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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-12-01

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

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

Tuesday, 1 December 2009 Issue No: 3363

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Papandreou calls for political, social consensus
  • [02] PM Papandreou on social dialogue
  • [03] PM Papandreou visits Patras
  • [04] Samaras new ND leader, pledges unity
  • [05] New ND leader pays call on outgoing Karamanlis
  • [06] PM Papandreou meets newly-elected ND party leader Samaras
  • [07] Gov't: Greece will not back down on fYRoM 'name issue'
  • [08] Latest Cyprus developments discussed in Athens
  • [09] President receives environmental group leaders, discusses Copenhagen
  • [10] Environment minister meets Danish, Australian ambassadors to discuss Copenhagen conference
  • [11] Alternate FM Droutsas gives interview to Russian 'RIA-Novosti' news agency
  • [12] Gov't, OSCE press officers meet reporters arriving for OSCE meeting
  • [13] Milososki to attend OSCE ministerial in Athens
  • [14] Russian foreign ministry spokesman on Russian FM's visit to Athens
  • [15] Econ. minister at AHCC conference: No margins for laxity on rekindling economy
  • [16] US envoy addresses American-Hellenic Chamber
  • [17] Economy minister addresses Athens Chamber event
  • [18] Greek Labour minister presents gov't's policy priorities to EU counterparts
  • [19] Economy minister holds talks with SELPE directorate
  • [20] FinMin confers with KEDKE delegation
  • [21] Hellenic Postbank reports sharply improved 9-month results
  • [22] Alpha Bank raises equity capital to 3.45 billion euros
  • [23] Local government employees' strike on Thursday
  • [24] Intracom Group returns to profitability in Jan-Sep
  • [25] Wind Hellas announces voluntary exit program
  • [26] Athens Water says nine-month sales down 1.46 pct
  • [27] Retail trade volume index posts decline in Sept. 2009
  • [28] Stocks end 0.26% higher
  • [29] ADEX closing report
  • [30] Greek bond market closing report
  • [31] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [32] Up to 80,000 vaccinated against H1N1 health minister reports
  • [33] Rise in HIV cases diagnosed in 2009
  • [34] Wall of ancient Macedonian city of Vergina revealed in excavation
  • [35] Sifounakis represents government on St. Andrew's feast day in Fanar
  • [36] Greek Navy chief in Cairo
  • [37] Rainy on Tuesday
  • [38] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou calls for political, social consensus

    Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Monday night that changes required in the country were not the case of 50 or 100 days and not the task of the government only but what was necessary was a wider political and social consensus.

    Addressing an event organised by the Hellenic-American Chamber, Papandreou added that he intended to summon in the weeks to come the "political parties, the sides concerned and society for a broad dialogue on issues that need to be handled jointly."

    The changes that the government intends to promote concern the state, the taxation system, the managing of public finances, the country's growth model, combatting corruption, the change of the political system, the public administration, local government, the social security scheme, education and health, the prime minister said.

    He added that the government would present a specific dialogue framework on which all, and above all the government itself, would be called to assume responsibilities and commitments.

    Papandreou further said that the country "cannot waste any further time and for this reason the government has opened almost all the fronts regarding the economy".

    The prime minister stressed that his government "will not adopt recipes whose only outcome would be the sinking of the economy into greater recesssion and crisis."

    As regards Greece, Papandreou said that, despite existing problems, it presented many advantages, although it had to change a growth model by adopting Green Development which "is a condition of survival as well as a precious opportunity for a country like Greece."

    The prime minister added that the government would be presenting a specific plan on speeding up investments that utilise renewable energy sources.

    Papandreou also referred to problems that the governent had to tackle and which, as he said, the previous government tried to cover up and as a result the country lost a valuable capital of credibility.

    [02] PM Papandreou on social dialogue

    Prime Minister George Papandreou announced during Monday's informal cabinet meeting that the social dialogue on all the major issues preoccupying the Greek economy and society will begin next week.

    Papandreou pointed out that dialogue means, among other things, "joint responsibility which will result from the substantiation and understanding of problems by all," adding that the solution to problems "requires consensus and alliances".

    The prime minister acknowledged that this effort will also involve conflicts, but the government should respond to the great challenges that it has before it.

