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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-06-29

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

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

Tuesday, 29 June 2010 Issue No: 3529

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't presents fiscal management legislation to Parliament
  • [02] Petalotis on pension, labour reforms
  • [03] Athens Bar to contest new pension laws in supreme court
  • [04] Droutsas holds talks with French FM
  • [05] ND spokesman on party congress, social security, strikes
  • [06] President Papoulias receives Greek MEPs
  • [07] Alternate FM discusses wide range of issues with Greek MEPs
  • [08] Government condemns terror attack on citizens' protection ministry
  • [09] State files lawsuit in Vatopedi affair
  • [10] Nationwide labor strike Tuesday; includes public transport, media
  • [11] ESEE supports Tuesday's strike, slams proposed pension reforms
  • [12] Protestors stage takeover of PPC headquarters
  • [13] Piraeus Court declares strike in Piraeus port illegal
  • [14] Tax revenue in Greece at 32.6% of GDP, Eurostat
  • [15] Tourism minister visits Beijing
  • [16] "Short Getaways" programme launched by culture and tourism ministry
  • [17] Report: Banking system's contribution to GDP
  • [18] National Bank dismisses claims of share capital increase
  • [19] Eurobank Factors ranks second in int'l list
  • [20] Conference on 'green' procurements in public sector
  • [21] Coastal shippers call for high court intervention at main port
  • [22] Hotels Chamber president meets with German MP
  • [23] Stocks end 0.91% down
  • [24] Greek bond market closing report
  • [25] ADEX closing report
  • [26] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [27] Recycle Week in full swing in Thessaloniki
  • [28] Large load of Argentine lemons confiscated at port of Piraeus
  • [29] Minor blast outside Thessaloniki journalists union's former president
  • [30] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [31] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Gov't presents fiscal management legislation to Parliament

    Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou on Monday presented a ministry legislation aimed at drastically changing ways of drafting, executing and monitoring state budgets through the creation of modern fiscal rules and principles in managing public money.

    Presenting the new legislation, titled "Fiscal management and responsibility", to Parliament, the minister said it was an intermediate stage of reforming the country's fiscal system, which will be completed by 2013 with the introduction of programs' budget. Papakonstantinou reassured that the government would fully adhere to budget targets this year.

    The new legislation introduces, among others, ministers' responsibility in drafting, monitoring and controlling their budgets, with the introduction of new management powers to the Finance ministry and limiting ministries' ability to exceed budget credits, without any consequences.

    It also envisages creating an independent Parliament Budget Office to support the monitoring and execution of budgets and supporting fiscal targets. The Parliament will be able to intervene during discussion of state budgets and altering funds.

    "Even if we did not have the obligation to bring our home back into order because of the memorandum, this obligation should have been the answer to the question "where people's money go", Papakonstantinou told Parliament.

    The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party expressed its support to the draft bill.

    ND deputies, Margaritis Tzimas and Manolis Kefaloyiannis said the legislation was fully moving towards the right direction and stressed that no one was proud for budgets drafted by previous governments, while they urged that the legislation should envisage sanctions for not adhering to fiscal management rules.

    SYRIZA and Laos deputies were cautiously positive towards the new legislation, while Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputies strongly reacted to the legislation.

    [02] Petalotis on pension, labour reforms

    Defending the new pension reforms proposed by the government with a draft bill tabled on Friday, government spokesman George Petalotis on Monday stressed that the situation had reached a critical point since "in a short while we would be unable to pay pensions".

    The government had negotiated the best possible deal, leading to greatest possible social justice, with its creditors, he added.

    Questioned about the government's response if the measures met with a large-scale mutiny amongst its own MPs, Petalotis declined to speculate but stressed that there would be no question of holding early elections. He also strenuously denied that the government had in any way exceeded the demands of the EU and IMF, saying it had made the minimum possible cuts that would allow the system to be viable.

    On labour issues in particular, he noted that the premier had said there was a margin for convergence with employers and trade unions on this issue.

