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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-08-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 11 August 2010 Issue No: 3564


  • [01] UNHCR welcomes signing of transitional asylum procedure
  • [02] Greece ready to dispatch help to Russia
  • [03] ND VP in constant contact with Russian authorities on wildfires
  • [04] State budget deficit declines by 39.7%
  • [05] ESEE: 'Tax expensiveness' skyrockets inflation
  • [06] Piraeus Chamber of Commerce warns of alarming signs in market
  • [07] Serb tourists choose Greece as their summer holidays destination
  • [08] Stocks end 2.30 pct lower
  • [09] Greek bond market closing report
  • [10] ADEX closing report
  • [11] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [12] Fire near Ancient Olympia partly contained
  • [13] Parents sue teenager for seducing their 14-year-old daughter
  • [14] Cannabis grower arrested in Kilkis
  • [15] Drug arrests in Chania, Crete
  • [16] Antiquities smugglers; burglars arrested
  • [17] Contraband cigarettes confiscated
  • [18] Athens Metro work stoppage on Wednesday, Aug. 11
  • [19] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [20] President: We cannot prejudge outcome of our proposals on property issue Politics

  • [01] UNHCR welcomes signing of transitional asylum procedure

    The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday welcomed the recent signing by the citizens protection minister of a Presidential Decree that sets out the transitional procedure for asylum in Greece until a new law on asylum establishing and independent asylum service is legislated.

    The signing of the Presidential Decree is an important positive development, according to the head of the UNHCR office in Greece, George Tsarbopoulos.

    According to the UNHCR, this development paves the way for reinstitution and improvement of the operation of the refugee committees, which were abolished in the summer of 2009.

    The UNHCR hopes that the signatures of the other authoritative ministers and its processing by the Council of State will be completed in August so that the Presidential Decree may be adopted in September 2010, an announcement said, adding that the UNHCR supports the legislative and practical reforms being advanced by the Greek government for a just and efficient asylum system and the acceptance of asylum seekers and vulnerable groups, in accordance with the European and international legislation, the announcement concluded.

    [02] Greece ready to dispatch help to Russia

    Greece stands ready to help Russia in its efforts to fight the devastating wildfires, Foreign Ministry Secretary General Ioannis Zepos told the Russian embassy in Athens on Tuesday.

    The Greek government also announced that Russian tourists currently in Greece can extend their stay until September 10.

    The foreign ministry also announced that the Greek emabassy in Moscow and Greek consulates in the Russian Federation are operating as usual.

    [03] ND VP in constant contact with Russian authorities on wildfires

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party vice-president for foreign policy and international relations Dimitris Avramo-poulos is in "constant contact" with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov and the Russian government authorities to be kept abreast of the developments in the Russian capital and surrounding areas due to the devastating wildfires, an ND announcement said on Tuesday.

    Avramopoulos sent in early August a telegram to Lavrov expressing grief over the loss of human lives and extending support for the immense material damage caused by the blazes.

    "Solidarity among countries in such situations is a rule of international co-existence and mutual understanding," Avramopoulos said, adding that it would do well if Greece contributed with actions to the unequal battle being waged by the Russian people and government against the blazing nightmare they are facing, as Russia had done in the indescribable tragedy Greece went through during the 2007 wildfires, in the framework of mutuality."

    Financial News

    [04] State budget deficit declines by 39.7%

    According to the preliminary data available for the state budget implementation for the first seven months of 2010 (January - July), on a fiscal basis the deficit amounted to 12,097 million euro, versus 20,050 million euro during the same period of 2009 and consequently declined by 39.7%, against a targeted 39.5% annual decline foreseen in the economic policy programme, the state's General Accounting Office announced on Tuesday.

    The fiscal result of the seven months of 2010 is due to both a restriction of expenditures and increased revenues, and has been accomplished before the full attribution of the additional measures instituted on March and May, 2010, according to the office.

    The decline in the percentage reduction in the deficit from 45.4% in the first six months of 2010, to 39,7% for the seven months (January-July 2010) can be traced to ordinary revenue increases slightly lagging behind the target as well as to a substantial increase of interest expenditures in July.