    Papandreou termed the account of his government's 50 days' work positive, despite the problems that it inherited and that had to be tackled from the beginning.

    [03] PM Papandreou visits Patras

    Prime minister George Papandreou visited the western port city of Patras on Monday, where he noted that Greece has immense possibilities, but has wasted them.

    "Greece has immense possibilities, we all know that, but simply we have wasted and disdained those abilities," said Papandreou, adding that "we hear the sense of panic being created around Greece and globally".

    Papandreou, who was in Patras for the celebration of the feast day of the city's patron Saint Andreas (Andrew) on Monday, noted that "we have disdained the human potential, the infrastructures, the education system and the environment".

    "I am not asking for a few days' tolerance. I am asking for participation throughout the duration of this great effort, because together we will make the big changes in our country," the premier added.

    [04] Samaras new ND leader, pledges unity

    Antonis Samaras was elected as the new leader of main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, after winning an absolute majority in the first round of the election on Sunday, it was announced in the early morning hours of Monday.

    Samaras, who served as culture minister in the preceding ND government, is New Democracy's seventh president, succeeding former prime minister Costas Karamanlis, who announced his resignation from the party helm after ND's crushing defeat in the Oct. 4 general elections, which brought PASOK to power.

    Samaras' victory was announced shortly after 4 a.m. by election supervisory committee chairman Dimitris Sioufas, as the tally of 72.68 percent of the election stations set up throughout the country, representing nearly 550,000 voters, showed 50.18 percent of the vote in favour of Samaras, against 38.76 percent for former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and 10.06 percent for the third candidate, Thessaloniki prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis.

    Samaras' prevalence with an absolute majority was irreversible, while Sioufas said his percentage was expected to increase when all the votes are tallied.

    A total of 1,039 voting stations were set up throughout the country, while 64 voting stations were set up in other European countries.

    Voting began at 7 a.m. Sunday and were due to close at 7 p.m. in the evening, but a glitch in the on-line system for several hours, due to a software problem, and an unexpectedly large turnout of voters obliged the supervisory committee to extend the closing time to 9:30 p.m.

    This is the first time that the ND president was elected by the party's grass roots, after voting was extended to all registered party members through an amendment of the New Democracy Charter.

    In early morning statements after his victory was clinched, Samaras said that it was an honor for him to take on the responsibility of leading the party in new struggles for the progress of the Greek people, and chiefly for the young generation's right to hope, and for the party's return to new victories.

    "The people have spoken. The party's rank-and-file, the voters, have spoken. Their mandate is resounding and undisputable," Samaras said.

    "A month and a half ago, in difficult times, I spoke to you of hope, and you received the message of hope and turned it into a big, unprecedented, peaceful and democratic revolution. I asked you to turn the streams into a river, and you created a veritable sea that swept away everything that was holding us back, that was taking us back and hurting us. The participation in the election process, despite all the problems that are natural in such an unprecedented overture to the grass roots, exceeded all expectations. A new era begins now for our democracy, and also for New Democracy. Today, we are all winners. There are no losers. We were not opponents all this time. I said this during the difficult hours of the campaign race, and a say it again today. There are no opponents from here on," he added.

    Samaras noted that he will speak with fellow candidate Bakoyannis on Monday, adding that he truly thanked her for her congratulatory phone call, and with Psomiadis, whom he wished a speedy recovery, as the third candidate was diagnosed with pneumonia late Sunday, as well as with Karamanlis "with whom we will be together in all the big battles ahead".

    The new ND leader pledged to safeguard the party's unity, noting that he did not care who they voted for and that everything said up to then has been forgotten. "We will be all together. Nothing separates us now, but we are united by the major challenges of the future," he added.

    [05] New ND leader pays call on outgoing Karamanlis

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) president-elect Antonis Samaras called on outgoing party leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday, following the former's victory in Sunday's party election.

    "A big victory, a great success, and a large turnout in the voting process," Karamanlis told Samaras while greeting him on arrival at the ND headquarters on Rigillis street in central AThens, adding that "it goes without saying that I am at your side, for whatever you may need".

    [06] PM Papandreou meets newly-elected ND party leader Samaras

    Prime Minister George Papandreou met with newly-elected main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras at the Maximos Mansion on Monday.

