|Friday, 23 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-01-10
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 10 January 2009 Issue No: 3092
 PM chairs first meeting of Interministerial Committee on Economic PolicyThe newly-established Interministerial Committee on Economic Policy held its first meeting on Friday, during which it reviewed the international economic situation and discussed in detail the impact of the global financial crisis on Greece.
Prime minister Costas Karamanlis announced late Thursday night the establishment of the Interministerial Committee on Economic Policy, which will be responsible for systematic monitoring and coordination of the government's policy in the sectors of the economy, finance and development.
The prime minister himself is heading the committee, which also comprises economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou, development minister Costis Hatzigakis, and environment, town planning and public works minister George Souflias.
Friday's first meeting was also attended by George Provopoulos, governor of the Bank of Greece, the country's central bank.
 Gov't on new com't for economy, Greek-Turkish issuesThe government spokesman on Friday referred to the role of a newly established inter-ministerial committee on economic policy, which held its first meeting earlier in the day, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Spokesman Evangelos Antonaros clarified that the new committee's responsibility is to systematically monitor and coordinate the government's policy in the sectors of the economy, finance and development.
Asked whether there would be changes in the economic policy, Antonaros said that the global economic crisis in progress, unprecedented for the post-war period, is in the process of unfolding and that the PM has stated that the government will adjust its policies based on new developments.
He also stated that since the beginning of its term in office, the government follows an economic policy that has produced tangible and concrete results. "These results have become visible to the Greek people through the reduction of deficit and by keeping unemployment under control," he added, pointing out that the government has proved its sensitivities through the adoption of measures in support of the most vulnerable social groups. "The economic potential is specific and the government is engaged in the best possible distribution of existing resources in a fair and effective manner for the benefit of the people," he concluded.
Referring to the Greek-Turkish relations, Antonaros said the government has expressed its stance clearly over the latest developments in the Aegean through Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who characterized the recent Turkish actions as unacceptable, in violation of international law and contravening the effort to improve bilateral relations.
He also pointed out that Bakoyannis gave instructions for the necessary demarches.
Antonaros also referred to the statement made by Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, according to which Turkey's behavior is not cool-headed and is unbecoming a candidate EU state, adding that the Greek armed forces will protect the country's sovereign rights.
"Greece will not allow anyone to question its national and sovereign rights," Antonaros said. Responding to a press question on whether the government will use the television footage showing Turkish aircraft flying over Farmakonissi, Antonaros said all evidence is being properly assessed.
Finally, in reference to the new government post assigned to MP Constantinos Gioulekas, Antonaros clarified that he will be deputy interior minister responsible for mass media.
 Handover ceremony at the ministry of Macedonia-ThraceTaking over the leadership of the ministry of Macedonia-Thrace on Friday, Stavros Kalafatis assured his predecessor, outgoing minister Margaritis Tzimas, that his efforts will continue, stressing that this is a new beginning for the government, setting firm priorities. "Efforts will intensify for the advancement of the government work, the materialization of the changes and reforms, and the improvement of the people's daily life," he stated.
On his part, Tzimas underlined that the ministry of Macedonia-Thrace is the headquarters for the development of northern Greece and expressed certainty that the positive work will continue.
 Greece priorities for OSCE ChairmanshipVIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)
The unique opportunity offered to Greece to take over the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for 2009 was underlined by the head of Greece's permanent mission to the OSCE headquarters here, Amb. Mara Marinaki.
Marinaki referred to current OSCE issues and missions and the imminent address Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will deliver on Jan. 15 to outline the chairmanship's programme and priorities.
The Greek envoy underlined that Greece supports consensus in decision-making, the respect of international law and the non-negotiable principle of territorial integrity, pointing out that OSCE is the second largest international organization after the United Nations, with 56 members.
She also referred to Greece's lengthy experience, as a NATO and EU member, over the last 60 and 30 years, respectively, and pointed out that it can contribute greatly to the settlement of ongoing disputes, stressing that the country has been participating in the process that led to the creation of the OSCE since its inception, roughly 34 years ago.
Amb. Marinaki considers that progress can be made in the issues of Nagorno-Karabakh and Transdniestria. Regarding Georgia, she stated that the OSCE is involved in efforts to reach a settlement for the benefit of all. On the OSCE mission to Georgia, she stated that it is in a closing phase after its mandate was not renewed by Dec. 31, 2008, but that it had not closed up shot yet.
Its role has been valuable and forms are explored to further an OSCE presence in Georgia.
