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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-08-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Thursday, 26 August 2010 Issue No: 3576


  • [01] FinMin: Recession milder than originally projected for 2010
  • [02] FinMin on budget revenues
  • [03] Belgian FM holds talks with PM, alternate FM
  • [04] Alternate FM: 'Small revolution needed in Greece'
  • [05] Commission reaction to Slovakia 'no' over support mechanism
  • [06] Employment minister on social security issue
  • [07] ND sharply criticises PM over reshuffle issue
  • [08] Gov't on nat'l college entrance exams
  • [09] Athens mayor's reaction to gov't initiative to safeguard city's historic centre
  • [10] Draft bill on 'closed professions' pending
  • [11] ECAC aviation con'f begins in Athens on Thurs.
  • [12] Stocks slide 1.82% Wed.
  • [13] ADEX closing report
  • [14] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [15] Two injured in armed robbery
  • [16] Migrant smugglers, illegals arrested
  • [17] Migrant-smuggling arrest in Grevena
  • [18] Five foreign nationals accused in multiple robberies
  • [19] AEK-Dundee match at Karaiskaki stadium
  • [20] Super League president elected
  • [21] Fair on Thursday
  • [22] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] FinMin: Recession milder than originally projected for 2010

    Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou announced on Wednesday that the government was increasing guarantees for loans issued by domestic banks by 25 billion euros.

    In announcing the scheme, he said it was different that the one unveiled by the preceding New Democracy government in 2008, saying that although fluidity in the market was the envisioned goal, nevertheless, conditions will be made stricter in order to buttress "the real economy, households and businesses."

    Touching on the state of the Greek economy in the wake of several positive reviews, Papaconstantinou said:

    "Problems remain, and the Greek economy remains in recession, which however, is shallower than what we could have imagined. The shrinking (of GDP) in the first half of the year is under 3 percent, and for all of 2010 we foresee that it will close that under the projected -4 percent ... Certainly, job spots will be lost in the effort to build an economy that will not be based on clay legs," he said, noting:

    "However, we are seeing light in the tunnel after months of complete darkness over the country's prospects; the image has changed," he said.

    Moreover, the Greek FinMin repeated that there is no "new memorandum" on the table, only an updated memorandum -- a reference to the agreement worked out with the EU Commission, the ECB and the IMF. He also repeated that there is no issue of a restructuring of the Greek national debt.

    [02] FinMin on budget revenues

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Wednesday chaired a meeting at his ministry on the course of the budget's revenues. The ministry's secretary generals also participated.

    A briefing was made during the meeting on the course of the revenues and data was presented and it was ascertained that their increase in August moved at satisfactory levels in relation to the targets anticipated by the budget.

    [03] Belgian FM holds talks with PM, alternate FM

    Belgian government vice president and Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere sent a message of strong solidarity from the Belgian government to Greece for the economic crisis that it is facing, as well as a message that the consequences of the economic crisis can only be solved within the European framework.

    The Belgian minister said "strength lies in unity. The more united we are, the sooner we shall see results," speaking in joint statements he made with Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas after their meeting at the foreign ministry on Wednesday.

    Earlier in the afternoon, he held talks with Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    Focusing on the economic field, the head of Belgian diplomacy said that he and Droutsas also discussed the promotion of Belgian investments in Greece.

    Also discussed were developments in Turkey and the issue of Cyprus, while the Belgian official revealed that he will be going to Cyprus after visiting Athens.

    Shortly before receiving the Belgian official in the afternoon, Papandreou received in his office the head of the American Jewish Committee David Harris.

    [04] Alternate FM: 'Small revolution needed in Greece'

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas emphasised here in a press interview published on Wednesday that "a small revolution must take place in Greece".

    Droutsas' interview appeared in the Wednesday's edition of the Austrian daily "Die Presse", where he also emphasised that "Greek citizens are already taking the first steps in this direction."

    The minister referred at length to a series of issues, such as the economic crisis and its handling, the government's efforts and its successes in regaining the country's reliability and prestige, the scheduling of major structural changes at home, as well as relations with Turkey and the rapprochement with Israel.

