|Monday, 22 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-06-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 9 June 2010 Issue No: 3512
 Athens satisfied with Eurogroup, Ecofin resultsLUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA)
Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over what he called an "extremely significant agreement" reached by the Eurogroup over the final details of a European support mechanism.
Speaking to reporters here after an ECOFIN meeting, the Greek Minister said that with this agreement Eurozone was sending a message to markets that it would defend the stability of the single currency and stability in the Euro area.
Papaconstantinou said the agreement for a European support mechanism offered Eurozone countries access to funding on the same terms and preconditions as Greece, although he stressed that several countries, and IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, criticised the delay in providing lower-interest loans to Greece.
The ECOFIN meeting agreed that efforts by EU member-states should not focus on reducing fiscal deficit but on cutting public debt levels as well, while Greece and other EU states stressed that examination of the public debt should also include examination of the private debt, which in some countries is excessive.
The EU finance ministers also discussed the imposition of automatic sanctions on countries breaching EU Stability rules.
Specifically, Greece agreed with the imposition of tougher financial and political sanctions, although the Greek minister - in his intervention - stressed that sanctions should not be in the form of punishment, but more of a preventative and correctional nature.
Additionally, several countries - including Greece - announced the implementation of "fiscal responsibility plans", integrating into national law regulations characterising as illegal all fiscal excessive policies. Papaconstantinou said the Greek government will introduce such legislation this month.
The minister expressed his satisfaction over positive comments made by European authorities over the government's three-year economic restructuring program and expressed his confidence that Greece would achieve its fiscal goals.
Papaconstantinou said that ECB president Jean Claude Trichet, EU Commissioner Olli Rehn and IMF head Strauss Kahn underlined the satisfactory implementation of a common three-year program for the Greek economy and stressed that both the country's state budget and a structural changes plan were executed as scheduled.
Papaconstantinou said the country's fiscal deficit was down more than 40 pct in the first five months of 2010, while budget revenues were up 8.0 pct in the same period.
"Greece has taken much more measures to achieve its target and even with a slightly deviation of revenues - because of the recession - we are fully confident of achieving targets," Papaconstantinou said.
Finally, he adamantly denied recent rumours over Greece leaving the Eurozone.
"Greece has an extremely difficult and ambitious program, with Greek citizens asked to make great sacrifices. But this programme will change the country ensuring it 110 billion euros and enabling it not to be vulnerable to international markets."
 Gov't on Eurogroup decisionsGovernment spokesman George Petalotis referred on Tuesday to decisions reached at Monday's Eurogroup meeting and to the latest details concerning the European support mechanism.
"The existence of an EU protection shield is obvious and concerns not just Greece but any other country of the Eurozone and the EU that will have to resort to it," Petalotis said, adding that "this is a happy occasion amidst the misfortune and the dire situation our country is experiencing."
"We've backed the creation of a purely European mechanism but this was not made possible," Petalotis said, adding that the IMF participates in the European support mechanism together with the European Commission and the ECB and therefore, it sets its terms as a single mechanism.
"This is the situation we have to face and it is comforting that the European support mechanism exists," he pointed out.
 Greece is safe, PM Papandreou stressesPrime Minister George Papandreou, addressing the intra-institutional body that convened under his chairmanship on Tuesday, stressed that "Greece is safe. Without the mechanism we would still be at the mrcy of rumours and statements today. We are saving Greece with our decisions and in parallel we are rebuilding Greece."
He added that "because I saw that terror talk is continuing by many of the mass media I want to state categorically that we are within the course of this programme."
The prime minister further said that "there are small and natural deviations - there will always be - which we are trying to cover, but we are and we shall ultimately be consistent with our commitments."
Papandreou reiterated that the government's work is not limited only to certain measures, but to great changes as well, that have been delayed in the country for decades and stressed that this period "also coincides with the changes that we are doing".
"And it is clear that the changes we are promoting in the economy and the state have a determining importance in our course towards the November elections," he added.
Papandreou went on to say that "the first period of our governance which in essence will close at the end of the year has no similarity with other political periods since our government came to power with an explicit mandate for breaking away and a universal change (and at the same time) we found ourselves in the position of having to face the biggest crisis in recent Greek history, a crisis that is economic, moral and of institutions, the size of which simply confirmed and made even more imperative the need for breaking away from the past, which was also the basic content of our pre-election speech."
