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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-04-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 14 April 2010 Issue No: 3467


  • [01] Papandreou: econ assistance mechanism a 'safety net'
  • [02] Gov't to scrap minimum college entrance grade
  • [03] Athens blasts fYRoM attempt to use constitutional name during CoE chairmanship
  • [04] SYRIZA head met with commerce reps
  • [05] Alt. FM signs book of condolences at Polish embassy
  • [06] Greek treasury bill issue oversubscribed
  • [07] Parliament debate on tax draft law
  • [08] GSEE opposed to sale of public sector enterprises
  • [09] Proastiakos electrically-powered lines project enters finishing stretch
  • [10] Pepsico-IVI reports improved Q1 results
  • [11] Stocks end 2.21% down
  • [12] Greek bond market closing report
  • [13] ADEX closing report
  • [14] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [15] Anniversary of liberation of Thessaloniki
  • [16] AHEPA symposium in Athens
  • [17] Protestors of terrorism arrests stage takeover of Athens Journalists' Union building
  • [18] Man swept away in Axios river
  • [19] Arrests for drug dealing in Thessaloniki
  • [20] Woman murdered in Thessaloniki
  • [21] Cloudy, rainy on Wednesday
  • [22] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [23] EU Commission insists on a wrong regulation, FM says Politics

  • [01] Papandreou: econ assistance mechanism a 'safety net'

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, underlined that it is important for the government to be united when dealing with the economic front.

    Furthermore, he pointed out that the government ministers should not undertake the role of "analysts and commentators", leaving this job to journalists. Papandreou said ministers should be in direct contact with his office on issues concerning the economy, investments and collaborations.

    "The economic assistance mechanism, whether it is used or not, will serve as a safety net that will allow us to do our job with calm," he said.

    Referring to the recent developments on the issue of terrorism, Papandreou congratulated Citizen Protection Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis and everybody involved.

    On the imminent visit to Athens by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he said no dates have been set yet. He referred briefly to his trip to Cyprus and added that Alternate FM Dimitris Droutsas will brief the Cabinet on his recent contacts in Turkey.

    The prime minister said the reactivation of exploratory contacts with Turkey has been agreed "hoping that there will be a conclusion on the issue of the continental shelf delineation."

    The prime minister said the government will proceed with "radical reforms" in the operation of the state, based on specific timetables and evaluation indexes for each sector to be present soon to the cabinet.

    Finally, he stressed that an emphasis will be given to social policies and underlined that cooperation between the party and the government ministers is necessary to ensure continuous information, consultation and planning.

    The prime minister will meet on Wednesday with main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras. The time of the meeting will be decided later on Tuesday.

    [02] Gov't to scrap minimum college entrance grade

    The education ministry on Tuesday unveiled a draft bill on primary and secondary education reform, mostly dealing with changes to educators' criteria, the hiring process, continuing training and other issues.

    In presenting the bill, Minister Anna Diamantopoulou also said that an evaluation process for educators is also a "significant choice" by the government.

    Moreover, in response to a press question, Diamantopoulou said the government will scrap the minimum grade requirement for entrance into tertiary education institutions, which was placed by the previous ND government at the 10-point mark, out of a perfect score of 20.

    ND reaction

    In a later reaction, main opposition New Democracy (ND) MP Eliza Vozemberg called the draft bill "scrappy" and "lacking cohesion".

    "The much awaited reforms in the sector of education included in the draft law are mostly procedural in nature and leave to uncertainty all those who have served education for years, either as substitute teachers or on an hourly contract status."

    She also ND will see that "draft law provisions that are unfair or inapplicable will be withdrawn."

    [03] Athens blasts fYRoM attempt to use constitutional name during CoE chairmanship

    foreign ministry spokesman in Athens on Monday warned that the leadership of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) will abuse its upcoming six-month Council of Europe (CoE) chairmanship in order to promote its positions over the still unresolved "name issue".

    Spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras made the statement in reply to a press question regarding high-profile statements on the matter by fYRoM FM Antonio Milososki.

