|Tuesday, 20 November 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 1 September 2009 Issue No: 3285
 State to buy 126,000 PCs for 7th gradersPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday was briefed by Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou and Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos, during a meeting at the Maximos Mansion government house.
Afterwards, Spiliotopoulos told reporters that 126,000 PCs will be allocated to 7th grade pupils around the country, with coupons being distributed that allow them to acquire the PC and 16 included software programmes.
Papathanassiou said the programme is budgeted at 68 million euros and will be funded by 4th CSF monies.
Additionally, junior high school textbooks will be distributed in electronic formats.
 PM Karamanlis holds talks with Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry directoratePrime Minister Costas Karamanlis held talks at the Maximos Mansion on Monday with the directorate of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Speaking after the meeting, Chamber president Costas Mihalos said that "the global economic crisis has dealt a blow at the Greek economy as well and, of course, it has underlined its longstanding structural problems."
He added that enterprising and radical reforms are necessary which, as he said, the government has already announced.
 PM Karamanlis holds talks with PASEGES farmers unionPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis held talks at the Maximos Mansion on Monday with representatives of the PASEGES farmers union, who briefed him on problems currently facing the farming sector. The meeting was held in the framework of preparations for the upcoming Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).
Speaking after the meeting, the Union's President Tzanetos Karamihas said that they presented the prime minister with problems concerning the dramatic decrease in farming incomes by 14 percent, the drop in agricultural production, the widening of the feeding deficit and the increase in unemployment.
He added that they gave the prime minister complete proposals on the handling of problems. Asked what the prime minister replied, the PASEGES president said that he told them "we shall talk in Thessaloniki."
 PM meets northern Greece industralists unionPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday had a meeting with a delegation from the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (FING) at his offices in Athens, in view of the upcoming Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).
FING President Nikos Pentzos said that he had outlined the problems faced by manufacturers, including lower turnover, lower profitability, stalled investment, reduced production and lower consumption.
He asked that manufacturing be restored to a central place in government policy, with targeted measures that would allow businesses to survive.
Also present during the meeting was Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou, who said there had been an honest and useful exchange of opinions and stressed the government's support of northern Greece's manufacturing sector.
 Papandreou to chair political council meetingMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou will chair a session of his party's political council at noon on Tuesday, a party spokesman announced on Monday.
Speaking at a regular press briefing on Monday, spokesman George Papaconstantinou, when asked if PASOK was creating momentum towards an election victory, said that "a year ago there were telling us that you are still behind, then they were telling us how can it be that you are in the same position, we passed ahead in the opinion polls, we won in the Euroelections and they are telling us only with four units difference, in any case opinion poll figures are leaving us coldly indifferent, our aim is to change the country."
Asked about the possibility of elections being called in relation to PASOK's possible absolute majority in an election win, Papaconstantinou said that "it is interesting how the possibility of elections is linked to the extent of New Democracy's defeat", while added that "we are speaking of a change in the country's course and on how ND will deprive PASOK of a majority."
On the question of the election of the president of the republic, the spokesman said "our position is absolutely the same, we want Karolos Papoulias as president, we want the president to be elected by a Parliament, that has received a fresh popular mandate, this will be our reply to Mr. Karamanlis, if he invites us."
Referring to a two-year extension he said the Greek government is negotiating with the European Commission to decrease the budget deficit below the 3-percent mark, Papaconstantinou said that "we had pointed out that the target of decreasing the deficit in 2010 was unattainable, unless more tax measures were taken (and in addition) we had said that negotiating was self-evident."
 Transport minister visits ThessalonikiVisiting the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Monday, Transport Minister Evripidis Stylianidis pledged the "dynamic" introduction of railways to address gaps in the city's transportation network, due to a lack of adequate bus routes. The minister underlined that the programme to modernise and reform Greece's railway system would be among the most important of the government's reforms in the coming period.
Among the plans outlined by Stylianidis were extending the Thessaloniki suburban line to Edessa and Kilkis within the next six months and a new line linking Macedonia airport with Epanomi and Moudania, as well as a railway line running parallel to the Egnatia motorway.
The minister also announced an increase in the Thessaloniki bus services that can be used by the disabled, the acquisition of mini-buses for Thessaloniki's Ano Poli district and an increase in "smart" bus stations to 200.
Replacement of the city's fleet of buses with 60 new low-pollution vehicles will begin in 2010, while a tender will be announced in the first six months of 2010 for the replacement of another 102 old-technology buses.
