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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-08-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 13 August 2010 Issue No: 3566


  • [01] PM stresses need for 'Fourth Way' in newspaper interview
  • [02] Gov't, ND condemn fire-bomb incident at Turkish General Consulate
  • [03] Droutsas has telephone conversation with Turkish FM
  • [04] Government spokesman dismisses reshuffle rumours
  • [05] Patriarchal mass in Panagia Soumela Monastery in Trabzon
  • [06] ELSTAT: Unemployment at 12pct in May
  • [07] GDP down 3.5pct in Q2
  • [08] Turnover during summer sales down
  • [09] Stocks end 1.31 pct lower
  • [10] Greek bond market closing report
  • [11] ADEX closing report
  • [12] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [13] Epidaurus Festival closes with Aristophanes' 'Wealth'
  • [14] West Nile virus infection diagnosed in 32 cases
  • [15] Five Britons accused of attack on British soccer player in Malia released on bail
  • [16] Airplane makes forced landing on Rhodes - Passengers safe
  • [17] Wildfire near Kinetta; Amfiklia blaze under control
  • [18] Group of dolphins visited Thessaloniki's Thermaikos Bay
  • [19] Border toll on cars with Greek or EU license plates leaving Bulgaria
  • [20] Municipal tourist bus driver arrested for embezzlement
  • [21] Minors arrested in Githio for passing counterfeit 50-euro bills
  • [22] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM stresses need for 'Fourth Way' in newspaper interview

    Prime minister George Papandreou stressed the need for a "Fourth Way" that will "ensure that the markets have the freedom to innovate and grow" but, above all, will also guarantee that "democracy is never subordinated to markets", in an interview with the US newspaper Christian Science Monitor.

    The premier also explained that "Greece's debt has come from years of economic mismanagement - wasteful government spending, an inefficient public sector, chronic tax evasion", noting that "many other developed countries have unsustainable levels of debt that will require tough decisions in the short term to guarantee viability in the long term".

    "But cuts alone will not be enough to safeguard the global economy. We also need measures to stimulate growth and create jobs," he said, stressing: "Instead of collective austerity, we need global responsibility."

    Papandreou also warned that "there is a real danger in global austerity", because it could dampen global demand during a very fragile recovery. Our goal should not be to bounce from one bubble to another, but rather to move the global economy towards sustainable and equitable growth. We must ensure that those least responsible for causing this crisis do not pay the highest price.

    The premier further said that "Greece strongly supports further European integration and unity", stressing that "greater fiscal coordination is an essential part of this process".

    "We must ensure that European institutions serve the interests of Europe's citizens - not of financial markets," he said.

    "Our ultimate goal must be a fair, efficient system of economic governance that balances the need for sovereignty with the complex demands of monetary union in a globalized economy," the Greek premier continued.

    Papandreou also said that although Greece is "completely covered under the joint IMF-EU support mechanism until 2012, we hope to return to the bond market next year", noting, however that "the specifics will depend on market conditions and domestic progress.

    Asked if Greece will seek Chinese financing when it issues bonds again, Papandreou noted that "Greece welcomes purchases from China, as from any responsible investor".

    To another question, the premier denied that his ruling PASOK party has abandoned its social agenda. "Of course, pay cuts are painful; but the situation we inherited was so dire that the only alternative was bankruptcy - which would have hurt even more," he said.

    On the issue of "scapegoating immigrants" and "blaming the loss of Europe's generous welfare benefits on the new arrivals", Papandreou stressed that "we have to be very bold about migration polices", noting that "Europe of late has become quite xenophobic".

    "On the contrary, we should see migrants as part of the solution of our future growth", Papandreou said, describing the migrants as "creative and productive people in our societies".

    [02] Gov't, ND condemn fire-bomb incident at Turkish General Consulate

    The government and main opposition New Democracy (ND) on Thursday condemned an early morning incident in which an unidentified person threw a home-made fire bomb (molotov cocktail) at the fencing of the Turkish Consulate General in Thessaloniiki.

    No damage was caused by the incident, which occured at 4:15 a.m., and firefighters immediately extinguished the ensuing fire.

    Government spokesman George Petalotis condemned the incident, which he said had put at risk the safety of the Consulate General's police guards.

    "Actions such as these, regardless of motive, are unjustified and are against Greece itself. They are guided by violence and are against our democracy," Petalotis said, adding that the Greek society has "zero tolerance for such actions".

    The perpetrators will be arrested and led before justice, the government spokesman said, adding the Greek government's regret for "this unacceptable criminal action".

    ND press spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos also condemned the incident, adding that "such criminal actions, regardless of from where they originate and whatever the motives, are actions against Greece itself".

