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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-08-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 18 August 2009 Issue No: 3273


  • [01] PM briefed by interior minister; expatriates' vote cited
  • [02] German high court postpones Christoforakos extradition
  • [03] Trade deficit drops in May
  • [04] Number of bounced checks rises in July
  • [05] Stocks end lower on Mon.
  • [06] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [07] Major hashish haul in western Greece
  • [08] Observatory in Grevena
  • [09] Man shot dead in Iraklio village
  • [10] Foreign national dead following street fight
  • [11] Kids with laser interfere with plane's landing on Rhodes
  • [12] Wildfire in Corinth prefecture
  • [13] Fair on Tuesday
  • [14] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM briefed by interior minister; expatriates' vote cited

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday received Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos at his Maximos Mansion office. Afterwards, Pavlopoulos said he briefed the premier over a series of ministry initiatives for the coming legislative period, and with a deadline being a Parliament plenary session concluding in June 2010.

    Additionally, Pavlopoulos said ruling New Democracy party -- either as the main opposition or as the government -- has operated based on the rules of consensus and within institutional boundaries, especially regarding application of the Constitution and in the voting of relevant executive laws. Conversely, he charged that main opposition PASOK has merely adopted a rejectionist stance.

    He referred to a 2001 Constitution revision when ND agreed with most revisions proposed by then ruling PASOK.

    "Unfortunately, PASOK followed another way," he said, citing constitutional revision attempts in 2006 that PASOK did not support.

    The minister stressed that the government is going to proceed with reforms and he called PASOK to support them. He reminded that a closely watched draft law finally granting eligible expatriates the right to vote in Greek general elections is still pending, because, as he charged, PASOK's opposition in Parliament has so far blocked ratification of the relevant bill.

    Asked by reporters about the ongoing Siemens investigation, Pavlopoulos stated that "the state has done everything to bring (former Siemens Hellas CEO) Michalis Christoforakos to Greece and to shed light over the case," while declining to comment on German judicial rulings.

    [02] German high court postpones Christoforakos extradition

    Germany's constitutional court has reportedly ordered a temporary delay in the extradition of one-time Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos, according to an announcement on Monday by Greece's justice ministry.

    Specifically, Greek Justice Minister Nikos Dendias said he was briefed on the matter by Supreme Court prosecutor Ioannis Tentes, who cited the German high court's ruling for a delay in Christoforakos' extradition to Greece.

    The latest twist in the ongoing and politically charged Siemens bribery and kickbacks investigation expectedly generated "ripples" across the country's political landscape, with the justice minister initially lambasting main opposition PASOK for its statements immediately after news of the extradition delay was announced.

    "PASOK has ceased to even keep up the pretences. By rejoicing over the temporary postponement of Mr. Christoforakos' extradition to Greece it is demonstrably proven, beyond a doubt, who is afraid of his (Christoforakos) arrival back in our country. It is none other than PASOK, which is in contact with a Siemens case defendant; it is none other than PASOK, which supports the write-off of a portion of the offences because they deal with the period when it (PASOK) was in government," Dendias said, adding:

    "The Greek state did and will do everything possible for the transfer of Michalis Christoforakos to Greece".

    PASOK spokesman

    On his part, main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou left open the possibility of PASOK "taking initiatives" for the tabling a proposal regarding "favourable treatment" for Christoforakos or "anyone else who will produce evidence upon the opening of Parliament or during some other summer recess committee."

    PASOK's spokesman reiterated a proposal on "everything and the entire flow of money to light" and stressed that "the citizens are realising that the government's political time is up: resorting to the polls is the salvation, since a change in course is urgent."

    Papaconstantinou replied in the affirmative to a press question of whether PASOK guarantees that it did not receive financial support from Siemens during the period when current MP and former minister Costas Geitonas was PASOK's treasurer or when George Papandreou became the party president.

    Asked whether he maintains that no Siemens money entered PASOK's coffers or whether merely that Papandreou was unaware of such a development, Papaconstantinou said "we have no evidence whatsoever over (Siemens) money funneled to PASOK's coffers."

    Finally, in answer to another press question, Papaconstantinou stated that "we are here to listen to his (Christoforakos) evidence ... evidence is that which clearly links funding with persons and parties."


    Finally, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), commenting on developments in the Siemens case and Christoforakos, said that "there are many who are interested in the substance of the Siemens affair being covered up."

    The announcement added that "apart from New Democracy and PASOK, the German state also has serious reasons in not wanting the substance to be revealed, namely, on how German business colossuses develop their profit-making."

    Financial News

    [03] Trade deficit drops in May


    Greece's trade deficit dropped by 4.2 billion euros in May 2009 (yr-yr) to stand at 11.6 billion euros, according to figures released here on Monday by Eurostat.

    Specifically, exports reached 5.8 billion euros, while imports totaled 17.4 billion, thereby slashing the deficit from 15.8 billion to 11.6 billion euros, in relation to the corresponding month of 2008.

    [04] Number of bounced checks rises in July

    Credit conditions reportedly worsened in the local market last month, with the number of bounced checks reaching 30,342 and totalling 296.49 million euros, official figures showed on Monday.

    In the January-July period, the number of bounced checks reached 196,431, totalling 1.954 billion euros.

    [05] Stocks end lower on Mon.