Concerning other OSCE missions, Marinaki added that "Greece also intends to strengthen the organisation's presence in the western Balkans and to upgrade its role in the region."
Greece took over the 2009 OSCE chairmanship on Jan. 1 from Finland and at the end of the year it will be passed on to Kazakhstan, the first country east of Vienna to chair the organization's rotating presidency.
 Statement by Greek UN Permanent Representative at Special Session of Human Rights CouncilGreece's Permanent Representative at the UN, Ambassador Franciscos Verros, said in a statement at the 9th Special Session of the Human Rights Council on Friday that Greece fully associates herself with the statement delivered by the Czech Republic on behalf of the European Union.
"The Greek delegation expresses its deep concern for the Israeli ground operations in Gaza as well as for the rocket attacks against Israel and the disastrous humanitarian consequences of the actions of the parties involved on the civilian population. This situation must stop now; there must be an unconditional halt to rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel and an end to Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip. In this spirit, we welcome Security Council resolution 1860 on an immediate ceasefire," he said.
"We are happy to note that humanitarian aid has gone through to areas in need. Greece managed to send humanitarian aid - 2 planes loaded with medical supplies and blood for transfusions - right from the start. More aid, coming from the Hellenic Parliament as well as from Hellenic Aid will soon be on the way. The European Union aid as a whole as well as other EU member states' bilateral aid is going through under EU coordination. But sending aid is not enough; there is a need for unhindered access of humanitarian workers too. Corridors should be open and so maintained," Verros added.
The ambassador further said that "there can be no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; these actions only bring more suffering and more violence," adding that "we join others in calling for the end of violence and the re-launching of the peace process."
 Off-the-agenda discussion on educationAn off-the-agenda debate on education, requested by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, will be held in Parliament on Jan. 23.
The debate, initially scheduled for Friday, Jan. 16, was moved to a later date due to previous engagements cited by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas said.
 PASOK on Turkish provocations, Gaza resolutionMain opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Friday expressed the party's grave concern over recent developments in Greek-Turkish relations, putting the blame squarely on what he called Turkey's provocations.
Papaconstantinou termed the increased Turkish military activity in the eastern Aegean unacceptable and stressed the need for the government to inform NATO and the European Union immediately, as well as to intensify vigilance in the region and in the Dodecanese island chain.
In an unrelated development, the PASOK spokesman said a UN Security Council's resolution on Gaza came with a delay, while calling on all parties to heed the resolution's appeal for a ceasefire and a truce.
 PASOK on rally, university immunityMain opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said that Friday's rally by the educational community highlighted the huge problems existing in the sector of education, while condemning every form of violence at a time when what is required is the citizens' security and adding that at the same time there is a great deficit of policies on public education.
The spokesman further said that the university community must also assume its responsibilities from events that take place.
Replying to a question on PASOK's position regarding university immunity, Papaconstantinou clarified that immunity is one thing, that must be safeguarded, and tolerance for criminal acts within immunity premises is another.
 KKE's Papariga decries Turkish provocations during Larissa tourThe situation created by the latest Turkish provocations in the eastern Aegean was characterized as unacceptable and dangerous on Friday by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga, during her two-day tour of the Larisa prefecture in central Greece.
Referring to the agriculture, Papariga stressed that the sector's problems will have to be addressed based on new criteria, whereas referring to various student protests, she called for a "mass, organised and politicised struggle".
Papariga also warned of anti-popular measures that will be adopted as soon as the global financial crisis hits the country, citing the adoption of a three-day working week, abolition of the Sunday day-off for retail stores, adoption of flexible labor relations and longer work hours.
 KKE leader concludes Karditsa tourCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga concluded her two-day tour of the Karditsa prefecture, in central Greece, with an address made at a facility in the municipality of Palamas on Friday, calling on farmers to embrace KKE's positions on the farming issue and adding that they will only benefit in this way.
Papariga said that farmers are in a bad state "not because the governments of past years were composed of incompetent people, thieves or bad managers, but because production passing on to a few was a conscious choice."
Lastly, she called on the party's friends to contribute to the gathering of humanitarian aid for the people of Palestine.
 SYRIZA calls for nat'l council on foreign policy meetingIn a letter to Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MP Yannis Banias called for an extra-ordinary meeting of the foreign policy national council.
The recent alarming developments in the Aegean call for a substantive briefing and discussion, according to the letter, while the massacre of the Palestinian people makes imperative the exchange of views between the country's political powers.
Meanwhile, SYRIZA-affiliated Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) President Alexis Tsipras held a meeting earlier with a delegation representing diplomatic personnel.