During the visit, the minister inaugurated a new intercity bus station (KTEL) in Halkidiki and the new tourist bus that will carry out a tour of historic sites and landmarks in the city, making 17 stops at museums, churches and other monuments. The ticket for the tour bus will cost two euros and be valid for travel on all public transport in the city for 24 hours.
 Health minister announces measures for novel influenzaHealth Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday announced the creation of three new committees for A/ H1N1 novel influenza, as well as new vaccination centres and flu surgeries to boost operational planning for coping with the disease. The announcements were made after a meeting of the National Influenza Pandemic Committee chaired by the minister.
Avramopoulos said the ministry would set up a Supreme Ethics and Conduct Committee for the flu, as well as two special committee for epidemiological and clinical monitoring of its progress.
The minister also announced that the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) would contribute 158 vaccination centres and 100 surgeries for flu cases.
Avramopoulos noted that confusion continued to prevail on a worldwide basis, even among the scientific community, about the best response to the virus' progress but said that the period of maximum intensity was not expected to last as long in Greece, where winters came later and ended sooner.
He added that the first doses of the vaccine against the virus would arrive in the middle of September, while its approval by the European Drugs Agency was expected in mid October, repeating that schools will open as usual on September 11.
Confirmed cases in Greece have now reached 1,839, of which 1 percent have been treated in hospital and 95 percent have fully recovered.
 MP Manolis resignsRuling New Democracy (ND) deputy Yiannis Manolis on Monday officially announced his resignation from Parliament as an MP from Argolida prefecture, in the northwest Peloponnese.
Manolis, a former high-profile labour unionist long affiliated with the New Democracy party, had repeatedly stated over the past few months that he would resign from Parliament at the conclusion of the legislature's third summer session.
In a letter of resignation to the Parliament president, the outspoken Manolis noted that his action aims to aid the prime minister "in not succumbing to all those recommending an electoral suicide."
Manolis did not mince his words in criticising those, who he charged, promote early election scenarios, saying this belies opportunism to assume ND's leadership or "others, who desire for themselves a significant institutional bi-partisan role ... even if this necessitates a heavy defeat and a dramatic shrinking (of the party's support)."
Moreover, he called on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to proceed with a wholesale overhaul of the party.
His seat in Parliament will be assumed by the runner-up on ND's ticket for the specific district, namely, Dimitris Kranias.
 Parliament president on Manolis resignationParliament President Dimitris Sioufas officially announced on Monday that Argolida deputy Ioannis Manolis resigned from his seat in Parliament on the same day.
According to Parliament regulations, a resignation is carried out with a written statement submitted to the Parliament president.
Manolis will be succeeded by Dimitris Kranias, who will be sworn in on Tuesday afternoon, following the announcement of Manolis' resignation.
 KKE leader addresses rally in KesarianiThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) expressed its reaction to the anti-communist, as it termed it, "campaign by the European Union to establish August 23 as a day equating fascism and communism", with a rally and protest march to the European Union's offices from the Athens district of Kesariani on Monday.
KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing the rally, termed the EU's memorandum "a modern-day anti-communist interstate memorandum, a forerunner and not merely a prelude to new violent and reactionary measures against the rights of the working people of all of Europe and Greece, against the peoples who, sooner or later, will assume historic initiatives in their countries at European level."
Papariga further said that for 91 years KKE has been experiencing all the forms of anti-communism, sometimes covered, but most of the time openly, crudely and violently, sometimes in the form of a defamatory ideological campaign and sometimes combined with measures of force, suppression and persecution.
 Gov't announces measures for protesting livestock breedersRural Development and Foods Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis on Monday announced a series of measures designed to support livestock breeders, including rescheduling of loans given by the Agricultural Bank of Greece. A short while earlier, livestock breeders throughout Greece had congregated at Tempi and used farm vehicles to block the main national highway connecting northern and southern Greece.
The measures announced by the minister include cash support and subsidies amounting to some 200 million euros to be paid out from the start of 2010, 152.4 million euros to subsidise insurance for crops used as livestock feed and new kinds of damages caused by climate change that were not previously covered by the farming insurance organisation.
During the protest blockade at Tempi, livestock breeders had demanded measures to supplement lost income, rescheduling of their debts, tax breaks and better prices for their products. They said they would continue blocking the road until nightfall, at which time they would decide what to do next.
The head of the national livestock breeders union Dimitris Kambouris explained that this was a "warning mobilisation" and that traffic would be allowed through at intervals, while emergency incidents would be allowed to pass using the hard shoulder.
"Our aim is not to make people suffer but to demand that our justified demands be met," he said.