    [05] ESEE: 'Tax expensiveness' skyrockets inflation

    The high taxes invalidate the efforts of Greek commerce to reduce prices in staple consumer goods, National Confederation of Greek Merchants (ESEE) president Vassilis Korkidis said Tuesday, commening on the rising inflation in Greece.

    Korkidis said that the imposition of excessive increases in indirect taxes skyrocketed inflation in June to 5.5 percent, bringing Greece back 13 years to the August 1997 levels, adding that the "tax increases" that were passed into the market, as well as those that will burden the taxpayer by the end of the year, unfortunately negate the socially responsible and honest effort of all merchants to reduce prices, and in addition create a condition of "tax expensiveness".

    He said the rise in the cost of living, especially during the summer sales period which was characterised by very large price reductions, should worry the economic staff of the government and particularly the EU-IMF troika inspectors, given that their initial forecast of a 1.9 percent increase has already tripled.

    The jump in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 0.6 percent in July 2009 and 2.4 percent in January this year to 5.5 percent in July creates multiple probems for businesses and households, he said, elaborating that the sharp increase in inflation has adverse side-effects such as negating the reduction in the prices of staple goods, freezing the market and rise in the number shops going out of business, deterioration of the financial situation of households, depriving consumers of real incomes, and absorption of the enterprises' slim cash flow.

    [06] Piraeus Chamber of Commerce warns of alarming signs in market

    "The decline in consumption is alarming," Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Giorgos Kassimatis said Tuesday.

    He stressed that based on data gathered by local chambers of commerce roughly 100,000 private businesses will close down nationwide by the end of the year, while the number of unemployed in the sector of commerce will reach 150,000.

    Kassimatis suggested that moves should be made immediately to ensure growth.

    [07] Serb tourists choose Greece as their summer holidays destination

    Roughly 700,000 Serbs are estimated to travel abroad for their summer vacations and spend close to 715 million euros, while more than 50 pct of them will pick Greece as their destination, according to the Serbia Association of Travel Agencies (YUTA).

    Meanwhile, Belgrade's B92 website refers to Greece and Montenegro as the two most popular destinations for Serb holidaymakers.

    [08] Stocks end 2.30 pct lower

    Greek stocks ended significantly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The composite index of the market fell 2.30 pct to end at 1,666.01 points, with turnover at 84.497 million euros. The Big Cap index dropped 2.76 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 2.20 pct and the Small Cap index ended 2.62 pct down. Health (-4.94 pct) and Financial Services (-4.49 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while only Chemicals (+0.58 pct) scored gains. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 149 to 33 with another 31 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -2.14

    Industrials: -2.79%

    Commercial: -2.26%

    Construction: -2.10%

    Media: -4.81%

    Oil & Gas: -1.44%

    Personal & Household: -0.85%

    Raw Materials: -3.08%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.89%

    Technology: -3.79%

    Telecoms: -1.77%

    Banks: -3.69%

    Food & Beverages: -0.98%

    Health: -4.94%

    Utilities: -0.71%

    Chemicals: +0.58%

    Financial Services: -4.49%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.56

    ATEbank: 1.11

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.76

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.78

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.20

    National Bank of Greece: 10.75

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.70

    OPAP: 11.74

    OTE: 6.09

    Bank of Piraeus: 4.85

    Titan: 16.44

    [09] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market rose to 43 million euros on Tuesday, of which 4 million were buy orders and the remaining 39 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 9 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds increased to 780 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 10.34 pct and the German Bund 2.54 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates remained unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.43 pct, the six-month rate 1.16 pct, the three-month 0.904 pct and the one-month rate 0.65 pct.

    [10] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a small premium 0.20 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday with turnover rising to 40.757 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index was 8,366 contracts worth 33.994 million euros, with 25,861 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,272 contracts worth 6.763 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,220), followed by ATEbank (1,502), Alpha Bank (1,371), Eurobank (1,330), MIG (864), Piraeus Bank (683) and Marfin Popular Bank (436).

