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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-05-29

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

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

Saturday, 29 May 2010 Issue No: 3504

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM stresses determination to put end to corruption, during visit to Komotini
  • [02] ND leader Samaras on the party's assessment committee; Roussopoulos' response
  • [03] Parliament orders in-depth audit of Mantelis' assets
  • [04] Parliament passes 'Kallikratis' bill
  • [05] Droutsas on Erdogan's visit
  • [06] Deputy Foreign minister at 22nd BSEC meeting in Sofia
  • [07] Dep. FM Kouvelis on the Greek BSEC presidency
  • [08] EP President Buzek in Athens on Wednesday
  • [09] Interior ministry circular on the revised naturalisation requirements
  • [10] Environment ministry initiatives against drought
  • [11] State hospital debts to suppliers settled by government
  • [12] Labour minister denies constitutional issue over labour, pension reforms
  • [13] GSEE invites employers to resume negotiations on national collective agreement
  • [14] ADEDY postpones rallies until June 5
  • [15] Deputy minister announces independent economic planning unit for Thessaloniki
  • [16] Investment spending in industrial sector to rise 6.8 pct in 2010, report
  • [17] Attica Bank returned to profitability in Q1
  • [18] Piraeus Bank reports lower Q1 results?
  • [19] Intrakat reports improved Q1 results
  • [20] Greek PPI up 9.8 pct in April
  • [21] "Zenith" will skip Piraeus due to seamen's strike
  • [22] Greek stocks end slightly lower on Friday
  • [23] Greek bond market closing report
  • [24] ADEX closing report
  • [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [26] English-language book on migrant trends in Greece published
  • [27] U.S. non-immigrant visa fee increase worldwide
  • [28] 400 'Sights of Athens' bus service to be scrapped
  • [29] Migrant smuggler, 14 illegal migrants arrested in Thessaloniki
  • [30] Lawyers announce protest mobilizations on June 1-4
  • [31] Mainly sunny on Saturday
  • [32] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [33] European Court ruling in property case 'unjust', says government Politics

  • [01] PM stresses determination to put end to corruption, during visit to Komotini

    Prime minister George Papandreou on Friday stressed his government's determination to put an end to corruption "wherever it may be", during a visit to Komotini.

    "The government had to change in order for the truth to shine. This government will not suffice with just the appearances. The citizens realise this even if some have doubts," he added.

    Addressing the party's Economic and Social Committee of Rhodopi, Papandreou also announced that the state will guarantee a 61 billion euros syndicated loan, by five banks, to the troubled "United Textiles Industries" (EN.KLO) so that the industry may go ahead with productive activities through its new business plan.

    Papandreou further noted the importance placed on making use of the human potential, warning that "if we don't invest in that, in a few years' time they will come again and tell us to reduce salaries in order to be more competitive".

    Earlier, Papandreou visited the Center for Orientation and Social Support of Persons with a Disability.

    "As government, we don't want to simply settle 'minor matters' but to proceed with very big changes," Papandreou said in Rhodopi.

    He added that the state of the economy is a "symptom of the problem", with the major problem being the function of the state and the political system that "we are curing" with significant changes.

    With the EU support mechanism, he said, the government succeeded in saving the Greek economy, and "now we are called on to change, the support mechanism gave us a breather to make the changes", adding that "historic changes" will be made over the coming mothings that will render the economy self-sufficient as well as outward-oriented.

    He stressed that Greece must leave EU monitoring of the economy behind it as soon as possible and place the economy on strong foundations.

    Papandreou said that in the preceding years Greece had not "wasted" money on the social state but the money was lost through intransparency and privatisations and even to the benefit of speculators.

    He added that the government has taken extraordinary measures to save Greece, and was proceeding with major reversals that were also included in the memorandum signed by the government with the EU, stressing that "we need to leave the practices and mentalities of the past behind us".

    The premier further said that the preceding (New Democracy) government had not taken up PASOK's call for striking a blow against corruption, and opted instead for silence and cover-up, which hurt the political system, the economy and the country's credibility.

    "This is what the Greek people are paying for today," he said, adding that his government will night back down on its crackdown on corruption.

    He said eliminating corruption is a matter of democracy and also a national, economic and developmental matter.