 Livestock breeders withdraw from TempiGreek livestock breeders decided to withdraw their vehicles from the national highway at Tempi and go home on Monday afternoon, after blocking the road in protest earlier that day to demand greater financial support from the government.
Following the announcement on Monday of support measures for livestock farmers by Rural Development and Food Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis, they decided that their "warning mobilisation" had succeeded in sending the government a message and agreed to depart, though warning that they were not backing down from their demands.
"We expect the prime minister, from the Thessaloniki International Fair, to include in the measures that he will announce certain binding announcement for immediately meeting our economic demands," said the head of the Greek livestock farmers union Dimitris Kambouris, adding that farmers would take to the roads again after September 20 if their demands were not met.
 Greek exporters urge for new growth modelGreek exporters on Monday urged the government to adopt a new growth model for the economy, aimed at boosting exports and strengthening Greek products' presence in already established markets.
In a memorandum sent to Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou, the Panhellenic Federation of Exporters said a sharp fall in exports in the first half of the year confirmed the need to adopt a new economic growth model, which should include new methods to promoting exports, new innovative, brand names, strengthening Greek products in traditional markets and expanding into new markets (Mediterranean, Middle East).
 Intralot reports lower H1 resultsIntralot Group on Monday reported lower six months results, with consolidated turnover totaling 488 million euros in the first half of the year, down from 547.5 million euros in 2008 and pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) falling to 91.1 million euros from 126.7 million euros over the same period, respectively. Pre-tax earnings were 74.6 million euros and after tax and minorities earnings totaled 42 million euros, down from 112.4 million and 60.3 million euros, in the corresponding period last year respectively.
Parent turnover was 51.4 million euros and pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) totaled 9.5 million euros in the first six months of 2009, while after tax profits were 10.6 million euros.
Commenting on the results, Intralot's chief executive, Constantinos Antonopoulos expressed his satisfaction with first half results and reiterated Intralot's intention to seek new opportunities abroad.
 Intracom Holdings says sales up 12.9 pct in H1Intracom Holdings on Monday reported a 12.9 pct increase in first half sales to 260.8 million euros, from 231 million euros in the corresponding period last year.
Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA0 jumped to 50 million euros, from 6.3 million euros in 2008, while pre-tax profits and net profits totaled 13 million euros and 10.5 million euros, after losses of 25 million euros and 27.4 million euros, respectively.
 Hellenic Petroleum to pay 0.15 euros pre-dividendHellenic Petroleum on Monday announced a board decision to pay a 0.15-euro per share pre-dividend to its shareholders. In a statement, the company said the net dividend payment, after a 10-percent withholding tax, will total 0.135-euro per share.
Record date was set Oct. 21, 2009. Hellenic Petroleum said its shares will be traded ex-dividend on the Athens Stock Exchange from Monday, Oct. 19, 2009.
 Lavipharm reports improved H1 resultsLavipharm on Monday reported improved first half results, with consolidated turnover rising to 122.8 million euros, from 119.7 million in the same period last year, reflecting a 14 pct cut in operating spending. The company said pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) jumped to 4.5 million euros from 1.1 million euros in 2008, while financial results turned positive to 8.98 million euros reflecting the write off of a debt by its subsidiary in the US.
Consolidated pre-tax and minorities earnings totaled 11.6 million euros in the first six months of 2009, after a loss of 7.6 million euros last year, while after tax and minorities earnings totaled 6.2 million euros from a loss of 5.5 million in 2008.
Lavipharm said that following negative developments in the US, its three-year business plan was no longer valid.
Parent turnover rose 4.7 pct to 29.1 million euros, while operating earnings fell by 29.9 pct, and after tax results showed a loss of 137,000 euros, after earnings of 837,000 in 2008.
 Babis Vovos reports H1 lossesBabis Vovos International Constructions on Monday reported after tax losses of 6.2 million euros in the first half of the year, after earnings of 34.8 million euros in 2008 and said EBITDA totaled 6.8 million euros, down from 84.9 million euros in 2008.
Net financial expenses fell by 41.7 pct, while income fell 1.9 pct to 27.3 million euros compared with the same period last year.
The Group said its NAV/share was 14.47 euros in the first six months of the year, down 1.4 pct from last year, while investment real estate properties were value at 1.21 billion euros at June 30, 2009, unchanged from December 31, 2008.
 Greek retail sales turnover index down 13.4 pct in JuneGreece's retail sales turnover index dropped 13.4 pct in June, compared with the same month in 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Monday, while the retail sales volume index fell by 14.2 pct over the same period.