    "We are prepared to incorporate any measures or changes that are for the best, provided that they are compatible with the overall spirit of the social insurance and labour bill," Petalotis said.

    The spokesman pointed out that there had been no reduction in the amount of redundancy pay but only to the warning period for dismissal.

    [03] Athens Bar to contest new pension laws in supreme court

    The Athens Bar Association on Monday announced that it intends to contest the legality of individual laws enacting the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the government and EU/IMF officials, bring a case before the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court.

    "Following up on our previous meeting that was held on June 21 and after careful study of the issue, it was decided to lodge a cancellation request before the Council of State against the articles enacting the Memorandum and to contest all the administrative acts that have been issued or will be issued for its implementation," an announcement said, stressing the need to defend the "values created by European civilisation".

    [04] Droutsas holds talks with French FM

    PARIS (ANA-MPA/M. Savva)

    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas referred to the excellent relations between Greece and France after meeting at the French foreign ministry.

    "It appears that the way with which we stood by our friend Greece has already produced good results, in the first step of the process. France always stood by the side of the Greeks," Couchner told reporters after the meeting.

    Kouchner referred with praise to the "courage of efforts undertaken by the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou," as well as to the "brave decisions of the Greek citizens who recognise the need for the moves."

    On his part, Droutsas expressed the Greek government's "deep appreciation for the role played by France in the support and solidarity that the French people and President Sarkozy personally showed."

    Droutsas also referred to the measures taken by the government to tackle the crisis "with a serious and systematic way." As he said, these measures already had an immediate result and were not only measures focusing on the economy but measures concerning reforms and the change of structures that guarantee the viability of the economy.

    Kouchner and Droutsas discussed all issues concerning bilateral cooperation between the two countries, as well as regional matters. Special emphasis was placed on developments in the western Balkans, while Droutsas stressed that "our neighbourhood must become a region of stability, prosperity and peace."

    The two ministers also discussed Turkey's accession course to the European Union and stressed that the preconditions must be fulfilled and the necessary reforms must take place so that Turkey can approach Europe. Also discussed were developments on the issue of Cyprus, the humanitarian situation in Gaza and developments in the Middle East question.

    [05] ND spokesman on party congress, social security, strikes

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos on Monday emphasised that the 8th party congress showed that ND, under the leadership of Antonis Samaras, is being "renewed and reformed, and is ready to suggest a way out of the impasse created for the country by the ruling PASOK party."

    He also announced that the party's political committee will convene on Friday for the first time after the ND congress to elect a secretary and the executive committee members.

    Referring to the social insurance draft law, he said that ND will vote against it in principle but certain individual articles that are on the right direction will be supported. He stressed that "the government imposes tough sacrifices on the people which, however, do not ensure a viable social insurance system," underlining that "the sacrifices are meaningless."

    Panagiotopoulos said ND has called for a public dialogue after last week's deadly bomb attack on the citizen's protection ministry building to assess the security measures in the country and proceed with changes if necessary. "ND will engage in tough criticism when necessary and support the government policy when it is in the right direction," he said.

    Panagiotopoulos added that ND "strongly condemns such initiatives and actions" commenting on the union mobilizations announced to take place at the port of Piraeus. He underlined that the right to strike is guaranteed in the Constitution, adding however, that "blockades and sit-ins are unacceptable."

    "We should not commit suicide as a country in this tough and crucial summer," he stressed.

    [06] President Papoulias receives Greek MEPs

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday received a group of Greek MEPs participating in the European Parliament's Environment and Public Health Committee. The meeting focused on environmental issues, with Papoulias stressing the severity of the environmental crisis.

    The MEPs noted that the combined economic and environmental crises were creating a very difficult situation where money had to be spent to overcome the economic downturn but also on protecting the environment.

