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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-04-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 2 April 2010 Issue No: 3459


  • [01] Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli visiting a central market in Athens on Thursday ahead of Easter.
  • [02] Tempi intersection opens temporarily for Easter holiday
  • [03] Easter message by Archbishop Ieronymos
  • [04] Ecumenical Patriarch's Easter message
  • [05] Easter message by the Patriarch of Jerusalem
  • [06] Defense ministry military leadership visits troops for Easter
  • [07] IMF official on Greece
  • [08] Former PM Tzannis Tzannetakis passes away
  • [09] Statements on passing of former PM Tzannetakis
  • [10] Labour minister on pharmacies refusal to fill out OAEE prescriptions
  • [11] Thessaloniki metro main line ready in four years, minister says
  • [12] Hellenic Postbank buys 32.9 pct majority stake in Aspis Bank
  • [13] Greek PMI down in March
  • [14] ASE suspends trading in Praxitelio and Atermon
  • [15] Greek stocks recover after three-day decline
  • [16] Greek bond market closing report
  • [17] ADEX closing report
  • [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [19] Medical bulletin on the terror victim's condition
  • [20] Three arrested for trafficking women on Rhodes
  • [21] Foreign nationals arrested for series of bank robberies
  • [22] Gang of burglars busted in Thessaloniki
  • [23] Lawsuit filed by parents following baby boy's death
  • [24] Thousands of firecrackers seized in Chania
  • [25] Acropolis Museum opening hours over Easter holiday
  • [26] Cloudy, rainy on Friday
  • [27] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli visiting a central market in Athens on Thursday ahead of Easter. ANA-MPA/K. Nomikou.

    Long queues as cities empty for Easter break

    Heightened passenger traffic and long queues at airports, ports and roadways marked the start of the urban retreat from cities all around Greece, with tens of thousands seeking to spend the Easter weekend in the countryside or on an island.

    Airlines have laid on additional scheduled flights, as well as charter flights, to serve the extra travellers throughout the Easter long weekend, from Good Friday until the following Tuesday. Based on bookings thus far, flights are more than 70 percent full and the most popular destinations are Thessaloniki, Iraklio, Larnaca, Rhodes, Paris and Rome.

    Greek Railways (OSE) trains are also fully booked and have added extra carriages to increase the number of seats, while inter-city buses have laid on additional services to meet increased demand.

    According to current estimates, demand is at roughly the same levels as last year.

    Albanians and ethnic Greeks from Albania trying to go home for Easter were again tested by long queues of cars that formed at the Kakavia border crossing on Thursday, even though the numbers of those seeking to travel to Albania were smaller than last year. Motorists once again complained that the customs post at Kakavia was under-staffed, leading to long delays.

    [02] Tempi intersection opens temporarily for Easter holiday

    The Tempi section of the country's main north-south highway, which has been closed since mid-December following a massive landslide, reopened at noon on Thursday to Easter holidaymakers, and will reclose for completion of repairs after the holiday.

    The Tempi section opened at 12:00 noon, as long lines of vehicles had gathered awaiting the signal to pass and demanding from the authorities to open the crossing earlier.

    Local officials were at the spot ahead of opening time, reassuring drivers that passage through the intersection is safe for cars. A strong team of policemen, fire brigades and ambulances will remain at the spot, while 100 police officers will monitor traffic. Cars passing through Tempi will not able to stop or park and all parking areas are closed.

    Tempi has been closed to traffic since December 17, 2009 following a landslide that claimed the life of an Italian engineer, who was project director of a tunnel being constructed at the site, while arriving to inspect damage caused by falling rocks, opened temporarily to facilitate the Easter holidaymakers.

    The Tempi intersection will remain in operation until the Sunday after Easter (April 11).

    Infrastructures, Transports and Networks minister Dimitris Reppas on Monday expressed satisfaction with the progress in the restoration works, noting that it is a complex project that, according to the relevant study, required interventions at 12 points.