    Droutsas stressed that there are already first positive results in the handling the crisis which -- as all agree in the European Union -- also threatens the euro -- and for this reason it created the support mechanism itself that Greece is using.

    He then pointed out -- in an indirect reference to Slovakia's refusal to correspondingly fund the support mechanism for Greece -- that solidarity is one of the EU's most precious principles and that Greece takes it into consideration very seriously. Droutsas said Greece has displayed such solidarity repeatedly since its accession to the EU towards every member and supported all the candidate countries for accession, including Slovakia, something that it must not forget so soon.

    [05] Commission reaction to Slovakia 'no' over support mechanism

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Following a no vote by the parliamentary majority of the new government coalition in Slovakia to participate in the eurozone support mechanism for Greece, the new coalition government in the Czech Republic appears headed in the same direction, with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas stating as much in comments carried on Wednesday by the Austrian daily "Kourier."

    The new Czech premier said his country is taking into consideration the support plan for Greece but does not intend to participate. He added that for the Czech Republic the present transition of monetary responsibilities from the national level to European Union level constitutes a boundary that cannot be exceeded.

    Meanwhile, according to an ANA dispatch from Brussels on Wednesday, EU Commissioner Olli Rehn's spokesman emphasised that "the European Commission has the right to express its dissatisfaction over the refusal of Slovakia to participate in the support mechanism for the Greek economy ... the Commission respects the decision of the Parliament of Slovakia, however, it (Commission) has the right not to agree."

    Moreover, according to press reports out of Brussels, Rehn stated that "the decision of the Slovak Parliament will not have any negative repercussions for the payment of the second tranche of loans to Greece."

    [06] Employment minister on social security issue

    Employment and Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos on Wednesday reiterated that "there is no case of any new measure being taken on the social security issue by the ministry," speaking at a press conference, while adding: "there is also no case of cutting or restructuring unemployment bonuses."

    The minister further said that "the ministry met its obligations first and before the timetables. We had scheduled the changes before the EU-IMF memorandum and we are proud of this."

    Loverdos made special reference during the press conference to the fact that certain clauses in the law on the social security issue are being presented as new measures. For example, as he said, article 11 of the law on the social security issue, according to which a new actuarial study is being processed on the basis of the figures of the social security law regarding a series of issues, is being presented as a new measure. Moreover, the prediction of article 15 on auxiliary pensions, according to which actuarial studies must be made, is being presented as a new measure.

    "It is unacceptable that certain clauses of the law on the social security issue are being presented as new measures. Whoever is doing this is misinforming the Greek people. Those who are saying this are lying shamelessly."

    [07] ND sharply criticises PM over reshuffle issue

    A main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman on Wednesday sharply criticised Prime Minister George Papandreou over the issue of a possible government reshuffle.

    "Over the past few days we have witnessed a peculiar regime of a rudder-less governance," spokesman Panos Panayiotopoulos said, adding that it was an international first for a premier to an-nounce a reshuffle without actually proceeding to implement it.

    [08] Gov't on nat'l college entrance exams

    Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou and Deputy Education Minister Yiannis Panaretos, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, spoke of structural interventions in the existing nationwide college examinations system.

    The interventions will refer to the reduction of those involved in the examinations process and their duration, given that at present more than 30,000 people are involved in various examinations committees, while for two months the education ministry's services are provided for the holding of examinations.

    Panaretos said the abolition of the minimum score for college entry (10 out of a perfect 20, or 50 percent) still left 4,000 empty positions in tertiary educational facilities this year, while last year they were 20,630.

    As regards the massive drop in scores, which resulted in candidates being admitted to various provincial technological and vocational colleges (TEI) with extremely low grades, Panaretos merely noted that 90 percent of the pupils will be able to pursuit higher level studies.

    Diamantopoulou said conditions of free access to certain departments are being shaped while requesting that critics avoid a "hypocritical" view of the situation.

    The total number of candidates was 106,189 this year, while last year it was 92,426 and a total of 84,368 were admitted, while in 2009 68,794 candidates had been admitted.

