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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-08-25

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

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

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 Issue No: 3575

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM's address at informal cabinet meeting
  • [02] ND spokesman criticises PM's article on Internet
  • [03] KKE visit to handful of Mideast countries' embassies in Athens
  • [04] Rehn: Greece will overcome crisis
  • [05] Merchants federation against pending VAT hike
  • [06] Stocks down 3.42% on Tues.
  • [07] ADEX closing report
  • [08] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [09] Archaeologists cite discovery of royal residence on Ithaca
  • [10] US 'Dream Team' in Athens; greeted by dep. tourism minister in Syntagma
  • [11] Another West Nile virus fatality reported
  • [12] Seaborne chase of bank robbers in west Aegean
  • [13] Suspects linked to 19 bank robberies
  • [14] Greek scouts celebrate 100th anniversary
  • [15] Fair on Wednesday
  • [16] The Tuesday edition of Athens ' dailies at a glance

  • [01] PM's address at informal cabinet meeting

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday moved to end continuing speculation over a possible government reshuffle while, according to reports, he emphasised that whatever changes implemented in the coming period will be limited, whereas major structural changes are being examined, without this meaning a reshuffle.

    "We're not talking about supra-ministries, but about the modern operation of the government," he added.

    Moreover, along the same lines, he called on his ministers to refrain from discussions, in public and private, on the reshuffle issue, a favorite topic of Greek political reporters and pundits as the summer season winds down.

    Papandreou made the comments during an informal cabinet meeting.

    The meeting's agenda focused on the issue of so-called "closed professions", education and efforts to rehabilitate and better protect Athens' city centre, while Health Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou briefed colleagues on the West Nile virus outbreak in northern Greece and a tougher ban on smoking in indoor public premises.

    As regards Athens historic centre, Citizens' Protection Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis referred to measures, timetables and the amounts required for the reshaping of the district, with the prime minister saying that central Athens must become a model for interventions by other local governments and the state, whereas the centre of the Greek capital must be re-linked with entrepreneurship and tourism.

    Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou briefed the informal cabinet meeting on the situation in tertiary education.

    Én other comments, the PM added:

    "Just as in the first stage we gave all our strength to save Greece, from now on we shall continue on the course that we have set, namely, the reversal in essence of all the economic and social factors of the past years."

    He said that "the path that we have succeeded in entering, we are building a new reality as well with the changes that we have done."

    Papandreou stressed that the government is consistent with PASOK's principles and values and at the same time it is serving with dedication at the specific historic moment, "a mission that we are carrying out with whatever difficulties our country is experiencing."

    He added that the "clear" milestones for this will be constituted by Sept. 3, with the national council meeting, the government's presence at the Thessaloniki International Fair , the tabling of the budget, completion on Oct. 4 of one year of PASOK's governance, as well as the election battle for the local government elections.

    [02] ND spokesman criticises PM's article on Internet

    Main opposition New Democracy party on Monday roundly criticised the government again over the economy, following the publication of an article on the Internet by the prime minister a day earlier.

    "Whereas we were expecting from the prime minister measures for economic growth, the strengthening of SMEs and the boosting of the economically weak, we read in his article on the Internet his well-known, unacceptable phraseology about the injury to our national sovereignty. Such phrases gravely expose himself and his government," a ND spokesman said.

    [03] KKE visit to handful of Mideast countries' embassies in Athens

    A Communist Party of Greece (KKE) delegation on Tuesday visited the embassies of Iran, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Authority in Athens, respectively, in order to be briefed by the respective foreign diplomatic missions over their governments' positions on Mideast issues, as well as to present its positions.

    The party also issued a statement referring to the "the dangerous condition that is being created for the peoples of our region, as well as the Greek people, from the imperialistic designs and Greek government's involvement in these".

    The action comes a week after a closely watched official visit to Greece by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a joint volition by the two countries to increase cooperation on every field, developments that KKE sharply criticised.

    Financial News

    [04] Rehn: Greece will overcome crisis

    EU Economic & Monetary Olli Rehn appeared confident on Tuesday that Greece will overcome its current economic and fiscal crisis, in an article appearing in the Wall Street Journal.

    He also dismissed the notion that the country will have to restructure or refinance its more than 300-billion-euro public debt.

