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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-07-15

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

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

Thursday, 15 July 2010 Issue No: 3541

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou sharply criticises ND attack against pension reforms
  • [02] Samaras: pension reforms 'an admission of social bankruptcy'
  • [03] Political partes comment on public-sector pension system reforms
  • [04] Parliament begins debate on public-sector pension system
  • [05] House adopts pension system for public sector
  • [06] Government on economy, pension system reforms
  • [07] Policemen, harbour officials, firemen hold protest rally in Athens
  • [08] Athens warning to Ankara over research vessel
  • [09] DM Venizelos on Turkish vessel
  • [10] Athens on fYRoM 'name issue'
  • [11] Alternate FM Droutsas meets OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president
  • [12] Papariga outlines KKE plan for exiting crisis
  • [13] Brief PAME sit-in at EL AL counter at Athens Airport
  • [14] Arbitration, out-of-court settlements aim to cut judicial backlogs
  • [15] FinMin on implementation of budget
  • [16] Greek banks will pass stress tests, Chamber head says
  • [17] Greek inflation highest in the EU in June
  • [18] Greek plastics industry's profits up 2009
  • [19] ASE places Atlantic under surveillance
  • [20] Stocks end 0.41% up
  • [21] Greek bond market closing report
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [24] Louvre Alexander the Great exhibition to travel to Dion
  • [25] Fair on Thursday
  • [26] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Papandreou sharply criticises ND attack against pension reforms

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking from the annual "Symi symposium" he chairs, sharply criticised same-day statements by main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras against the recently passed pension reforms, noting that "in reality, it (Samaras criticism) is about the bankruptcy of ideas and practices that ND followed over the past six and a half years."

    Papandreou, speaking from the isle of Poros, further said that "this party (ND) should, due to its major responsibilities, and the Greek people would expect this, help to overcome the crisis. On the contrary, it is continuing the effort to conceal its great responsibilities and defend its policies."

    The prime minister also said that "the country is experiencing a historic turning point that we are trying to turn into an opportunity and we would expect from this opposition to help more, instead of playing petty party games."

    As Papandreou mentioned in a meeting with reporters, it was ascertained once again that "the sick patient is the public sector, which has been addicted merely to reproducing clientele logic" and termed as being of "historic importance" the inventory that is taking place so that the state will know how many employees it has.

    [02] Samaras: pension reforms 'an admission of social bankruptcy'

    The country was "socially bankrupt" and the unfair measures taken by the government were leading it to a complete impasse and long-term recession, main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras stressed on Wednesday, during the debate in Parliament on proposed pension reforms for the public sector.

    "There is another way, proposed by ND, with specific measures that will bring the country out of the terms of the Memorandum in two years," he emphasised.

    The claim earned an angry response from Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, who accused him of resorting to "fairy tales" and "beads and mirrors" to buy political time.

    In his speech, Samaras noted that successive governments had failed to address the problems of the social insurance system but claimed that the present government had essentially given up the effort, since its measures did not seek to either improve the system, nor give incentives for dealing with the country's demographic problem nor created incentives for employment.

    The chief change on the way was the fact that the state no longer guaranteed pensions, Samaras pointed out, but only the minimum pension.

    "This is not a bill for a social insurance and pension system. This is an admission of bankrupcty, a white towel and an admission that we can do nothing. We do not accept this fatalism and we will not allow it," he underlined.

    "A society is judged by how it treats those that are at the dawn and dusk of their lives. Both the former and the latter are being crushed by PASOK, which is snuffing out their dreams," he said.

    [03] Political partes comment on public-sector pension system reforms

    The government's proposed reforms to the pension system for public-sector staff were met with universal criticism from the smaller opposition parties in Parliament.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) rapporteur Nikos Karathanasopoulos accused the government of being the "political staff in the employ of capital owners" and said the bill completed the attack on the rights of workers, with the blessings of the EU and IMF.

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis particularly emphasised the government's claims before the elections and asked why it had failed to tell the truth.

    "Was it that you didn't have a clue and were telling the Greek people a lot of rubbish? Are you trying to tell us that the people were led into voting for clueless people? Otherwise, I must admit foul play, which I do not want to accept," he said.

