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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 8 September 2009 Issue No: 3291


  • [01] PM chairs Election Campaign Committee
  • [02] PASOK leader meets Piraeus business associations
  • [03] KKE head criticises opposition
  • [04] President dissolves Parliament, proclaims elections
  • [05] Koumoutsakos named ND spokesman
  • [06] Psarouda-Benaki, Papadopoulos not to run in elections
  • [07] Alavanos will not run for parliament in October elections
  • [08] Karatzaferis press con'f
  • [09] Greek FM official in Bucharest
  • [10] Airspace violation reported over Fournous isle
  • [11] Crown Princess of Sweden Victoria in Athens on Thurs.
  • [12] Inflation up 0.8% in Aug
  • [13] Foreign investors slightly increase participation in Athens bourse
  • [14] Stocks end 2.97% up
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [17] Ancient column capital missing from Ancient Olympia
  • [18] Evros fires fully contained
  • [19] 14th Youth Parliament ends session
  • [20] Robbery attempt in Megalo Pefko thwarted by passing patrol car
  • [21] Illegal migrants intercepted off Samos, Agathonisi, Lesvos
  • [22] Rain on Tuesday
  • [23] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM chairs Election Campaign Committee

    Chairing a meeting of ruling New Democracy's Election Campaign Committee on Monday, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis outlined the strategies and tactics that the party will adopt in the run-up to the October 4 elections, as well as the party's plan of action and planned tours.

    Briefing reporters on the meeting's results, newly-appointed ND spokesman George Koumoutsakos announced that Karamanlis intended to ask for a one-on-one debate with main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, one that would be as direct and to-the-point as possible.

    Koumoutsakos said that this decision, which met the agreement of government ministers, was demanded by the critical nature of the upcoming elections, in which voters would be asked to select that leader that would lead the country out of the crisis.

    "The result of the election of October 4 will determine the course of the country in the difficult times of a global crisis that has no precedent in the past 80 years," Koumoutsakos stressed.

    The spokesman defended the premier's decision to call early elections, saying they were necessary in order to protect the country from being cast into an extended six-month pre-election period by main opposition PASOK's irresponsible announcement that it would not cooperate in the election of the president in March.

    He stressed that ND was entering the election battle confidently, adding that the premier and senior party officials will be visiting all corners of Greece to relay a message of hope and determination.

    "We are certain - we are positive - that through collective and coordinated work we will once again be the victors with Costas Karamanlis as prime minister," he added.

    Attacking PASOK, Koumoutsakos said that Greek citizens "can be certain that in the next few days, the frivolous populism of PASOK and its leader will be shown to lead nowhere. Against this dead end of vague words and contradictory promises without limit, which lead to insurmountable dangers, ND has adopted a position of responsibility. At this crucial hour, we call on citizens to choose the policy and the leader that will ensure prospects and hope through difficult but absolutely necessary decisions, not pleasant in the short term but the only certain way for a final exit from the current crisis."

    [02] PASOK leader meets Piraeus business associations

    "The market is suffocating, small and medium sized businesses are suffering and the Greek family faces the threat of unemployment," main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said on Monday after a meeting with Piraeus business groups at the premises of the firm Marco Pumps, adding that the state in the last few years had been one rife with wasteful spending in the pursuit of patronage politics and untransparent deals with cronies and the powerful.

    "During one of my meetings with Piraeus business bodies I realised that we have huge potential and that together we can emerge from the crisis stronger," Papandreou added.

    PASOK's leader stressed, however, that the recovery would not come about by "placing the burden on the small and medium-sized business or the worker but by supporting growth, by stimulating the market, by supporting the putting in order a wasteful, jobbery-ridden state, by supporting employment and creating a new developmental model that will bring wealth to the country".

    [03] KKE head criticises opposition

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga called on voters to give their support to her party and "mete out a severe blow to ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK," speaking at a press conference on Monday in view of the elections scheduled for Oct. 4.

    In touching on other opposition parties, Papariga maintained that, in principle, both the Parliament-represented Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party and the neophyte Ecologists-Greens identify with the two mainstream political parties, respectively, and seek to have a good election showing in order to "bargain" for their participation in a future government.

    Papariga described the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliament grouping as being "100 percent unreliable", underlining that it was proven unable to become a challenge the two major political parties. She also added that its "alleged 'trump card', the unity of the left, has been left in shambles".

    The KKE leader stated that her party has a completely different policy compared to the rest political parties in the country highlighted by its stance toward what she termed monopolies, large multinationals, the EU, NATO and the United States.

    Referring to the coalition government scenarios in case no party wins a strong majority in the elections, Papariga stated that plans are being drawn up for a likely ND-PASOK government in which the strong family names will be brushed aside and maintained that an coalition government with the participation of smaller political parties is virtually impossible.

