|Friday, 23 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-11-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 18 November 2009 Issue No: 3352
 Papoulias begins official visit to SloveniaLJUBLJANA (ANA-MPA/S. Tzimas)
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias began a three-day official visit to Slovenia on Tuesday, accompanied by Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and a business delegation.
In the afternoon Papoulias held talks with Slovenian President Danilo Turk and immediately afterwards the two leaders made statements, underlining the excellent, as they said, relations between the two countries, while adding that these relations can be improved even further.
Replying to a question by a local reporter on the issue of the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), Papoulias said that Greece has made all of the concessions so far, and pointed out that "it is up to the leadership of fYRoM to take the (next) steps and abandon anachronisms and fixations."
Papoulias will meet his Slovene counterpart again on Wednesday, as well as with the country's political leadership, and will attend a business forum scheduled in the framework of the official visit.
 Events commemorating Polytechnic uprising culminate on TuesdayEvents commemorating the 36th anniversary of the November 17, 1973 students' uprising at the Athens Polytechnic, which essentially led to the collapse of the seven-year military dictatorship in Greece (1967-74), culminate throughout Greece on Tuesday.
A three-day commemoration is held each year in tribute to a student uprising against the military dictatorship ruling Greece at that time, that was violently put down in the early hours of November 17, 1973 when the army and tanks were brought in to disperse the students that had taken over the Athens Polytechnic building and the civilians who had thronged to the site in support of the uprising.
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and parliament president Philippos Petsalnikos on Tuesday laid wreaths at the Polytechnic monument commemorating the uprising and those who died, while prime minister George Papandreou, education, life-long learning and religious affairs minister Anna Diamantopoulou and main opposition New Democracy (ND) former education deputy minister Spyros Taliadouros laid wreaths at the monument on Monday, and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga laid a wreath on Sunday.
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras also laid a wreath at the Polytechnic monument on Tuesday, stressing that the message of the uprising is always a message of optimism and hope, while a delegation of the Ecologists-Greens later placed its own wreath at the monument.
Pupils, students and other citizens of all ages have been steadily streaming to the monument throughout the three days, while parliament held a special session devoted to the anniversary on Monday evening, and messages on the anniversary were issued by the political parties
In a message marking the 36th anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising, President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday stressed that it was for all Greeks "a reference point, a reason for collective self-respect and conviction that light can emerge from darkness."
"It is an anniversary that demands, apart from honours for the fighters of the uprising, also deliberation and a return to the question of whether the bread is enough for all, whether education is that which our children deserve, whether freedom is complete and not negotiable for minorities," he said.
Those who had stood up against the junta of 1967-1974 constituted models for behavior, life stance, and a code of values, Papoulias added.
The president noted that uprisings usually occurred without planning or design and by people that might later regret their actions or change.
"In reality, they do not belong to those that cause them but to those in whose name they take place. And they are almost always expressions of revolt and demands of a younger generation that always leads the way in major reversals," the president stated.
"This is one of the reasons why young people deserve our understanding, even for their mistakes," he said.
Annual Nov. 17 protest march concludes
The annual Polytechnic march commemorating a 1973 Polytechnic students' uprising against a military junta then ruling Greece was concluded late Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier, the political and state leadership and other officials laid wreaths at the Polytechnic Monument while people of all ages laid flowers.
In terms of disturbances during the march, police made one arrest and detained 12 people during the customary protest march to the US embassy, according to reports in the afternoon.
The single arrest was carried out at 16:30 on Akadimias Street in central Athens, when police stopped and searched a man carrying a petrol bomb, a fire cracker, a mask and matches.
Several other people were detained as a precaution in various areas of Athens, either for aggressive behaviour toward police or for carrying gas masks.
Police arrest eight after Polytechnic march disturbances
Police took 277 people to the police headquarters for questioning after disturbances broke out along Alexandras avenue in Athens on Tuesday evening, at the end of the march marking the anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising, and eight of them were arrested. The 277 people were stopped on Alexandras avenue and in the district of Exarchia. The questioning of suspects was continuing until late at night.
 Venizelos at EU defence ministers' meetingBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Aroni)
Greek Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday attended a meeting of European Union defence ministers held in Brussels. The meeting focused on relations between the EU and NATO and the anti-piracy operation Atalanta.
Describing the positions he outlined at the meeting, Venizelos said that he had stressed the need for autonomy and equality between the two organisations, combined with regular contact between them. He also noted the need for all 27 EU member-states to participate more actively in related activities.