    [02] ND leader Samaras on the party's assessment committee; Roussopoulos' response

    "I have been given a mandate to build a new New Democracy," main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras stated on Friday commenting on the establishment of a ND Assessment Committee.

    Responding to a question by reporters while entering the central party offices in Athens, Samaras added that he will not apologize for the past, stressing that he "will not apologize for behaviours adopted by (ND former MPs) Pavlidis, Voulgarakis or Roussopoulos. I want to make it clear that anyone who has hurt the party will not continue being with us but, at the same time, I will not allow anyone to be targeted unfairly."

    Earlier, the ND press office had announced that following a decision by Samaras, an Assessment Committee will be set up assigned with the continuous assessment and renewal of the ND party cadres to ensure that it will be a political party of values and principles.

    In response, former ND MP Theodoros Roussopoulos underlined that based on the statement made by the ND leader "it is obvious that he (the ND leader) is the one who does not respect the procedures currently underway in Parliament and Greek Justice," considering that "he has already issued his own decisions".

    "I expect to be judged by the Greek Justice and not by political party mechanisms serving own expediencies. I will make sure of that and I will be fully vindicated," he stressed.

    Mantelis, Tsougranis to testify before examining magistrate; ND wants Simitis to appear before parliamentary committee

    Court of Appeals Examining Magistrates are to indict former PASOK minister Tassos Mantelis for legalising income from illegal activity, Greek authorities announced on Friday.

    The indictment will be ready within the next few days and is based on Mantelis' testimony on Wednesday before the Parliamentary fact finding committee probing the Siemens case, where he admitted receiving at least 200,000 marks from the German Siemens company in 1998 to use in his election campaign.

    The examining magistrates studied the testimonies made before the committee by Mantelis and his friend, businessman George Tsougranis, who will also face similar charges.

    Tsougranis has admitted before the parliamentary committee that he had helped Mantelis open a bank account in November 1998, at which time Mantelis had confided in him that the money deposited in the account was a donation from Siemens.

    Meanwhile, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party MP Costas Tzavaras requested that former PM Costas Simitis be summoned to testify as a witness in the parliamentary committee assigned with probing the Siemens kickbacks scandal. He underlined that the new facts made public following the shocking revelations made by Mantelis make the former PM's testimony imperative.

    [03] Parliament orders in-depth audit of Mantelis' assets

    A Parliamentary Committee for the control of MP and party finances on Friday decided to order an in-depth audit of all assets owned by former PASOK minister Anastasios Mantelis and compare this with the declarations of means and assets that he had submitted to Parliament.

    The decision was unanimous, following the former minister's admission before a Parliamentary fact-finding committee two days earlier that he had received 200,000 marks in undeclared campaign contributions from the multinational Siemens in 1998.

    In addition to Mantelis, the committee decided to also subject the assets of former MP Theodoros Tsoukatos to the same scrutiny, even though he has not yet been called up to testify before the Parliamentary investigation into the Siemens slush funds scandal.

    The joint decision calls for the re-checking of annual statements of property and financial assets submitted by the former minister since 1990, as well as the opening and checking of all bank accounts held by Mantelis and his next of kin.

    A written order to lift the privacy protection on Mantelis' accounts was given in writing on Thursday by the Parliamentary Committee examining the Siemens scandal.

    The audit will be carried out by a mixed team of certified public accountants and Parliament officials, which will check all their statements since 1990 in order to determine how they acquired property assets.

    The next move will be to ask the Hellenic Court of Audit to confiscate Mantelis' property assets up to the sum of the money he says was given by Siemens, in order to cover any civil law liability that may arise.

    His bank account has already been frozen by decision of the Parliamentary committee investigating the Siemens case, after the former minister testified.

    Finally, the minutes and decision of the committee will be sent to an appeals court prosecutor so that he can press additional charges against Mantelis for violating laws on the declaration of means and assets, an offence that bears a potential penalty of up to 10 years for concealing sums greater than 300,000 euros.

    [04] Parliament passes 'Kallikratis' bill

    The Kallikratis bill envisaging mergers between local authorities was passed by the Greek Parliament during a vote on the individual articles on Friday. The bill had been passed in principle during a session on Thursday.

    Debate on the bill on Friday focused mainly on the issue of local government elections, with Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis announcing that the government would invite the political parties to dialogue on a municipal election system in June.

