|Sunday, 15 July 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-11-11
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 11 November 2008 Issue No: 3043
 PM Karamanlis addresses event on EIB anniversaryPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressed a new message to banks on their participation in the plan regarding 28 billion euros to support liquidity in the market, while speaking at an event on the European Investments Bank's 50th anniversary held at the Athens Concert Hall on Monday night.
"Participation in the plan is voluntary. However, we have made it clear that no one has the right to convey the repercussions of whatever different decisions of his to loan holders. The state has the possibility of securing this target. The government is determined (and it has the way) not to allow attitudes at the expense of society, at the expense of collective interest," the prime minister said.
He outlined the main aspects of the Greek plan to tackle the crisis that is aimed at decreasing inter-bank interest rates and interest rates for loans to households and businesses.
It is also aimed at securing liquidity and the continuation of credit expansion, with emphasis being placed on the funding of small and medium-size enterprises and the granting of housing loans.
"The Greek plan does not burden the taxpayers and it does not deduct even one euro from the state budget. On the contrary, indeed, its full implementation can produce public revenues of up to 500 million euros, which we commit ourselves to be utilised for the backing of the Social Cohesion Fund and of Public Investments," the prime minister added.
Karamanlis underlined that the government's main aim is support for the real economy, entrepreneurship, employment and for the weaker and the average economic classes.
The prime minister referred to the international economic crisis, saying that special situations require special decisions and strong reflexes and noted that the government has proved its response to the new requirements in practice.
Karamanlis went on to say that the Greek economy has far greater endurance compared to many others. Despite the international crisis, both the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission have predicted, as he said, that in 2009 Greece will have growth rates reaching 2 percent and 2.5 percent of GDP respectively.
"The Greek economy's perspective is far better compared to the Eurozone. And this is of major importance. Our immediate aim, now, is to restrict as much as possible the unfavourable repercussions of international pressure. For this purpose, we are in a state of constant vigilance," he added.
The prime minister added that a second aim of major importance is supporting the real economy and the citizens who are in greater need.
Lastly, Karamanlis praised the contribution of the European Investments Bank to Greece's development from 1963 (when it financed the Corinth-Patra national motorway) until today.
 PM Karamanlis conferred with Employment Minister PetraliaPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis conferred with Employment and Social Protection Minister Fani Palli-Petralia on Monday, focusing on issues concerning the relief of vulnerable social groups and small and medium sized businesses in view of the ongoing global financial crisis.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Petralia stressed that no citizen will be left alone.
Responding to a relevant question, the employment minister underlined that the lump sum retirement benefit of civil servants is not at jeopardy, stressing that there is no problem with the social security funds as the government guarantees both pensions and benefits.
As regards the unemployment rate, Petralia stated that the government programme and the actions undertaken by the ministry of employment are being refocused, with the aim of preserving the existing job positions while, at the same time, creating new ones as well.
Petralia stated that the issue was discussed in detail in the meeting with the prime minister and underlined that the unemployment rate has dropped from 11 percent to 7 percent under the New Democracy (ND) party governance.
 Tatoulis out of ND parliamentary groupPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday removed outspoken MP and former deputy minister Petros Tatoulis from ruling New Democracy (ND) party's parliamentary group, announcing his decision in a letter to Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas.
The decision to oust the Arcadia-elected MP was made known to the press by ND Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, following a meeting with the prime minister.
Zagoritis said the move comes after a series of moves by Tatoulis over time, indicating that the MP had distanced himself from the party.
He expressed regret over the development, as it came at a time in which the government was faced with the global financial crisis and trying to provide solutions to the problems faced by the citizens.
Later in the day, ND Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis announced that Tatoulis will also lose his party membership rights.
Referring to the reasons that led to the expulsion, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stated that "the controversial interview given by Tatoulis was yet another link in a long chain of positions he has voiced, which attest to the fact that he is politically and mentally detached from ND and all it represents."
