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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-01-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 27 January 2009 Issue No: 3106


  • [01] PM Karamanlis addresses ND women's event
  • [02] PM Karamanlis briefed on OA tender, railways
  • [03] FM Bakoyannis addresses EU Foreign Ministers Council
  • [04] Bakoyannis on FYROM, Turkey, Cyprus issue
  • [05] Government on second term for Papoulias
  • [06] PASOK slams government over farm policy
  • [07] SYRIZA tables question over Votanikos sports complex
  • [08] Education minister sends letters to political parties
  • [09] U.S. State Department on Cyprus issue
  • [10] Interior Minister receives Syn leader
  • [11] Parliament president visits defence ministry
  • [12] Dep. FM receives US envoy
  • [13] Amounts of money for farmers finalised
  • [14] Farmers' mobilizations continue, gov't reaction
  • [15] Development minister holds meeting on Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline
  • [16] Greek banks must strengthen their capital base
  • [17] State intervention to determine extent of economic crisis, report
  • [18] Greece signs IRENA founding treaty
  • [19] National Bank buys Finansbank's Malta unit for 185 mln euros
  • [20] Greek trade deficit down 20.8 pct in November
  • [21] Sidenor buys 34% stake in AWM for 2.6 mln euros
  • [22] Athens airport: passenger traffic off 0.4% in 2008
  • [23] Public sector workers' strike on Wednesday
  • [24] Greek stocks end 1.91% up on Mon.
  • [25] ADEX closing report
  • [26] Greek bond market closing report
  • [27] Foreign Exchange rates: Tuesday
  • [28] Pavlopoulos inaugurates conf' on migration
  • [29] New justice minister Dendias visits Corfu prison
  • [30] Megaron Plus programme of events unveiled
  • [31] Skipper of Greek trawler killed by pirates off Cameroon
  • [32] Foreign national accused in murder, abduction
  • [33] Missing raftist found dead in Alfios River
  • [34] Greek soccer federation vote rigged, Mitropoulos charges
  • [35] Cloudy, rainy on Tuesday
  • [36] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [37] Government examines Olgac's confession
  • [38] We won't accept unfair solution, says House President Politics

  • [01] PM Karamanlis addresses ND women's event

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking on Monday at the cutting of the New Year's "pitta" of the ruling New Democracy party's Women's Issues Sector, referred to the ongoing protests by farmers and stressed "the imperative need for motorways to open."

    The prime minister said that society must not be inconvenienced, with whose sweat funds are found for the farmers and noted that professional people must not be harmed by the protests and the economy must not be burdened.

    Karamanlis further said that the government gave 500 million euros, despite the economy's narrow margins, adding that this is what the government can do and the endurance of the Greek economy must not be exceeded.

    The government, he further said, is working for the longterm and substantive strengthening of farmers' income. He went on to say that there is both the will and the time for dialogue and for joint planning, while the National Agricultural Policy Council will be activated soon.

    Karamanlis mentioned that the government is observing its commitments, 80 percent of national stragegic framework funds are being directed to regions. Major projects are under way, the subsidising of young farmers has increased, while Special Consumption Tax refunds have also increased.

    Extensive reference was made by the prime minister to the economic conjuncture, saying that no one can predict the intensity and the duration of the international economic crisis which is dealing a strong blow even to Europe's strongest economies.

    Karamanlis stressed that the coming months will be difficult and added that the government has shown that it has reflexes and the Greek economy has endurance.

    "All have a responsibility," he went on, "the government first of all, but also the political parties, the social and trade union agencies and the mass media, all must show self-restraint in the demands they make."

    Lastly, Karamanlis referred to the main opposition party, saying that those who tripled the public debt and who increased unemployment from 3 percent to 11 percent cannot be critics.

    [02] PM Karamanlis briefed on OA tender, railways

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday was briefed by new Transport and Communications Minister Evripides Stylianidis.

    "The main strategic goal is for Greece to become an important international transit, trade and communications centre in the wider region," Stylianidis commented afterwards.

    "The qualitative improvement of the services provided by the ministry is the first priority," he stressed, followed by the implementation of reforms aimed at harmonising the public-run companies with the new European and international standards and the systematic cooperation with workers and self-employed, who work with the ministry, in order to help them overcome the international economic crisis.

    Regarding national carrier Olympic Airlines (OA), Stylianidis said timetables have been set and binding tenders will be tabled at the end of the week.

