Pre-tax profits totaled 20.009 million euros, up 3.61 pct, while after tax profits rose 1.12 pct to 15.561 million euros.

    Consolidated pre-tax profits totaled 22.795 million euros and after tax profits were 18.055 million euros, up 13.12 pct and 13.42 pct, respectively. Earnings per share, however, fell to 0.1352 euros from 0.1595 euros in 2007.

    [13] Emporiki Bank reports 121-mln-euro loss in Jan-Sept

    Emporiki Bank on Wednesday reported a 121.31-million euros loss in the nine-month period from January to September, after profits of 76.5 million euros in the corresponding period last year. The bank attributed its negative results to a "serious worsening" of the global financial climate and to a one-off tax burden of 55 million euros.

    Net interest revenue fell by 80 million euros in the nine-month period, with net revenues falling 16.2 pct to 599.2 million euros, while net revenues from interest dropped 14.1 pct to 488.5 million euros reflecting increased competition and higher cost of raising money from capital markets. Net revenues form commissions fell 11.7 pct to 102.7 million euros, while other operating revenues totaled 8.0 million euros.

    Emporiki Bank said its mortgage loan portfolio grew by 10.9 pct to 7.2 billion euros, while consumer loans grew by 19.4 pct to 3.231 billion euros. Credicom saw its lending portfolio rising 18 pct to 1.116 billion euros since December 2007 and by 35 percent compared with the same period in 2007.

    Loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises grew 19.7 pct to 6.536 billion euros, saving deposits rose 4.0 pct to 17.673 billion euros, while the group's own capital totaled 702 million.

    The bank said a general shareholders' meeting, schedule for February 13, 2009, will approve a share capital increase plan. Emporiki Bank said liquidity level was strong because of its high saving deposits base (17.7 billion euros) and after the successful completion of a bond loan sale (500 million euros).

    [14] Piraeus Bank buys 31.3% in Proton Bank

    Piraeus Bank on Wednesday announced the purchase of a 31.3147-pct equity stake in Proton Bank through a stock swap deal. Under the terms of the deal, the stock swap ratio was set at 8.25 shares of Proton Bank for each Piraeus Bank's share at the closing of Friday, Oct. 31, 2008.

    A total of 19,629,247 million euros of Proton Bank will be exchanged for 2,379,303 shares of Piraeus Bank's treasury stock.

    [15] Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling says net profits down 3% in Jan-Sep

    Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling on Wednesday reported a 3.0-pct decline in its nine-month profits to 422 million euros and said the volume of sales rose 4.0 pct to 1.62 billion boxes and net revenues rose 8.0 pct to 5.39 billion euros. The company said operating earnings (EBIT) fell 3.0 pct to 600 million euros.

    Net profits in the three-month period from July to September were unchanged at last year's levels to 213 million euros, with earnings per share falling 2.0 pct to 0.58 euros. The volume of sales rose 4.0 pct to 610 million euros and net revenues rose 9.0 pct to 2.075 billion euros.

    The company's board approved paying a dividend of 0.25 euros per share to its shareholders for the year 2007.

    [16] AB Vasilopoulos reports mixed nine-month results

    ÁB Vassilopoulos on Wednesday reported mixed nine-month results with consolidated operating earnings falling to 27.5 million euros this year, down from 31.5 million in the corresponding period in 2007. Parent operating earnings rose to 33.2 million euros in the January-September period from 29 million euros last year, while consolidated operating profits by AB and ENA also rose to 36.8 million euros from 31.5 million euros over the same period, respectively.

    Consolidated after tax profits fell to 16.8 million euros, from 22.5 million euros last year. Consolidated sales rose 14.2 percent to 958 million euros.

    AB plans to expand its network - including its franchising network - by another seven units this year.

    [17] Car registrations down 4% in Jan-Oct

    Car registrations (including both new and used ones) fell 4.0 pct in the January-October period in Greece, compared with the corresponding period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service, in a report said that registrations of new motorcycles rose 0.6 pct in the 10-month period. Car registrations in October were down 10.8 pct and motorcycles fell 14.8 pct.