The statistics agency, in a report, attributed the 13.4 pct decline in the retail sales turnover index to a 27 pct drop in fuel and lubricants sales, a 5.4 pct fall in foodstore sales and a 16.9 pct drop in other shop sales. Bookstore sales dropped 32.2 pct and furniture-electrical appliances fell 23.2 pct.
The 14.2 pct fall in the retail sales volume index reflected a 12.6 pct in fuel and lubricants, a 9.4 pct in foodstore sales, a 34.2 pct drop in bookstores and a 24.2 pct in home equipment sales.
The turnover index, including fuel and lubricants was up 1.8 pct in June, while the retail sales volume index including fuel and lubricants was up 2.0 pct.
 Athens Water says turnover up, p rofits down in H1Athens Water on Monday reported improved first half results, with turnover rising to 184.092 million euros, from 178.134 million euros in the same period last year.
Pre-tax, profits, however, fell to 5.625 million euros, from 11.640 million in 2008, while after tax earnings fell to 3.685 million euros, from 8.035 million euros last year.
The company attributed its lower first half profits to a jump in services cost to 118.5 million euros from 104.8 million euros in 2008.
 Stocks end 2.91% downGreek stocks ended sharply lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, hit by a wave of profit taking. The composite index of the market ended at 2,466.41 points, off 2.91 pct, with turnover an improved 330.4 million euros, of which 121.6 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved downwards, with the Banks (4.40 pct), Telecommunications (3.86 pct) and Media (3.65 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Health (4.09 pct), Insurance (1.25 pct) and Food/Beverage (0.44 pct) scored gains.
The FTSE 20 index ended 3.65 pct down, the FTSE 40 index fell 1.06 pct and the FTSE 80 index dropped 2.15 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 171 to 45 with another 37 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.76%
Personal & Household: -0.83%
Raw Materials: -3.20%
Travel & Leisure: -1.65%
Food & Beverages: +0.44%
Financial Services: -3.12%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Alpha Bank, National Bank, OPAP and Piraeus Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 11.55
Public Power Corp (PPC): 16.40
HBC Coca Cola: 16.10
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.24
National Bank of Greece: 21.85
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.78
Bank of Piraeus: 10.96
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.33 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a low 54.905 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,177 contracts worth 33.819 million euros, with 23,046 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 17,112 contracts worth 21.086 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,622), followed by OTE (2,047), OPAP (1,233), Piraeus Bank (854), GEK (713), Alpha Bank (1,572), Marfin Popular Bank (1,444), Hellenic Postbank (979) and Cyprus Bank (419).
 Greek bond market closing reportÔurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.112 billion euros on Monday, of which 800 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 612 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 582 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds rose to 125 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 4.52 pct and the German Bund 3.27 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved slightly lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.31 pct, the six-month rate 1.08 pct, the three-month rate 0.82 pct and the one-month rate 0.48 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.438
Pound sterling 0.888
Danish kroner 7.502
Swedish kroner 10.300
Japanese yen 134.16
Swiss franc 1.528
Norwegian kroner 8.675
Canadian dollar 1.591
Australian dollar 1.722
 EU Commission, Dimas hail 2008 drop in CO2 emissionsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)
The European Commission and Greek Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas on Monday welcomed provisional figures for 2008 indicating that greenhouse gas emissions within the European Union had dropped for the fourth consecutive year.
ÔÝëïòöüñìáòÁñ÷Þöüñìáò"These provisional figures are a further confirmation that the EU is well on track to reach its Kyoto target, even if one should recognise that part of the reduction in emissions is due to the economic slowdown. This trend needs to be further consolidated in the coming years. The EU has already shown that it can successfully decouple its emissions from economic growth. The swift implementation of the EU climate and energy package should give a new impetus to this trend. This is a timely message to the rest of the world in the run up to the Copenhagen climate conference in December," Dimas commented.
According to provisional estimates released by the European Environment Agency, emissions in the 15 oldest member-states of the EU dropped by 1.3 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, reaching levels 6.2 percent lower than the reference year (in most cases 1990). The Commission considers that this brings the 15 member-states one step closer to achieving the Kyoto Protocol target of reducing emissions by 8 percent below levels in the reference year during 2008-2012. Levels in the 27 EU member-states dropped by an estimated 1.5 percent in 2008 and are 13.6 percent lower than levels in the reference year.
 Fire brigade's report on Attica fires to prosecutorThe fire brigade's report on the massive fires in east Attica earlier in August was sent to the public prosecutor investigating possible criminal liability for the fires on Monday. The report's findings indicate that at least one person is responsible for setting the fires, while it also refers to possible liability on the part of the officials responsible for protecting against fires.
