|Tuesday, 12 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-12-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 8 December 2009 Issue No: 3369
 Gov't briefs MPs on Copenhagen summitDeputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis briefed deputies and Eurodeputies on Athens' positions vis-à-vis this week's Copenhagen summit on climate change, which began on Monday and will conclude on Dec. 18. The Greek delegation will be headed by Prime Minister George Papandreou and will include Environment Minister Tina Birbili, Kouvelis and Deputy Environment Minister George Maniatis.
Also participating will be six deputies, two from the ruling party and four from the opposition, four NGO representatives, including WWF and Greenpeace, as well as experts, primarily in the sectors of shipping, agriculture and economic issues.
"Greece is in favour of a legally binding agreement with specific targets," Kouvelis said, reminding of an EU agreement for a unilateral commitment on the "20 percent targets", in which Greece participates.
The Greek side is planning a Socialist International event during the summit, under the chairmanship of Papandreou, with the participation of socialist leaders present in the Danish capital.
 Incidents mar rally in memory of shot pupil; calm reported by afternoonPolice again clashed with rioters near the Athens university's administration building (Propylea) on Monday just prior to a scheduled protest rally marking the first anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a 15-year-old pupil last December.
So-called "anti-establishment" activists threw stones and other objects at police dispatched to guard the Athens University, who initially did not react but later, yet when attacks intensified, they used tear gas and also detained some of the protestors.
Police received orders to guard the neo-classical administration building, an Athens landmark, a day after hooded youths forced open its gate and proceeded with widespread vandalism, slightly injuring the school's rector in the process.
A similar incident took place in Piraeus, when a group of about 500 youthful demonstrators gathered in a main square outside a local police precinct threw bottles and other objects.
Demonstrations were also held by mostly youthful protestors outside various police stations throughout the greater Athens area, many of whom later converged on central Athens for a main rally.
More than 140 people were arrested and nearly 800 taken in for questioning amid incidents throughout Greece over the past 48 hours, including more than a dozen foreign nationals. Although a large swathe of central Athens remained closed to traffic in the afternoon, and with some 20 storefronts and bank facades damaged, incidents were decidedly few in number and less violent in relation to last year's unprecedented riot-fuelled destruction.
Meanwhile, Athens chief prosecutor Ioannis Sakelakos ordered police to draft three case files related to violence during Sunday's protests, including a separate case file for the injury of Athens University rector Christos Kittas, who suffered a mild concussion after being hit over the head by hooded individuals. The Kittas incident, in fact, led to a letter by the university's three vice-rectors to the chief of police, requesting that the building's perimeter be guarded by police.
Meanwhile, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga, in a statement on Monday, said that the KKE is not absent from the anniversary of the murder of a child, "which must not be forgotten", but is present in mobilisations and activities focusing on the problems in the education system and labor.
On its part, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance said that Citizens' Protection minister Michalis Chryssohoidis had spoken with SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras in the framework of the former's contacts with political leaders, adding that SYRIZA's position had been made clear: "We will take part in the peaceful demonstrations on the anniversary of Alexis Grigoropoulos' murder".
SYRIZA said any attempt, after the fact, by Chryssohoidis to incriminate the content of the contacts "introduces a new political morality in political practice", adding that the minister, in order to defend his own choices, was "personalising" the political conflicts.
In a later statement, government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis reiterated that the government "had made it crystal clear that it would show zero tolerance to those who, using the pretext of events in remembrance of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, attempted to again erect scenery of terror and chaos, similar to last year, in the centre of Athens."
He concluded by saying that issues affecting public law and order comprise a "red line" for the government.
 40 arrests in Athens, Thessaloniki for Sunday's incidentsA total of 40 people were arrested, including two minors, in violence in Athens and Thessaloniki on Sunday evening after rallies marking one year from the shooting death of a 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos by a policeman during an incident in the Athens district of Exarchia, which had sparked unprecedented rioting in several cities throughout the country.
A total of 26 people were arrested in the center of Athens, from among 277 individuals brought in for questioning, while 14 people were arrested, including two minors from more than 100 brought in for questioning in Thessaloniki.
The minors, both 16 years of age, were arrested for throwing rocks and a fire-bomb (molotov cocktail) against a police patrol car, while legal action will also be taken against the minors' parents.
The detainees were due to appear before local public prosecutors on Monday.
 Athens U Rector to remain in hospital after injury in incidentsAthens University Rector Christos Kittas remained in hospital on Monday after suffering a head injury by masked youths who barged into the old University building (Propylea) on Sunday during scattered violence in the greater Athens area after a protest rally marking the first anniversary of a police shooting of a 15-year-old pupil in incidents in the Exarchia district of Athens, which had sparked unprecedented urban rioting by anti-state hooligans in Athens and other cities at the time.