    As regards loss-making Hellenic Railways (OSE), he stated that the priorities are known and detailed announcements will be made as soon as there is progress, pointing out that a systematic effort is underway to make the Greek trains comparable to the European.

    [03] FM Bakoyannis addresses EU Foreign Ministers Council


    The Council of European Union Foreign Ministers convened here on Monday and examined developments in the Middle East, energy security and the priorities of the EU Czech Presidency. Greece was represented by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    On the question of the situation prevailing in the Gaza Strip, the foreign ministers agreed that priority must be given to achieving immediate progress in handling the humanitarian tragedy being experienced by the inhabitants in Gaza.

    Participating in the discussion on the Middle East, Bakoyannis expressed regret because substantive steps have not been achieved in providing humanitarian aid and because the EU's requests in this direction have met with no response.

    "The lifting of the blockade and the opening of corridors is essential to enable the smooth flow of humanitarian aid from the international community," she said.

    Asked whether the recent crisis between Russia and Ukraine will affect the South Stream pipeline in any way, Bakoyannis gave a negative answer, saying that the policy of the Greek government on energy issues is a policy that "many other countries would like to have."

    Further asked about the known confession made by a Turkish actor that in 1974 he had killed Cypriot prisoners in cold blood, Bakoyannis said that it is a shocking confession, adding that what was said afterwards does not change something which is widely known, that the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus was accompanied and marked by acts of flagrant violation of international and humanitarian law.

    The foreign minister also said that "it is imperative that relevant decisions of the European Human Rights Court are fully implemented, and that there should be cooperation from Turkey on the full clarification of all cases concerning the disappearance of people during the Turkish invasion."

    Bakoyannis noted that she held substantive bilateral meetings with her Jordanian and Egyptian counterparts on the issue of the Middle East.

    [04] Bakoyannis on FYROM, Turkey, Cyprus issue

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)

    Speaking at the local think tank CPES (Centre for European Policy Studies) on Monday, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis outlined Greece's positions on issues like the name dispute with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and relations with Turkey.

    She criticised the government of Nikola Gruevski in Skopje, accusing it of resorting to "short-sighted populism" in order to consolidate its political position and reiterated Greece's desire to find a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue.

    The minister noted that this had not yet been possible and expressed hope that Skopje would finally take decisions that were in the interests of its people and abandon nationalist rhetoric and outdated practices.

    "There must be a mutually acceptable solution that reflects the geographic reality without winners and losers," she underlined and expressed concerns about Skopje's attempts to "monopolise" use of the name 'Macedonia'.

    She also underlined the importance of having good neighbour relations for states wishing to join the European Union and NATO, adding that recent decisions taken by the country's premier Gruevski - such as a recent provocative move to name a highway running through FYROM as 'Alexander the Great the Macedonian' - indicated that "he does not believe in the negotiations underway" at the United Nations on this issue.

    On relations with Turkey, Bakoyannis reiterated Greece's support for Turkey's prospects of joining the EU provided that Ankara observed the commitments and obligations it had undertaken. He said that Greece's support for Turkey was the same as for every candidate state and that there could be no "a la carte" Europe, regardless whether a country's population was 700 million or 70 million.

    She insisted on the need for Turkey to continue reforms, with emphasis on establishing a democratic system, respect for minorities, religious freedom and freedom of expression. Another major factor was that of having good neighbour relations and respect for international law, she added.

    The minister said Greece was determined to make every effort to improve relations with Turkey but that no improvement had been apparent in 2008, during which there was an increase in provocative activity over the Aegean.

    She added that improving Greek-Turkish relations should be based on European criteria and international law, expressing hope that 2009 would provide a new opportunity to improve relations given Turkey's own apparent desire for European rapprochement.

    On the issue of Cyprus, Bakoyannis said that Greece was working closely with the Cyprus government to find a fair, just and functional solution for reuniting the island. She also noted that such a solution should take into account the fact that Cyprus was a member-state of the EU, with all the principles and provisions that this entailed.

    Turning to energy issues, and speaking in her capacity as the current chair of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Bakoyannis welcomed the restoration of the natural gas supply to South Ossetia and reaffirmed the OSCE's efforts to tackle other urgent, humanitarian crises, including the supply of water.

    [05] Government on second term for Papoulias

    Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Monday noted that the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias conducted his duties as president impeccably and his cooperation with the government was equally impeccable, so that New Democracy had no reason not to back him for a second term in the presidency as suggested by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

    "I don't think that the name of the president of the Republic should be involved in petty political games like those played by the main opposition last week," he said.

