|Wednesday, 15 August 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-06-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 12 June 2010 Issue No: 3515
 PM addresses IIF conference in ViennaVIENNA (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)
Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing a dinner organised here by the Institute of International Finance (IIF) on Friday evening, pondered that Greece might lead a wider European reforms agenda.
"Who knows, maybe Greece will lead a wider European reforms agenda, being the first (to enter them due to the crisis) and being the first to exit (from the crisis)," he said.
Papandreou stressed that Greece is trying to recover its economy and underlined that "we are requesting the necessary respect and calm to enable us to do our work under better conditions so that our citizens will not be terrorised every day with rumours about the loss of their money, on the return to the drachma and on the exit from the eurozone."
The prime minister went on to say that "this is nonsense and at the same time they are dangerous (practices) since they undermine our efforts to promote the changes in our country," pointing out that the government took measures, it is going ahead with changes and with the support mechanism it is exercising a policy so that "we will avoid bankruptcy and rule out an exit from the eurozone."
Papandreou further said that theories about bankruptcy and an exit from the eurozone show a considerable lack of historical perspective and understanding of the basic rules of European policy and economy.
"The challenge is common for all, our institutions are still weak for us to be able to use our great potential to tackle the speedy global changes," he added.
Papandreou stressed that he feels proud for all that his government has achieved over this period and that he sees the future with greater optimism.
He stressed that the first signs of a turn are visible and reiteraterd the government's aim of reducing the deficit below 3 percent in 2014 and decreasing the debt as of 2013 and noted that the deficit will drop in 2010 by 5.5 points from 13.6 percent of GDP to 8.1 percent.
"My goal is the complete reorientation of the Greek economy," he underlined.
Papandreou explained that "the past eight months were an ordeal for Greece and for Europe," adding that "for sure we could have reacted earlier, but if you said four months ago that Europe would create a support mechanism and Greece would enter the path of monetary stability, few would believe you."
The prime minister also said that "what is important is that Europe has reacted, we must work now for a permanent support fund, for a European Monetary Fund."
Earlier, Papandreou had a working luncheon with Austrian President Heinz Fischer. Papandreou is accompanied on his visit by Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, Minister of State Haris Pamboukis and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.
 Greek PM meets Austrian Chancellor in ViennaVIENNA (ANA-MPA - G. Milionis)
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had a meeting here on Friday with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, during a working visit to Austria. After the meeting, Papandreou said that Greece and Austria will undertaken coordinated action and joint initiatives for the regulation of the financial system and Europe's growth.
Papandreou briefed Faymann on the measures taken by Greece and stressed that his government was dedicated to restructure the Greek economy with social cohesion, social justice and growth.
Greece is recovery its credibility worldwide, he added.
Later on Friday, the Greek premier is due to be the main speaker at the Institute of International Finance (IIF) dinner taking place in Vienna. Papandreou and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban are the only heads of state attending this conference, which includes representatives of international financial institutions, banks and companies.
 ND leader comments on economy at party meetingMain opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Friday expressed concern that the economy might be driven into permanent recession and "a vicious circle" unless measures were taken immediately to avoid any further slow down in growth.
Samaras made the statement while addressing an ND party organ coordinating the various secretariats at ND headquarters in Rigillis Street, noting that ND was pointing out the right way in order for the country to recover and resist the crisis.
He urged "daily intervention" by party secretaries should "in the crisis, which is testing the social fabric and assailing our society's cohesion".
 Samaras meets with GSEBE, ESEE leadersMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras met consecutively on Friday with the presidiums of two of the country's employer organisations, the General Confederation of Professional Craftsmen and Merchants (GSEBE) and the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE).
Afterwards, he was due to chair a meeting of ND's inter-secretariat coordinating organ.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Samaras, GSEBE president Dimitris Assimakopoulos said that he pointed out a number of matters to the ND leader and also ways in which the government and political parties can help reverse the "destructive psychology" in businesses and consumers.
He warned that the combination of the deficits and declines in turnover and investments 'will lead us to chaos and to the edge of the precipice", stressing that reversal of the negative psychology is the starting point for solving the problems.
Speaking after his own meeting with Samaras, ESEE president Vassilis Korkidis said he presented proposals for a new string of updated "market-savvy, not theoretical" economic measures that would be effective, adding that "we must all work together in order to survive".
ND shadow deputy economy minister Christos Staikouras, who was also present at the meetings, said that there can be no recovery of the economy with businesses going bankrupt and unemployed citizens, adding that the government's mix of economic measures was essentially leading nowhere, was socially unfair, and financially inefficient and lacking because measures to boost the market are missing.
 FinMin, leftist leader clash over privatisationsThe issue of privatisations dominated heated debate in Parliament on Friday between Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) head Alexis Tsipras.
