|Wednesday, 21 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-10-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 1 October 2009 Issue No: 3311
 KKE leader Papariga addresses Athens rallyCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing a rally in Athens on Wednesday evening ahead of Sunday's general elections, called on working classes to back the party and stressed that the great question raised in the election struggle is who will pay for the crisis and for the recovery from the crisis.
Papariga said that the wager in the elections is that those who caused the crisis must pay economically and politically for it in the elections "and not which of the two (mainstream) parties will get the gold and which the silver medal."
She further said that the two mainstream parties have taken no position on the demands of the industrialists and bankers, as well as on the European Union's decisions, that concern new radical restructuring in the labour market, social security and the state.
Papariga accused the New Democracy and PASOK parties of raising extortionate and terrorising dilemmas for the working classes, "because they want new sacrifices, they want subdued people with bowed heads." Lastly, Papariga appealed to young people from working clases who will vote for the first time to vote for KKE "to make a start against the wave of discipline, consensus, subjection and submission to the powerful."
 PM Karamanlis addresses rally in ThessalonikiPrime Minister and ruling New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, addressing a rally in the city of Thessaloniki on Wednesday evening ahead of Sunday's general elections, accused main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou of concealing his cards and hiding.
"The leader of PASOK has disappeared lately. Wherever there are difficult questions Mr. Papandreou is absent. He refuses to give interviews face-to-face," Karamanlis said and accused PASOK's leader of avoiding to reply to questions on what he will do with the economy, because he lacks any plan.
The prime minister aso criticised Papandreou for his position on national issues, calling on him to retract all that he has said about the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline and saying "we neither forget Imia, nor Madrid, nor Ocalan, nor the pressures on the Greek Cypriots for the Annan plan."
Referring to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Karamanlis said that Greece will not take even one step back from the red line that it has set.
As regards Turkey, the prime minister called on it to cease to harbour modern-day slave drivers, to respect the agreement on the repatriation of illegal immigrants, he stressed that the wall of force must fall in Cyrus and Turkish occupation must come to an end and, regarding its European perspective, he stressed that the principle "full compliance, full accession" is valid.
Karamanlis urged the voters of the New Democracy party to rally in light of the elections so that no vote is lost, no vote is given away and expressed his conviction that "victory is in our hands."
 PM: PASOK avoiding debate, issuesPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing a rally in the SE Attica prefecture port city of Lavrio on Wednesday, again underlined that his New Democracy party will Sunday's general elections, while he accused main opposition PASOK of lacking any plan to tackle the international economic crisis and of "hiding its cards."
Referring to PASOK leader George Papandreou in particular, the prime minister said "he is avoiding dialogue because he cannot reply (He is avoiding) not only with a second (one-on-one) debate but with all the face-to-face interviews with news anchors on television as well. He has imposed a complete blackout and is hiding in it."
Focusing on recent PASOK campaign statements about the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, privatised Olympic Air and the Hellenic Telecoms (OTE), Karamanlis said Papandreou is not saying anything specific and that "he doesn't dare to reveal any of the unpleasant measures that he would take if he came to power."
Lastly, Karamanlis said the government's plan has a specific content and a clear horizon, while PASOK is not presenting any plan and "behind their half-words and prophecies two things appear: The swelling of debts and an increase in taxes.
"The decision is yours. Take developments into your hands. No one must be absent on Sunday. Not even one vote must be lost on Sunday," he concluded.
 Papandreou pledges smaller gov't if electedMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday presented a broad outline of how he intends to run the government if main opposition PASOK wins the elections on October 4, during a nationally televised press conference at the Zappion Building in Athens.
After presenting his ideas, PASOK's president noted that many of his suggestions were considered self-evident in many other countries but constituted a "small revolution" for Greece, requiring the support of the people in order to succeed. He appealed to voters to back his party and ensure that it had a strong Parliamentary majority "and the strength to show that we can progress differently in this country".
