|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-07-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 7 July 2010 Issue No: 3535
 PM Papandreou addresses cabinet meetingPrime Minister George Papandreou, addressing a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, stressed that the memorandum and its strict observance are a necessary precondition for the coutry's salvation,"but there are sectors in which we can expand and implement specific policies that will support the citizen."
Papandreou mentioned two sectors in which government initiatives can be taken. The one sector is of the creation of a social protection network and the other the country's growth model and a different growth.
According to the prime minister, two corresponding committees will be created that will complete their work by the end of August. In the first of the two government officials, deputies and members of the Movement will be participating.
Papandreou further said that "our government has the citizen at the epicentre of its attention and serves him." As he said, "maybe the events and the legacy of the past diverted the government's attention, of the mass media and of the citizens necessarily to how we shall avoid the worse, meaning a course scheduled in advance towards bankruptcy, but this does not mean that our basic target is not the serving of the citizen."
The prime minister also mentioned that "despite the unprecedented crisis and the extra effort made by the government for the country's salvation, all this time it has laid considerable foundations for a change in the state's way of functioning," while noting that this is only the beginning and the basis on which the government is supporting itself to build a different state.
The cabinet endorsed a proposal by Interior Minister Yiannis Rangoussis regarding the draft law on the electoral expenditures of lists and of candidates in the municipal and regional elections, that will be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.
As of the next municipal elections that will be held on November 7, the aim of arrangements anticipated in the draft law is "the substantive reshaping of the process of checking the revenues and expenditures of the lists and candidates, that will be taking place with the criterion of the principles of transparency and legality."
 PM chairs broad gov't meeting on national plan for dealing with substance dependencePrime minister George Papandreou said on Tuesday that the country found itself in a deep economic crisis, and his government is doing everything that needs to be done within very pressing margins and putting order in the existing chaos.
Addressing a major governmental meeting on narcotics and substance dependence in the western Attica municipality of Ilion, convened to draft a national plan on dealing with substance dependence, Papandreou added that the State is the "big patient".
"We saw that the Greek people's money was not respected, and the result is that we were unable to adequately protect the citizens and the weak," he said, adding that, for his government, "the economic crisis does not mean that we mustn't protect the weaker but, on the contrary, we are facing the issues of every-day life, since many of them do not require large funds but a different perception, compassion and an open mind".
"A sensitive State does all it can to deal with dependence," he continued, adding that in the past "the political will was lacking for confronting these issues".
Papandreou noted that the crisis impacts state expenditure, and therefore "great caution is necessary on where we invest the public monies".
"Now is the hour of solidarity," he said, adding that the government stands at the side of the citizens who face such problems.
Greece, he continued, is the only country that does not have programs for the smooth re-entry of the substance dependents into society, reiterating a position he had voiced in the past for a distinction between user and dealer, and stressing that help must be provided to the substance dependent, not through penalisation of the user but with support.
The premier also placed special importance on prevention and information, which "should begin in the schools", and said that the role of the Local Administration on such matters is important, adding that this role will be enhanced with the Kallikratis program for local administration reform "which will give new abilities for the drafting of new programs on this issue, removed from the clientele system".
 PM Papandreou gives interview to Italian channelROME (ANA-MPA/Th. Andreadis-Syngelakis)
Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking in an exclusive interview with the main news bulletin of the RAI 1 channel, stressed that "the bonds of the Hellenic state do not correspond to junk and we must be careful of those assessment companies that act in a state of conflict of interests, rewarding or rejecting banks and public bonds, according to the trend of every moment."
The prime minister added that "we must ask ourselves what interests they are serving, but the fact remains that we must change our economy radically so that whoever desires to buy Greek bonds will be certain that he is making a good investment."
Asked by the Italian reporter "whether this means that out of the crisis a new Greek citizen must result", the prime ministrer replied that "surely he must not target a civil servant post only, but he must be creative and cosmopolitan."
Also asked about the report in the British newspaper Guardian on the rumoured sale of Greek islands, Papandreou reiterated that "in no way are the islands for sale. Our islands are a source of revenues that we want to utilise."
 Alt. FM briefs President PapouliasAlternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas was received on Tuesday by President of the Republic in the context of their regular contacts and meetings for briefing on foreign policy developments.