    Of those, he added, the nine interventions have been completed, while the remaining three points do not present risk to motorists and their completion requires material that the contractor carrying out the project will take delivery of in 10-15 days.

    [03] Easter message by Archbishop Ieronymos

    Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece in his message on the occasion of the Orthodox Easter this Sunday underlined that "we live in a fallen world", a world that "has nothing in common with what it was when it was created," pointing out that now "hypocrisy and over-consumption are dominant".

    "The Easter celebration is a challenge for an awakening and should not be regarded as yet another religious holiday," the Archbishop stressed, adding that "the time has come to quest for different ways of spiritual awakening against the overpowering force of decadence."

    [04] Ecumenical Patriarch's Easter message

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Thursday issued a message for this year's Easter holiday, which he said coincided with a time of deep crisis for all the world. In his message, he emphasised the need to 'cleanse' body, mind and soul in order to receive Christ's "life-giving light" and said that this could not be done via philosophy, science, art nor by any type of technique or ideology but only through faith.

    [05] Easter message by the Patriarch of Jerusalem

    Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem in his Easter message referred to the miracle of Resurrection that manifests within each human being through the Resurrection of Christ.

    He underlined that the Risen Christ is "the antidote to death, sorrow and grief", stressing that "our soul and spirit are unaffected by physical death".

    [06] Defense ministry military leadership visits troops for Easter

    The national defense ministry military leadership visited armed forces personnel on the occasion of the Orthodox Easter this Sunday.

    Chief of National Defence General Staff, General (AF) Ioannis Giagkos visited Kabul where he met with the personnel of the Hellenic Special Composition Battalion, the Greek officers, trainers of the Afghan Army, and the staff officers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters.

    He also attended the official handover ceremony of the Kabul KAIA Airport Command to the Hellenic Air Force.

    He met with the ISAF Commander General Stanley McCrystal (US) and the Kabul Regional Commander, Brigadier General Levent Colak (TUR) and discussed issues on the current operations and the future of ISAF.

    Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, Lt. General Frangoulis Frangos visited 4th Army Corps units.

    Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Dimitris Elefsiniotis visited the Naval Station on the eastern Aegean island of Chios and the patrol boat "Stamou" and met with the Metropolitan Bishop Dionysios of Chios, Psara and Oinousses.

    [07] IMF official on Greece


    International Monetary Fund (IMF) deputy Foreign Relations director Gerry Rice, speaking during a press conference Thursday, said that the IMF was "monitoring the situation closely and we remain prepared to help Greece if it is requested from us by the Greek authorities, something that has not been requested from us."

    He added that "when a member-state approaches the Fund and requests economic aid we send a delegation to the country for consultations with the authorities and we agree on the best way to go ahead. In this sense the Fund has an advisory role in supporting the most viable economic programme. From the moment that this programme has been decided, the Fund's administration and ultimately the executive committee ratify it. This is the procedure."

    Rice concluded by saying that "in our discussions with eurozone countries we have, of course, consultations not only with the country's authorities but European institutions as well, since they fall under the Stability and Development Programme and are members of the European Central Bank's system."

    [08] Former PM Tzannis Tzannetakis passes away

    Former prime minister Tzannis Tzannetakis passed away on Thursday at the age of 83. The deceased had served as prime minister over the period between 2.7.1989 and 12.10.1989 in the coalition government of the New Democracy (ND) party and the Coalition of the Left and Progress. His funeral will take place next week.

    The following announcement was issued by his office: "Former prime minister Tzannis Tzannetakis passed away at the 'Errikos Dynan' Hospital at 16.44 today. His funeral will talke place next week on a day and at a time that will be communicated with another announcement."

    [09] Statements on passing of former PM Tzannetakis

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, referring on Thursday to the death of former prime minister Tzannis Tzannetakis, termed him a "noble of politics."

    "He served, both as a man of the military and as a politician, our country with character and a will to offer. He served society and our party with dignity and unselfishness," Samaras said.

    Former prime minister Costas Karamanlis said in a statement that all his life the deceased had served the country and democracy with a high feeling of responsibility.