He went on to convey the Greek government's decision to extend its participation in operation Atalanta with one Navy frigate and one helicopter by one year. Venizelos said that the EU would act within the framework of the mandate given by the UN Security Council and that practical ways must be found to lead the pirates to an international judicial body.
The minister noted Greece's intense interest in the naval part of the Atalanta operation, given the country's very huge commercial fleet, adding that this imposed a great interest in both Atalanta and its NATO equivalent, Ocean Shield.
On the issue of a common EU foreign and security policy, Venizelos said that it was vital to preserve the role of some crucial bodies, such as the EU Military Committee and military staff.
Commenting on the reports in Greece on the NATO anti-missile shield, Venizelos termed the discussion "premature" and pointed out that Greece had not yet made any promises or taken any decisions concerning the plan.
The minister also pointed out that the new plan presented by the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in late October took into account the concerns of Russia and ensured interactivity with Russian systems, if the Russian side desired this - a view that met the agreement of several countries that included Greece, Germany and Norway.
He also pointed out that this was the first stage of a plan that had not yet been presented in its complete form.
 EU foreign, defence ministers meet with NATO chiefBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)
EU-NATO relations, with emphasis on the situation in Afghanistan, were the focus of a joint meeting of EU foreign and defence ministers with NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in Brussels on Monday, with deputy foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas and defence minister Evangelos Venizelos representing Greece.
In statements to the press later, Droutsas said that an exchange of views took place on the challenges facing the two organisations (EU and NATO) in crises management, for the purpose of sharing experiences and observations.
Droutsas said that Greece plays a primary role in this area, as a country with a significant participation in peacekeeping operations.
"We have presented a series of proposals for rationalisation of the EU-NATO cooperation, which in recent years has met with some obstacles," Droutsas said, noting that "our goal and desire is for Greece to co-formulate a framework for cooperation that will strengthen the abilities and effectiveness of the two organisations' action, always with full respect of their distinct roles and processes".
Venizelos, in turn, said that both the EU and NATO perceived that the big problem in Afghanistan is the democratic legitimisation of the (president Hamid) Karzai government, combating corruption, speeding up the procedures for the consolidation of the Afghanis' sovereignty for the responsibility of their country.
He stressed that emphasis must be placed on the procedures for institutional training and upgrading but also on the procedures for the building of a state in Afghanistan but without transposing the western-central model, adding that the cultural and multi-tribal environment must be kept in mind together with the need for creating a fundamental just state with justice, police, legislation and an elementary lawful order.
Referring to a recent decision by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) on the terms of Greece's participation in the NATO force in Afghanistan, Venizelos said it was a very responsible and functional stance with which Greece fully meets its obligations as a member of both the EU and NATO. "We are acting within a framework that is widely accepted," he noted.
 Alternate FM Droutsas to tour Western BalkansAlternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas will carry out a tour of Western Balkan countries from Wednesday to Friday to promote the political target of European integration for the countries in the region by 2014, a "bold but feasible milestone," according to an announcement by the Foreign Ministry.
Droutsas will begin from Serbia and then visit Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina and conclude his tour with Albania.
He will be meeting Serb President Boris Tadic in Belgrade on Wednesday and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic.
 Deputy FM Kouvelis at EU con'fBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)
Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis focused his address at the meeting of development cooperation ministers here on Tuesday on linking development aid with the issue of climate change.
Despite the negative conjuncture, due to the economic crisis, as well as low expectations from the upcoming Copenhagen summit, Greece's effort is aimed at the alignment of development aid provided by the European Union with the tackling of climate change, as Kouvelis stressed the need for coordinating development aid with actions on climate change.
As regards aid provided by the EU for Afghanistan, Greece's position, as expressed by the Greek deputy minister, is that the democratisation of the country passes through development aid, on tje condition that the citizens of this country participate actively in its planning and implementation.
 UN announcement on Nimetz mediationNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
UN mediator Matthew Nimetz will have daily contact with both the Greek and fYRoM sides and will summon a joint meeting "if and when he believes" that such a meeting will be useful."
According to an announcement by the UN's Secretariat, the two sides requested that Nimetz continue his mediating efforts over a resolution to the "name issue" and to participate actively in discussions "almost on a daily basis at this moment."
The announcement further stressed that Nimetz held meetings for more than three hours with each of the sides last week.
 ND leader election procedure announcedThe procedure for the election of the next main opposition New Democracy (ND) party president was announced Tuesday by election organising committee president Dimitris Sioufas, party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis and ND general director Menelaos Daskalakis.
