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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-07-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Thursday, 30 July 2009 Issue No: 3258


  • [01] Inner Cabinet approves Theseus II programme
  • [02] Minister's briefing on 'new flu'
  • [03] PASOK leader to unveil Operational Plan at TIF
  • [04] OKE addresses letter to PM
  • [05] Producer's Price Index down 9.2 pct in June
  • [06] Hellenic Exchanges says net profits down 53% in H1
  • [07] Emporiki Bank reports 358.7-mln-euro loss in H1
  • [08] Plaisio Computers: profits down 77% in H1
  • [09] Stocks end 0.44% down
  • [10] ADEX closing report
  • [11] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [12] Happy end to trekking ordeal on Crete
  • [13] Michel Legrand at Sani festival
  • [14] Major cocaine bust at Athens airport
  • [15] Major drug arrests in Piraeus
  • [16] Major fires on Skopelos, Evia
  • [17] Fire breaks out in Koropi
  • [18] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [19] Cyprus government satisfied over British court's ruling on illegal flights
  • [20] FM: T/C so called isolation will end when Turkish occupation ends

  • [01] Inner Cabinet approves Theseus II programme

    Prime ̀inister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the Inner Cabinet, which approved the primary local government developmental program Theseus II.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos noted that the Theseus 1 program had chanelled, with transparency, resources to local government that enabled it to carry out developmental projects with full transparency given that, as everyone knows, up to the very last euro spent appeared on the interior ministry's website.

    In the period 2005-2009, a total of 3.5 billion euros were forthcoming from the Theseus 1 program, without calculating the public and private sector collaborations, Pavlopoulos said, adding that the programme would continue, as Theseus 2, for the period covering 2010-2014 which, he observed, coincides with the conclusion of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF).

    To date, he continued, 20,700 projects have been tendered under the Theseus 1, budgeted at 3.2 billion euros or 92 percent of the total program, of which 7,000 projects have been completed.

    Pavlopoulos accused the preceding PASOK governments of having reduced the local governments to partisanship, wilting and lack of transparency.

    In 2004, when Karamanlis' New Democracy (ND) government took office, he said, in effect was the EPTA program that had given 1.7 billion euros, with absolute lack of transparency, which financially devastated the local governments because it was deficient and chanelled in accordance with party criteria, while there was no documentation at the labour ministry for a large proportion of those monies.

    Pavlopoulos also thanked deputy minister Thanassis Nakos for devoting most of his time at the ministry to this sector, and expressed certainty that Nakos would lead the Theseus II to the same success.

    The Theseus II will take things further along, mainly with projects focusing chiefly on infrastructures, but also with projects that "bridge" the funding with the ESPA, since feasibility and other required studies are not financed under the programme.

    [02] Minister's briefing on 'new flu'

    Health Minister Avramopoulos on Wednesday briefed a relevant Parliament committee in Athens over the government's action plan to deal with whatever outbreaks and repercussions of "new flu" or novel influenza.

    Avramopoulos said a major cache of vaccinations will be delivered to Greece in mid September, with the vaccination of "at risk" groups of the general population beginning thereafter. In echoing statements by the scientific community worldwide, the minister also said it was unlikely that the entire population will need to get vaccinated.

    In turning to the "political angle", Avramopoulos, a former Athens mayor, lambasted main opposition PASOK, dismissing the latter's criticism of the government and referring to an effort at "petty political exploitation" of the flu scare.

    [03] PASOK leader to unveil Operational Plan at TIF

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou will unveil his party's Operational Plan at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in September which, he said, will be the last TIF before general elections, the PASOK leader told a broad party meeting on Wednesday.

    The meeting was called by Papandreou for discussion on the content of his TIF address.

    Papandreou said that the operational plan will concern what PASOK will do as government, in what order, and how he will turn into action all that he has said, clearly stating the truth to the people.