    Pavlopoulos had made the statement in an interview published by one of the Sunday newspapers, adding that it was now up to PASOK to make its position clear.

    Regarding the prospect of early elections, the spokesman pointed out that the government had repeatedly denied having any such plans.

    [06] PASOK slams government over farm policy

    Main opposition PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Monday accused the government of unreliability over its policies for agriculture and called for clarifications regarding the final sums that farmers will receive and which farmers will receive them after the government's recent announcements.

    He also questioned whether ruling New Democracy had any real policy for agriculture at all and claimed that the government was confused, at a loss and in a panic.

    Papaconstantinou also advised the government to look at its own policies and its track record as main opposition instead of talking about "incited" farmer mobilisations, adding that the prospects and solutions to farmers' problems were in PASOK's policies.

    Asked about PASOK's stance to farmers blocking access to national roads, Papaconstantinou said the party had a "very clear" stance of support for farmers, respect for their decisions, without any desire by PASOK to tell them what they should do but with the party's standing position that those mobilising should also bear in mind the whole of society and the country's economy.

    [07] SYRIZA tables question over Votanikos sports complex

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos tabled a question in Parliament on Monday asking about delays in the construction of a new football stadium for Athens-based Panathinaikos FC.

    The question was addressed to the ministers of interior and environment, town planning & public works.

    Alavanos asks about the procedure concerning the tabling and approval of remaining studies before a final building licence is issued for the project in question.

    SYRIZA, as well as its affiliated Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos), have come under virulent criticism by Panathinaikos' management, a portion of the press, the construction company undertaking the sports complex and an adjacent mall (Vovos S.A.) as well as the municipality of Athens, for perceived opposition to the commercial portion of the project, i.e. the mall and related land development.

    The three-justice Council of State (CoS) panel last week issued a temporary halt to construction following a petition by 131 citizens, some identified with Synaspismos, while a CoS plenum is expected to rule on the substance of the petitioners' objections on March 6.

    The sports complex and mall are set for construction in the Votanikos district, one of the most dilapidated and rundown urban areas in the greater Athens area.

    [08] Education minister sends letters to political parties

    Newly-appointed Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos addressed letters to the political parties on Monday in the framework of dialogue on education.

    The letter addressed to the leaders of the Parliamentary parties informs them on the activation of the institutional framework of Presidential Decree 127 on the Council of First and Second Stage Education and calls for the creation of a high-level Political Committee in which a deputy from every Parliamentary Party will be participating.

    The Committee's creation had been proposed by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during the off-the-agenda discussion in Parliament on education last week.

    According to the ministry, with the appointment of a deputy, every Parliamentary party will have the possibility of conveying its ideas and proposals to the dialogue, as well as of informing his party on its development.

    [09] U.S. State Department on Cyprus issue


    The issue of Cyprus is among the priorities of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and of President Barack Obama, as well as of the international community, according to State Department alternate spokesman, Robert Wood, who when asked to comment on a relevant statement by UN mediator Downer, said that the United States hope that an agreement between the two sides on the island will be made possible.

    [10] Interior Minister receives Syn leader

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday received Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) President Alexis Tsipras, with the latter expressing his strong protests over as regards progress of a police investigation on the attempted murder of a trade unionist, Konstantina Kuneva, a Bulgarian national.

    [11] Parliament president visits defence ministry

    Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis on Monday briefed Parliament president Dimitris Sioufas on armed forces-related issue during at a previously unscheduled meeting at the defence ministry.

    After the meeting, Sioufas praised the military's role in terms of maintaining peace, security and territorial integrity as well as in the development of local societies.

    [12] Dep. FM receives US envoy

    Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis met on Monday with US ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard, with talks focusing on bilateral economic and diplomatic issues.

    According to a relevant foreign ministry announcement, the two officials noted that Greece's inclusion in the US Visa Waiver Program would enhance prospects for further development of bilateral ties.

    Energy issues were also discussed, the announcement added.

    Finally, Speckhard praised Greek initiatives for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

    Financial News

    [13] Amounts of money for farmers finalised

    Amounts of money to be provided for farmers in support of their income over the 2008-2009 period, out of the package of 500 million euros, were finalised on Monday and the farmers' representatives were duly informed by the Agricultural Development and Foods ministry.

    Cotton: Farmers having extensive losses will receive 45 euros per stremma and 25 euros per stremma for limited losses.

    Maize: 25 euros per stremma for extensive losses and 20 euros per stremma for limited losses.