Asked about Tatoulis' published interview in the Athens daily "Ethnos" a day earlier, Antonaros stated that it includes extreme positions, and ones expressed in crucial times for the country.
"The government has decided to proceed with its reforms using the majority it enjoys in Parliament," he said, pointing out that "this is a very sensitive and difficult phase due to the ongoing international financial crisis.
 Papandreou confers with social partnersMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday presented his party's proposals for confronting the financial and credit crisis to respresentatives of the social partners.
Papandreou told reporters afterwards that the meeting aimed at discussion the quality, effectiveness and usefullness of PASOK's proposals and regulations, as well as the legislative initiatives it was advancing.
He said Monday's meeting was the commencement of a continuous process of open and constructive dialogue, adding that more such meetings would follow, particularly on such issues as agricultural policy, policy on SMEs and tourism policy.
Papandreou said that the target of all those initiatives by PASOK was to create a new national, developmental and social pact to the benefit of the citizen.
The PASOK leader stressed that the present conjuncture left no room for complacency and postponement, since the situation in the economy was deteriorating dramatically day by day.
He said the four funamental aspects describing the present situation in the economy were a rapid slowdown in economic activity, a sense of insecurity in the households and the producer classes compounded by a slump in the confidence of the consumers, new increases every day in interest on movement capital, business and consumer lans and credit cards while even more onerous were the problems for the SMEs, compounded by the low incomes, and full lack of transparency and confusion regarding the management of the 28 billion euros package for the banks aimed at boosting cash flow on the market.
Papandreou accused the government of not submitting an integrated and reliable proposal and of remaining steadfast in its same dead-end choices that have proved ineffective and harmful.
PASOK's proposals, on the contrary, were both specific and realistic, and could be characterized by the phrase "security, growth, redistribution, transparency and prospect", and also comprised the party's commitment.
Those proposals, he continued, aimed at supporting the credit system in order to restore liquidity on the market and reinforce the real economy, supporting the consumers and borrowers, strengthening the market and supporting the SMEs, relieving the financially weaker strata, and confronting unemployment, which he warned would increase dangerously if measures were not taken promptly.
Papandreou comments after meeting
Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, speaking on Monday after his meeting with social agency representatives for talks on problems concerning the economic and credit crisis, said that the situation requires political initiatives.
Papandreou ascertained that his party's proposals are "meeting with wider acceptance" and stressed that it is no time for wellwishing or for blank cheques to banks and rejected an economic policy which is unfair.
 Papariga visits Evangelismos HospitalCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Monday met with management and staff at Evangelismos Hospital in Athens and outlined her party's positions in favour of a state-run health service. KKE's leader also referred to the government scheme to support bank liquidity.
"The government has found and is giving 28 billion [euros] to support banks with certain terms and the bankers will not even accept terms. The government claims that it will impose the terms and that it has a way to do this. [Main opposition] PASOK asked that the government buy up shares or a bank and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology that it buy one and a half or two banks and make them state owned. Whether one becomes state owned, or one and a half, the banking system operates on market terms and you cannot impose your own terms," Papariga said.
KKE's leader noted that the discussion "was beside the point" and that the problem was the lack of control over the market and monopolies, which had led to a lack of restraint. She called for new "progressive" legislation in favour of workers, while also pointing out that the money was not going to assist loan holders but for the use of bankers.
She claimed that the economic crisis had not yet become apparent in Greece but said she agreed with analysts predicting that the crisis, when it arrived, would be deeper and last longer than in other countries.
During the meeting, Evangelismos staff unions briefed Papariga on the problems and shortages at the hospital, stressing the need to hire more staff and presenting a demand to be included in the heavy and hazardous labour category for pension purposes.
 LA.OS head on banks, financial crisisPopular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS), President George Karatzaferis on Monday accused the government of undertaking "vague and meaningless" initiatives while being constantly weakened, commenting on its handling of the impact the international financial crisis has on the country.