    Karatzaferis also raised an issue of confidence in the person of Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos, who had failed to reveal the extent of the economic disaster Greece was heading toward.

    "Greece is now making its way with a central bank government that is in doubt. Does Mr. Provopoulos have the government's confidence? Because he does not enjoy the confidence of [Parliament]," he pointed out, noting that 15 ruling PASOK MPs had raised questions about the central banker's role in the crisis.

    Speaking for the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), MP Panagiotis Lafazanis claimed that the draft bill openly violated the Constitution and Parliamentary order and "turned society into a jungle with absolutely no guarantees for pensions".

    [04] Parliament begins debate on public-sector pension system

    Debate on proposed pension system reforms in the public sector began in Parliament on Wednesday, following a series of changes unveiled by Finance Minister George Papa-constantinou that "incorporated constructive views and proposals by the parties".

    Apart from the changes, the draft bill broadly calls for retirement of public-sector staff at 65 for men and women alike, or retirement at 60 for those that have paid 40 years worth of pension contributions. In addition, all public-sector staff will be insured by the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) as of January 1, 2011 and the terms that exist for the private and public sectors will be made the same.

    The modifications include:

    1. A two-year reduction in the retirement aged for women employed by local authority sanitation departments, allowing them to retire at 58 instead of 60 as of 2013

    2. Further reduction in the retirement age of parents with incapacitated children (e.g. those with amputated limbs, that have undergone bone marrow transplants, haemophiliacs etc) who will now be able to retire at 50 instead of 55.

    3. Modifications that give uniformed personnel the option to have time studying in university and up to five years additional active service recognised as pensionable years, provided that they pay contributions for working days in addition to the normal five-day week.

    4. For unmarried daughters older than 50 that currently draw their parents' civil service pensions the bill introduces income and age criteria for continuing to receive the pension. These include that the recipient should not have a monthly income greater than the minimum pension for the civil service, that the recipient should not have an annual income from other sources that is greater than the minimum limit, that the recipient does not receive any other pension and has not been insured to receive a pension from any social insurance organisation. The recipient must also be above 50 years of age as of 31 December 2010 and the pension they receive cannot be more than double the lowest civil service pension at any given time.

    The finance minister also added a clause stating that the Greek state "guarantees the viability of the pension system, with the aim of ensuring a decent pension for everyone eligible".

    The proposed measures were strongly criticised by all the opposition parties, with main opposition New Democracy's rapporteur Nikos Legas accusing the government of "violent, contradictory and unsupported measures" that demolished rights and overturned security in law and legal relationships established in good faith.

    "The draft bill....is attempting violent and sweeping changes to the life plans of hundreds of thousands of families," Legas stressed.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) demanded that the government "return the money stolen over the years from social insurance funds," which it claimed was more than 90 billion euros, while the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) criticised the government for failing to address the country's demographic problem by protecting larger families. The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) stressed that the government had gotten itself elected by promising not to do the things that the draft bill now proposed to do.

    [05] House adopts pension system for public sector

    The Greek Parliament endorsed in principle on Wednesday night a government bill for reforming the pension system for public-sector staff.

    289 deputies out of the 300-member House participated in the vote. 157 from the ruling PASOK voted in favour while 129 opposition parties' deputies voted against, and 3 deputies declared themselves present.

    [06] Government on economy, pension system reforms

    There were clear signs that the Greek economy was turning the corner and gradually regaining the trust that would allow it to exit the economic crisis, government spokesman George Petalotis asserted on Wednesday in response to questions.

    "Both the evaluation from the Eurogroup, and the announcements of the finance ministry about the reduction of the deficit, but also yesterday's foray into the markets, are clear signs that something is changing in our finances and that the sacrifices of the citizens first and the government are starting to count and bear fruit," he said.

    "The big changes in the taxation system, the social insurance system that are being completed, to the administrative structure of the country and public administration, as well as the final uprooting of the clientelistic state, are the guarantee of a different political course for the country and guarantee a safe and good-quality future for all Greek citizens," he said.

    Concerning pension reforms, Petalotis underlined that small pensions had not been tampered with and that there had been an urgent need for changes to make the system viable "or else we would have stopped paying out pensions in a month or two."