    The five points of the economic policy to be applied by PASOK, as government, focus on: a plan for the immediate recovery of the economy; boosting employment and tackling unemployment; a just redistribution of wealth; a medium-term program for fiscal streamlining; and the creation of a market that will serve the citizen, with a new supervisory framework.

    Papandreou further said that in the recent European Parliament elections, the citizens had given a "clear message for change", voting in favor of a change of course for the country in order for it to enter an orbit of growth, stability, security, lawfulness and social cohesion.

    The PASOK leader blamed the ND government exclusively for the state of the economy, which he said was sinking, and warned that the country had entered an orbit of recession and severe fiscal diversion.

    He said a very hard autumn was ahead, given a substantial decline in tourism has already been observed, as well as declines in construction activity and industrial production, while there was also a significant slow-down in corporate and household lending.

    Papandreou charged that all the fiscal indicators were "completely off-track", with the deficit in the first half of the year having reached 18 billion euros, exceeding already the projections for the entire year.

    Despite the above, he continued, the government continued to take wrong and ineffective measures and was imposing harsh taxation at the expense of the low and middle income strata, as was the case with the recent measures taken "which it hid before the elections", adding that those measures merely increase the citizens' lack of confidence in the government "which leaves the clientelistic waste of public money uncontrolled and wastes the ESPA (NSRF-National Strategic Reference Framework) resources on actions of dubious effectiveness".

    [04] OKE addresses letter to PM

    The Economic and Social Council of Greece, in a letter addressed to the prime minister, alleged that social dialogue is being downgraded and government ministries do not observe their obligation, as defined in the Constitution, to enter consultations with OKE.

    The letter is signed by OKE president Christos Polyzogopoulos, the former president of Greece's largest trade union (GSEE) and a high-ranking PASOK cadre.

    Financial News

    [05] Producer's Price Index down 9.2 pct in June

    Greece's Producer's Price Composite index in the industrial sector fell 9.2 pct in June 2009, after an increase of 14.7 percent in the corresponding period last year, the National Statistical Service said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said the producer's price index was down 0.5 pct in the 12-month period from June 2008 to June 2009, after a decline of 0.5 pct in the corresponding 12-month period.

    [06] Hellenic Exchanges says net profits down 53% in H1

    Hellenic Exchanges SA on Wednesday reported a 53-pct drop in its consolidated net profits in the first six months of 2009 to 16.9 million euros, from 35.7 million euros in the corresponding period in 2008.

    The group said consolidated turnover fell 49 pct to 32 million euros from 63.2 million euros in the first six months of the previous year, reflecting a drop in stock markets and a stable turnover in the market. Turnover value totaled 20.5 billion euros, down 58 pct from last year, while in the derivatives market, turnover fell 4.6 pct over the same period.

    Hellenic Exchanges said operating spending totaled 11.6 million euros in the first half of the year, down 15 pct from 2008, while earnings before interest and taxes dropped 57 pct to 19.4 million euros. Net earnings per share fell 49 pct to 0.26 euros.

    [07] Emporiki Bank reports 358.7-mln-euro loss in H1

    Emporiki Bank on Wednesday reported a 358.7-million-euro loss in the first half of 2009 and said bad debt provisions totaled 370.3 million euros, reflecting the continuing impact of adverse economic conditions on the bank's lending portfolio's quality.

    A bank statement said, Emporiki Bank has implemented a selective commercial policy aimed at boosting lending portfolio quality, focusing on profitability instead of boosting figures.

    The bank successfully completed an 850-mln-euro share capital increase plan in May and successfully sold a 250-mln-euro Lower Tier 1 bond issue, fully covered by Credit Agricole SA. Emporiki Bank also completed a partial restructuring of its debt through repayment of medium-term bonds worth 3.1 billion euros, with the parent company replacing these bonds with new credit lines.

    Net revenues from banking operations grew 9.0 pct in the second quarter, while the average interest margin grew to 1.8 pct from 1.6 pct in the first quarter.