    [07] Alternate FM discusses wide range of issues with Greek MEPs

    The Cyprus issue, relations with FYROM, bilateral relations with Turkey as well as the neighboring country's European course, and energy were at the focus of discussions during a working breakfast on Monday hosted by alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas with Greek europarliamentarians.

    According to sources, Droutsas stressed that Greece's position on Turkey's European prospect has not changed, as Athens continues to support Turkey's full EU accession provided it fully complies with its conventional commitments.

    He added that many EU partners now appear to share that position, given that following the recent incident with the Gaza humanitarian aid flotilla, in which 9 Turkish peace activists were killed in a raid by Israeli forces, the climate on Turkey has started to change at European level, opening up a "window of opportunity" for Turkey's accession prospect.

    On Greek-Turkish relations, Droutsas is reported to have said that the two countries have reinstated the process for resolution of the Aegean continental shelf issue after five years of inertia.

    On relations with FYROM, the same sources said that Droutsas underlined that Greece is ready for a solution founded on the principles it has put forward, elaborating that the development of bilateral relations could melt the ice and boost the process of resolving the difference over the neighboring country's name.

    With respect to the Cyprus issue, Droutsas outlined the difficulties in the present conjuncture, noting that Greece disagrees with the concept of timetables which, he said, create conditions of pressure and have expiration dates.

    The sources further said that the two sides discussed progress in the various energy pipelines and also the theme of nuclear energy.

    [08] Government condemns terror attack on citizens' protection ministry

    Government spokesman George Petalotis on Monday stressed the government's "strong and unequivocal" condemnation of the terrorist attack at the Citizens' Protection ministry last Thursday, calling it "cowardly and underhand".

    "Neither the government nor the citizens are terrorised by such underhand and for the time being anonymous actions whose only goal is to intimidate and create chaotic situations," he said.

    The spokesman underlined the government's undiminished determination to crack down on crime on the level of terrorism also, underlining that "we must all feel certain that the guilty will be found and led before justice."

    An aide to Citizens' Protection Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis lost his life in a blast on Thursday evening, when he opened a parcel bomb addressed to the minister. The parcel had arrived through the regular post.

    [09] State files lawsuit in Vatopedi affair

    The state has filed a first lawsuit against the Vatopedi Monastery seeking to establish the state's proprietorship of Lake Vistonida in northern Greece and the surrounding farming area, while a relevant lawsuit also demands 10 million euros in damages from the monastery.

    The lawsuit was filed on Friday by the State Legal Council's working group. set up by the finance ministry.

    The lawsuit, filed with an Athens First Instance Court, concerns the exchange of an 18-hectare tract of land in Vegoritida municipality of Pella prefecture with Lake Vistonida.

    Financial News

    [10] Nationwide labor strike Tuesday; includes public transport, media

    A nationwide 24-hour labor strike has been called for Tuesday by Greece's two major umbrella federations GSEE and ADEDY representing the private and public sectors, respectively.

    The strike will partly affect public transport, while the Greek media will also be taking part in the strike, which has been called in protest of the government's austerity measures and stinging changes in social security and labor relations.

    The ANA-MPA will also be taking part in the laboUr action, and as such no news will be disseminated from 6:00 a.m. Tuesday to 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, when transmission will be resumed.

    Protest demonstrations and marches are also planned throughout Tuesday in Athens, Thessaloniki and most cities throughout the country.

    Hellenic Railways (OSE) trains and the Proastiakos suburban railway will not be operating on Tuesday.

    Commuter buses will operate 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., the Metro, tram and ISAP train will operate from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and trolleys will run from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

    The civil aviation employees will be taking part in the strike, creating disruption in domestic flights, but air traffic controllers will not be on strike, therefore international flights will take place as scheduled. Olympic Air announced that 34 of its domestic flights have been cancelled as a result, while departure times for flights between Rhodes and Karpathos have been changed.

    [11] ESEE supports Tuesday's strike, slams proposed pension reforms

    The board of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) on Monday passed a resolution declaring its support for a strike declared on Tuesday by the country's two largest umbrella trade union organisations, the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' union federation ADEDY.

