|Tuesday, 24 April 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-05-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 14 May 2009 Issue No: 3193
 South Stream pipeline accord to be signed Friday in RussiaThe agreement for the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline will be signed between Gazprom and all the other participants in the project in the Russian resort city of Sochi on the shores of the Black Sea, Greek development minister Costis Hatzidakis announced on Wednesday after a meeting with Russian ambassador in Athens Vladimir Chkhikvishvili.
Hatzidakis accepted an invitation conveyed by the Russian ambassador, and will represent Greece at the signature ceremony, at which DESFA, a subsidiary of the Greek Natural Gas Organisation, will be signing on behalf of Greece.
In statements after the meeting with Chkhikvishvili, Hatzidakis noted the particular importance placed by the Athens government on cooperation with Russia, and particularly on the South Stream agreement.
"With my presence at the ceremony, we want to underscore Greece's interest in the pipelines policy and, naturally, more generally in our cooperation with Russia," Hatzidakis said.
Replying to press questions, the two officials affirmed that the timetables that have already been announced were in effect, according to which the pipelline will begin operation in 2015.
Hatzidakis also noted that the fact that the parties involved were proceeding to the establishment of the company that would be running the project indicated that all sides participating in the program are determined to take the steps required.
He further noted that the matters concerning the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline were also progressing smoothly.
The South Stream pipeline will transport Russian natural gas from the Black Sea to the coasts of Bulgaria, and from there it will branch out to the North via Serbia and to the South via Greece, to western Europe. Gazprom and DESFT will hold equal stakes of 50 percent each in the company that will construct the Greek section of the pipeline.
 PM sets up ND committee for EuroelectionsPrime minister Costas Karamanlis met on Wednesday with his ruling New Democracy (ND) party's central committee secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, who announced afterwards that, by decision of the prime minister, a party central committee for the European Parliament elections will be set up, with its first meeting to take place on Friday afternoon at the ND headquarters on central Rigillis street.
The elections committee will comprise premier and ND president Karamanlis, and MPs Prokopis Pavlopoulos (interior minister), Dora Bakoyannis (foreign minister) Vassilis Meimarakis (defense minister), George Souflias (environment, town planning and public works minister), George Tragakis, F. Patrianakou, Y. Papanicolaou, M. Daskalakis, and Zagoritis.
 Deputy FM wraps up visit to AzerbaijanBAKU (ANA-MPA / N. Melissova)
Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis completed a working visit to Azerbaijan with a tour of a Caspian Sea oil and natural gas terminal station, from where the TGI natural gas pipeline originates.
Varvitsiotis, accompanied by Hellenic Petroleum S.A. (ELPE) CEO Ioannis Costopoulos and a large business delegation, also visited the offices of the state oil company SOCAR.
Earlier on Wednesday, he met with Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev, who reaffirmed the Azeri intention to promote the TGI project and encouraged the planning of more Greek investments, underlining that his government seeks joined ventures with foreign companies particularly in the agricultural sector.
Constructions, building materials, pharmaceuticals, banking and agriculture are being regarded as promising sectors for Greek investments in Azerbaijan.
 Amato Group calls on European citizens to participate massively in EuroelectionsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Aroni)
The Action Committee for European Democracy (ACED), also known as the "Amato Group", appealed to European citizens on Wednesday to participate massively in next month's Euroelections.
The group, chaired by former Italian prime minister Giuliano Amato, comprises high profile European Union politicians, including Greek former prime minister Costas Simitis.
In a declaration, presented here during a press conference by Amato, the 16 members of the committee highlighted the advantages of the Lisbon Treaty and changes it promises to bring in the life of European citizens.
"In order for us to enjoy a more democratic and effective European Union, it is worth trying to safeguard that the Lisbon Treaty will be implemented as soon as possible," the declaration, which is titled "Appeal to European Citizens", noted.
"The Lisbon Treaty considerably increases the number of sectors for which the European Parliament will decide together with the European Council," the declaration added.
What is important in these Eurolections, Amato said, is that European citizens must resist to the existing tendency for abstention by voting, and on the other hand they should support the Lisbon Treaty which increases the Europarliamen's powers.
On his part, Simitis criticised what he called inaction on the part of the European Commission during Jose Manuel Barroso's presidency, and particularly "the abandoning of the development aspect of the Treaty".
