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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-05-12

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

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2010 Issue No: 3490

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Papandreou calls for common effort
  • [02] SEB urges main political parties to adopt fundamental, sincere political speech
  • [03] Dimitris Daskalopoulos re-elected SEB president
  • [04] Samaras: 'Greek economy was proven as weaker link in very loose chain'
  • [05] Gov't on Samaras statements; Papoulias proposals
  • [06] Gov't on Erdogan visit to Athens
  • [07] Gov't: No mass transit fare hikes for 2010; taxi, bus sector deregulation eyed
  • [08] Alternate FM Droutsas on FYROM
  • [09] KKE's Papariga addresses TEI students
  • [10] Deputy Culture, Tourism Minister Gerekou holds talks with Serb ambassador
  • [11] Greece to tender 200-mln-euro cargo project this year
  • [12] ND on development initiatives; state budget figures
  • [13] Greek-Israeli tourism potential discussed by top Parliament leaders
  • [14] Computer software piracy slightly up in Greece
  • [15] Greek stocks end 2.47 pct lower
  • [16] Greek bond market closing report
  • [17] ADEX closing report
  • [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [19] Terror suspect Seisidis remanded in custody
  • [20] Rare migratory Rosy Pelicans released back into the wild
  • [21] Kozani inter-city bus service launches internet access for passengers
  • [22] Exhibition by Turkish photographer Guler at Benaki annex
  • [23] Fire at Piraeus TEI
  • [24] 4R quake jolts Evia island - felt also in Athens
  • [25] Fair on Wednesday
  • [26] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou calls for common effort

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing the General Assembly of the Federation of the Hellenic Enterprises (SEB) at the Athens Concert Hall on Tuesday, stressed that a basic precondition for Greece to emerge from the crisis is "for us all to work together, since we all have the opportunity now to leave behind yesterday's Greece, the Greece of parasitism, of underdevelopment and of social injustice."

    Papandreou referred to the government's efforts to achieve the EU's support mechanism which, as he said, was achieved by the entire Greek society "since there were also sacrifices by the citizens for it" and stressed "we are now speaking on a different basis from when we started."

    The prime minister pointed out that Greece has great possibilities and must enter the course of growth, stressing that great weight will be placed on private investments and called on businessmen to operate within the framework that the government is creating, so that there can be growth as well as the creation of new jobs.

    "We must all work hard and creatively. The government will go ahead with reforms so as to change what has been bad for decades, we shall do all that we can, I personally will work hard, I also request from you to side with this effort, so that we can change what we call the Greek problem to a Greek miracle," he concluded.

    Papandreou further said that the "bad mentalities and conceptions of the past are being paid for today" and pointed out that these conceptions are not being paid for by the Greek citizens only, but "our lenders also are now refusing to finance these attitudes, because they see that they do now allow a viable and productive economy."

    Papandreou added that "the new cycle of a great battle has opened that we have before us to make our economy, our country viable and competitive."

    The prime minister explained that the support mechanism "was a necessary means for us to stand on our feet again, it is also a form of direct intervention in the market, while as an outcome after our country's agreement with the EU and the IMF we have now secured the time which we need so that we can proceed to those reforms which our country needs to breathe and to gaze at the future with hope and optimism."

    He went on to say that "the measures that are included in the agreement with our lenders are not only those that concern the decrease of salaries in the public sector and of pensions. Unfortunately, as regards this tough and difficult decision that we took, there was no other path," adding that "we were obliged to restrict the expenditures of the state in a direct way, so as not to go bankrupt and for us to be in a position to pay salaries and pensions. We averted the worse."

    Papandreou also said that "however, in their overwhelming majority the measures that we committed ourselves to take in the coming years constitute structural changes that the country had needed for decades," underlining that "even if the mechanism did not exist, these changes had to take place."

