|Saturday, 17 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-01-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 8 January 2009 Issue No: 3090
 New Cabinet to be sworn on ThursdayPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis proceeded with a mostly expected government reshuffle on Wednesday just after noon, with a government spokesman announcing a change in the all-important economy and finance portfolio as well as in the transport ministry and the sensitive education ministry. The new Cabinet will be sworn in at 11 a.m. on Thursday and will hold its first meeting at noon, with the only subject being announcements by the prime minister, after which handover ceremonies will take place in the individual ministries.
George Alogoskoufis, who remains out of the government, will be replaced as FinMin by up-until-now deputy minister Yiannis Papathanassiou, while current Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis - the architect of current efforts to privatise troubled national carrier Olympic Airways (OA) and reform debt-laden Hellenic Railways (OSE) -- will move to the development ministry, holding the commerce, internal market and significant energy portfolios. Evripides Stylianidis, up to now education minister, takes over from Hatzidakis, whereas Stylianidis' post at the education ministry will be filled by Aris Spiliotopoulos, the up-to-now tourism development minister.
Dora Bakoyannis remains as the head of the foreign ministry, with Evangelos Meimarakis continuing as the defence minister and Prokopis Pavlopoulos retaining the interior and public administration ministry, which also includes the public sector domain. No change at the environment, town planning and public works ministry, with high-profile government cadre George Souflias remaining, along with all the deputy ministers. Finally, a new alternate interior minister for public order was also announced, former deputy minister Christos Marko-yiannakis.
The reshuffle also resulted in new ministers at the agriculture, justice, culture and Macedonia-Thrace ministries.
In brief, remaining in their previous posts are ministers of the interior, Prokopis Pavlopoulos; foreign affairs Dora Bakoyannis; defence, Evangelos Meimarakis; health, Dimitris Avramopoulos; merchant marine, Anastassis Papaligouras, and employment, Fani Palli-Petralia.
The outgoing Cabinet members are George Alogoskoufis (economy and finance minister), Christos Folias (development minister), Michalis Liapis (culture minister), Margaritis Tzimas (Macedonia-Thrace minister), Alexandros Kontos (agricultural development minister) and Petros Doukas (deputy foreign minister).
Two deputy ministers were promoted to ministers: Stavros Kalafatis (from deputy development minister to Macedonia-Thrace minister) and Yiannis Papathanassiou.
Also, four new deputy minister posts were created: Constantine Gioulekas assumes the new post of deputy minister for mass media issues at the interior ministry; Michalis Papadopoulos assumes the new deputy minister post at the agricultural development ministry; Michalis Bekiris assumes the new deputy minister post at the transport and communications ministry, and George Kontoyiannis assumes the new deputy minister post at the employment ministry.
New faces in the government are Antonis Samaras (a finance minister and foreign minister from 1989 to 1992 under the ND government of Constantine Mitsotakis) at the helm of the culture ministry, Nikolaos Dendias at the helm of the justice ministry, Costas Markopoulos heading up the tourism development ministry, and Christos Markoyiannakis as alternate minister for public order at the interior ministry.
Papathanassiou's post as deputy finance minister was assumed by newcomer Athanassios Bouras, deputy foreign minister Petros Doukas' post was assumed by newcomer Miltiades Varvitsiotis, deputy minister for social solidarity George Constantopoulos' post was assumed by newcomer Marios Salmas, and Kalafatis' post of deputy development minister was assumed by newcomer Ioannis Bougas.