    [18] Stocks fall on profit taking

    Greek stocks ended a six-day rally at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday as sellers re-appeared in other European and international markets, pushing share prices lower. The composite index of the market fell 0.38 pct to end at 2,221.02 points, with turnover a massive 732.5 million euros, of which 436.5 million euros were block trades and mainly reflected the transfer of Hellenic Telecoms' shares to Deutsche Telekom.

    Most sectors moved lower with the Healthcare (2.76 pct), Oils (1.92 pct), Telecommunications (1.23 pct) and Banks (1.12 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Personal/Home Products (3.37 pct), Industrial Products (2.42 pct) and Food/Beverage (2.32 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 0.67 pct, the FTSE 40 index was 0.97 pct up and the FTSE 80 index rose 1.23 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 158 to 91 with another 40 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +0.97%

    Industrials: +2.42%

    Commercial: +1.96%

    Construction: +1.10%

    Media: +0.14%

    Oil & Gas: -1.92%

    Personal & Household: +3.37%

    Raw Materials: -0.08%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.10%

    Technology: +0.51%

    Telecoms: -1.23%

    Banks: -1.12%

    Food & Beverages: +2.32%

    Health: -2.76%

    Utilities: -0.52%

    Chemicals: +0.96%

    Financial Services: +1.78%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 12.34

    ATEbank: 1.92

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.42

    HBC Coca Cola: 12.70

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.78

    National Bank of Greece: 19.04

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.70

    Intralot: 4.78

    OPAP: 18.00

    OTE: 11.24

    Bank of Piraeus: 10.86

    Titan Cement Company: 13.90

    [19] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover rising to 106.656 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.06 pct, while volume on the Big Cap index totaled 14,747 contracts worth 87.583 million euros, with 28,087 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 20,992 contracts worth 18.520 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,843), followed by Eurobank (990), OTE (1,211), PPC (2,668), Piraeus Bank (811), GEK (1,720), Marfin Popular Bank (2,429), Intralot (1,013) and Hellenic Postbank (1,360).

    [20] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market remained a low 430 million euros on Wednesday, of which 215 million were buy orders and the remaining 214 million were sell orders. The five-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2011) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 75 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds shrank further to 149 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 5.27 pct and the German Bund 3.78 pct.

    In the interbank market, interest rates moved even lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 4.76 pct, the six-month rate 4.71 pct, the three-month rate 4.66 pct and the one-month rate 4.32 pct.

    [21] Foreign Exchange Rates: Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.297

    Pound sterling 0.812

    Danish kroner 7.503

    Swedish kroner 10.016

    Japanese yen 128.42

    Swiss franc 1.517

    Norwegian kroner 8.729

    Canadian dollar 1.497

    Australian dollar 1.875

    General News

    [22] President Papoulias to inaugurate exhibition in Corinth

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will inaugurate an exhibition on the "National Resistance of the People of Athens 1941-1944" at the Historical and Folklore Museum in Corinth on November 12.

    The exhibition will include outlawed printed material, newspapers, leaflets, press releases, radio bulletins and pamphlets from the collection of WWII resistance fighter Vasilios Sinaniotis.

    The exhibition will run through Jan. 31, 2009.

    [23] Greece sends humanitarian aid to Congo

    On the initiative of Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, and in response to calls to confront the extensive humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo resulting from the recent armed clashes, Greece has proceeded to the provision of 500,000 dollars through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a foreign ministry announcement said on Wednesday.

    This emergency humanitarian aid is being sent for the relief of those affected by the hostilities that forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, the announcement added.

    [24] Army Apache helicopter crashes

    An army Apache helicopter gunship, with a crew of two, disappeared from radar screens at 20:14 on Wednesday, while flying near the town of Kymi in eastern Greece on a mission.

    According to the Defence Ministry, explosions were heard in the area and a fire broke out. Police and firefighting forces have rushed to the scene and two Super Puma helicopters and a C-130 aircraft have taken off. Land-based forces have also been deployed in the region.

    The National Defence General Staff announced later on that wreckage of the helicopter was spotted in the region of Sotiros Monastery in Kimi. Police forces have sealed off the area and firemen are tacklig a fire that has broken out. The helicopter on board the frigate Hydra was also placed on the alert at 20:38.