    The prime minister also focused on entrepreneurship, saying that until now the country moved economically with consumption and not production, while "we believed that a state-fed entrepreneurship could produce jobs and growth forever. It was a particular protectionism towards the international markets which, however, did not prepare the Greek enterprises to compete in the global economy."

    Lastly, Papandreou referred to the structural changes that are being promoted and stressed that "the greatest challenge that we are facing and the one which will swell before being solved, is the need for us to create jobs, particularly for young people, since the state cannot hire any more."

    [02] SEB urges main political parties to adopt fundamental, sincere political speech

    "Today's conjucture prohibits co-governance but dictates co-responsibility. It is the main opposition's duty to become part of a national effort to avoid bankruptcy," Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB) said on Tuesday.

    Addressing a morning session of the Federation's general assembly, welcoming New Democracy president Antonis Samaras, Daskalopoulos said that the two large political parties in the country must adopt a fundamental political exchange of view, with sincere agony over the country's fate and underlined that such an attitude would contribute to the maturing of the public opinion and restore credibility of the political system.

    Daskalopoulos underlined is the duty of all responsible political forces to help people understand that implementing a memorandum -signed with the EU and the IMF- was a necessary therapy and not an unfair punishment.

    He also criticized a small minority of the political system trying to manipulate public anger, by adopting extreme actions, while he stressed that a loose fiscal policy and clientele relations of previous governments, particularly after 1980, combined with lack of will to reform, led the country to the brink of bankruptcy.

    [03] Dimitris Daskalopoulos re-elected SEB president

    Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB) incumbent President Dimitris Daskalopoulos was re-elected on Tuesday to the post for a third consecutive two-year term.

    Following his election in a closed session of the federation's general assembly, Daskalopoulos stressed that a "new ideological and institutional basis is necessary for society and the political system."

    Former SEB treasurer E. Vidalis, former general secretary A. Kallitsantsis and former board member Y. Giotis were elected vice-presidents. The post of the vice-president is also held by Ch. Kyriazis, Th. Lavidas and Th. Fessas. The new SEB general secretary is Ch. Komninos and S. Kounenaki-Efraimoglou was elected treasurer.

    [04] Samaras: 'Greek economy was proven as weaker link in very loose chain'

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras underlined on Tuesday that "leaving the (eurozone-IMF) support mechanism as soon as possible will allow for a purely developmental strategy, giving a priority to competitiveness and quality."

    Speaking before the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises' (SEB) general assembly meeting in Athens, Samaras stressed that "we are living through the most serious crisis in decades, one which threatens global stability and tests economies, society, political and European institutions."

    He underlined that "a system which for decades engaged in the redistribution of borrowed money went bankrupt." He added that Greece's "a political system of uncontrollable populism and unprecedented statism" are doomed to go bankrupt, and stressed that its "collapse coincides with the failure of the European institutions, which lacked crisis management mechanisms to support suffering economies."

    "Now, Europe appears to be establishing such mechanisms as a result of the Greek crisis," while stressing that the involvement of the IMF is "unthinkable."

    "The Greek economy was proven to be the weaker link in a very loose chain ... our economy was plagued with imbalances within the framework of a broader European system that is also faced with imbalances."

    Samaras said he has spoken about his party's share of responsibility, adding that over-borrowing, however, dated back to the 1980s.

    "In 2009, Greece adopted certain measures aimed at cutting deficit but they were not implemented because of the government change," he said, adding that "in the last quarter everything in Greece has been torn apart and we've made ourselves the weaker link."

    "Everyone knew about the economic situation in October 2009 but no emergency measures were taken ... Greece has been given a medicine more dangerous than the illness it wishes to treat."

    He said that the next three years will be tough and that the country needs a credible opposition, pointing out that "the voices of demonstrators on the streets should not be the only opposition heard."

    Samaras stressed that "tax evasion cannot be tackled by raising taxes," underlining that on the contrary, "this is the way to create a motive for tax evasion."