 KKE leader calls for river's cleanup"Factories should take measures to limit pollution while, at the same time, a modern project should get underway for 100 percent clean water and air in the region," Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga stressed during a visit to the pollution-plagued Asopos River, a small body but significant stream some 60 km north of Athens.
Papariga discussed the water pollution problem in a meeting with local authorities and environmental activists in the municipality of Inophyta, pointing out that it constitutes "major scandal".
 ASEP annual report delivered to Parliament presidentThe 2008 report of the Supreme Staff Selection Council (ASEP), the state agency responsible for public sector hirings, was delivered to Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas on Wednesday.
ASEP Board President George Veis briefed Sioufas on the progress made in the procedures followed by the agency as regards the hiring of staff in the public sector suggesting further improvements particularly in the sectors of health and local administration.
The report will be studied by the parliamentary committees on public administration and institutions before being presented to the parliament's plenary session.
 Transport and Communications minister on public, private sector cooperationTransport and Communications Minister Evripidis Stylianidis addressed the 2nd annual Greek Market Forum on Cooperation between the Public and Private Sector, underlining the advantages that will result from the completion of major infrastructure projects.
Stylianidis said that the country is currently appearing as the fastest developing market for Cooperation between Public and Private Sector projects in the world, as is also revealed by the results of the recent World Bank Conference.
This fact ranks Greece in a leading position in the wider region of southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean. It is not by chance, the minister asid, that many of the biggest foreign companies that are active in such projects on the international scene have shown interest in undertaking the first Cooperation projects in Greece, participating in relevant tendering.
At the moment, 52 approved projects amounting to 5.7 billion euros are are on track for implementation , unveiling the growth virtues of the Law on Cooperation, resulting in Greece entering a period of increased growth possibilities that will allow it to proceed with important projects in sectors having pressing needs such as health, education, justice, armed forces, public services housing, public infrastructures development and transport and communications, he added.
Stylianidis concluded that cooperation between the public and private sectors is the means for achieving the goal, the material that will trigger dynamic growth, the modern way to forge ahead with development, speed, effectiveness and for the maximisation of the benefit for the country and the citizen and for a more competitive Greece.
 IMF delegation holds talks with GSEE labour confederationAn International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation visited the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) on Wednesday and met with the Confederation's directorate in the framework of annual meetings held with trade union, employer and government agencies to prepare the annual report on the Greek economy.
According to a relevant announcement, an exchange of views took place and GSEE's absolute disagreement was expressed once again on the IMF's proposed neoliberal recipes.
GSEE's directorate outlined its positions and proposals on the Greek economy and stressed the unfavourable state of working people (incomes, dismissals, unemployment, social security, social benefits, etc) and its disagreement with the economic policy being applied in particular.
It was underlined that "working people are not responsible for structural problems of the Greek economy existing from the past (competitiveness, deficits, debt) and for the repercussions of the international crisis and they are not prepared to foot the bill."
"Both at national and European level, we are coordinating the struggle and our actions to repel the monetaristic policies of austerity, taxes and dismissals that deepen and widen recession, poverty and the impoverishment of the citizens," GSEE said in its announcement.
 Minister on Thessaly water resourcesEnvironment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias on Wednesday toured the Lake Karla project and the Pinios River Dam project at the Girtoni site in central Greece.
Souflias, who is elected from the Larissa region in Thessaly province, Greece's unofficial "bread basket", underlined that the completion of the two projects "is his vision", stressing that agriculture-dependent Thessaly is in dire need of greater water resources.
As regards Lake Karla, Souflias announced the establishment of a managing authority, while referring to the Girtoni Dam he expressed certainty that the project will be completed in the first quarter of 2010. The specific dam is expected to solve urgent irrigation problems in the prefectures of Larissa and Magnesia.
 PASOK sector head on tax burden"The average Greek household and the lower incomes are being called to carry most of the economic burden despite the government pledges that supporting the financially weak constitutes a priority," main opposition PASOK economy sector spokesperson Louka Katseli stressed in relation to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) figures for 2008, apparently showing a tax burden rise in Greece.
According to Katseli, Greece has the highest tax burden after Hungary.