 New Greek government Cabinet, as of Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009.Prime Minister: Costas Karamanlis
Ministry of the Interior
Minister: Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Alternate Minister for Public Order: Christos Markoyiannakis
Deputy Minister: Athanassios Nakos
Deputy Minister: Christos Zois
Deputy Minister for Mass Media: Costas Gioulekas
Ministry of Economy & Finance
Minister: Yiannis Papathanassiou
Deputy Minister: Antonis Bezas
Deputy Minister: Nikos Legas
Deputy Minister: Athanassios Bouras
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Minister: Dora Bakoyannis
Deputy Minister: Yiannis Valinakis
Deputy Minister: Theodoros Kassimis
Deputy Minister: Miltiades Varvitsiotis
Ministry of National Defence
Minister: Evangelos Meimarakis
Deputy Minister: Constantinos Tassoulas
Deputy Minister: Yiannis Plakiotakis
Ministry of Development
Minister: Costis Hatzidakis
Deputy Minister: George Vlachos
Deputy Minister: Ioannis Bougas
Ministry for the Environment, Town Planning & Public Works
Minister: George Souflias
Deputy Minister: Stavros Kalogiannis
Deputy Minister: Themistoklis Xanthopoulos
Ministry of Education & Religious Affairs
Minister: Aris Spiliotopoulos
Deputy Minister: Andreas Lykourentzos
Deputy Minister: Spyros Taliadouros
Ministry of Employment & Social Protection
Minister: Fani Palli-Petralia
Deputy Minister: Sofia Kalantzakou
Deputy Minister: George Kontoyiannis
Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity
Minister: Dimitris Avramopoulos
Deputy Minister: George Papageorgiou
Deputy Minister: Marios Salmas
Ministry of Agricultural Development and Foods
Minister: Sotiris Hatzigakis
Deputy Minister: Costas Kiltidis
Deputy Minister: Michalis Papadopoulos
Ministry of Justice
Minister: Nikolaos Dendias
Ministry of Culture
Minister: Antonis Samaras
Deputy Minister for Sports: Yiannis Ioannidis
Ministry of Tourism Development
Minister: Constantinos Markopoulos
Ministry of Transport & Communications
Minister: Evripides Stylianidis
Deputy Minister: Michalis Bekiris
Ministry of Merchant Marine, the Aegean & Island Policy
Minister: Anastasis Papaligouras
Deputy Minister: Panayiotis Kammenos
Ministry of Macedonia - Thrace
Minister: Stavros Kalafatis
Government spokesman: Evangelos Antonaros.
A new post of deputy minister for Mass Media issues will be established at the Interior ministry, which will be held by Constnatine Giulekas
PASOK on the government reshuffle
Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said Wednesday that the announced government reshuffle announced earlier in the day was made for "party consumption purposes" and is unable to solve the people's problems. Lashing out at the prime minister, he said that he is incapable of regaining the control of his government and underlined that the country needs a new prime minister and a new government.
Papaconstantinou also predicted that the new government will not be long-lived and that early elections are likely.
"Policies remain unchanged," he stated, adding that "the economic policy that leads to the deterioration of the crisis will not change". He also said that no changes will be made in public administration and in the sector of security, in the inadequate funding of education, and the national health system, underlining that the prime minister was not bold enough to create an independent environment ministry.
"The policies will not change because the prime minister, the only one who is responsible for the current situation, remains in his place," Papaconstantinou said.
SEB president on gov't reshuffle
"A government is judged not just by its individual members but mostly by its policies," Greek Federation of Industries & Enterprises (SEV) President Dimitris Daskalopoulos said in a statement issued on the occasion of a government reshuffle on Wednesday.
"The pending challenges in 2009 make imperative the adoption of a new stance toward major problems, through firm and effective governance," he underlined.
PM's scheduled meetings canceled, parliament meetings put off
The prime minister's scheduled meetings on Wednesday with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Employment Minister Fani Pali Petralia were canceled due to the government reshuffle announced.
Meanwhile, Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas announced that the parliamentary committee meetings scheduled for Wednesday have been put off to a later date due to the changes in the leadership of the ministries of finance and education.
In addition, legislative work scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday has been postponed following the appointment of a new development minister.
 FM meets with US envoy to GreeceAn array of international, regional and bilateral issues were discussed at a scheduled meeting on Wednesday between Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and US Ambassador to Athens Daniel Speckhard, following the latter's request.
The meeting at the Greek foreign ministry was held in the wake of Greece's assumption of the chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and less than two weeks before the new US President is sworn in.
Greece and the United States continue to share good, warm and strong relations, the US ambassador said after the hour-long meeting.
The US side was briefed by FM Bakoyannis on the European security issues she will be dealing with in 2009, as the OSCE chairwoman-in-Office, while on his part, Amb. Speckhard pledged Washington's support.
An extensive discussion was also held on the Middle East issue, specifically the ongoing crisis in Gaza.
Bakoyannis underlined that it is imperative to make all necessary moves to reach a ceasefire, highlighting the humanitarian problem in the region, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said.
The Greek side also raised the issue of resurgent Turkish provocations in the Aegean, stressing that the Turkish military activity in the region has intensified.
In a statement made earlier, FM Bakoyannis had stressed that "The Turkish actions in the Farmakonissi-Agathonissi area are unacceptable. They are in blatant violation of international law and hamper the efforts being made to improve Greek-Turkish relations. I have instructed that the appropriate demarches be made."
Among the bilateral issues discussed were Athens' next steps for inclusion in the US Visa Waiver program.
 Greece to lodge demarches over latest Turkish provocations (RECASTS)A Hellenic Navy gunboat and military helicopter were harassed by a Turkish patrol boat and a pair of Turkish F-16 warplanes near the Greek islands of Farmakonissi and Agathonissi in the eastern Aegean on Wednesday morning, with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis ordering demarches to be lodged with the neighbouring country.