Droutsas told reporters afterwards that he assured the President once again that the difficulties currently faced by Greece were not obstructing the safeguarding and promotion of the country's national issues.
"We will not allow that to anyone," he said, adding that the government was carrying on its course of dynamic foreign policy initiatives with seriousness, responsibility and the necessary determination when and where required.
 Samaras: ND rejects most provisions in social security draft billMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras reiterated on Tuesday that his party will vote down, in principle, many of the provisions of a landmark social security reform bill tabled by the government in Parliament last week.
Samaras described the proposed reforms as "unfair and ineffective", stressing that the draft bill does not safeguard the viability of Greece's creaky social insurance system. He pointed out that "ND will vote in favor of certain articles that it believes to be in the right direction."
Samaras justified the decision by stressing that the state is backing away from constitutionally guaranteed social insurance. He pointed out that ND rejects the division of the main pension into a basic pension rate and a separate amount added on, depending on the total contributions paid, stressing that "the pension paid out should be one and undivided".
He stressed that crucial changes that concern verified years of work, social security contributions and retirement age limits are introduced without necessary documentation, while the draft law does not safeguard the constitutionally guaranteed principle of balance between contributions paid by the employees and pensions they will receive.
Samaras stated that new methods for calculating pensions creates incentives for widespread contribution evasion, stressing that the draft law is interested in "revenue collection" and does not meet the country's developmental needs.
"The draft law does not constitute reform," Samaras said, "because it is neither financially sound nor socially fair."
 SYRIZA calls on gov't to withdraw social security billCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday called on the government to withdraw its "unconstitutional" social security reforms bill.
He said that the Court of Audit had ruled the provisions of the social security bill as unconstitutional, while the country's two major union umbrella federations GSEE and ADEDY, together with experts' organisations, were putting forward an issue of unconstitutionality and taking recourse in the Council of State, while even parliament's scientific committee has voiced reservations.
It is therefore evident, Tsipras continued, that the government's effort to destructure social security lacked even elementary constitutional legitimacy but, despite all that, the government insists on bringing the bill to the parliament plenary for ratification.
He said that SYRIZA, even in the last minute, calls on the government, since it is unable to defend society, to at least respect the country's Constitution and withdraw the bill.
 Open deliberation on 'Protection of Biodiversity' bill on the internetAn Environment, Energy and Climate Change ministry draft law on "Protection of Biodiversity" will be open for public deliberation on the website (www.opengov.gr) until Monday, July 12, it was announced on Tuesday.
The full text of the draft law has been uploaded to the site.
The bill contains provisions for the establishment of a national system of protected areas, the management of protected areas, protection and management of the Natura 2000 regions, protection of fauna and flora, protection of endemic bio-diversity, scientific research and public awareness.
According to the bill, the main tool for management of biodiversity will be a National Strategy on Biodiversity that will be drafted every 15 years by the environment ministry and enacted by an Act of Cabinet, and will contain a detailed Action Plan to be updated every five years.
 Athens journalists, including ANA-MPA, to take part in general strike on ThursdayAthens journalists will take part in the 24-hour nationwide labor strike that has been called for Thursday, according to a decision of the Athens Journalists' Union (ESIEA) board.
The ANA-MPA staff will be participating in the strike, and as such no news will be disseminated from 6:00 a.m. Thursday to 6:00 a.m. Friday, after which the news flow will resume normally.
The country's two largest labor federations, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) have called a nationwide labor strike for Thursday, the day parliament is due to complete debate and vote on the government's new social security reforms bill.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) affiliated PAME labor movement has also called a strike the same day.
The Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) and the Federation of local government employees (POE-OTA) on Monday said they will be participating in Thursday's general strike.
 Athens mayor receives envoy of the PhilippinesAthens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Tuesday received ambassador of the Philippines to Greece Rigoberto D. Tiglao at city hall.
"The visit of the Filipino ambassador at City Hall had a double purpose: One was the customary ceremony when ambassadors of foreign countries visit the mayor of the capital of the host country. The second purpose was part of my effort as Athens mayor to develop relations that will benefit both Athens and Manila. I discussed three issues with H.E. the ambassador," Kaklamanis said afterwards.