The election of the new ND leader will take place on Sunday, Nov. 29 from 7am to 7pm. A second round with the participation of the two candidates that will win most of the votes will be held on Dec. 5 if none of the initial three candidates gets a majority.
All registered ND members have the right to vote in the secret ballot that will take place in 1,540 polling stations across Greece.
Greek expatriates living in Germany, UK, France, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Austria and Cyprus also have the right to vote if they have acquired the party member identity no later than Oct. 4, 2009.
 Bank survey: Greece's econ model unsustainable‘he growth model in Greece over the past decades, which was based on domestic demand and independent of the global crisis, has caused macro-economic imbalances that has made this model unsustainable, according to results of survey, released by Eurobank on Tuesday.
The bank's bulletin on the Greek economy and markets said that an average 4.0-pct economic growth rate recorded over the last decade in Greece, higher than a 2.1 pct average growth rate in the EU-16, led to a real convergence, although stressing that this growth was almost exclusively based on domestic demand and consumption, in particular.
Private consumption, currently at 72 pct of GDP, was expected to slow, along with public consumption and credit to households. Investments also supported rapid economic growth, although one-third of them were in the housing/residential sector.
The survey said Greece featured a relatively closed economy and noted that a constant accumulation of high external deficits has led the country's external debt to 163 pct of GDP, with public debt rising at 113.4 pct of GDP this year.
Eurobank's survey also said that even if structural changes are made -- raising the real growth rate of exports to 10 pct -- some eight years would still be needed to balance the country's goods and services balance, if imports grew by 4.0 pct annually.
The survey recommended that priorities of general economic policy include efforts to contain inflation, combat monopolies, strengthen the country's structural competitiveness, radically restructure the fiscal problem and cut the country's dependence on oil.
 Dialogue on social insurance reform next weekLabour and Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos will begin dialogue on reforming the social insurance system with trade union organisations and employers next week, according to an announcement released by the ministry on Tuesday.
The talks will begin with a meeting next Monday between Loverdos and representatives of the General Confederation of the Employees of Greece (GSEE), Greece's largest umbrella trade union organisation, and the civil servants' union ADEDY that represents most workers in the public sector.
There will follow a meeting the same day with GSEBEE, an nationwide association of artisans and workshop owners, followed by meetings next Tuesday with the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) and the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE).
In a letter to the presidents of GSEE and ADEDY, the minister underlined that the country's social insurance system faced a large number of important and long-term problems.
"As a consequence, it is necessary to provide both comprehensive and piecemeal solutions via a penetrating social dialogue," he added.
 EL.PE merger planHellenic Petroleum (EL.PE) on Tuesday unveiled details of a merger plan with Petrola, under which Hellenic Petroleum will absorb all of Petrola's assets.
Hellenic Petroleum owns 100 pct of Petrola's shares, worth 1,637,830 euros, or 1,364,859 common shares of a nominal value of 1.20 euros each.
Under the terms of the deal, Hellenic Petroleum will not proceed with a share capital increase plan.
 Greek home appliance market's slide slows in Q3The Greek home appliance products market suffered a 10.4-pct decline in sales in the third quarter of 2009, compared with the corresponding period last year, a survey by GfK TEMAXR stated on Tuesday.
GfK stressed, however, that the rate of decline slowed in the third quarter after a 15.8 pct fall in the second quarter and noted that the fact that unit sales were higher this year was leading to the conclusion that the market was at the beginning of a recovery.
The survey stressed that the Greek market had a negative value, since retail shops offered very low prices or promoting cheaper models to sustain customer circulation in their shops. The decline mostly affected telecoms and the office equipment sector, while the small home appliances sector remained positive (+14.8 pct) and the photo product market remained steady in value (+0.1 pct) in the third quarter of the year. Portable computers and electronic game machines were positive in the quarter, helping the IT sector to improving its performance in the third quarter (-2.3 pct from -10.9 pct in the second quarter). The flat TV market continued growing strongly (22.5 pct) in the three-month period, while navigation systems rose 4.2 pct in the quarter for a 6.2 pct rise in the six-month period.
Smaller products, such as hot beverage makers, hair dryers, food preparation and shavers remained on a positive trend, while kitchen specialists suffered from a shrinking building sector. The mobile telephony market remained negative (-34.7 pct) in the third quarter.