    Moreover, he said he backs drastic cuts in public spending, the promotion of privatisations, the merger of public sector organisations, the promotion of flexibility in the job market and the protection of the historical centre of Athens.

    Finally, the ND leader said illegal street trade should be stamped out, calling for new legislation to attract investments and better exploitation of state-owned real estate and private sector partnerships.

    [05] Gov't on Samaras statements; Papoulias proposals

    Government spokesman George Petalotis on Tuesday criticised main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras for not realising, as he said, the "immense criminal responsibility of ND (for the debt crisis) and the stance it will have to adopt from now on."

    Petalotis made the comment in response to a statement by Samaras, who said he disagrees with the package of austerity measures adopted, and not with the eurozone-IMF support mechanism.

    On a proposal made by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias to give tax evasion a "special offence" status, Petalotis said the government will examine the proposal.

    He also said the submission of statement of means will become more than a typical procedure, while referring to the immunity from prosecution enjoyed by MPs, he underlined that they should not be treated differently from any other citizen.

    Cutting political party subsidies is being considered, said Petalotis, while referring to Samaras' proposal to reduce the number of MPs to 200, he said this reform can be considered only within the framework of a new election law.

    [06] Gov't on Erdogan visit to Athens

    "We have a specific stance as far as our foreign policy is concerned. We are not isolationist, nor do we reject relations with other states, particularly neighbouring ones ... It's counterproductive not to discuss problems with other parties," government spokesman George Petalotis emphasised on Tuesday, ahead of a visit later this week to Greece by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Responding to press questions during his regular briefing, the spokesman merely reminded that "Greece recognises the (Aegean) continental shelf issue as the only problem with the neighbouring country.

    "However, (Turkey) being a neighbour and a country that wants to become an EU member, we have an obligation to have relations and talk ... We have an extrovert foreign policy and we talk with them because we have absolutely nothing to be concerned about," added.

    [07] Gov't: No mass transit fare hikes for 2010; taxi, bus sector deregulation eyed

    The government on Tuesday announced that it would not implement fare hikes in public transports for the remainder of 2010.

    "The issue has not been put on the table," relevant Minster Dimitris Reppas stressed. However, he left open the likelihood of fare increases for debt-ridden national railways (OSE), underlining that train fares are very low. He also said the issue will be considered when the state-run enterprise's reform plan is implemented.

    Reppas also said dialogue is underway with the interested parties regarding the deregulation of the taxi and intercity buses (KTEL) sectors, expressing optimism that an agreement is achievable.

    [08] Alternate FM Droutsas on FYROM

    STRASBOURG (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, speaking on the sidelines of the Council of Ministers at the Council of Europe on Tuesday, appealed to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to come to the negotiating table in a constructive manner for a solution to the issue of the name.

    Droutsas said that on the part of FYROM there is "abuse at international organisations," while adding that "Greece has made all the necessary moves, in close understanding and coordination with the Secretariat of the Council of Europe. We have received all the assurances that all documents, all the actitivities of the Council of Europe will bear the official name. Every other stance, every other activity by this country is not compatible with its hopes of becoming a member-state of the European Union."

    He further said that "Greece has a steadfast and clear position. We desire in a constructive way the solution to the issue of the name. We are trying for a solution under the auspices of the UN. We hope and we appeal to Skopje's political leadershiop to come at last themselves too in a constructive way to the negotiating table. It is up to them to focus on this issue of a solution and it is up to them to pave their country's way for the EU and the future."

    In the morning session and with his own political intervention, Droutsas wished "every success to the demanding mission" that the new presidency is assuming but expressed at the same time his regret over Skopje's insistence on using the term "Macedonian."

    He said that "we regret that the authorities of FYROM decided to use officially the term 'Macedonian' to determine the Presidency that their country is assuming rotatively."

