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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-11-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Saturday, 7 November 2009 Issue No: 3343

CONTENTS

  • [01] Alternate FM addresses OSCE session; comments on Greek policy
  • [02] Fall of Berlin Wall
  • [03] Government on Erdogan's letter
  • [04] Lecture by Turkish chief negotiator for EU accession
  • [05] New Greek Police force leadership announced
  • [06] Gov't: Police sentries to be shifted to patrol duty
  • [07] ND calls for briefing on foreign policy
  • [08] ND Extraordinary Congress to be held over the weekend
  • [09] KKE on Skaramangas shipyard
  • [10] SYRIZA leader meets Palestinian envoy, criticises budget
  • [11] Tsipras criticises 2010 draft budget
  • [12] Con'f on climate change in Athens
  • [13] Abolition of mandatory conscription in Navy, Airforce in 2012
  • [14] Government on dock workers' strike
  • [15] FinMin meets with bank employees' union
  • [16] Gov't wants an independent stats service, FinMin
  • [17] Katseli holds talks with US ambassador
  • [18] Church to object to higher property tax
  • [19] Government scraps plan to divert Aoos River to Ioannina
  • [20] Promotion of local high quality products between Spain, France, Italy and Greece
  • [21] Wind Hellas to remain under the control of Weather Investments
  • [22] Stocks end 0.67% higher
  • [23] ADEX closing report
  • [24] Bond market closing report
  • [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [26] Environment minister at event on 'Climate and city'
  • [27] CoS ruling on illegal construction, enclosed spaces in buildings
  • [28] SAE president meets Deputy FM Kouvelis
  • [29] Emmanuel Coupe-Kalomiris named by Take a View as Landscape Photographer of the Year
  • [30] CO poisoning kills 2 guests at Thessaloniki-area hotel
  • [31] Athens Classic Marathon taking place on Sunday
  • [32] Rainy on Saturday
  • [33] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Alternate FM addresses OSCE session; comments on Greek policy

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Athens' intention to make use of an initiative for a direct channel of communication between the leaders of Greece and Turkey was stressed here by Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Friday, ahead of a meeting with Austrian Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer.

    Addressing a special event later hosted by Greece's Chairmanship-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Droutsas said European peoples after 1989 realised their responsibility to never again allow a dividing wall to be raised on the continent.

    In statements to the ANA-MPA, Droutsas said the government will reply to a letter addressed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his Greek counterpart George Papandreou in the next few days.

    The alternate FM said that a responsible attitude was required by all sides and by everyone "because haste makes waste". Good preparation was necessary so that "the opportunity opening up before us will not be wasted".

    Droutsas further noted the meeting n Athens on Thursday between visiting Turkish minister of state and chief negotiator for the EU Egemen Bagis and PM Papandreou, during which Bagis briefed the latter on "Mr. Erdogan's desire to accept Premier George Papandreou's call".

    He said that Thursday's meeting had been "useful" in view of the "crucial decisions on Turkey's accession course" in December when the EU will review Ankara's progress in meeting EU requirements. "Greece clearly supports Turkey's European prospect. It equally clearly stressed that there will be no 'discounts' in the evaluation of Turkey," he added.

    In later statements, he reiterated that Athens supports Turkey's efforts to join the European Union but also insists "in a very clear way" that Turkey must meet the criteria set by the EU and fulfill obligations toward EU member-states.

    He expressed hope that Turkey would quickly meet these criteria, pointing out that the landmark date in December, when the European Council will examine the progress made by Turkey thus far, was now approaching.

    Noting that Greece was also open to "sincere cooperation", the minister noted that Ankara was aware of the issues on which it would have to contribute to finding solution, such as the Cyprus issue or establishing good neighbour relations with Greece.

    On foreign policy, Droutsas noted that the government has, from the beginning, declared that it wants to change page in the way foreign policy is exercised. "We want aggressive diplomacy, active political initiatives, but this does not alter the fundamental targets we week, the fundamental principles and values we serve," he explained.

    While in Vienna, Droutsas said, he would seek two things.

    First, he would have a series of meetings with the Austrian leadership. Greece, Droutsas said, wants the contribution of Austria, "an important country for the Balkans" to the effort to advance the political goal of the European integration of Greece's entire neighborhood by 2014.