    "Unfortunately, judging from statements of fYRoM's leadership, it is quite clear that the fYRoM government's intention is to abuse this chairmanship to promote its positions on the name issue, just as it did during its presidency of the UN General Assembly. The goal of its actions is to nullify the content of Resolution (95) 23 of the CoE Committee of Ministers, which expressly states that this country shall be 'provisionally referred to as "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"' for all uses within the framework of the Council of Europe," the Greek foreign ministry spokesman underlined.

    The Skopje government assumes the chairmanship of the committee of ministers of the Council of Europe in early May.

    "... This is an important responsibility that is undertaken by all of the member states of this international organization in a six-month alphabetical rotation (The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia comes under the letter 'T' - for The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - in the English alphabet.) ... In this way, the leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is once again weighing down the negotiating process within the framework of the United Nations and actively rejecting the efforts and initiatives undertaken by Greece to create a positive climate between the two countries ... Greece will not adopt conduct similar to that of fYRoM," Delavekouras said.

    According to reports, Athens has already briefed the CoE's relevant organs and other member-states on the issue.

    "Once again we reiterate Greece's readiness to move ahead directly to the definitive settlement of the issue, with a name that has a geographical qualifier and will be used in relation to everyone, erga omnes. We are waiting for the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to do its part, at long last, so that we can reach a mutually acceptable solution within the framework of the negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations," the spokesman concluded.

    [04] SYRIZA head met with commerce reps

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group president Alexis Tsipras met with the board members of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce on Tuesday.

    Tsipras underlined, after the meeting, that "aside from the major credit problem there is also the real crisis associated with the recession and the fact that the overwhelming majority of the small and medium size enterprises have reached their limits."

    He called for measures in support of the "real economy" and added that "the market has dried up and this recession and lack of liquidity cannot be dealt with through recession measures."

    [05] Alt. FM signs book of condolences at Polish embassy

    Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Tuesday visited the embassy of Poland in Athens and signed a book of condolences, opened for the victims of a tragic air disaster on Saturday, which claimed the life of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and another 94 victims.

    Droutsas expressed his deepest condolences to the Polish people for the losses, while referring to Kaczynski as a friend of Greece and a dynamic European politician. He also conveyed a message of solidarity to the families of all the victims of last Saturday's plane crash near Smolensk, in western Russia.

    Financial News

    [06] Greek treasury bill issue oversubscribed

    Greece on Tuesday successfully auctioned a treasury bill issue raising 1.56 billion euros from the market, surpassing a target to raise 1.2 billion euros.

    The Public Debt Management Organisation, in an announcement, said it sold 12-month bills raising 780 million euros with an interest rate of 4.85 pct and six-month bills worth 780 million euros with an interest rate of 4.55 pct.

    The Organisation said that interest rates in the previous auction of same bills in January were 2.20 pct and 1.38 pct for the 12-month and the six-month issues, respectively.

    Bids submitted for the 12-month bills totalled 3.925 billion euros, 6.54 times more than the asked sum, while for the six-month issue bids totalled 4.602 billion euros, 7.67 times more than the asked sum.

    The Finance ministry is offering private investors the opportunity to buy these treasury bills tax-free on the precondition that investors will hold the securities until their maturity.

    [07] Parliament debate on tax draft law

    A parliamentary debate commenced on Tuesday in principle over a government-tabled tax draft law.

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party announced that it will request a roll call vote, while the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) adopted the same position, adding that it will make the same request for certain draft law articles as well.

    Meanwhile, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MPs and government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos exchanged sharp criticism, following the party's accusations of government-backed "money-laundering".

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou pointed out that "the draft law is being tabled amidst an economic recession, for which ND is responsible."

    Papaconstantinou stressed that the tax draft law is placed within the framework of the government programme aimed at resetting the economy and the country's credibility, pointing out that "the determination to salvage the economy with its own means determines developments as well."

    Papaconstantinou stated that "the mechanism was a clear indication that Greece is becoming credible again due to the fact that we are doing everything we have pledged to do in the EU Summit meetings."