    The prime minister wished Samaras "all the best for the motherland as well, because the role of the main opposition party is important" and stressed that "we are particularly pleased over the procedure that you followed."

    Papandreou further said that "we look forward to close cooperation on national issues as well, because the problems have swelled and dialogue and consensus are required."

    On his part, the ND leader thanked Papandreou and said that "our constitutional role obliges us to have these discussions with the president of the government."

    Samaras added that "according to the issues we are sometines tegether and sometimes opposite. Together because we serve the same society, opposite because we serve different ideologies. And this is the role of the opposition."

    Papandreou asked Samaras "how the election struggle went" within ND and he replied that "it was not an election struggle, but an intraparty competition."

    The prime minister further asked how long it lasted and the ND leader said "40 days. It created an introversion for us which we must overcome."

    [07] Gov't: Greece will not back down on fYRoM 'name issue'

    Greece will not back down from its "red line" regarding the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), government spokesman George Petalotis stressed on Monday.

    He had been asked whether Greece would give in to pressures for the start of EU-fYRoM accession negotiations.

    "I do not know whether there will be pressures, but the Greek government will not accept (pressure) on this very important issue for us," he underlined.

    [08] Latest Cyprus developments discussed in Athens

    Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas met on Monday with visiting Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou, with talks focusing on the latest developments in the long-standing Cyprus issue ahead of next week's closely watched EU General Affairs council meeting.

    The meeting was held on the occasion of the Cypriot FM's arrival in Athens to attend an OSCE ministerial council.

    "We will have daily contacts (with Athens) until the (EU) meeting on Monday in Brussels," Kyprianou added.

    Asked by reporters over the likelihood of a "goodwill gesture" by Ankara prior to the EU summit, Droutsas said "there are some days left until then. However, it would not be proper, on our part, to predetermine any positions and decisions".

    [09] President receives environmental group leaders, discusses Copenhagen

    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday had meetings with the head of WWF Hellas Dimitris Karavellas and the director of Greenpeace Greece Nikos Haralambidis to discuss the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that begins on December 7.

    The two environmental organisations presented him with their proposal for a "Copenhagen Treaty" that forms part of the WWF Hellas and Greenpeace Greece joint campaign "Together for the Climate".

    Receiving Karavellas and Haralambidis, the president noted that there were currently "low clouds" over the Copenhagen conference and expressed doubts that it could achieve anything more binding than a framework for action.

    The two environmentalists noted that the countries that mattered, such as the United States, had not yet shown the "necessary political will" while they both praised the stance shown by Greece, noting that this was one of the times when the country "was on a very good path and had made positive steps forward".

    They also noted that, unlike in similar meetings before, governments meeting in Copenhagen had a very clear idea of what needed to be done and the time in which it had to be achieved.

    "The scientific community under the auspices of the United Nations have shown us with great clarity what it is that we must achieve, to what extent we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and by when, in order to avoid the catastrophic repercussions of climate change. This is why we hope in Copenhagen. We will make every conceivable effort and we want your assistance and support in this," they said.

    [10] Environment minister meets Danish, Australian ambassadors to discuss Copenhagen conference

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Monday had successive meetings with the Australian Ambassador in Athens Jeremy Newman and the Danish Ambassador in Athens Tom Norring.

    The meetings were held as part of the preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on December 7-18.

    With Ambassador Newman, Birbili exchanged views regarding the positions and efforts of Greece and Australia to achieve an ambitious, binding and global agreement on climate change policy in Copenhagen. With the Danish ambassador, she reaffirmed the joint position shared by Greece and Denmark on climate change and arranged meetings between the two sides in order to capitalise on Denmark's experience in environmental protection and renewable energy sources.

    [11] Alternate FM Droutsas gives interview to Russian 'RIA-Novosti' news agency

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos)

    Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said in a statement to the Russian news agency "RIA-Novosti" that the enactment and continuation of dialogue in the framework of the OSCE in the form of the "Cofu Process" will be the aim of the Greek side during the organisation's ministerial session which begins in Athens on Tuesday.

    "We approached major issues during the year. I believe that we succeeded in bringing all the sides close and we showed that we meant what we said and we shall act as 'honourable mediators'. However, the extra something that Greece brought to the OSCE, I shall agree, is the 'Corfu Process'," Droutsas said, adding that "the Greek Presidency tried to utilise as well the proposal by (Russian) President (Dmitry) Medvedev on a new European Security Treaty, as a start to a constructive and substantive dialogue."