    Karamanlis praised his character, wisdom and moderation that were recognised, as he said, even by his political rivals.

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis also paid tribute to the deceased in a statement.

    Financial News

    [10] Labour minister on pharmacies refusal to fill out OAEE prescriptions

    Labour and Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos on Thursday strongly criticised pharmacists that were refusing to fill out prescriptions payable by the cash-strapped free-lance workers insurance fund OAEE, saying the action was "incomprehensible" and the work of "trade unionists in the Attica Pharmacists Association".

    The minister said that he approved politically of the decision by OAEE's management to delay payment of its debts to pharmacies in order to give pensions and Easter bonuses to its insured.

    "I consider, therefore, incomprehensible the actions of certain trade unionists of the Attica Pharmacists Association to not provide medication to OAEE insured during the Easter holiday. It is imperative but also self-evident that, under the conditions that exist in the social insurance funds, everyone involved in social insurance must be generous during this period in terms of the time they allow for the completion of transactions. I can also inform you that OAEE this morning deposited in the relevant bank account the money for its debts to pharmacists' associations," the minister said.

    [11] Thessaloniki metro main line ready in four years, minister says

    Deputy Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Yiannis Magriotis on Thursday visited a work site for the Thessaloniki metro system, during which he stated that the main metro line will be completed in four years time.

    "We have plans to finish the main line by the beginning of 2014, thus winning back about half the lost time and we will achieve this target, having secured funding for the work, having reinforced the services carrying out the excavations and bringing the management and supervision of the metro to Thessaloniki," he said.

    [12] Hellenic Postbank buys 32.9 pct majority stake in Aspis Bank

    Hellenic Postbank on Thursday took control of Aspis Bank after acquiring a 32.9 pct equity stake through a share capital increase plan procedure. Aspis Bank announced the completion of the share capital increase plan at a rate of 68.84 pct, with the bank raising 52,918,467 euros from the market.

    Aspis Bank said a stock offer to its shareholders raised 18,442,485 euros, accounting for 23.99 pct of the plan, while a book-building process offered 55,324,030 new shares, or 43.18 pct of the share capital increase plan. The bank said Hellenic Postbank's participation to Aspis Bank's equity capital, as a majority shareholder position, signalled a new era in the bank's course. Under the plan, an annual extraordinary general shareholders' meeting is expected to approve a plan to change Aspis Bank's name and corporate identity.

    [13] Greek PMI down in March

    Greece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 42.9 points in March, to an 11-month low, indicating a sharp worsening in the health of the manufacturing sector in the country.

    Average PMI was 44.6 points in the first quarter of 2010, the worst quarterly performance since the first quarter of 2009 (39 points). Production in the manufacturing sector fell significantly in March, reflecting a decline in new orders, with demand -both domestic and external- falling in March.

    The seasonally-adjusted PMI measures business activity in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector, while readings below 50 a shrinking sector.

    [14] ASE suspends trading in Praxitelio and Atermon

    The Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday announced the suspension of trading for a period of up to 10 days of the shares of Praxitelio Medical SA for failing to timely publish its annual results and Atermon Communication because its annual results diverged from International Accounting Standards.

    [15] Greek stocks recover after three-day decline

    Greek stocks recovered after a three-day decline in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with the composite index of the market rising 1.33 pct to end at 2,095.02 points. Turnover was a low 104.354 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 1.43 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.58 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.49 pct. The Food (4.23 pct) and Insurance (3.41 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (1.53 pct) and Industrial Products (0.21 pct) suffered losses.