    "Greece has taken drastic, sometimes painful, steps to turn an unsustainable situation around," Rehn wrote in an opinion piece appearing in the esteemed US newspaper on Tuesday.

    "I am aware that the Greek reform drive has not killed concerns that Athens might yet be forced to restructure its debt ... For several intertwined reasons, I find these concerns unfounded."

    He also said that the Greek government's reforms were ambitious but also "realistic", while apparently making better progress than expected.

    "In fact, the impressive progress with structural reforms is likely to lead to a higher than assumed GDP growth," he said, without however, citing figures or targets.

    Rehn listed off three reasons why debt restructuring is highly unlikely, before adding:

    "It would mean severe knock-on effects, through a protracted disruption of the broader economy and financial system in Greece, and have adverse consequences for the whole euro area and the global economy ... Its political costs would be extremely damaging not only for Greece but for the euro area and the European Union as a whole. While improving credibility does not happen overnight, we are seeing signs of a gradual stabilization in market sentiment toward Greece."

    [05] Merchants federation against pending VAT hike

    National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) president Vassilis Korkidis on Tuesday called the proposed increase of the VAT rates for certain goods and services -- up from 11 percent to 23 percent in 2011 -- a "burden without any substance".

    "The raise in VAT is based on a wrong calculation; it's a cursory decision that will have the opposite result from the desired," Korkidis said.

    [06] Stocks down 3.42% on Tues.

    Stocks on Tuesday succumbed to international pressures on other bourses and fell by 3.42 percent at the Athens Stock Exchange, with the market's composite index ending at 1,544.33 points. Turnover was a low to moderate 106.48 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell by 3.39 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 3.02 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 2.10 pct. Only Chemicals were up, (0.46 pct). Raw Materials (5.35 pct), Telecoms (5.38 pct) and Financial Services (4.36) scored the biggest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, advancers trailed decliners by 34 to 148 with another 33 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.33%

    Industrials: -2.90%

    Commercial: -2.46%

    Construction: -1.53%

    Media: -4.28%

    Oil & Gas: -3.12%

    Personal & Household: -2.17%

    Raw Materials: -5.35%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.68%

    Technology: -4.37%

    Telecoms: -5.38%

    Banks: -3.47%

    Food & Beverages: -2.53%

    Health: -1.77%

    Utilities: -4.19%

    Chemicals: +0.46%

    Financial Services: -4.36%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.22

    ATEbank: 1.08

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.06

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.30

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.71

    National Bank of Greece: 10.10

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.02

    OPAP: 11.21

    OTE: 5.45

    Bank of Piraeus: 4.13

    Titan: 15.40

    [07] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a small discount 0.154 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday with turnover rising to 64.379 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index was 14,160 contracts worth 53.511 million euros, with 25,498 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 18,581 contracts worth 10.868 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (2,894) followed by Eurobank (2,324), Marfin Investment Group (1,825), OTE (869), DEH (372), OPAP (138) and Piraeus (864).

    [08] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.271

    Pound sterling 0.825

    Danish kroner 7.508

    Swedish kroner 9.491

    Japanese yen 107.04

    Swiss franc 1.326

    Norwegian kroner 8.004

    Canadian dollar 1.351

    Australian dollar 1.441

    General News

    [09] Archaeologists cite discovery of royal residence on Ithaca

    Greek archaeologists believe they have found the remains of a royal residence of pre-Classical Ithaca , with links to legendary Odysseus (Ulysses) inevitably coming to mind. Excavations by a University of Ioannina team of archaeologists are centred on the Aghios Athanassios site of Ithaca , a small isle in the Ionian Sea - west of mainland Greece - that has long been associated with Homeric hero Odysseus and the epic Odyssey.

    "According to evidence so far, which is extremely significant, and taking under consideration scientific reservations, we believe we are before the palace of Odysseus and Penelope; the only one of the Homeric-era palaces that has not yet been discovered," professor Thanassis Papadopoulos told reporters during a briefing last week.

    To date, the dig has uncovered remains of a three-storey building with an interior staircase cut into the side of sheer rock. Remnants of Mycenaean-era pottery were also found, along with a fountain dated to the 13 century BC. Similar fountains have been unearthed at the related sites of the acropolis of Mycenae and Tiryns , in southeast mainland Greece , and specifically in the Argolida plain in the NE Peloponnese.