Karatzaferis accused political parties and banks of lacking sound judgment when dealing with the unfolding financial crisis.
 US envoy: Washington will 'embrace' Greek-FYROM solution to 'name issue'The US ambassador to Greece on Monday briefed local reporters on a myriad of issues of international, regional and bilateral interest, days after Democrat Sen. Barack Obama emerged as the next president of the United States.
US envoy Daniel Speckhard echoed many of the reports emanating out of the Washington over the past week in reiterating that a normalisation of the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan -- as well as overturning the global credit crisis -- will dominate the new US administration's priorities.
Turning to issues of increased Greek interest, including the still timely FYROM "name issue", Speckhard said the United States will "embrace" a solution mutually agreed to by Greece and its northern land-locked neighbour, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Moreover, he said it would be a mistake to delay negotiations on the thorny dispute in order to wait for the new US administration to take over (Jan. 20.)
Regarding Greece's inclusion in the US visa waiver program -- a distinct "sore spot" in Greek-US relations -- the US ambassador simply noted that negotiations are continuing and that the process is proceeding, adding his hope that a successful conclusion will be reached shortly.
Speckhard dismissed assertions, mostly press speculation, that the Bush administration is upset with Greece's burgeoning cooperation with Russia in the energy sector, stressing that the US welcomes Athens' policy of turning the east Mediterranean country into a regional energy "hub", and what he called its support of Europe's energy security and diversification of sources.
The US ambassador clarified that Washington's concern focuses on the domestic situation in Russia with the occupation of parts of Georgia, rather than on concerns linked with energy.
 Deputy FM meets with ethnic Greek community in ChileSANTIAGO (ANA-MPA/S. Aravopoulou)
Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis was warmly received here by the members of the ethnic Greek community in the Chilean capital, the third stop of his tour of Latin America.
The Greek community, founded back in 1918, numbers some 1,500 individuals, 500 of them in Santiago. According to community leaders, the majority of ethnic Greeks in Chile are in mixed marriages but still dedicated in preserving their Hellenic identity.
Speaking in the Greek Cultural Centre in Santiago, Kassimis underlined that the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) first regional conference for Central and South America will be held in the Chilean capital, in recognition of the active Greek community.
The visit of the deputy FM to Santiago coincides with the SAE regional convention on Friday, inaugurated in the presence of Archbishop Tarasios of South and Central America, SAE President Stefanos Tamvakis and Greek Parliament MPs.
In a meeting he had with his Chilean counterpart, Kassimis discussed ways to upgrade the Greek-Chilean relations and issues of bilateral interest.
 Deputy FM Kassimis at UN conference on 'Culture of Peace'NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis will be representing Greece at the UN General Assembly's high level two-day conference on November 12-13 on the theme of "The culture of peace."
According to an announcement by the UN, the issue "Towards a culture of peace" had been initially examined during the General Assembly's 50th and 51st sessions under the chapter of "Human Rights," while a relevant General Assembly resolution had proclaimed 2000 "An International Year for the Culture of Peace."
U.S. President George W. Bush will be participating, among others, in the two-day conference and he is expected to make an address from the General Assembly's podium for the last time.
 Government-sponsored support package backed by banksA government-sponsored plan unveiled to support the banking sector in Greece cope with the international financial crisis has the support of the overwhelming majority of the banks operating in the country, according to statements issued by the Hellenic Bank Association (HBA) and the Association of Co-operative Banks of Greece (ACBG).
According to an HBA statement, "the suggested measures are moving on the right direction in support of the Greek economy and therefore they have the backing of the association despite the disagreement voiced by certain of its members." Banks, however, act individually as provided by the legislation on competitiveness and there can be no interbank agreement within the framework of the HBA, the statement reads.
On their part the 16 banks represented by ACBG serving roughly 200,000 customers, private individuals and small-medium sized companies, notified Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis Monday on their intention to join the 28-billion-euro package extending credit to households and small and medium sized investors. According to ACBG, the preconditions and terms set will ensure transparency, allow for state control and keep the cost of money under control.