Responding to a tabled question by the leftist party leader, the finance minister stressed that the government's main goal is the proper utilisation of public property, ensuring that it will contribute to the reconstruction of the economy for the benefit of the people.
On his part, Tsipras pointed out that "privatisations and the sell-off of public assets is the biggest scandal that is being left untouched because of its timeless nature considering that it has a present and a future."
 Ministry talks with teachers fail to end exam markers' strikeDeputy Education Minister Yiannis Panaretos had a two-hour meeting on Friday with the high-school teachers union federation OLME, in a bid to persuade exam markers to end a strike that has delayed the issue of results in nationwide university entrance exams.
After the meeting, Panaretos issued assurances that the marking of exam papers and issue of results will not be significantly later than usual. In previous years, final results were announced by the end of June.
Concerning the exam markers economic demands, the minister said he had assured them that the money was available and efforts were being made for payment as soon as possible.
On their part, teachers said the ministry was "stringing them along" and that no solution had been found on the issue of payment during the meeting, while OLME president Dimitris Pepes said exam markers would continue to abstain from their work until Tuesday, at which time there will be a further assessment of the situation.
 UN statement on Nimetz contactsÍEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)
The UN secretary general' s special mediator on the "name issue" between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) Matthew Nimetz "is in very frequent contact with both parties," according to a statement issued by a UN secretariat spokesman here.
The statement underlined that "Mr. Nimetz will follow his regular practice and will announce the official meetings if and when will take place."
 Contact Group on handling of piracy off SomaliaNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Greece's permanent representative at the UN, ambassador Anastasis Mitsialis, addressing Thursday's meeting, at the UN's headquarters, of the Contact Group on handing piracy off Somalia that was chaired by Greece, stressed that "piracy on the shores of Somalia continues to constitute a serious threat for international shipping."
Mitsialis mentioned that "the phenomenon of piracy cannot be eliminated soon, as long as there are no indications of an improvement in the political situation within Somalia."
The Greek permanent representative also referred to the decrease in cases of piracy recorded in the Gulf of Aden during the first four months of 2010, but underlined the difficulties that have appeared as a result of the transfer of the pirates' operations to the western Indian Ocean.
 Felony charges filed in OTE procurement case against CEOThe Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) President and CEO Panagis Vourloumis and another OTE executive were referred to a three-judge appellate felony court on Friday on breach of faith charges stemming from alleged over-charging on contracts signed by the telephony utility between 2003 and 2007.
The "lion's share" of the contracts involve purchases from German multinational Siemens and the biggest telecoms equipment producer in Greece, Intracom.
The director of OTE's technical networks division, Giorgos Ioannidis, was also indicted, while seven members of OTE's board of directors have been cleared of wrong-doing.
In a later statement by the listed company, OTE expressed certainty that the charges will be proved groundless.
The statement underlined that "OTE executives, who made the relevant decision, acted solely for the benefit of the company, managing in the best possible way the situation they inherited."
 Latest ruling bans former minister from leaving countryThe council of appellate judges ruled on Friday in favor of a prosecutor's decision preventing former transport minister Anastasios Mantelis from leaving the country.
Mantelis, who has recently emerged as a "person of interest" in the Siemens kickbacks and bribery case, is accused of laundering income from illegal activity, based on the fact that he accepted a total of 450,000 DM from the German multinational in 1998 and 2000.
The ruling accepts the recommendation by Court of Appeals prosecutor Costas Hatzikos, who requested the ratification of the restrictive order judging that the crime for which Mantelis is accused, does not fall under the statute of limitations.
According to the Council's ruling, the defendant is rightfully prevented from leaving the country on the grounds that "the principal offenders in the case have displayed fleeing tendencies to avoid justice."
The ruling also underlined that Mantelis "demanded a sum from Siemens as a gift in Sept. 1997". However, the passive bribery charges will not stand in court because the crime falls under the statute of limitations considering that it was committed while the defendant was serving as a government minister. On the other hand, the illegal income in question was used to finance legal activities (tuition fees for his children) at a time when he was not a government minister and therefore, the crime of legalising income from illegal activity can be tried in court.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos begins five-day visit to FinlandISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos began a five-day visit to Finland on Friday and in the evening he was due to attend an Orthodox Seminar dinner.
On Saturday, the Patriarch will be making an address on the theme "The Church: The Hope of Creation" and inaugurating the Orthodox Cultural Centre in the city of Joensuu.
Vartholomeos will be attending the religious service on Sunday and will participate in a reception to be organised by the Orthodox community. On Monday he will also be attending a religious service at the Valamo monastery.
 Turkish Ed. Minister Cubukcu at Patriarchate-run schoolISTANBUL (ANA-MPA)
Turkish Education Minister Nimet Cubukcu on Friday participated at an event held here at the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Great School of the Nation (Megali Scholi tou Genous), the second time over the past few years that the ministry's top political leadership has been present at the minority school's events.