    [10] US 'Dream Team' in Athens; greeted by dep. tourism minister in Syntagma

    The NBA star-studded "Dream Team", America's national basketball team, arrived in Athens on Tuesday and appeared en mass in front of the Hellenic Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens' central Syntagma Square.

    "Dream Team" players visited the Greek capital's main square, where they were greeted by teen players from Panathinaikos Athens coach Zeljko Obradovic's youth academies and by officials from the tourism ministry and the Greek basketball federation.

    Players signed numerous autographs for gathered tourists at the popular site and were also photographed with members of the elite Evzone presidential guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    In greeting the world-class team, Deputy Tourism Minister Giorgos Nikitiadis explained the significance of the particular square for Hellenism to the players, coaches and staff, and accompanied them on a tour, before he was presented with a Dream Team jersey.

    [11] Another West Nile virus fatality reported

    Another person has to an infection caused by the West Nile virus, while seven more cases were diagnosed on Monday.

    Altogether, the number of fatalities from the West Nile virus has reached nine since Aug. 4, and the total number of cases totals 106.

    [12] Seaborne chase of bank robbers in west Aegean

    A seaborne chase of two alleged bank robbers was underway Tuesday morning north of the Sporades chain of islands in the west-central Aegean, as coast guard vessels attempted to stop an inflatable craft carrying the suspects.

    The two armed gunmen had earlier robbed a National Bank branch on the island of Alonissos, before attempting to flee through the isle on a motor scooter before being knocked down. They subsequently hijacked the motorcycle of a passerby, shot at a coast guard officer and boarded the craft, speeding north towards the islands of Skopelos and Skiathos.

    According to reports, they inadvertently dropped the heist money during their episodic getaway, calculated at a whopping one million euros. No injuries were reported.

    [13] Suspects linked to 19 bank robberies

    A trio of suspects arrested during Monday's attempted robbery and subsequent hostage situation at the National Bank in Piraeus have been linked to 19 robberies at bank branches in the Attica prefecture and two robberies of Post Office branches.

    Moreover, they are suspected of stealing numerous motorcycles and a truck, while their participation in other criminal acts is still being probed.

    [14] Greek scouts celebrate 100th anniversary

    Some 2,500 scouts from throughout Greece and from abroad have gathered in the central Greece coastal resort of Kammena Vourla to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Greek Scouting.

    Expatriate Greek scouts from France, Egypt and Australia as well as scouts from Cyprus accepted the invitation and joined the jamboree, which began on Saturday morning.

    Beach concerts, games, water sports and visits to archeological sites are among the events included in the celebration, which will be concluded on Saturday, Aug. 28.

    Weather Forecast

    [15] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 20C and 38C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 24C to 37C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 21C to 35C.

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

    A more-or-less positive review on the Greek economy by an international ratings service, main opposition New Democracy (ND) criticism of the government's policy, speculation over a government's reshuffle and Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou's statements that the coming school year will be precarious due to a substantial shortage of staff mostly dominated the headlines in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "ND: Inefficient government responsible for gloomy course of economy'.

    APOGEVMATINI: "We're spending our reserves while government reshuffles".

    AVGHI: "Anna Diamantopoulou: "Worse school year in last 25 years".

    AVRIANI: "Troika changes government's structure".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Liars! You promised one thing, did another in the economy".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government incapable of covering vacancies in school staff, yet declares ready to deal with sit-ins".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New map in local administration".

    ESTIA: "Greek phenomenon unique: Common sense absent".

    ETHNOS: "Five changes in premier's office and government".

    KATHIMERINI: "Government gives second thought for new taxes - Final decisions in September".

    LOGOS: "Government spokesman reassures: No hike in VAT rate in 2010".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Rapid and 'open' procedures in banks".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party initiative to visit Middle East countries' embassies significant".

    TA NEA: "Prime Minister George Papandreou plans new start".

    TO VIMA: "Shocking - confession of vacancies in schools".

    VRADYNI: "Sacrifices wasted - Curtailment in state investments deepens crisis"

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


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