 Eurobank hirings for private banking armEurobank on Wednesday announced the hiring of new executives for Eurobank EFG Private Banking Luxembourg, saying it is seeking to improve and upgrade products and services offered by the private banking business.
Robert Berbee was appointed as head of international wealth management, while Michel Oosterhaven was recently appointed head of advisory & dealing. Other hirings include George Korliras, Manos Karathanasis, Costas Babalis and Costas Metaxas.
 Vodafone in partnership talks with HOLVodafone and Hellas Online on Wednesday announced they have begun an exclusive round of talks aiming to examine the possibility of a partnership which could bring Vodafone becoming a strategic partner of HOL through the purchase of a minority equity stake in exchange for the contribution of Vodafone's existing DSL broadband equipment.
In a joint statement, Vodafone and Hellas Online said they planned to combine their offers in the Greek market, exclusively offering Vodafone's mobile telephony products and services and HOL's fixed-telephony and broadband networks.
The two companies stressed, however, that talks were in an early stage and that it was not fully certain they would end in an agreement.
 MLS Informatics says net profits up 46.5 pct in Q1MLS Informatics on Wednesday reported a 39.7-pct increase in its first quarter turnover to 3.44 million euros, from 2.46 million euros in the corresponding period last year and said net after tax profits jumped 46.5 pct to 665,474 euros, from 454,113 euros in 2008. Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) rose 28.6 pct to 1.349 million euros in the January-March period this year, from 1.049 million euros in 2008.
The company plans to pay a 0.05 euros per share dividend to its shareholders.
 ATE Insurance says profits up 118 pct in Q1ATE Insurance Group on Wednesday reported a spectacular 118.5-pct increase in its pre-tax profits to 5.9 million euros in the first quarter of the year, compared with 2.7 million euros in the corresponding period in 2008.
Net after-tax profits totaled 4.7 million euros in the January-March period, from 1.7 million euros last year, while premium production grew 14.4 pct in the same period, sharply up compared with an average growth rate of 2.9 pct in the insurance market, to 61.2 million euros.
Pre-tax profits totaled 5.6 million euros in the first three months, up from 2.5 million euros last year, for an increase of 124 pct. Compensation payments to customers totaled 31.4 million euros, up 15.6 pct from last year, while operating spending fell 34.3 pct to 9.4 million euros.
The company's investment portfolio was improving and was expected to positively affect the company's net position in the current year.
 ANEK to buy 33.35 pct stake in Hellenic SeawaysÁNEK, a Greek-listed shipping line, on Wednesday announced a board decision to approve an agreement with Minoan Lines SA for the purchase of Minoan' s 33.35-pct equity stake in Hellenic Seaways for 125 million euros.
Under the plan, payment of the purchase will be made gradually by the end of 2012.
 Automatic selling machines to operate at fuel stationsA circular issued by Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis and the ministry's Secretary General Costas Mousouroulis establishes from now on the operation of automatic selling machines at fuel stations and beyond their opening hours.
As a result of the new arrangement, consumers will be able to be served at closed fuel stations as well, where automatic fuel selling machines are available.
The measure, according to an announcement by the ministry, brings the Greeks another step closer to European reality, since this practice is applied in most European Union member-states.
 Stocks end 3.07% down on Wed.Greek stocks ended sharply lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday as investors took profits amid a negative climate in international markets. The composite index fell 3.07 pct to end at 2,136.46 points, with turnover at 307.4 million euros of which 3.5 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors ended lower with the Banks (6.32 pct), Raw Materials (5.71 pct) and Financial Services (5.04 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Oil (5.0 pct), Telecommunications (1.61 pct) and Utilities (0.42 pct) scored gains.
The FTSE 20 index fell 3.76 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 3.28 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index fell 2.17 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 183 to 60 with another 30 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +5.00%
Personal & Household: -1.27%
Raw Materials: -5.71%
Travel & Leisure: -1.39%
Food & Beverages: -2.99%
Financial Services: -5.04%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Bank of Cyprus, Marfin Popular Bank and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 7.96
Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.90
HBC Coca Cola: 13.86
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.38
National Bank of Greece: 16.10
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.33
Bank of Piraeus: 7.98
Titan Cement Company: 18.50
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened further to 185 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, with turnover rising to 1.415 billion euros of which 665 million were buy orders and the remaining 750 million euros were sell orders.