 Greek economy on right track, Commission reportBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)
The Greek economic restructuring program was on the right track, the European Commission said on Tuesday. In its interim report on the Greek economy, published in Brussels, based on a visit by the delegations of European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Athens in June 14-17, the EU's executive arm said that macro-economic developments were generally in line with a scenario described by the program and existing expectations, although it stressed that inflation was above forecasts.
The report said that price projections should be re-evaluated by the end of July, during the first quarterly examination of the Greek economy. It also stressed that fiscal consolidation was making progress, as it was evident by the implementation of all fiscal measures announced by March and the adoption of all stabilization measures agreed in a memorandum signed with the troika.
The Commission, however, underlined that state revenues were below targets, while state spending have fallen more than targets set by the program. Generally, execution of the state budget in the period January-May has cut the fiscal deficit by 40 pct, compared with the same period last year. The Commission also said fiscal restructuring risks were still visible and demanded the continuation of an austere implementation of the economic adjustment program, focusing on the health sector, where progress and available information were limited.
The report noted significant progress made in structural reforms in the fiscal sector, such as preparation of a legislation on budget drafting, measures to combating tax evasion and measures taken to creating a single payroll authority in the public sector.
The Commission noted significant progress in preparing a reform of the pension system and underlined that the government has begun working on a wide range of other structural reforms, such as reforming the central government and transparency in public spending. Satisfactory progress has also been made in preparing a draft law on creating a Financial Stability Fund.
The report said the first quarterly visit of the troika will be made at the end of this month and in early August. The Commission said assessment of progress made, compared with demands included in the memorandum would be the base for decisions to be taken by the Eurogroup and the IMF over approving the second tranch of a loan facility to Greece.
 Contribution of EU regional policy to handling of monetary, economic crisisPARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)
The European Parliament Plenum ratified on Tuesday with 609 votes in favour, 46 against and 14 abstentions a draft proposal by the Regional Development Committee aimed at the "greater flexibility of regional funds" and "greater support for small and medium-size enterprises."
The relevant report titled "The contribution of the EU's regional policy to the handling of the monetary and economic crisis, with special reference to Target 2", was proposed by the Eurodeputy of Greece's New Democracy (ND) party and vice president of the European Parliament Rodi Kratsa-Tsangaropoulou.
According to the report, "the EU's regional funds constitute a basic tool for the exit from the crisis" and it is stressed that a more "flexible" access to the funds would give a decisive impetus to sustainable growth and employment.
The resolution stresses the need for maintaining and improving the EU's aid to the regions of "Target 2", meaning those continuing to face economic difficulties due to deep structural changes in their economies.
 Parliament passes regulation enabling FinMin to sign European Support Mechanism accords without prior approval by the HouseThe parliament plenary late Monday passed a bill on payments in the domestic market, which contains a provision allowing the finance minister of the country to sign accords in the context of the European Support Mechanism for the Greek economy without requiring prior approval of the individual agreements by parliament, with the exception of borrowing from other countries.
Article 39 of the bill, which contains the above provision was passed with the votes of the ruling PASOK party MPs, while the remaining Articles were passed with the votes of main opposition New Democracy (ND) and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) deputies.
Article 39 enables the finance minister of the country to "sign every memorandum of cooperation, agreement or loan contract with the European Commission, the eurozone member countries and the European Central Bank (ECB)". It also authorises the finance minister "to take every necessary action for the Greek state's participation in legal entities that are set up for implementation of the European Support Mechanism".
 Minister promises decree for 'clean prices' on supermarket shelvesEconomy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli announced on Tuesday the signing of a market decree for "clean prices" on the supermarket shelves, as she said.
In a press conference at the Foreign Press Association of Greece, she stressed that the decree guaranteeing transparency in transactions between wholesalers and retailers is placed within the efforts made to lower inflation and diminish the likelihood of market cartels.
Katseli also stressed that "the target set is to achieve absorption rates of 15 percent for National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) funds by the end of the year," and announced that the new developmental bill will be submitted in parliament before the end of July, pointing out that the goal is to be voted into law before Thessaloniki's International Trade Fair in September.
 Grande Bretagne Hotel receives Customer Service AwardThe Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens has received the 1st National Customer Service Award in the Front Line category presented by the Hellenic Institute of Customer Service (HICS).
The distinction was won by the hotel in recognition of the high professional standards observed ensuring original and exquisite service for its guests. The HICS mission is to raise quality standards in customer services provided by private and public sector enterprises in Greece.