    Grain: For soft grain 12 and 8 euros per stremma will be given respectively and for hard grain 10 and 7 euros per stremma.

    Olive oil: Losses regarding olive oil will be assessed and up to 30 cents per kilo will be provided.

    Agricultural Development Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said that with the finalisation of the amounts, "all of the farmers' demands have been met and the continuation of mobilisation is unjustified."

    [14] Farmers' mobilizations continue, gov't reaction

    Roadblocks by protesting farmers cut off the Peloponnese, southern Greece, from the rest of the country shortly after noon on Monday, while thousands of tractors nationwide remained parked at key road intersections for the eighth consecutive day in an attempt to paralyse transports.

    Local farmers with their tractors blocked the Isthmus of Corinth toll road on the new Athens-Patras national motorway, while the Kalamaki toll road on the old national motorway was also blockaded with traffic being backed up for kilometres on both sides of the roadblocks.

    Meanwhile, in the prefecture of Messinia, extreme southern Greece, protesting farmers with roughly 70 tractors blocked the Kalamata-Tripolis national motorway, with motorists to and from Kalamata using a provincial road as a bypass.

    Farmers are demanding an increase in farm subsidies and pensions, guaranteed minimum prices for their products, reduction of refundable Value Added Tax (VAT), and lower fuel prices.

    Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stated that the government is dealing with the needs of the most vulnerable through well-targeted actions within the framework of the EU regulations while keeping in mind the ongoing global economic crisis. Referring to the farmer demands, he stressed that the government announcements are within that framework, adding that the government meets its commitments.

    Referring to the heating allowance the government had announced for January, Antonaros stated that "everybody should realize, the farmers included, that benefits come from the taxpayers' money and should be properly evaluated", adding that demands, no matter how understandable, should not turn against society as a whole.

    Responding to a question by a reporter, he pointed out that real facts have changed from the end of November until last week and all EU countries have proceeded to adjust their policies accordingly.

    The government spokesman also assured that banks will not receive money from the State budget.

    PASOK spokesman on farmers' mobilisations

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papacontantinou on Monday accused the government of lacking credibility, in reference to its agricultural policy and amid a series of farmers' mobilisations around the country. Papacontantinou added that the government is confused, embarrassed and in a state of panic.

    He said that PASOK has a clear stance toward farmers' roadblocks, clarifying that farmers have the party's support, but on the other hand, mobilisations should take under consideration society as a whole and the country's economy.

    The spokesman underlined that the roadblocks cause problems to the economy and it is obvious that they cannot go on indefinitely.

    [15] Development minister holds meeting on Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline

    Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis met on Monday with representatives of the joint group set up by the governments of Russia, Bulgaria and Greece for the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline.

    Hatzidakis met with the President of the Executive Council of the Trans Balkan Company, Alexander Tarakanov, the Managing Director of the Bulgarian Section, Plamen Rusev, and the Managing Director of the Greek Section Christos Dimas.

    The representatives reassured the minister that they remain loyal to their commitments and efforts, as the three governments are also loyal to their commitments. The programme is continuing smoothly without any delays being observed, while the minister was given an analytical briefing on the programme's technical aspects.

    As regards the beginning of construction work on the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline, Hatzidakis said that "at this time, we are in previous phases where technical, environmental and other studies must be completed. Then the consortium must contact the banks and reach a final understanding with them and then we shall move on to the construction of the project. Things are developing smoothly, it is a matter of a few years, I cannot commit myself at this time, not because the project will be delayed, but because when specific commitments are made we must observe them accurately."

    [16] Greek banks must strengthen their capital base

    Greek banks must work towards further strengthening their capital base by creating additional reserves and provisions for bad debts -likely to rise from a worsening economic environment- cutting operating costs and revising their international plans by suspending spending on expansion and lending only to the extent allowed by domestic sources of lending capital, ATEbank's governor Dimitris Miliakos told an Economist's conference in Athens.

    Addressing the conference, Miliakos said that worsening economic conditions in the Balkans and the wider Southeast European region could hurt the fundamental figures of parent groups -under a worst case scenario. "Generally, I would say that the crisis -which could lead to a political and social unrest- must become the reason for a wider revision of Greek relations and the EU's with the Balkan states. The Greek policy must remain focused on building a "leading" and not a "dominant" financial role, continuing taking constructive initiatives in close cooperation with West Balkan states to accelerate their rapid integration in the European Union," he said.