The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.040 billion euros. The Greek bond yielded 5.20 pct and the German Bund 3.35 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates fell. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.63 pct, the six-month rate 1.47 pct, the three-month rate 1.28 pct and the one-month rate 0.84 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.373
Pound sterling 0.907
Danish kroner 7.507
Swedish kroner 10.737
Japanese yen 131.95
Swiss franc 1.517
Norwegian kroner 8.910
Canadian dollar 1.595
Australian dollar 1.802
 Athens Prefecture holds event on 'Direct Democracy'An event held at the Pnyx on Wednesday afternoon, under the auspices of Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros, was devoted to the institution of Direct Democracy.
Sgouros said "here where the Athenians used to take their decisions, on the holy hill of the Pnyx where the Athenian Democracy developed, the speech of Democracy will be heard today as well, a speech that is inspired by a Greek spirit and the theory of the golden measure."
Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas said that "modern technology and that of tomorrow make mass knowledge and consultation feasible in real time. It is certain that in the coming decades representative democracy will be giving its place all the more to institutions and functions of Direct Democracy. Let us prepare ourselves for this."
Former Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis said that abstention, indifference and the violent and blind conflict that are appearing under the conditions of the monetary crisis are due to social reasons.
Former Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) president Nikos Konstantopoulos said on his part that the problem of democracy is becoming more complex and intense today, under conditions of supranational unifications that marginalise the national state and commit its governance.
 Significant Hellenistic-era statue discovered in AlexandriaALEXANDRIA (ANA-MPA / N. Katsikas)
The director of the Hellenic Research Institute of the Alexandrian Civilization (HRIAC) this week described a marble statue unearthed on May 4 during excavations in Shalalat Gardens of Alexandria, referring to a "a very important Hellenistic statue, very rare in terms of craftsmanship and beauty, and one that depicts a great figure of Hellenic history."
The 80cm-tall statue was found in very good condition and retains numerous characteristics reminiscent of statues depicting Alexander the Great.
HRIAC director Kalliopi Limneou-Papakosta, an archaeologist, underlined that the statue will have to be studied further in order to draw safer conclusions as regards the identity of the figure it depicts.
The specific statue is regarded as the most important discovery made in Alexandria in recent times, and will soon be on display at the city's archaeological museum.
 Works by Chevenement, Frantzolas on display in AthinaisAn exhibition with three-dimensional sculptures by French artist Nisa Chevenement and Greek painter Nikos Frantzolas was inaugurated by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos in Athens.
Pavlopoulos said during the formal opening of the exhibition on Tuesday that art is very important in our times, stressing that "each work should be seen through the eyes of the soul," while underlining the role played by the Athinais Cultural Center in Votanikos where the exhibition is hosted.
More than 45 sculptures by Chevenement and 38 monument size paintings by Nikos Fratzolas are on display.
 Former Fire Brigade Chief wanted for illegal possession of antiquitiesPolice in Lamia have issued a warrant for the arrest of former Fire Brigade Chief Panagiotis Fourlas, who is accused of illegal possession of ancient artifacts found in his house's yard on Wednesday.
Following a complaint, police accompanied by archaeologists from the 14th Ephorate of Classical Antiquities in Lamia, central Greece, found and seized stone objects that fall under the legislation on antiquities after inspecting Fourlas' house in the village of Kapnochori in the region of Ipati.
The objects seized will be evaluated to determine their age and value.
 Panathinaikos-AEK draw, PAOK wins in Super League playoffsPanathinaikos Athens and AEK Athens drew 1-1 in a soccer Super League playoff game played at the Athens Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night. Scocco (12') scored for AEK and Gabriel equalised for Panathinaikos (43' pen.).
In the second playoff game, PAOK Thessaloniki beat Larissa 2-0 away with goals by Bakayoko (9') and Conceicao (80') and is in the top place in the playoffs together with Panathinaikos.
The top position in the playoffs leads to participation in the European Champions League qualifying rounds.
 Papoulias receives AEK vetsPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday received a 31-member delegation of the AEK Athens FC Veteran Football Players Association, who presented him a football signed by all the veteran players, a team jersey and a special plaque.
Addressing the veterans at the presidential mansion, Papoulias underlined that "AEK sets an example as a noble football team," underlining that it was always observes "fair play" rules.