    [08] Plaisio Computers: profits down 77% in H1

    Plaisio Computers on Wednesday said profits fell 77 pct in the first half of the year, compared with the same period in 2008, totaling 835,000 euros.

    The company announced positive signs in second quarter sales, with sales shrinking by 12.3 pct (84.1 mln euros in the second quarter) from -14.5 pct in the first quarter, further enhancing the company's leading position in the Greek market.

    Inventories fell by 12.5 million euros while operating cash flows turned positive (2.7 million euros in the first half of 2009) from -10.7 million in the same period last year.

    [09] Stocks end 0.44% down

    Greek stocks ended moderately lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday with the composite index of the market losing 0.44 pct to end at 2,276.18 points. Turnover was a low 103.2 million euros, of which 6.2 million euros were block trades. Sector indices ended mixed, with the Media (2.84 pct), Technology (2.31 pct), Chemicals (1.72 pct) and Utilities (1.69 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Banks (1.84 pct), Industrial Products (0.93 pct) and Raw Materials (0.76 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index eased 0.85 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.58 pct up and the FTSE 80 index rose 1.32 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 122 to 83 with another 48 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: unchanged

    Industrials: -0.93%

    Commercial: +0.20%

    Construction: +1.34%

    Media: +2.84%

    Oil & Gas: +0.24%

    Personal & Household: +0.75%

    Raw Materials: -0.76%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.04%

    Technology: +2.31%

    Telecoms: +0.38%

    Banks: -1.84%

    Food & Beverages: +1.32%

    Health: +0.01%

    Utilities: +1.69%

    Chemicals: +1.72%

    Financial Services: -0.52%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Public Power Corp (PPC), OPAP and Bank of Piraeus.

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

    Alpha Bank: 9.00

    ATEbank: 1.62

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.90

    HBC Coca Cola: 15.21

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.26

    National Bank of Greece: 19.20

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.51

    Intralot: 4.30

    OPAP: 16.80

    OTE: 10.49

    Bank of Piraeus: 8.03

    Titan: 19.99

    [10] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a reduced discount (-0.47 pct) in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 38.254 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,827 contracts worth 28.266 million euros, with 22,622 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 7,945 contracts worth 9.988 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,482), followed by OTE (965), PPC (374), Piraeus Bank (410), Alpha Bank (439), Mytilineos (420) and Cyprus Bank (665).

    [11] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.421

    Pound sterling 0.867

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 10.669

    Japanese yen 134.93

    Swiss franc 1.539

    Norwegian kroner 8.859

    Canadian dollar 1.545

    Australian dollar 1.735

    General News

    [12] Happy end to trekking ordeal on Crete

    Two Spanish women, aged 25 and 26, on vacation in Chania on the southern Aegean island of Crete, were found safe and sound on Wednesday after being lost during a trekking excursion.

    A rescue operation was launched with the participation of firefighters, volunteers and local people in the region of Lissos, west of Sougias, after authorities were notified by the young tourists themselves, who called the emergency number 112 on their mobile phone.

    The women, one of whom had respiratory problems, were located with some delay northwest of the area they had initially indicated because they had given incorrect directions to the rescue crews.

    [13] Michel Legrand at Sani festival

    Noted French composer Michel Legrand, , a Grammy and Oscar winner, will perform on Saturday at the annual Sani Festival in Halkidiki. English performer Alison Moyet will accompany him on stage.

    The concert is being held within the framework of 'Music on Film vs Film of Music' events, in cooperation between the Sani Festival and Thessaloniki Film Festival organisation.

    [14] Major cocaine bust at Athens airport

    A pair of Brazilian nationals were arrested at Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport on Wednesday after customs officers reportedly located a single bar of cocaine weighing nearly 2.3 kilos.

    Customs was informed by Swiss authorities that the pair, man and woman, would be attempting to smuggle the cocaine into Greece.