 Autohellas/Hertz reports improved 9-month resultsAutohellas/Hertz on Tuesday reported a 38-pct increase in its after tax and minorities earnings to 18.3 million euros in the January-September period this year, from 13.3 million euros in the corresponding period in 2008.
Pre-tax, interest and amortisation earnings rose 5.3 pct to 66.5 million euros, from 63.2 million euros in the nine-month period last year.
Parent after tax profits grew 12.8 pct to 13.6 million euros, while pre-tax, interest and amortisation earnings totaled 56.1 million euros. The company paid a dividend of 0.12 euros per share to its shareholders.
 Stocks end slightly lowerStocks edged lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with the composite index of the market falling 0.09 pct to end at 2,502.27 points. Turnover was a strong 275.8 million euros, of which 19.9 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved lower, with the Telecoms (3.56 pct), Technology (3.30 pct) and Chemicals (2.69 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Insurance (1.28 pct), Banks (1.02 pct) and Financial Services (0.64 pct) scored gains.
The FTSE 20 index rose 0.16 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.40 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index fell 0.44 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 119 to 83 with another 56 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.74%
Personal & Household: -0.35%
Raw Materials: -1.08%
Travel & Leisure: -0.51%
Food & Beverages: +0.07%
Financial Services: +0.64%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OTE and Eurobank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 10.36
Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.40
HBC Coca Cola: 17.05
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.80
National Bank of Greece: 23.01
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.95
Bank of Piraeus: 10.57
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased to 150 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 156 bps the previous day, with turnover at 2.664 billion euros, of which 1.749 billion were buy orders and the remaining 915 million euros were sell order.
The market closed early because of a rally to celebrate the students' uprising against the junta in 1973. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.933 billion euros. The Greek bond yielded 4.79 pct and the German Bund 3.29 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.23 pct, the six-month rate was 1.04 pct, the three-month 0.72 pct and the one-month rate 0.42 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.499
Pound sterling 0.893
Danish kroner 7.500
Swedish kroner 10.303
Japanese yen 133.82
Swiss franc 1.523
Norwegian kroner 8.414
Canadian dollar 1.586
Australian dollar 1.615
 Escaped felon Rizaj, four others, indictedAn Athens prosecutor on Tuesday indicted twice-escaped convict Alket Rizaj, who was recaptured the previous day, on several counts of felonies and misdemeanours. Four other individuals arrested either with or in connection to Rizaj were also indicted on similar charges after all five appeared before the prosecutor under heavy police escort.
The Prosecutor, under the provisions of current legislation, allowed the release of the names of the five detainees due to the gravity of the charges.
Police early Monday recaptured twice-escaped convict Alket Rizaj, who became one of Greece's two most wanted fugitives in February after escaping with fellow convicted felon Vassilis Paleokostas in a carbon copy prison break by helicopter from Korydallos prison near Piraeus.
The five are charged with participation in a criminal organisation, while the charges also apply to convicted felon Vassilis Paleokostas, who is still at large.
Paleokostas and Rizaj became Greece's most wanted fugitives for a second time on February 23 after escaping again by helicopter, in an unprecedented repeat of their Hollywood-style escape from the same prison on June 4, 2006 during which they were spirited away from the courtyard of Korydallos prison near Piraeus, in a spectacular operation masterminded by Paleokostas' brother Nikos, then a fugitive from justice.
Rizaj was recaptured during a police raid early Monday morning in the town of Ano Souli in Marathon, northeast of Athens, together with his companion Aspasia Mitropia and an Albanian couple identified as Ervis Stefani and Loule Blerina in their hideout in Ano Souli, while the fifth detainee Chryssanthos Anagnostopoulos was arrested later in the day for having given to Rizaj an armored Mercedes for use although he knew who the fugitive was and that he was wanted by the Greek authorities.
The charges include participation in a criminal organisation, grand possession of arms and ammunition, abduction of the helicopter pilot (in the second prison break in February) and forcing him to commit a criminal action, hijacking of the helicopter, endangering the security of aircraft, moral instigation of a crime, theft, forgery, and repeated counts of illegal possession of a weapon.
The case file has been assigned to the 13th tactical examining magistrate, who granted the detainees, at their request, an extension until Friday morning for their testimonies.
According to Rizaj's attorney Sakis Kechagioglou, the accused accepts the charges related to weapons possession and escape from prison, but he added that the other four detainees have nothing to do with the charges against them.
Kechagioglou further said that, following his re-arrest, Rizaj considers that "the battle has been lost, but not the war".