    [11] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.323

    Pound sterling 0.841

    Danish kroner 7.509

    Swedish kroner 9.478

    Japanese yen 114.14

    Swiss franc 1.400

    Norwegian kroner 7.961

    Canadian dollar 1.370

    Australian dollar 1.458

    General News

    [12] Fire near Ancient Olympia partly contained

    Ń wildfire that broke out on Monday evening in a forest expanse near Ancient Olympia was reported as having been partially contained on Tuesday morning.

    Twenty-five fire engines with a 90-member crew assisted by seven firefighting airplanes and a water dropping helicopter were battling the blaze.

    A team of firefighters remains in the area to prevent flare-ups.

    [13] Parents sue teenager for seducing their 14-year-old daughter

    The parents of a 14-year-old girl, the father from the UK and the mother from Germany, filed a lawsuit against a 17-year-old local boy in Rethymno, on the island of Crete, accusing him of seducing their underage daughter and having sexual relations with her.

    The parents, who are separated, disapprove of the relationship maintaining that it exerts a great influence on their daughter's life.

    The affair has been known for the past year and during that time the girl has left school, while the parents express certainty that the relationship has become sexual despite their child's young age.

    Local authorities are handling the case discreetly due to the young age of the individuals involved.

    [14] Cannabis grower arrested in Kilkis

    A 65-year-old man was arrested near Ellinikon, Kilkis Prefecture, in northern Greece, accused of growing 347 cannabis plants in a rural region, police said on Tuesday.

    The suspect was arrested on his way to the cannabis plantation.

    Police found in his possession 75 grams of hashish, 49 narcotic pills, tools used in cannabis cultivation and two precision scales.

    [15] Drug arrests in Chania, Crete

    Three local men, aged 22, 26 and 33, and an Albanian national, 23, were arrested in Chania, on the southern Aegean island of Crete, on drug possession and trafficking charges, police announced on Tuesday.

    The arrests were made after police received information that the suspects were engaging in drug trafficking in the greater Chania region.

    A police search in places used by the suspects revealed 191 grams of heroin, 50 grams of cocaine, 1.5 grams of unprocessed cannabis, drug paraphernalia and a hunting rifle.

    [16] Antiquities smugglers; burglars arrested

    Two men, aged 26 and 41, were arrested while trying to sell two stolen icons to a third individual, who managed to flee, police said on Tuesday.

    The icons, dating back to the late 18th century, were stolen from a Byzantine church in the region of Kouvaras, Aetoloakarnania Prefecture, in central Greece.

    In a separate incident, two Georgian nationals, 33 and 41, were arrested in the district of Nea Smyrni, Athens accused of committing a total of 33 break-ins. A large number of stolen goods were found in their apartment.

    [17] Contraband cigarettes confiscated

    A large quantity of contraband cigarettes, corresponding to roughly 3 million euros in unpaid tariffs and taxes, was discovered and seized on Tuesday morning by the Attica prefecture financial crimes squad (SDOE).

    Roughly 1,179,000 packs of contraband cigarettes were confiscated after a search in two containers at the container terminal in Neo Ikonio, Piraeus.

    The contraband cigarettes arrived at the Port of Piraeus from Egypt on July 19, 2010 and according to the documents accompanying the containers, they contained "office supplies" destined for Bulgaria.

    [18] Athens Metro work stoppage on Wednesday, Aug. 11

    Athens Metro employees will stage a 5-hour work stoppage on Wednesday, Aug. 11 from 5.00 am to 10.00 am during which the metro service will not be interrupted but stops will be made only at the stations of Syntagma, Omonia, Monastiraki, Attiki and Plakentia.

    Commuters can transfer to Athens Piraeus Electric Railways (ISAP) at Omonia, Monastiraki and Attiki stations, or they can take the Proastiakos suburban railway at Plakentia Station.

    The work stoppage was called by one of the three unions representing Athens Metro employees.

    [19] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The recession and the lack of liquidity on the market, the development law and the unprecedented weather phenomena and the extreme disasters all over the planet, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' news-papers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "17 percent of small enterprises have closed - The crisis hit Athens' commercial center".

    APOGEVMATINI: "The new development law put to public deliberation".

    AVGHI: "Government puts the blame on us for their failure - State Revenues collapsed in July, tax evasion is rampant and consumption plunges".