    [09] Athens mayor's reaction to gov't initiative to safeguard city's historic centre

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Wednesday responded to statements made a day earlier by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou during an informal ministerial Cabinet meeting concerning Athens' historic centre:

    "The government in power is exclusively responsible for cracking down on crime and for instilling a sense of security in the citizens of our cities. I am pleased that, after many months, the prime minister is dealing with the problem that exists in Athens' historic centre and has adopted all of the City of Athens' proposals in full, just as they were submitted several months ago to the competent ministries and featured in a volume ... Two points mentioned by the prime minister made a particular impression on me," he said, adding:

    "Firstly, that he fully agreed with me on the need for the Organisation Against Drugs drug rehabilitation units to be relocated away from the city's historic centre - all of them had been established during PASOK government terms - ignoring the fact that the competent deputy minister, Ms (Fofi) Gennimata, has a totally different point of view from his.

    "And the second element that made an impression on me is that I did not hear a word about the substantive safeguarding of Greece's borders, which would ensure that our country no longer constitutes a 'borderless state', where anyone can enter and leave, for whatever reason they like."

    Financial News

    [10] Draft bill on 'closed professions' pending

    A draft bill on the opening of so-called "closed professions" will be tabled in Parliament in October.

    By the end of August the ministries must have responded to the letter addressed to them by government vice president Theodoros Pangalos, calling on them to declare which closed professions are under their jurisdiction, what the existing problems are, what international practices state and what case law specifies.

    [11] ECAC aviation con'f begins in Athens on Thurs.

    Sessions of the 59th conference of the European Civil Aviation Conference will be inaugurated in Athens on Thursday.

    Issues up for examination include flight safety in the European airspace; protection of aircraft, airports and facilities from illegal acts as well as environmental protection, amongst others.

    [12] Stocks slide 1.82% Wed.

    Stocks on Wednesday continued to lose ground even after starting off with a rally, with the market's composite index dropping 1.82 pct to end at 1,516.17 points. Turnover was a low 80.17 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell by 2.42 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.30 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 2.29 pct. Only Foodstuffs and Mass Media were up, 0.82 pct and 0.17 pct, respectively. Technology (4.03 pct) and Raw Materials (3.60 pct) scored the biggest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, advancers trailed decliners by 50 to 131 with another 27 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -3.02%

    Industrials: -3.03%

    Commercial: -1.03%

    Construction: -1.56%

    Media: +0.17%

    Oil & Gas: -0.12%

    Personal & Household: -2.26%

    Raw Materials: -3.60%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.98%

    Technology: -4.03%

    Telecoms: Unchanged

    Banks: -3.59%

    Food & Beverages: +0.82%

    Health: -0.41%

    Utilities: -1.18%

    Chemicals: -1.03%

    Financial Services: -2.31%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 4.96

    ATEbank: 1.06

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.91

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.45

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.74

    National Bank of Greece: 9.75

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.70

    OPAP: 11.08

    OTE: 5.45

    Bank of Piraeus: 4.00

    Titan: 15.15

    [13] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a small discount 0.55 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday with turnover rising to 38.239 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index was 8,359 contracts worth 31.085 million euros, with 26,377 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,691 contracts worth 7.154 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank contracts (3,240) followed by Eurobank (1,782), Marfin Investment Group (631), OTE (316), DEH (61), OPAP (279) and Piraeus (575).

    [14] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.271

    Pound sterling 0.825

    Danish kroner 7.507

    Swedish kroner 9.546

    Japanese yen 107.34

    Swiss franc 1.309

    Norwegian kroner 8.080

    Canadian dollar 1.355

    Australian dollar 1.446

    General News

    [15] Two injured in armed robbery

    Two employees of a tourist office in the western port of Kyllini, in the NW Peloponnese, were injured during an armed robbery on Wednesday.

    According to eye-witnesses a lone perpetrator initially shot one of the employees in the legs because he refused to hand him over days receipts, which he transferred from the office to a ferry boat. A second employee noticed the incident and attempted to help his colleague, with the robber shooting him in the abdomen.