 M Meimarakis on statements by Alavanos on policeDefence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, responding to statements made in Parliament on Friday by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group President Alekos Alavanos who claimed that the military is obtaining equipment that is possibly being used or shall be used by the police, said that Alavanos made an unprecedented mistake.
"We shall safeguard what we have all achieved by working hard over a number of years for the restoration of the relation of trust between the Armed Forces and the citizens and we shall allow no one to undermine it," Meimarakis said.
 Group head says 60 Greek women in Gaza, W. BankRAMALLAH (ANA-MPA)
Demonstrators, both Christians and Muslims, staged a peaceful protest here on Friday calling for an end to the violence in Gaza and decrying the loss of life amongst civilians.
The president of the local Greek Cultural Centre, "Macedonia", expressed concern for three Greek women living in Gaza with their families, while pointing out that roughly 60 Greek women are scattered in towns and villages of the West Bank and Gaza.
Evangelia Kaffe-Alawneh, who is married to a local man, was honored in 1995 by then Greek president Costis Stephanopoulos for her notable cultural and social activity in the West Bank, while in 2004 she was declared an "ambassador of Hellenism" by the Athens prefecture.
The cultural centre offers Greek language lessons to Palestinian children and has engaged in social and charitable work. It also operates the Hippocrates medical clinic, which treats roughly 1,000 children suffering from thalassemia (an inherited autosomal recessive blood disease) and hemophilia.
The medical clinic was a Greek foreign ministry initiative and its services are free, while its 25 branches across West Bank and Gaza.
 Pupils stage march to Israeli EmbassyThe Pupills' Struggle Coordinating Committee organized a rally and march from the War Museum in downtown Athens to the Embassy of Israel at noon on Friday to protest the ongoing Israeli attacks in Gaza.
At the pupils' initiative, letters from fellow pupils in the Palestinian Authority were read out in classes, while medical supplies were also collected.
Students, teachers and secondary and tertiary school professors were also gathering at the Propylae in the early afternoon on Friday, while work-stoppages have been called in primary and secondary schools in order to facilitate teaching personnel that wish to take party in the rally, which the first by the education community in the new year.
 EU aid for fishing activity inspectionsThe European Union will allocate seven million euros for Greece as its contribution to national expenditutes in 2008 for implementation of the monitoring and control status governing fishing activities, within the framework of the Union's Common Fishing Policy.
The funds are anticipated by a European Commission decision issued several days ago and covers 50 percent of Greece's relevant expenditures. The same decision sets the amount of the EU's contribution for Spain at 6.23 million euros and 12 million for Italy.
 Natgas issue discussed by minister, Russian ambassadorNew Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Friday met in Athens with Russian Ambassador to Greece Andrey Vdovin, with the issue of natural gas supplies expectedly dominating talks.
"For Greece, our first priority is our energy adequacy. We do not face any problem. We are cooperating closely with DE.PA (the natgas utility in Greece) and, as you can understand, my first task at this ministry was to speak with the DE.PA managing director on the issue of natural gas adequacy," said Hatzidakis, who transferred from the transport & communications ministry during this week's Cabinet reshuffle.
 PPC: Power grid operating smoothlyPublic Power Corp. (PPC), Greece's electricity utility, on Friday categorically rejected press reports claiming alleged disruptions in power supply in the country, saying "there is absolutely no reason for concern regarding the country's power grid".
Commenting on a series of reports alleging of very low lignite reserves, PPC said the Meliti power station was using lignite supplied by third parties and not from its own mines, while it acknowledged that due to adverse weather conditions prevailing in the country in recent weeks lignite reserves had fallen, but reassured the public that reserves would return to normal levels very soon.
 Greek industrial production down 5.9% in Nov.Greece's industrial production composite index fell 5.9 pct in November, compared with the same month in 2007, the National Statistics Service announced on Friday. The service attributed the November decline to a 5.5-pct fall in manufacturing production, a 7.9-pct drop in electricity-natural gas-water production and 4.7-pct decline in mining production.
 Piraeus Bank announces 370-mln-euro share capital increase planPiraeus Bank on Friday said an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting, expected to discuss a share capital increase plan worth 370 million euros, will be held on Jan. 23.
Under the plan, Piraeus Bank will issue 77,568,134 prefered stock worth 4.77 euros each, which will be purchased by the Greek state under a government-sponsored plan to boost liquidity in the economy and to deal with the impact from an international financial crisis.