    Asked about the course of bilateral cooperation between Russia and Greece, Droutsas said that in bilateral contacts one speaks of a "strategic relation" between the two countries and reminded of the close cooperation between the two sides "on major international issues and in particular our initiatives during the Greek EU Presidency on the promotion of Greek-Russian relations."

    Droutsas further said that "what is important for us are relations of substance and not of image and communication" and noted that "our priorities in the sector of energy are steadfast and aim at the strengthening of energy security and the securing of our country's energy adequacy and its promotion to a european energy hub."

    Lastly, the minister pointed out that "both the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline and the South Stream natural gas pipeline constitute steadfast priorities of our policy. They are considerable infrastructure projects having a repercussion on the entire region of southeastern Europe and we are proceeding with all the necessary actions concerning their speedy implementation. The environmental aspect has great importance for us, as well as for the Russian Federation."

    [12] Gov't, OSCE press officers meet reporters arriving for OSCE meeting

    Greek foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras and OSCE press officer Martin Nesirky greeted welcomed reporters to Athens on Monday arriving in the Greek capital for this week's OSCE interministerial council meeting.

    Alternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis also attended the meeting.

    A Medvedev-Sarkozy proposal for stability in Europe will be amongst the priorities at the council, while the Greek side expressed its willingness to support next year's Kazakhstan OSCE presidency.

    [13] Milososki to attend OSCE ministerial in Athens

    The foreign minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Antonio Milososki will take part in the plenary session of the Organisational for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council taking place in Athens on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    According to FYROM's foreign ministry, Milososki will address the ministerial council on the first day and have meetings with his counterparts from other countries on the sidelines.

    [14] Russian foreign ministry spokesman on Russian FM's visit to Athens

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos)

    Russian foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko expressed the conviction that the visit to Athens by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that is starting on Monday, will provide an additional impetus for the development of multifaceted Greek-Russian bilateral cooperation.

    Nesterenko further said that Greek-Russian relations are based on many years of interstate cooperation, the foundation of which are traditions of friendship and historic proximity of the two people's cultures, referring to the meeting between Lavrov and Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    The Russian diplomat said that our relations "have a partnership character and a steadfast upward momentum," reminding of their existing legal basis: the Joint Proclamation for the further deepening of relations of friendship and multifaceted cooperation, the Joint action programmes for the years 2005-6 and 2007-9, as well as the high-level and regular political contacts and the permanent dialogue both between the foreign ministers and the officials of the two ministries.

    According to the Russian spokesman, during Lavrov's consultations the state of affairs in bilateral political relations and in a series of practical sectors of economic cooperation will be discussed, as well as international problems of mutual interest.

    "The coincidence of views between Russia and Greece in their approaches on the majority of international and regional problems creates a good basis for cooperation between the two countries in the framework of international organisations and conferences," Nesterenko said, adding that "the exchange of views on current issues of European and international policy, to which great importance will be given during the upcoming talks, will aim at the widening of these sectors."

    Referring to bilateral economic cooeration in particular, which "is developing very dynamically", Nesterenko said that "the implementation of the Agreement on Russian natural gas, that Greece is procuring, work on the implementation of the tripartite Russo-Greek-Bulgarian project on the construction of the interbalkan Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, as well as the implementation of the South Stream project open wide possibilities for cooperation between Russia and Greece in the case of securing the steadfast procurement with energy sources and the strengthening of energy security in Europe."

    Financial News

    [15] Econ. minister at AHCC conference: No margins for laxity on rekindling economy

    There are no margins for laxity on rekindling the economy, Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister Louka Katseli warned on Monday, addressing the opening session of the two-day 20th annual American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce's (AHCC) "The Greek Economy Conference" at a central Athens Hotel.

    Katseli blamed the preceding New Democracy (ND) government for the condition of the economy, stressing: "There are no margins for laxity or inertia. The wager is not a governmental wager, but a national one. We are obliged, in a short time, to restore the country's credibility on the international markets, to move ahead with the necessary fiscal streamlining, and to create the conditions for rekindling economic activity."