    Ragoussis stressed that the government would come to these talks with the same position as that incorporated in the bill passed on Friday, which requires that mayors and regional authority chiefs be elected with a 50%-plus majority, but made it clear to all the parties that they would be asked to find a common ground, exhausting all margins for a common, single and fixed system of elections in local government.

    [05] Droutsas on Erdogan's visit

    Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, speaking during a meeting of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on Thursday, termed the recent visit to Greece by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "important and fruitful".

    Briefing the Committee on the outcome of the Turkish prime minister's visit, Droutsas referred to "the beginning of a new effort for rapprochement, that will only be judged by the result. It was a strong symbolic visit, that passed the message for cooperation and understanding, the creation of a climate of confidence, and consolidation of the effort to normalise the relations between the two countries."

    Droutsas further said that "many taboos have been broken over the past ten years, we are discussing openly and frankly. There was a sincere exchange of the known views and positions in a climate, however, of common political volition in order to look at the future, and the Greek positions were set out by prime Minister George Papandreou with explicitness and directness. It goes without saying that our positions and the signed contracts are not at risk and are not threatened from the meetings with the Turkish side. We are aware of the opposite views, we do not disregard them nor do we ignore them but we will not let them hinder the venture. We are ready to discuss any project but not the phobic syndromes," concluded Droutsas

    All opposition parties expressed their reservations over the issue.

    [06] Deputy Foreign minister at 22nd BSEC meeting in Sofia

    SOFIA (ANA-MPA - M. Borisov)

    The 22nd foreign ministers' meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation countries was held here on Friday, with Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis at the head of the Greek delegation at the meeting.

    The meeting was briefed by Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov, who highlighted the effort being made, especially by Greece, Romania and Bulgaria, to promote coordinated EU-BSEC action on energy issues, protection of the environment, fighting cross-border crime, transport and other areas.

    The meeting was also addressed by the BSEC General Secretary Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, who praised the outgoing Bulgarian presidency of the BSEC.

    Bulgaria assumed the rotating presidency of the BSEC on January 1, 2010. At the end of Friday's meeting in Sofia this will formally pass to Greece, which will chair the organization in the second half of 2010.

    Among the highlights of the 22nd BSEC foreign ministers' meeting was the surprise visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to take part in the BSEC meeting. Iran is a partner-country of the BSEC and, among others, hopes to become the main supplier of natgas to Europe via the future Nabucco pipeline.

    [07] Dep. FM Kouvelis on the Greek BSEC presidency

    Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis referred to the great opportunity offered to the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation to follow the path of "green development" for the benefit of the member states and the greater region, addressing the 22nd BSEC foreign ministers' meeting held here on Friday.

    After the special ceremony during which the organization's presidency was handed over to Greece from Bulgaria, Kouvelis commented that the initiatives to be undertaken will show that cooperation, aimed at the region's viable development, is feasible.

    Kouvelis stressed that the emphasis on "green development" will highlight the comparative advantages of the Black Sea region through environmental protection, culture, tourism, alternative energy sources and new technologies.

    The aim of the Greek presidency will be to mark the shift to green growth, with the focus on "making the Black Sea green" and sending a strong message from BSEC countries to the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico, the deputy minister said.

    [08] EP President Buzek in Athens on Wednesday

    President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek will pay an official visit to Athens on Wednesday June 2, at the invitation of Greek Parliament President Philippos Petsalnikos.

    Buzek will be received by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and hold talks with Prime Minister George Papandreou, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras and Petsalnikos.

    The EP president will also address a joint meeting of the Greek Parliament's European Affairs, Defence and Foreign Affairs and Economy Standing Committees.

    [09] Interior ministry circular on the revised naturalisation requirements

    The interior ministry on Friday sent a circular to all responsible ministries and local administration authorities, notifying them of the revised requirements necessary for the acquisition of the Greek nationality included in recently passed legislation.

    According to the circular, Law No. 3838/2010 modifies and supplements existing legislation, redefining the terms and conditions under which the children of foreign nationals may acquire Greek nationality. It also alters the terms under which an adult foreigner may apply for Greek citizenship through naturalisation and the supporting documentation that must be submitted and includes provisions and clauses concerning granted political rights for repatriated Greeks and legal immigrants.