    [15] Major drug arrests in Piraeus

    Two foreign nationals, from Tanzania and Ethiopia, were arrested in Piraeus on Tuesday on drug peddling charges. Police found and confiscated 165,645 euros and 21,250 US dollars together with 66 grams of cocaine and a precise scale.

    The suspects, 43 and 34, were sent before a local prosecutor.

    [16] Major fires on Skopelos, Evia

    Two major fires were raging on Wednesday morning on the island of Skopelos and in Evia, with large fighting forces battling the blazes.

    A third fire that broke out before dawn in Corinth was partially contained a few hours later.

    The fire at Panormos, on the Sporades island of Skopelos, which broke out on Tuesday evening, is burning in a pine tree forest in an inaccessible area, battled by 40 firefighters with 14 fire engines and a 40-member team on foot, aided by three airplanes and a helicopter.

    The second fire, at Marmari in Evia, broke out at 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday in an expanse of dry shrubs, and was being battled by 40 firefighters with 18 engines and a 16-member team on foot, aided by two airplanes and two helicopters, but strong winds in the area were encumbering firefighters' efforts.

    According to firefighters, the flames reached up to the yards of homes, but did not cause damage to any of the houses.

    A third fire broke out at 3:30 in the morning in Zevgolatio, Corinth, and was partially contained by 8:40 a.m., without, however, approaching populated areas. A strong firefighting force was on the spot.

    According to the Fire Brigade's Operations Center, a total of 58 fires broke out throughout Greece in a 24-hour period from 6:00 a.m. Tuesday to 6:00 a.m. Wednesday. The Center further said that the fire-fighting mechanism remained on full alert Wednesday due to high winds in many parts of the country.

    [17] Fire breaks out in Koropi

    A fire broke out at noon on Wednesday in Koropi, northeast of Athens, in a land plot with dry brush and olive trees, but situated in a populated area, although no damage has been reported so far.

    A team of 24 firefighters with 8 fire engines were trying to bring the blaze under control.

    [18] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The new flu A/H1N1 pandemic in Greece and a Bank of Greece report indicating an increase of the fiscal deficit, mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Generous subsidies for houses built before 1980 - 100,000 household will benefit".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Development Ministry's new plan focuses on the upgrading of buildings built before 1980".

    AVGHI: "Personal Data Protection Authority rejects government's plan to place 24h surveillance cameras in Athens".

    AVRIANI: "Panic among 'national' contractors caused by MIG and its Vice President Andreas Vgenopoulos' decision to get involved with energy, water supply companies and enviromental programmes - Major reversal in public works".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Scientists confused over the pandemic".

    ELEFTHEROS: "The new upheavals in social security - Major changes in pensions".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Personal Data Protection Authority rejects law on surveillance cameras".

    ESTIA: "The speculation on (early) general elections is ridiculous".

    ETHNOS: "Education Ministry will decide, based on the development of the flu's spread, whether the commencement of the new school year will be postponed or not

    KATHIMERINI: "The fiscal deficit increases dramatically - According to BoG, it reached 17.9 billion euros in Q1".

    LOGOS: "Emergency after the 2 new flu cases - Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos briefs Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis".

    NIKI: "The virus spreads and the government is still making plans".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Workers' rally on Thursday against government's intention to change the criteria on 'the heavy and hazardous' professions."

    TA NEA: "'Half' motives for 'green' houses".

    TO VIMA: "Vote .....subsidy! Government offers benefits to citizens while the state economy is collapsing".

    VRADYNI: "4 billion euros to municipalities and local authorities to proceed with programme THESEUS 2".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [19] Cyprus government satisfied over British court's ruling on illegal flights


    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has expressed the satisfaction of the Republic of Cyprus over a ruling of the Administrative Court of the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, of the United Kingdom which dismissed an application for judicial review brought by two companies against the decision of the British Secretary of State for Transport to refuse their applications for the granting of permits to conduct direct flights between the UK and an airport operating illegally in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Stephanou described as very important the fact that the court noted the UK's obligation to respect the rights enjoyed by the Republic of Cyprus as a Contracting Party to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and the UK's obligation not to recognise the self-styled "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" and acts emanating from such non-recognized entity.