Papandreou spoke of plans for a compact cabinet having a smaller number of members, which would be flexible and able to work collectively, while the prime minister's office would monitor the various programmes based on predetermined schedules and deadlines.
He also announced plans for an autonomous finance ministry to monitor fiscal policy and the restructuring of the economy, with assistance and support from internationally acclaimed economists that Papandreou had personally come into contact with, whose prestige would also work in favour of Greece at international markets.
Other changes announced by Papandreou were the creation of a 'civilian protection ministry' that would supervise law enforcement, the fire brigade and civil protection agencies and an 'infrastructure ministry' to take over the work of the current public works and communications ministries.
PASOK's leader pledged to ensure that jobs in public administration were awarded based on ability rather than party allegiances, by publishing proclamations and inviting applications for all available positions even at the very highest levels, such as ministry general secretaries or the boards of public utilities, state companies and regional hospitals.
Another principle announced by PASOK's president was that of barring party officials from simultaneously holding a state-sector position, stressing that anyone wishing to take up a public-sector job would first have to resign from party organs in which he or she was a member.
Papandreou announced that a summary presentation of PASOK's policy platform will be posted on the Internet on Thursday.
 Tsipras tours RodopiCoalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday urged voters to cast their vote according to their conscience and not hand main opposition PASOK "a blank cheque" at the polls. Tsipras also attacked the government, saying that it deserved "a great defeat in the elections for plunging the country into such a state".
Tsipras made the statements while touring Rodopi to campaign on behalf of the left-wing party alliance Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), in which SYN is the largest component member.
During the visit, he met textile factory workers working in the area and repeated SYRIZA's proposal that the Lanara Group be nationalised, promising to fight for this within and outside Parliament. He also met workers of the Rodopi Agricultural Cooperatives Union, who said they had not been paid for the last 18 months.
 Karatzaferis press con'fPopular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) founder and president George Karatzaferis held his nationally televised press conference on Wednesday, a standard practice of all party leaders the week before elections, where he charged that both mainstreams parties are flagrantly ignoring every major issue sans the economy.
Karatzaferis, a former ND deputy who fell out with today's ruling party to start his own right-of-centre party 2002, charged that the Siemens affair, national issues are being "swept under the carpet", whereas both ND and PASOK are giving only cursory attention to the heated illegal immigration problem.
"Have you ever seen a previous campaign agenda that was dominated by one issue? Only the economy?" he asked during the press conference at the Zappeion Hall in downtown Athens.
"We're headed to the ballot boxes without knowing the receivers of the 100 million euros from Siemens. Germany has already issued a judicial ruling that considers them as accomplices in a crime. One would expect from (PASOK leader George) Papandreou to show sensitivity and assume the share of responsibility ... What did we hear from Mr. Papandreou regarding national issues? He (Papandreou) should clarify what he meant when he said that we can't have problems with Turkey over a few stremmata (1,000 square metres is one stremma)," he said, adding:
"At this moment the Cyprus issue is in its worst phase and (Premier) Mr. Karamanlis is lying when he said he said 'no' to the Annan peace plan".
Asked about the issue of illegal immigration, a major rallying point for the Parliament-represented LA.OS, Karatzaferis repeated his proposal for maintaining a quota system in the country, referring to what he called the "Lafontaine model" in Germany. He also underlined that any new Greek government must increase pressure on the European Union to assist in better guarding Greek borders from the illegal immigration wave.
In other matters, Karatzaferis said he foresees that a first-place PASOK will not garner enough votes to form a self-sufficient government, whereas he said he hoped the leftist SYRIZA alliance re-enters Parliament.
Finally, asked if the Church of Greece should be taxed, he stated: "whatever creates wealth should be taxed, and the Church should not be an entrepreneur."
 Defence minister in Cyprus on ThursdayNational Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis will visit Nicosia on Thursday in order to represent Greece at celebrations for the 49th anniversary of Cyprus' Independence. Meimarakis will be among officials watching a military parade that will salute Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias.