    The minister noted that next week a bill will be tabled in parliament for channeling liquidity to small and medium size enterprises (including arrangements for the settlement of debts), while by March 2010 all the enterprises that have been incorporated under the investment law and in individual EU programs will be remunerated.

    Katseli further announced that the investment law will be changed in the first months of 2010.

    AHCC president Yanos Gramatidis noted that the US government will soon abolish the visa requirement for Greek citizens traveling to the US, while he also noted that the Greek economy was on the borderline, and it must either react with a comprehensive package of extraordinary measures or collapse.

    Prime minister George Papandreou is slated to address the Conference at 8:30 on Monday evening. Other speakers include finance minister George Papaconstantinou, US ambassador in Athens Daniel Speckhard, and Columbia University professor Graciela Chichilnisky, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Greek Economy Conference, a conference which has become the leading economic conference not only in Greece, but also in the greater region of Southeast Europe. The conference provides the ideal meeting place for representatives from the public and private sector for an exchange of views on proposals regarding development, investment and business policy.

    [16] US envoy addresses American-Hellenic Chamber

    US ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard on Monday addressed an American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce meeting in Athens, pointing to mostly optimistic prospects ahead in both the Greek and internationally, along with challenges from the ongoing international economic crisis.

    Speckhard's address cited three primary axes, namely, international cooperation, labor flexibility and efforts to attract investment and capital.

    In terms of the latter and the new Greek government, he said:

    "The new (Greek) government has signalled its readiness to make structural changes to enhance Greece's competitiveness and to improve the business climate. An improved business climate spawns investment, including investment from abroad. The benefits of foreign direct investment go directly to what this government is trying to achieve - job creation, increased wages and increased exports..." he said.

    Pointing to the necessity of labor flexibility as a remedy for unemployment, he cautioned, however:

    "... labor market flexibility does not mean expendability. Countries need to develop employment regulations to allow efficient contracting between employers and workers, and to protect workers from discriminatory or unfair treatment by employers. Countries should respect the International Labor Organization core labor standards."

    He noted that Greece can attract new investments based on renewable sources of energy, mirroring the new government's appeal for "green development".

    "A rapid push toward meeting Greece's EU commitments in renewable energy by 2020 will draw investors with proven expertise in renewable technologies - and leading technologies in this field. And the benefits are varied. Given its boundless potential, this is an area where Greece can lead in the EU while boosting its own economy and enhancing its energy security. Development of renewable, 'green' energies is a passion shared by (US) President Obama and establishes a commonality of purpose that will serve our two countries well," he concluded.

    [17] Economy minister addresses Athens Chamber event

    Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli, speaking during an event organised by the Athens Chamber of Commerce on Monday on the occasion of its 90th anniversary, stressed the importance placed by the ministry on cooperation with the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as with the country's chambers in the direction of promoting constructive action for the development of entrepreneurship.

    The minister underlined the importance of constructive communication between the chambers and its members and the need for members to rally around the chamber institution, so that the channel of communication between the administration of chambers and the state on the promotion of entrepreneurship remains open always.

    The minister also focused on the continuation of action assumed by the government to increase liquidity in the market and for the protection of households facing problems.

    [18] Greek Labour minister presents gov't's policy priorities to EU counterparts

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/Maria Aroni)

    Labour protection and social cohesion, along with radical changes needed in the administration system of the social state were the main issues in the agenda of an Employment Minister's Council in Brussels on Monday.

    Greek Labour and Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos presented the government's policy priorities, which focused on subsidizing social insurance contributions for four years to boost hirings of younger people, preserving labour positions, and boosting employment initiatives in the fields of environmental development and social economy.

    The Greek minister underlined that the new government's intention was to offer guarantees for a new regulatory framework and an effective inspections mechanism in the labour market of the country, with the aim to combating informal labour.

    Loverdos said the government also intended promoting structural changes and a restructuring of the pension system, saying that money needed to pay for pensions and holiday' bonuses have tripled in 2009, from 850 million euros in 2008 to 2.5 billion euros this year and 3.8 billion euros in 2010.

    Commenting on unemployment rates in Greece, Loverdos said it totaled 9.5 pct of the workforce in July, while part unemployment was 6.0 pct. The Greek minister the vast majority of Greek workers preferred full employment status and stressed that a phenomenon of massive unemployment was a common challenge for European governments.

