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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-08-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Thursday, 20 August 2009 Issue No: 3275


  • [01] Gov't eyes slashing of redtape
  • [02] Country missing opportunities, Papandreou
  • [03] Political fallout over charge by leftist MP involving Siemens
  • [04] McCain, 2 other US senators visit Rhodes
  • [05] Industrial index down 26.8% in June
  • [06] Stocks edge up on Wed.
  • [07] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [08] Ioannina to honor Michael Dukakis
  • [09] Noted poet passes away
  • [10] Arrests in rape, murder incident
  • [11] New case of new flu in Serres
  • [12] Heroin bust in Thessaloniki
  • [13] Classic cars exhibition in Hania
  • [14] Incident with PAO, Atletico Madrid fans
  • [15] Fair on Thursday
  • [16] The Wednesday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance Politics

  • [01] Gov't eyes slashing of redtape

    An inner cabinet meeting was convened on Wednesday to focus on issues related to the development ministry, with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis again chairing the session at his Maximos Mansion office.

    During the two-hour meeting, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said the ministry will soon table two draft bills aimed at boosting competitiveness and entrepreneurship in the country. Specifically, the first draft bill modernises and updates the process and conditions for establishing new business parks while the second simplifies the process for establishing a new company.

    Hatzidakis said it currently takes a whopping 14 to 18 individual steps to establish a new business in Greece, with the target being only four steps.

    [02] Country missing opportunities, Papandreou

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, addressing a party meeting on the economy on Wednesday, charged that the country is currently losing out on "major opportunities and time", adding that "our obligation is to make the best preparation possible to cover this lost time after the next elections."

    Papandreou opined that the government "is proceeding with no target as to where it wishes to lead the country. It is absent from the major international issues, from our relations with Turkey, up to the major issue of climatic change."

    The former foreign minister, in indirectly airing his demand for early elections, charged that "for as long as the scene does not clear up the entire political system will be dragged along. We shall not allow this.

    He stressed that the state of the economy is worsening continuously and that "we are experiencing a monetary collapse and a huge production deficit."

    Lastly, he announced that at next month's Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), PASOK will present a "road map" for economic recovery and the country's new growth potential, as he said.

    "We are aware of the difficulties and the real economic and monetary situation. We are ready with specific proposals, planning and cadres for the great changes that the country needs," he concluded.

    [03] Political fallout over charge by leftist MP involving Siemens

    A statement by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) deputy Pericles Korovessis on Tuesday concerning the involvement of leftist politicians affiliated with the then Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) in alleged Siemens kickback dating as far back as 1989, generated a firestorm of reactions by the current Synaspismos and its affiliated SYRIZA Parliamentary grouping.

    However, on Wednesday Korovessis said his statement "was tantamount to an appeal to the left to publicly and categorically deny these allegations, because, precisely, failure to deny them entails the risk of turning it into part of a problem that 'belongs', by right, to the implicated forces of capital and neo-liberal two-party rule."

    Meanwhile, Synaspismos president Alexis Tsipras insisted that the Siemens affair is a scandal of two-party rule, adding that "we are before degenerate phenomena. And everyone must assume his responsibilities and an end must be put."

    Additionally, it was announced that SYRIZA's Parliamentary group will convene on Tuesday and will reportedly discuss the furor caused by Korovessis' statement.

    In a related development, SYRIZA MP Yiannis Dragasakis, who served as the alternate finance minister in the Zolotas unity government of 1989, charged that "these statements ... constitute a political mistake, because at a time when the two major parties are facing each other with specific allegations by specific persons regarding bribery on their part, P. Korovessis, unprovoked and without any evidence, is placing the left in the same position as the parties that exploited power, public money and state procurements in Greece over the past decades."


    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) representative Makis Mailis, commenting on Wednesday's statements by Korovessis, said that "with his new statements, Korovessis neither succeeds in even patching up the provocation that he made, equaling that of (LA.OS party leader George) Karatzaferis, nor in covering up his anti-KKE malice and regrettable role in favour of New Democracy and PASOK."

    [04] McCain, 2 other US senators visit Rhodes

    Arizona senator and former US presidential candidate John McCain, as well as Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, on Tuesday evening arrived on the Dodecanese holiday island of Rhodes for a short visit.

    On Wednesday the three US senators were given a guided tour of the island's capital by Rhodes Mayor Hatzis Hatziefthymiou, with the highlights being the Palace of the Grand Magistre in the medieval town.

    Afterwards, the three US lawmakers met with Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, with talks mostly touching on Greek-American relations.

    All three US senators expressed their admiration for the island's natural beauty and praised efforts to preserve cultural heritage in the country.

    McCain, a highly decorated US Navy pilot, said he first visited Rhodes during his naval career and has repeatedly visited since.

    In response to a press question, McCain stressed that issues between Greece and Turkey continue to exist, but conditions have improved over the last years, adding that he believes relations will continue to improve in the future.

    Sen. Lieberman expressed his optimism on the development and enhancement of the Greek-American relations.

    On her part, Senator Collins thanked the local people and officials for the hospitality shown to US Navy personnel whose vessels dock at the Dodecanese island.

    The US Senate trio departed the island on Wednesday afternoon.

    Financial Affairs

    [05] Industrial index down 26.8% in June

    Economic activity slowed in Greece, according to figures released by the National Statistical Service on Wednesday, with the new orders' index in the industrial sector (measuring both the domestic and foreign markets) falling by 26.8 pct in June, compared with the corresponding month last year, after an increase of 17.6 pct in June 2008.

    [06] Stocks edge up on Wed.

    Stocks prices finally rallied on Wednesday at the Athens Stock Exchange, with the composite index of the market closing up 0.73 pct to end at 2,350.31 points. Turnover was a very low 109.5 million euros, of which only 2.9 million were block trades.