    "The first good results are apparent, with the deficit being reduced 40 pct compared to the first quarter in 2009, which is a very good first step, Papaconstantinou stated, stressing that "the government has not requested the mechanism's activation. Our goal is to continue borrowing from the markets."

    [08] GSEE opposed to sale of public sector enterprises

    GSEE, the country's largest trade union umbrella, on Tuesday expressed its opposition to any plans to sell-off state-controlled enterprises.

    In a statement, GSEE said it was opposed to any general view, technically created, to unconditionally sell public sector enterprises. Such an option would be catastrophic for the interests of the Greek economy, the society and workers, the statement said.

    [09] Proastiakos electrically-powered lines project enters finishing stretch

    The Proastiakos suburban railway electrically-powered lines will soon extend to Kiato allowing trains to move with speeds of up to 160 km per hour thus reducing considerably the time necessary to cover the distance to Piraeus, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The infrastructure updating project undertaken by ERGOSE S.A., the contractor company, will be delivered in May. A telematics system will also be in operation allowing TRAINOSE S.A. to constantly monitor the train network.

    Currently the electrically-powered network of Proastiakos extends from Athens' international airport to the Ano Liosia station.

    [10] Pepsico-IVI reports improved Q1 results

    Pepsico-IVI on Tuesday reported a 6.4-pct increase in its first quarter sales to 126 million euros, compared with the corresponding period last year, while volume of sales grew 10 pct to 243 million litres.

    The company said its EBITDA rose 4.0 pct in the January-March period, with net profits totaling 300,000 euros.

    Presenting the company's results, Pavlos Katsivelis, its chairman and chief executive, said Pepsico-IVI raised its market share by 0.9 percentage points in the first three months of the year and reiterated management's goal to achieve a sales growth rate of 5.7 pct this year.

    Pepsico-IVI said its share in the non-alcohol drinks market rose to 12 pct, while its sales in the super market sector grew 18 pct.

    [11] Stocks end 2.21% down

    Stocks changed direction on Tuesday, returning much of the gains scored in the previous session in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index dropped 2.21 pct to end at 2,015.56 points, with turnover falling to 150.356 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 2.85 pct, the FTSE 40 index eased 1.77 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.55 pct lower. The Financial Services (4.47 pct), Health (4.31 pct) and Banks (4.20 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Travel (1.17 pct) and Oil (0.23 pct) scored gains.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 130 to 46 with another 49 issues unchanged. Kekrops (8.36 pct), Nexans (8.19 pct), Boutaris (8.11 pc) and Edrasi (7.69 pct) were top gainers, while Paperpack (16.67 pct), Klonatex (14.29 pct), SIDMA (8.11 pct) and Technical Olympic (7.41 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -2.99%

    Industrials: -2.52%

    Commercial: -1.46%

    Construction: -2.93%

    Media: -0.74%

    Oil & Gas: +0.23%

    Personal & Household: -0.13%

    Raw Materials: -1.04%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.17%

    Technology: -2.06%

    Telecoms: -1.57%

    Banks: -4.20%

    Food & Beverages: -1.03%

    Health: -4.31%

    Utilities: -1.76%

    Chemicals: -0.81%

    Financial Services: -4.47%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 6.57

    ATEbank: 1.52

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.17

    HBC Coca Cola: 20.09

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.31

    National Bank of Greece: 13.80

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 6.60

    Intralot: 3.40

    OPAP: 17.15

    OTE: 8.80

    Bank of Piraeus: 6.13

    Titan: 19.60

    [12] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened again to 369 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 6.82 pct and the German Bund 3.13 pct. Turnover in the market was a low 589 million euros, of which 158 million were buy orders and the remaining 431 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (June 19, 2020) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 70 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.24 pct, the six-month rate 0.99 pct, the three-month 0.71 pct and the one-month rate 0.48 pct.

    [13] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.72 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover falling to 64.368 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 11,087 contracts worth 55.055 million euros, with 24,961 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,783 contracts worth 9.313 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,410), followed by Eurobank (1,245), MIG (344), Piraeus Bank (443), Alpha Bank (1,273), Cyprus Bank (272) and Hellenic Postbank (167).

