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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-08-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 4 August 2009 Issue No: 3262


  • [01] PM chairs meeting on economy, tourism
  • [02] PASOK MPs table question on 3rd CSF
  • [03] Amb. Zepos to participate in NATO group of experts
  • [04] IOBE: Fiscal targets for 2009 unfeasible
  • [05] AC replacement plan surpasses all expectations, ends on Aug. 22
  • [06] Greek exports to Egypt increase
  • [07] Environmental terms approved for new Panathinaikos stadium
  • [08] Stocks end higher on Mon.
  • [09] ADEX closing report
  • [10] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [11] Wildfires in Peloponnese partially containedl, blaze in Kozani under control
  • [12] Foreign national arrested for trafficking of illegal migrants
  • [13] Two armed robberies targeting ELTA
  • [14] Worker fatality reported at Larco plant
  • [15] Bean Festival in Florina
  • [16] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [17] Cypriot and Maltese Speakers discuss issues of mutual interest Politics

  • [01] PM chairs meeting on economy, tourism

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Monday with economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou and tourism development minister Costas Marko-poulos.

    Replying to press questions after the meeting on the prospect of additional measures being taken on the economy, Papathanassiou denied media speculation, stressing that the changes and reforms will found the country's growth "not on loans and consumption, but on investments, on education, and the better operation of the state".

    He also clarified that no extraordinary contribution will be imposed on business enterprises.

    Regarding the course of execution of the 2009 state budget, Papathanassiou estimated that the situation will be reversed in the second half of the year, when the measures that have been taken by the government will start to produce yield.

    The minister, also in reply to a press question, accused main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou of having exceeded all limits in populism and irresponsibility.

    "Although he truly acknowledges the serious effects of the (global financial) crisis on the Greek economy, he has not backed a single measure that we have taken," the minister said, adding that "Mr. Papandreou has not submitted a single proposal that could lead to the restructuring of the economy".

    "Quite the opposite, Mr. Papandreou has voted against all the reforms the government has brought (to parliament) on the economy," Papathanassiou continued.

    He stressed that what the country needed was not "PASOK's and Mr. Papandreou's contradictory statements and platitudes, but a structured plan that will take us out of the crisis with the least possible repercussions", adding that "the government is implementing such a plan".

    Markopoulos, in turn, said that the government was dealing with the present and the real prospects, charging that "those who are not occupying themselves with those issues are occupied with elections".

    Regarding the tourism sector, the minister noted that the "disaster scenarios" put forward at the beginning of the year "fortunately have not come true", adding that "despite the existing economic conjuncture things are progressing satisfactorily".

    Markopoulos further noted that a decline in tourism was anticipated this year in all the Mediterranean countries, adding that Greece was "battling between a single-digit and a two-digit percentage, but in no instance does that which we heard at the beginning of the year hold true".

    [02] PASOK MPs table question on 3rd CSF

    Several main opposition PASOK MPs tabled a question Monday addressed to the minister of finance and referring to the transfer of 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) projects to the next programming period, as well as the implementation pace of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF).

    The 21 PASOK MPs signing the tabled question accuse the government that in its effort to speed up the materialization of NSRF projects it draws funds, earmarked for other infrastructure projects in the Greek regions through the Regional Operational Programmes, and transfers them to programmes of "questionable effectiveness", as they claimed.

    They also question the reliability of electronically registered 3rd CSF data.

    [03] Amb. Zepos to participate in NATO group of experts


    The Greek ambassador in Egypt, Ioannis-Alexios Zepos, will be part of a 12-member group of experts charged with shaping NATO's new strategic doctrine, it was announced here on Monday.

    NATO members have called on the Alliance's new Secretary-General, former Danish premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to prepare the new strategic doctrine, a decision taken during the Strasbourg/Kehl Summit in April this year.

    The completion of the new doctrine's framework is expected at the end of 2010, at NATO's Lisbon Summit.

    Rasmussen selected members of the group among several leading personalities, while the Greek foreign ministry proposed Amb. Zepos, given the diplomat's significant experience with NATO-related issues.

    Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright will be the president of the group of experts, while high-ranking officials from Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Spain, Germany, France, Latvia and Poland will also participate in the group.

    Financial News

    [04] IOBE: Fiscal targets for 2009 unfeasible

    Implementation of fiscal policy goals is unfeasible due to budget deviations observed, particularly in revenue gathering, according to the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research's (IOBE) quarterly report for the Greek economy, which was released on Monday.

    Figures for the first half of 2009 show major inconsistencies, according to IOBE, as regards the budget goals, mainly in the section of revenues.

    Specifically, net revenues dropped 0.7 pct in the first half of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008 (15 pct increase set as the annual goal for 2009). This development which was forecast early enough has led to extraordinary measures.