    [10] Environment ministry initiatives against drought

    The ministry of environment, energy and climate change is promoting actions for the reuse of recovered water following proper waste processing - where possible and under the necessary preconditions to ensure public health - within the framework of prudent water resources management that takes into consideration the increased risk of water scarcity and drought.

    A statement issued by the ministry on Friday underlined that an effort is being made to make up for the lack of relevant initiatives in the past and the absence of the appropriate institutional framework.

    The necessary funds will come from the "Environment and Sustainable Development" 2007-2013 operational programme and among the immediate goals set by the ministry is the recovery and reuse of roughly 20,000 cubic meters of water a day from Psyttaleia sewage treatment plant, off the seaport of Piraeus.

    [11] State hospital debts to suppliers settled by government

    The ministries of finance and health in a joint statement issued on Friday announced that the debts of state hospitals to their procurement suppliers, amounting to 5.6 billion euros, will be settled either in cash or in state securities.

    The old debts dating back to the period 2005-2006, estimated to 230 million euros, will be paid off immediately in cash.

    The 2007-2009 debts will be paid out with zero-coupon state security bills. Two-year state securities will be issued to cover the 2007 debts, three-year state securities will cover the 2008 debts and four-year state securities will be issued on Jan. 1, 2011 for the 2009 debts.

    The statement underlined that such an accumulation of debts will not be allowed to happen again in the future, adding that the Health System Procurement Commission will be activated, while international tenders for hospital supplies will be launched soon.

    Financial News

    [12] Labour minister denies constitutional issue over labour, pension reforms

    Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Labour Minister Andreas Loverdos strenuously denied that the changes to the pension system and labour law envisaged in a memorandum that he signed with Greece's EU-IMF creditors were in any way unconstitutional, dismissing such claims as false and irrational and irresponsible.

    He also deplored a decision by the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), Greece's largest umbrella trade union organisation, to refuse to participate in a dialogue on the proposed changes.

    Replying to a question put by Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras, Loverdos also urged the unions and employer groups to talk amongst themselves and then present their proposals in detail, promising to adopt anything that did not violate the terms of the memorandum signed between Greece and troika.

    The minister also told Parliament that "we have a sacred obligation to negotiate over whatever is outside the memorandum," prompting Tsipras to accuse him of hypocrisy and of employing communications tricks.

    [13] GSEE invites employers to resume negotiations on national collective agreement

    The General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), the country's largest umbrella trade union organisation representing private sector workers, on Friday sent out an invitation to the main employers groups to continue negotiations on a new national collective labour agreement.

    The invitation was sent to the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the workshop, artisans and small business owners' union GSEBEE and the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) and announced the reasons for GSEE's refusal to take part in a dialogue on the new labour laws that the labour ministry was trying to arrange.

    "When the signature of a national collective agreement is still pending, it is at least a provocation to suggest any kind of deliberation and especially on issues that directly interfere with the institution of collective agreements and their content," GSEE's letter said.

    Noting that trade unions and employer groups had shown themselves more than capable of negotiating and coming to agreements without government intervention over the years, GSEE called for negotiations to begin again at a meeting to be held some time in June in order to arrive at a final agreement.

    [14] ADEDY postpones rallies until June 5

    The civil servants' union ADEDY on Friday announced that it had finalised plans for protest action against the austerity measures, pension reforms and the changes to labour law being pushed through by the government.

    The union said that nationwide rallies in Athens, Thessaloniki and Iraklio that were originally envisaged for this Saturday have been postponed for the following week, on June 5. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the public-sector staff union federations and prefectural sections will hold general meetings and regional meetings linked to forms of action, it added.

    [15] Deputy minister announces independent economic planning unit for Thessaloniki

    Deputy Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Markos Bolaris on Friday announced that an independent economic planning centre will be set up in the northern city of Thessaloniki, dealing with EU programmes, development law, ports, public-private partnerships and relations with Greece's northern neighbours.

    Speaking in Komotini, where he had accompanied Prime Minister George Papandreou on a visit, Bolaris said the centre had been established through a presidential decree signed by the premier and published a few days earlier.

    The deputy minister noted that the centre created the first opportunity to plan things on the spot in Thessaloniki and expressed hope that the unit would be a model of a public service employing e-government, self-assessment centres and "one-stop shops".