 FinMin: Economy program progressing wellFinance minister George Papaconstantinou said on Friday that the second and third tranches of the EU-IMF support mechanism loans for the Greek are ensured.
Speaking in parliament in reply to a current question tabled by Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis, the minister stressed that the sum of 110 billion euros, the first installment of which was received by Greece last month, is an inalienable part of the EU support for the Greek economy.
Papaconstantinou, who outlined the government's actions through the end of June, said that a European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) team is due to arrive in Athens on Monday for the first quarterly progress report on the jointly-agreed three-year economic restructuring program so as to enable disbursement of the second tranche of the loan in September.
The minister stressed that the program was progressing well both with respect to results and the timetable, citing a very substantial 39 percent reduction of the country's deficit in the first five months of the year. He explained that the reduction was the result of a more than 8 percent increase in budget revenues which, although just short of the target, was more than counterbalanced by a very substantial reduction in expenditures that exceeds 10 percent, which is much above the target.
"Consequently, we are reservedly optimistic that, continuing at this rate and knowing that nothing has been won until the end of the year, we will attain the targets that have been set out for a 40 percent reduction of the deficit from 13.6 percentage points of GDP to 8.1 percent. We are proceeding well also with respect to materialising the commitments we have undertaken," Papaconstantinou said.
The minister explained that, in this first evaluation (progress report), the Greek government mush show that it has materialised approximately 28 actions that it has committed to, adding that the overwhelming majority of those actions have either been taken or are already in progress, "so that there will be no risk for their completion before the end of June, which is the expiration date of the first evaluation".
In that context, he announced that the bills on fiscal responsibility, on the establishment of the Fiscal/Credit Stability Fund and an interior ministry bill requiring the publication on the internet of all expenditure decisions will be tabled soon in parliament.
The minister further said that a series of bills are ahead of the timetable, citing as an example the bill on reform of the social security system, which the government is required to table in the autumn but which will be tabled within the month.
Turning to the Greek banking system, he said that it needs to adapt and also to seriously consider "what we are doing regarding the public aspect" and how it will be strengthened in the coming period through specific strategic moves so as to be able to continue, in an extremely competitive international environment, to be a vehicle for growth in the country, in a fair way for the citizens, with proper services without excessive profit and with an attitude that will render it a support of the Greek society, as it has in the past.
Papaconstantinou said that the Greek banking system is fortified and has limitless liquidity from the ECB, while the creation of the new Fiscal/Credit Stability Fund will further shore it up so that liquidity will return to the real economy. He added that there has also been a small, "timid" increase in lending, which he said is very important.
The minister further stressed that various rumors and speculations that have recently intensified are a "scourge" for the country, attributing them to two reasons: those who have not understood that the eurozone is not breaking up, no country will exit the euro, no country will default, and those who have invested in such an eventuality and are waiting to make money from it. "Simply, the will lose their money," he warned.
To a reference on recession contained in Karatzaferis' question, Papaconstantinou cited the GDP figures for the first quarter of the year indicating that growth has fallen by 2.5 percent against a forecast of 4.0 percent, "indicating that things are perhaps better than we had predicted".
 Energy Commissioner voices backing for Greece's energy initiativesEU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger assured the Commission's support for the development of the South Stream natural gas pipeline, during a meeting in Brussels on Thursday with Greece's environment, energy and climate change minister Tina Birbili.
Oettinger also voiced support for the reforms underway in Greece aimed at the deregulation of the energy market and the country's adaptation to the relevant EU Directives of the Third European Energy Package, opining that Greece can become an energy hub in the wider region.
Birbili briefed the Commissioner on the latest developments in the energy sector in Greece and on its initiatives for inter-state cooperation that have been taken through the promotion of collaborations in the energy sector with non-EU countries such as Qatar, Turkey, Russia and Libya.
The two officials agreed to closer cooperation between the EU and Greece at experts' level as well as at political level for further promotion of the matters discussed.
 Bulgaria to withdraw from Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline projectSOFIA (ANA-MPA - B. Borisov)
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on Friday announced his country's intention to withdraw from construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, saying he had informed the EU member-state ambassadors in Sofia earlier the same day of the reasons for the decision.
The Bulgarian premier cited opposition to the project from residents in the Burgas area and the fact that the pipeline went through protected areas, while noting that "it will be decades before we start to see any benefits from this project".
He also cited similar considerations blocking construction of a nuclear power plant at Belene, another project involving the Russians.
"We are ready to talk with anyone that can tell us how the project might be financed. Anything else is only words," Borisov stressed, noting that the power station will cost 13 billion euros and it was unclear when there would be any return on this investment.