    Second, at a special session of the OSCE permanent council, he would present the vision for the ministerial meeting in Athens. "As we prepare the biggest international event after the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, we want to set out clear-cut policy goals. More than 50 foreign ministers have responded to our invitation. When they come to Athens, we want agreement on an ambitious framework for dialogue that will render the Corfu Process a basic forum for the security issues of the Europe of the 21st century," Droutsas explained.

    "We are satisfied because the developments affirm our choices. We have a plan and a strategy. We are stirring up the waters. We are promoting dialogue. We are seeking solutions," the alternate foreign minister stressed.

    Apart from meeting with Austrian President Fischer, Droutsas also met on Friday with the Speaker of the Austrian Parliament, Barbara Prammer, Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, and the secretary general of the OSCE, Amb. Marc Perrin de Brichambaut.

    [02] Fall of Berlin Wall

    Speaking on behalf of the Greek CiO of the OSCE for 2009, Droutsas said the fall of the Berlin Wall, "one of the most important events in the recent and shared history", had proved that physical barriers cannot withstand the will of the people for peace and unity, nor their determination to build a future guided by common aspirations and founded on common values.

    "November 9, 1989, the day of the fall of the Berlin Wall, marked the end of an era of mistrust and division, and paved the way to cooperation aimed at building a peaceful, safe and steadfast Europe," he said, and praised the decisive role played by then German foreign minister Hans Dietrich Genscher.

    "On this anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, intensification of efforts is needed to fully realise the vision for a united continent, structured and indivisible, and for broad security and cooperation, and the OSCE< which is chaired by Greece this year, plays a central role in this direction given that, with the end of the Cold War, it adopted an ambitious framework of commitments and created institutions and bodies to support the countries and societies going through difficult processes and transitions," Droutsas added.

    Closing his address, Droutsas stressed that the concept of Europe in the broader sense, spanning from Vancouver all the way to Vladivostok, as espoused by the OSCE, comprises a unique medium in which 56 countries cooperate on security matters in the framework of shared values, "and this tool is more necessary today than ever before".

    On Thursday night, Droutsas visited the historic Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral of Austria, where he was received by Metropolitan Michael of Austria and Ecumenical Patriarchate Exarch for Hungary and Middle Europe.

    [03] Government on Erdogan's letter

    Commenting on a letter sent to the Greek prime minister by his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, government spokesman George Petalotis on Friday said it was delivered by the Turkish ambassador during a customary courtesy call on Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas. Greece would send its reply "in due course" and this would then be made public, he added.

    "Every country, including Turkey, has its own views and approach. And Greece has its own stable approach, as is apparent from the exercise of its foreign policy in the most careful way," the spokesman said.

    Asked whether the government has the volition for "dialogue on all issues" as requested by Erdogan in his letter, the spokesman replied that the "government is making very careful steps in Greek-Turkish relations based on the interests of the country on all levels of foreign policy."

    In response to other questions, Petalotis ruled out the possibility that the Greek government would enter into such a dialogue without the prerequisite conditions.

    [04] Lecture by Turkish chief negotiator for EU accession

    Ankara is poised to announce the commencement of a new round of talks with the European Commission for the signing of a readmission agreement for unauthorised migrants, visiting Turkish minister of state and chief negotiator for the EU Egemen Bagis announced in Athens during a lecture on the theme "Turkey's accession for a stronger EU" organised by the International Center for Black Sea Studies (DIKEMEP) on Thursday night.

    Bagis further said that the recent letter sent by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his Greek counterpart George Papandreou contained, inter alia, a proposal for setting up a High Level Cooperation Council as a discussion and problem-solving discussion body in Greek-Turkish relations, on the model of Turkey's corresponding Cooperation Councils with Syria and Spain, adding that participating on the Council would be the two prime ministers and, according to the issues under discussion, the ministers holding the corresponding portfolios.

    Bagis also said that the option of a 'privileged partnership" with the EU in lieu of full membership is out of the question, and passed off talk of a change of orientation by Ankara in its international relations.

    He further called for examination of the prospect of easing up the existing requirements concerning visa applications for Turkish citizens wishing to visit Greece.

    On the problem of illegal immigrants, which is a thorn in Greek-Turkish relations, Bagis said that discussions in Ankara on Thursday between European Commissioner for justice, freedom and security matters Jacques Barrot and the ministers of justice and the interior were leading the Erdogan government towards talks in Brussels for the signing of a readmission agreement on the basis of a joint assumption of the financial burden. He added that the dimensions of the problem exceeded the level of Greek-Turkish bilateral relations, and that Turkey desires to be a part of the problem's solution at international and European level.