    AVRIANI: "Bankruptcy scenarios return - State Revenues plunge - Speculators are lying in ambush for us".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Disaster!! All economic indicators plunge - Memorandum becomes a lament for Greece".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Automobile circulation fees will skyrocket".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The ecological plan for Hymmettus mountain".

    ESTIA: "Taxes-expenses vicious circle - The fiscal problem not solved".

    ETHNOS: "Chain of shut-downs strangling the market".

    IMERISSIA: "Recession deepens and threatens".

    KATHIMERINI: "Climate changes a nightmare - Unprecedented weather phenomena and environmental disasters throughout the planet".

    LOGOS: "Recession in market ...without a way out".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The maximum reinforcements for investments reduced".

    NIKI: "We will starve ....".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Government on debts to IKA social security foundation: Ridicule and audacity over the big-time businessmen's contribution evasion".

    TA NEA: "Law-trench for the debt hunters".

    TO VIMA: "Anxiety over the recession in the real economy despite the optimism from the deficit's decrease".

    VRADYNI: "Athens' market in ICU".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [20] President: We cannot prejudge outcome of our proposals on property issue


    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias said here Tuesday that the result of the submission of proposals by the two Cypriot sides on the issue of properties cannot be prejudged.

    In statements after the meeting he had on Tuesday with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, in the framework of direct negotiations on the Cyprus problem, Christofias said he always has a low profile discussion with Eroglu "but with different views on the property issues and sometimes in general''.

    He also announced that he invited Eroglu and his spouse for dinner at his house in Kellaki village on August 31, when their first meeting in the framework of direct negotiations will take place after the summer holidays.

    Christofias said that there will be an effort during their first meeting after the holidays to see if the minimum convergences on the property issue exist. From there on, overall proposals will be submitted by the two sides, he added.

    Invited to comment Eroglu's statements that if the Cyprus problem is not solved then each one will follow their own way, Christofias said that such things are said and commented during his meetings with Eroglu.

    "All these things are part of the political game. You realize that such threats do not defeat us. Turkey does the same thing, as regards a B plan, etc," he added.

    As he noted, the important thing is to have a common sense that will be based on the international and European rules and law and will take into consideration the situation after the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the occupation of part of the island, to achieve a settlement providing for a bizonal, bicommunal federation which is the major concession of the Greek Cypriot side.

    Replying to a question, Christofias said that talks have already been intensified, adding that the important issue is the content of the proposals submitted by the two sides.

    He said that the proposal of the Greek Cypriot side to link the property issue with the territorial adjustments is a constructive one, which however is not being accepted by the other side.

    "I will insist on this connection. Because if we are able to have such an arrangement, that will allow over 100,000 Greek Cypriot refugees to return to their ancestral homes, under Greek Cypriot administration, on the basis of the 1974 status, then the property issues will become less complex and easier to solve," he added.

    If the Turkish Cypriot side insists on its positions and retracts from the relevant Annan plan provisions, then things will be very difficult, he added.

    So "we cannot contemplate what will happen with the submission of the proposals from the two sides," Christofias noted.

    Asked if he has received a reply from his 26 EU counterparts to his letter on the issue of Famagusta, Christofias said that he received many replies, many of which are positive and welcome his proposal.

    The three-tier proposals the president has submitted at the negotiating table during the UN-led talks are as follows: the first suggests linking discussions on property to territory and immigration, citizenship, aliens and asylum. Property and territory are considered to be two of the most hotly contested issues at the talks President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu are engaged in.

    The second proposal calls for the implementation of Security Council resolution 550 which provides for the return of the fenced off area of Varosha, now under Turkish occupation, to the UN. The objective of the proposal is to restore the town and return it to its legitimate inhabitants. The proposal envisages also the opening of the city‘s port for trade for Turkish Cypriots, under EU supervision, as well as the restoration of the walled city of Famagusta (old part of the city).

    The third proposal relates to convening an international conference on Cyprus, once the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side are within reach of an agreement on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem. This conference must be called by the UN, and apart from the Republic of Cyprus and the island's two communities, the EU, the five permanent members of the Security Council and Cyprus' three guarantor powers will attend (Greece, Turkey and Britain are the guarantor powers according to the 1960 Constitution).

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

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