    [03] Droutsas has telephone conversation with Turkish FM

    Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas held Thursday a telephone conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutuglu on the latter's initiative, in light of the explosion of a home-made fire bomb (molotov cocktail) at the fencing of the Turkish Consulate General in Thessaloniki, in the early hours of Thursday.

    According to a foreign ministry press release, Droutsas briefed the Turkish minister on the incident and expressed the Greek government's sorrow. He also briefed Davutoglu on the Greek authorities' actions to investigate into the affair.

    [04] Government spokesman dismisses reshuffle rumours

    Government spokesman George Petalotis ruled out the likelihood of a reshuffle on Thursday stressing that "the government was hard at work to highlight the social and developmental dimensions of the policy followed."

    "We are interested in highlighting the social character of our policy in all sectors even those where the policy followed is very tough," he stressed.

    Petalotis also stated that "there is room for improvement in all sectors, including pensions and benefits."

    Referring to main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, he stressed that its governance has "left the people unprotected to deal with the crisis". He also stated that ND is responsible for the fact that the country had no other option than the Memorandum.

    [05] Patriarchal mass in Panagia Soumela Monastery in Trabzon

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA / A. Kourkoulas)

    This year's celebration of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary feast on August 15 in Panagia Soumela Monastery in Trabzon province will be very emotional considering that a holy mass will be held there for the first time since the end of WWI and the 1923 population exchange convention.

    The mass, to be officiated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, will be a memorable event for Eastern Orthodox Christians from the region of Pontos in the Black Sea, as many of them have been waiting their whole lives for this to happen.

    After 1923, the celebration of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary was taken by the Pontians to Greece, Russia and elsewhere in the world.

    Last June, the Turkish government accepted Bartholomew's request and gave him permission to hold mass in the monastery that has been turned into a museum and has not operated as a Christian church since the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923.

    Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunai had informed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the decision on June 7 at the inauguration of the Istanbul Festival held in Hagia Irini.

    Financial News

    [06] ELSTAT: Unemployment at 12pct in May

    Unemployment in Greece climbed to 12.0 percent in May, from 8.5 percent in the same month last year, according to figures released on Thursday by the independent National Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

    The unemployment rate in May 2010 was 12.0% compared to 8.5% in May 2009 and 11.9% in April 2010. The number of employed amounted to 4,431,326 persons while the number of unemployed amounted to 602,185 and the number of inactive to 4,267,994.

    The number of employed decreased by 122,672 persons compared with May 2009 (a 2.7% rate of decrease) and increased by 18,380 persons compared with April 2010 (a 0.4% rate of increase).

    Unemployed increased by 181,784 persons (a 43.2% rate of increase) compared with May 2009 and by 5,206 persons compared with April 2010 (a 0.9% rate of increase).

    The biggest rate of unemployment was recorded in eastern Macedonia and Thrace, running at 15.9 percent, followed by western and central Macedonia with 13.1 percent each, while unemployment in Crete jumped to 12.8 percent from a single-digit rate last year.

    An estimated 32.5 percent of the unemployed are from the 15-24 year age bracket.

    [07] GDP down 3.5pct in Q2

    Greece's GDP decreased by 3.5 percent in the second quarter of 2010, according to figures (flash estimates) released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT.) on Thursday.

    The decrease comes on the heels of a 2.3 percent reduction in GDP in the first quarter of the year.

    GDP fell declined by 2.9 percent in the first half of the year.

    According to ELSTAT, available data indicate (subject to a caveat appearing below) that in the 2nd quarter of 2010, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased by 3.5% in comparison with the2nd quarter of 2009 and by 1.5% in comparison with the previous quarter.

    The decrease of gross fixed capital formation as well as the significant decrease of general government expenditure, have contributed to the decline of GDP. At the same time, the improvement in the external trade balance has partially offset the effect of the above factors.

    Since the 1st quarter of 2010, the estimation method of General Government transactions has changed, creating a break in the series between the respective quarters of 2009 and 2010. This affects the comparability of the 2009 and 2010 data, and thus the rate of change of GDP between the two years reported here should be treated with caution. This issue will be addressed by the end of the year, with the backwards revision of General Government data, ELSTAT explained.

    [08] Turnover during summer sales down

    Turnover during the summer sales has plunged this year, despite discounts reaching up to 80 percent, due to the economic crisis, and market factors said that this was only to be expected.

    The economic crisis and the prevailing climate of insecurity makes the consumer extremely careful and hesitant, according to market representatives.

    As a result, in many parts of the country a significant fall in turnover has been recorded that reaches 25 percent, although in some parts of the country there have been signs of improvement.

    To date, according to estimations by local chambers of commerce, the biggest declines have been recorded in Attica prefecture and in Thessaloniki, while the biggest rises in shops' turnover are on Crete, especially in Heraklion, and in Patras, northwestern Peloponnese.

