|Friday, 20 October 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-08-20
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 20 August 2010 Issue No: 3571
 Commission OKs second loan trancheBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)
The European Commission on Thursday officially announced that Greece has fulfilled conditions to receive the second installment of loans by eurozone member-states.
According to the announcement, the EU evaluated the measures the Greek government has imposed so far, in line with decisions taken at a ministers' council on May 10 to curtail the country's excessive deficit.
The Commission cites a positive result on the whole as opening the way for the disbursal of the second tranche of emergency loans, adding that it believes member-states will approve the second installment.
"Greece has managed impressive budgetary consolidation during the first half of 2010 and has achieved swift progress with major structural reforms," Economic & Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said here, while nevertheless warning: "The main immediate challenge is to safeguard adequate liquidity and financial stability of the banking sector. At the same time, the structural reform agenda needs to be pressed ahead to unleash the huge potential for raising growth."
According to EU the fiscal development in the first half of 2010 were positive and the deficit fell by 46 percent, quicker than foreseen in the state budget.
Prime Minister George Papandreou on Thursday met with Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili and was briefed on issues dealing with energy and the deregulation of energy market, which will be concluded until the end of December.
While exiting the premier's office, Birbili said she briefed Papandreou on priorities ahead of Thessaloniki Fair (TIF) and that they focused on the forest map issue.
In a related development, Birbili said she will not be a candidate for the position of Attica regional prefect in the upcoming local government elections.
 BoG Gov: Economy now entering 'virtuous cycle'Prime Minister George Papandreou on Thursday emphasised that the first goals in the country's closely watched fiscal restructuring and deficit-busting programme have been met, in greeting Bank of Greece (BoG) Gov. George Provopoulos to his office.
The Greek premier said the next steps aim to buttress a secure economic climate, social justice and the economy growth.
On his part, Provopoulos' initially said that despite whatever problems the country's public finances have been reined in, allowing for the creation of a "virtuous cycle" in the economy. "We're leaving behind a vicious cycle," he said upon arriving at the Maximos Mansion office.
Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou was also at the meeting, following his earlier meeting with Papandreou.
 Mideast situation dominates PM's phone contacts with EU Council president, Abbas, Hillary ClintonPrime Minister George Papandreou held a series of telephone contacts on Thursday with European Council President Herman van Rompuy, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The communications were held shortly after the visit to Athens by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and focused on the situation in the Middle East and the upcoming start of peace talks.
Papandreou briefed Rompuy both on Netanyahu's visit to Athens and his own visit to the Middle East.
The discussion between the Greek prime minister and Rompuy did not leave out references to developments in the Greek and European economy.
An extensive discussion on the Middle East, as well as the expression of the mutual hope for a meeting between them soon, dominated Papandreou's talks with the Palestinian Authority president.
Lastly, he discussed the situation in the Middle East and his contacts with the Palestinians during the phone call with Clinton, while an exchange of views took place on the situation in the Balkans and the Cyprus issue.
 Athens reiterates positions on Mideast in wake of Netanyahu visitIntensification of relations between Greece and Israel, signalled by the exchange of visits by the prime ministers of the two countries over the past month, generated numerous comments and reports in the local and regional press, with some analysts even expressing skepticism as to whether Greece's traditional excellent relations with the Arab world are harmed.
The main question was whether Greek-Israeli rapprochement and decisions to increase bilateral relations were in any way linked to the increasingly glacial relations between Turkey and Israel over the recent period.
"... The axes of our foreign policy are clear and well known. And I want to stress this, as well, because there are a lot of comments being made to the effect that 'the traditional cooperation we have had with the Arab world is being jeopardised.' I want to be categorical in saying that there is no such issue ... Cooperation with Israel does not preclude close cooperation with the Arab world, and particularly our Palestinian friends. These relations with the Arab world are relations of credibility, of trust, that we have managed to create in the past," Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas repeatedly earlier in the week.
In fact, shortly before the arrival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Athens, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou held a series of telephone contacts with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.
"Apart from the development of bilateral relations, the visit of the Israeli prime minister is part of the Greek government's wider planning for the upgrading of our country's role, that is in our interest as well as in the interest of the wider region," foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras added.
"We want," as he stressed, "Greece to assume a more active role in the efforts being made for peace in the Middle East and the only way for this to happen is to speak with all, to have relations of trust with all."
 ND leader on Kikilias candidacy for Attica regionMain opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras received Vassilis Kikilias, a physician and former noted basketball player, in his office on Thursday, where he announced the party's support for Kikilias' candidacy in the Attica regional election this autumn.
"I have a mandate, for renewal ... therefore, in the country's biggest local administration region, Attica, we have Vassilis Kikilias -- a young man, a doctor, an athlete, someone involved with local government, and someone that is unblemished," Samaras said.