 NBG successfully auctions 1.5-bln-euro covered bond issueĶational Bank of Greece on Wednesday announced the successful completion of an auction of a covered bond issue to domestic and foreign institutional investors, part of an existing programme of issuing covered bonds worth 10 billion euros.
The bank said the 1.5-bln-euro bond issue was four times oversubscribed, with bids submitted totalling 6.0 billion euros. National Bank priced its 2016 bond issue - which pays a coupon of 3.875 pct -- at 99.238, with a yield spread of 90 basis points over the seven-year swaps.
 Eurobank Properties buys 3 shop buildings for 46 mln eurosEurobank Properties on Wednesday announced the purchase of three real estate properties, leased by Praktiker Hellas, worth 46 million euros.
The company said the three shop buildings were located in the northwest Athens district of Metamorphosi, Larissa and Patras.
All three buildings are have long-term lease contracts (ending in 2020 and 2026) by Praktiker Hellas. An evaluation made by independent auditors put the value of the three properties at 47.4 million euros. Net leasing return was 8.3 pct.
 Greek Cables issue 10-mln-euro bond loanGreek Cables SA on Wednesday announced the signing of a contract with Eurobank Ergasias SA for the issuing of a common bond loan worth 10 million euros. The two-year bond loan carries a Euribor plus spread rate.
 Greek retail sales volume index down 10.2 pct in JulyGreece's retail sales volume index (turnover in fixed prices), including fuel and lubricants, fell 10.2 pct in July, compared with the same month last year, after a fall of 0.8 pct recorded in July 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Wednesday.
The statistics service in a report attributed this decline to a 3.8 pct drop in foodstore sales, a 14.6 pct decline in fuel and lubricants sales and a 14.4 pct fall in other shop sales.
The turnover index in the retail sales (current prices), including fuel and lubricants, fell 9.1 pct in July, after an increase of 4.2 pct recorded in July 2008.
 Major case of 'carousel' VAT fraud uncoveredThe Attica Special Audits Service on Wednesday reported the discovery of an international case of 'missing trader' or 'carousel' VAT fraud carried out by large pharmaceuticals-cosmetics companies based in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki and a logistics company based in Athens.
During its investigation, the Special Audits Service discovered that the companies carried out fake imports of nonexistent goods from foreign countries that were then "stored" by the logistics company on behalf of the pharmaceutical firms. The nonexistent goods were then sold several times within the country, before they were once again sent to the logistics firms for storage and then "re-exported" abroad.
Also involved in the 2008 scam were companies from Spain, Cyprus, Latvia, Romania and Hungary. The fake VAT payments claimed as a result of the various transactions are estimated to have reached 29 million euros.
The logistics company alone is expected to have to pay a fine of 58 million euros for the fraud, while each of the other companies involved will pay an estimated fine of 29 million euros once the relevant files are forwarded to local tax offices. Those involved also face penal liablity, due to the nature of the offences.
The Special Audits Service has additionally sought the assistance of its counterparts in other countries where companies involved in the fraud are based.
 Stocks end slightly lowerStocks ended a volatile session slightly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The composite index of the market eased 0.23 pct to end at 2,661.42 points, with turnover a heavy 312.3 million euros of which 9.8 million euros were block trades.
Sector indices ended mixed with the Utilities (2.83 pct), Travel (0.68 pct) and Food/Beverage (0.36 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (6.51 pct), Technology (3.76 pct), Raw Materials (3.41 pct) and Financial Services (3.24 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE 20 index eased 0.46 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.49 pct down and the FTSE 80 index fell 1.90 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 161 to 53 with another 48 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.20%
Personal & Household: -1.34%
Raw Materials: -3.41%
Travel & Leisure: +0.68%
Food & Beverages: +0.36%
Financial Services: -3.24%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Eurobank, OPAP and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 12.60
Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.21
HBC Coca Cola: 18.19
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.76
National Bank of Greece: 24.50
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.75
Bank of Piraeus: 12.67
 ADEX closing reportŌhe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.95 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover rising slightly to 72.706 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,894 contracts worth 55.463 million euros, with 22,511 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 18,548 contracts worth 17.243 million euros, with investment interest focusing on MIG's contracts (3,591), followed by Eurobank (955), PPC (759), Piraeus Bank (1,525), National Bank (2,653), Alpha Bank (742), Intracom (533), Marfin Popular Bank (2,667), Cyprus Bank (1,660) and ATEbank (506).