The prime minister mentioned that the government has taken considerable steps to turn into practice the country's radical change with the restoration of Greece's reliability, with the promotion of deep changes in economic management and the tax system, with the restoration of meritocracy and lawfulness in the state, with the breaking of untransparency and bureau-cracy and with the radical change of the production model in the direction of viable and "green" growth.
Papandreou also said that the government "is proving on a daily basis that it has the boldness and the will to radically change the political system and to consolidate rules of transparency and accountability."
 PM Papandreou visits 'Poseidonia 2010' maritime exhibitionPrime Minister George Papandreou visited the international maritime exhibition "Poseidonia 2010" on Tuesday afternoon and denied, in statements, "malicious scenarios that are circulating on the Greek economy."
Papandreou reassured that "we are on a safe path" and "we are achieving our monetary goals in a steadfast way, with the toil and sacrifices of the Greek people themselves."
In parallel, he guaranteed that "if we are not carried away by these continuing rumours, and we must not be carried away by these continuing rumours that are crculating internationally, one thing is certain, that Greece will emerge from this crisis much more stronger. A Greece of social justice, law, growth, that will bring new jobs and, of course, a viable economy."
The prime minister further said that "for the first time in the country we have a government that is making the big reforms and changes that are necessary for Greece, for the nation with such a determined, steadfast and safe step."
Papandreou arrived at 19:15 accompanied by deputy minister to the prime minister and government spokesman George Petalotis and toured the exhibition beginning from the sector of national pavilions.
 Gov't denies default, return to drachma, rumoursThe government on Tuesday denied persistent rumours of Greece defaulting on its debt and returning to the drachma currency, which was the national currency before it joined the eurozone.
"It is clear that this disaster-mongering doesn't help anyone. It is clear that we, as government, will not succumb to it. The only thing created by the vague rumours, the ungrounded speculation, even by analysts, and all that is being disseminated and the environment it creates is insecurity in the Greek citizen in the market," government spokesman George Petalotis said.
"We will not tolerate it," he added, replying to a relevant question during a regular press briefing.
Petalotis urged the Greek citizens to have confidence in what is being done, adding that "already, the maturity displayed by the society itself gives the only reply to all those who disaster-monger systematically".
The spokesman said that with the program drafted by the government and the mechanisms established by Europe "we can emerge from this tunnel", and stressed that it is crystal-clear that "because we are materialising this program, there is no possibility of any of the rumours circulating having any validity".
Asked if the government was mulling action to counter the rumours, Petalotis noted that "the government maintains that the disaster-mongering does not daunt us...apart from not helping anyone, it creates issues that have nothing to do with the reality".
To another question, Petalotis referred to the recent "reassuring" statement by European Commissioner Olli Rehn's spokesperson that there is no problem in the implementation of the streamlining program of the Greek economy, even if divergences arise.
He further noted that the rate of reduction of the deficit was accelerated and, with respect to state revenues, specific actions were being taken that will bear fruit, attributing any divergences that may arise to the fact that specific collections of revenues have not been taken into account yet.
"We are not calling for new measures. There is no such thought. Nor has anyone asked for them," the spokesman stressed.
Petalotis noted that the government has set out its targets, which are listed in detail in the Memorandum signed with the EU-IMF, adding that the procedures have been set in motion for passing the relevant legislation by the end of the month.
"We are pressing ahead, and are not diverging from that which we ourselves have decided," he said, adding that the government has a program which has been approved by the EU, and was acting on that basis.
 Bankers flatly dismiss euro exit speculationMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Tuesday met with the board of the Hellenic Bank Association for talks on current developments in the banking sector and the country's economy.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Vassilis Rapanos, the president of the Association, categorically denied speculation regarding any debt rescheduling or the likelihood of Greece exiting the Eurozone.
"These rumors are completely unjustified, people should not pay any attention," Rapanos said, while he added that there was no panicking amongst citizens. The Greek banker said questions were raised over these reports and he reassured local depositors.
Rapanos said the Association also assured the ND president over the stamina of the domestic banking system, while Nikos Nanopoulos, vice-president of the Association, said a condition for a recovery of the economy and its exit from the unprecedented debt crisis was to restore confidence in the economy and its prospects, while he stressed that banks would operate positively to help the economy.
ND Deputy and former minister Costis Hatzidakis told reporters that Greece was doomed to achieve its goals and stressed that everyone should agree on this.
"We don't need misery, but efforts towards development to begin," he said. Hatzidakis noted that the New Democracy party has recommended specific proposals to help towards this direction and urged the government to move forward with actions.