    Stocks ended lower on Monday at the Athens Stock Exchange, affected by negative trends in other bourses around the world, with the composite index of the market losing 1.36 pct to end at 2,309.63 points. Turnover was a very low 108.4 million euros, of which barely 1.4 million were block trades.

    Sector indices moved mostly downwards with Insurances (6.14 pct), Commerce (3.51 pct) and Industrial Goods (3.41 pct) and Banks (3.00 pct) posting the biggest percentage losses of the day. Foods-Beverages (3.18 pct) and Constructions (1.23 pct) scored the biggest gains.

    The FTSE 20 index fell by 1.77 pct up, the FTSE 40 index was down 2.16 pct and the FTSE 80 dropped 2.04 percent.

    From the stocks moved, 43 ended up, 160 declined and 36 remained unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -6.14%

    Industrials: -3.41%

    Commercial: -3.51%

    Construction: +1.23%

    Media: -1.05%

    Oil & Gas: -0.85%

    Personal & Household: -2.18%

    Raw Materials: -2.83%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.25%

    Technology: -1.52%

    Telecoms: -0.49%

    Banks: -3.00%

    Food & Beverages: +3.18%

    Health: -2.81%

    Utilities: +0.42%

    Chemicals: -0.50%

    Financial Services: -2.08%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 9.38

    ATEbank: 1.54

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.97

    HBC Coca Cola: 15.55

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.20

    National Bank of Greece: 20.50

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.10

    Intralot: 4.30

    OPAP: 16.66

    OTE: 10.20

    Bank of Piraeus: 8.90

    Titan: 20.40

    [06] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.418

    Pound sterling 0.869

    Danish kroner 7.503

    Swedish kroner 10.370

    Japanese yen 134.0

    Swiss franc 1.533

    Norwegian kroner 8.796

    Canadian dollar 1.574

    Australian dollar 1.734

    General News

    [07] Major hashish haul in western Greece

    Two local men were arrested in western Aitoloakarnania prefecture by authorities on felony drug smuggling charges after a police search revealed 50 packets of hashish -- weighing 52.4 kilos -- in their vehicle.

    Another alleged accomplice was arrested in northwest Thesprotia prefecture.

    The suspects were scheduled to appear before a local prosecutor while the narcotics, the vehicle, money and several cell phones were confiscated.

    [08] Observatory in Grevena

    A final study for the construction and operation of an observatory atop Grevena prefecture's Mount Orliakas, in northwestern Greece, will be ready in October. Meanwhile, works are scheduled to start in the first days of 2010, according to local officials.

    The new observatory is expected to field three telescopes.

    [09] Man shot dead in Iraklio village

    A Georgian national shot dead a fellow countryman of his in the village of Iraklio, in the northern prefecture of Thessaloniki, shortly after 5:30 on Monday afternoon.

    According to the police, the victim was sitting in the yard of his home when the perpetrator saw him, got out of his car and shot him with a pistol he had with him.

    After the killing, the perpetrator tried to escape but was stopped by bystanders who handed him over to the police. The reasons for the slaying are unknown.

    [10] Foreign national dead following street fight

    A Pakistani national was killed overnight in downtown Athens after he was assaulted by a compatriot, over as yet undetermined reasons.

    The victim, 21, died while being transferred to a local hospital.

    The incident, near Omonia square in the heart of the Greek capital, comes amid an increased police presence of late in the specific district and repeated sweeps for vagrant illegal migrants, drug dealing and petty street crime.

    The alleged perpetrator, also 21, was arrested by police.

    [11] Kids with laser interfere with plane's landing on Rhodes

    Two minors, aged 13 and 14, were detained by authorities on the Dodecanese holiday island of Rhodes on Sunday for allegedly shining a handheld laser light at the cockpit of a passenger jet attempting to land at the island's airport.

    The incident occurred on Saturday evening when the plane, which had departed from Alexandroupolis in northeast Greece, attempted to land at Rhodes' airport. The first landing attempt, in fact, was scuttled due to the laser interference, authorities said.

    Additionally, the parents of the minors were arrested on child abandonment charges.

    [12] Wildfire in Corinth prefecture

    A major wildfire was reported early Monday afternoon in the Sofiko district of Corinth prefecture, in the northeast Peloponnese. A large force of fire-fighters along with seven fire-fighting aircraft were dispatched to the forested site.

    Weather Forecast

    [13] Fair on Tuesday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 18C and 35C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 23C to 33C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 21C to 32C.

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

    Speculation over the extradition to Greece from Germany of former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos mostly dominated the headlines on Monday, an otherwise slow "news day" following a three-day mid-summer weekend.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "New university entry system - What will be applied after abolition of exams".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Christoforakos back in Greece wearing handcuffs".

    AVRIANI: "156 names in Christoforakos' two CDs".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Government's dilemma (in Siemens case)".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "After Christoforakos' revelations to German prosecutors in Siemens bribery case, return to Greece brings nightmares".

    ESTIA: "Simple measures for tax system - What IMF proposes".

    ETHNOS: "Zero hour for 'man (Christoforakos) with the suitcase'."

    TA NEA: "Christoforakos forgiven for 68 out of 71 kickback charges after testimony in German courts".

    VRADYNI: "Which university entry grades rise, which fall".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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