    Bagis recognised the EU as one of the most important external levers for the promotion of the significant changes currently taking place in Turkey, noting that "in Turkey, today, we discuss everything, things that we did not discuss in the past, the taboos of the past".

    He said that the EU would benefit from accession by Turkey in such matters as the ageing problem in the European population, and its contribution to the energy transit sector, since "70 percent of the energy resources required by Europe are located to the south and east of Turkey".

    Bagis also said that Turkey is a bridge among cultures, religions and geopolitical entities, as well as a "source of inspiration not only for the 25 million Muslims living in Europe and the planet's 1.5 billion Muslims, but also for the 3-4 billion people in the world who feel that the West ignores and isolates them".

    "If Europe wants to become a global player and take on the role of a platform of peace and alliance among cultures, rather than a clash of cultures, then Turkey has a lot to offer," he added.

    Bagis opined that the discussion of a privileged partnership with the EU was the product of exploitation, by politicians, of the fear and concerns of the peoples. He said that "the day that Turkey joins Europe it will be a very different Turkey than it is today", just as "we are a very different country today than we were 50 years ago when we submitted the application", adding that "the European Union will also be a different EU", and called for concentration of the efforts in the procedures.

    The Turkish official further rejected claims that Turkey places greater emphasis on its relations with the East than on its relations with the West. "We are very proud to be serving as a bridge," he said, referring to Ankara's mediation efforts between neighbours Syria and Israel, Lebanon and Israel, Syria and Iraq, Georgia and Russia, Bosnia and Serbia, and Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    "In order to be a reliable ally, a reliable bridge for Europe, and for Greece, we must ensure that our relations with the East are equally strong as our relations with the West," he added.

    On the prospects for a Cyprus solution, Bagis said that Ankara will back every solution that will arise from the Christofias-Talat talks and which will have the respect of the two communities. "As I told Mr. Papandreou today, Ankara hopes that the Greek prime minister will continue to support Mr. Christofias, just as we support Mr. Talat in the efforts for finding a solution," he added.

    Bagis said that Greece and Turkey have shared a common destiny and will shape a common future. The benefits from solving the differences will be much greater than from maintaining them, he concluded.

    [05] New Greek Police force leadership announced

    Three female senior Greek Police (ELAS) officers are among the nine promoted to the rank of brigadier, two of them assuming important positions in the force.

    They are Brigadier Evgenia Papaconstantinou, in charge of the Greek Police Disciplinary Councils, Brigadier Regina Desfiniotou, placed in charge of the Police Headquarters Training Division and Brigadier Ioanna Bekiari.

    Brigadier Ioannis Lioukas is appointed Athens Police Chief, Brigadier Ioannis Tzortzis is the new Attica Police Chief, while Brigadier Nikos Kelidis takes over as the new Thessaloniki Police Chief.

    The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) on Thursday announced the appointments of Lieutenant General Eleftherios Economou as the new head of the Greek Police (ELAS).

    [06] Gov't: Police sentries to be shifted to patrol duty

    The leadership of the citizen protection ministry, allocated the law enforcement and public order portfolios, on Friday justified a decision to abolish guard posts and sentries outside police precincts, Alternate Minister Spyros Vougias said in Parliament.

    He was replying to a tabled question by main opposition New Democracy deputy and former interior minister Christos Markoyannakis, who oversaw Greek Police (EL.AS) when he served at the ministry.

    Vougias said the decision was based experience but also in volition to better increase the safety of citizens by freeing up 1,500-2,000 police officers, who will assume street patrol duties instead of guarding police stations.

    He added that electric surveillance systems will be installed outside precincts.

    [07] ND calls for briefing on foreign policy

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Friday formally requested that a relevant Parliament committee on foreign affairs and defence convene to hear a full briefing on the government's intentions as regards a set of high-profile foreign policy issues.

    ND spokesman George Koumoutsakos expressed concern, asking whether the opening of a new bilateral dialogue with Turkey threatens what he calls the "firm policy" of the previous government, which transformed bilateral issues into EU-Turkish issues.

    Koumoutsakos said Prime Minister George Papandreou should clear this up and at the same time give clarifications as regards any road map he (Papandreou) recommends for Turkey's EU accession.