 Greek exports fall 15.5% in Nov.‘he value of Greek exports fell by 15.5 percent in November, compared with the same month in 2007, the National Statistics Service said on Friday. The statistics service, in a report, said the value of export-deliveries totaled 1.353 billion euros in November, from 1.6 billion in November 2007, while the value of import-arrivals totaled 4.029 billion euros, from 4.815 billion euros in 2007, for a decline of 16.3 percent.
 Greek food industry prepared for new challenges in '09The Greek food Industry is preparing for a series of challenges ahead in 2009, after witnessing a surge in inflation, a spike in oil prices and raw materials and an unprecedented financial crisis last year. In a report, the industry said that economic conditions prevailed in 2008 affected prices trend in the food sector and noted that the Greek Food Industry, even under strong pressure, managed to adopt mechanisms to limiting the imposition of extra burdens to consumers.
A survey by the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) recently showed that food prices in Greece were around 10 pct cheaper compared with the European average in the vast majority of food products, with food prices rising an accumulated 8.3 pct in the 2006-2008 period, compared with a 12 pct increase in housing prices over the same period. Greek consumers have cut back their spending on food (by almost 22 pct since 1984), spending more on telephony, travel, insurance, holidays, entertainment.
 Greek stocks end 1.11% downGreek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, as sellers took the upper hand in the market. The composite index fell 1.11 pct to end at 1,892.29 points with turnover at 126.1 million euros, of which 3.2 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved lower, with the Travel (1.93 pct), Food/Beverage (1.92 pct) and Chemicals (1.83 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Healthcare (4.61 pct), Oil (1.60 pct) and Technology (0.90 pct) scored gains.
The FTSE 20 index fell 1.49 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.62 pct up and the FTSE 80 index eased 0.06 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 104 to 93 with another 58 issues unchanged.
The composite index ended the week with a net gain of 4.44 pct. National Bank (3.17 pct), Hellenic Postbank (2.56 pct), MIG (2.55 pct) were top losers among blue chip stocks, while ATEbank and Hellenic Petroleum were top gainers of the day (2.86 pct and 1.75 pct, respectively).
Sector indexes ended as follows:
Insurance 1,629.35 -0.15%
Industrial Product/Services: 2,887.68 +0.04%
Commerce: 3,70.67 -0.48%
Construction: 2,511.29 +0.32%
Media: 3,358.88 -1.78%
Oil and Naturas Gas: 2,285.07 +1.60%
Personal/Home Products: 2,446.44 +0.49%
Raw Materials: 2,481.14 -0.34%
Travel: 3,741.87 -1.93%
Technology: 990.65 +0.90%
Telecoms: 3,402.18 -1.28%
Banks: 1,990.08 -1.63%
Food/Beverage: 3,920.72 -1.92%
Healthcare: 5,012.07 +4.61%
Utilities: 3,689.06 -1.07%
Chemicals: 7,016.80 -1.83%
Financial Services: 4,918.24 -1.62%
Interinvest (19.78 pct), Betanet (14.29 pct), Viokarpet (9.89 pct) and Mouzakis (9.38 pct) were top gainers, while Plias (18.52 pct), Lanakam (10 pct), Paperpack (9.52 pct) and Klonatex (9.09 pct) were top losers.
Alapis, Marfin Popular Bank and Marfin Investment Group were the most heavily traded securities of the day, while the market's capitalization totaled 72.344 billion euros.
Blue chip stocks ended as follows:
ALPHA BANK: 6.98
COCA COLA: 11.60
HELLENIC PETROLEUM: 5.80
NATIONAL BANK: 14/06
CYPRUS BANK: 2.85
HELLENIC POSTBANK: 5.32
MOTOR OIL: 7.90
PIRAEUS BANK: 6.46
MARFIN POPULAR BANK: 2.04
MARFIN INVESTMENT GROUP: 3.06
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended with a discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover shrinking further to 34.325 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.37 pct with volume of 5,377 contracts worth 26.542 million euros and 21,915 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,330 contracts worth 7.605 million euros with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,031), followed by Eurobank (555), PPC (421), GEK (758), Alpha Bank (1,127), Marfin Popular Bank (1,796) and Mytilineos (1,089).