    [14] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.369

    Pound sterling 0.888

    Danish kroner 7.503

    Swedish kroner 9.835

    Japanese yen 127.35

    Swiss franc 1.448

    Norwegian kroner 8.058

    Canadian dollar 1.373

    Australian dollar 1.476

    General News

    [15] Anniversary of liberation of Thessaloniki

    Deputy Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Theodora Tzakri on Tuesday announced a government initiative at the order of Prime Minister George Papandreou for the holding, in 2012, of celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Thessaloniki from the Ottoman rule, during a meeting of agencies in the city.

    Tzakri said that the prime minister will tend to the preparation of the evaluation committee and a committee of international personalities who will assist the celebration and called on Turkey to participate in the celebration.

    Med. Network for Engineering Schools and Technical Universities-RMEI to hold 2010 General Assembly in Thessaloniki

    The Mediterranean Network for Engineering Schools and Technical Universities-RMEI will hold its 2010 General Assembly in Thessaloniki on April 15-17.

    The three-day General Assembly opens on Thursday at the Thessaloniki Aristotle University (AUTH) Faculty of Engineering's central amphitheater with welcome addresses by RMEI president Leo Vincent and AUTH Engineering Faculty Dean Prof. N. Moussiopoulos.

    The keynote lecture will be on "Science, scientism and environmental ethics" by invited lecturer Prof. J. Markopoulos.

    The round-table topics will cover the themes: "Climate change and sustainable development in the Mediterranean environment", "Water resources in the Mediterranean region", "Mediterranean cultural heritage", "Engineering education in Mediterranean countries", and "Med-Tracking and transportation issues in the Mediterranean".

    The assembly will further discuss the RMEI's "Sustainable innovation" project and its "Mobility Program", while there will also be a film projection on "Ancient Greece and the Mediterranean".

    On the sidelines of the General Assembly, the delegates will take a guided tour of the exhibition "Ancient Drama in the Opera" at the Telloglion Foundation followed by a reception at the Foundation on Friday, and a guided coach tour of Thessaloniki on Saturday.

    Set up in June 1997, the RMEI is an ambitious project for the Mediterranean driven by sustainable development and innovation. Today it numbers 53 universities and schools of engineering in 13 countries working for the twofold aim of promoting the teaching of sustainable development in engineering higher education in the Mediterranean countries and of playing a key role in working out a sustainable development policy that will be thought through globally and applied locally.

    The ambition of the RMEI is to be part of a dynamic aiming to make the Mediterranean the cradle of civilisation and a by-word for peace and prosperity.

    The annual General Assembly takes place in a different country each year, organised by one of its member universities. This year, the General Assembly is organised by the AUTH, a member of the RMEI since 2006.

    [16] AHEPA symposium in Athens

    A symposium on US-Greek relations was hosted on Tuesday in Athens by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association's (AHEPA) HJ-10 Pericles Greek branch.

    The symposium on US-Greek relations coincided with a visit of the AHEPA board to Greece.

    Earlier on Tuesday, the visiting AHEPA board members met at the foreign ministry with Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis.

    [17] Protestors of terrorism arrests stage takeover of Athens Journalists' Union building

    A group of 40 people protesting the arrest of six alleged members of the Revolutionary Struggle terrorist group staged a takeover of the Athens Journalists' Union (ESIEA) building in downtown Athens, while approximately another 40 protestors were outside the building putting up banners protesting the arrests.

    One of several ESIEA board members in the building at the time told the ANA-MPA in a telephone call that the members were told that they were not being kept hostage, and have just been allowed to exit the facility, and that the protestors told them they would also leave the building "soon".

    Police who rushed to the scene were negotiating with the protestors.

    [18] Man swept away in Axios river

    59-year-old man has been reported missing after his boat was swept away by high waters in the Axios river on Monday afternoon.

    The man and his 40-year-old partner were attempting to cross their horses over to an islet in the river when their boat overturned in the swelling waters.

    The second man managed to swim to shore.

    Two divers of EMAK search and rescue team are scouring the area to locate the missing man.