 Jumbo Group says sales up 4.17 pct in July 2009-June 2010Jumbo Group on Tuesday said sales rose 4.17 pct in the July 2009-June 2010 fiscal year, reflecting satisfactory sales in Greece and exceptional sales in Cyprus and Bulgraria.
The company said the new fiscal year begins with the opening of its second shop in Sofia, Bulgaria, in August and said that adverse macro-economic environment was expected to negatively affect its sales. Jumbo said it would accelerate procedures to open six new shops during the current fiscal year in an effort to counterbalance any losses in turnover. The new shops will open in Cyprus, another in Sofia, and three new shops in Greece (Preveza, Larisa and Ioannina).
Jumbo Group operates a branch network of 45 shops, of which 41 in Greece, two in Cyprus and two in Bulgaria.
 Lafarge Hellas reports 2009 lossLafarge Beton Hellas, a subsidiary of Lafarge Group -the largest cement group worldwide- controlling AGET Heracles in Greece, reported increased losses last year for the second consecutive year, hit by a crisis in the construction sector.
Sales fell to 67.41 million euros in 2009, from 86.69 million euros a year earlier, for a decline of 22.2 pct, while gross profits fell 26.2 pct to 7.89 million euros. EBITDA recorded a loss of 4.55 million euros in 2009, from a loss of 1.87 million euros in the previous year, while pre-tax losses totaled 8.43 million euros after a loss of 7.44 million euros in 2008.
Net losses totaled 9.17 million euros in 2009, after a net loss of 11.45 million euros in 2008.
 Prosecutors investigate illegal hiringsProsecutors have been assigned with an investigation of allegations for illegal hirings in public companies that had allegedly taken place shortly before the Oct. 4, 2009 general elections.
The investigation is focusing on evidence provided by the Public Administration Inspectors concerning irregularities observed in the public-run companies, AGROTIMA S.A., KTIMATOLOGIO S.A. and the Exports Promotion Organisation (OPE).
 Stocks end 3.66% higherStocks recovered strongly, although turnover remained very thin in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The composite index of the market ended above the 1,500 level for the first time in eight sessions, at 1,503.07 points, rising 3.66 pct. Turnover was 67.249 million euros.
The Big Cap index jumped 4.30 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.25 pct higher and the Small Cap index ended 2.47 pct up. The Utilities sector (-0.08 pct) was the only one to end lower, while Financial Services (6.28 pct), Food (4.92 pct) and Banks (4.61 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 104 to 51 with another 55 issues unchanged. Livanis (14.29 pct), Centric (12.9 pct) and Dionic (10.71 pct) were top gainers, while Medicon (19.0 pct), Mouzakis (9.68 pct) and Vivartia (8.98 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +3.36%
Personal & Household: +2.61%
Raw Materials: +3.36%
Travel & Leisure: +3.42%
Food & Beverages: +4.92%
Financial Services: +6.28%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Alpha Bank and DEH.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.27
Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.25
HBC Coca Cola: 18.52
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.00
National Bank of Greece: 9.22
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.25
Bank of Piraeus: 3.76
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to a low 16 million euros on Tuesday, of which 9.0 million were sell orders and the remaining 7.0 million euros were buy orders. The five-year benchmark bond (March 20, 2011), was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 6.0 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell to 765 basis points, from 778 bps on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.25 pct and the German Bund 2.60 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates fell further. The 12-month rate was 1.32 pct, the six-month rate 1.065 pct and the one-month rate 0.515 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover remaining a low 29.650 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,057 contracts worth 24.608 million euros, with 23,525 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,751 contracts worth 5.041 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,351), followed by Eurobank (975), MIG (903), OTE (701), Piraeus Bank (425), Alpha Bank (1,039), Mytilineos (306) and Cyprus Bank (113).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.268
Pound sterling 0.836
Danish kroner 7.513
Swedish kroner 9.702
Japanese yen 111.34
Swiss franc 1.348
Norwegian kroner 8.133
Canadian dollar 1.344
Australian dollar 1.490
 Explosives discovered buried in backyard of one-time Iraqi embassyExplosives were found on Monday buried in a courtyard of a stately residence in Athens' upscale Paleo Psyhiko district, which up until four years ago housed the embassy of Iraq in Greece.
The discovery was made by construction company workers during renovation works underway at the vacant building.