 Owner of Rizaj's car arrestedPolice arrested on Monday noon a man who was the owner of the armoured Mercedes that was found in the possession of fugitive convict Alket Rizaj, who was re-captured Monday morning during a police raid in Ano Souli, near Marathon. The suspect was the brother of a 36 year-old man, owner of a cafeteria in Athens, who was murdered a few months ago outside the cafeteria.
The deceased was the owner of the vehicle, and had a police record for blackmail and other crimes. After his death his brother inherited it. According to police the suspect gave the car to Rizaj despite the fact that he knew who he was and that he was wanted.
 Hotel deaths inquiry turns to fact-finding expertGreek authorities on Tuesday launched a new inquiry linked to the two carbon monoxide deaths at a Thessaloniki hotel, this one focusing on the mechanical engineer that inspected the premises after the first of the two deaths.
Two young men aged 28 and 27 years old were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in the same hotel in the northern Greek city, their deaths spaced roughly 24 hours apart. It was later proved that the hotel had a faulty central heating system that was leaking the fatal gases.
The latest inquiry will examine whether the fact-finding expert sent to check the hotel after the first of the two deaths was remiss in his inspection and therefore criminally liable for the death of the second victim, in which case he will face charges of homicide through negligence. The engineer's inspection of electrical and other installations in the room failed to discover any problem.
The 34-year-old owner of the Hotel Nepheli has already been charged for the two deaths, as well as the carbon monoxide poisoning suffered by a third guest staying at the hotel that survived.
The file put together by the police investigation, which includes the coroners' reports on the two deaths and the reports of fact-finding experts called in after the second death, has been sent to the public prosecutors' office in Thessaloniki and will now be forwarded to an examining magistrate, who will investigate whether further charges should be brought against other individuals connected to the affair.
 Mother bear, cub rescued after being stranded on NW Greece highwayA female bear and her 10-month-old cub were rescued on Tuesday morning after police stopped traffic on a provincial roadway in northwest Greece, allowing the two disoriented animals to calm down and move toward the nearby Aliakmon River forest.
This was the third such incident recorded in the specific region over the past month, while numerous crossings of bears and their cubs have been reported.
The animal conservation group Arcturos, called in to help remove the bears from the Neapolis - Kastoria highway -- near the village of Kostarazi -- praised the concerned citizen that called police to report the two animals in distress.
One of the eight fatal road accidents involving bears recorded this year took place in the specific region. The protective fence along the Egnatia motorway and intersecting roadways built to keep animals out has collapsed in many parts of the network making it dangerous for motorists and animals alike.
 Drug arrests in western Greece, Rhodes, KosPolice in Sagiada, Thesprotia Prefecture in western Greece on Tuesday announced the arrest of two Albanian nationals for drug trafficking after a total of 42 kilos and 174 grams of unprocessed cannabis were found in their car, destined for Athens.
The two were arrested following a car chase after they refused to stop for a police search.
 Fair on WednesdayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 5C and 23C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 10C to 21C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 8C to 18C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens ' dailies at a glanceThe status of "new flu" and the vaccination process, which started on Monday, developments in main opposition New Democracy (ND) party's leadership race, looming social security reforms and a caustic attack by a high-profile business executive on the government dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens ' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "(Aris) Spiliotopoulos supports Dora (Bakoyannis)".
APOGEVMATINI: "Dora's retort with Aris Spiliotopoulos".
AVGHI: "Government hesitant on social security - Decision for reforms in social security creates turmoil".
AVRIANI: "Corrupt state leading country to bankruptcy - (MIG chief Andreas) Vgenopoulos furious over 'fixed tender' by transport ministry against OA".
CHORA: "Mr. MIG: Bankruptcy of Greek economy has started - Vgenopoulos attack against government and Bakoyannis".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Aris by Dora's side".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "We crashed 10 years earlier - Social security: We've spent on pensions this year what was foreseen for 2020".
ESTIA: "Negative climate in economy - Taxes terrify people".
ETHNOS: "Electronic safari for VAT".
IMERISSIA: "Nervous breakdown at Athens Stock Exchange".
KATHIMERINI: "Market worried - Raise of spread, 50 percent increase in bounced checks".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Economy negatively affects stocks and bonds - Index plunges 3.26 percent on Monday".
NIKI: "2.8 billion euros in bounced checks".
RIZOSPASTIS: "ND and PASOK's laws on social security must be revoked".
TA NEA: "Doctors shun new flu vaccine".
VIMA: "Polytechnic, 36 years after".
VRADYNI: "Hikes in real estate taxes".
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