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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-04-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 7 April 2010 Issue No: 3461


  • [01] Government on EU support mechanism
  • [02] IMF experts due in Athens on Wednesday
  • [03] Samaras blasts government on economic policy
  • [04] LAOS' Karatzaferis on the economy
  • [05] Droutsas in Turkey on Wednesday
  • [06] DM Venizelos addresses letter to Supreme Court prosecutor
  • [07] Greek frigate intercepts suspicious vessels in Indian Ocean
  • [08] Thessaloniki Prefect Psomiadis requests meeting with the PM
  • [09] Developmental projects approved for Cyclades
  • [10] Greek stocks dive 2.21 pct on Tuesday
  • [11] ADEX closing report
  • [12] 38 fatal road accidents over Easter
  • [13] Solidarity concert by "Ship to Gaza" Greek initiative
  • [14] Girl terror victim will need further surgery, doctors say
  • [15] More victims from random gunfire on Crete
  • [16] Three arrested in contraband cigarettes haul
  • [17] Eels, fish spawn released into Lake Kastoria in ecosystem restoration project
  • [18] Pieria Prefecture horsemen initiative
  • [19] Baby girl killed in tragic road accident
  • [20] Cloudy, rainy on Wednesday
  • [21] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Government on EU support mechanism

    The government on Tuesday denied making any attempt to change the terms of a recent agreement by European leaders on a support mechanism to help Greece overcome its debt crisis.

    "There has never been any kind of action on the part of our country to change the terms of the recent European Counil agreement on the support mechanism," Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou underlined in response to questions.

    The minister said that the agreement was significant for both Europe and Greece, repeating that Greece has not yet asked for this mechanism to be activated.

    Papaconstantinou also stated that the budget was unfolding as planned and that the country's fiscal course depended on properly executing the stability and development budget.

    Structural reforms and especially the "Kallikratis" plan for local government are expected to dominate the government's agenda in the coming month, with the draft bill due to be tabled in Parliament by early May and be passed into law later the same month.

    This will mean that local government elections will be held on the basis of the new map.

    Also due to be completed in mid-April is the public debate on social insurance reforms and the discussion on the draft tax bill, while a ministerial committee to discuss opening the 'closed' professions will also be set up this month.

    The government's target is to have tabled all the major bills in Parliament by May 15.

    [02] IMF experts due in Athens on Wednesday

    Two large teams of International Monetary Fund (IMF) experts will arrive in Athens on Wednesday to provide knowhow on taxation matters and on budget drafting and execution to the Finance Ministry.

    The IMF experts, who are slated to have meetings with finance minister George Papaconstantinou and General State Accounts officials, will further examine the changes contained in the new taxation bill that is currently being debated in parliament, as well as the course of execution of the current state budget.

    The Finance Ministry will seek IMF knowhow on ways of curbing tax evasion and on transition from annual to three-year budgets.

    In early May, a team of the three-way committee (European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF) monitoring the Greek economy is due in Athens ahead of the drafting of its progress report on the Greek economy due to be submitted to the Commission on May 16. In addition to a review of fiscal developments and growth, the report is also expected to devote a large section to what Greece has done or intends to do with respect to structural changes, which include the social security system, the deregulation of the so-called "closed" professions, and acceleration of the denationalisations program.

    According to ministry sources, the government intends to move ahead in the immediate future, by June at the latest, with specific moves aimed at creating a positive climate for the Greek economy in the international money and capital markets.

    Regarding fiscal developments, the Commission, according to sources, plans to announce in May predictions of a 2.5 percent recession in 2010, a much more adverse forecast than the Finance Ministry's and Bank of Greece's revised prediction of a negative growth rate of 1.5-2.0 percentage points of GDP. In the event that the anticipated Commission forecast proves true, this development would further hinder budget revenues and possibly require additional measures for curtailing public expenditures, in order to attain the target of reducing the fiscal deficit by 4 percentage points of GDP by the end of the current year.

    [03] Samaras blasts government on economic policy

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Tuesday blasted the government on its economic policy, warning that the measures it is taking are "drying up' the market.

    Replying to a press question, Samaras said that everywhere he went during the past few days, over the Easter holiday, he had observed strong resentment to the government's policy, adding that the small and medium size enterprises and the market were in a dire condition, while the morale of the market "has collapsed".

    Samaras called on the government to change its attitude and improve the morale of the market, warning that the measures it has taken will result in the shut-down of thousands of businesses, and will not result in curtailment of the budget, as sought by the EU.