 MPs want Siemens pressured to cooperate in bribery caseThe Parliamentary examination committee investigating the Siemens bribery scandal on Tuesday decided unanimously to write a letter to the prime minister and request that he lodge a demarche with Germany over the case. The MPs say the German government should be asked to instruct the electronics giant Siemens to fully cooperate with the investigation by providing evidence of the bribery in Greece, while the issue must also be raised with EU bodies.
During Tuesday's session, the committee had a chance to examine two files confiscated by Greek authorities from the desk of a secretary working for the former Siemens executive considered a main suspect in the case, Mihalis Christoforakos. In these were listed the names of various individuals that had received domestic appliances and other electronic goods from Siemens or companies that worked with Siemens.
It also heard testimony from the former deputy public order minister under New Democracy, Panagiotis Hinofotis, and from former interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos concerning the problems arising with the security system C4I provided by Siemens, which they had refused to accept delivery of due to substantial deficiencies that affected the proper working of the system.
The seized files on those accepting appliances and electronic goods included several familiar names, though it was not clear in all cases whether the goods were a gift from Siemens or finally paid for by the recipient. The first or 'blue' file contained a summary list showing that either former minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos or his daughter Areti, as well as aides of the former minister, have received appliances and equipment worth 1.34 million drachmas between 1998-2001 and an additional 13,993 euros until 2004.
Also in the blue file were records of a 1997 invoice for 283,000 drachmas in the name of Triantafyllia Daskalaki, a relative of the then General Bank president Giorgos Daskalakis, and a Siemens donation to PASOK's youth group in 2003 amounting to 15,000 euros.
The second or 'red' file contained only invoices related to an order made by ND MP Kyriakos Mitsotakis - who was exposed some months ago for having received 160,000 euros worth of equipment for his two campaign offices in the 2007 elections but later asserted that he had paid for them - and one for 6,252 euros to an aide of former ND minister Dora Bakoyannis.
The evidence in the files was dismissed as "small change" by many of the MPs present, however, who hinted that it was designed to divert attention from the real bribes.
"Company gifts of 30 and 40 euros are pitiful when the real question is to find what happened to kickbacks of hundreds of millions linked to the signature of the contracts for OTE, OSE and C4I," said ND MP Stavros Kalafatis.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party MP Kostas Aivaliotis withdrew from the committee, saying as he departed that the evidence sent on the gifts by Siemens did not lead to uncovering the real events. "The whole thing leads to a cover-up and LAOS is departing unless there is an intention for full revelation in the investigation of the Siemens scandal," he said.
 Transport minister meets with Cypriot counterpartTransport, Infrastructure and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas met on Tuesday with visiting Cypriot Communications and Works Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoulis to discuss air transportation and communications issues.
A special reference was made to Cyprus' BLUE MED chairmanship and the Cypriot EU Presidency in the second half of 2012.
They also discussed issues concerning the European satellite system GALILEO, the implementation of BB-Med (an EU broadband satellite network for the Mediterranean) and the updating of the satellite cooperation memorandum.
Meanwhile, it was agreed that the Greek Civil Aviation Authority will continue to train Cypriot Department of Civil Aviation personnel and police on air transportation security based on a cooperation memorandum currently in effect.
 Chryssohoidis to visit BulgariaSOFIA (ANA-MPA / B. Borissov)
Greece's Citizen Protection Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis will be in Sofia on Wednesday for a one-day visit during which he will have separate meetings with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Interior Minister Cvetan Cvetanov.
The meeting with the Bulgarian interior minister will focus on issues of mutual interest, followed by the signing of a bilateral cross-border cooperation agreement.
 Alt. FM receives Arab ambassadorsThe Ambassadors of Arab countries accredited in Athens met on Tuesday with Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas at the foreign ministry, with talks focusing on the role that Greece can play in efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Mediterranean region.
Droutsas convened the meeting with the ambassadors within the framework of their regular contacts and to listen to views of the Arab world, ahead of a discussion at the general and foreign affairs council in Luxembourg on Monday.
It was further revealed that Droutsas will also receive the Israeli ambassador to Athens at the foreign ministry in the coming days.
The Greek side stressed the need to safeguard the Mideast Peace Process, with respect for the rules of international law, while a joint effort between Greece and Cyprus is underway to increase the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
 Rift widens within leftist partyAn ideological rift within the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party widened after Tuesday's meeting between the party's leadership, under Alexis Tsipras, and cadres of the so-called "renewalist wing".