    [09] Stocks end 1.31 pct lower

    Greek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with the composite index of the market falling 1.31 pct to end at 1,628.28 points. Turnover was at 83.458 million euros. The Big Cap index dropped 1.29 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 0.61 pct and the Small Cap index ended 0.10 pct up. Telecoms (-2.96 pct) and Food & Beverages (-2.80 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Financial Services (+3.15 pct) and Utilities (+0.96 pct) scored gains. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 90 to 74 with another 42 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: -0.25%

    Commercial: -0.06%

    Construction: -1.43%

    Media: -1.13%

    Oil & Gas: -1.17%

    Personal & Household: +0.59%

    Raw Materials: -1.74%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.11%

    Technology: -1.60%

    Telecoms: -2.96%

    Banks: -1.41%

    Food & Beverages: -2.80%

    Health: -1.37%

    Utilities: +0.96%

    Chemicals: -0.88%

    Financial Services: +3.15%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.51

    ATEbank: 1.16

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.22

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.05

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.14

    National Bank of Greece: 10.40

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.45

    OPAP: 11.35

    OTE: 5.90

    Bank of Piraeus: 4.68

    Titan: 15.68

    [10] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market fell to 7 million euros on Thursday, all of which were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (19-06-2020) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 3 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds increased to 803 basis points from 801 basis points on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.46 pct and the German Bund 2.43 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates remained mostly unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.42 pct, the six-month rate 1.15 pct, the three-month 0.899 pct and the one-month rate 0.65 pct.

    [11] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a small discount 0.24 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday with turnover rising to 45.123 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index was 9,598 contracts worth 38.230 million euros, with 25,779 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,494 contracts worth 6.893 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,006) followed by Eurobank (1,962), Alpha Bank (1,960), Hellenic Postbank (1,756), ATEbank (841), Piraeus Bank (558) and MIG (540).

    [12] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.289

    Pound sterling 0.827

    Danish kroner 7.510

    Swedish kroner 9.553

    Japanese yen 110.38

    Swiss franc 1.36

    Norwegian kroner 8.028

    Canadian dollar 1.350

    Australian dollar 1.443

    General News

    [13] Epidaurus Festival closes with Aristophanes' 'Wealth'

    The Epidaurus Festival 2010 winds up this year with two performance of Aristophanes' play "Wealth" ("Plutos" in Greek) on August 13 and 14, directed by Diagoras Chronopoulos in a translation by Yiannis Varveris.

    The Art Theatre will present an alternative version of "Wealth" to the audience considering that even though it remains close to the original text a special emphasis is put on the personification of poverty and need ("Penia" in Greek).

    "Penia has a constant presence, highlighting its eternal existence in all civilized societies throughout history," director Chronopoulos stated.

    The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is situated within the archaeological site of the Sanctuary of Asklepios, in the Argolis prefecture of the Peloponnese, southern Greece, only a half-hour drive from Nafplio and approximately two hours from Athens.

    [14] West Nile virus infection diagnosed in 32 cases

    The laboratory diagnosed cases of West Nile virus infection with central nervous system manifestations are 32, according to the Daily Epidemiological Surveillance Report of cases of West Nile virus infection in Greece issued by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) on Thursday.

    The virus is known for many years and the main route of human infection is through the bite of an infected mosquito. The infection caused is mild and most of the time asymptomatic with the elderly being more at risk of a central nervous system infection which, however, is easily curable, according to scientists.

    [15] Five Britons accused of attack on British soccer player in Malia released on bail

    Five Britons accused of seriously injuring then British Oxford United FC soccer player Robert Hughes two years ago in Malia, Crete, were released on bail Wednesday after testifying before a local investigating magistrate in Hania, following their extradition to Greece.

    The five British man, aged 20-22, from Surrey and Sussex, who were arrested in December in Britain under European arrest warrants after failing to appear before the Greek judicial authorities, have denied taking part in the incident. A British court in February ordered their extradition to Greece to stand trial.

    The five were released on bail, pending trial, ranging from 3,000 to 12,000 euros.

    The five are accused of attacking Hughes, who was on holiday in Malia, in June 2008, causing severe head and skull injuries and coma. Hughes underwent three brain operations and spent three months at the Heraklion University Hospital. Doctors said at the time that it was a miracle that the British soccer player survived his injuries, but he still faces serious health problems today.

    A total of six British men are facing charges over the attack -- although a larger number were involved in the incident, according to police -- five of which appeared before the Heraklion investigating magistrate for testimony on Wednesday.