    The resolution also expressed the commercial sector's displeasure at the proposed changes to Greece's social insurance system, saying that these intensified a climate of insecurity and fear, leading to a dismantling of the social fabric and the reversal in decades of entitlements.

    "These changes do not only overturn mature insurance rights but also strike at the Constitutionally protected social nature of state insurance system," ESEE said, adding that the country's merchants and their trade union representation would fight the measures using every legal means at their disposal.

    [12] Protestors stage takeover of PPC headquarters

    Trade unionists of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) employees' federation (GENOP) late Sunday staged a take-over of the PPC headquarters on Halkokondyli street in downtown Athens and were still in place on Monday morning.

    The protestors have draped two large banners on the building facade, one with the slogan "We won't sell and are not for sale" while the second notes the prohibition of hiring at the PPC although the public utility's president N. Fotopoulos has said that the PPC spends more than 100 million euros annually for overtime.

    GENOP has also planned a protest march from the PPC headquarters to the Finance Ministry on Monday afternoon, and will also take part in a nationwide labor strike that has been called for Tuesday by the country's two largest umbrella federations GSEE and ADEDY representing private and public sector workers respectively.

    [13] Piraeus Court declares strike in Piraeus port illegal

    A Piraeus Court on Monday declared the strike called on Tuesday by the PEMEN and "Stefenson" trade unions illegal, accepting the call for a restraining order made by the Union of Shipping Businesses.

    The Union will be sending an extrajudicial summons to the Harbour Corps and the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) for all the necessary measures to be taken to enable the port to operate as normal on Tuesday.

    [14] Tax revenue in Greece at 32.6% of GDP, Eurostat

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)

    Tax revenue in Greece accounted for 32.6 pct of GDP in 2008, significantly below the EU-27 and Eurozone average rates of 39.3 pct and 39.7 pct, respectively, Eurostat announced here on Monday.

    In a report on taxation trends in the European Union, the EU executive's statistics agency said Greece recorded the biggest VAT increase in the last decade and one of the biggest declines in corporate taxes in the EU.

    VAT rates rose from 18 pct in 2000 to 19 pct in 2009 and 23 pct in 2010, the biggest increase in the EU-27, followed by Cyprus (VAT rate rose from 10 pct in 2000 to 15 pct in 2010). The value added tax rate rose from an average 19.2 pct in 2000 to 20.2 pct in 2010. Sweden, Denmark and Hungary (25 pct) topped the list with the highest tax rates, while Luxembourg and Cyprus (15 pct) recorded the lowest tax rates.

    Implicit tax rates on labour was the largest source of tax revenue in the EU, accounting for more than 40 pct of tax revenues, followed by consumption tax (around 25 pct) and capital taxes (around one/fifth of tax revenue).

    Tax rate on labour in Greece was 37 pct, up from 34.2 pct on average in the EU-27, with Italy (42.8 pct), Belgium and Hungary (42.4 pct) recording the highest rates, and Malta (20.2 pct), Cyprus (24.5 pct) and Ireland (24.6 pct) the lowest rates.

    Consumption tax in Greece was 15.1 pct in 2008, the second lowest rate in the EU, while Denmark (32.4 pct) recorded the highest rate. The EU-27 average rate was 21.5 pct.

    The capital tax rate was 10.7 pct in Estonia, 12.4 pct in Lithuania and 15.7 pct in Ireland, while the UK (45.9 pct), Denmark (43.1 pct) and France (38.8 pct) recorded the highest rates.

    The highest personal income tax rate in Greece was 45 pct in 2010, up from 42.4 pct in the Eurozone and 37.5 pct in the EU-27, with Sweden (56.4 pct), Belgium (53.7 pct) and the Netherlands (52 pct) recording the biggest rates, while Bulgaria (10 pct) and Czech Republic (15 pct) the lowest rates.