According to reports, statements issued after the meeting made it clear that the two sides will follow separate ways. On the one hand, party leadership expressed opposition to the creation of a new political party by the "renewalist left" movement while, on their part, the "renewalists" blamed Tsipras for recent developments and hinted at the announcement of a new political party.
A Synaspismos statement said the meeting was held following an initiative by its and that the "renewalists" were urged not to leave the party.
"Tendencies or thoughts of secession hurt the party's credibility and undermine the content of our proposals aimed at leading the country out of the crisis," the SYN statement underlined.
"Renewalists" stressed that Alexis Tsipras and Synaspismos leadership are to blame for the rift within the party, adding that "we had requested not to hold the party congress without having won the necessary consensus. We had called on the party leadership to adopt a prudent alternative exodus from the crisis. They showed indifference and led the situation to extremes."
"As far as we are concern, the steps will be made democratically with the participation of the people of the left. We will undertake all initiatives necessary to reorganise the renewalist left," the statement concluded.
 Two Turkish warplanes fly over Greek frigateAccording to the National Defence General Staff, two Turkish F4 warplanes flew over the frigate "Salamis" at an altitude of 150 metres early in the afternoon in violation of international rules and creating dangers for the security of flights, since the frigate possesses a helciopter. The frigate was sailing 14 nautical miles south of the island of Chios, participating in the Navy's exercise codenamed "Kataighis."
The formation of Turkish aircraft entered the Athens FIR without submitting flight plans at 16:15 south of Lesvos and left at 16:38 between Chios and Samos. The seven Turkish aircraft were recognised and intercepted by corresponding Greek fighter planes.
 Damanaki insists on Mediterranean Reguation for fisheriesBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Spinthourakis)
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki on Tuesday stressed her determination to strictly implement the 'Mediterranean Regulation' for the fisheries of the Mediterranean Sea during statements she made in Brussels.
The Mediterranean Regulation went into force as of June 1 but is still strongly contested by Mediterranean fishermen, including those of Greece, while several member-states have failed to take the measures necessary to ensure its full implementation.
Damanaki expressed "disappointment" at this failure and called on member-states to take urgent measures, pointing out that the regulation had been based on scientific evidence that 54 percent of Mediterranean fishing reserves were now being overfished.
"Member States have had over three years to get ready and comply with the rules. These are the rules that Member States unanimously agreed to through a compromise in 2006, which had amended the more ambitious Commission proposal. It is difficult to accept that Member States are not willing or able today to implement even the 2006 compromise. I am truly disappointed. ", she added.
Furthermore, Commissioner Damanaki said :"The state of several fish stocks in the Mediterranean is alarming, and fishermen are catching less every year. We need to reverse the worrying trend of unsustainable fishing practices and impoverishment of marine resources and we need to do it now. But for this to happen, everybody must take their responsibilities and abide by the agreed rules.'
On Tuesday, Damanaki will have a meeting in Brussels with Turkey's European Affairs Minister and the head of EU-Turkey accession negotiations Egemen Bagis.
 Kouvelis, Joint Greek-Russian Interministerial CommitteeSOCHI, Russia (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos)
The joint presidents of the Joint Interministerial Committee between Greece and Russia, that concluded its two-day work in Moscow and Sochi, decided to hold a conference in Athens on the promotion of the participation of Greek businesses in the Olympic projects of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
According to Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis, the aim "is for us to give the message to Greek businessmen that they can become involved in this effort."
It was ascertained during Kouvelis's discussions with the Committee's Russian joint president, Transport Minister Igor Levitin that "great possibilities exist for strengthening cooperation, both for the preparation and implementation of the Olympic projects, and the continuation and utilisation of the entire potential that will be created for the Olympic Games of Sochi."
Levitin said that "we are pleased for the cooperation with our Greek colleagues and the possibility for us to receive good advice so that, if we implement them in time, for us to have successful Olympic Games such as those of Athens."
The Greek political and business delegation was given a guided tour on Tuesday of olympic projects under construction and had the oppportunity of exchanging views and meeting with agencies of the city, the Organising Committee of the Games and Russian investors.
Kouvelis met with International Olympic Committee president Dr. Jacques Rogge, who is currently in Sochi, as well as with the president of the organising Committee Dmitri Chernisengo.
 Emporiki Bank in strong position to support Greek economy, CEO saysThe management of Emporiki Bank, a subsidiary of Credit Agricole, on Tuesday reiterated that the French multinational will remain in Greece and support the Greek economy, households and enterprises during the current adverse and unstable economic environment.