    Sector indices moved mostly upwards with Foods-Beverages (2.63 pct), Financial Services (1.79 pct) and Banks (1.54 pct) posting the biggest percentage gains of the day. Telecoms (1.57 pct) was the biggest sector loser of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index was up by 1.03 pct up, the FTSE 40 index lost an extremely marginal 0.01 pct and the FTSE 80 picked up 0.40 percent.

    From the stocks moved, 96 ended up, 95 declined and 61 remained unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.64%

    Industrials: -1.02%

    Commercial: -1.48%

    Construction: +0.36%

    Media: -0.92%

    Oil & Gas: +1.54%

    Personal & Household: +0.90%

    Raw Materials: -0.91%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.00%

    Technology: +0.84%

    Telecoms: -1.57%

    Banks: +1.54%

    Food & Beverages: +2.63%

    Health: +0.24%

    Utilities: +1.23%

    Chemicals: +0.51%

    Financial Services: +1.79%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and Coca Cola.

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

    Alpha Bank: 9.90

    ATEbank: 1.57

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.77

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.15

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.20

    National Bank of Greece: 21.19

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.10

    Intralot: 4.30

    OPAP: 16.20

    OTE: 10.03

    Bank of Piraeus: 9.15

    Titan: 20.49

    [07] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.422

    Pound sterling 0.867

    Danish kroner 7.502

    Swedish kroner 10.340

    Japanese yen 133.61

    Swiss franc 1.527

    Norwegian kroner 8.739

    Canadian dollar 1.578

    Australian dollar 1.737

    General News

    [08] Ioannina to honor Michael Dukakis

    The municipality of Ioannina in northwestern Greece will present one-time US presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis with the city's gold medal on Saturday during a Town Hall ceremony.

    On Saturday morning, Dukakis will tour the city's monuments and museums.

    The parents of Dukakis' mother, Efterpi Bouki Dukakis, hailed from the mountainous Zagori region of Ioannina prefecture.

    [09] Noted poet passes away

    Poet and translator Lina Kasdagli died on Tuesday at the age of 88.

    Kasdagli was born in Corinth and raised in Athens. Among her works are two noted poetry collections and translations in Greek of Mark Twain, John Steinbeck and Patrick Mauriat. Her funeral will take place on Thursday in Athens.

    [10] Arrests in rape, murder incident

    Three Romanian nationals were arrested on Tuesday on rape and first degree murder charges in the northwestern city of Arta, in relation to a particularly heinous attack on a retarded teen girl last March. Additionally, the victim's father was brutally beaten during the same attack and later died.

    A fourth man, a compatriot of the first three, is believed to have fled the country.

    According to police, a shotgun taken from the victim's home was recovered in the suspects' residence, while one of the suspects also reportedly worked in the late victim's farm.

    [11] New case of new flu in Serres

    The fifth case of new flu has been confirmed in the northern city of Serres by the National Centre of Health Operations of Northern Greece on Wednesday. The patient is being treated at a hospital in Serres as a precautionary measure due to other health problems being faced by the patient.

    [12] Heroin bust in Thessaloniki

    A 34-year-old Bulgarian national was arrested in Thessaloniki on Wednesday on felony drug smuggling charges following a lengthy investigation. A search of the suspect's car reportedly revealed 252 grams of heroin hidden in the vehicle's engine compartment.

    The suspect will be sent before a local prosecutor

    [13] Classic cars exhibition in Hania

    The 4th annual classic cars exhibition will open its doors on Wednesday in Hania. More than 40 cars, private, professional and military, built between 1922 and 1980 will be displayed on the premises of the old medieval customs building. Among the displays are an 825cc Citroen made in 1922 and a 600cc DKW of 1936.

    The exhibition will end on Aug. 30.


    [14] Incident with PAO, Atletico Madrid fans

    Two supporters of the Spanish football club Atletico Madrid were reportedly roughed during an incident with supporters of the Panathinaikos Athens club in downtown Athens on Wednesday.

    Atletico and Panathinaikos will be playing in a Champions League qualifying round match at the Athens Olympic Stadium later on Wednesday evening.

    The incident occured at rougly 5:30 p.m. at an intersection near the north side of the Acropolis.

    According to the police, a group of Spanish fans arrived in the district where a store selling Panathinaikos sportswear is located and the incident ensued under unspecified conditions.

    The two fans, a father and son, were slightly injured and were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

    Weather Forecast

    [15] Fair on Thursday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 2-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 36C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-8 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 23C to 34C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 22C to 33C.

    [16] The Wednesday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' forecoming state-of-the-economy address at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) and FinMin Yiannis Papathanassiou's nod to looming reforms in economic sector mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "FinMin: We will do what hasn't been done in last decades".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Political life a mess; clash between government, PASOK over Siemens scandal peaks".

    AVGHI: "New employees in public sector second class workers".

    AVRIANI: "Sweeping changes in government a few days before TIF".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Painful reforms jolt economy".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Government is hiding its 'Waterloo' with essays".

    ESTIA: "Karamanlis' chance to proceed with radical changes".

    ETHNOS: "Tax raid with harsh measures to be announced at TIF".

    KATHIMERINI: "Development ministry submits Marcopoulo quarries file case".

    LOGOS: "New package of measures in autumn - Reforms to be speeded up".

    NIKI: "First TIF then elections".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "An immediate complete answer to workers mandatory - Ruling New Democracy, PASOK and EU focus on anti-social reforms".

    TA NEA: "Government confesses failure and brings harsh measures".

    VIMA: "Costas (Karamanlis) do something - Ministers, MPs in despair".

    VRADYNI: "If unemployed established a political party they would comprise 10.5 percent".

    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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