    On the Cyprus issue, Koumoutsakos called on the Greek prime minister to clarify his position when he speaks of "no guarantor powers" and occupation troops on Cyprus.

    As regards the pending fYRoM "name issue", he stated that the government should clarify whether it intends to abandon UN mediated talks or enter a dialogue in the form of a parallel process.

    He also accused the government of "information shortfalls", referring to a recent letter addressed to the prime minister by his Turkish counterpart.

    [08] ND Extraordinary Congress to be held over the weekend

    A two-day extraordinary Congress of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party opens Saturday at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Flair, near Piraeus, for the purpose of amending the ND Charter provisions on the election of the party leader to extend the right of vote to all registered members.

    The proceedings will begin at 11:00 a.m. with addresses by Congress Organising Committee chairman Dimitris Sioufas, party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, outgoing party president and former prime minister Costas Karamanlis, and the three candidates contesting the leadership: former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, former culture minister Antonis Samaras, and Thessaloniki prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis.

    They will be followed by all Congress delegates who wish to take the floor.

    The election date has been set for November 29. If none of the three candidates amasses the required majority, a run-off election will be held on December 5.

    [09] KKE on Skaramangas shipyard

    The Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) political bureau, with a statement issued on Friday, expressed its strong disagreement with moves by the government concerning the Skaramangas Shipyard.

    KKE blamed both the governments of PASOK and New Democracy (ND) for the policies followed and underlined that recent developments coupled with the shipyard's management history "bring a lasting scandal to the surface" in a sector of strategic importance.

    KKE also stressed that the shipyards, west of Piraeus, retain important know-how that is not being utilised by local shipowners, who prefer to have their ships built abroad.

    [10] SYRIZA leader meets Palestinian envoy, criticises budget

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras met the Palestinian envoy in Athens Samir Abou Ghazaleh on Friday, promising SYRIZA's steadfast support for the Palestinians.

    Tsipras expressed concern over the rise of Islamic fundamentalism but also Israel's behaviour in the region and invited the Greek government to undertake initiatives so that "the country will once again find its pace in the Middle East region".

    The meeting comes in the wake of an announcement by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas that he will not run for re-election as presidency. The ambassador said that this decision was taken as a protest against the failure of the United States and Israel to honour the promises they made in written agreements but also a protest against the EU and certain Arab countries.

    [11] Tsipras criticises 2010 draft budget

    SYRIZA's chief also made statements on Friday criticising the draft budget for 2010 unveiled by the government. Tsipras said that this did not redistribute wealth or tackle the deficit, merely spread the debt in society without touching those making huge profits or helping employment.

    He particularly emphasised the need to end stage vocational training schemes, temporary contracts and freelance work and "end the labour Dark Ages".

    [12] Con'f on climate change in Athens

    Deputy Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis underlined that "energy saving in Greece should be handled as a national resource" speaking on Friday in the opening of the two-day Conference on Climate Change and Cities: In view of the Copenhagen Conference", held in Athens.

    The conference keynote speaker, European Commissioner Stavros Dimas, responsible for the environment, stated that he is "neither optimistic nor pessimistic" as regards the prospects of the UN Conference on climate change to be held in Copenhagen in December. He stressed that he is determined to work for an agreement that will be binding, global, comprehensive and ambitious.

    The conference is organised by the Mediterranean SOS Network with the support of Athens' Panteion University.

    [13] Abolition of mandatory conscription in Navy, Airforce in 2012

    The Greek government on Friday announced plans to abolish mandatory conscription in the Navy and Airforce in 2012.

    The announcement was made by national defence minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    Financial News

    [14] Government on dock workers' strike

    The government is not considering an order that would force striking dock workers to return to work, government spokesman George Petalotis said on Friday regarding the ongoing strike at Piraeus port. He urged strikers to end labour action and return to dialogue for a solution to the issue, however.

    "Their action, while it is the right of workers that it should exist, does not help in this particular case," the spokesman said, adding that the strike was demolishing a peaceful climate between the parties involved and had to stop for the good of the negotiations and the public interest.

    He noted that one of the things that the government could change and improve in the specific contract for the lease of the container terminal in Piraeus was that relating to labour relations.

    "The actions of the government are known and steady and we are trying to begin and continue dialogue. But there cannot be dialogue without an open port," Petalotis underlined.