    Attikat (11.76 pct), Parnassos (8.74 pct), Spider (8.70 pct) and Elmec Sport (8.54 pct) were top gainers, while Akritas (9.84 pct), Technical Publications (8.33 pct) and Vivere (7.41 pct) were top losers. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 87 to 62 with another 60 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +3.41%

    Industrials: -0.21%

    Commercial: +1.30%

    Construction: +1.25%

    Media: +0.97%

    Oil & Gas: -0.19%

    Personal & Household: +1.74%

    Raw Materials: +1.21%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.04%

    Technology: +0.61%

    Telecoms: Unchanged

    Banks: +1.70%

    Food & Beverages: +4.23%

    Health: -1.53%

    Utilities: -0.03%

    Chemicals: +0.50%

    Financial Services: +2.31%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and Alpha Bank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index

    closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 7.06

    ATEbank: 1.56

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.00

    HBC Coca Cola: 20.84

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.48

    National Bank of Greece: 15.09

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.00

    Intralot: 3.32

    OPAP: 16.80

    OTE: 9.19

    Bank of Piraeus: 6.51

    Titan: 19.99

    [16] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 344 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 6.57 pct. Turnover in the market shrank to 860 million euros, of which 420 million were buy orders and the remaining 440 million euros were sell orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 230 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.21 pct, the six-month rate 0.95 pct, the three-month 0.64 pct and the one-month rate 0.40 pct.

    [17] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.93 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday with turnover a low 35.385 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,000 contracts worth 30.636 million euros, with 24,322 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 6,081 contracts, worth 4.749 million euros, with investment interest focusing on GEK's contracts (1,913), followed by Eurobank (544), PPC (250), Piraeus Bank (326), National Bank (959), Alpha Bank (753), Ellaktor (250) and Cyprus Bank (124).

    [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

    Reference buying rates per euro released

    by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.357

    Pound sterling 0.891

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 9.806

    Japanese yen 127.29

    Swiss franc 1.429

    Norwegian kroner 8.080

    Canadian dollar 1.373

    Australian dollar 1.480

    General News

    [19] Medical bulletin on the terror victim's condition

    The doctors at the "Gennimatas" Hospital treating the 11-year-old Afghan girl injured in a bomb blast last Sunday in the central Athens district of Patissia issued a medical bulletin on her condition on Thursday.

    According to her attendant doctors, the girl's right eye, which has undergone surgery, is continuing to not react to light, as was the case prior to the operation, and the prognosis remains unfavourable. Her left eye will be operated on at the appropriate time but prognosis is equally unfavourable, the medical bulletin underlined.

    The girl was admitted to hospital with multiple injuries to her face, eyes, eyelids and lower limbs following the blast, believed to be the work of self-styled anti-state urban terrorists. Her 15-year-old brother was killed in the explosion and her mother was also injured.

    [20] Three arrested for trafficking women on Rhodes

    Rhodes police have arrested three people for trafficking in women and for illegally detaining a 21-year-old Russian woman against her will.

    The three arrested are a 28-year-old man from Uzbekistan, a 24-year-old Russian woman and a 40-year-old Rhodes resident. They face criminal charges for human trafficking, holding persons against their will, removing their documents, kidnapping a minor, intimidation, violating personal data privacy and illegal possession of weapons.

    The case was uncovered following a report filed by the 21-year-old Russian woman on March 29, in which she told Rhodes police that she had arrived in Greece in February 2009 via a travel agency in her country in order to work.

    She had been picked up at the airport by the 28-year-old from Uzbekistan, who took her to Rhodes and held on to her passport, refusing to give it back. According to the woman, he had then forced her into prostitution, taking her to various bars around Rhodes, Kos and Karpathos, where she had worked as an escort and stripper and required to have sex with customers.

    She claimed that the man had used threats and intimidation in order to force her to live in the house that he rented with his 24-year-old Russian girlfriend, in which he had placed cameras everywhere to follow her movements.

    A few days previously, the young woman finally managed to escape from the house through a bathroom window and report what happened to the police.

    [21] Foreign nationals arrested for series of bank robberies

    Seven Albanian nationals were arrested Thursday in Aliartos, Viotia Prefecture in central Greece, for lacking identification documents and after being questioned it was established that they had committed a series of bank robberies in the greater region.

    They were identified as the men that robbed two banks in Malessina, in robberies committed within ten minutes from each other, and a bank in Orchomenos, while they were also the culprits of a hold up targeting a courier service employee in Xironomi.