Alain Strub, vice-president of the board and chief executive in Emporiki Bank, speaking to reporters during a press conference, said the bank was in a position to offer liquidity to its customers along with a safe and credible banking environment, while actively supporting the Greek economy.
Strub said Emporiki Bank was not interested in mergers and takeovers of other banks in Greece and was proceeding with autonomous growth based on its business plan.
He noted, however, that the bank would be present in privatisations of other sectors of the economy, such as airports, where Credit Agricole -- France's largest financial institution -- has international experience.
The head of Emporiki Bank said there was no issue of capital or saving deposits exiting the bank towards its parent bank in France. Additionally, Strub said Emporiki Bank was offering capital to households and enterprises with low-risk cost loans.
"Through Credit Agricole we have access to credible international markets and we are in a position to implement our strategic decision to support Greek households and enterprises," Strub said.
He added that Emporiki Bank, being a member of one of the largest banking groups in Europe, can guarantee security to its customers during a period of intense uncertainty.
A successful equity capital increase plan, raising around 1.0 billion euros, ensured liquidity and capital adequacy for the bank, allowing it not to use the state support program for Greek banks.
Finally, Strub said Emporiki Bank was hiring executives with expertise and new professionals, while it has approved an annual budget of 2.0 million euros for training programmes.
 88-mln-euro credits earmarked for Peloponnese highwayThe government on Tuesday signed a ministerial decision approving a credit facility worth 88.19 million euros - in the framework of this year's public investments programme - for the construction, maintenance and operation of a new national road network from Corinth to Tripolis and Kalamata, budgeted at 406.32 million euros.
Under the same decision, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas revised downwards the cost of building a utilities network along the national road from 360 million euros to 233.12 million euros (the state's contribution is also cut from 176.57 million euros to 72.53 million euros).
 Tour operators reaffirm flight schedule to Greece this yearLarge tour operators reaffirmed their flight occupancy rates to Greece in the coming months, without cutting their scheduled number of flights and aircraft.
Representatives from TUI and Thomas Cook reassured Culture and Tourism Deputy Minister George Nikitiadis, during meetings in Rhodes and Athens, that they would continue normal operations to Greece and expressed their optimism over a rapid recovery of tourism in Greece.
The Greek minister met with TUI's executives, Will Waggott and Johan Lundgren in Rhodes and Thomas Cook's top executive Peter Constantis in Athens and discussed ways to further expand cooperation with the two tour operators.
Nikitiadis plans a series of similar meetings with other companies in the tourism and travel industry.
 May CPI up 5.4pctGreece's Consumer Price Index rose by 5.4 percent in May 2010 against the same month last year, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT.).
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in May 2010, as compared to May 2009, increased by 5.4%. A year earlier, the annual rate of change of the CPI was 0.5%. The CPI in May 2010, as compared to April 2010, increased by 0.8%. A year earlier, the monthly rate of change of the CPI was 0.2%.
In the twelve-month period June 09 - May 10 the average rate of change of the CPI was 2.3%. A year earlier, the corresponding rate of change of the CPI was 2.8%.
Also, the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in May 2010, as compared to May 2009, increased by 5.3%. A year earlier, the annual rate of change of the HICP was 0.7%. The HICP in May 2010, as compared to April 2010, increased by 0.8%. A year earlier, the monthly rate of change of the HICP was 0.2%.
In the twelve month period June 09 - May 10 the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 2.3%. A year earlier, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 3.0%.
 Takeover at State General Accounts OfficeMembers of the Federation of Finance Ministry employees (OSYO) have staged a take-over of the State General Accounts Office in downtown Athens since dawn on Tuesday, according to an announcement by the civil servants' umbrella federation ADEDY.
 Stocks end slightly higherStocks ended slightly higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, recovering from a sharp drop to 12-year lows in the previous session. The composite index of the market rose 0.35 pct to end at 1,408.84 points, with turnover at 127.536 million euros.