The agreement for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline was originally initialled by Greek and Russian companies in 1994 as an alternative route for Russian oil to western Europe that bypassed the busy Bosporus and Dardanelles.
Greece, Bulgaria and Russia signed a trilateral cooperation agreement for the construction and operation of the pipeline on March 15, 2007 in Athens.
The construction of the project was undertaken by an international consortium called Trans Balkan Pipeline BV, in which the Russian consortium Burgas-Alexandroupolis Ltd holds a 51 percent share, while the Bulgarian and Greek partners each have 24.5 percent.
In the summer of 2009 the Burgas municipality released a report by the National Institute of Archaeology which said that that the pipeline would impact on a series of well-known monuments listed in its data base, as well as affecting the wildlife and coastal regions in the area.
 Greek shipping successfully resisting crisisGreek shipping is resisting better than anticipated to international and national challenges and it is the only sector of production and services nationally not to feed the rising unemployment trend in the country, Theodoros Veniamis, president of the Union of Greek Shipowners said on Friday.
Speaking to reporters, during a news conference, in the framework of the Posidonia 2010 Exhibition, Veniamis underlined that in an extremely volatile environment, characterized by instability of the global economy and inability to safely make any predictions over the shipping market's outlook, creating hurdles to drafting a credible business prospect even in the short-term, Greek shipping offered high-standard job positions to the country's youth.
Veniamis underlined that a process of attracting young people to the seaman profession, a trend supported by the Union in recent years, has began bearing fruits, justifying optimism that a significant part of an existing shortfall in merchant shipping officers could be covered in the next few years.
The president of the Shipowners Union also expressed his belief that the next day will find shipping under Greek management again at the forefront of global shipping, with a modern fleet and a long-term experience of offering high quality transport services to global trade.
 ND leader Samaras visits Posidonia 2010 exhibitionMain opposition New Democracy (ND) president Antonis Samaras visited the international shipping exhibition "Posidonia 2010" on Friday, and in statements he made afterwards sharply criticised the government's policy in the all-important shipping sector.
Samaras stated that the sector is a national asset, adding that it is kept hostage by the government, referring to the cabotage issue and the abolition of the ministry of mercantile marine.
 Government vice president inaugurates pharmaceuticals factoryGovernment vice president Theodoros Pangalos inaugurated the new ultramodern factory of the Pharmathen pharma-euticals industry at the industrial park of Sapes in Rodopi, northeastern Greece, at noon on Friday.
It is an investment amounting to 41 million euros, by one of the most important technologically advanced units for the production of pharmaceuticals in Europe, which is also the biggest in the pharmaceuticals sector, over the past 30 years in Greece.
"There is no growth dilemma, there is a one-path growth. Real Greece is here where we are and not the one that some are trying to convince us that we are in," Pangalos said.
"It is a project of vital significance, a growth breather initiative for the place, for Rodopi and all of Thrace. At a time when we are all aware of the difficult conjuncture that the country is facing and when all are speaking of growth, employment and investments, here in Sapes, it is being proved in practice that when private initiative wants, it can contribute substantively not only to the achievement of profit, which is the reasonable and legitimate aim of the functioning of every business, as well as to the development of wider regions through the creation of new jobs, the holding of the population in their place of residence, an increase in healthy competition, the transfer of know-how and the attraction of new investments that may possibly follow," he added.
The president of the Pharmathen group, Vassilios Katsos termed the new unit a "work of life", adding that with its investing programme the group "is going against the wind, sending a message of optimism in a difficult period for the country."
It was stressed during the inauguration that the total area of the Pharmathen's unit in Sapes is 17,000 square metres, it is creating 150 new jobs, while its production capacity will amount on an annual basis to 3 billion pills and 2 billion capsules.
At the same time, the new unit has been designed to meet the strictest European and American pharmaceutical production criteria, considering that 90 percent of its production will be destined for international markets.
 Meeting to negotiate collective labour agreements postponedThe General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), Greece's largest umbrella trade union organisation representing the private sector, on Friday announced that a meeting to negotiate a new National General Collective Labour Agreement with employer groups, originally scheduled to take place on Monday, has been postponed.
The announcement said the meeting was postponed because representatives on the side of the employers will not be attending.
GSEE stressed its determination to step up and escalate protests demanding the signature of a satisfactory collective agreement that meets the justified economic and other work-related demands of employees.
 Trade unions to hold protest rally in Athens on June 16The General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' union ADEDY are to hold a protest rally at Klathmonos Square in central Athens on the evening of June 16 at 19:00 in order to demand the withdrawal of the government's measures for the pension system.
 Piraeus Port, Royal Caribbean agree closer cooperationPiraeus Port Authority and Royal Caribbean agreed on the need to improving infrastructure in the country's regional ports through joint investment programs, ahead of the abolition of cabotage, with the sea cruise company expressing its interest for a closer cooperation with the Port of Piraeus as a home port for its cruises.