    [04] LAOS' Karatzaferis on the economy

    Opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) President George Karatzaferis, while commenting on the state of the economy, stressed on Tuesday that "the worst is ahead of us and not behind us".

    He stated that it has been six months since PASOK took office and underlined that the performance of the governing party is not satisfactory.

    On Monday, the LAOS president attended the inauguration of the Saint Trinity church in Atalanti.

    [05] Droutsas in Turkey on Wednesday

    Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas begins a two-day working visit to Turkey on Wednesday for talks on bilateral, regional and international cooperation issues.

    On Wednesday, the Greek minister will be received in Istanbul by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Fanar. He will then depart for Ankara, where he will be meeting on Thursday morning with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The meeting will be followed by talks between the two countries' delegations.

    After a working luncheon, Droutsas will be received by Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Droutsas' visit is taking place at the invitation of Davutoglu, while the talks will also focus on the preparation of Erdogan's forthcoming visit to Athens in the coming months.

    [06] DM Venizelos addresses letter to Supreme Court prosecutor

    Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos has addressed a letter to the Supreme Court prosecutor, calling for a briefing on the reasons leading the head of the First Instance Prosecuting Court to order the holding of a preliminary investigation into the assigning, in the year 2000, of the building of the 214 type submarines for the needs of the Greek Navy to the Hellenic Shipyards and the then cooperating German HDW and Ferrostaal companies, a procedure that is under way, as well as on the course of investigations.

    In parallel, after declaring the readiness of the ministry's services to assist the work of the prosecuting authorities, the minister requests that the help of the German judicial authorities be pursued as soon as possible and the ministry's cooperation with the prosecuting authority to be secured in the framework of the penal law code.

    [07] Greek frigate intercepts suspicious vessels in Indian Ocean

    The frigate Limnos, which is participating in the NATO operation for combatting piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, intercepted three vessels suspected of preparing piracy, off the Seychelles on April 1.

    The National Defence General Staff announced on Tuesday that the frigate Limnos tracked down the suspicious vessels following a message from a Swedish naval cooperation aircraft that was operating in the region in the framework of the EU force. The frigate's helicopter stopped the vessel and the two barges that the 10 suspects were boarding. However, the suspects had time to throw their weaponry into the sea to ultimately claim that they were fishermen.

    The frigate's crew destroyed the remaining equipment found in their possession (mobile phones, as well as the two barges) and allowed them to return to the Somali coast with the vessel.

    The NATO operation's standing commander congratulated the Greek frigate's crew on the excellent implementation of the mission, while the defence minister also expressed his satisfaction to the frigate's captain and crew.

    [08] Thessaloniki Prefect Psomiadis requests meeting with the PM

    Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis on Tuesday requested a meeting with Prime Minister George Papandreou to discuss issues concerning the government-sponsored "Kallikratis" local administration reform.

    In a letter addressed to the prime minister, Psomiadis underlined that he was requesting the meeting in order to outline the serious and lingering problems the Prefecture of Thessaloniki is faced with.

    Financial News

    [09] Developmental projects approved for Cyclades

    Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas on Tuesday approved developmental projects that will get underway in the Cyclades island group in the Aegean Sea to boost tourism.

    The 6,975,000-euro projects, funded by the Public Investments programme, concern repair works in the seaports on the islands of Tinos (2,900,000 euros), Andros (2,275,000 euros), and Koufonisia-Amorgos-Donousa (1,800,000 euros).

    [10] Greek stocks dive 2.21 pct on Tuesday

    Greek stocks lost ground on the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, diving on news that bond spreads had shot up to 400 basis points. The composite index of the market plunged 2.21 pct to end at 2,048.69 points, with turnover at 141.685 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index plunged 2.78 pct, the FTSE 40 index dipped 1.13 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index dropped 1.29 pct. The Public Utilities (3.05 pct) and Travel (1.62 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Banks (-4.08 pct) and Financial Services (-3.72 pct) suffered the biggest losses.