    The Greek banker said 2009 would be a difficult year for the global economy, with high uncertainty and volatility. The challenge for each country will be to creating the necessary preconditions to restore economic growth rates, but bringing international markets back to normality and a gradual recovery of economic activity should be expected before early 2010, Miliakos noted.

    [17] State intervention to determine extent of economic crisis, report

    Low risk investments could offer the best prospects for attractive returns to private investors in 2009, as the big industrialised nations of the world were currently in recession, Gary Dugan, a Merrill Lynch analyst said on Monday.

    Presenting a report on Global Wealth Management's Outlook for 2009 in Athens, Dugan said 2009 would be a crucial year for global economy with state intervention playing a significant role in determining whether we should witness a relatively short and abrupt decline -expected to last until the end of the year- or a long and protracted recession like the one suffered by Japan in the 1990s.

    "Government may need to examine the use of significant fiscal packages, worth between 2-5 pct of GDP, to give a boost to their economies and strengthen confidence among consumers and enterprises," Dugan said.

    Deflation could become a major issue in 2009, the report said, noting that "the danger of deflation was stronger than expected".

    Dugan said monetary policy should remain aggressive and innovative to counterbalance this threat. He predicted a decline in stock shares in the first quarter of 2009, but stressed that an advance was possible in global share markets in the first half of the year, focusing on consumer product companies and cyclical stocks.

    [18] Greece signs IRENA founding treaty

    Greece on Monday signed the founding treaty of the new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), whose founding conference was held in Bonn. The agreement was signed on behalf of the Greek government by Deputy Development Minister Ioannis Bougas.

    This new international agency is an initiative launched by Germany, with the participation of about 80 like-minded states, that has been set up to act as a driving force behind the transition to the use renewable energy sources on a global scale, providing support and assistance to overcome the various obstacles that arise.

    Under its founding treaty, it will provide support to both industrial and developing countries in improving their regulatory frameworks and developing renewable energy sources, facilitating access to the information and knowledge required, effective funding mechanisms and advanced know-how.

    It will undertake to promote all forms of renewable energy and study various policies for their developments on a local, regional and national level, taking into account the special environmental, economic, social and cultural conditions.

    In his address to the founding conference, Bougas highlighted the potential of renewable energy sources to help alleviate social inequality by providing new job opportunities in products and services with high added value, even in countries with emerging economies and among those that were socially excluded.

    [19] National Bank buys Finansbank's Malta unit for 185 mln euros

    Finansbank on Monday announced the sale of its unit in Malta to National Bank of Greece for 185 million euros. Finansbank, a member of National Bank Group, said its loan portfolio growth slowed by 3.0 pct in the October-December period, compared with the previous quarter (July-September), a development related to the economic slowdown. The Turkish bank secured a 470-million-euro syndicated loan in late 2008.

    National Bank has established activities in Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Albania and Egypt.

    [20] Greek trade deficit down 20.8 pct in November

    Greece's trade deficit shrank by 20.8 pct in November totalling 2.444 billion euros, from 3.087 billion euros, in the same month in 2007, the National Statistics Service said on Monday.

    Excluding oils, the trade shortfall fell by 9.2 pct or by 236.9 million euros in November 2007. The statistics service attributed this development to a 19.5 pct decline in the value of import-arrivals to 3.776 billion euros in November 2008, from 4.689 billion euros in November 2007, while the value of export-deliveries fell 16.9 pct.

    The trade deficit fell by 5.3 pct in the January-November 2008 period, compared with the corresponding period in 2007, for a shortfall of 31.368 billion euros, compared with a deficit of 33.115 billion euros in the same period in 2007. The value of import-arrivals fell 3.1 pct in the 11-month period, while the value of export-deliveries rose 1.5 pct over the same period.

    [21] Sidenor buys 34% stake in AWM for 2.6 mln euros

    Sidenor SA on Monday announced the purchase of a 34-pct equity stake in Italian company A.W.M. S.p.A for 2.6 million euros. Automatic Wire Machines (A.W.M.) was founded in 1987 in northern Italy and is a pioneer in the design and development of custom-made hi-tech engineering applications in the production and processing of steel.

    The purchase is part of Sidenor's strategy to develop new products and services with significant added value and to expanding its activities.

    [22] Athens airport: passenger traffic off 0.4% in 2008

    The Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport of Athens on Monday said passenger traffic in the country's largest airport fell by 0.4 pct in 2008 to 16.47 million passengers, adding that the decrease was smaller than the average European rate of decline (0.7 pct) during the same year.