    The spokesman also stressed that dialogue was of major importance in defending the public interest, which amounted to the port stay open while respecting labour relations and the market, and that this had to be taken into account by all involved and understood by the workers.

    Questioned about a series of lawsuits filed against the strikers by associations of enterprises and chambers of commerce, and whether these were conducive to continuing dialogue, the spokesman stressed that dialogue had to be conducted in a climate of peace in labour relations and that action through the courts should therefore be shunned.

    "From there on, every body has the right to use all the legal means that it is able to use," he added.

    [15] FinMin meets with bank employees' union

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou met on Friday with the Hellenic Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE). The OTOE board members presented Papaconstantinou with a memo listing proposals aimed at dealing with the economic crisis and requested participation in the dialogue for a solution to economic problems.

    [16] Gov't wants an independent stats service, FinMin

    The government is determined to strengthen the independency of the National Statistical Service by transforming it into a entity similar to the Capital Markets Commission, run by an expanded board with the participation of academics and representatives of unions, such as the GSEE union, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told reporters after a three-hour meeting with department directors and employees' representatives at the NSS' offices.

    The minister said a new secretary-general will be appointed next week and noted that a draft law envisaging the independency of the statistics agency would be put to public consultation on Friday afternoon.

    Papaconstantinou said the draft legislation would not undermine labour rights of workers in the statistics agency.

    Commenting on a draft budget for 2010, presented on Thursday, Papaconstantinou said the government must convince citizens over the necessity of measures taken, along with an effort to restoring the country's credibility.

    [17] Katseli holds talks with US ambassador

    Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Kataseli held a working meeting with US Ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard on Friday.

    The minister pointed out during the meeting that for the first time all development pylons are accumulated in one ministry with the purpose of enabling the country to re-enter an orbit of growth, economic recovery and of the improvement of competitiveness.

    The government's initiatives on the country's production restructuring and the support of healthy entrepreneurship with the lifting of counter-incentives were also commented on positively.

    Katseli said that her ministry's priority is the promotion of the bill on the simplification of procedures for the establishment and functioning of businesses that, combined with electronic governance, contributes to the strengthening of transparency and the boosting of investments, while both sides emphasised the importance of Greek shipping as a development lever.

    Both Katseli and the US ambassador confirmed their intention for substantive cooperation to constitute the communication corridor for the substantive upgrading of commercial and investsments relations between the two countries.

    [18] Church to object to higher property tax

    The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece on Friday decided to send a delegation to Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou in order to object to the government's plans to increase taxes on Church holdings via the Uniform Tax on Property (ETAK).

    The decision was taken during a meeting held on Friday and chaired by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece.

    Ioannina Metropolitan Theoklitos, who is president of the Greek Church's financial services, and the director Antonis Zabelis, will ask that the government not tax the Church's very extensive property assets at a rate of 3/1000s of its value, using as their main argument that the "Church as a legal entity subject to public-sector legislation is not treated equally with other legal entities."

    They will also point out that most Church revenue is directed toward its extensive charitable work and other projects for the public benefit.

    [19] Government scraps plan to divert Aoos River to Ioannina

    Environment Minister Tina Birbili on Friday announced that the government was cancelling a plan to draw water from the Aoos River in order to construct two hydroelectric dams and divert the water to Lake Pamvotida outside the city of Ioannina.

    The minister expressed complete opposition to the proposal submitted by Public Power Corporation Renewables the previous June and said the ministry would take all actions necessary to ensure the proposal was withdrawn.

    [20] Promotion of local high quality products between Spain, France, Italy and Greece

    The European Charter of Local Self-Government to be set up by six cities in Spain, Italy, France and Greece and scheduled to enter into effect in 2011 will focus on the promotion of exports of high quality local products. Representatives of the participants met Friday at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) to set the process for the establishment of the charter in motion.

    The cities participating in the endeavour are Barcelona, Turin, Grenoble, Siena, Aix En Provence and Thessaloniki and will examine ways to promote their high quality products both in their own markets and the rest of the participants. The initiative will materialize within the framework of the MED European programme.

    [21] Wind Hellas to remain under the control of Weather Investments

    Wind Hellas will remain under the control of Naguib Sawiris, the Egyptian enterpreuner, a company statement said. The statement said that a capital restructuring of the company has been successfully completed with significant benefits for Wind Hellas.