    The wager was now to restructure the economy and create a safety net that would offset the reductions in income, Petalotis added, adding that any improvements to the economy would also be passed on to Greek citizens "as long as they do not disrupt the goal of stability and the overall improvement of the economy".

    Concerning opinion polls showing that PASOK voters were abandoning the party, Petalotis said the government was not allowing its actions to be guided by opinion polls like New Democracy.

    "We appreciate the concerns of society and had a steady policy for saving the country and carrying out our programme and the sense that ordinary citizens support the government," he said.

    [07] Policemen, harbour officials, firemen hold protest rally in Athens

    Policemen, harbour officials and firemen held a protest rally in Syntagma Square in Athens on Wednesday afternoon against changes in their pensioning and social security system that are anticipated in the bill to be ratified on civil servants' social security.

    With their main slogan being "Stop the demolition of the social security system" and "No to impoverishment", the demonstrators expressed their disagreement with with what they termed the government's "surprise" tactic of proceeding with the changes "without previous consultation as it had promised."

    Speakers stressed that they are not prepared to lift the burdens of the crisis unilaterally and that they will continue the struggle so that the unfair attack on their sector will be repelled.

    The rally dispersed after two hours and after a delegation from Federations delivered a resolution to the Parliament president.

    [08] Athens warning to Ankara over research vessel

    The foreign ministry on Wednesday announced that the Turkish government has notified Athens -- via Navtex -- that the Turkish research vessel "Piri Reis" plans to conduct seismic studies in a sea region between the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kastellorizo, in the southeastern Aegean.

    Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras made the announcement in response to press questions during a regular briefing in the Greek capital, where he emphasised that Greece's embassy in Ankara has formally notified Turkey to refrain from "any activity that affects Greek sovereign rights".

    According to the spokesman, a diplomatic note verbale will follow.

    "These actions by Turkey cause us concern, as they (actions) are not compatible with the expressed volition by the two prime ministers (of Greece and Turkey); they (actions) express a divergence between words and deeds and they also aggravate the climate ahead of a resumption of exploratory (bilateral) talks on July 19," Delavekouras said.

    Moreover, he said Greek Alternate FM Dimitris Droutsas will broach the issue when he meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on the sidelines of an OSCE summit in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

    Concluding, he said Greece will take all necessary steps to ensure the country's sovereign rights, whereas several vessels are already in the specific region to "monitor developments".

    "Our relationship with Turkey is based on very careful steps, while our criterion being protection of our sovereign rights."

    [09] DM Venizelos on Turkish vessel

    Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in Parliament on Wednesday that "the Defence ministry, in cooperation with the Harbour Corps, is closely watching the Turkish research vessel Piri Reis that was on the Turkish continental shelf and has not reached the Greek continental shelf so far. We have no intention of neither downgrading nor overrating the event. We have a strong front and we shall not yield to anything for the defence of our national sovereign rights."

    Venizelos was replying to Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis who requested that Parliament be briefed on what is happening near the Dodecannese island of Kastellorizo with the Turkish vessel and how many miles from Greek territorial waters it is conducting its research.

    Venizelos added that research being carried out by the Turkish vessel is of a scientific nature and that the ministry has already, since Tuesday, made anticipated diplomatic demarches to Ankara that were not accepted.

    [10] Athens on fYRoM 'name issue'

    The Greek foreign ministry on Wednesday reiterated that Athens remains committed to solving the nagging "name issue" still preventing a complete normalisation of relations with the neighbouring former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM).

    "Towards this direction, however, there also has to be a response by the government of fYRoM," foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said during his regular weekly briefing on Wednesday.

    In response to press questions, he said there was nothing to new to report over any future visit to the region by UN special mediator Matthew Nimetz, primarily due to a lack of developments on the part of the Skopje government, as he said.

    [11] Alternate FM Droutsas meets OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president

    Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas met on Wednesday with Petros Efthymiou, the new president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    Efthymiou expressed his gratitude to the prime minister, the alternate foreign minister and the Greek diplomatic officials who supported his candidacy at the OSCE, stressing in parallel the "high level of Greek diplomats that support the options of the political leadership."

    On his part, Droutsas congratulated Efthymiou on his election and mentioned that with the joint work that will take place "we can do many things."

    Efthymiou was elected president of the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly following a relevant vote held in Oslo last Saturday during the Assembly's annual session.