    [04] President dissolves Parliament, proclaims elections

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday signed an order dissolving Parliament and proclaiming elections on October 4, and for the convening of the Parliament arising from the elections on Wednesday, October 14.

    [05] Koumoutsakos named ND spokesman

    Ruling New Democracy president Costas Karamanlis on Monday appointed MEP George Koumoutsakos as party spokesman. Prior to his election to the European Parliament, Koumoutsakos had served as spokesman for the foreign ministry.

    [06] Psarouda-Benaki, Papadopoulos not to run in elections

    Former Parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki on Monday informed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in a letter that she does not intend to run in the upcoming elections on Oct. 4, after 28 consecutive years as an MP.

    She also expressed her thanks to Karamanlis for the trust he placed in her by appointing her Parliament president, saying she remained at the party's disposal and wishing him the best of luck in the upcoming electoral battle.

    Additionally, it was announced that former PASOK minister Alekos Papadopoulos will also not vie for a seat in Parliament in the next elections. Papadopoulos announced his decision in a letter to PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    [07] Alavanos will not run for parliament in October elections

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos, in a brief announcement by his office on Monday, announced that he will not run for parliament in the upcoming general elections on October 4.

    [08] Karatzaferis press con'f

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party founder and leader George Karatzaferis on Monday stepped up his criticism of the government and other opposition parties, in the wake of snap elections on Oct. 4.

    Karatzaferis, an outspoken former MP with ruling New Democracy (ND) party who founded the more right of centre LA.OS party earlier in the decade, charged that the Karamanlis government has failed in every ministerial portfolio, while saying the country faces the ongoing economic crisis unprepared.

    The veteran politician, who also served a term as a MEP in the European Parliament, spoke on the sidelines of the 74th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), which traditionally marks the commencement of the fall political season in the country and the venue for wide-ranging press conference by political leaders.

    "Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis cannot buck his responsibilities on the (preceding) PASOK governments, because in the six years he's been in power he has not righted the wrongs he inherited from the Simitis administration," Karatzaferis told reporters in the northern Greece port city.

    Moreover, he said the prime minister's stated unwillingness to cooperate with LA.OS because the latter was ostensibly on the "political (spectrum's) fringe" -- uttered a day earlier in the same venue and during a national televised press conference -- was insulting.

    Finally, he forecast that main opposition PASOK will not gain a large enough percentage of the vote on Oct. 4 to achieve a Parliament majority allowing for a self-sufficient government, predicting instead a PASOK-ND coalition government.

    [09] Greek FM official in Bucharest

    BUCHAREST (ANA-MPA / I.Randou)

    Dimitrios Katsoudas, European affairs secretary general at the Greek foreign ministry, will travel to Romania on Sept. 8-10 for talks with his Romanian counterpart, the Greek embassy announced here on Monday.

    Katsoudas' talks on Sept. 9 with his counterpart will focus on European and regional issues. The Greek official will also address a same-day conference organised by the European Institute for Risk, Security and Communication Management (EURISC), on the theme of "New European Policies and the Balkans: Challenges and Opportunities for Romania and Greece".

    [10] Airspace violation reported over Fournous isle

    Greece's armed forces general staff on Monday announced that two Turkish warplanes flew over the eastern Aegean islet of Fournous in the early afternoon, an apparent continuation of recent high-profile provocations by the neighbouring country's military.

    The incident occurred at 3:57 p.m. (local time), with the violating F-16s flying at an altitude of 22,000 feet.

    Additionally, Greek authorities said four pairs of Turkish F-16s infringed on Athens FIR regulations the same day north of the island of Hios.

    It all instances Greek fighter planes were scrambled and directed to the area to recognise and intercept the violating warplanes.

    [11] Crown Princess of Sweden Victoria in Athens on Thurs.

    Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria, the Duchess of Västergötland and heiress to the Swedish throne, will be in Athens on Thursday for the exhibition "Design S", organised within the framework of events held by the EU's Swedish presidency.

    Princess Victoria will be received by president of the republic Karolos Papoulias at noon on Thursday after first visiting the New Acropolis Museum.

    On Thursday afternoon, the Swedish dignitary will inaugurate the exhibition at the Evgenidis Foundation.

    "Design S", which will last until Sept. 27, is a touring exhibition showcasing all of the award-winning objects entered in the "Design S/Swedish Design Award" competition.

    Financial News

    [12] Inflation up 0.8% in Aug

    Greece's consumer price index grew by 0.8 pct in August, compared with the same month last year, rising from a 0.6 pct reading in July, the National Statistical Service said on Monday.