 Greek bond market closing reportŌurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market jumped to 2.416 billion euros on Wednesday, of which 1.239 billion were buy orders and the remaining 1.177 billion euros were sell orders.
The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.411 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 130 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 4.50 pct and the German Bund 3.20 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.23 percent, the six-month rate 1.02 pct, the three-month rate 0.74 pct and the one-month rate 0.44 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates -ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.476
Pound sterling 0.916
Danish kroner 7.503
Swedish kroner 10.313
Japanese yen 132.12
Swiss franc 1.519
Norwegian kroner 8.527
Canadian dollar 1.583
Australian dollar 1.672
 Inoculation of population against new flu virus to begin in 20 days, health minister saysInoculation of the general population in Greece with the vaccine protecting against the A/H1N1 new flu virus will begin in 20 days' time, beginning with the vulnerable groups, health minister Dimitris Avramopoulos announced on Tuesday, following a meeting of the Flu Pandemic Committee on Wednesday.
The government recently announced that the entire population, including foreign nationals, will be inoculated.
Avramopoulos said that 100,000 vaccines have already been imported, and are stored at the National Health Center facilities in Vari, outside Athens, noting that the European Commission has already given the thumbs up to the pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Glaxo, which produce the new vaccine, to dispense in a large number of European countries, including Greece.
Another 100,000 vaccines are due to arrive next week, according to ministry estimations.
The vaccine will initially be administered to the vulnerable, or high risk, population groups, which are estimated at nearly 2.5 million people.
Referring to the temporary closure earlier in the week of two highschools in two districts of Athens after several pupils contracted the virus, Avramopoulos explained that this had been a readiness exercise for the ministry and the authorities in general, which proved the effectiveness and success of the procedural protocol which has been set out by the ministry, when the problem arose in those schools.
Following assessment of the situation in the two highschools, in Melissia and Haidari, where cases of the new flu were confirmed, the closure of all classes of the schools for seven days were recommended to Athens prefect Yiannis Sgouros, as per the procedural protocol.
The health ministry also informed the education ministry, and assured that there was no cause for concern as the instructions given by the World Health Organisation (WHO) are being strictly adhered to.
 Gov't order creates Helmos-Vouraikos National ParkEnvironment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias on Wednesday signed an order that proclaimed parts of the Helmos and Vouraikos mountain ranges a national park.
The minister said that the new created "Helmos-Vouraikos National Park" covered a total expanse of 54,400 hectares, in which there were restrictions on the activities and land uses allowed.
The area is considered a habitat of international importance and interest, one of the richest in Europe, in which a number of species of plants, animals and birds live and breed.
In the immediate and wider region of the new national park, which includes regions of Mount Helmos, Stygos Waters, Bouraikos Gorge and the Kalavryta Forest, there are 12 types of biotopes of high ecological value and high biodiversity.
Among these species the high-priority European otter, as well as 17 other species of vertebrates included in the Red Book of Endangered Species in Greece and several species of endemic and migratory birds.
The order signed by Souflias on Wednesday divides the park into three protection zones and various individual areas in which only expressly stated activities and usages of land are allowed. It also included the formation of a body to manage the park, funded by the ministry.
 Government gives one-year extension to deadline for licence applications by private collegesThe government on Wednesday announced that it was extending the deadline for applications by so called 'liberal studies' workshops - mostly tertiary education private colleges operating as franchises of universities abroad - for an additional year. The new deadline for submitting an application will be August 31, 2010 and the extension was granted because the large number of applications submitted to the relevant service did not allow its members to fully evaluate each file submitted and issue the necessary operating licence.