    [12] Papariga outlines KKE plan for exiting crisis

    An end to the crisis can be achieved through specific measures that will give a new developmental boost to all the productive forces in the country, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said in press conference in Hania on Wednesday.

    "This development will be development for the people and not for plutocracy," she stressed, outlining her party's proposal for a "popular economy based on the socialisation of the basic means of production, cooperativisation of small merchants and producers, labour-social control in a radical and opposing confrontation with monopolies."

    In her address, Papariga emphasised that the measures being passed by Parliament were not the end but only the beginning of a "war" against the working class.

    "Much worse and much more is on the way," she underlined, noting that the 200 regulations needed "in order for the most reactionary laws we have ever known to operate will make them even worse."

    "The memorandum was drawn up and harsh measures taken so that Greece will not go bankrupt. For us, when the people go bankrupt then Greece is bankrupt. For this reason we repeat, either the businesses will go bankrupt or the people will go bankrupt. It is better if wealth is bankrupt and not working people," she said.

    She also noted that the upcoming local government elections were an opportunity for voters to send a message.

    "There is no excuse. The people must avenge themselves for the way their vote was used in 2009, they must see this electoral battle as a significant opportunity to change the balance of power on a social level and bring to the fore in these elections people that will not act as state employees."

    [13] Brief PAME sit-in at EL AL counter at Athens Airport

    Members of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) affiliated PAME labor organisation staged a brief sit-in at the Israeli airline EL AL offices at Athens International Airport on Wednesday morning, in protest of the Israeli government's policy on the Palestinian issue.

    A group of approximately 30 people, with the slogan "Free Gaza", blocked the EL AL check-in counter at around 9:00 a.m., obstructing passengers from checking into flight 542, but departed less than an hour later, and the flight took place on schedule.

    [14] Arbitration, out-of-court settlements aim to cut judicial backlogs

    The government on Wednesday announced a series of measures aimed at speeding up the judicial process and reducing the enormous backlog of cases in both the criminal and civil courts.

    According to Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis, the government will soon table legislation envisioning the establishment of arbitration for civil and commercial cases, a hereunto unknown process in Greek law.

    He also cited the introduction of "out-of-court settlements" in both felony and misdemeanor cases involving non-violent financial crimes, such as embezzlement, loan sharking etc.

    A third measure will be the establishment of a set of criteria to filter out cases before they reach the Council of State's plenum, the highest administrative court in the country.

    Conversely, civil court chief justices, bar associations and even the minister of finance will be allowed to request the adjudication of non-criminal cases judged as important or grouping several cases together within two months.

    Earlier, Kastanidis briefed President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias over the initiatives, while accompanying a group new high courts vice-presidents visiting the presidential mansion.

    Financial News

    [15] FinMin on implementation of budget

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, briefing the Parliamentary Economic Affairs Committee on the implementation of the Budget, stressed that "the general image of the Budget is satisfactory, without this meaning that the Budget will close without any problem or that dangers are not lurking in relation to the revenues and the expenditures."

    The minister also said that "the big message of the six months is the unprecedented by 46 percent decrease in the deficit, even bigger than the target of a 39.5 percent decrease. We are optimistic that the targets will be achieved absolutely."

    He referred to the "myths" that are being circulated to dispute the positive image that the implementation of the Budget is presenting.

    "One myth referers to the artificial decrease in expenditures, through the delay in the return of tax. The truth is that the returns per month do not deviate considerably from those of the previous year - indeed, in May and June we have bigger returns than last year," he said.

    Another scenario links the decrease in expenditures to the "strangulation of salaries and pensions." However, the decrease in expenditures in relation to the corresponding, first six months in 2009, is "huge" - while the salaries and the pensions have been decreased by only 3 percent," the minister clarified.

    Lastly, "there is no stoppage of payments. We have made one thing absolutely clear: Agencies of the Public Sector and funds must know that the state cannot cover deficits."

    Main opposition New Democracy party alternate economy sector chief Christos Staikouras, together with his counterpart Theodoros Karaoglou, accused the minister of outlining an idyllic image of the budget's course.