The AEK veteran players association was founded 21 years ago.
 Fair on ThursdayFair weather, and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 2-4 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 33C. Fair in Athens, with variable 2-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 15C to 32C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 14C to 30C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe apparently terrorist hit against a Eurobank branch in Argyroupolis, the June 7 European Parliament elections, and new funding tools for businesses decided by the Inner Cabinet, were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Wednesday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Internet a danger for children - 6th Child Psychiatry Conference".
APOGEVMATINI: "23,833 job opportunities", mostly in local governments.
AVGHI: "Shadow theater - ND and PASOK now bringing in the 'heavy artillery' in their Euroelections tickets and in the political clash, but both endorse the neo-liberal policy of the Maastricht Treaty".
AVRIANI: "All the bribe-takers from Siemens to face the docks - The first 7 detentions for trial expected on May 20, while a few days later there will be a second wave of...arrivals at Korydallos (prison) of 18 more defendants".
CHORA: "Mortgage loans with 100 percent bank guarantee - Lower cost of borrowing, a breather for consumers".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Internet an epidemic among youngsters - World 'first' in internet addiction".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Powerful explosion - after (anonymous caller) warning (to the newspaper) at Eurobank branch in Argyroupolis, but earlier, police tete-a-tete with the perpetrators".
ESTIA: "The prime minister's excessive authorities - The ability to adjourn parliament".
ETHNOS: "Vote canvassing with 14,640 hirings - Trading with hope in the last minute before the Euroelections".
KATHIMERINI: "Spectacular terrorist hit".
LOGOS: "They saw them but...they didn't realise - The perpetrators threatened police patrol car crew with guns and escaped".
NIKI: "Explosive police rendezvous with terrorists - The perpetrators slipped through the hands of the police and blew up the bank".
RIZOSPASTIS: "New package with 2 billion euros in free money to businessmen".
TA NEA: "They slipped through the police's hands once again - New police terror-fiasco".
TO VIMA: "The solution of social-democracy for Europe's exit from the crisis - The proposals of top European socialists at the Megaron Plus symposium".
VRADYNI: "Scenarios for early general elections in the autumn - Government and opposition preparing for 'hot' summer".
 Spokesman: President to discuss Limnitis crossing point with TalatNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cyprus Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said on Wednesday that President Demetris Christofias would discuss with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat the Limnitis issue during their meeting on Thursday in the framework of UN-led direct negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.
Stefanou's remarks came after reports suggesting that Talat said that the Greek Cypriot side is to blame for the non-opening of Limnitis crossing point because although it accepted to provide electricity to the enclave of Kokkina where Turkish occupying troops are stationed, it refuses to allow passage for refueling of the troops there. This information has been disclosed during a meeting Tuesday between Greek Cypriot community leaders of Astromeritis and Kato Pyrgos and Turkish Cypriots who want the opening of the crossing point.
The spokesman refrained from commenting on the information, recalling that Christofias and Talat will meet Thursday in the framework of the UN-led talks, where they usually hold a tete-a-tete meeting. ''It would be better they discuss (the issue) in person and we will submit our own views on the matter,'' he added.
Stefanou also recalled that the G/C side makes many and constant efforts for the opening of Limnitis crossing point, adding the G/C side cannot be blamed because the Limnitis crossing point has not opened. The community leaders of Kato Pyrgos and Astromeritis as well as Turkish Cypriots said that after these reports they wish to meet with President Christofias and Talat.
Stefanou said that President Christofias after he returns from a trip in London will meet with the community leaders and explain the G/C side's positions on the matter.
Kokkina, a coastal village in northeast Cyprus, was the centre of intercommunal clashes in 1964, when Turkish air force planes bombed Greek Cypriot villages in the area. Kokkina is accessible only through the free areas of the Republic or by sea. Turkish Cypriots have been visiting Kokkina by land with the consent of the government of Cyprus.
For the past 45 years, Greek Cypriot residents in the area of Limnitis have to travel to Paphos, on the western coast, and Limassol, on the south, in order to reach the capital Nicosia.
Opening a crossing point at Limnitis would make this journey far shorter. In the recent past, several crossing points to and from the island's northern Turkish occupied areas have opened to facilitate the movement of people.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
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