    Domestic traffic fell 2.2 pct to 5.8 million euros, reflecting reduced number of flights, while international passenger traffic grew 0.5 pct to 10.64 million euros, reflecting a 4.8 pct rise in Middle East, America (+3.7 pct) and Eastern Europe (+3.0 pct). West European markets were unchanged at last year's levels, while Far East fell by 6.3 pct.

    Cargo traffic grew 2.7 pct to 122 million tons while cargo flights fell 2.9 pct to 199,418, reflecting a 4.0-pct decline of domestic flights. Yiannis Parashis, the airport's general manager, said 2008 results were satisfactory given a negative economic situation, higher fuel prices and developments in the domestic airline market.

    [23] Public sector workers' strike on Wednesday

    The civil servants' union ADEDY has called its members out on strike this Wednesday, between noon and the end of their shift. The work stoppage concerns civil servants, staff in broader public-sector bodies and local authorities.

    The union is organising a rally at Klathmonos Square in central Athens on Wednesday at 1:00, saying that this mobilisation was in protest to the rolling back of basic rights of workers and pensioners, particularly in the area of health coverage and delays in the issue of pensions and lump sums.

    [24] Greek stocks end 1.91% up on Mon.

    Greek stocks began the week on a positive note in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, in line with a positive trend in other international markets. The composite index jumped 1.91 pct to end at 1,695.16 points, with turnover a low 81.6 million euros, of which 1.01 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the Utilities (5.28 pct), Financial Services (3.32 pct) and Banks (2.44 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (4.60 pct), Technology (1.21 pct) and Commerce (0.99 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 2.18 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.20 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.75 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 97 to 88 with another 64 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.36%

    Industrials: +1.61%

    Commercial: -0.99%

    Construction: +1.25%

    Media: -4.60%

    Oil & Gas: +1.74%

    Personal & Household: +0.77%

    Raw Materials: +1.04%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.03%

    Technology: -1.21%

    Telecoms: +0.53%

    Banks: +2.44%

    Food & Beverages: +1.93%

    Health: -0.05%

    Utilities: +5.28%

    Chemicals: +1.11%

    Financial Services: +3.32%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and Piraeus Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.72

    ATEbank: 1.20

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 11.44

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.16

    National Bank of Greece: 12.02

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.56

    Intralot: 3.08

    OPAP: 21.28

    OTE: 11.46

    Bank of Piraeus: 5.32

    Titan Cement Company: 12.06

    [25] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices ended with a small premium in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a low 30.519 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a premium of 0.33 pct with volume of 5,337 contracts worth 22.849 million euros.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,700 contracts worth 7.539 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,294), followed by MIG (787), OTE (710), PPC (788), Alpha Bank (811) and Piraeus Bank (271).

    [26] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market rose to 926 million euros on Monday as foreign institutional investors became more active in the Greek market after BlackRock, the largest money market management company in the US, said it favoured investments in Greek, Spanish and Italian state securities. The yield spread between the 10-year benchmark Greek and German bonds shrank to 283 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 6.17 pct and the German Bund 3.34 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 2.34 pct, the six-month rate was 2.25 pct, the three-month rate 2.14 pct and the one-month rate 1.81 pct.

    [27] Foreign Exchange rates: Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.309

    Pound sterling 0.947

    Danish kroner 7.513

    Swedish kroner 10.684

    Japanese yen 116.75

    Swiss franc 1.515

    Norwegian kroner 8.964

    Canadian dollar 1.599

    Australian dollar 1.993

    General News

    [28] Pavlopoulos inaugurates conf' on migration

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday inaugurated the 5th conference on "Immigration Cooperation and Procedures: Upgrading Development Results of Migration", organised by the Institute of Immigration Policy (IMEPO).

    Pavlopoulos referred to management of the immigration phenomenon taking for granted the international financial crisis. He stressed that close cooperation and support must be established with migrants' home countries in order to manage the immigration flow.

    The Immigration and Asylum Policy Minister of Sweden, Tobias Billstrom, on an official visit to Greece, stressed that migration may work as a tool to exit the financial crisis.

    The meeting will be concluded in the evening.

    [29] New justice minister Dendias visits Corfu prison

    New Justice Minister Nikolaos Dendias visited the Corfu correctional facility on the same-name Ionian Island on Monday for a briefing on operational problems and solutions, ones aimed at improving inmates' living conditions.

    Afterwards, Dendias stressed that the justice ministry seeks the modernisation and humanising of the country's correctional system.