    [19] Economy minister holds talks with SELPE directorate

    The Federation of Retail Sales Businesses of Greece (SELPE) submitted an appeal to Economy and Competitiveness Minister Louka Katseli on Monday for the opening of shops on two Sundays in December, apart from the 20th of the month and December 13.

    Te Federation's directorate met with the minister on Monday and requested that credit cards not be included in taxation criteria, while proposing a fund for the funding of big and extroversial retail sales businesses without retaxation of their profits.

    On her part, the minister referred to the government's development policy and stressed that one of its targets is to become gradually, through the ESPA programme, an interbalkan trade hub.

    Lastly, she noted that out of the amount of three billion euros that will "fall" into the market, according to the bill on the liquidity of businesses, part of it will also be utilised by retail trade.

    [20] FinMin confers with KEDKE delegation

    Finance minister George Papaconstantinou met on Monday with a delegation of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE), headed by its president, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis.

    After the meeting, Kaklamanis said that the discussion focussed on outstanding financial matters, adding that he pointed out to the minister that KEDKE will not negotiate established resources.

    He further said that KEDKE will participate, with representatives, in the Committee that is to be set up for drafting the new bill on taxation and in the Committee that will examine the problems faced by Local Administration.

    [21] Hellenic Postbank reports sharply improved 9-month results

    Hellenic Postbank on Monday said its consolidated pre-tax profits totaled 160.32 million euros in the January-September period (sharply up from profits of 2.0 million euros in the corresponding period in 2008) and announced that its third quarter pre-tax profits jumped to 37.39 million euros, up from 9.81 million euros last year.

    The bank said its investment portfolio grew 28.23 pct to 5.19 billion euros in the nine-month period, saving deposits rose 11.87 pct to 12.54 billion euros, new loans grew 9.06 pct to 7.77 billion euors, while in non-performing loans rate was only 1.07 pct.

    Aggelos Philippidis, the bank's chairman, commenting on the results said a successful completion of a share capital increase plan, worth 526.26 million euros, amid adverse economic conditions, brought Hellenic Postbank to the top among Greek banks and third among European banks in capital adequacy rates, highlighting the investors' confidence in the bank.

    He said the management's aim was to transform Hellenic Postbank into an alternative bank operating to the benefit of its shareholders and its work force.

    [22] Alpha Bank raises equity capital to 3.45 billion euros

    Alpha Bank on Monday said its equity capital totaled 3,451,067,345 euros following completion of a share capital increase plan and noted that its equity capital was divided into 534,269,648 common voting shares and 200,000,000 preferential non-voting shares of a nominal price of 4.70 euros per share.

    The bank said its share capital increase plan was 1.52 times oversubscribed with Alpha Bank raising 986,343,968 euros from the market.

    [23] Local government employees' strike on Thursday

    Local government employees will stage a 24-hour strike on Thursday, following a call by their nationwide umbrella federation POE-OTA.

    The strikers will hold a rally at 11:00 on Thursday morning at central Karaiskaki Square, before marching to the interior ministry, in demand of a uniform salary scale and abolition of flexible labor relations.

    [24] Intracom Group returns to profitability in Jan-Sep

    Intracom Group on Monday reported profits totaling 500,000 euros in the January-September period, after significant losses of 32.8 million euros in the corresponding period last year.

    Consolidated sales rose 13 pct to 400.6 million euros, from 354.6 million euros last year, while EBITDA jumped to 62.4 million euros from 16.5 million euros over the same period respectively.

    The group said its nine-month results included an accounting profit of 33.6 million euros, the result of Intracom Holdings' raising its equity stake in its subsidiary Hellas Īnline.

    Parent sales totaled 2.7 million euros in the January-September period, from 4.1 million euros last year, while pre-tax earnings totaled 1.9 million euros, after losses of 3.2 million euros in 2008. EBITDA totaled 4.7 million euros, after losses of 400,000 euros last year.

    [25] Wind Hellas announces voluntary exit program

    Wind Hellas on Monday said it would implement a voluntary exit program for its workers, as part of a plan to improve its capital structure, cutting operating expenses and adopt a more effective use of funds to ensuring long-term prosperity in new conditions created in the Greek telecoms market.