The explosives include a hand grenade with no detonating mechanism, 454 grams of TNT, 15 sticks of ammonia dynamite and four glass vials, three of which contained an unidentified liquid.
Police confiscated the materials and transported them to a crime lab, as a preliminary investigation was begun.
Police believe the explosives are probably part of an arms cache which, according to information provided by US sources, was stashed in the basement of the Iraqi embassy before the 2004 Olympic Games. This is based on the conjecture that a covert operation in March 2003 -- codenamed "Dichty (Dragnet)" -- failed to uncover the full extent of the cache cited by US authorities.
Police also said the explosives and other objects discovered on Monday morning are not linked with terrorist groups.
 Embassy press releaseOn Tuesday a press release issued by the Iraqi embassy in Athens emphasised that current diplomatic and local staff members of the mission have "no knowledge or idea of the discovery of old explosives ... buried and found ... in the back garden of the building."
Additionally, the embassy said the new Iraqi ambassador to Greece immediately instructed staff members to inform Greek authorities upon the discovery of the cache by workmen.
The building itself was not in use for the last three years, the embassy added.
 Eurostat data on citizenship for foreignersBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
In 2008, 16,920 foreigners living in Greece obtained Greek citizenship, compared to 3,650 foreigners in 2007. A total of 59 percent of the new Greek citizens came from Albania, 7.6 percent from Georgia and 5 percent from Russia, according to data publicised by Eurostat on Tuesday.
In the 27 European Union countries, citizenship was given to 696,000 foreigners in 2008 as against 707,000 in 2007.
As regards Greece in particular, in 2008 1.5 new Greek citizenships corresponded to 1,000 inhabitants, compared to 1.4 citizenships per 1,000 inhabitants in the EU of the "27."
Lastly, in Greece in 2008, 18 new Greek citizenships corresponded to 1,000 foreigners living in Greece, while in the EU of the "27" 23 citizenships corresponded to 1,000 foreigners living in the EU.
 German trekker lost on Mt. Olympos found, well in healthA German tourist who lost his way on Mt. Olympos on Monday was found safe and well by rescuers in the first hours of Tuesday.
The tourist, who got lost during a trek on Monday, provided information on his approximate vicinity via a GPS tracking device he had with him, and an EMAK team immediately mounted a search and rescue operation.
The man, who was located at shortly after 3:00 a.m., had no injuries and was well in health, rescuers said.
 Cloudy on WednesdayCloudy and showery weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 36C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with variable 2-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 21C to 36C. Cloudy and showery in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 20C to 33C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe results of the nationwide university entrance exams, the country's fiscal finances and the social security reforms were the main front-page items in Athens dailies on Tuesday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Drop in the university base entrance grades - The entrance exam results to be posted in high schools today".
APOGEVMATINI: "Base entrance grades - Drop of 50 to 400 grade points in all fields".
AVGHI: "Social security/labor bill on rocky ground".
AVRIANI: "The hell of the debts spreads death".
CHORA: "Don't wag your finger (at the working people), because they'll deprecate us - Reppas (infrastructure, transport and networks minister) attack on Papaconstantinou (finance minister)".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Dive in base entry grades".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "More than 10,000 more students will enter universities this year following the abolition of the base passing grade of '10' (with 20 as the top grade)".
ESTIA: "Ministers react against the taking of measures, invoking PASOK's principles".
ETHNOS: "The standard lowers in tertiary education entry - Nationwide exams 2010: drop in base grades in all fields".
IMERISSIA: "Double 'no' to new measures - 'We're going will,' says Papaconstantinou".
KATHIMERINI: "Across the board decline in base entry grades".
LOGOS: "New 'front' inside the government - Reppas opposes privatisation of Athens' urban buses".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "The budget meeting the target for first-half 2010".
NIKI: "Interview with economy minister Louka Katseli".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Workers, be vigilant - The people are the target of the anti-KKE propaganda - Coordinated goebbelian attack by PASOK".
TA NEA: "Nationwide exams: The base entry grade for the most wanted Schools falls from high to low, in some cases even '5'."
TO VIMA: "The two strangers...Reppas-Papaconstantinou -- Open clash over the DEKO (public utilities and organisations)".
VRADYNI: "Artificial (political) polarisation in view of the vote (on the social security bill)".
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