    He underlined that the importance of the court's decision is multidimensional and noted the fact that the decision is clear on the issue of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, saying that Cyprus enjoys exclusive sovereignty over its entire territory and the territorial waters adjacent thereto, irrespective of whether it exercises effective control over the whole of such territory. The same, he added, applies for the airspace over the territory of the Republic.

    Stephanou noted that the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, emanating from the international law, include the right to conduct international flights from and to its territory.

    He said that in its conclusions the court notes that Turkish Cypriots who live in the occupied areas can use the international airports at the Republic of Cyprus.

    As regards the so called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, he said that the Cyprus government will not give its consent to the adoption of policies and approaches leading, directly or indirectly, to the upgrading of a second state in Cyprus, because this is the goal of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side, when they refer to the so called isolation.

    Invited to comment on a press release on the court's decision issued by the British Foreign Office and asked if the Protocol signed by the President of Cyprus and the British Prime Minister will be implemented, Stephanou said that the Protocol determines, on the basis of principles, how bilateral relations are developed and implemented.

    He added that the settlement of the Cyprus question is included to it as an issue of principles as well as the basis for a settlement, while the Protocol also deals with issues regarding the relations between Cyprus and the UK.

    Stephanou underlined that the Republic of Cyprus will not accept any efforts to upgrade a second state in Cyprus, by using the argument of lifting the so called "isolation" of Turkish Cypriots.

    "The Republic of Cyprus", he added, "has its sovereign rights and defends them, it struggles for a Cyprus settlement and the reunification of Cyprus that will resolve the problems created by the occupation and will not accept any references to the so called isolation."

    "We are wondering why there are regularly references to the so called isolation," he added.

    The Foreign Office press release issued on Tuesday said that the British government's primary focus is on the settlement negotiations for Cyprus and that Britain continues to support efforts to end the so called isolation of Turkish Cypriots and bring the community closer to Europe through financial aid and trade liberalization.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    [20] FM: T/C so called isolation will end when Turkish occupation ends


    The so called isolation of Turkish Cypriots will end when Turkish occupation ends and Cyprus problem is solved, Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou said on Wednesday after the annual Meeting he had with the Heads of Diplomatic Missions of the Cyprus Republic at the Foreign Ministry.

    Kyprianou was commenting on a press release issued by the British Foreign Office referring to a ruling issued by the Administrative Court of the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, of the United Kingdom that dismissed an application for the granting of permits to conduct direct flights, between the UK and the airport operating illegally in the occupied area of the Republic under the name of "Ercan''.

    Invited to comment on the decision, Kyprianou said that "this is a legal decision", adding that "international conventions are valid and being implemented which is something that Turkey must realize".

    He pointed out that "international legitimacy is something that binds all countries and especially EU member states".

    Commenting on the remark made by the British Foreign Office in its press release that Britain continues to support efforts to end the so called isolation of Turkish Cypriots, Kyprianou stressed that "the so called, alleged, isolation of Turkish Cypriots will end when occupation ends and Cyprus problem is solved", adding that "all efforts should be focused on this and not on any other intermediate initiative".

    "For us, all actions should be taken within the framework of the international and European legitimacy", he said, noting that "we are the first ones to support the Turkish Cypriot community".

    He, also, stressed that "Larnaka airport can also be used by Turkish Cypriots", as was the remark made by the British Court.

    As regards the issue of trade, which is also mentioned in the press release issued by the Foreign Office, Kyprianou referred to the Green Line Regulation as well as legitimate ports and airports of the Republic of Cyprus "which can also be used by the Turkish Cypriots".

    "This is the clear position of the Republic of Cyprus", he concluded.

    Turkey, which aspires to become an EU member state, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus an EU member state since 2004.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

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