    [16] Investment spending in industrial sector to rise 6.8 pct in 2010, report

    Investment spending in the industrial sector dropped 44.4 pct in 2009, compared with the previous year, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Friday. In a report, IOBE said the non-metal minerals sector recorded the biggest decline (62.1 pct), followed by the clothing-footwear (42.5 pct), textiles (47.9 pct), food/beverage/tobacco (40.9 pct), while chemicals (-18.7 pct) recorded a smaller decline.

    In the European environment, forecasts over investment spending were also negative in 2009, both in the EU-27 and the Eurozone, by 18.1 pct and 22 pct respectively, although down compared with the previous estimate in October 2009 (21.9 pct and 24.9 pct, respectively).

    Investment spending in the industrial sector was projected to grow by 6.8 pct this year, particularly in the non-metal mineral sector (70.3 pct), food/beverage/tobacco (29.7 pct), textile (26.6 pct) and chemicals (3.3 pct). On the other hand, however, clothing/footwear and other sectors, investment spending was projected to fall by 86.5 pct and 15.3 pct, respectively in 2010.

    IOBE said that Greek industries seemed to have changed their investment mixture last year, focusing more on spending to replacing existing capital equipment (23 pct), raising production capacity (20 pct), improving production methods (20 pct) and expanding production capacity for new products (19 pct). Environmental protection, safety in production and introduction of new production methods recorded the lowest investment spending. This year, the investment mixture is focusing more on expanding production capacity for new products (22 pct), replacing existing capital equipment (21 pct) and raising production capacity on existing products (19 pct).

    The report said technological developments and investment incentives positively affected investment decisions last year, while demand came third. All three factors would continue to positively affect investment plans this year, although their impact has lowered compared with previous year. Extra tax on profits, availability and capital costs were negatively affecting enterprises, while economic policy in general was by far the most negative factor for investment spending plans.

    [17] Attica Bank returned to profitability in Q1

    Attica Bank Group on Friday reported an 1.5 million euros pre-tax profits in the first quarter of 2010, after losses of 4.6 million euros in the corresponding period last year and said after tax profits totaled 194,000 euros, from a loss of 2.946 million euros over the same periods, respectively.

    The bank said pre-tax profits totaled 1.5 million euros, after losses of 4.7 million euros in 20089, while after tax earnings for the same period, totaled 334,000 from a loss of 3.0 million euros last year. Group assets totaled 4.9 billion euros, while equity capital totaled 574.8 million euros. The bad loans/loans rate reached 6.69 pct. Provisions for credit risks totaled 10.9 million euros, raising provisions to 162.6 million euros, or 7.2 pct compared with the same period last year. Provisions covered 60.8 pct of non performing loans. Attica Bank said it capital adequacy rate totaled 19.1 pct. Commenting on the results, Ioannis Gamvrilis, chairman of the bank said the board's aim was to shield the bank during a very difficult economic environment.

    [18] Piraeus Bank reports lower Q1 results?

    Piraeus Bank on Friday reported a significant decline in its first quarter net profits to 7.0 million euros, from 52 million euros in the same period last year, reflecting higher bad loan provisions and negative financial results. Pre-provision earnings from repeated sources rose 18 pct to 161 million euros, while pre-tax and provision earnings fell 5.0 pct to 142 million euors, with financial results showing a loss of 19 million euros in the January-March period, from 12 million euros last year.

    Commenting on the results, Mihalis Sallas, the bank's chairman and chief executive, stressed that strict implementation of fiscal consolidation measures, improving the country's competitiveness and drafting a credible development plan were the necessary options for Greece. He noted that the targets of a new economic program, as agreed with EU, ECB and IMF, were feasible and that their implementation was the main precondition for regaining markets' confidence in the economy. Sallas said economic conditions in the seven countries where Piraeus Bank has established activities, were improving.

    Organic profitability -pre provision- rose 18 pct to 161 million euros, helped by net interest income (up 15 pct to 293 million euros). Provisions grew 65 pct to 134 million euros in the first quarter of 2010. Saving deposits totaled 30.1 billion euros, down 3.0 pct compared with the same period last year, with domestic savings down 5 pct to 24.9 billion euros and savings abroad rising 8.0 pct to 5.2 billion euros. Loans after provisions totaled 30.1 billion euros in the January-March period, up 1.0 pct from 2009.