The meeting, between Piraeus Port Authority's chairman and chief executive, George Anomeritis, and Royal Caribbean's vice-chairman John F. Tercek, focused on the common interest in developing sea cruise works in Piraeus and selection of new island destinations in the Aegean Sea.
Royal Caribbean also expressed interest for jointly promoting infrastructure projects -funded by RC- in existing ports and in new destinations in the Aegean Sea.
Royal Caribbean is the second largest sea cruise company in the world, with 38 vessels and 84,000 beds, with orders for four new vessels offfering 13,950 beds in the next two years. Until today, all of its sea cruises to Greece use Italian harbours as home ports, with passenger occupancy of 100 pct in the last five years.
 Chambers lambast public utility rate hikesThe Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce (KEE) on Friday expressed the business sector's discontent over increases in public utility rates.
The statement was issued following announcements by the ministry of energy, environment and climate change concerning the increase of a special levy for renewable energy sources (RES).
The KEE statement pointed out that the specific decision deteriorates further the negative atmosphere observed in the local markets.
 Foreclosures ban extended for six monthsA ban on foreclosures for debts not exceeding 200,000 euros by banks and other credit institutions is to be extended for a further six months, based on an amendment attached to draft bill on cross-border bankruptcy on Friday. The ban concerns the period between July 1 and December 31 this year and extends the previous ban that ends on June 30.
The measure is designed to give borrowers that are in arrears with their payments and facing serious financial difficulties as a result of the economic crisis to recover and seek the best possible settlement for their debts.
 Diversa SA debuts in Alternative MarketDiversa Trading and Industrial Co. SA on Friday made its debut in the Alternative Market of the Athens Stock Exchange after successfully completing an initial share capital increase plan, placing 1,760,000 in the market at a negotiating price of 2.52 euros per share. The company's capitalization, based on the offering price of 2.52 euros per share, was 4.44 million euros. Guardian Trust acted as consultant to the listing.
Spyros Kapralos, president of the Athens Stock Exchange, commenting on the new listing said "during this difficult economic situation for the country, it needs special courage to move contrary to this climate. And I admit this was a courageous decision by the company to begin procedures for its listing in the Alternative Market".
Konstantinos Klokotaras, chairman of Diversa SA said it was a special honour and joy for all the family of Diversa because the company listed its shares in the market, 52 years after its foundation, and expressed his optimism over the company's outlook.
 Stocks end moderately higherStocks ended moderately higher on the last trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange, with the composite index of the market rising 0.52 pct to end at 1,484.13 points. Turnover was a low 91.955 million euros. The FTSE 20 index rose 0.95 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.79 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.89 pct.
The Travel (3.82 pct0 and Banks (2.35 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while the Food (2.67 pct) and Financial Services (2.10 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 102 to 59 with another 62 issues unchanged.
Viokarpet (19.4 pct), Edrasi (12.5 pct) and Compucon (11.11 pct) were top gainers, while Klonatex (12.5 pct), Attikat (11.76 pct) and Titan (9.92 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.04%
Personal & Household: +0.28%
Raw Materials: -0.45%
Travel & Leisure: +3.82%
Food & Beverages: -2.67%
Financial Services: 2.10%
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: 4.60
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.31
HBC Coca Cola: 17.27
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.00
National Bank of Greece: 9.70
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.94
Bank of Piraeus: 3.90
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market rose slightly to 66 million euros on Friday, of which 51 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 15 million euros were buy orders. The three-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 30 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 566 basis points, from 555 bps on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 8.24 pct and the German Bund 2.58 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 0.73 pct and the one-month rate 0.43 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.17 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover shrinking to 46.443 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,780 contracts worth 37.593 million euros, with 32,507 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 16,516 contracts worth 8.850 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,041), followed by Eurobank (1,226), MIG (2,085), OTE (2,382), PPC (489), Piraeus Bank (609), Alpha Bank (1,399), Ellaktor (1,062) and Cyprus Bank (896).
 Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.222
Pound sterling 0.835
Danish kroner 7.498
Swedish kroner 9.657
Japanese yen 112.02
Swiss franc 1.400
Norwegian kroner 7.897
Canadian dollar 1.260
Australian dollar 1.441
 Eurobarometer: Greeks good blood donors, wary as organ donorsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Aroni)
Greeks are happy to volunteer as blood donors but rank low among Europeans as organ donors, according to the findings of a Eurobarometer poll released on Friday.
Specifically, this found that 51 percent of Greeks declared that they have been a blood donor compared with 37 percent of Europeans on average, ranking third after the Austrians (66 percent) and French (52 percent). The lowest rates for blood donors were in Portugal (22 percent), Italy (23 percent) and Poland (25 percent).