    Under the plan, Weather Investments and Naguib Sawiris will remain the main shareholder of Wind Hellas as its offer for the financial strengthening and business development of the company was accepted by the majority of Wind Hellas' bond holders.

    The statement said that a restructuring plan envisages the reduction of Wind Hellas' debt from 3.2 billion euros to 1.8 billion euros, with 2010 characterised as a recovery year for the company which will aim at strengthening its network, offering new products and converging fixed-mobile telephony with Internet services.

    [22] Stocks end 0.67% higher

    Stocks ended moderately higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, with the composite index of the market ending above the 2,700 level, at 2,701.42 points, up 0.67 pct. Turnover was 224.3 million euros, of which 4.2 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the Insurance (1.84 pct), Travel (1.73 pct) and Food/Beverage (1.38 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Telecoms (1.45 pct), Health (1.41 pct) and Constructions (0.55 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.80 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.35 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.56 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 117 to 95 with another 41 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +1.84%

    Industrials: -0.23%

    Commercial: +0.54%

    Construction: -0.55%

    Media: +0.09%

    Oil & Gas: -0.08%

    Personal & Household: -0.15%

    Raw Materials: +0.53%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.73%

    Technology: -0.52%

    Telecoms: -1.45%

    Banks: +1.16%

    Food & Beverages: +1.38%

    Health: -1.41%

    Utilities: +0.18%

    Chemicals: +0.86%

    Financial Services: +0.54%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Bank of Cyprus and Marfin Popular Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 12.20

    ATEbank: 1.88

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.75

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.19

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.15

    National Bank of Greece: 25.90

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.99

    Intralot: 4.30

    OPAP: 17.88

    OTE: 11.53

    Bank of Piraeus: 11.98

    Titan: 22.80

    [23] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.07 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover at 76.834 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index was 8,547 contracts worth 61.194 million euros, with 25,974 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 13,821 contracts worth 15.640 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,012), followed by Eurobank (1,364), MIG (1,525), OTE (985), Piraeus Bank (1,321), Alpha Bank (936), Marfin Popular Bank (1,369), Intralot (429), Cyprus Bank (1,467) and ATEbank (480).

    [24] Bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled around 2.5 billion euros on Friday, with the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrinking to 136 basis points. The Greek bond yielded 4.72 pct and the German Bund 3.36 pct.

    In interbank market, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.23 pct, the six-month rate 1.04 pct, the three-month rate 0.72 pct and the one-month rate 0.42 pct.

    [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.498

    Pound sterling 0.903

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 10.470

    Japanese yen 135.84

    Swiss franc 1.523

    Norwegian kroner 8.501

    Canadian dollar 1.605

    Australian dollar 1.636

    General News

    [26] Environment minister at event on 'Climate and city'

    Environment, Energy and Climatic Change Minister Tina Birbili underlined the commitment of the new government on the replacement of the old lignite units with new ones, waiting at the same time for the reconsideration of the Public Power Corporation's (DEH) energy planning.

    The minister was participating in the roundtable on theme of "The state, agencies and the society of citizens."

    The event took place in the framework of the two-day meeting on "Climate and city: with the gaze directed at Copenhagen", being held on Friday and Saturday in Athens by the Network Mediterranean SOS.

    [27] CoS ruling on illegal construction, enclosed spaces in buildings

    The legalisation of new-generation illegal constructions, whether included or not in urban land use plans, was ruled as unconstitutional by a Council of State plenum decision.

    The No. 3500/2009 ruling issued by Greece's highest administrative court refers to all illegal constructions built after Jan. 31, 1983, when the so-called "Tritsis Law" (Law No 1337/1983) went into effect providing for their demolition.

    The Council of State plenum decision underlined that the legalisation of illegal constructions results to the deterioration of living conditions for the people and to the adulteration and continuous upset of spatial planning. The legalisation of illegally enclosed spaces in buildings was also ruled as unconstitutional.

    [28] SAE president meets Deputy FM Kouvelis

    Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) President Stefanos Tamvakis and Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis on Friday discussed issues concerning the functioning of SAE and the priorities set by its directorate for the institution's further development.

    Tamvakis wished all the best for the task being assumed by Kouvelis, expressing the will for close and constructive cooperation. He also reassured that all the members of SAE's directorate are active to facilitate the organisation's further development for the benefit of Greeks all over the world who, as he said, always stand by Greece.