    [19] Intrakat reports improved Q1 results

    Intrakat on Friday reported a 13 pct increase in its first quarter consolidated turnover to 51.2 million euros and said its EBITDA fell to 2.8 million euros from 3.4 million in the same period last year. EBITDA margin was 5.5 pct of consolidated turnover, while pre-tax profits doubled to 1.2 million euros in the January-March period, from 600,000 euros in 2009 and consolidated net profits (after tax and minorities) rose to 740,000 euros, from 560,000 euros over the same periods, respectively.

    Parent turnover rose 7.0 pct to 35.5 million euros, EBITDA was unchanged at 2.7 million euros, pre-tax profits jumped to 1.2 million euros, from 700,000 euros last year and net profits rose to 500,000 euros, from 300,000 euros in 2009.

    [20] Greek PPI up 9.8 pct in April

    Greece's Producer's Price composite index (PPI) in the industrial sectors, measuring both the domestic and external markets) jumped 9.8 pct in April this year, compared with the same month last year, after a decline of 8.1 pct recorded in April 2009, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Friday.

    The statistics agency, in a report, attributed this development to a 9.1 pct rise in the domestic producer's price index and a 12.3 pct jump in the external markets index. The producer's price index was up 1.5 pct in April from March 2010.

    [21] "Zenith" will skip Piraeus due to seamen's strike

    The cruise ship "Zenith" will not sail into the port of Piraeus on Monday, May 31, the day of a 24-hour strike action called by the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO), it was announced on Friday.

    Meanwhile, the Panhellenic Federation of Tourist Enterprises expressed concern that thousands of passengers, on board another five cruise-ships expected in the port of Piraeus on Monday, could be faced with inconvenience as a result of the seamen's mobilizations.

    [22] Greek stocks end slightly lower on Friday

    Greek stocks ended the last trading session of a volatile week with small losses in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index of the market fell 0.52 pct to end at 1,570.22 points, after finding resistance at the 1,600 level earlier in the session. Turnover was a low 133.294 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 0.68 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 1.02 pct and the FTSE 80 index dropped 0.94 pct. The Health (2.59 pct) and Financial Services (2.57 pct) sectors scored gains, while Food (3.69 pct) and Insurance (3.40 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 101 to 76 with another 49 issues unchanged.

    Edrasi (14.29 pct), Hellenic Fish Farming (14.29pct) and Sato (11.76 pct) were top gainers, while Desmos (20 pct), Compucon (11.11 pct) and Elektroniki (9.70 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -3.40%

    Industrials: -0.47%

    Commercial: +3.20%

    Construction: +0.57%

    Media: -2.86%

    Oil & Gas: +0.24%

    Personal & Household: -0.23%

    Raw Materials: -0.03%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.01%

    Technology: +1.11%

    Telecoms: +1.92%

    Banks: -1.29%

    Food & Beverages: -3.69%

    Health: +2.59%

    Utilities: +2.35%

    Chemicals: -0.23%

    Financial Services: +2.57%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 4.65

    ATEbank: 1.22

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.78

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.94

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.06

    National Bank of Greece: 10.08

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.15

    Intralot: 3.03

    OPAP: 12.41

    OTE: 6.90

    Bank of Piraeus: 4.24

    Titan: 14.77

    [23] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 50 million euros on Friday, with the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds falling to 508 basis points from 510 bps on Thursday. The Greek bond yielded 7.76 pct and the German Bund 2.68 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month rate was 1.06 pct, the six-month rate 1.10 pct, the three-month rate 1.10 pct and the one-month rate 1.05 pct.

    [24] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -2.20 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover at 57.643 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 13,078 contracts worth 49.303 million euros, with 24,534 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 13,027 contracts, worth 8.340 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,651), followed by Eurobank (1,419), MIG (967), OTE (743), Alpha Bank (1,023), Marfin Popular Bank (1,280), Cyprus Bank (761) and ATEbank (391).

    [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.248

    Pound sterling 0.856

    Danish kroner 7.500

    Swedish kroner 9.735

    Japanese yen 113.96

    Swiss franc 1.437

    Norwegian kroner 8.025

    Canadian dollar 1.305

    Australian dollar 1.465

    General News

    [26] English-language book on migrant trends in Greece published

    A book on migration trends in Greece since the early 1990s has been published in the English language by the Centre of Planning and Economic Research (CPER).