In a statement, Bakoyannis called the Turkish actions "unacceptable", stressing that they were in "blatant violation of International Law", while they also hampered the efforts being made for improvement of Greek-Turkish relations.
According to the Greek National Defence General Staff (GEEThA), during a search and rescue operation underway around Farmakonissi to locate illegal immigrants, in which the gunboat "Nikiforos" and a Super Puma helicopter were taking part at 9:15 a.m., the vessel was shadowed and interfered with by a Turkish patrol boat, whereas a pair of Turkish F-16s harassed the helicopter, "despite the fact that the area had been designated since Tuesday for the execution of this operation, with a NOTAM issued by the Merchant Marine Ministry via the Search and Rescue Coordination Centre".
Hellenic Air Force fighter planes immediately intercepted the Turkish warplanes, which abandoned the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) at 9:22 a.m., flying at a low altitude above Farmakonissi, according to reports.
Shortly afterwards, GEEThA said, two Turkish F-16s re-entered the Athens FIR, this time between the islands of Hios and Samos, without submitting flight plans. Greek jetfighters again launched a reconnaissance and interception of the intruders.
A short while later the pair of Turkish F-16s entered the Athens FIR for a third time, again without submitting a flight plan, they were intercepted anew by Greek planes before abandoning the Athens FIR at 9:55 a.m., this time flying at a low altitude over Agathonissi.
Also, at 12:17 p.m., a formation of eight Turkish warplanes entered the Athens FIR between Hios and Samos and were recognised and intercepted by Greek fighter planes. Two of the eight planes of the formation -- F-4 "Phantoms" -- flew at an altitude of 6,000 feet over Farmakonissi as the formation exited the Athens FIR at 12:39 p.m.
The above data was forwarded to the foreign ministry for the relevant actions towards international organisations, a GEEThA announcement stated.
 Alavanos meets Palestinian Ambassador GhazalehRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group President Alekos Alavanos and party deputies met on Wednesday with the Palestinian Ambassador to Greece, Samir Abou Ghazaleh.
Asked to comment on the government reshuffle taking place on the same day, Alavanos said that the change of politicians demanded by Greek society cannot be provided by the New Democracy party, adding that the removal of the ministers and deputy ministers responsible for economic and educational issues showed that SYRIZA had moved and is moving in the right direction.
Referring as well to the serious wounding of the young police officer during the attack in the Athens district of Exarhia, Alavanos stressed that "the Left defends with its identity the innocent victims of violence and it also defends the younger generation and, in this sense, SYRIZA's solidarity for policeman Diamantis is absolute."
 Solidarity concert in Thessaloniki for Palestinian peopleThe Communist Party of Greece-affiliated PAME labour group, the Committee for International Detente and Peace of Thessaloniki and women's societies held a concert in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Wednesday in a show of solidarity for the Palestinian people.
Palestinians and people of every age and from different walks of life gathered at the statue of Eleftherios Venizelos to protest the events taking place in Gaza and to listen to the artists who responded to the organisers' call.
 N. Greece industries call for gov't action on natgas supplyThe Federation of Northern Greece Industries (SBBE) on Wednesday urged the country's new development minister to take urgent action to ensure the smooth operation of enterprises in the face of a possible natural gas shortage.
In a letter sent to the development minister and the head of DEPA, George Mylonas, president of SBBE, stressed that if natural gas supplies are cut, then numerous of industries - particularly in the provinces - would be forced to close.
Mylonas said comments by DEPA's chief executive, Asimakis Papageorgiou, that in emergency conditions industries would replace natural gas with oil, are completely unfounded.
 Power utility union on natgas developmentsThe concern expressed by natural gas consumers in Greece is justified following supply-related developments, according to a union representing Public Power Corp. S.A. employees and staff.
PPC trade unionists called on the utility's management, the ministry of development and the government to speed up the implementation of a developmental programme to ensure that the terms and preconditions for the country's adequate and safe energy supply will be met.
The electric power produced in Greece by natural gas-powered plants corresponds to 2,858MW (32 percent of the installed electrical capacity in thermal plants).
 Greek fixed-income mutual funds' returns mostly negative in 2008Only six out of a total of 24 mutual funds in the domestic fixed-income category managed to present positive returns in 2008, ranging from 0.56 pct to 1.72 pct, official figures showed on Wednesday.
All other mutual funds in the category presented negative returns exceeding -9.0 pct. The top five fixed-income mutual funds (based on their returns) in 2008 were: Probank (1.72 pct), CitiFund (1.62 pct), ATE Capital (1.13 pct), Ionian Life (1.13 pct) and Metrolife Income (0.86 pct).