    A police search in their hideout in Aliartos revealed a large stash of Kalashnikov assault rifles that were used in the robberies.

    An investigation is underway to determine if the suspects were involved in other crimes as well.

    [22] Gang of burglars busted in Thessaloniki

    A gang of burglars was dismantled by Thessaloniki Police and are currently being investigated. Over ten members of the gang, all Albanian nationals, are charged with breaking into homes in several Thessaloniki suburbs during the night and stealing money, jewelry and electronic devices without being spotted. The suspects are also charged with taking car keys from the homes and stealing the cars.

    [23] Lawsuit filed by parents following baby boy's death

    The parents of a one-year-old boy from Kozani Prefecture, northwest Greece, who died two weeks ago in Thessaloniki's "Ippokrateio" Hospital from dehydration, filed a lawsuit against any party responsible.

    Two weeks ago, the infant was vaccinated against hepatitis and shortly afterwards it had exhibited symptoms of gastroenteritis.

    The incident could not be treated in the hospitals of Kozani and Ptolemaida because they do not have paediatric wards so the baby was taken to the Veria Hospital, where the doctors diagnosed gastroenteritis. The parents took the child to the Special Infections Hospital in Thessaloniki before rushing it to the Children's Clinic ICU at the "Ippokrateio" Hospital, where the baby died.

    Local people and authorities in the city of Kozani held a silent protest on Wednesday requesting the full operation of hospitals in the four prefectures of northwest Greece, Kozani, Kastoria, Florina and Grevena.

    [24] Thousands of firecrackers seized in Chania

    Police in Chania, on the south Aegean island of Crete, confiscated on Thursday roughly 45,000 potentially unsafe firecrackers made in Italy and China and arrested the 33-year-old owner of the warehouse where they were stored.

    The firecrackers were found during special inspections conducted by local authorities ahead of the Orthodox Easter celebration.

    Over 100 police inspections have been conducted in stores and warehouses in Chania in search of illegal firecrackers the extensive use of which, during the Easter celebration, is particularly dangerous.

    [25] Acropolis Museum opening hours over Easter holiday

    The new Acropolis Museum will be closed on Easter Day and on the Monday after Easter, the culture and tourism ministry announced on Thursday.

    The museum will be open on Friday between the hours of noon and 18:00 and on Saturday from 8:00 until 15:00.

    Normal opening hours, between 8:00 - 20:00 will resume as of next Tuesday.

    Weather Forecast

    [26] Cloudy, rainy on Friday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 8C and 22C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 12C to 20C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 10C to 18C.

    [27] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The Greek economy and the speculation of recourse to the IMF, the changes in the taxation system and the penalties announced by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou for tax evaders, dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: " 'Cheap' work for 119,000 unemployed".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Proof of standard of living for pensions also".

    AVGHI: "Calvary for the economy and the society - Official unemployment at 14.6 percent in February".

    AVRIANI: "Former Olympic Airways employees' transfers without benefits".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government now casts out the .....triumph it signed in Brussels and admits the fiasco".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Tax Bureau is stalking - Market is withering".

    ESTIA: "Taxes are strangling the economy".

    ETHNOS: "Finance Ministry's ultimatum to public entities to curtail expenses".

    IMERISSIA: "Papaconstantinou to newspaper: Tax evaders will be sent to jail".

    KATHIMERINI: "Reversals in the way pensions will be calculated".

    LOGOS: "FinMin George Papaconstantinou preannounced a series of changes in the new taxation system".

    NIKI: "The Easter festive table extremely expensive this year".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The Communist Party affiliated labour union PAME calls for 48hour strike on the 21st and 22nd of April".

    TA NEA: "Heavy taxes for owners of swimming pools and pleasure boats as well as for private school fees".

    TO VIMA: "Turmoil in municipalities over the lay-offs and transfers".

    VRADYNI: "Clash in parliament over the new tax bill".

    We inform our readers that the News Bulletin will not be published on Saturday, Easter Sunday and Monday. It will appear on Tuesday, April 6.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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