    The top corporate tax rate in the Greece was 24 pct in 2010, down from 25.7 pct in the Eurozone and 23.2 pct in the EU-27, with Greece recording one of the biggest corporate tax rate declines in the last decade, from 40 pct in 2000 to 24 pct in 2010.

    Tax revenue in Greece fell from 34.6 pct in 2000 to 32.4 pct in 2007, rising to 32.6 pct in 2008.

    [15] Tourism minister visits Beijing

    Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos paid a two-day visit to Beijing, on the occasion of the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) 2010, during which China's great interest in Greece as a tourist destination and a place for investments was confirmed.

    The Chinese market is of strategic importance for Greek tourism and can contribute decisively to the extension of the tourist period beyond the summer months.

    In all the meetings Geroulanos held, the respect felt by the Chinese for Greece's culture was confirmed, as well as the further strengthening of relations that was achieved due to the fact that Beijing was the city that hosted the Olympic Games of 2008 immediately after Athens.

    Special reference was made to the need to facilitate the process of issuing visas for the Chinese, as well as to the inadequate existence of notices in the Chinese language in important locations, such as the Athens international airport.

    [16] "Short Getaways" programme launched by culture and tourism ministry

    Culture and tourism ministry general secretary Giorgos Poussaios outlined the policy plan for "short getaways" or "weekend getaways" in an exclusive interview with ANA-MPA on Monday, underlining that there will be a wide choice of getaway destinations available, including Athens and other regions nationwide with international airports.

    The main goal is to link visits to ancient monuments with a variety of activities facilitated by Greece's temperate climate which constitutes an additional advantage for the country.

    The weekend visitor will have the option of touring museums and archaeological sites. A bicycle tour from Acropolis to Cape Sounio, the site of ruins of an ancient Greek temple of Poseidon, will take place early on Sunday mornings, while on the first Sunday of the month (in the period from October thru May) visitors will have the opportunity to retrace the route of the original Marathon runner.

    Similar actions will be announced for sailing enthusiasts as well.

    [17] Report: Banking system's contribution to GDP

    The Greek banking system's direct contribution to the country's GDP rose by 2.4 percent in the period of 2004-2008, from 4.26 percent of GDP in 2004 to 4.36 percent in 2008, according to figures released on Monday by the Hellenic Bank Association (HBA).

    According to an HBA report on "The Greek banking system in 2009", the above figures reflect the Greek banking system's contribution to the developmental dynamic of the Greek economy.

    It is noted in the report that the above figures refer exclusively to the "direct" contribution to GDP, without calculating the indirect contribution in the country's overall economic indicators, such as tax revenues, employment, etc. or the multiple benefits from the banking system's dissemination of lending and incomes to the Greek economy.

    The report stressed the banking sector's significant "indirect" contribution to the development of the Greek economy through the successful adaptation of the Greek credit institutions to the competitive international environment, its continuous efforts to ensure conditions of credit stability and its provision of modern high-quality services and consistently lower average cost to the Greek economy, thus contributing positively to the overall competitiveness of the Greek economy.

    [18] National Bank dismisses claims of share capital increase

    National Bank of Greece (NBG) on Monday dismissed press reports alleging it was mulling a share capital increase plan.

    In an announcement, Greece's largest financial institution, said it did not intend to proceed with a share capital increase plan, given its strong capital base.

    It is obvious, the bank stated, that sustaining and improving this strong capital base was a priority for National Bank amid the current economic situation. In this framework, National Bank was constantly examining all ways to achieve its target and was committed to timely inform investors over its actions towards this direction, the announcement read.

    [19] Eurobank Factors ranks second in int'l list

    Eurobank EFG Factors ranked second worldwide in the international factoring business among 252 enterprises form 66 countries, based on a list compiled by Factors Chain International (FCI).

    FCI announced the 2009 list during the 42nd international conference in Vienna, last week.