On the other hand, the bottom five mutual funds were: International (-9.07 pct), TT-ELTA (-7.47 pct), AAAB (-5.69 pct), Delos (-5.44 pct) and Alpha (-3.47 pct).
In the money management category returns reached a top 5.29 pct last year, with International (5.29 pct), HSBC (4.83 pct), Alico (4.16 pct), Cyprus (4.01 pct) and Piraeus (3.51 pct) recording the biggest percentage returns, while ATE (-1.65 pct), AAAB (-0.41 pct), Delos and P&K (-0.58 pct) were top losers.
 Investment Bank top securities firm in 2008Investment Bank of Greece topped the ranking of securities firms in the Athens Stock Exchange in December and in the 12-month period from January to December 2008, presenting a market share of 13.90 pct and 20.41 pct, respectively, official figures showed on Wednesday.
National P&K Securities (13.83 pct), Eurobank Securities (12.75 pct), Piraeus Securities (9.59 pct), Alpha Finance (6.35 pct), Eurocorp (6.13 pct), Euroxx (5.47 pct), HSBC-Pantelakis (3.44 pct), UBS (2.89 pct as a remote member) and Kappa Securities (2.78 pct) completed the 2008 ranking.
In the 12-month period, Investment Bank was followed by Eurobank (15.7 pct), National-P&K (14.76 pct), Piraeus (8.03 pct), Euroxx (6.43 pct), Alpha Finance (6.28 pct), Kappa Securities (4.43 pct), Eurocorp (3.84 pct), Proton (3.25 pct) and HSBC (2.57 pct) completed the list.
 Metro strike called offA union representing Attiko Metro SA employees on Wednesday suspended a scheduled 24-hour strike for Thursday, part of their demands for the signing of a new collective bargaining agreement with management.
 Greek stocks jump 3.14% on Wed.Greek stocks jumped 3.14 pct at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, pushing the composite index of the market above the 1,900 level, to end at 1,920.73 points. Turnover was an improved 189.9 million euros, of which 11.1 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved higher, with the Food/Beverage (9.72 pct), Utilities (5.42 pct), Banks (5.37 pct) and Constructions (4.62 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel (3.08 pct) and Raw Materials (0.08 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE 20 index jumped 3.23 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 1.80 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.93 pct higher. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 156 to 64 with another 45 issues unchanged.
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 63.796 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.50 pct, with volume of 10,865 contracts worth 53.863 million euros and 20,628 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,741 contracts worth 9.614 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,186), followed by Eurobank (525), OTE (760), PPC (1,047), Piraeus Bank (605), GEK (1,142), Alpha Bank (1,486), Marfin Popular Bank (1,858) and Mytilineos (532).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market rose to 310 million euros on Wednesday, of which 210 million were buy orders and the remaining 100 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 90 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds eased to 210 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 5.31 pct and the German Bund 3.21 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 2.92 pct, the six-month rate was 2.84 pct, the three-month rate 2.76 pct and the one-month rate 2.48 pct.
 Eight defendants from Exarchia district face weapons chargesEight defendants accused of illegal possession of weapons, who were arrested during police searches of residences and shops in the Athens region of Exarchia, in the wake of a terrorist attack on policemen, were brought to court on Wednesday.
Six requested and received postponements and will be tried on Thursday and Friday. The court maintained the detention of two suspects, including the female owner of a coffeeshop in whose possession a handgun was allegedly found, while the remaining four were released on bail.
The other two suspects requested an immediate trial, that only took place for one, as the latter was acquitted after the court accepted that a sword found in his home was a family heirloom.
The trial for the second was postponed until the end of the month since a testimony by a specific witness was considered essential and who was absent from court on Wednesday.
 Number of illegals arrested in 2008 almost double than 2007The number of foreign nationals arrested by port officials and coast guard officers on Aegean islands for lacking proper travel documents -- most qualifying as illegal migrants -- in 2008 was almost double the figure for the previous year, while the number of migrant smugglers arrested was also considerably higher.
According to an announcement, in a total of 907 cases of migrant smuggling were recorded in 2008; authorities arrested 15,315 illegal immigrants throughout the country, while in 2007 the number was 9,240.
The top "preference" for migrant smugglers during the same year was the island of Samos, followed by Lesvos, Leros, Patmos, Hios and Kos.
Lastly, in 265 cases of drug trafficking, 343 people were arrested and about 42 kilos of processed cannabis was confiscated, as well as about 207 kilos of unprocessed hashish, 809.7 grams of heroin and 323.7 grams of cocaine.