    The statistics service, in a monthly report, attributed the 0.8 pct increase in the inflation rate to a 6.3-pct rise in alcohol/tobacco prices, a 4.7-pct increase in education prices, a 3.9-pct rise in other goods and services, a 2.9-pct increase in clothing and footwear prices and a 2.8-pct rise in health prices. The housing and transport price categories were the only ones to record declines in August (4.9 pct and 3.1 pct, respectively).

    NSS secretary-general Manolis Kontopyrakis, commenting on the figures, said the inflation rate in August reflected a 4.2-pct rise in fuel prices, a 5.5-pct increase in fruit prices and a 13.1-pct rise in vegetable prices. Kontopyrakis said he expects the consumer price index to remain unchanged at August's levels in September. Greece's harmonised inflation rate was up 1.0 pct in August compared with the same month in 2008.

    [13] Foreign investors slightly increase participation in Athens bourse

    Foreign investors marginally raised their participation in the Athens Stock Market's capitalisation to 48.38 pct in August, up from 48.13 pct in July, although it still remained below a 51.37-pct rate in August 2008.

    Greek investors slightly cut their participation to 50.3 pct in August 31, from 50.7 pct a month earlier. Foreign investors were net buyers in August with capital inflows totaling 291.93 million euros (309.8 mln from institutional investors), while Greek investors were net sellers with capital outflows of 268.57 million euros (198.1 million euros from private investors).

    Turnover in the Athens Stock Exchange totaled 4.174 billion euros in August, almost unchanged from July, but 15 pct up compared with August 2008 (3.631 billion euros). Average daily turnover was 198.8 million euros in August, from 181.6 million in July and 181.6 million in August 2008.

    [14] Stocks end 2.97% up

    Stocks rose substantially in thin trading conditions at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday. The composite index of the market ended 2.97 pct higher at 2,497.15 points, off the day's highs, with turnover a limited 163.8 million euros of which 4.6 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the exception of the Insurance sector which ended 0.68 pct down. Media (25.91 pct), Technology (5.42 pct), Banks (4.23 pct) and Telecommunications (3.73 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index jumped 3.45 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 2.49 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 3.09 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 195 to 35 with another 34 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +4.20%

    Industrials: +2.80%

    Commercial: +2.17%

    Construction: +1.66%

    Media: +25.91%

    Oil & Gas: +1.38%

    Personal & Household: +2.06%

    Raw Materials: +3.17%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.76%

    Technology: +5.42%

    Telecoms: +3.73%

    Banks: +4.23%

    Food & Beverages: +0.31%

    Health: +2.21%

    Utilities: +0.96%

    Chemicals: +3.51

    Financial Services: +1.81

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 11.91

    ATEbank: 1.60

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.40

    HBC Coca Cola: 15.62

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.35

    National Bank of Greece: 22.80

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.00

    Intralot: 4.49

    OPAP: 17.28

    OTE: 11.41

    Bank of Piraeus: 10.83

    Titan: 20.90

    [15] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.40 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 67.717 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,366 contracts worth 48.225 million euros.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 19,836 contracts worth 19.492 million euros, with investment interest focusing on OTE's contracts (6.146), followed by MIG (1,673), GEK (1,116), National Bank (2,000), Piraeus Bank (958), Intracom (1,290), Marfin Popular Bank (1,043) and ATEbank (883).

    [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.444

    Pound sterling 0.880

    Danish kroner 7.503

    Swedish kroner 10.277

    Japanese yen 134.4

    Swiss franc 1.530

    Norwegian kroner 8.653

    Canadian dollar 1.555

    Australian dollar 1.688

    General News

    [17] Ancient column capital missing from Ancient Olympia

    The capital of a column from an early Christian church has gone missing from the grounds of the Ancient Olympia archaeological site and is presumed stolen, the culture ministry has announced. The police have been informed about the incident and asked to assist in recovering it.

    According to an announcement late on Saturday, a guard at Ancient Olympia had reported that the artifact was missing from its usual place and described it as "a capital measuring 30cm by 30cm by 20cm that belonged to the early Christian basilica of the 6th century A.D." The capital and other architectural elements were positioned on a wall around the church, in the open.

    An internal inquiry has been launched by the General Directorate for Antiquities and Cultural Heritage and the head of the 7th Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Ancient Olympia Conservancy Georgia Hatzi has been suspended from duty until further notice.

    The Deputy head of the Antiquities and Cultural Heritage directorate Maria Blazaki has been put in charge of the search for the missing artifact and asked to go to Ancient Olympia.

    A search for the missing artifact, to discover whether it had been moved to another spot on the archaeological site was carried out at first light, immediately after its loss was reported, but nothing was found.