 Greek bond maret closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market jumped to 500 million euros on Friday, of which 95 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 405 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 155 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 214 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 5.32 pct and the German Bund 3.18 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates fell further. The 12-month Euribor rate was 2.83 pct, the six-month rate 2.76 pct, the three-month 2.69 pct and the one-month rate 2.41 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates: Saturday/MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.379
Pound sterling 0.901
Danish kroner 7.511
Swedish kroner 10.807
Japanese yen 125.40
Swiss franc 1.511
Norwegian kroner 9.573
Canadian dollar 1.631
Australian dollar 1.952
 Complications in police officer Mantzounis; healthThe 21-year-old police officer, Diamantis Mantzounis, who was critically injured after being shot early Monday in the Exarhia district of Athens in an armed attack against a team of three policemen was urgently rushed into surgery late Thursday night after complications arose in his condition.
According to attending doctors the young policeman suffered a haemorrhage in the digestive system.
 Protest by students, professors' unions again capped by violenceStone-throwing at riot police by groups of the now ubiquitous masked youths that appear at practically every demonstration and rally by students groups was again recorded in downtown Athens on Friday, at the tail end of a protest by unions representing educators, pupils etc.
Youths, mostly identified as self-styled anarchists or anti-state activists, hurled stones and used slingshots at police, both in front of Parliament and further away outside the university's administration building (Propylaea).
This time around, demonstrators mixed slogans against education reforms with slogans regarding the ongoing Gaza crisis.
 Employment office stormed in ThessalonikiA group of people having their faces covered stormed into an employment office in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, early on Friday evening and caused material damage to the premises.
The assailants smashed window panes, damaged office equipment and hurled red paint. Before fleeing the scene, they scattered printed material expressing support for trade union cleaner Konstantina Kouneva.
 Cloudy on SaturdayCloud and local showers and northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -3C and 17C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northeasterly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 6C to 12C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 1C to 6C.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe change of guard in the Cabinet and the prime minister's recommendations, and the international outcry over the ongoing Israeli offense in Gaza were the main front-page items in Friday's dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Few words, much work - The prime minister reiterated his instructions to his ministers" at the first meeting of the new Cabinet on Thursday after it was sworn in, following the sweeping government reshuffle announced the previous day.
APOGEVMATINI: "PM tightens the belts of the ministers - Karamanlis' strict orders for scissoring excessive spending".
AVGHI: "Education-wide rally on Friday, at the Propylae at 12:30 noon".
AVRIANI; "Turkey preparing 'takeover' of Greek rocky islet - Red alert in the Armed Forces".
CHORA: "Ten 'commandments' for the course in the desert - Karamanlis repeats strict guidelines to all his ministers".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "SOS plan for (state) revenues, expenditures - Turnaround in the economy with Papathanassiou (new economy and finance minister), Hatzidakis (new development minister) and Provopoulos (governor of the Bank of Greece, the country's central bank)".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Commencement with...reverse gear - Karamanlis: 9 'commandments' that rehash the same instructions given by the premier to his first Cabinet in 2004".
ESTIA: "Optimism for the economy should be Papathanassiou's (new economy and finance minister) first priority".
ETHNOS: "New barbs and stale homily".
KATHIMERINI: "Emergency 'troika' for the Greek economy", referring to the prime minister's establishment late Thursday night of an Interministerial Committee on Economic Policy, comprising economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou, development minister Costis Hatzigakis, and environment, town planning and public works minister George Souflias, and headed by Karamanlis himself.
LOGOS: "Yes to substance, no to impressions - The prime minister gave the guidelines of his intentions" to his new Cabinet.
NIKI: "We've seen the same play before - Theatrical performance by Karamanlis and ministers, without substance".
PARASKEVI+13 (weekly): "My wager is the citizen - Government with a new face".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The Palestinians have the right to resistance and to struggle for a homeland of their own".
SFINA (weekly): "11 critical days for the 'national damage' in the Aegean - Caution..." over the Turkish provocations, saying that Turkey appeared to be planning a new Imia incident with Farmakonissi and adding that, before the assumption of the US presidency by Obama, the outgoing Bush administration appeared to want to 'teach a lesson' to the Greek government for daring to develop relations with Russia.
TA NEA: "Souflias (environment, town planning and public works minister) 'lid' on the new 'czar' (of the economy, referring to the post of economy and finance minister) - Papathanassiou under tutelage", referring to the prime miniser's 'surprise move' in setting up an ad hoc inter-ministerial committee that will henceforth draft economic policy, adding that the establishment of such a committee was proposed to the PM by Souflias himself, who will participate in the committee.
TA NEA: "Directorate on the economy comprising Karamanlis, Souflias, Papathanassiou, Hatzidakis".
VRADYNI: "10 'commandments' to the ministers - The wager of the changes, and the challenges for the new government composition".
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