 Singer Maria Dimitriadi diesSinger Maria Dimitriadi died at "Evangelismos" Hospital in Athens at dawn Wednesday at the age of 58, suffering from a rare lung disease.
She was born in Tavros, Athens and in the '60s she collaborated with music composer Yannis Markopoulos. Her career in the political song took off after the restoration of democracy in Greece. She also collaborated with composers Mikis Theodo-rakis and Thanos Mikroutsikos.
 Skier dies at Pertouli Ski CenterA 56-year-old skier from Karditsa died at the Pertouli Ski Center in central Greece on Wednesday.
The man fell unconscious and was rushed to a nearby clinic before being transferred to the Trikala Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
 Police station firebombed in AthensThe Patissia Police Station in Athens became the target of a firebomb attack at dawn on Wednesday. Two unidentified individuals riding a motorcycle hurled two firebombs that exploded, but caused no damage, and sped off avoiding arrest.
Earlier, an incendiary device made of gas canisters exploded outside a cafeteria in Holargos causing limited damage.
 Hooded assailants attack agency in ThessalonikiA group of hooded assailants attacked the offices of the Labour Inspection Service in Thessaloniki on Wednesday, causing material damage to the premises.
According to the police, about 20 individuals wearing hoods rushed into the offices, damaging equipment and office furniture, without harming employees however.
The group then scattered pamphlets expressing support for a trade unionist affiliated with the cleaners' union.
 Bomb hoax interrupts metro serviceA phone call on Wednesday claiming that a bomb was placed at the Omonia electric rail and metro station in downtown Athens was the reason of the interruption of service.
The unknown caller phoned a police emergency line at 12:50 p.m. and said a bomb will explode an hour later.
Bomb disposal experts and a K-9 unit subsequently scoured the station, without finding anything suspicious.
 Super League soccer resultsOlympiakos Piraeus retained its lead in the Super League, at the beginning of the second round, after beating Asteras Tripoli 1-0 away over the weekend. Panathinaikos Athens and its crosstown rival AEK drew 0-0 at the Athens Olympic Stadium and kept their third and fourth places respectively. PAOK Thessaloniki still remains in second place after defeating OFI Crete 2-0 at home.
In other action:
Ergotelis Crete-Panthrakikos Komotini 0-1
Xanthi-Panionios Athens 0-0
Panseraikos Serres-Iraklis Thessaloniki 0-0
Levadiakos Livadia-Aris Thessaloniki 2-0
Thrasyvoulos Athens-Larissa 0-0
Standings after 16 weeks of play:
1. Olympiakos 39 points
2. PAOK 33
3. Panathinaikos 30
4. AEK 25
5. Aris 23
6. Panthrakikos 22
7. Xanthi 22
8. Panionios 22
9. Larissa 22
10. Levadiakos 19
11. Ergotelis 19
12. Iraklis 19
13. Asteras 14
14. OFI 11
15. Panseraikos 11
16. Thrasyvoulos 9
 Cloudy on ThursdayCloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 4-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -1C and 16C. Cloudy with local showers at night in Athens, with light winds and temperatures ranging from 6C to 15C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 2C to 9C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens dailies at a glanceThe shooting attack against police officers in the Athens district of Exarhia early Monday and speculations of a new cycle of terrorism opened up by the 'Revolutionary Struggle' group, and the ongoing Israeli offense in Gaza dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Greece will run out of natural gas if Russia continues the shut-down of supply to the Balkans (via Bulgaria) for 10 more days".
APOGEVMATINI: "22,189 opportunities for work - Tenured and temporary working positions (in the wider public sector)".
AVRIANI: "Police counter-terrorism squad on the trail of 'Revolutionary Struggle' group".
CHORA: "The second cycle of terror - From '17N' handguns to 'Revolutionary Struggle' Kalashnikov".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Rage and disgust over terrorists' attack against police officer".
ELEFTHEROS: "Unbelievable! - Ruling New Democracy re-inaugurates terrorism - Major political defeat in security sector".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Ten 35-year-olds determined to kill - 'Revolutionary Struggle' assassins behind the murderous attacks against 3 police officers".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Blind revenge and pogrom in Exarhia - Police say that Revolutionary Struggle is responsible - Consequences begin in police".
ESTIA: "Major responsibilities over terrorism - The political parties are quarreling instead of cooperating".
ETHNOS: "Greek Police (ELAS) caught by suprise - Police seardhing in the dark for the new generation of terrorists".
TA NEA: "Show of firmness and 'blind' arrests - Dozens taken in for questioning, and police raids on houses".
VRADYNI: "Specters of the past return with new murderers - Revolutionary Struggle behind the attack against the police officer".
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