The FTSE 20 index rose 0.34 pct, the FTSE 40 index fell 1.30 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.24 pct down. Broadly, the Commerce (3.13 pct) and Technology (3.25 pct) suffered losses, while Utilities (5.17 pct) and Travel (3.98 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 133 to 50 with a nother 53 issues unchanged. Altec (10 pct), Newsphone (9.76 pct) and Q&R (9.09 pct) were top gainers, while Technical Publications (20 pct), Tzirakian (17.95 pct) and Unibios (16.67 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.53%
Personal & Household: -0.36%
Raw Materials: +0.99%
Travel & Leisure: +3.98%
Food & Beverages: -0.34%
Financial Services: +1.53%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and Coca Cola.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.16
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.18
HBC Coca Cola: 16.75
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.60
National Bank of Greece: 9.16
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.62
Bank of Piraeus: 3.71
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 38 million euros on Tuesday, of which 23 million were buy orders and the remaining 15 million euros were sell orders. The three-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 11 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 565 basis points from 559 bps on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 8.15 pct and the German Bund 2.50 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month rate was 1.26 pct, the six-month rate 0.97 pct, the three-month 0.70 pct and the one-month rate 0.43 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -2.16 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising slightly to 73.217 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 15,497 contracts worth 51.147 million euros, with 34,387 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 42,153 contracts worth 22.070 million euros, with investment interest focusing on GEK's contracts (11,051), followed by Eurobank (943), MIG (3,689), OTE (10,883), OPAP (1,005), Piraeus Bank (1,444), National Bank (5,534), Alpha Bank (2,582), Cyprus Bank (1,302) and Mytilineos (600).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.203
Pound sterling 0.834
Danish kroner 7.497
Swedish kroner 9.737
Japanese yen 110.19
Swiss franc 1.390
Norwegian kroner 8.045
Canadian dollar 1.267
Australian dollar 1.469
 Death of notable actor, director, Andreas VoutsinasGreek actor and director of international repute, Andreas Voutsinas, died on Tuesday morning in an Athens hospital at the age of 77, after a long career that included starring roles in three Mel Brooks films.
Born on August 22, 1932, Voutsinas passed away in Athens' Red Cross Hospital where he had underwent surgery on his leg following an accident, although his health had been on the decline since a severe stroke several years earlier.
The body will be cremated, in accordance with the desire of the deceased.
Voutsinas studied acting and costume design at the Old Vic and the W. Douglas School of Dramatic Art and Song, and at the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute, while he became a member of the Actors Studios in 1957.
He directed more than 130 productions of the classical and contemporary repertory in London, Canada, New York and Paris, as well as Greece, including Broadway, the Comedie Francaise and the Peter Brookes Theater, and has worked with internationally-acclaimed actors such as Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Warren Beatty, Fanny Ardant, Irene Papas and others.
In Greece, he collaborated as director and stage designer with the prestigious Athens and Epidaurus Festival, the State Theater of Northern Greece, the National Theater, the Experimental School of Art.
As an actor, he appeared in three Mel Brooks films: The Producers (1968), The Twelve Chairs (1970) and History of the World, Part 1 (1981), becoming the original Carmen Ghia, the waspish character in The Producers, which he played in the 1968 film, the 2001 Broadway musical production and the 2005 musical film. Voutsinas was recommended for the role to Mel Brooks by Anne Bancroft, a fellow performer at the Actors Studio.
He also appeared in several films of European directors such as Jules Dassin, Louis Besson, Roger Vadim, Louis Malle and Federico Fellini, and in the Emmy Award-winning American tv courtroom drama The Defenders.
Voutsinas further ran an acting workshop, the Theatre Des Cinquante in Paris, France, and received two top honors from the French government.
He is survived by his son Mario.
 Culture ministry on Andreas VoutsinasThe Culture Ministry on Tuesday expressed, in an announcement, sadness over the loss of actor and director Andreas Voutsinas, stressing that "his influence was considerable, his personality intense, love and enthusiasm for the theatre and the cinema determined his life."
"Andreas Voutsinas was, for the international stage, a source of endless inspiration, artistic boldness and innovation," the announcement said.
 Event on Kazantzakis in PeruA major event on the work of world-renowned author Nikos Kazantzakis was held for the first time in Lima, Peru hosted by the International Society of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis, the Greek embassy and Alliance Francaise (AF).
Eighty Peruvian intellectuals attended the event confirming with their presence Kazantzakis' great popularity in Latin America.
Keynote speaker was ambassador of Hellenism and society president George Stassinakis who focused on Kazantzakis' work and his timeless thought.
The newly established local branch of the International Society of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis will undertake to host a similar event next year.
 Changes to Athens bus routes from June 14A number of changes to Athens public transport bus routes effective from June 14 were announced on Tuesday, after a meeting at the Athens Urban Transport Organisation (OASA) chaired by Deputy Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Nikos Sifounakis.
The changes include the full or partial abolition of less-used bus lines and mergers between whose routes largely overlap, with extra buses assigned to busier routes and those serving metro stations.