The public prosecutor will now pick up the investigation and take additional statements and new testimony in order to decide whether the fires were deliberate or the result of negligence.
 Four bank robbers caught after police pursuitFour bank robbers caught just minutes after robbing a branch of Attica Bank in Nea Ionia were taken to Attica Security headquarters for questioning on Monday.
The armed robbery occurred at 10.20 on Monday morning, with the four men arriving at the bank driving a white Nissan. Two of them then entered the bank and forced the cashiers to hand over the money in their tills at gunpoint, before climbing back into the car with their accomplices and driving off.
Just minutes afterward, however, the car was spotted entering the Attiki Odos highway from Irakliou Avenue by a police patrol car that was in the area as part of an effort to prevent robberies. The officers followed the vehicle and called for assistance, so that the bank robbers were finally cut off on the Athens-Lamia highway.
They were found to be carrying a Kalashnikov automatic weapon, a Russian-made army rifle, 16,400 euros taken during the robbery, hoods, gloves and other objects. All four were Greek.
 Police report two large drug hauls, \on Kos and in AthensGreek authorities reported two major drug hauls on Monday, one by customs officers on the island of Kos and the second involving the find of a large quantity of cannabis in the Athens suburb of Maroussi.
Customs officers on Kos arrested a 20-year-old Lithuanian national travelling from Turkey with six kilos of heroin in his luggage on Saturday night. The drugs were concealed in a suitcase with a false bottom. This was the third arrest involving a foreign national entering the Dodecanese islands from Turkey carrying drugs.
In the second case, police found 240 kilos of unprocessed cannabis in a jeep abandoned on the Attiki Odos highway in the Athens suburb of Maroussi on Sunday. The jeep was searched by the drugs squad, who considered its presence suspicious, and an investigation is now underway.
Drugs squad officers also reported the arrest on Sunday night in the Athens districts of Peristeri and Agios Nikolaos of three Albanians aged 19, 20 and 25 years on suspicion of drug trading.
The three young men were searched and found to be carrying a Kalashnikov rifle, two guns, ammunition of various calibres and 280 euros and were led before a public prosecutor on Monday.
 Foreign national set on fire by husband diesA 27-year-old woman who sustained extensive burns when her husband allegedly set her on fire more than a week ago off a roadway in the NW Athens district of Ano Liossia died over the weekend, staff at Athens' KAT hospital announced.
The victim's 41-year-old husband was apprehended moments after the Aug. 23 attack while driving away in his vehicle on a nearby highway.
Both the victim and the alleged perpetrator were identified as Albanian nationals.
The attack on the woman caused a roadside brush fire and an immediate fire brigade mobilisation in the area -- in the foothills below Mt. Parnitha -- during the height of desperate efforts to extinguish a multi-front wildfire raging at the time to the north and northeast of Athens proper.
 Myanmar illegals located inside truck in border regionSeventy illegal immigrants, most from Myanmar (Burma), were detected in truck that had just entered Greece on Monday and was traveling in the extreme northeast district of Didymoticho, Evros prefecture.
The driver, a Moldavian national, was arrested at the scene. The illegals were crammed inside the truck's trailer and were reportedly headed for the country's interior.
The incident is noteworthy due to the detection of illegal immigrants from Myanmar -- between India and Thailand -- indicating that an overland illegal migration flow towards Europe is emerging farther east than previously recorded.
 Cloudy, showery on TuesdayCloudy and showery 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 15C and 35C. Cloudy with possible showers in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 22C to 31C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 21C to 28C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glanceTrue to form, press speculation over early elections and a cabinet reshuffle, along with economic issues and trends mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Measures for the economically weaker to be announced by PM".
APOGEVMATINI: "What ministers want: Elections now or in March, or, maybe a reshuffle?"
AVRIANI: "Siemens affair bombs exploding in tandem with elections".
ELEFTHEROS: "(Former minister Michalis) Liapis: Souflias, Dora should assume their responsibilities (in reference to ministers George Souflias and Dora Bakoyannis)".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Tension in (ruling) New Democracy as Karamanlis delays decisions".
ESTIA: "Thessaloniki (International Fair) a 'guillotine', as it hides dangers for PM".
ETHNOS: "Dissent over (timing) for early elections. (PM Costas) Karamanlis indecisive".
TA NEA: "ND grassroots 'rebellion' against early elections, as Karamanlis readies for ballot".
VRADYNI: "Week for final decisions by prime minister".
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