 Markoyiannakis expelled from ND Parliamentary groupMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras on Wednesday expelled Hania-district deputy and former minister Christos Markoyiannnakis from ND's Parlia-mentary group.
Samaras, in a letter addressed to Parliament President Filippos Petsalnikos, announced the Cretan MP's ouster from the ND Parliamentary group.
Additionally, according to reports, Samaras will refer Marko-yiannakis to the party's ethics committee on the issue of the latter's complete expulsion from the party.
The reason for the censure were statements by Markoyiannakis several days ago, in which he left open the possibility of running an independent in the Crete regional director election (a new post), in opposition to ND's apparent preference for Yiannis Plakiotakis. Markoyiannakis also criticised Plakiotakis.
Later in the evening, the ethics committee convened under the chairmanship of Ioannis Tragakis unanimously decided to finalise his expulsion from the party.
The committee accepted Samaras' reasoning and decided that Markoyiannakis placed himself out of the party with his stance and statements.
 Gov't on economic growthGovernment spokesman George Petalotis, speaking to public radio on Thursday, expressed a conviction that if the government continues with the same and even speedier rates then economic growth will return in 2012, accompanied by a decrease in unemployment and boosted entrepreneurship.
Petalotis also termed the upcoming elections a "local administration struggle with strong political characteristics," explaining that we have to do with a new, now, self administration with the new "Kallikratis" institution that, as he said, must begin with persons who will believe in this very great change.
 Data on central government debtThe central government's debt amounted to 316.954 billion euros as of June 30, up from 310.387 billion euros at the end of March.
The Greek state's cash reserves at the end of June totalled 7.465 billion euros, slightly up from 7.159 billion euros on March 31, while the Greek state's securities reached 25.496 billion euros from 25.408, respectively.
The data was announced by the State General Accounting Office.
 Stocks lag in slow tradingDownward pressure on other international markets and lack of interest again pushed stocks down at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with the composite index of the market down 1.00 percent to end at 1,647.89 points. Turnover was a low 52.13 million euros.
The Big Cap index lost 1.33 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.87 pct higher and the Small Cap index decreased by 0.14 pct. Insurances (2.71 pct) and Travel/Recreation (0.57 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Financial Services (4.74 pct) and Constructions (2.76 pct) recorded the biggest losses.
Broadly, advancers trailed decliners by 68 to 98 with another 46 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.28%
Personal & Household: -1.55%
Raw Materials: -1.67%
Travel & Leisure: +0.57%
Food & Beverages: +0.45%
Financial Services: -4.74%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Alpha Bank, National Bank, OPAP and Piraeus Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 5.70
Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.32
HBC Coca Cola: 18.18
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.30
National Bank of Greece: 10.53
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.58
Bank of Piraeus: 4.64
 Foreign Exchange rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.293
Pound sterling 0.827
Danish kroner 7.510
Swedish kroner 9.514
Japanese yen 110.7
Swiss franc 1.343
Norwegian kroner 7.957
Canadian dollar 1.328
Australian dollar 1.437
 Elderly man latest victim of West Nile virusA 76-year-old man among those infected in northern Greece by the West Nile virus died on Thursday at a Thessaloniki hospital. According to a hospital announcement, the elderly suffered serious health problems recently.
 Foreign nationals arrested in bogus residency documents ringNine foreign nationals, a Pakistani and nine Algerians, were arrested on Thursday in Athens on charges stemming from the manufacture and use of fake residency cards.
According to authorities, the Pakistani man was hired by the Algerians to manufacture the bogus documents. Police are searching for the first suspect's accomplices.
 Fair on FridayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 39C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 24C to 37C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 24C to 35C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens dailies at a glanceLiquidity shortages in market, consumer reactions to price hikes for flour, new unemployment figures and the latest batch of government measures aimed at curbing the widespread problem of tax evasion mostly dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens ' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Nine out of 10 enterprises out of money".
APOGEVMATINI: "Death of the merchant".
AVGHI: "Tourism, the last fortress falls".
AVRIANI: "Markets in state of bankruptcy"
ELEFTHEROS: "30 social security funds at razor's edge".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Triple SOS for enterprises, tourism and unemployment -Serious worsening in economy".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Tax evasion orgy, but will state receive the money?
ESTIA: "PM George Papandreou's visit to Israel a substantial overture in foreign relations".
ETHNOS: "Enterprises have run out of cash".
IMERISSIA: "Unemployment to reach 16 percent in autumn".
KATHIMERINI: "11.9 percent fall in revenues from tourism in first half of 2010".
TA NEA: "Express trial for tax evaders".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Greek tourism revenues plunging".
NIKI: "Citizens withdrew savings from banks - 30 billion euros 'vanishes' from Greek banks.
RIZOSPASTIS: "Struggle against attack on people's nutrition".
TO VIMA: "Products of multinational companies sold higher in Greece in comparison to other European countries".
VRADYNI: "Market dried out".
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