The bus lines abolished include the 103 'Kalamaki-Akadimia', 108 'Ano Kalamaki - Akadimia' and 111 'Agios Dimitrios-Akadimia', with extra buses assigned to the routes 141 'Kalamaki-Dafni Station', 109 'Ano Kalamakis - Ag. Dimitrios Station' and 112 'Ag. Dimitrios - Dafni Station'.
There will be a merger between the 746 'Ano Liosia-ODDY' and the 711 'Acharnai-Zofria' line, while OASA is scrapping the 400 tourist tour bus, the X92 'Kifisia-Airport' bus, the 245 'Polytechnio - N. Kosmos' bus, the 525 'Kifissia Station-Kato Kifissia Circular' and the 340 'Glyfada-Pallini' bus.
Also abolished is the section of the A7 'Kaniggos-Nea Erithrea' bus route from Platanos in Kifissia and Nea Erithrea. The changes concerning the 746, 711, 525 and A7 will only go into effect after June 30.
By abolishing the specific bus routes, OASA frees 19 buses and 57 drivers that can cover lines where there is greater demand.
At a later stage and until the end of 2010, additional measures will be taken that will free up to 25 buses and 75 drivers, while further changes are programmed in 2011 when the new metro stations are opened.
Sifounakis explained that the emphasis will be on an integrated approach to the urban transport network as a coordinated system, where bus lines complement rail transport such as the metro and trains so as to improve efficiency and save funds.
 Authorities uncover illegal warehouse of counterfeit items in central AthensCity of Athens inspectors on Tuesday discovered yet another underground warehouse where large amounts of items destined for illegal street trading were stored. The warehouse was discovered during a cleanup and decontamination operation in a dilapidated building on Sapfous street in central Athens.
According to reports, confiscated items included numerous counterfeit brand name clothing items, footwear and wrist watches, bootleg DVDs, light bulbs and even non-certified children's toys.
Additionally, large amounts of fruit and vegetables stored in unsuitable conditions were discovered, presumably to be hawked by illegal street vendors on Athens' intersections, an increasingly ubiquitous sight in the Greek capital over the past few years.
The operation was conducted in the presence of the public prosecutor's office and involved Hellenic Police, the Athens municipal police, the prefecture's sanitation department and the Special Investigation Service (formerly SDOE).
Eight municipal vans were required to transport the goods.
 Former PAOK club president caught in LibyaGreek authorities on Tuesday announced the arrest of former PAOK soccer club president George Batatoudis in Libya, saying that procedures had begun for his extradition to Greece. Batatoudis was arrested based on an international warrant issued by Greece when he visited consular authorities in Libya to renew his passport.
There are currently five outstanding convictions issued by Greek courts against him, four relating to outstanding debts to the Greek state and one for embezzling some 7.3 million euros from PAOK through the illegal sale of broadcast rights to the team's games, for which there is an outstanding sentence of 10 years imprisonment passed by the Thessaloniki Criminal Appeals Court in March last year.
The charges against him were that Batatoudis sold the exclusive broadcast rights to PAOK games for a period of five years to a company actually owned by himself, for less than half what they were really worth. He then transferred them to a series of companies that he controlled, before finally selling them on the free market without the intervention of PAOK shareholders.
 Police electronic crimes squad averted 17 suicides by minors since beginning of yearThe police electronic crimes squad averted 17 suicides by minors under 17 years of age since the beginning of the year, the General Police Directorate (GADA) said on Tuesday.
In an announcement, GADA said that the minors had made known their intentions on internet chat rooms and other websites, for psychological reasons mainly due to unemployment and problems in inter-personal relations.
The police spotted the minors during preventive investigations on the internet, and found their places of residences through analysis of their digital traces, thus informing their families as well as psychologists to provide psychological support.
The announcement said that one of the minors was suffering from a severe psychological breakdown when located and was taken to a psychiatric hospital for medical treatment, while in another instance the minor abandoned his home and was found shortly afterwards by police, whom he told that he was seeking a painless and fool-proof way to commit suicide.
 Body of illegal migrant found on Evros riverbankThe body of an unidentified man was washed ashore on the banks of Evros River, extreme northeast Greece, in the region of Pythio.
According to police, the victim is believed to be part of a group of illegal migrants who attempted to cross into Greece from neighbouring Turkey but drowned when their boat capsized on May 26.
The bodies of two Somalis, a man and a woman, and a Tunisian man, aged between 20 and 25, have already been recovered by local authorities.