Furthermore, all co-operative banks participate in the Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small Enterprises (TEMPME SA) facilitating access of small and very small enterprises to the country's financial system by providing guarantees and undertaking part of their financial and commercial risk.
 Gov't on PPC, banks"All electricity rate hikes suggested cannot get through and be implemented without the approval of the government and the competent minister," government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stressed on Monday, in reference to recom-mendations by Public Power Corp. SA (PPC) President Takis Athanasopoulos.
Antonaros declined to make a comment when asked if the PPC head will be forced to resign.
Asked whether domestic banks will be obliged to join a state-sponsored bailout plan, Antonaros said the framework of the government draft law, which is aimed at increasing liquidity, is well known.
 Papandreou meeting with bankersPASOK party leader George Papandreou will receive a number of leading domestic bankers at the party's headquarters on Tuesday, according to a party announcement.
Papandreou will be meeting on Tuesday with National Bank CEO Takis Arapoglou, Eurobank Managing Director Nikos Nanopoulos, Bank of Piraeus President Mihalis Sallas and Marfin Bank Vice-President Andreas Vgenopoulos.
Papandreou is also expected to meet the boards of Alpha Bank and the Emporiki Bank in the coming days.
 Inflation falls in OctoberThe Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell to 3.9 percent in October from 4.6 percent in the preceding month of September, marking a 0.7 percent decline, according to figures released on Monday by the national statistics service ESYE. The CPI in October 2007 was running at 3.1 percent.
According to ESYE secretary general Manolis Kontopyrakis, a 0.6 percent decline in gasoline, a 7.7 percent drop in the price of heating oil, and the containment and/or decline in prices of supermarket goods mainly contributed to the 0.7 percent drop in the general CPI.
In the 10-month period January-October 2008 inflation was running at an average 4.50 percent against 2.67 percent in the corresponding period in 2007.
The harmonized CPI fell to 4 percent in October from 4.7 percent in September, while in October 2007 it was running at 3 percent. The harmonized inflation in the January-October period was running at an average 4.54 percent, down substantially from 2.79 percent in the corresponding period in 2007.
The core CPI also fell to 3.5 percent in October from 3.8 percent in September, compared with 3.0 percent in October 2007. Core inflation rose to an average 3.68 percent in the January-October period from 2.66 percent in the corresponding period in 2007.
According to Kontopyrakis, inflation in November was expected to inflation was expected to fall to 3.2 percent, given the present conditions, and namely the prices recorded in the first 10 days of November in gasoline, heating oil, supermaket goods, fruits and vegatables, combined with the big increases in November 2007 in heating oil and gasoline.
 Euro parity reaches 1.2891 dollarsThe euro strengthened its position on Monday and in the afternoon its parity with the U.S. dollar was 1.2814 dollars compared to 1.2718 dollars in New York on Friday night. the indicative euro-dollar partity announced by the European Central Bank reached 1.2891 dollars.
The main event in the exchange market on Monday was the yen's great retreat before both the dollar and the euro.
The dollar's recession is linked to encouragement by the G 20, who convened in Sao Paulo over the weekend in an effort to boost global growth, decreasing demand for the "secure" dollar bonds.
The total value of transactions in the local second stage bonds market, in the Electronic Exchange System, totalled 225 million euros, of which 170 million euros concerned purchase orders and 55 million euros sale orders.
 Exports post rise in SeptemberThe overall value of exports rose by 1.3 percent in September, compared with the corresponding month in 2007, reaching 1,613.6 million euros against 1,593.2 million euros in September 20007, according to figures released on Monday by the national statistics service ESYE.
According to ESYE, the overall value of exports in the 12-month period October 2007 to September 2008 rose by 2.5 percent over the corresponding 12-month period of October 2006 to September 2007.
The overall value of imports in September rose to 4,836.7 million euros from 4,690.2 million euros in the corresponding month of 2007, posting a 3.1 percent increase.