    Droutsas reminded that the Ministers Council decision 95/23 determined unanimously that "for all the purposes within the Council of Europe, reference to this country will be taking place under the temporary name FYROM, for as long as the resolving of the difference that has appeared regarding the name of the country is pending."

    The Greek minister underlined that the use of the adjective "Macedonian" is yet another attempt by Skopje to monopolise the term, as well as an evident effort to sidestep their obligations.

    He further said that Skopje "are violating the letter and the spirit of decision 95/23 which the Council of Europe observed with strictness and which has constituted the established practice of all the international regional Organisations."

    Before leaving Strasbourg, Droutsas had a brief meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in light of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's upcoming visit to Athens.

    [09] KKE's Papariga addresses TEI students

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga addressed Technological Educational Institute (TEI) students in Egaleo, Athens on Tuesday and criticized both the European support mechanism decided in the latest meeting of the Euro-zone leaders, and the meeting of political party leaders held on Monday under President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Papariga called on the young and all the Greek people to "organize their counterattack and form a major movement".

    In view of the upcoming student elections, she called on the youth to "change the balance of powers to allow the student movement to catch up with the mobilization of society."

    Referring to the upcoming visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Athens, she underlined the risk "of signing a Greek-Turkish agreement that will recognize 'gray zones' in the Aegean and surrender Greek sovereign and defence rights."

    [10] Deputy Culture, Tourism Minister Gerekou holds talks with Serb ambassador

    Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou met on Tuesday with Serb Ambassador Dragan Zupanjevac and discussed issues concerning the strengthening of relations between the two countries in the tourist sector.

    The meeting was held in the framework of Gerekou's upcoming visit to Belgrade where she will be meeting Serb Republic ministers.

    Financial News

    [11] Greece to tender 200-mln-euro cargo project this year

    Greek Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas on Tuesday said an international tender to build a cargo and logistics center in Thriasio Pedio, western Attica, will be completed this year.

    The project, worth around 200 million euros, will be build in a property owned by GAIAOSE covering an area of 2,200 stremmata (one stremma=1,000 sq.m.) with building space covering 240 stremmata. Speaking to reporters, Reppas said the cargo center was a unique project that will change the map in land transport, offering quality and competitive prices. The Greek minister said the international tender sought to find an investor to fully fund, build and manage the project for a period of 40 years.

    Under the plan, the first period of the project -around 18 months- envisages construction of buildings covering a space of 50 stremmata, the second period -around 60 months- envisages construction of buildings in an area of 170 stremmata and the third period -around five years- envisages construction of logistics spaces in a area of 70 stremmata.

    Reppas said the investor will pay an annual guaranteed sum to GAIAOSE and a percentage on turnover, while it will offer GAIAOSE a 15 pct equity stake of the company.

    The Greek minister said candidate investors have expressed interest in the tender and said that he was scheduled to meet with the head of chinese company COSCO next Thursday, 20 May.

    [12] ND on development initiatives; state budget figures

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party development and competitiveness sector head MP Costis Hatzidakis called on the government on Tuesday to undertake immediate initiatives aimed at boosting growth.

    He stressed that development is the only way out of the crisis for the country and added that the state has two tools at its disposal namely, the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) and the investment law.

    "The state budget figures released do not allow for celebrations," according to ND economy sector alternate head MP Christos Staikouras. He underlined that the temporary figures for the 1st four months of the year do not meet the goals set by the government within the framework of the stability and development programme.

    Staikouras underlined the urgency of "initiatives aimed at limiting, as much as possible, the consequences of the government moves on society (unemployment, social cohesion), while helping the country overcome the crisis and stop recession

    [13] Greek-Israeli tourism potential discussed by top Parliament leaders

    Prospects for greater tourism cooperation ahead of the expected lifting of cabotage in Greece's cruise ship sector was one of the issues discussed on Monday by visiting Knesset Deputy Speaker Ruhama Avraham and Greek Parliament vice-president Grigoris Niotis.