    The evaluation and ranking of factoring enterprises was made by vote of FCI's members, based on quality and quantative criteria, such as quality of services, volume, management efficiency, executives' expertise, etc.

    Eurobank EFG Factors ranked first in the previous year.

    Georgios Karayiannopoulos, the company's managing director, commenting on FCI's announcement, said:

    "The company proved, once more, that despite adverse conditions prevailing in Greece it enjoyed the appreciation of the sector worldwide and maintained its high level in the quality of its services, establishing its leading position in the market".

    [20] Conference on 'green' procurements in public sector

    A conference on Greek Public Contracts that promote change of the procedures with which the public sector procures products, services and projects as well as the framework for public-private sector collaboration with the introduction of environmental criteria is being jointly organised on Wednesday in Athens by the Environment, Energy and Climate Change ministry and the Economy, Competitiveness and Merchant Marine ministry, under the auspices of the EU Environmental Directorate.

    According to EU data, public sector expenditure on products and services corresponds to approximately 17 percent of the European GDP, indicating that the state agencies are major consumers and therefore should use their buying power for goods and services that respect the environment and contribute substantially to its viable development, according to an environment ministry announcement, which made specific reference to the procurement of electronic and electrical materials suppolies, informatics, construction, textile materials, food, paper, furniture, transport and cleaning materials.

    [21] Coastal shippers call for high court intervention at main port

    The head of the coastal shipping companies association on Monday visited a Supreme Court prosecutor and raised the issue of obstructions at the port of Piraeus in view of another 24-hour nationwide strike called for Tuesday, June 29. On his part, the prosecutor said that law will be observed.

    Association president Apostolos Ventouris stated afterwards that "the port of Piraeus should remain open considering that the seamen want to work, being well-paid workers."

    He also said "passengers are faced with an inconvenience when a major economic crisis is in progress ... the income of the people on the islands depends on summer season arrivals."

    [22] Hotels Chamber president meets with German MP

    Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Giorgos Tsakiris received on Monday visiting German Greens party deputy and member of Germany's parliamentary committee on tourism Markus Tressel to discuss Greek tourism and closer bilateral cooperation issues.

    Referring to the tourist season in Greece, the chamber president underlined that the Greek hotels operate smoothly and receive foreign tourists on a daily basis.

    Tressel, who also heads the Greek-German Friendship Committee, was briefed on tourism policy issues, tourism strategy, tourist arrivals, environmental protection and "green" tourism.

    [23] Stocks end 0.91% down

    Stocks ended lower in the first trading session of the week in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index of the market fell 0.91 pct to end at 1,447.15 points, with turnover shrinking to 71.99 million euros. The Big Cap index fell 1.07 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.19 pct lower and the Small Cap index eased 0.37 pct. The Telecoms (2.80 pct) and Utilities (1.83 pct) sectors scored gains, while Health (3.14 pct) and Raw Materials (2.56 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 95 to 59 with another 50 issues unchanged. Epsilon Net (8.70 pct), Vell Group (8.26 pct) and Nexans (8.05 pct) were top gainers, while ANEK (14.81 pct), Karamolegos (9.72 pct) and Karatzi (9.35 pct) were top losers

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.70%

    Industrials: -2.55%

    Commercial: -0.94%

    Construction: -0.24%

    Media: -1.94%

    Oil & Gas: -1.28%

    Personal & Household: +0.48%

    Raw Materials: -2.56%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.29%

    Technology: -1.99%

    Telecoms: +2.80%

    Banks: -1.65%

    Food & Beverages: -1.27%

    Health: -3.14%

    Utilities: +1.83%

    Chemicals: -0.14%

    Financial Services: -2.01%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, OPAP and DEH.