    [25] WWF-Hellas on climatic change

    The WWF-Hellas organisation proposes actions that will enable Greece to decrease pollutant emissions by 67 percent by the year 2050, in a report it prepared titled "solutions for climatic change-Viability vision for Greece in 2050."

    The organisation presented the report on Wednesday and was commented on by Development ministry Secretary General Constantine Mousouroulis, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works ministry Secretary General Evangelos Baltas, the President of the Parliamentary Environment Committee Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Mihalis Chrysohoidis on behalf of the main opposition PASOK party, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Nikos Karathanasopoulos, Mihalis Papayiannakis on behalf of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) and former Environment, Town Planning and Public Works minister Stefanos Manos.

    Mousouroulis referred to the need for the creation of a model that will save natural and economic resources, will protect the environment and will provide adequate power.

    "The spirit of EU legislation is a first class opportunity for us to make a very big turn, to secure viability, competitiveness and security and for us to create new jobs," he said.

    [26] Int'l Digital Film Festival this week in Technopolis

    The Platmorma Video 8 International Digital Film Festival will be held at Technopolis exhibition centre, in the Gazi district of central Athens, on Nov. 7-10, featuing a focus on Israeli cinema, with screenings of 11 fictional, experimental and animated films. This year's event will take place in the presence of Israeli actress Esti Zakhem, the event's special guest.

    Weather Forecast

    [27] Cloudy on Thursday

    Slightly cloudy weather with northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 7C and 26C. Fair in Athens, with 3-4 beaufort northeasterly winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 25C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 13C to 21C.

    [28] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The election of Barak Obama as the new US President and the Ecofin ministers' decisions on the Stability Pact dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Government announces revolutionary measures on the horizon to support medium size enterprises".

    APOGEVMATINI: "New era - First results indicate Obama to win easily McCain".

    AVGHI: "Expectations after Obama's victory - Unprecedented turnout in the elections".

    CHORA: "A black messiah in the White House".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Uncle Tom's 'cabin' becomes ....White House".

    ELEFTHEROS: "The five landmines in the social security reform".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The market freezes - The Greeks have 'Hungary's phychology'.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Historic selection - The ballot points to Obama".

    ESTIA: "Obama's triumph brings hope to the world - US turns page".

    KATHIMERINI: "US turns page with Obama - Unprecedented turnout in the elections".

    LOGOS: "The 44th President of the USA was elected after a historic encounter - The main positions of the new President".

    TA NEA: "The first black president in US history".

    NIKI: "The working class in a vise - Agony over the high cost of living and unemployment".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Pupils, students, parents, teachers will protest on Thursday against EU policy in Education".

    TO VIMA: "Obama's era - The Americans have chosen the big change".

    VRADYNI: "Good morning, Mr. President".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [29] Cyprus government congratulates Obama on his election


    The Cyprus government congratulated Wednesday Barack Obama, President-elect of the United States of America, expressing hope that he will honour the declarations he has made on Cyprus during the presidential campaign.

    In statements after a Council of Ministers meeting, Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said that the government notes that Obama is the first African American President in US history, adding that ''his programme and his declarations promise a new era for the USA, which will bring more social justice in the country and a normalization of its relations with the rest of the world.''

    With regard to the Cyprus problem, Stefanou said the government hopes that the Obama Administration will honour the declarations he has made during the presidential campaign.

    ''Obama has made specific declarations which we welcome. From there on, we hope that these declarations will be fulfilled,'' he added.

    The statement issued to the Greek American Community stated that ''as president, Barack Obama will show U.S. leadership in seeking to negotiate a political settlement on Cyprus. He believes strongly that Cyprus should remain a single, sovereign country in which each of the two communities on the island is able to exercise substantial political authority within a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation.''

    ''There must be a just and mutually agreed settlement of difficult issues like property, refugees, land, and security. A negotiated political settlement on Cyprus would end the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and repair the island's tragic division while paving the way to prosperity and peace throughout the entire region'', Obama added.

    ''We ask nothing more than respect of the values of international law and UN resolutions on Cyprus. We will insist on this, bearing in mind the realities existing both in the USA itself and in the world,'' the spokesman said.

    If international law and UN resolutions on Cyprus are implemented ''we will have a solution to the Cyprus problem which will benefit our people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,'' Stefanou concluded.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

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