Greeks were also fairly confident (67 percent) that blood transfusions are now safer than in the previous decade, compared with 57 percent of Europeans. There is a 6 percent increase in the percentage of blood donors in Europe relative to 2002.
In terms of organ donation, 55 percent of Europeans say they are willing to become donors compared with 43 percent of Greeks, who rank fifth from last ahead of the Latvians (25 percent), Romanians (30 percent), Austrians (39 percent) and Bulgarians (42 percent).
Willingness to become an organ donor was highest in Sweden (83 percent), Malta (77 percent), Belgium (72 percent), Finland (72 percent) and Denmark (70 percent).
Only 32 percent of Greeks compared with 40 percent of Europeans replied that they had ever discussed the issue of being an organ donor with their families, while Greeks came third to last in terms of familiarity with their country's national legislation on organ donation and transplants at just 14 percent, compared with 28 percent of Europeans.
Concerning the reasons for not wanting to become an organ donor, 45 percent of Greeks said that they did not trust the system (of transplants or the social system), 31 percent expressed fears of "exploitation" of the human body and 10 percent cited religious reasons.
 Europa Nostra Awards ceremony in IstanbulISTANBUL (ANA-MPA / A. Kourkoulas)
The European Union Prizes for Cultural Heritage - EUROPA NOSTRA Awards 2010 -- were presented by Cyprus' European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou to 29 winners from 15 countries, during a ceremony here held at the 6th century Basilica of Hagia Irini.
Two of the 16 prizes awarded in the architectural heritage category went to Greece; to Lila Marangou for the reconstruction of the Hagia Triada Tower on the Aegean island of Amorgos and to Christos Zerefos for the restoration of the Athens Observatory.
The awards are given for outstanding examples of conservation projects and research in the sector of cultural heritage, while they also highlight exceptionally dedicated service to heritage conservation by individuals and groups.
 Elderly man accused of negligent arson in wildfireA 73-year-old man was led before a Piraeus prosecutor on Friday accused of arson caused by negligence. A day earlier he was arrested in the industrial district of Perama accused of causing a wildfire near his house, which ignited a blaze at a brush-covered Schistos site. The wildfire was put under control by firefighters.
 Man arrested in Patras for possession of child porn materialA 40-year-old man was arrested in Patras, western Greece, accused of child pornography trafficking on the internet.
Electronic crimes squad officers tracked the electronic trace that led to the suspect who was trafficking child porn material through a social networking site.
Police confiscated from his house an archive of child porn material, a laptop, two hard drives and six DVDs.
 Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Center in Schinias opens to public on SundayGreece's Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Center in Schinias will open to the public on Sunday.
The Rowing Center, located in Schinias, northeast of Athens, is now part of the Schinias National Park, providing to visitors facilities for mild exercise and recreation coupled with a visit to one of the most important biotopes in the wider Athens area.
Rowing and Canoe/Kayak athletes and trainers will be on hand to give children a first experience of the sports, given the planned creation of relevant children's sport academies at the facility.
The facility will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., throughout the summer and to the end of September.
The Center is an integral part of the Schinias-Marathon National Park, which was established in 2000 with the aim of protecting an outstanding natural terrestrial and marine environment with a wide variety of habitats and plethora of important plant and animal species.
One of the last remaining refuges in Attica prefecture, large numbers of migratory birds flock during the migration season to the Schinias wetland, one of the largest wetlands in southern Greece, including many threatened species such as the Great Egret, the Ferruginous Duck and the Glossy Ibis.
A rare habitat, Schinias bay stands out with its soft, sandy beach with its famous coastal pine forest consisting of Umbrella Pine and Aleppo Pine trees -- one of the three forests of this type in Greece. The Sea Daffodil, a symbol of beauty and vigor since antiquity, can be seen in protected corners of the beach while Neptune Grass plants, which thrive only in clean water, can be found in the Park's sea, providing shelter to numerous small fish species.
The water in the rowing lake teems with life, hosting such life forms as algae, eels, frogs and toads, terrapins, harmless water snakes, and the Marathon Minnow, a small fish found only in eastern mainland Greece.
In mythology, the Makaria spring in the northwest of the Rowing Center, was a gift of the heroine Makaria, the daughter of Hercules. The spring carries waters to the rowing arena and to the Schinias wetland.
 Fair on SaturdayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 35C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 35C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 32C.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe social security changes, the economy, and the Siemens, C4I and Vatopedi scandals were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Friday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Express layoffs - Explosive Presidential Decree".
APOGEVMATINI: "The government an untuned orchestra - Each one playing his own tune and...the bill goes to the citizens".
AVGHI: "The ship sinking in the revenues, drowning the economy - Government hiding 1.2 billion euros in uncollected revenues through 'creative accounting'."