    Also discussed during the meeting was the holding of the 1st Meeting of Youth Councils Coordinators of SAE's 7 Regions due to take place in Thessaloniki in early December, in parallel with the directorate's 6th session.

    [29] Emmanuel Coupe-Kalomiris named by Take a View as Landscape Photographer of the Year

    Greek-French fine art landscape photographer Emmanuel Coupe-Kalomiris has been named Landscape Photographer of the Year in the UK for 2009.

    The Paris-born Coupe-Kalomiris won the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year award for 2009, for his stunning photograph of the sunrise over the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

    The winning photograph was chosen from among thousands of entries that showcased the richly diverse landscape of the UK, according to the organisers of the third annual Take a View contest.

    The best 100 photographs entered in the contest will be displayed at a free exhibition that will open at London's National Theater on December 5.

    Emmanuel Coupe-Kalomiris is the great-grandson of renowned Greek opera composer Manolis (Emmanuel) Kalomiris.

    [30] CO poisoning kills 2 guests at Thessaloniki-area hotel

    Carbon monoxide poisoning killed two hotel guests in a Thessaloniki-area hotel between Thursday and Friday morning, an initial medical examiner's report stated on Friday.

    The two victims, both men, 27 and 28, respectively, were found in separate rooms in the Panorama district hotel.

    A local coroner said concentrations of the deadly emission reached between 70 and 80 percent in the victims' bloodstream.

    An investigation is underway at the hotel by the fire brigade, while the owner of the hotel was arrested, according to reports. Also, the hotel was evacuated and all events cancelled.

    According to reports, both victims were scheduled to attend a medical conference at the hotel, identified as the Nepheli.

    The incident bears a macabre resemblance to the death of two British siblings, 6 and 7, almost two years ago to the day at a Corfu resort from the same cause, CO poisoning. A faulty boiler and inadequate ventilation were blamed for those fatalities.

    Sports

    [31] Athens Classic Marathon taking place on Sunday

    The SEGAS athletics federation and the organising committee of the 27th Athens Classic Marathon, that will be taking place on Sunday, organised a press conference at the Zappion Mansion on Friday.

    SEGAS President Vassilis Sevastis inaugurated the ACM EXPO 2009 exhibition at the Zappion Mansion on Friday morning, that has 50 pavilions.

    Participating in the Marathon will be 2,316 Greek men and women, followed by, among other participants, 516 from the United States, 200 from Italy, 199 from Germany and 168 from Britain.

    Weather Forecast

    [32] Rainy on Saturday

    Rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 9C and 24C. Cloudy and rainy in Athens, with southerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 23C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 14C to 19C.

    [33] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The draft 2010 State Budget presented on Thursday, Prime Minister George Papandreou's statements on the economy, Greek-Turkish relations and the situation in main opposition New Democracy (ND) ahead of elections for a new leader, dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Government hopes to collect money from (increases tax on) gas, alcoholic drinks and cigarettes - 2010 State Budget: Taxes, taxes, taxes".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Storm of anti-social measures and taxes".

    AVGHI: "Revelation! The draft 2010 State Budget, which is full of social cruelty, is reminiscent of the preceding New Democracy government's policy".

    AVRIANI: "The Stage programme employees' 'movement' puzzles the government - In search of a solution for the major social problem of the 50,000 people left jobless".

    CHORA: "New Democracy leader election will be a tough derby - Developments in ND after the election are unpredictable".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "State-Church head on collision on the horizon - Finance ministry bill to be tabled in parliament foresees tripling of taxation on Church property".

    ELEFTHEROS: "For the first time a draft State Budget foresees a tax on MPs' and judicial and public sector employees' benefits".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "From whom they will collect the 4.5 billion euros - Emergency draft State Budget".

    ESTIA: "State Budget is dubious - Public expenditures are immensely high".

    ETHNOS: "Emergency State Budget for exit from the crisis".

    KATHIMERINI: "State Budget full of promises - Optimistic target to curtail the deficit to 9.4 percent (of GDP)".

    LOGOS: "Tax-storm on the horizon".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Well-paid jobs with social security and free time is the people's right".

    TA NEA: "2010 State Budget on a tightrope: 3.7 billion euros from taxes, 2.1 billion euros for benefits".

    TO VIMA: "Time for the bill - Government will collect 4.5 billion euros from new taxes".

    VRADYNI: "Society in turmoil - Cruel State Budget - Employees and pensioners will again bear the burden".

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