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

    Alpha Bank: 4.13

    ATEbank: 1.01

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.40

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.06

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.88

    National Bank of Greece: 9.06

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.79

    OPAP: 10.40

    OTE: 6.25

    Bank of Piraeus: 3.40

    Titan: 15.25

    [24] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 42 million euros on Monday, of which 30 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 12 million euros were buy orders. The five-year benchmark bond (August 20, 2014) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 5.0 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened further to 807 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 10.63 pct and the German Bund 2.56 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved slightly higher. The 12-month rate was 1.30 pct, the six-month rate 1.03 pct, the three-month rate 0.75 pct and the one-month rate 0.47 pct.

    [25] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -2.66 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 30.963 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,524 contracts worth 25.187 million euros, with 25,187 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 6,015 contracts worth 5.776 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,021), followed by OTE (1,196), Eurobank (369), MIG (202), Piraeus Bank (312), Alpha Bank (287), Ellaktor (170) and Intracom (254).

    [26] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.243

    Pound sterling 0.826

    Danish kroner 7.503

    Swedish kroner 9.634

    Japanese yen 111.13

    Swiss franc 1.349

    Norwegian kroner 8.000

    Canadian dollar 1.285

    Australian dollar 1.423

    General News

    [27] Recycle Week in full swing in Thessaloniki

    Recycle Week is in full swing in Thessaloniki, running through Wednesday.

    The week-long public awareness campaign showcase includes a number of activities for young and old alike.

    The events include a "Recycling Village" at the Mediterranean Cosmos commercial center, where receptacles have been set up for the collection of all recyclable materials, including old household appliances, a Recycling Amusement Park that takes children on an exciting journey of recycling-related games while teaching them the entire process of recycling.

    In tandem with the events, an exhibition of Recycled Art is on display, titled "Nothing goes go waste", featuring works of art made from recyclable materials and discarded objects.

    [28] Large load of Argentine lemons confiscated at port of Piraeus

    A total of 77.8 tons of lemons imported from Argentina were found unsafe for consumption and were blocked at the port of Piraeus, following inspections by Piraeus prefecture and customs officers.

    A considerable number of rotten lemons were found in each of the 4,320 paper boxes loaded in three large containers, according to an official statement issued.

    Five shipments weighing 196.5 tons were found unsafe since the beginning of the year and were not allowed to reach the domestic markets.

    [29] Minor blast outside Thessaloniki journalists union's former president

    A home-made explosive device comprising small propane canisters exploded on Monday outside the home of former president of the Macedonia-Thrace Union of Journalists (ESIEM-TH) Dimitris Goussidis in downtown Thessaloniki.

    The blast caused only minor material damage, according to the Fire Brigade.

    Weather Forecast

    [30] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 14C and 32C. Cloudy with possible showers in Athens, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 31C. Cloudy and rainy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 18C to 29C.

    [31] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The social security reforms bill unveiled on Sunday and reactions, Tuesday's nationwide labor strike and main opposition New Democracy's (ND) 8th Congress held on the weekend were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "A new ND is born - Landmark Congress for the party".

    APOGEVMATINI: "This is how I will govern - The big liberal party in New Dynamic towards power after the 8th Congress".

    AVRIANI: "Samaras (ND leader) war with troika (European Commission, European Central Bank-ECB and International Monetary Fund-IMF)".

    CHORA: "Our wager is the exodus from the IMF - Samaras' speech that sealed the 8th ND Congress".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Samaras: How we will escape from the IMF's jaws - Greece can stand on its own feet with measures of zero cost".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "65,000 businesses to close down - Shocking figures on the crisis".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Three in four lose from the new social security bill - The biggest victims are working mothers, 'heavy and hazardous' occupations".

    ESTIA: "Political theatrics on the measures - Who are undermining their implementation".

    ETHNOS: "The chart of the changes in pensions - Survival guide for the new social security system in public and private sector".

    IMERISSIA: "New VAT increase sweeps the market".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "New denationalisations, and plans for state super-bank".

    TA NEA: "Social security bill a minefield - Government fears prospective rebels".

    VRADYNI: "Samaras: Memorandum (with EU-IMF) leading to dead-end".

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