AVRIANI: "The documentation of the fraud with the C4I (Olympic Games security system) in the hands of the ad hoc parliamentary fact-finding commission".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Underground implication of Siemens with armament procurements scandals - How the armament procurement kickbacks are tied to the German giant's slush funds".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Social security: three doses of poison - The changes come in waves, even in the summer".
ESTIA: "The big opportunity for recovery of the economy is being lost, now".
ETHNOS: "State hospitals in a...coma - Dramatic shortages in medicines and materials".
IMERISSIA: "Indications of balance for the economy - Dealing with Greek crisis feasible, the foreign officials now say".
KATHIMERINI: "Worry and collapse of expectations - Public Issue opinion poll: Citizens' satisfaction with two mainstream parties hits rock bottom: PASOK 18 percent, New Democracy 9 percent".
LOGOS: "Contradictory disaster speculations on the Greek economy - Herman van Rompuy (EU President): The Greek economy will not default".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "6 billion euros in investments 'warm up' the market - Flow of the resources of the new developmental law to begin in 2011".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Tourism, rest, promotion of health, recreation are rights of the people - KKE question in parliament".
TA NEA: "Five-year 'penalty' for 'heavy and unhealthy' professions - Pensions: Upsets for 700,000 workers".
TO VIMA: "Blackout in the grading of written exams in nationwide university entrance examinations - Go-slow strike by professors over low salaries".
VRADYNI: "The ESY (National Health System) collapsing - Public health in quagmire due to inability to pay (suppliers) and prohibition of purchases (of supplies)".
 President: Cyprus still a victim of violation of human rightsLIMASSOL (CNA/ANA-MPA)
President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias pointed out on Friday that Cyprus has been and still is victim of violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its people as a result of invasion and occupation, and is struggling ceaselessly in order to restore the human rights and basic freedoms of its people as a whole.
He also reiterated his commitment to dedicate all his might to terminate the tragedy of the people of Cyprus, to reunite Cyprus so that Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriots may live again together, without guardians, in conditions of peace, democracy and implementation of human rights for all, without discrimination.
Addressing the opening of the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament, in Limassol, President Christofias said hosting the Conference was ''a great honour for Cyprus,'' adding that the challenges to be discussed ''concern all of us and every one of us separately.''
''The role of national parliaments, the role of international parliamentary organisations as well as their cooperation, has always been and remains critical as regards the rapid developments, both positive and negative, faced today by humanity,'' he said.
President Christofias added that the delegates would be discussing an ''extremely interesting topic,'' namely the rights and responsibilities of the opposition in a parliament, noting that ''this has always been a public debate issue which touches upon the essence of democracy as well as the effort to consolidate democratic legitimation of the functioning and the decisions of parliaments, and the democratic control of governments.''
He said an equally important theme was ''national parliaments and international human rights law and the implementation of the principle of non- discrimination, noting that ''unfortunately, in the 21st century and in spite of the progress achieved by mankind, we cannot but admit that we still have a long way to go in order to achieve in practice the desirable degree of implementation throughout the world of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.''
''Your host country itself has been and still is victim of violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its people as a result of invasion and occupation. Cyprus continues to struggle ceaselessly in order to restore the human rights and basic freedoms of its people as a whole, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins,'' he pointed out.
President Christofias also said that, regarding the principle of non-discrimination, ''as a global community we have yet many steps to take, before we are in a position to consider universal implementation of human rights as a global acquis,'' adding that ''national parliaments and international parliamentary organisations have an important role to play in this direction.''
''I am certain that through the discussion which will take place during the deliberations you will have a very productive two-day conference and that the general conclusions and results reached will contribute decisively to tackling these critical issues,'' he said.
Speaking ad lib and commenting on references by President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Mevlut Cavusoglu to the Cyprus problem, President Christofias reiterated his commitment to ''dedicate all my power to terminate the tragedy of the people of Cyprus, to reunify my homeland and for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to live again together, without guardians, either motherlands or any others, in conditions of peace, in conditions of democracy and of course in conditions of implementation of human rights for all, without discrimination.''
''There cannot be second class citizens in the united Republic of Cyprus. This is my vision. This is what I am working hard for and I wish and hope that the soonest possible, on this basis, we will find a common language with the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mr. Eroglu, to reach a solution, the soonest possible,'' he said.
He added that ''it is in the interests of the people of Cyprus as a whole to solve the Cyprus problem, on the basis of justice, on the basis of international law, on the basis of human rights and the declarations and conventions on human rights.''
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 House President: Cyprus solution presupposes respect of human rightsPresident of the Cyprus House of Representatives Marios Garoyian pointed out on Friday that a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem presupposes full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms as they are enshrined in international conventions, including the European Convention of Human Rights, adding that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, but also the Council of Europe in general, are the guardians of these rights and have as their basic mission their safeguarding.