Kittas, who was hit over the head by masked youths, was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Ippokratio Hospital in Athens with a mild concussion and a mild heart attack on Sunday night, and was expected to remain hospitalised for at least two more days, attending physicians said on Monday, adding that he was in good condition.
The rector was visited in hospital later Sunday night by education minister Anna Diamantopoulou, deputy education minister Yiannis Panaretos, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MP Yiannis Protoulis, a delegation of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance, and National Technical University of Athens-NTUA (National Metsovion Polytechnic) rector Constantine Moutzouris, respectively.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Protoulis said that his visit was an expression of support to Kittas, while he also stressed the opposition of the student and popular movements over the incident, while Moutzouris expressed the grief of the entire university committee over the "sorry state we have fallen to".
 Avramopoulos appointed president of ND Congress Organising CommitteeMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Monday appointed former health minister and Athens MP Dimitris Avramopoulos as the president of the Organising Committee for ND's 8th regular Congress.
 President receives LAOS leaderPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday received Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, who told reporters later that they had an excellent and constructive discussion.
"We will not find another President like Karolos Papoulias," Karatzaferis said, adding that the discussion had focused on the countries national and economic problems".
"For the next six Christmases, Karolos Papoulias will be the President of the Republic," Karatzaferis said.
On the FYROM issue and on the new main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, the LAOS leader said that he will "never forget the reason why he (Samaras), in 1993, toppled the then ND government", noting that he will continue the struggle on the national issues, and adding that there will be more agreement with Samaras on the national issues than with Dora Bakoyannis (the former foreign minister and candidate for the ND leadership) and Costas Karamanlis (the previous ND leader and former prime minister).
 Brzezinski address at launch of new CSIS chair for SE EuropeOne of America's foreign policy and diplomacy doyens, Zbigniew Brzezinski, spoke at an event here on Monday to commemorate the establishment of a new SE European studies chair at the prestigious Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).
Brzezinski, the US national security advisor during the Carter administration and a current CSIS trustee, initially outlined the centre's scope and mission, while latter fielding press questions ranging from China's emergence on the global scene, to NATO engagement in Afghanistan to Europe's energy security and even the "name dispute" still separating Athens and Euro-Atlantic aspirant fYRoM, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The spry 81-year-old Polish-American academic opened his remarks by praising the initiative of Greek business executive Lavrentis Lavrentiadis to establish the new CSIS seat, which will be headed by veteran analyst Janusz Bugajski.
"The CSIS is a strategic think tank that aims to aid and guide US strategic goals ... that's why this generous and visionary insistence to focus on SE Europe, a sensitive region, is so important," Brzezinski said, in praise of the newly established chair.
Among others, Brzezinski said an emphasis on "energy security" for Europe was not inherently "anti-Russia"; he appeared reassuring of China's growing role, terming it as "less revisionist and quite accommodating" to the current international system, while at the same time calling for more and proportionate support by NATO member-states in the Afghanistan conflict.
Asked specifically about Greece's contribution, the prolific public diplomacy author said increased aid funding and specific initiatives, such as financing programmes to dissuade Afghan farmers from growing opium poppies, could somewhat substitute for additional military contingents.
Besides Brzezinski and Bugajski, former US assistant secretary of state and distinguished career diplomat Amb. Marc Grossman as well as former deputy assistant secretary of state Heather Conley spoke at the event, held at a seaside SE Athens resort, with Lavrentiadis. Grossman detailed the situation with NATO, particularly the Alliance's purpose in the 21st century, the Afghanistan mission, relations with Russia and the larger transatlantic partnership, while Conley focused on US-EU ties in the Obama era and the Lisbon treaty's ratification.
On his part, Bugajski, an expert in SE Europe issues, said he favoured the placing of a geographic qualifier as part of the constitutional name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, calling the latter's Euro-Atlantic course imperative for quelling whatever inter-ethnic tension in the landlocked country and preventing any destabilisation of the western Balkans. He cited the possibility of the Albanian minority in fYRoM becoming impatient with the lack of progress towards NATO and EU accession, with this element affecting Albanian communities in southern Serbia, Kosovo and even Montenegro.
In terms of closely watched EU-Turkey ties, all of the participants on the CSIS panel expressed their solid support for the neighbouring country's full membership into the 27-nation bloc, while at the same stressing that the Ankara government and Turkish leadership must fulfill all commitments vis-à-vis the EU, something also emphasised by Grossman, a past US ambassador to Turkey.
"It is extremely important that people honour agreements," Grossman said in referring to Turkey, praising what he called the EU's high and unwavering standards.
Conley also underlined that Turkey should fulfill its commitments and open its ports and airports to Cypriot carriers -- days before an EU summit will gauge Ankara's progress in meeting EU criteria.