    Akritas (9.09 pct), Naftemporiki (8.93 pct), Kleeman Hellas (8.85 pct), Yalco (7.50 pct) and Marfin Egnatia (7.43pct) were top gainers; Douros (-10.00 pct), Moda Bagno (-9.80 pct), Spyrou (-9.26), Minerva (-9.23) and Karamolegos (-8.33) were top losers. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 111 to 51 with another 44 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -2.21%

    Industrials: -0.83%

    Commercial: -1.66%

    Construction: -1.60%

    Media: -0.33%

    Oil & Gas: -2.82%

    Personal & Household: -2.69%

    Raw Materials: -1.51%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.62%

    Technology: -1.17%

    Telecoms: -2.50%

    Banks: -4.08%

    Food & Beverages: -2.52%

    Health: -0.12%

    Utilities: +3.05%

    Chemicals: -3.15%

    Financial Services: -3.72%

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

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index

    closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 6.90

    ATEbank: 1.50

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.46

    HBC Coca Cola: 20.30

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.21

    National Bank of Greece: 14.37

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 6.70

    Intralot: 3.30

    OPAP: 17.10

    OTE: 8.96

    Bank of Piraeus: 6.18

    Titan: 19.66

    [11] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount 1.78 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday with turnover rising to 45.820 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,675 contracts worth 38.462 million euros, with 24,777 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 7,823 contracts, worth 7.358 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,496), followed by Eurobank (859), Alpha Bank (858), Piraeus Bank (779), MIG (470), PPC (373) and GEK (333).

    General News

    [12] 38 fatal road accidents over Easter

    The Easter holiday in Greece was once again marred by tragedy on the roads, according to accident statistics released on Tuesday. There were a total of 38 fatal traffic accidents recorded from the start of the weekend before Easter Week until the night of the following Monday, when the majority had returned home from Easter breaks.

    The majority of fatal accidents occurred on rural roads or those going through residential areas, while there were two accidents that caused three deaths on the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway. There were no fatal accidents on the Athens-Patras and Corinth-Tripolis national highways.

    Accidents on rural roads claimed 17 lives and those in residential areas 12, while nine people in total were killed on national highways.

    This year's accident figures recorded a 17.1 percent reduction in fatal accidents compared with 2009 (from the Friday of the weekend before Easter until the Monday after Easter), but an increase in the number of serious accidents by 11.9 percent and an increase in minor accidents by 9.4 percent.

    The number of those seriously injured remained at roughly last year's levels, while those suffering minor injuries fell by 4.6 percent.

    According to traffic police, the majority of fatal road accidents were caused by driver negligence, excessive speed, violating right of way and driving in the opposite lane.

    [13] Solidarity concert by "Ship to Gaza" Greek initiative

    The Greek initiative "Ship to Gaza" established within the framework of the "Free Gaza Movement" international initiative will host a fundraising music concert on Thursday in Athens.

    The Greek section of the international initiative aspires to raise enough funds for the purchase of at least one ship that will be used to transport people and goods and will be donated to the Palestinian people to service a sea route between Gaza and the rest of the world.

    A coalition, including the Turkey-based IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi) organization, the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG), the Greek Ship to Gaza campaign, the Swedish Ship to Gaza campaign and the Free Gaza Movement, will launch a flotilla of ships laden with cargo, media, parliamentarians, celebrities and activists to Gaza next month.

    The flotilla will comprise at least eight vessels, including three cargo ships, and will set sail from European ports on May 3, reaching the port of Gaza later in the month. Over 500 passengers from more than 20 countries will take part, and 5,000 tons of cargo, including cement, prefabricated housing, building materials, medical equipment, and educational supplies, will be delivered to Palestinians in Gaza.

    The Free Mediterranean endeavor was launched in August 2008, when 44 people from 13 countries, among them 9 Greeks, on board two Greek fishing boats, managed to break through the sea blockade of Gaza for the first time in 41 years.

    [14] Girl terror victim will need further surgery, doctors say

    The 11-year-old Afghan girl that fell victim to a terrorist attack in Patissia, Athens will have to undergo further eye surgery, according to an announcement issued on Tuesday by the team of doctors treating her at the Georgios Gennimatas hospital.

    They said the girl's left eye would need further surgery, which will be carried out when this was considered safe for the eye. Doctors said the prognosis for recovering her sight continues to be poor due to the extent of the damage caused by her injuries.

    The young immigrant girl suffered major injuries to her face, eyelids, both eyes and her lower limbs during a bomb blast in the Athens district of Patissia that killed her 15-year-old brother outright and inflicted more minor injuries on the children's mother.

    [15] More victims from random gunfire on Crete

    A 43-year-old man from Stylos in the prefecture of Hania, Crete has been admitted to hospital with minor, non-life-threatening injuries caused by shots fired into the air in his locality on Sunday afternoon.