    Avraham, a Kadima party cadre and former tourism minister in the Mideast country, referred to major potential for increasing arrivals of Israeli tourists to Greece and Greek tourists to Israel, noting that the current levels are not satisfactory.

    Avraham, who also met with main opposition MP Elsa Papadimitriou and MP Vassilis Economou, arrived in the Greek capital to attend Monday afternoon's inauguration of an imposing Holocaust museum in central Athens' historic Kerameikos district.

    Presently, more than 200,000 Israelis travel to Greece every year, whereas 22,000 Greek nationals, primarily groups on pilgrimage tours, arrived in Israel.

    Speaking earlier on Monday at the Israeli embassy, Avraham emphasised that she was very touched and honored to represent the Knesset at the monument's unveiling, having attended similar ceremonies around the world.

    She also cited the strong bonds between Israel and Greece, and underlined that initiatives, such as the monument in Athens, are important for teaching future generations about the Holocaust.

    A draft bill lifting the cabotage regime may reach Parliament as soon as late May, ahead of the height of the summer tourism season.

    [14] Computer software piracy slightly up in Greece

    Computer softare piracy rose by one percentage point to 58 pct in Greece, worth 173 million euros, Business Software Alliance (BSE) said on Tuesday.

    In its annual report on global software piracy, BSA said software piracy fell in 54 countries and rose in 19 despite an economic recession, although the global piracy rate rose to 43 pct last year, from 41 pct in 2008, reflecting rapid growth rates in China, India and Brazil.

    In the European Union, the piracy rate was unchanged at 35 pct, with Bulgaria (67 pct), Romania (65 pct) and Greece (58 pct) topping the list. The report said that despite the fact that the Greek economy shrank in 2009, computer imports rose 11 pct last year.

    "The report clearly shows that BSA can do more to combat piracy in Greece. Greece's 58 pct piracy rate was far above the acceptable average rate in the European Union," Katerina Galanopoulou, a representative of BSA in Greece said. The report showed that for every 100 euros of legitimate software sold in 2009, an additional 75 euros represented sale of piracy software. The BSA/IDC report for 2008 said that cutting software piracy by 10 percentage points for a period of four years could create more than 1,000 new job positions, boosting the country's Gross Domestic Product by 261 million euros and raising tax revenues by 88 million euros.

    [15] Greek stocks end 2.47 pct lower

    Greek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, as investors took profits after Monday's spectacular rally of prices. The composite index of the market ended at 1,735.29 points, off 2.47 pct, with turnover shrinking to 162.694 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 3.19 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 2.45 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index dropped 2.20 pct. The Banks (4.87 pct) and Financial Services (4.94 pct) sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Food (2.52 pct) and Oil (0.23 pct) scored gains.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 132 to 40 with another 47 issues unchanged. Informer (12.95 pct), Dionic (13.64 pct) and Nutriart (8.33 pct) were top gainers, while Vell Group (13.16 pct), Alco (10.34 pct), Vioter (10.0 pct) and FHL Kyriakidis (9.52 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.51%

    Industrials: -2.93%

    Commercial: -0.09%

    Construction: -0.26%

    Media: -3.72%

    Oil & Gas: +0.23%

    Personal & Household: -1.65%

    Raw Materials: -2.39%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.09

    Technology: -4.43%

    Telecoms: -2.66%

    Banks: -4.87%

    Food & Beverages: +2.52%

    Health: -3.07%

    Utilities: -3.84%

    Chemicals: -0.56%

    Financial Services: -4.94%

    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: 5.26

    ATEbank: 1.44

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.70

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.58

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.97

    National Bank of Greece: 11.42

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.19

    Intralot: 3.18

    OPAP: 13.52

    OTE: 8.05

    Bank of Piraeus: 5.17

    Titan: 18.85

    [16] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market rose to 63 million euros on Tuesday, of which 38 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 25 million were buy orders. The three-year benchmark bond (March 20, 2013) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 21 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 440 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 7.38 pct and the German Bund 2.98 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month Euribor rate fell to 1.22 pct, the six-month rate fell to 0.95 pct, the three-month rate was 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 -1.66 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover shrinking to 56.843 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,430 contracts, worth 44.335 million euros, with 25,346 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,221 contracts worth 12.508 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (6,836), followed by Eurobank (865), Piraeus Bank (1,296), Alpha Bank (1,864), Mytilineos (305), Cyprus Bank (474) and Hellenic Postbank (231).