    [18] Evros fires fully contained

    Two fire fronts that broke out around midday Sunday near Aetochori and Melias in the prefecture of Evros were reported as having been fully contained on Monday morning.

    The forest fire, which broke out on two fronts on Sunday noon in the Aethochori and Melias expanses, quickly spread due major dimensions fanned by high winds in the area, resulting in the evacuation of the villages of Pefka and Loutra for precautionary reasons. Traffic on the Egnatia Highway between the Makiri and Ardani junctions was also interrupted, while a state of emergency was declared in the southern part of Evros prefecture.

    According to first estimates by Northern Greece Fire Brigade general inspector Dimitris Pafoutis, the fire burned approximately 5,000 acres of forest land before being contained by a strong force of 200 firemen with 50 fire engines from the wider region of Macedonia and Thrace, assisted by four water-dropping planes, the military, local residents, volunteer firefighters and water tankers and other equipment from the prefecture and surrounding municipalities.

    [19] 14th Youth Parliament ends session

    The 14th Youth Parliament ended on Monday for another year, after a weekend in which 300 teenagers in the second year of highschools around Greece and countries throughout the world had outlined their views and presented their own proposals for the problems that concern them, while a common refrain was the call for honesty from politicians.

    Ending the session for another year, Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas said that in those three days "we have lived and witnessed scenes from the future of democracy in Greece and the world. Young people, teenagers, tomorrow's citizens, discussed hopes, dreams and prospects for tomorrow's world. They judged our age with the thinking of tomorrow."

    The Youth Parliament is an annual educational programme carried out in Greece, in which 300 teens from schools throughout the country are selected to participate based on the strength of essays they submit for inclusion in the programme. For one weekend they occupy the places of Greek Parliamentary deputies and outline their thoughts and ideas about current affairs and problems, as well as visiting museums and other activities. An innovation in this year's Youth Parliament was the participation of 54 young people from abroad.

    [20] Robbery attempt in Megalo Pefko thwarted by passing patrol car

    Two hooded individuals attempting to rob a supermarket on the old Athens-Corinth national motorway at Megalo Pefko on Monday morning were chased away by a passing police patrol car and fled the scene on foot after abandoning their motorcycle.

    One of the fleeing robbers forced at gunpoint the driver of a passing car to take him to a Proastiakos (Suburban) railway station in Nea Peramos. A manhunt was launched for the arrest of the two suspects.

    [21] Illegal migrants intercepted off Samos, Agathonisi, Lesvos

    A Coastguard patrol boat picked up 17 illegal migrants at dawn on Monday just before their small dinghy capsized in the sea east of the eastern Aegean island of Samos.

    The rescue operation got underway following an anonymous telephone call to the local Coastguard office. The migrants, who told authorities that they had originated from the Turkish coasts, were taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons.

    Meanwhile, 25 illegal migrants were spotted on a small boat off the islet of Agathonisi and are currently held at the Coastguard station on the island of Patmos.

    A total of 100 illegal migrants, among them 20 children, were arrested on the islands of Lesvos and Samos over the past three days.

    Weather forecast

    [22] Rain on Tuesday

    Rain and storms will continue to the east but start to clear up in western parts of the country on Tuesday, while temperatures will remain low. Winds mainly north-northeasterly, ranging from 5-7 Beaufort and up to 8 Beaufort at sea, with temperatures between 10C and 29C. Rain in Athens, with winds up to 6 Beaufort and temperatures ranging from 18C to 23C. Same in Thessaloniki, with winds up to 6 Beaufort and temperatures from 17C to 22C.

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

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis' press conference and the economic policy he unveiled at the 74th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on the weekend dominated the front pages of Athens' newspapers on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Thessaloniki: He was the best Karamanlis ever, with his address and press conference".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Everything for the victory - A genuine Karamanlis, charismatic and useful for the people and the country".

    AVRIANI: "Everything open in the elections - Nothing has been decided yet - The public liked Karamanlis' frankness".

    CHORA: "Karamanlis picked up the gauntlet for a one-on-one televised showdown with George (main opposition PASOK leader Papandreou)".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "The premier made it clear that in the vent of an ND defeat, he will not resign from the party leadership".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Karamanlis to ND supporters: Put the bitterness behind you - Karamanlis reached out to the voters at the TIF".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Giving his all before he collapses - Karamanlis, in dramatic tones, attempted to reverse the defeatist mentality".

    ESTIA: "Bold turn-about by Karamanlis - He abandoned the mild adjustment".

    ETHNOS: "Karamanlis in a glass cage - The PM was out of time and place in his TIF appearances".

    TA NEA: "Vote for me, for worse days - Austerity under the pretext of responsibility".

    VRADYNI: "Costas got his 'gun' - Karamanlis determined to clean up the party".

    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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