    "The increase in revenues without the return of taxes was 5.8 percent instead of 12.7 percent that the target was. If we remove the special contribution of the big businesses, the increase was 2.6 percent. The deficit, therefore, appears perceptibly decreased in this way," Staikouras observed.

    [16] Greek banks will pass stress tests, Chamber head says

    Greek banks have adequate capital and healthy figures in their balance sheets, justifying optimistic estimates that they would pass "hard" stress tests, Yiannos Grammatidis, president of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce stressed on Wednesday.

    Grammatidis said the only element expected to improve was limited liquidity, attributed mainly to an unjustified exit of money from the country which led to reduced savings and delays in repayment of mortgage loans. He underlined that a shrinking business activity was also hitting the banking sector.

    These factors must lead Greek banks to strategic synergies moves, aimed at boosting liquidity and creating scale economies, Grammatidis said, adding the state was obliged to take drastic and urgent measures to support real economy, through innovative initiatives capable of contributing to a change in a prevailing negative climate and creating a growth prospect for the country

    [17] Greek inflation highest in the EU in June

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)

    Greek inflation slowed to 5.2 pct in June, marginally down from 5.3 in May, but remained the highest inflation rate in the EU, Eurostat announced on Wednesday.

    The EU executive's statistics agency, in a report, said Eurozone inflation slowed to 1.4 pct in June, from 1.6 pct in May, but remained up compared with a -0.1 pct rate in June 2009.

    In the EU-27, the inflation rate fell to 1.9 pct from 2.0 pct in May. Ireland (-2.0 pct), Latvia (-1.6 pct) and the Netherlands (0.2 pct) recorded the lowest inflation rates, while Greece (5.2 pct), Hungary (5.0 pct) and Romania (4.6 pc) the highest rates.

    The inflation rate rose in eight EU member-states, it was unchanged in four and fell in 15 member states on a monthly basis

    [18] Greek plastics industry's profits up 2009

    The Greek plastics industry reported shrinking sales but improved profitability in 2009, as some enterprises managed to reduce previous high losses while others benefited from intense fluctuations in raw material prices and from increased extra revenues.

    Around half managed to improve their net results, a survey by ANA-MPA showed on Wednesday.

    The survey, based on an analysis of the balance sheets published by the 117 largest enterprises in the sector - with sales of more than 3.0 million euros and total sales of 1.5 billion euros -- showed that 75.2 pct of enterprises reported net profits of 69 million euros (88 enterprises), while the remaining 24.8 pct (29 enterprises) reported losses of 23.1 million euros, leaving a net profit of 45.9 million euros in 2009.

    Net profitability of the 117 enterprises improved by 12.5 million euros, or 37 pct compared with 2008. Profit margins improved in 2009 despite a 13.4 pct decline in sales. Revenues fell 18 pct, gross earnings were down 13 pct, EBITDA fell by 8.0 pct and EBIT dropped 14 pct last year.

    The 88 profitable enterprises reported total sales of 1.18 billion euros, or 78 pct of total sales. Sales fell 18 pct (or by 321.1 million euros), while gross earnings fell by 47.6 million euros. EBITDA totaled 192.9 million euros and EBIT fell to 102.3 million euros.

    Pre-tax earnings totaled 74.5 million euros, up 38 pct from 2008, while equity capital rose 1.0 pct and the foreign/total capital rate eased to 54.3 pct in 2009 from 56.8 pct in 2008.

    The survey showed that the Greek plastics industry remained on a downward trend, despite any benefits resulting from a more efficient management of raw materials and inventories.

    [19] ASE places Atlantic under surveillance

    The Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday announced it was placing the shares of Atlantic Super Market SCA in the under surveillance category after the company announced it has sought court protection from its creditors.