 Eurogroup Chief: Greece not on the verge of bankruptcyThe President of the Eurogroup and Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean Claude Juncker warned that if the Athens government's measures on the economy do not succeed, then Greece will enter into a stricter stage of the excessive deficit procedure, but stressed that the Greek economy was not on the verge of bankruptcy, an interview with the Sunday edition of Eleftherotypia newspaper.
Juncker explained that entry into a stricter stage of excessive deficit procedure entails immediate penalties such as the freezing of subsidies and the prohibition of borrowing from the European Investment Bank.
He admitted that the condition of the economy in Greece is 'tragic' and estimated that the basic problem of the Greek economy's lack of competitiveness, however, speculations that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy makes him angry.
"Such a situation does not exist, and everyone must be aware of this. Yes, the need of severe measures is mandatory, but in no instance is it (the Greek economy) in a state of bankruptcy", stressed Juncker.
The Eurogroup President, answering a question whether a 3-4 year grace period may be given to Greece in order to reduce the deficit, noted: "It is too early to talk about extra time. Initially, the government must present the new stability programme in January, and in February we will make known our recommendations".
 Six double taxation avoidance accords to be tabled in parliament this weekThe finance ministry will table in parliament this week six international agreements for double tax avoidance (with Canada, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Serbia, Morocco and Azerbaijan) in the area of direct taxation (income and capital) and for the avoidance of tax evasion, beginning on Monday.
The six agreements, which are being tabled for ratification, will institute administrative cooperation between the tax authorities of Greece and the contracting countries on exchanges of taxation information so as to avoid double taxation and combat tax evasion through establishment of the extent of the taxation authority of the contracting states, aimed at ensuring a stable taxation environment.
The agreement with Canada, in particular, the negotiation of which lasted 25 years, also auspiciously regulates the manner of taxation of pensions received by Greeks from Canada, and is expected to contribute substantially to the repatriation of Greek retirees from that country.
A ministry announcement said that the agreements are due to be ratified by parliament after the voting on the 2010 state budget, while the government intends to activate corresponding negotiations with a number of other countries in the immediate future.
 Piraeus Port Authority appoints new boardThe new board of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) has been appointed during the Authority's general assembly of shareholders.
Referring to problems concerning employees, OLP president George Anomeritis said that a dialogue is under way. He stressed that the problem was created by the fact that dock 1 had not been ready when dock 2 had been handed over to COSCO, adding that dock 1 will be ready by June and the voluntary withdrawal programme will be postponed for six months.
 Tunisian business delegation due in AthensÁ delegation of Tunisian businessmen involved in the textile industry will be in Athens on December 8-10 for contacts with Greek counterparts, in a mission organised by the Tunisian Embassy in collaboration with the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, aimed at promoting contacts and trade between the two sides, it was announced on Monday.
 CPI, Harmonised CPI post rise in NovemberThe Consumer Price Index (CPI) in November 2009, as compared to November 2008, increased by 2.0%, according to figures released on Monday by the national statistics service ESYE. A year earlier, the annual rate of change of the CPI was 2.9%.
The CPI in November 2009, as compared to October 2009, increased by 0.5%. A year earlier, the monthly rate of change of the CPI was -0.3%.
In the twelve-month period December 2008-November 2009 the average rate of change of the CPI was 1.2%. A year earlier, the corresponding rate of change of the CPI was 4.3%.
Also, the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in November 2009, as compared to November 2008, increased by 2.1%. A year earlier, the annual rate of change of the HICP was 3.0%.
The HICP in November 2009, as compared to October 2009, increased by 0.6%. A year earlier, the monthly rate of change of the HICP was -0.2%.
In the twelve month period December 2008-November 2009 the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 1.3%. A year earlier, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 4.4%.
 Stocks slide 2.73% on Mon.Stocks suffered heavy losses in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, hit by strong selling pressures on banks, with the composite index of the market losing 2.73 pct to close at 2,318.64 points. Turnover was a low 172.6 million euros, of which 10.1 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved downwards, with the Insurance (5.28 pct), Financial Services (4.80 pct) and Banks (4.69 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Food/Beverage (2.20 pct), Personal/Home Products (0.87 pct) and Media (0.58 pct) scored gains.
The FTSE 20 index dropped 3.70 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.49 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index fell 0.80 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 123 to 57 with another 56 issues unchanged.