    [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.28

    Pound sterling 0.866

    Danish kroner 7.502

    Swedish kroner 9.733

    Japanese yen 118.32

    Swiss franc 1.420

    Norwegian kroner 7.903

    Canadian dollar 1.313

    Australian dollar 1.431

    General News

    [19] Terror suspect Seisidis remanded in custody

    One of the two gunmen involved in a shootout with police in downtown Keramikos district of Athens was remanded in custody after his testimony before an examining judge on Tuesday.

    The man, implicated in a string of urban terrorism-related crimes, was apprehended following a bloody robbery at a department store last week.

    Simeon Seisidis is hospitalised under guard at a north Athens, where he is being treated for serious leg wound he sustained during the shootout with police.

    Seisidis denied charges against him and also filed a lawsuit against the police officer who shot him. His attorney also claims that authorities took a DNA sample from Seisidis without his consent, a sample that allegedly linked Seisidis to at least two other crimes.

    [20] Rare migratory Rosy Pelicans released back into the wild

    The Hellenic Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (EKPAZ) recently released two rare Rosy Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus roseus), a sub-species of the Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), on Lake Kerkini in Serres prefecture.

    The pelicans were released back into the wild after being found last year in a state of exhaustion during their migration to Africa for the winter, and wintered at the EKPAZ, better known as the Hellenic Wildlife Hospital (HWH), on the island of Aegina.

    The White Pelican is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. Greece signed the AEWA agreement on May 14, 1998.

    The AEWA is the largest treaty of its kind developed under the Bonn Convention. It was concluded on June 16, 1995 in The Hague, and entered into force on November 1, 1999.

    The AEWA, an independent international treaty, covers 235 species of birds ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle.

    The rosy pelican is discerned from a bare pink facial patch around the eye and pinkish legs, while the male of the species has a more pinkish skin on his face during the breeding season.

    The species is threatened globally by habitat destruction through drainage, the divergence of rivers for irrigation, agriculture development, industry and hunting.

    The Lesser Prespa Lake hosts the only breeding colony of the Great White Pelican in the European Union, and since the Lesser Prespa area was designated a National Park in 1974 and prohibition of pelican hunting throughout all of Greece in 1977, pelicans enjoy a safe and risk-free environment in the country. Lake Kerkini is also a favored breeding site.

    The Pelecanus onocrotalus roseus, or Rodopelekanos (meaning 'rosy pelican' in Greek) arrive in Greece in mid-March and settle in small breeding colonies. The female lays two eggs, while incubation lasts about 33 days. The chicks leave the nest at about one month old, and complete feathering and independence at 65-70 days.

    [21] Kozani inter-city bus service launches internet access for passengers

    The KTEL inter-city bus service in Kozani, western Macedonia, has introduced on-the-go internet access for its passengers, who are now able to surf the net, check their e-mail and communicate with friends and associates in various social networks through their laptops or "smart" cell phones en route to their destinations through free access to the KTEL internet hotspot.

    The net service has been launched as a pilot program, and is the first in Greece. A Moovbox M200 mobile broadband portal serves as a "bridge" between a high-speed networks vehicle, including 3G/HSPA for backhaul, EV-DO and Wi-MAX, providing Wi-Fi access during the bus ride, making the journey more enjoyable and productive.