    Despite of the fact that extraordinary contributions and taxation revenues will be collected in the second half of the year, their effectiveness is uncertain (revenue increase of 0.8 pct of the GDP).

    Moreover, any revenue increase will be outbalanced to a certain extent by increased spending considering that the goal set in terms of spending will be overshot by 1.2 billion euros in the first half of the year.

    Therefore, the goal to have deficit reduced to 3.7 pct of the GDP in 2009 appears at the moment to be extremely difficult, if not unfeasible, IOBE concluded.

    IOBE is a private, non-profit, public-benefit research organisation based in Athens since its establishment in 1975.

    [05] AC replacement plan surpasses all expectations, ends on Aug. 22

    A ministry of development-sponsored air conditioning replacement programme launched in June will end on Aug. 22 instead of early December, as initially planned, due to increased demand that led to its goals being met in just a few weeks.

    A total of 110,402 antiquated household ACs were replaced and recycled, corresponding to more than double the initial goal of 45,000 units, according to the development ministry figures released on Monday.

    Energy savings will reach 41.6 GWh/year when the initial planning was for 16.96 GWh/year. In addition, the carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 36.6 thousand tons/year when the initial target was 14.9 thousand tons/year.

    Meanwhile, the state subsidy covering part of the cost of the purchase of energy saving ACs units reached 40 million euros, compared to the initial budget of 15 million euros.

    Finally, the website was visited by 200,000 consumers.

    [06] Greek exports to Egypt increase

    Greek exports to Egypt recorded a noticeable increase in the first four months of 2009 compared to the same period last year. The rise recorded was much higher than the increase in the imports from Egypt, leading to the reduction of Greece's bilateral trade balance deficit.

    Greek exports to Egypt increased to 76.03 million euros in Jan.-Apr. 2009 compared to 33.35 million euros in the same period last year, corresponding to an increase of roughly 128 pct, according to foreign ministry figures released Monday.

    Imports from Egypt increased roughly 35 pct in the first four months of 2009, reaching 135.33 million euros compared to 100.54 million euros in the same period last year.

    [07] Environmental terms approved for new Panathinaikos stadium

    The relevant deputy agriculture minister on Monday signed a decision approving the environmental terms for the construction and operation of the new Panathinaikos FC sports complex in Athens' centrally located Votanikos district.

    The approval signed last week concerns the construction of a 40,000-seat football stadium, a relevant announcement stated.

    [08] Stocks end higher on Mon.

    Stocks ended higher on Monday at the Athens Stock Exchange with the composite index of the market gaining 2.61 pct to end at 2,423.96 points. Turnover was a low 263.7 million euros, of which 80.1 million were block trades.

    Sector indices moved mostly upward with the Chemicals (5.53 pct), Health (4.66 pct) and Banks (3.82 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index ended 3.01 pct up, the FTSE 40 index 1.65 pct up and the FTSE 80 rose 3.66 percent.

    From the stocks moved, 186 ended up, 34 declined and 46 remained unchanged

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: unchanged

    Industrials: +2.56%

    Commercial: +0.89%

    Construction: +3.17%

    Media: +3.30%

    Oil & Gas: +0.73%

    Personal & Household: +0.24%

    Raw Materials: +3.13%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.23%

    Technology: +3.66%

    Telecoms: unchanged

    Banks: +3.82%

    Food & Beverages: +1.71%

    Health: +4.66%

    Utilities: +2.94%

    Chemicals: +5.53%

    Financial Services: +1.56%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Singularlogic, National Bank, OTE and Alpha Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 9.80

    ATEbank: 1.72

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.90

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.25

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.30

    National Bank of Greece: 21.00

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.80

    Intralot: 4.50

    OPAP: 17.24

    OTE: 11.00

    Bank of Piraeus: 8.59

    Titan: 21.00

    [09] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at its fair price in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 54.95 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,869 contracts worth 42.639 million euros, with 23,335 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,158 contracts worth 12.311 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (2,589) followed by National Bank (1,971), OTE (1,937), Piraeus Bank (974), Alpha Bank (957), Bank of Cyprus (785) and MIG (747).

    [10] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.441

    Pound sterling 0.855

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 10.380

    Japanese yen 136.95

    Swiss franc 1.536

    Norwegian kroner 8.749

    Canadian dollar 1.539

    Australian dollar 1.715

    General News

    [11] Wildfires in Peloponnese partially containedl, blaze in Kozani under control

    Four wildfires in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, were reported as partially contained at noon on Monday,l and firefighting efforts continued to completely extinguish them.

    The biggest of the fires broke out on Sunday night in the region of Agios Petros on Mt Mainalos, while the other three blazes are burning in the regions of Raches in Githio, Kria Vrisi in Corinth and Panagitsa in Levidi.

    Meanwhile, a fire that broke out on farmland in the municipality of Kamvounia, Kozani Prefecture, in northwestern Greece, has been put under control. The causes of the fire remain unknown. Taking part in the firefighting operation are 22 firemen on foot and 10 fire engines.