National Bank (5.56 pct), Alpha Bank (3.33 pct), Eurobank (5.98 pct) and Marfin Popular Bank (5.12 pct) suffered mostly among banks.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.41%
Personal & Household: +0.87%
Raw Materials: -3.84%
Travel & Leisure: -2.99%
Food & Beverages: +2.20%
Financial Services: -4.80%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Eurobank and DEH.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 8.70
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.50
HBC Coca Cola: 16.38
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.03
National Bank of Greece: 20.21
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.80
Bank of Piraeus: 9.79
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.30 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a low 72.231 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,897 contracts worth 59.285 million euros, with 27,084 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,881 contracts worth 12.946 million euros, with investment interest focusing on PPC's contracts (2,310), followed by MIG (1,035), OTE (1,262), National Bank (1,719), Alpha Bank (1,409), Marfin Popular Bank (1,111), ATEbank (1,004) and Eurobank (642).
 Greek bond market closing reportA warning by Standard & Poor's over a possible downgrade of Greece's credit rating from A- to BBB+ hit Greek state securities on Monday, with the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widening to 192 basis points.
Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.030 billion euros, of which 265 million were buy orders and the remaining 765 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 250 million euros. The Greek bond yielded 5.10 pct and the German Bund 3.18 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.
 Culture and Tourism minister holds talks with Archbishop of America DemetriusNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos held talks on Monday evening with Archbishop of America Demetrius, focusing on issues concerning Greek expatriates, the effort to attract American tourists to Greece and ways of promoting Greek culture.
"The visit to the Archdiocese is always a special joy. Our discussions with the Archbishop are always very interesting. The issues that we always discuss also concern the Greek community in America, as well as cultural issues beyond the borders of this country," the minister said after the meeting.
 Alexandria Patriarch Theodoros II begins official visit to Greek ChurchAlexandria Patriarch Theodoros II began an official visit to the Church of Greece on Monday evening. He was welcomed at Athens airport by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos.
During his week-long visit, the Patriarch of Alexandria will be meeting the country's political and state leadership, the President of the Republic, the prime minister, the Parliament president and others.
 SAE youth coordinators tour New Acropolis MuseumDeputy Culture and Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou met here on Monday with the coordinators of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad's youth networks in the organisation's regions (Europe, North and South America, Africa and the Middle East, the Far East, Oceania and Cyprus).
During the meeting, attended by Council President Stefanos Tamvakis, the coordinators briefed the deputy minister on the internet initiative to promote the demand for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles through the website www.unitethemarbles.org. The coordinators were given a guided tour of the New Acropolis Museum by Museum director Dimitris Pantermalis before visiting the deputy minister.
 Thessaloniki Prefect released from hospitalThessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis was released on Monday from the Balkan Medical Center in Thessaloniki, where he was admitted on the night of November 29 after the leadership elections in main opposition New Democracy (ND), in which he was a candidate, suffering from pneumonia.
Speaking to reporters on his way out of the hospital, Psomiadis said that he would meet in Athens on Tuesday evening with the new ND leader Antonis Samaras, and thanked everyone who had supported his candidacy, adding the he felt a winner in the consciences of the Greek people.
He also said that he expected of Samaras to "make his own revolution", stressing that an end must be put to the "parasites" and "rusty minds", and adding that that was why he personally will not stop speaking out in a loud and uncompromising voice.
Psomiadis further said he believed that the new ND leader will make use of the "excellent" cadres, rather than the "well-liked" ones.
 Arrest on Samos for migrant traffickingPolice on the eastern Aegean island of Samos have reportedly disbanded two gangs trafficking and exploiting illegal migrants in the harbour of Karlovasi.
In the first such case, one Greek and three foreigners were arrested and in the second incident a Romanian national was detained.
The suspects reportedly provided would-be migrants with tickets for the port of Piraeus at the price of 250-300 euros, while their real price was only four euros.
The migrants were in the possession of legal documents given to them when they were released from a detention centre, but after 30 days had passed since their issuing they were no longer valid.
 Cloudy on TuesdayCloudy weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 5C and 20C. Cloudy in Athens, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 8C to 19C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 8C to 15C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe outbreak of street violence during events and marches throughout the country on the one year anniversary of the killing of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos by a policeman in Athens and the economy, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Athens and Thessaloniki turned into a hell".
APOGEVMATINI: "Street violence in Athens - Anti-statists smashed showcases and destroyed shops".
CHORA: "Underground war against Samaras (Antonis, the new leader of main opposition New Democracy )".
ÅLEFTHERI ORA: "Anarchy reigned in Athens - Anarchists occupied the University of Athens' prytaneum".
ELEFTHEROS: "Anarchists demolished Citizens Protection Minister Michalis Chryssohoidis' plan".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "They burned the flag and the state".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Police's aggresive tactic - 'Police state' protection".
ESTIA: "The scuffles will have multiple repercussions on the economy".
ETHNOS: "Police gave sound response to the hooded groups' violence".
IMERISSIA: "Special investment bonds - Government-Goldman Sachs agreement".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Collection measures and excessive borrowing".
TA NEA: "Police's new tactic contained the clashes".
VRADYNI: "Athens a battlefield once again".
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