In his welcoming address at the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament, in Limassol, Garoyian said the Conference constitutes factual proof of the good relations and the spirit of collaboration, in the difficult times due to the economic crisis and the continuing violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of many people, including the Cypriots.
Garoyian said ''this Conference, which is held every two years, constitutes a unique occasion for dialogue and exchange of opinions between the parliaments and organisations united by the common aim of further promotion and enhancement of the non-negotiable principles and values the Council of Europe, and in particular the Parliamentary Assembly, has committed itself to serve and defend since its creation, the principles of democracy, freedom, defence of the rule of law, respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people, irrespective of race, colour, religion or sex.''
''The work of this Conference gives us an excellent possibility to exchange ideas and convictions as all of us here today perhaps share the same visions, but also the same concerns and considerations while facing common challenges, challenges we are called to meet, solely guided by the legitimate interests of our people,'' he said.
He added that ''this Conference constitutes factual proof of the good relations and the spirit of collaboration that prevail among us and are at the same time valuable advantages, in the difficult times our old continent and humanity in general are both going through, because of the economic crisis which torments all our countries and because of the continuing violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of many of our fellow men.''
Garoyian pointed out that among these people are the Cypriots, who ''continue to be deprived of the inalienable right to live in conditions of safety and peace, without barbed wire or occupation troops.''
''All Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins alike, fervently wish to live in a reunified country, without dividing lines or uncertainties,'' he said.
He noted that ''a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem of course presupposes full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms as they are enshrined in international conventions, including the European Convention of Human Rights.''
''The Parliamentary Assembly, but also the Council of Europe in general, are the guardians of these rights and have as their basic mission their safeguarding,'' he pointed out.
Garoyian added that ''a correct solution of the problem, which holds the Cyprus people hostage for 36 years now, also presupposes full respect of pertinent UN decisions, international law and the principles and values of the EU'' and that ''the Republic of Cyprus is a member state of the Union and its citizens cannot be second class European citizens, nor can they be deprived of fundamental rights, which are taken for granted in other European countries.''
''As Cypriots, we are really proud of our country's multicultural character through the centuries. We hope, therefore, that Cyprus will soon be able again to constitute a brilliant example of harmonious co-existence, mutual respect and understanding,'' he said.
Referring to the topics on the Conference's agenda, Garoyian said the first theme, which concerns the rights and responsibilities of the opposition in a parliament, ''reflects one of the most important current challenges facing our parliaments, for the best possible development of the concept of democracy in practice.''
He added that the second theme, which concerns national parliaments and international human rights law, and the implementation of the principle of non-discrimination, ''reflects an inherent human rights principle, especially as this is described in Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with the ascertainment that its defence can unfortunately still not be considered self-evident or automatic.''
 Cavusoglu: Aim is a lasting solution in CyprusPresident of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday that Cyprus has had a tragic past and that the aim is to find a lasting and comprehensive solution for a peaceful and united Cyprus, which would guarantee the legitimate rights of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, in full compliance with the values and principles of the Council of Europe.
He also expressed hope that talks between the two sides on the island would bear fruit as soon as possible, and reiterated UN remarks that a solution of the Cyprus problem was within grasp and the opportunity must be seized.
Addressing the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament, Cavusoglu described Cyprus as ''a crossroads for civilisations over the millennia'' and expressed hope that Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, ''legend or not, will inspire us all, not only in working in close unison together at this Conference, but also in the task of bringing the two parts of Cyprus closer to each other.''
 Downer: momentum must be maintained in Cyprus talksUNITED NATIONS (CNA/ANA-MPA)
UN Secretary-General's Special Advisor Alexander Downer has emphasized the need for the peace process in Cyprus to maintain a momentum, pointing out that there needs to be forward movement in the ongoing negotiations.
Downer was speaking at a press conference at the UN headquarters after having briefed the members of the Security Council on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, ahead of the approval of the resolution on the renewal of the mandate of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus and on the Secretary General's good offices mission.
After the briefing, the Council was expected to hold informal consultations with a view to adopt the resolution by Friday.
Downer said he briefed the Council on the state of the talks, particularly now when the talks have resumed following the illegal elections that took place in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus, where Dervis Eroglu emerged as the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.
He said from the UN point of view "we are very pleased with the continuing and strong support we have from the Security Council for the work of the Good Offices Mission and our endeavors to assist the two parties as the negotiations progress".
The UN, he noted, are looking forward to a further meetings of the leaders taking place next week, on Tuesday, and the continuation of a pattern of leaders' and representatives' and officials' meetings from there onwards. Downer said the leaders are focusing on the issue of property this time. "It's the chapter that work is being done on and this is by its nature a very complicated and a very difficult issue but one that obviously needs to be resolved in the context of a comprehensive settlement," he remarked.
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