    The KTEL administration is taking part in the Information Society program, and the goal is that all its vehicles (123 buses and 8 tourist coaches) will soon provide free wireless internet access to their passengers with the installation of Moovbox access points on the buses.

    Moovbox access points have been installed in many buses, trains and ferries throughout Europe, and the Kozani KTEL inter-city buses are the first in Greece to be so equipped. Access points also enable the bus company to monitor where its buses are in the city in real time.

    "The initial feedback from students and businessmen commuting with the buses has been positive. The passengers, from their laptops, may work free of charge on the internet, check their e-mail and not lose one minute in their work," Kozani KTEL chairman Eleftherios Pallas told ANA-MPA.

    The only problems to access have been observed in the Egnatia Motorway tunnels, where the signal is weak, "but there's nothing we can do about that," Pallas adds.

    "We hope, with this service, to encourage young people and merchants to use buses instead of their cars for commuting. The incentive is that they can commute more cheaply and at the same time take advantage of the service to work throughout the duration of the trip," he stresses.

    [22] Exhibition by Turkish photographer Guler at Benaki annex

    A photographic exhibition featuring the works of Turkish artist Ara Güler, entitled "Ara Güler's Polis (city)" -- a reference to Istanbul -- will debut on Wednesday evening at the Benaki Museum Annex, on Pireos street.

    The exhibition will be inaugurated by Greek Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos.

    The exhibition will continue until late July.

    [23] Fire at Piraeus TEI

    A fire broke out shortly before noon in the basement of the Piraeus Technical College (TEI) that was filled with paper items.

    A strong team of 18 firemen with six fire engines rushed to the site and have contained the blaze.

    The causes of the fire are being investigated by the Fire Department.

    [24] 4R quake jolts Evia island - felt also in Athens

    An earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale jolted the island of Evia on Tuesday morning, and was also felt in parts of Athens and the wider region.

    The earthquake was recorded at 10:03 a.m. at a distance of 75 kilometers northeast of Athens, with its epicenter in the village of Psachna on Evia island.

    No damage was immediately reported

    Weather Forecast

    [25] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 11C and 32C. Fair in Athens, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 31C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 29C.

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

    The reforms in the social security system announced on Monday by Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos, the euro parity increase and the profits in stock markets together with the fall of spreads after the EU-IMF announcement of a 750 billion euros support mechanism for EU countries threatened with default, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Prime minister George Papandreou, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis agreement on the 3 burning issues at the extraordinary Political Leaders Meeting chaired by President of Republic Karolos Papoulias".

    APOGEVMATINI: "No guarantees on the pensions' size".

    AVGHI: "Shock in pensions too - The state will not guarantee on the size of the pensions".

    AVRIANI: "Dramatic changes in social security - All the new amendments on pensions and retirement ages".

    ELEFTHEROS: "The diary of reversals in the social security system - Loverdos' big ploy with pensions".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Triple shock in pensions - Loverdos' social security bill will be reviewed by the EU and IMF".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "40 years of work to get a pension equivalent to 35 years of work".

    ESTIA: "We were giving false data since 1998 - IMF kept warning us'.

    ETHNOS: "The pensions for the old and the newly insured".

    IMERISSIA: "Hopes for stabilisation - EU-ECB (European Central Bank) intervention calms the markets".

    KATHIMERINI: "Breather in the eurozone - Markets' enthusiastic reaction - Moody's insists".

    LOGOS: "Heavy penalties for early retirement - All the changes in social security with examples".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The markets are 'celebrating' the 1 trillion dollars (EU-IMF) package".

    NIKI: "Civil servants: How you will not get fired".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Way out exists and also hope for the people".

    TA NEA: "The entire new social security bill - Deliberation begins today, will be tabled in parliament in May".

    TO VIMA: "Extensive cuts in all pensions - Loverdos: Without changes, the social security funds will collapse".

    VRADYNI: "Pensions of penury - All the changes contained in the social security draft law".

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