    The program will be completed in December 4, 2009 and will cover workers in the finance, technical, IT and customer service departments with at least eight years work at the company. Under the plan, Wind Hellas will offer full compensation and additional wages ranging from eight to 16, plus medical and hospital coverage for the worker and family for a period of six months, along a full year mobile and fixed-telephony services.

    [26] Athens Water says nine-month sales down 1.46 pct

    Athens Water and Sewerage (EYDAP) on Monday reported an 1.46-pct drop in its nine-month sales to 295.682 million euros, down from 300.054 million euros in the corresponding period last year, reflecting lower consumption of water.

    Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) totaled 48.2 million euros in the January-September period, down from 64.9 million euros last year, while after tax profits totaled 18.78 million euros from 23 million euros over the same periods, respectively.

    [27] Retail trade volume index posts decline in Sept. 2009

    The retail trade volue index (turnover in fixed prices), including fuels and vehicle lubricants, fell by 8.7 percent in September against the corresponding month of 2008, according to figures released on Monday by the national statistics service ESYE. The index fell by 1.8 percent in September 2008 over September 2007.

    [28] Stocks end 0.26% higher

    Stocks moved cautiously higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index of the market rising 0.26 pct to end at 2,263.27 points.

    Turnover was a moderate 241.9 million euros, of which 16.2 million euros were block trades. Most sectors moved upwards, with the Insurance (3.79 pct), Food/Beverage (3.54 pct) and Commerce (2.55 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Telecommunications (3.83 pct), Industrial Products (2.79 pct) and Media (2.0 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.37 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.04 pct up and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.15 pct. Broadly, decliners narrowly outnumbered advancers by 101 to 99 with another 57 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +3.79%

    Industrials: -2.79%

    Commercial: +2.55%

    Construction: -0.42%

    Media: -2.00%

    Oil & Gas: -1.13%

    Personal & Household: -0.29%

    Raw Materials: +0.16%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.26%

    Technology: -0.17%

    Telecoms: -3.83%

    Banks: +0.97%

    Food & Beverages: +3.54%

    Health: +0.10%

    Utilities: +1.17%

    Chemicals: +1.91%

    Financial Services: +0.49%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OPAP and EFG Eurobank Ergasias.

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

    Alpha Bank: 9.15

    ATEbank: 1.62

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.44

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.74

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.81

    National Bank of Greece: 19.60

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.83

    Intralot: 3.68

    OPAP: 15.97

    OTE: 10.20

    Bank of Piraeus: 9.70

    Titan: 19.44

    [29] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.45 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover easing to 78.078 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,921 contracts worth 52.004 million euros, with 26,274 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 17,018 contracts worth 18.074 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,488), followed by Eurobank (1,100), MIG (866), OTE (1,025), Piraeus Bank (1,294), GEK (1,980), Alpha Bank (2,166), Cyprus Bank (1,086) and Hellenic Postbank (1,080).

    [30] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank markedly to 181 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with turnover at 1.771 billion euros, of which 1.052 billion were buy orders and the remaining 719 million were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 634 million euros. The Greek bond yielded 4.98 pct and the German Bund 3.17 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.23 pct, the six-month rate 0.66 pct, the three-month rate 0.71 pct and the one-month rate 0.43 pct.

    [31] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.514

    Pound sterling 0.918

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 10.536

    Japanese yen 130.81

    Swiss franc 1.519

    Norwegian kroner 8.580

    Canadian dollar 1.600

    Australian dollar 1.658

    General News

    [32] Up to 80,000 vaccinated against H1N1 health minister reports

    More than 80,000 people had been vaccinated against the H1N1 novel influenza virus by late Sunday night, according to an estimate presented by Health Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou on Monday. According to official records, 75,658 people had been given the vaccine by Friday night. Vaccination of the healthy members of the population begins on Tuesday.

    The minister said that the target was to increase the number of vaccination centres from 354 at present to 527 by the end of the week, once the prefecture vaccination centres were included. She also reported that the 1135 helpline on the virus was becoming much busier, with more and more of the public phoning in to be informed about the flu and the vaccinations. The helpline will be reinforced by an additional 15 phone lines.

    The minister also revealed that 1,000 doctors are to be hired using the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP) urgent procedure in view of the anticipated peak of the H1N1 epidemic in Greece, while a new draft bill that will be discussed in Parliament on Monday will allow a further 1,000 doctors to be hired in the National Health System within the year 2010.