    [19] Arrests for drug dealing in Thessaloniki

    Two men aged 29 and 26 have been arrested in Thessaloniki, northern Greece on drug dealing charges.

    According to police the two suspects posessed 52 grams of heroin while a search of the 26-year-old's residence in the Ano Toumba district of Thessaloniki revealed 208 grams of methadone, which was confiscated.

    Moreover, in a separate incident in Thessaloniki, two foreign nationals aged 27 and 28 were arrested for posession of three kilos and 76 grams of hashish, 45.6 grams of cocaine and cash derived from drug dealing.

    [20] Woman murdered in Thessaloniki

    24-year-old woman was found dead at on Monday afternoon in the Kalamaria suburb of Thessaloniki, northern Greece. The victim had wounds on her face and neck and was found by a relative.

    According to coroner's estimation, the woman's death is attributed to criminal action. Thessaloniki police are conducting an investigation.

    Weather Forecast

    [21] Cloudy, rainy on Wednesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 5C and 23C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 12C to 23C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 11C to 18C.

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

    The Eurogroup decision to support the Greek economy which was met with a decrease of the spread and a surge on the Athens Stock Exchange, and arrests of suspects alleged to be members of the terrorist group "Revolutionary Struggle" dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Foreign nationals who receive citizenship will be able to change their names".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Telephone conversation between the (alleged) terrorists connects the Revolutionary Struggle with the death of the 15-year-old boy from Afghanistan".

    AVGHI: "It will be painful - IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn preannounces the harsh conditions that will come with the loan".

    AVRIANI: "The C41 security system bought for the Olympic Games safety was useless for police, coast guard and army".

    ELEFTHEROS: "All the supportive documents for the illegally-enclosed balconies".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Thriller over the terrorists' safehouse".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The six detainees were indicted on four felonies".

    ESTIA: "How the economy will recover".

    ETHNOS: "Teachers' appointment plan - All the regulations of the omnibus bill".

    IMERISSIA: "Breather for the spread and Athens Stock Exchange - Fear over German involvement".

    KATHIMERINI: "IMF: Proceed with cutbacks in salaries and prices (disinflation)".

    LOGOS: "Who trust our country .....Germany may possibly offer up to 8.4 billion euros (loan) to Greece".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The support package gives breather to markets".

    NIKI: "This is how the terrorist communicate - The secret code of the urban guerrillas".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Ruling PASOK party and main opposition New Democracy sacrifice health for profit's sake".

    TA NEA: "The new school - Everything changes for teachers".

    TO VIMA: "Additional measures for the support package - Pensions, competitiveness and reforms on the table".

    VRADYNI: "Legalisation of the illegally enclosed semi-balconies: What the regulation foresees - The bill was tabled on Monday in parliament".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [23] EU Commission insists on a wrong regulation, FM says


    The European Commission insists on a regulation that is legally and politically wrong, Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou has stated, referring to a proposed regulation set to govern direct trade between Cyprus' northern Turkish occupied areas and the EU, that is being promoted through the European Parliament.

    Kyprianou also said that he was not briefed by the European Commission on its intention to communicate the regulation on direct trade to the European Parliament.

    Speaking here on Tuesday after a meeting with Minister of Education and Culture, and asked about the issue of direct trade, Kyprianou said that he was expecting from the European Commission to have had a consultation with the Republic of Cyprus, before the issue was sent to the European Parliament last December.

    "The European Commission insists on a regulation that is legally and politically wrong", he said, noting that the regulation does not conform to the 2004 Council conclusions and it is against the interest of an EU member state.

    Kyprianou said that the objective of the government and particularly the Foreign Ministry is to prevent any decision on direct trade with the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus being taken. In this framework he had a meeting on Monday with the Cypriot members of the European Parliament and on Thursday he will hold meetings with political parties.

    He agreed with the Cypriot Euro MPs on their next steps within the European Parliament Kyprianou said efforts will be made towards the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council, with a view to prevent any decision which might be taken by the European Parliament on this issue.

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations since September 2008 with a view to solve the problem of Cyprus divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

    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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