    [20] Stocks end 0.41% up

    Stocks ended moderately higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The composite index of the market rose 0.41 pct to end at 1,573.87 points, after rising as much as 1.51 pct during the session. Turnover remained a low 84.937 million euros.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.62 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.21 pct higher and the Small Cap index ended 0.30 pct up. The Food (2.61 pct) and Constructions (2.43 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel (3.25 pct) and Commerce (0.84 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 90 to 70 with another 60 issues unchanged. ANEK (10 pct), PC Systems (10 pct) and Ilyda (10 pct) were top gainers, while Q&R (11.76 pct), Euromedica (10.78 pct) and Alko (9.84 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: +0.71%

    Commercial: -0.84%

    Construction: +2.43%

    Media: +0.53%

    Oil & Gas: +1.27%

    Personal & Household: +0.52%

    Raw Materials: -0.57%

    Travel & Leisure: -3.25%

    Technology: +1.27%

    Telecoms: +0.45%

    Banks: +0.69%

    Food & Beverages: +0.91%

    Health: +1.02%

    Utilities: +1.09%

    Chemicals: +0.32%

    Financial Services: -0.05%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 4.60

    ATEbank: 1.07

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.37

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.67

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.08

    National Bank of Greece: 10.32

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.45

    OPAP: 11.16

    OTE: 6.63

    Bank of Piraeus: 4.03

    Titan: 17.10

    [21] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 82 million euros on Wednesday, of which 46 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 36 million were sell orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 16 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 769 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 10.31 pct and the German Bund 2.62 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.35 pct, the six-month 1.08 pct, the three-month rate 0.82 pct and the one-month rate 0.55 pct.

    [22] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover a low 30.94 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,348 contracts worth 23.898 million euros, with 21,815 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 10,318 contracts worth 7.043 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,197), followed by Eurobank (567), MIG (674), Piraeus Bank (573), Alpha Bank (1,237), Mytilineos (311), Cyprus Bank (1,116) and ATEbank (745).

    [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.280

    Pound sterling 0.840

    Danish kroner 7.509

    Swedish kroner 9.487

    Japanese yen 113.39

    Swiss franc 1.353

    Norwegian kroner 7.989

    Canadian dollar 1.326

    Australian dollar 1.452

    General News

    [24] Louvre Alexander the Great exhibition to travel to Dion

    A rare exhibition of engravings from the Louvre Museum on Alexander the Great's campaigns, crafted by renowned French artists, will be traveling outside of France for the first time, to be exhibited at the Center of Mediterranean Mosaics in Dion, Pieria prefecture, as part of the 39th annual Olympus Festival.

    The Festival proper takes place every summer with concerts and stage performances at the Ancient Theater of Dion, and various fringe events, including exhibitions, are staged in other venues.

    Weather Forecast

    [25] Fair on Thursday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 18C and 39C. Fair in Athens, with variable 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 23C to 38C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 22C to 36C.

    [26] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Siemens involvement in hospital procurements, the social security changes and the economy were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Wednesday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "80 percent discounts on clothing, shoes - Summer sales period begins tomorrow (Thursday)".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Shocking charges by the Public Administration Inspector General Rakintzis".

    AVGHI: "Siemens 'epidemic' in hospitals".

    AVRIANI: "Vasso (PASOK former minister Papandreou) vs. George (prime minister Papandreou)".

    CHORA: "Vasso Papandreou and 14 PASOK MPs, with question tabled in parliament, charge speculation games on the economy's carcass".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Slap for 'Czar' over the scheme with the structured bonds".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "To Siemens' health - Hospitals: Report reveals new scandal with the supplies".

    ESTIA: "Expenditures being reduced for the first time - The quintessence of the measures imposed by the 'troika'."

    ETHNOS: "The plan for the retirement superannuation in the public sector - Solution on the way for 18,000 pensioners".

    IMERISSIA: "Triple breather for the markets".

    KATHIMERINI: "Friendly fire against tourism - Acropolis closed due to employees (work stoppage) and inadequate policy".

    LOGOS: "Siemens gangrene in hospitals - Direct assignment (of supplies) and overpricing revealed by report".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The Greek banks are passing the stress tests".

    NIKI: "END to rent subsidies, too - Shock for thousands of low salary and pension earners from the Workers' Housing Organisation (OEK)".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The pro-capitalist majority of GSEE (General Confederation of Workers of Greece, the largest umbrella federation representing private sector workers) 'seeks' reduction of salary and wage".

    TA NEA: "How to retire earlier - Guide for acquisition of fictitious years of service".

    TO VIMA: "Mammoth mergers of commuter buses (ETHEL), electric train (ISAP), trolleys (ILPAP), Athens Metro and tram into a single agency, with more expensive tickets".

    VRADYNI: "Siemens orgy in National Health System (ESY) too".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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