The overall value of imports in the 12-month period October 2007 to September 2008 fell by 0.8 percent against the preceding 12-month period of October 2006 to September 2007.
 Greek industrial production index down 3.3% in SeptemberGreece's industrial production composite index fell 3.3 pct in September, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Monday. The statistics service, in a monthly report, attributed the index's 3.3 pct decline to a 8.1 pct drop in mining production, a 4.3 pct drop in manufacturing production, and a 2.9 pct rise in electricity-natural gas-water production.
The mean industrial production composite index for January-September 2008 compared with the same period in 2007 fell by 2.2 percent.
 Attiko Metro to re-issue Line 3 extension tenderThe Attiko Metro company has cancelled tendering for the extension of Line 3 of the Athens Metro to the western suburbs of the capital and to Piraeus and will announce a new round of tendering this week.
According to an announcement by the company the cancellation of the tender had become imperative.
"The policy of the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works ministry is aimed with consistency at strengthening competition for the protection of public interest," the announcement said, adding that "we have cancelled (the first round of) tendering and have launched renewed tendering."
 New civil aviation service leadership sworn inThe new administration of Greece's Civil Aviation Service were sworn in and took over their duties on Monday, in the presence of Transport Minister Kostis Hatzidakis.
Taking over as the new head of the service is Constantinos Constantinidis, with Vassilis Iliou and Smaragda Malakate as his seconds-in-command.
 Local authority staff to strike on Nov. 13-14Local authority staff throughout Greece will hold a 48-hour strike on November 13-14, the national union federation POE-OTA said on Monday.
The strikers are demanding that existing welfare structures remain in place, that the jobs of contract workers are secured, as well as the funds to cover the payroll.
 Foreign investors drop below 50 pct of ASE capitalisationThe participation of foreign investors in the capitalisation of the Greek market in October fell below 50 percent for the first time since February 2007.
Foreign investors were net sellers in the Athens Stock Exchange in October, with capital outflows totaling 1,175.53 million euros, with funds (1,213.85 mln) and off-shores (111.18 mln) recording the biggest outflows.
On the other hand, Greek investors were net buyers with capital inflows totaling 986.46 million euros, official figures showed on Monday.
Foreign investors' participation in the Greek market's capitalisation dropped to 49.2 percent at the end of October, down from 51.1 pct in September and 52.7 pct in October 2007. They continued to hold a larger share of stocks in the large-cap index, however, with 52.6 pct in October, down from 54.8 pct in September 2008 and 56.1 pct in October 2007.
Turnover in the Athens Stock Exchange totaled 6.611 billion euros in October, from 6.156 billion euros in September, for an increase of 7.4 pct, but down 44.1 pct compared with October 2007. Daily average turnover was 300.5 million euros in October, from 279.8 million euros in September.
The capitalization of the FTSE 20 index totaled 54 billion euros in October, down 27.6 pct from September, while for the FTSE 40 index it was 10.1 billion (down 28.4 pct) and for the FTSE 80 index 4.2 billion euros (down 27.4 pct).
 Greek stocks end 3.98% upGreek stocks on Monday continued where they left off last week, surging upwards at the Athens Stock Exchange and pushing the composite index of the market 3.98 percent higher to end at 2,190.99 points. Turnover was a low 147 million euros, of which 7.8 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved higher, with Travel-Recreation (8.34 pct), Telecoms (4.63 pct), Chemicals (4.13 pct), banks (4.06 pct) and Travel (1.89 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day.
The FTSE 20 index jumped 4.26 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 2.42 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 3.05 pct. Broadly, advancers led deciliners by 199 to 38 with another 40 issues unchanged.
 2nd international conference on Atlantis in AthensThe 2nd international conference exploring the mystery of the lost city of Atlantis began at the premises of the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens on Monday, and is scheduled to end on Tuesday.