    Of these, 250 will be specialists, 606 will cover organisational vacancies, 35 will be hired by the ambulance service and 152 in health centres. There has also been an increase of an upper ceiling on doctors' monthly salaries plus overtime, which has been raised from 5,150 euros to 6,500 euros. Doctors have pressed for there to be no ceiling.

    [33] Rise in HIV cases diagnosed in 2009

    There has been a significant rise in new HIV cases diagnosed in Greece during the last year, according to a study unveiled by scientists at the health ministry's Disease Control and Monitoring Centre.

    The figures showed 462 new HIV cases diagnosed in the first 10 months of 2009, the vast majority of which concerned men (83.3 percent) infected via homosexual and heterosexual contact. The greatest number of cases concern people aged 25 to 44 years old, while the new diagnoses are mainly among men aged 30 to 34 years old and women aged 25 to 29 years old.

    On a more encouraging note, the number of new HIV cases taking intravenous drugs was low.

    In addition to a rise in HIV infections, scientists are also seeing an increase in other STDs considered a thing of the past, such as syphilis.

    The figures were released in view of World AIDS Day on Tuesday.

    [34] Wall of ancient Macedonian city of Vergina revealed in excavation

    An excavation by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) at the archaeological site of Vergina has uncovered an exceptional fortification structure surrounding the ancient Macedonian city.

    According to a university announcement, the architectural elements of the enclosure indicate that it dates back to the reign of Cassander, in the early 3rd century B.C, a period when Macedonia was plagued by major turmoil, including civil wars and attacks from outside.

    The findings are of remarkable importance because the wall is preserved in perfect condition and its height reaches 1.90cm.

    The archaeological team also unearthed a large number of mobile findings, charred seeds and food dated from the 2nd- 1st century BC.

    [35] Sifounakis represents government on St. Andrew's feast day in Fanar

    Deputy Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Nikos Sifounakis will represent the Greek government at celebrations in Fanar for the feast day of St. Andrew, the Ecumenical Patriarchate's patron saint.

    During his visit to Istanbul, Sifounakis had a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (on Sunday night) that covered global initiatives undertaken by the Patriarch to protect the environment and promote green development.

    [36] Greek Navy chief in Cairo

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA - N. Katsikas)

    The chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff Vice Admiral Georgios Karamilikis began an official visit to Egypt on Monday, at the invitation of the Chief Commander of Egypt's Naval Forces Vice Admiral Mohab Mameesh.

    Karamalikis arrived in Cairo on Monday morning and will be received by Alexandria and All Africa Patriarch Theodoros II on Tuesday. He is scheduled to meet Vice Admiral Mameesh immediately afterward.

    On Wednesday morning, the Greek Navy chief of staff will carry out a formal visit to the Greek Embassy in Cairo before beginning the return journey to Athens.

    Weather Forecast

    [37] Rainy on Tuesday

    Rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 4C and 20C. Cloudy with possible showers in Athens, with southerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 8C to 19C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 5C to 15C.

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

    Antonis Samaras' victory in main opposition New Democracy elections for a new leader and finance minister George Papaconstantinou's upcoming crucial meetings with the Eurogroup and Ecofin, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "ND's grass roots showed the way .... Unprecedented turnout in ballots".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Samaras is the leader - ND's supporters swarmed to the ballots to elect Costas Karamanlis' successor".

    AVRIANI: "The people toppled the political families because they believe they are responsible for country's bankruptcy".

    CHORA: "Samaras' triumph - New Democracy changed plans with a new leader elected by the party's grass roots".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Antonis Samaras new president of New Democracy, Bakoyannis conceded her defeat".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Samaras elected from the first round as the 7th president of New Democracy".

    ESTIA: "Antonis Samaras president of ND - Mandate for a new start and unity".

    ETHNOS: "Samaras' total recall! ND's supporters condemned the 'mechanisms'.".

    IMERISSIA: "EU supports and demands - European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Joaquin Almunia's 'umbrella', joint monitoring with IMF".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Crucial commitments to Brussels".

    TA NEA: "Samaras' victory - More than 400,000 people voted".

    VRADYNI: "Antonis Samaras is the new leader".

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