    Dendias, who is elected from the Corfu precinct, also visited the 3rd and 4th High schools, speaking with educators and parents regarding the schools' close proximity with the prison compound.

    [30] Megaron Plus programme of events unveiled

    "Culture can evolve into a vital function for a modern city and a modern society," new Culture Minister Antonis Samaras stressed Monday in the presentation of the Megaron Plus 2009 programme of events, scheduled to take place at Athens' Concert Hall (Megaron).

    Speaking in the presence of Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, the ambassadors of France and Germany, Christophe Farnaud and Wolfgang Schultheiss, respectively, MPs and literary figures, Samaras stressed that such events bring the wider public in contact with innovative leaders in the field of global production of ideas, while producing cooperation and dialogue by transcending societal barriers and scientific fields.

    "The Greek State supports the Megaron Plus activities acknowledging their contribution in the production and dissemination of culture destined for the many and not for the few," the culture minister stressed.

    [31] Skipper of Greek trawler killed by pirates off Cameroon


    The Greek skipper of a Greek fishing trawler was killed by pirates off the coast of Cameroon on Saturday, the West African country's state radio broadcaster announced on Monday.

    According to a Reuters dispatch, some 30 armed pirates travelling in three vessels seized the Greek fishing boat on Saturday in the Atlantic off Kribi, south of the port of Douala, and were taking it into international waters when a sister vessel gave chase.

    The victim was identified as Theodoros Mastaloudis, who captained the shrimp trawler. Both vessels reportedly belong to an expatriate Greek entrepreneur.

    [32] Foreign national accused in murder, abduction

    A 35-year-old Albanian national arrested on Saturday night following an armed clash with police near the Thessaloniki Railway Station is the alleged culprit in the homicide of a compatriot, who was killed last week at a gas station where he worked in Nikopolis, western Thessaloniki.

    The suspect was arrested after he fired on two police officers, hitting one the chest area. Luckily, the police officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest, reports state.

    The 35-year-old is also accused, along with another two foreign nationals, of participating in the abduction of 59-year-old local businessman Giorgos Aivazoglou.

    [33] Missing raftist found dead in Alfios River

    A 30-year-old man who went missing while rafting on the Lousios River, Western Peloponnese, on Sunday, was found dead in the region of Thisoa, in the southern prefecture of Ilia, late on Monday afternoon. His body was found at the foot of a tree in the Alfios River. Fire Brigade forces were making coordinated efforts to recover the body.


    [34] Greek soccer federation vote rigged, Mitropoulos charges

    One of the candidates for the leadership of the Greek professional soccer federation EPO, Viktoras Mitropoulos, on Monday filed official charges saying that recent elections in EPO had been rigged by the winning candidate Sofoklis Pilavios and his supporters.

    Mitropoulos said that he had informed the first-instance court public prosecutor that the vote would be rigged a few days earlier and claimed that the presidents of unions originally supporting his candidacy had been intimidated into voting for his opponent by the threat of financial and other sanctions related to the game.

    The same people told him that the vote would be checked by the method of folding ballots.

    Mitropoulos asked that the courts investigate in order to determine whether any party had been guilty of blackmail to force the result of the election.

    Weather Forecast

    [35] Cloudy, rainy on Tuesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 4C and 20C. Cloudy in Athens with local showers in the evening, with southerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 9C to 18C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 13C.

    [36] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Farmers' insistence on continuing roadblocks around the country and a meeting on Monday between Agriculture Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis and farmers' representatives mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Hopes of defusing farmers' blockades - 500 million euro support package unveiled".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Farmers eyeing greater Athens area - They're closing off main southern intersection".

    AVRIANI: " 'Deep Throat' gives names, codes, bank deposits and politicians' names with involvement in Siemens slush funds - Cascade of revelations on the way".

    CHORA: "Blockades burn thousands of enterprises."

    ELEFTHEROS: "Supreme Court's leadership accuses politicians, lawyers of refusing to obey laws applied to all citizens".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Cracks in blockades for 500 million euros - Disagreement amongst farm organizers".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Poker game with 500 million euros in the pot - Farmers persist - Impasse in negotiations with Hatzidakis".

    ESTIA: "Political confusion in ruling New Democracy - Early election climate is inexplicable".

    ETHNOS: "Government's promises deflating".

    TA NEA: "New blockades and whoever is left standing - Sunday's negotiations fruitless".

    VRADYNI: "Crucial meeting between agriculture minister and farmers on Monday evening under blockades' pressure".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [37] Government examines Olgac's confession


    Turkish actor Attila Olgac's confession that he killed ten Greek Cypriots during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus can be used to establish the fate of missing persons, Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou stressed on Monday.