    The book is entitled "Profile and Labour Market Analysis of Immigration in Greece" and is authored by Constantinos N. Kanellopoulos, Maria Gregou and Athanasios Petralias. It gives figures, analyses immigration trends and examines how migrants fit into the labour market in Greece.

    During an event at CEPR, authors said their study had confirmed an unprecedented increase of migration to Greece in the 1990s, so that migrants now represented nearly 10 percent of the indigenous population. The chief source countries of migrants continue to be Albania and other neighbouring Balkan states, while a more recent phenomenon is the increasing number of migrants from certain Asian countries and Africa.

    The migrants tend to be younger on average than the indigenous population, with men making up the majority of those arriving from Albania, Romania, Asia and Africa and women the greater number of those arriving from Bulgaria and the former Soviet countries.

    They are chiefly employed in construction, manufacturing and as domestics, all sectors that are more directly affected by economic cycles.

    A relatively recent development in migration toward Greece is that arising from the reunification of foreign nationals with members of their families. According to the study, a significant percentage of foreign nationals now enters the country for this purpose, while there is a negligible number of rejections.

    It also found Albanian nationals highly represented in all residence permits for family reunification, combined with a very low but rising participation of nationals from certain African and Asian countries.

    The great majority of such residence permits are issue for women and adults aged 22-65, indicating that existing migrants, chiefly men, are tending to bring their wives to live with them.

    Concerning figures for illegal migration, the study shows that the great majority of currently legal migrants had earlier entered the country illegally and were then legalised through various legalisation programmes.

    Though there is a close statistical correlation between illegal and legal migrants from each individual country of origin, the number of illegal migrants from Asian and African countries is on the rise.

    Clear figures on the number of illegal migrants are given in the 2007 Labour Force Study, where they are listed as uninsured nationals of third countries. Married migrants tend to be legal and insured to a greater extent than single migrants. Uninsured illegal migrants are also more plentiful in the younger and older age groups.

    This indicates that migrants are tending to act rationally, since younger migrants lacking documents and family obligations as well as older migrants with scant opportunity to establish the right to an old-age pension are less interested in paying social insurance contributions.

    Both legal and illegal migrants show similar levels of employment, but illegal migrants are more than doubly represented among the unemployed. Illegal migrants appear to have a smaller percentage of permanent employment, tend to change jobs regularly and tend to have a higher percentage of inactivity.

    [27] U.S. non-immigrant visa fee increase worldwide

    The application fee for a U.S. non-immigrant visa will increase worldwide, and the exact cost will depend on the purpose of travel effective June 4, 2010., a US embassy announcement said on Friday.

    The fee for business and tourism (B1/B2), student (F1/M1), exchange visitor (J), journalist (I) and seaman/crewmember (C1/D) visas will increase to $140 (115 euro at the current exchange rate). The fee for petition-based visas for employment in the U.S., including for temporary workers (H), intracompany transferees (L), aliens with extraordinary ability (O), athletes, artists and entertainers (P), international cultural exchange visitors (Q) and religious workers (R) will increase to $150 (123 euros at the current exchange rate). Fiancé (K) visas will increase to $350 (287 euros at the current exchange rate) and treaty trader and investors (E) visas will increase to $390 (320 euros at the current exchange rate).

    For more information on visa categories and appointment schedule, visit: http://athens.usembassy.gov/visas.html.

    The U.S. Department of State is increasing fees to meet the rising costs of processing non-immigrant visas, according to a statement by the US Embassy in Athens.

    Applicants who paid the previous $131 application fee and are interviewed for a visa before June 4, 2010 will be processed without further payment.

    [28] 400 'Sights of Athens' bus service to be scrapped

    The Athens public transport organisation OASA on Friday announced that it will scrap a special bus service providing tours of Athens' ancient sites for tourists as of June 1, due to low levels of use.

    The number 400 'Sights of Athens' bus was an open bus that tourists could use to visit each of the city's archaeological sites and museums using an all-day pass.

    [29] Migrant smuggler, 14 illegal migrants arrested in Thessaloniki

    A 30-year-old Palestinian migrant-smuggler was arrested following a police chase in the district of Xirokrini, western Thessaloniki, on Friday.