The Atlantis 2008 conference is entitled "The Atlantis Hypothesis: Searching for a lost land" and seeks to explore the triple mystery created by Plato roughly 25 centuries earlier, with his references to the legend of the lost city that fell into the sea some 9,500 years before his time.
With the participation of academics and researchers from Greece and all over the world, the conference will explore whether Atlantis did in fact ever exist, when and where. It is organised under the auspices of the geology departments of Thessaloniki's Aristotelian University and the university of Patras, the Greek Society of Archaeometry and the Society for the Study of Ancient Greek Mythology.
Speakers addressing the conference on Monday said that the issue of whether Atlantis existed could not be considered "settled" but was only now becoming accessible to scientists through new studies that were appearing.
Others noted that the myth may have been used by Plato to promote his general political and philosophical message but did not rule out the possibility of some historical basis for the legend, which was more detailed and realistic than other legends in Plato.
A number of research teams also presented evidence of similar stories in cultures throughout the world and offered various suggestions regarding possible locations for ancient Atlantis, ranging from southern Spain and the Danube River to the Andes in Bolivia, the island of Hispaniola, Iceland and the Americas.
 Interior minister sets up vocational skills certification bodyInterior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday signed a decision establishing a system for certifying additional vocational training acquired by staff in the civil service, broader public-sector firms and local authorities.
The measure seeks to improve the quality and efficiency of public administration and will provide recognition for educational structures, participation in training programmes and certifying the knowledge and skills of trainees.
Responsible for certification will be the Central Certification Committee, that will be run as an independent body responsible for supervising the proper implementation of the principles, criteria and demands of the system.
 HAU event showcases book preserving traditional Epirus songs, poetryThe Hellenic American Union (HAU) on Monday hosted an event in Athens showcasing the book "A Weft of Memory, A Greek Mother's Recollection of Songs and Poems", written by linguist and retired US ambassador Thomas J. Scotes to preserve the folklore and traditional music of his mother's ancestral home in mountainous Epirus province, northwest Greece.
The 300-page bilingual Greek and English volume catalogues and details traditional Epirot songs and poems.
Scotes' mother, Vasiliki, was born in the village of Theodoriana, Arta prefecture, a century ago. She emigrated with her husband and family to the United States, and specifically to Harrisburg, Pa. in 1931
 Public transport body denies rumour of free transportThe Athens Public Transport Organisation (OASA) was on Monday forced to issue a denial of an erroneous rumour that commuters could use public transport free of charge on all mornings between November 10, 2008 and January 10, 2009.
The rumour sprung up after unknown individuals put up posters all around Athens, claiming that all public transport would be free during that time between the hours of 5:00-9:00 in the morning.
 Cloudy on TuesdayCloudy weather and possible local showers with northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 7C and 21C. Partly cloudy in Athens with slight possibility of rain, with 4-5 beaufort northeasterly winds and temperatures ranging from 10C to 18C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 10C to 16C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe crucial meeting of the Association of Greek Banks and the latest opinion polls indicating a main opposition PASOK lead over ruling New Democracy (ND) dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Parapolitics via opinion polls - Secret poll gives the lead to ND by 0.3%".
APOGEVMATINI: "Bank borrowers homes to be saved - Bankers back down after Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' ultimatum".
AVRIANI: "PASOK fears flurry of revelations on the Siemens slush funds".
CHORA: "The credit cards bubble bursts".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Three polls indicate that the difference between PASOK and ND widens and is becoming permanent".
ELEFTHEROS: "The bells in Maximos mansion (government headquarters) are sounding mournfully".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The bank teller battle - Government's plan to exercise pressure on banks".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Bait and bargaining with crumbs - Government and bankers negotite the terms of the 28 billion euros".
ESTIA: "Dangerous rise in PASOK's popularity ".
ETHNOS: "Five bombs for Karamanlis".
TA NEA: "Heavy pressure on the bank cartel - 'Take measures for the borrowers'."
VRADYNI: "Government-Banks in bras de fer".
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