    Iacovou was speaking after a meeting convened on Monday at the Presidential Palace to discuss Olgac's self-confession. Present at the meeting were the Attorney General Petros Clerides, the Greek-Cypriot representative to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) Elias Georgiades as well as representatives of the Foreign Ministry and the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons and Undeclared Prisoners of War.

    Iacovou, who has also the responsibility for issues on the missing persons, said that during the meeting they discussed the legal ramifications of this confession, noting that the Attorney General will look into the whole matter as a matter of urgency.

    He clarified that Attorney General will have the decisive role on the legal issues which might arise from this.

    Asked to say what the target of the Government is, Iacovou said that "there is information which has shocked public opinion here, in Greece but also in other countries".

    "Therefore, we want more investigation on the issue and see if there are legal ways in which we can promote the issue of missing persons for the sake of their relatives," he noted.

    He added that "the effort is always to see if we can establish the fate of missing persons", noting that Olgac's confession can be used towards this direction.

    In addition, he said that the issue will be discussed on Wednesday at the House of Representatives.

    Attorney General Petros Clerides stressed that through this confession "we will see what legal action we can take to promote the issue of missing persons".

    "This is the first direct confession that he has killed soldiers", he pointed out.

    He added that "there are many other reports showing towards this direction. This particular information by Attila will be used in the framework of all witnesses and testimonies in relation to this issue".

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Hundreds of Greek Cypriots have been missing since 1974 and nearly 500 Turkish Cypriots are missing since the intercommunal fighting in the early 1960s.

    To date, the remains of over 466 individuals have been exhumed and 110 have been identified and returned to the families concerned. More identifications of exhumed remains are expected this year.

    Olgac told a live TV show that he killed ten Greek Cypriots, one of whom was a 19-year-old soldier, taken prisoner of war during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. He subsequently retracted his confessions, claiming he was talking about a plot in a TV series he was involved in.

    Article 13, of the Geneva Convention, stipulates that ''prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention.''

    [38] We won't accept unfair solution, says House President


    House President Marios Garoyian, speaking in London at a special event to commemorate the late President of the

    Republic Tassos Papadopoulos, has stressed that the struggle for an honorable, dignified, fair, functional and viable solution of the Cyprus problem shall continue.

    It his speech, Garoyian pointed out that the Turkish side has toughened its stance and presents positions worse than before. "We say this to them: we do not accept, nor do we have the right to be the last generation of Greeks in Cyprus. We will never accept a solution which makes our future in the land of our ancestors uncertain and insecure".

    "We won't accept a solution based on Turkish conditions," he added, stressing that compromise is one thing, subordination another. He warned that the international community will be making a fatal mistake if it forms its position and tactic on Cyprus on the basis of messages it has received from those who accepted the 2004 Anan solution plan, which the majority of the Greek Cypriots rejected as a proposed settlement because they believed it did not lead to reunification. "The international community will be bitterly disappointed, if they do so," he added.

    The House President said that if there is a real chance at the ongoing UN-led direct negotiations for a fair, functional and viable solution, this should not be missed. However, he continued, it would be a major historic and political mistake to accept the theory of the last chance for a political settlement.

    According to Garoyian, President Christofias appears to have reached somewhat pessimist conclusions about the stance of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, something which reflects Turkey's inflexibility as each day passes. Talat acts on Ankara's commands, which serve the strategic interests of Turkey aiming at a solution of two states, he said.

    As long as there is no pressure on Turkey, this will continue to be its stance, added Garoyian, calling on the international community to be more strict with Ankara as far as its unacceptable positions on Cyprus are concerned.

    Britain can and is obliged to do a lot of things towards this direction, the House President stressed, adding that as one of the guarantor countries Britain has enormous responsibilities and obligations towards Cyprus and its people. Britain has so far given "only disappointments" to Cyprus, he noted.

    "We understand that national interests determine the position of each country in international affairs and problems. We realize that Turkey is a valuable strategic partners for Britain. Nonetheless, where is political morality? Where is justice? What protection and what support can small states expect?" Garoyian asked.

    He called on British politicians to form at last a stance based on principal and values contributing to attribution of justice on Cyprus and its people. The Turkish side should prove at the negotiations table if it really wants a solution of Cyprus problem, he added.

    President Christofias and Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations since early September last year, aiming at reaching a settlement of the problem of Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

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