The number of migrants attempting to cross Evros River and enter Greece illegally is expected to increase in the coming months due to receding waters.
 Film on Crete's biodiversity greets visitors at "Daskalogiannis" In'l AirportVisitors of the southern Aegean island of Crete arriving at "Daskalogiannis" International Airport in Chania can get a taste of the local flora and fauna by watching a 15-minute long film screened in the airport's passenger waiting area.
The film promotes the biodiversity of Crete and it is an initiative of the Chania Prefecture and the National Park of Samaria.
 Cloudy on WednesdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 12C and 31C. Cloudy with possible rain in Athens, with variable 2-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 17C to 29C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 29C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe economic crisis and speculations of Greek bankruptcy, the drop in the euro parity to the dollar, the plunge on the Athens Stock Exchange , ruling PASOK secretary Sokratis Xynidis' implication in the Vatopedi monastery scandal and the turmoil in the Synaspismos party, mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Xynidis scandal shocks PASOK ".
APOGEVMATINI: "PASOK prepares early general elections' scenery".
AVGHI: "To the 'morning after' with determination".
AVRIANI: "Operation 'annihilation' of PASOK former government Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and other historical PASOK members as well as current government ministers".
ELEFTHEROS: "The new electoral law will be Greek democracy's gravestone".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The newspaper reveals another document on Vatopedi with Xynidis' signature".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "PASOK historical member Akis Tsohatzopoulos' time runs out".
ESTIA: "Europe heading to an impasse".
ETHNOS: "Operation 'sweep' for civil servants".
IMERISSIA: "5.5 percent plunge in stocks on Athens Stock Exchange - 24.92 percent losses since May 1".
KATHIMERINI: "IMF becomes eurozone's partner".
LOGOS: "If you are a civil servant you must declare it from 12-23 July".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Euro's slump worries Eurogroup".
NIKI: "Economic and political bombs sow 'bankruptcy'.
RIZOSPASTIS: "There is hope for the people with escalation of the struggle against the political authority".
TA NEA: "SOS for the retirement superannuation in the public sector - Civil servants' fund at risk of collapse".
TO VIMA: "Suspicious rumors strike blow against the economy - Athens Stock Exchange in free dive".
VRADYNI: "Markets sends out SOS - Professionals and owners of small enterprises send letter of agony to Prime Minister George Papandreou".
 Spokesman: Basis of Cyprus solution, clear to usNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has underlined that the basis on which the Cyprus problem will be solved is clear for the Greek Cypriot side, adding that this basis includes one state with one and single sovereignty, one citizenship, one international personality, a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality.
In statements after the Informal Council of Leaders Meeting Tuesday called by President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, the spokesman described the meeting as constructive, saying that President Christofias briefed the leaders on the recent developments on the Cyprus issue and the leaders submitted their views.
The Informal Council of Leaders, comprising political party leaders, convened in view of the adoption of a Security Council resolution on the renewal of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
Meanwhile, in a short statement after the meeting, President Christofias said he was pleased with the meeting and referred to the Government Spokesman's statements.
Replying to questions, the spokesman said that the Greek Cypriot side remains consistent on the goal for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, one state, one sovereignty, one citizenship and international personality, "which is the basis of our negotiations and we ask the other side to act so as well".
Stressing the importance of having a clear basis of the Cyprus negotiations, he said that the Greek Cypriot side proceeds to the negotiations in a constructive manner and acts within the agreed basis.
It is very important to have a basis of the negotiations so that each side can be assessed as to whether it adheres to this basis, he went on to add.
Replying to questions, he said that no new meeting between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus has been determined yet, adding that Wednesday's meeting between the top aides of the two leaders aims to prepare the next meeting.
As regards Cyprus' position on an International Conference on the Cyprus issue, Stephanou reiterated that President Christofias' and the Greek Cypriot side's view on the issue is that the International Conference must take place when time is ripe, explaining that such a Conference will have to deal with the international aspects of the Cyprus issue, in the UN framework and with the participation of the EU, the Republic of Cyprus and the involved parties.
President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, who succeeded Mehmet Ali Talat in April as the head of the Turkish Cypriot community, have met once since Eroglu became the leader of the Turkish Cypriots. Last week's scheduled meeting between the two was postponed, following remarks by Eroglu that questioned his adherence to the basis of the ongoing UN-led talks.
The top aides to the two leaders have met since to discuss developments. Talks are set to continue between the two leaders.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
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