 3 urban terrorist suspects remanded in custodyThree out of four suspects arrested last week during the discovery of an alleged "bomb-making" safehouse in the northern Athens suburb of Halandri were remanded in custody on Wednesday, pending trial. All four provided a statement before an examining magistrate, with all four denying any wrongdoing.
The fourth detainee, Myrto Panteloglou, was released under restrictive conditions.
Emmanuil Yiospas, 20, was remanded in custody after marathon testimony that lasted well into the early morning hours of Thursday, while Panayiotis Masouras and Harilaos Hatzimichelakis testified on Thursday afternoon and were later jailed.
Authorities have linked the suspects to the particularly active "Conspiracy of Fire Cells" urban terrorist group, described as an anti-state anarchist cell.
The four have been indicted on several counts of felony and misdemeanour charges, including participation in a criminal organisation, procurement and possession of explosive materials, two counts of causing explosions and thus endangering human lives, grand larceny, violation of the law on explosives and procurement and possession of narcotic substances for own use.
 Police dismantle human trafficking ring exploiting disabled peoplePolice in Thessaloniki have dismantled a ring that was bringing disabled people from Bulgaria into Greece and exploiting them as beggars.
An announcement issued by the city's human trafficking squad on Tuesday morning reported the arrest in Thessaloniki's Harilaou district of a 36-year-old Bulgarian and a 42-year-old Greek as they were dropping off a 62-year-old disabled Bulgarian national in front of a church in order to beg.
A police investigation revealed that another four people with motor disabilities from Bulgaria had fallen victim to the two men arrested.
 Traffic measures for Athens political ralliesAttica traffic police have decided on special traffic measures around the Pedio tou Areos park in central Athens, due to planned pre-election rallies by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), main opposition PASOK and ruling New Democracy parties on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Police warned that parking and stopping will be forbidden in roads surrounding the rally site from 8:00 a.m. and until the rallies are concluded, based on traffic conditions.
The ban extends along Patission Street between Panepistimiou and Kaftantzoglou streets, as well as all intersecting roads until the first junction, and all down Alexandras Avenue and the roads that intersect this up until the first junction, as well as several roads in the city centre, such as Omonia Square, Stadiou Street, Panepistimiou Street until Harilaou Trikoupi Street, Pireos Street from Omonia to Iera Odos, Agiou Konstantinou Street and Athinas Street from Sofokleous Street.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe political parties' campaigns ahead of Sunday's general elections dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis 'debate' with citizens - Direct dialogue with the people in Athens' districts".
APOGEVMATINI: "Main opposition PASOK's games on the COSCO contract for the Piraeus port container stations annoyed China's government".
AVGHI: "The Left is the power of hope in Greece and Europe - Dynamic turnout at SYRIZA rally in Athens".
AVRIANI: "Storm after the elections - EU demands severe measures and structural changes".
CHORA: "Fatal mistakes before the finish line - Actions and suicidal statements are shattering ND".
ELEFTHEROS: "How PASOK legitimised corruption in 12 scams - What Papandreou is forgetting".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The state coffers are empty - ND and PASOK blame each other on the deficit, borrowing and of secret agendas".
ESTIA: "The minimum required percentage for a self-sufficient government is lower in comparison with the 2007 general elections".
ETHNOS: "Cockfights and gaffes in ruling New Democracy (ND) - In state of disintegration four days before elections".
KATHIMERINI: "Eurogroup president Jean Claude Juncker anticipates low growth rate and implementation of a tight fiscal policy in the EU".
LOGOS: "The battle of the numbers dominates ND's campaign".
NIKI: "Papandreou's proposals for borrowers and banks put an end to lawlessness".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party of Greece (KKE) main campaign rally today in Athens".
TA NEA: "Vertigo in ND".
TO VIMA: "Papandreou: «I pledge to make radical changes in the state and the economy".
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