    Also arrested were a total of 14 illegal migrants, 13 Iraqis and an Afghan, that were found crammed in the smuggler's car and had Athens as their destination.

    During the police chase, the suspect's vehicle rammed a police patrol car and two parked vehicles causing damage.

    A police investigation is underway to locate his accomplice.

    [30] Lawyers announce protest mobilizations on June 1-4

    The presidents of Bar Associations in Greece in their extraordinary meeting in Athens on Friday decided a four-day strike action on June 1-4.

    Lawyers nationwide will abstain from their duties in protest to the government's tax measures, the social insurance issue and the opening of their profession.

    Weather forecast

    [31] Mainly sunny on Saturday

    Generally sunny weather is forecast throughout the country on Saturday, barring some local showers and storms in the north. Winds variable, ranging from 2-6 Beaufort. Temperatures will range from 12C to highs of 33C. Sunny in Athens, with temperatures between 17C and 32C. Same in Thessaloniki but clouding over in the afternoon, with temperatures between 15C and 30C.

    [32] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Former PASOK Minister Tassos Mantelis' admission that he received money from Siemens, the felony charges filed against him and former PASOK prime minister Costas Simitis' reaction who expressed "rage and regret", and the new social security system, mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras states in parliament: The evidence incriminates only PASOK!".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Shocking dialogues in parliamentary fact-finding commission - Mantelis answered with unbelievable cynicism to parliament deputies' consistent questions".

    AVGHI: "Operation 'scot-free' by the 'kickbacks parties' - Simitis remembered the 'strong Greece' and 'regrets' the Mantelis incident".

    AVRIANI: "Simitis handed over the country to Siemens - The fact-finding commission must summon him to account for the billions of euros in 'gratuitous contracts' to the Germans and the kickbacks received by his close associates".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Civil war in PASOK over the Siemens kickbacks - Simitis plays dumb"

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Siemens scandal brings turbulence in PASOK".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Kickback burns Mantelis - Indictment for money laundering and prohibition from leaving the country".

    ESTIA: "Penal indictment of a former minister is provided under the constitution and the law".

    ETHNOS: "They woke up late and now are running - Charges against Mantelis were pressed with a two-year delay".

    IMERISSIA: "The lay-offs system changes".

    KATHIMERINI: "Mantelis charged with felony - Money laundering and ban on leaving the country".

    LOGOS: "Price rises bring poverty....Steep price hikes in series of staple goods".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Changes without any 'allowances' in social security system".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Government is downgrading the children's' education".

    TA NEA: "Severe measures on salaries and .... deductions in compensation for layoffs in the private sector".

    TO VIMA: "Outcry over the kickbacks - Mantelis charged with money laundering".

    VRADYNI: "Antonis Samaras: Institutional shielding against corruption - Severe attack on the government'.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [33] European Court ruling in property case 'unjust', says government

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The government has described as "unjust" a European Court of Human Rights ruling, relating to property issues in Turkish occupied Cyprus, saying it would study the decision.

    "The Court ruling in the individual cases against Turkey is an adverse development. We consider this decision unjust," Acting Government Spokesman Titos Christofides said here Friday, commenting on the decision.

    The Court ruled that there was no violation of the right to respect for the home and the right regarding the prohibition of discrimination in the case of Cypriots Tasos Asproftas and Marianna Petrakidou.

    The Government, the spokesman said, in collaboration with the competent departments and the Law Office of the Republic will study in detail and in depth the decision.

    Mass applications to the Court run the risk of adverse decisions, he added.

    The two Cypriots had applied to the ECHR seeking to have a decision by the Turkish authorities not to allow them to visit and stay in their homes in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus declared illegal.

    The two applicants, who were born in 1963 and live in Nicosia, were arrested by the Turkish police on 19 July 1989, during an anti occupation rally in Nicosia.

    In their application to the ECHR, they had claimed to have suffered ill-treatment both during the demonstration and their subsequent arrest and that in their case, there had been a violation of rights to freedom of assembly, freedom and security as well as the right of having access to and using their property.

    The Court unanimously judged that in case of Asprofta-Petrakidou, their complaints are unfounded and it did not condemn Turkey of violating the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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