    [16] Airplane makes forced landing on Rhodes - Passengers safe

    Án aircraft owned by a German company on Thursday made a forced landing at 10:15 a.m. at the airport on the island of Rhodes. The airplane was on a charter flight from Berlin to Rhodes and, while approaching the airport for landing, the pilot detected a failure in the aircraft's electrical system.

    The airport was placed on alert, and the plane landed safely. Rhodes Fire Brigade assisted the 112 passengers and two babies who were on board to evacuate the aircraft.

    Rhodes airport resumed normal operation at 10:55.

    [17] Wildfire near Kinetta; Amfiklia blaze under control

    A wildfire broke out near Kinetta, south of Athens, earlier on Thursday. Eleven fire engines and 33 firemen participate in the efforts to extinguish the fire, while a water-dropping helicopter is on standby. According to the Fire Department, the fire will be under control soon.

    Meanwhile, the blaze that broke out in the region of Ano Kalivia in Amfiklia, Fthiotida Prefecture, in central Greece has been put under control. The fire was extinguished in half an hour by 21 firemen, 7 fire engines and 2 water-dropping aircraft.

    [18] Group of dolphins visited Thessaloniki's Thermaikos Bay

    The presence of a pod of dolphins in Thessaloniki's Thermaikos Bay on Wednesday afternoon caught the attention of people strolling down the city's captivating seaside promenade who were surprised to see the adorable marine mammals so close to the coast.

    The phenomenon is not rare in Thermaikos Bay, where sea turtles and seals are also being spotted frequently looking for food in the reach in fish waters, according to scientists. They also stressed that people should not be surprised by the dolphins' behaviour and should not forget that "the sea is their home and there is no specific place where they live".

    The name dolphin is originally from the Greek "delphis" stemming from the Greek word "delphus" meaning "womb". The animal's name can therefore be interpreted as meaning "a 'fish' with a womb".

    One of the most known stories on dolphins comes from the ancient Greek historian Herodotus and the rescuing of the legendary poet and guitar player Arion, who was thrown into the sea and was carried safely to dry land by a dolphin.

    [19] Border toll on cars with Greek or EU license plates leaving Bulgaria

    Bulgaria's decision to impose a 5-euro border toll on cars with Greek or EU license plates when leaving the country has caused the strong reaction of Greek and other European motorists. The toll is not imposed on Bulgarian motorists.

    The special toll that has been imposed for the past month is valid for one week meaning that motorists re-entering the country before it expires will not have to pay again.

    [20] Municipal tourist bus driver arrested for embezzlement

    A 41-year-old municipal employee was arrested on Alonnissos island, Sporades complex, northern Aegean, charged with embezzlement.

    The detainee was working as a driver of the Public Benefit Transport Enterprise of Alonnissos and transported tourists visiting the island.

    According to police the employee is charged with issuing fake tickets, which he procured himself and which were different from those supplied to him by the Enterprise, but collecting the normal price.

    In this way, the man presented lower to nearly zero revenues to the Enterprise from the bus routes he conducted.

    A 44-year-old Albanian woman implicated in the scam has also been arrested.

    The case was discovered in the framework of an internal audit by the municipal enterprise.

    A preliminary investigation is being conducted by police.

    [21] Minors arrested in Githio for passing counterfeit 50-euro bills

    Three minors were arrested in the town of Githio, in southern Greece, on charges of passing counterfeit banknotes at local stores, police said on Thursday.

    The three, two locals and a foreign national aged 16-18, were arrested by police acting on a tip-off. A search revealed that they had four counterfeit 50-euro bills in their possession, while they also told police that they had managed to pass other four at local stores.

    [22] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The new arrangements for settlement of debts to social security funds and the penalties for those who do not comply by the October deadline, the economy, and school teachers' mass (early) retirements, dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Up to 800,000 the enterprises that owe to the social security funds".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Block on land transfers - State's trespassed lands under the Environment Ministry's microscope".

    AVGHI: "Schools without teachers".

    AVRIANI: "Three Hierarchs and the official responsible for the Church's property sent to court on felony charges".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Nasty 'cooking' of the social benefits".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Schools without teachers - 11,500 teachers retiring".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "School teachers' mass exodus".

    ESTIA: "The root cause of the recession - The state strangles the economy".

    ETHNOS: "School teachers' mass exodus".

    IMERISSIA: "Countdown for denationalisations".

    KATHIMERINI: "Labour Ministry begs 'with threats' those who owe to the funds".

    LOGOS: "Loverdos' ultimatum to debtors".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Pressure on enterprises to pay their debts".

    NIKI: "Chaos in the economy"

    TA NEA: "11,666 school teachers retire - New social security law's side effects".

    TO VIMA: "Mykonos, the most expensive island in Europe".

    VRADYNI: "Explosive climate in secondary education".

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