    [12] Foreign national arrested for trafficking of illegal migrants

    A 24-year-old foreign national was arrested in the northwestern city of Kastoria while attempting to board 7 illegal migrants on an intercity (KTEL) bus to transport them to the mainland.

    The suspect had led the illegal migrants to Kastoria on foot but he was spotted by the police when he bought them bus tickets. Both the smuggler and the illegal migrants were arrested.

    [13] Two armed robberies targeting ELTA

    Two armed men with their faces covered robbed a female Hellenic Post (ELTA) employee on Monday morning after blocking the way to her car on a provincial road in Iraklio, Crete.

    The robbers got away with the sum of 20,000 euros in pension money destined for local farmers. Police have launched a manhunt for their arrest.

    In an unrelated incident, earlier on Monday morning, two gunmen robed the ELTA branch in Patissia, Athens and got away on foot with an undetermined amount of money.

    [14] Worker fatality reported at Larco plant

    A 36-year-old worker was killed and three co-workers injured slightly on Sunday morning during a workplace accident at the Larco mining and metals plant in south-central Greece.

    The fatality was recorded near one of the plant's blast furnaces when molten metal veered off a track on which it was being transported. The three injured workers were transferred to a nearby hospital in Lamia.

    [15] Bean Festival in Florina

    The fifth annual Bean Festival in the Prespes lake region of northwest Greece included traditional folklore events and local delicacies, featuring the eponymous giant beans grown in the region.

    Roughly 3,000 tons of high-quality beans are produced annually in the Florina-Prespes region, cultivated on 1,300 hectares of land. The crop's uniqueness is attributed to the verdant region's microclimate and soil, and certified by the Greek state as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product. The same bean variety is recognised by the EU as a Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) product.

    This year's Bean Festival was held a month earlier than usual, instead of early September, to honor various expatriate groups visiting the region this summer from Australia.

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

    Elections speculation, politics and the new flu A/H1N1 virus were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "5,747 arrests in July alone - Police operations against crime are intensive and successful".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Double attack against Papandreou on election-mongering and the Presidential election".

    AVRIANI: "War in the Aegean over the oil", adding that development minister Costis Hatzidakis responded to the ongoing Turkish provocations in the Aegean with announcement of a bill to be tabled in parliament by the end of the year revising the legal framework on oil exploration, stating that 'Greece will in no instance relinquish its sovereign rights, nor back down on its public statements on the matter of the oil in the Aegean'.

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Prime minister Costas Karamanlis heading for (early general) elections - In the face of the countless problems of the winter, Karamanlis prefers to pass the baton to Papandreou so that he will...face the music".

    ELEFTHEROS: "George (Papandreou) 'bomb' paralyzes the 'heavies' in PASOK - He shook the entire establishment, anonymous and eponymous, in PASOK" with his statement that 'in the event of a PASOK victory in the elections, all the best that Greece has to offer, inside and outside its borders, will be used to staff the state machine, without partisan blinders'.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Resist the 'panic virus' - Don't rush to the hospital at every minor symptom", adding that the panic that has gripped the public over the new flu is scientifically unjustified, since the virus can be tackled with a healthy diet, rest and avoidance of smoking, and fever medication, while the use of specialised anti-viral medications is for heavier symptoms.

    ESTIA: "PASOK trying to instigate a political crisis - Papandreou's statement on the dissolution of parliament".

    ETHNOS: "New taxes for 850,000 SMEs - 10-20 percent increase in taxation coefficients on net profits as of 2010".

    TA NEA: "Tax-deductions through 'trick' on mortgage loans taken out by end 2010".

    VRADYNI: "Legal stumbling block on the legalisation of unlicensed enclosure of semi-enclosed balconies - Transfer of 'legalised' enclosures is illegal".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [17] Cypriot and Maltese Speakers discuss issues of mutual interest


    President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus Marios Garoyian discussed on Monday with his Maltese counterpart Louis Galea parliamentary cooperation but talks between the two Speakers focused on the construction of the new building to host the House of Representatives, an official announcement said here Monday.

    During a meeting Garoyian and Galea had, as part of Galea's visit to Cyprus, they praised the very good relations between their two countries and parliaments, with special reference to their common Mediterranean identity.

    They also discussed issues concerning ways to further strengthen parliamentary cooperation in the Mediterranean region, including the Maltese initiative in this direction, and exchanged views on the situation of their two countries' economies, in the light of the global financial crisis.

    The main topic of discussion, according to the official press release, was the construction of the new building to host the House of Representatives, which is the focus of Galea's visit to Cyprus, given that Malta is also planning to erect a new building for its parliament.

    The meeting with Garoyian was followed by a briefing by government and parliamentary officials involved in the construction of the new Cyprus House, as well as the architects of the project.

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