    The pellets hit the man while he was out in his garden as they fell back to earth but he was unable to pinpoint which direction they had come from.

    Also a victim of shots fired at random was a 32-year-old woman from Kounoupidiana, who had windows in her home shattered by bullets, luckily while she was in another part of the house. The woman has filed a complaint against unknown parties for destruction of property and needlessly firing weapons at the Souda police department on Crete.

    It is common for Cretans to carry fire-arms and a custom to fire shots into the air during family celebrations, such as weddings or on major holidays like Easter.

    [16] Three arrested in contraband cigarettes haul

    More than 1.5 million packets of contraband cigarettes were seized by police in a warehouse outside Thessaloniki on Monday night, and three people were arrested, police said on Tuesday.

    During a coordinated operation, police arrested a 58-year-old man, his 29-year-old son-in-law and a 31-year-old accomplice were arrested in a rural area of Ionia municipality, and a large quantity of contraband cigarettes were found in a warehouse, while cartons of more contraband cigarettes, of various brands, were also found in two trucks with forged licence plates.

    [17] Eels, fish spawn released into Lake Kastoria in ecosystem restoration project

    Eels and fish were released into Lake Kastoria, northwestern Greece, in an effort to restore its ecosystem that has been disturbed by the extensive use of pesticides in lakeside farms, as well as by urban waste and debris carried by floodwaters following heavy rainfall.

    The local authorities have released into the lake roughly 15,000 eels donated by a fish farm in the western city of Arta, while an estimated 50,000 trout spawn have been released into the lake dams of Vassiliada, Germa and Vrachos.

    The endeavor, launched five years ago, has already given results and will continue until the lake has a satisfactory fish population.

    [18] Pieria Prefecture horsemen initiative

    Roughly 40 riders and their horses will pass through seven prefectures in northern Greece within the framework of an initiative aimed at promoting love for nature and horses.

    The horsemen, members of an association based in the city of Katerini, Pieria Prefecture, will depart on April 10 and will complete their 500-km-long journey on April 18 when they will arrive at Thessaloniki's White Tower monument after crossing the prefectures of Kozani, Kastoria, Florina, Pella and Kilkis.

    The initiative is held for a fourth year.

    [19] Baby girl killed in tragic road accident

    A five-month baby girl was the victim of a tragic road accident on Tuesday afternoon, when she was run over by a passing bus on the corner of Iera Odos and Papanastasiou Street in Egaleo.

    Police said the baby somehow fell out of her baby buggy onto the road while her mother's attention was occupied elsewhere, falling in front of the oncoming bus. The infant was rushed to Western Attica hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead on arrival.

    Weather Forecast

    [20] Cloudy, rainy on Wednesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 4-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 3C and 20C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 8C to 18C. Cloudy with possible showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 6C to 16C.

    [21] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The new taxation system, the Greek deficits, and traffic accidents throughout the Easter were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Tuesday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Bloody Easter - More than 1 million cars left Athens - Four people died and at least 8 seriously injured in traffic accidents throughout the country".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Pressure for 40 days - The passions of the Greek economy continue, and the 'Resurrection' still not coming".

    AVRIANI: "State real estate worth 280 billion euros for sale in order to avoid resorting to the international 'loan sharks', and to obliterate the state debt".

    ELEFTHEROS: "More than 50,000 homes up for sale so that the banks will not take them - Their owners, in despair, selling them at knock-down prices to repay their bank loans".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government 'building' 10 percent tax on illegally enclosed semi-balconies, aiming to collect 2 billion euros for the state deficit via a 'green' fund".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Enclosed semi-balconies: Three conditions for their legalization - Government attempting to circumvent Council of State with a 'green' fund".

    ESTIA: "Change of psychology necessary - The citizens' morale has hit rock bottom".

    ETHNOS: "Seizure of real estate by Tax Bureau - Countdown has begun for 1,521 taxpayers with overdue debts who owe the state from between 10,000 euros to more than 1 million euros and have at least three real estate properties (each) in their possession".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Eurostat reports widening fiscal deficits in 2009 and 2010".

    TA NEA: "Profiteering without...ceiling - Gas: prices reach new heights - Price controls a farce".

    VRADYNI: "New 'Inquisition' for the Greek economy - New borrowing, arrival of IMF (International Monetary Fund) team and Swedish 'suffragan' of the 'triple alliance' (IMF, European Central Bank, EU)".

    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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