    The suspect and an accomplice fled without taking the money.

    Both victims are hospitalised but are not in danger.

    [16] Migrant smugglers, illegals arrested

    A 39-year-old foreign lorry driver was arrested on Wednesday after authorities discovered 18 illegal migrants, all identified as hailing from Asian countries, hidden in his truck.

    According to police, the Bulgarian national was arrested after a brief road chase in Pieria prefecture, northern Greece. His accomplice, a 24-year-old, Albanian was also arrested.

    The illegals entered the country from Turkey after crossing the Evros River on the Greek-Turkish border, where migrant smugglers met them to take them to Athens.

    The would-be migrants claimed to have paid 8,000 euros for the transport.

    All of the suspects will be sent before a Thessaloniki prosecutor.

    [17] Migrant-smuggling arrest in Grevena

    Police in the northwest city on Wednesday a local man after five illegal immigrants were found hidden in his car.

    Officers spotted the car on Grevena-Trikala highway and after a check they found in the migrants -- all Albanian nationals -- and a small quantity of hashish.

    The drugs and the vehicle were confiscated and both illegal migrants and the driver will be sent to the local prosecutor.

    [18] Five foreign nationals accused in multiple robberies

    Police have dismantled a crime ring reportedly comprised of five Albanian nationals charged with several robberies in large Evia island.

    On May 4, 2010, and July 7, 2010, two robberies had taken place, the first at the Agricultural Bank and the second at the National Bank, as well as an attempted robbery at a National Bank branch office in the regions of Psahna and Kanithos in Halkida.

    Police collected fired shells during the robberies and it was ascertained that they came from two assault rifles that were found and confiscated in a house where a 27-year-old Albanian resided in the Nea Philadelphia district of Athens.

    Investigations revealed that the 27-year-old, who was arrested with another five compatriots, had established a criminal gang.

    The suspects allegedly carried out robberies and burglaries in the prefectures of Attica, Corinth, Argolida and Evia.


    [19] AEK-Dundee match at Karaiskaki stadium

    The die was cast on Wednesday for the troubled AEK Athens FC - Dundee United match on Thursday, as the Karaiskaki stadium in southern coastal Athens will serve as the long-sought venue for the second leg of the UEFA Europa League qualifier.

    Although final UEFA approval is pending, both teams should breathe a sigh of relief, as the 33,500-seat Karaiskaki Stadium -- the home field for Olympiacos Piraeus -- is a purpose-built football venue constructed just ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Additionally, only Dundee United supporters will be on hand, as AEK Athens' management has decided not to open the stands for its own fans. The popular Athens club can still bring along an unspecified number of team officials, sponsors and VIP guests, however.

    Wednesday's development follows the unprecedented thrashing of another Athens field on Tuesday afternoon by hooligans bent on preventing the AEK-Dundee match from taking place there.

    The 11,500-seat but sub-par Nea Smyrni field, home to mid-level Panionios Athens, would have served as the venue had it not been vandalised.

    [20] Super League president elected

    The head of Olympiacos FC, Vangelis Marinakis, was elected on Tuesday as president of the Super League, the first division football league as it's called in Greece.

    The major shareholder of Piraeus team collected 12 votes out of 15 (Kavala FC was absent from the process), including the vote of Olympiacos' traditional rival Panathinaikos Athens. AEK Athens and Aris Thessaloniki cast a blank vote, while Atromitos Athens declined to vote.

    Weather Forecast

    [21] 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 37C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 22C to 37C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 21C to 35C.

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

    Prime Minister George Papandreou's attempt to end speculation over a government reshuffle during an informal Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the economic crisis and its repercussions to the Athens bourse index and efforts to collect VAT and long-expired debts mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "They're supplying us with expired food -Major nutritional scandal".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Rates for college students' apartments - Crisis brings opportunities".

    AVGHI: "New VAT raid - Hikes in VAT rates in staple goods, medicines, in tourism sector and utilities rates as of January".

    AVRIANI: "Former Siemens Hellas CEO Mihalis Christoforakos shakes up political system - He testifies before parliamentary examination committee in September on the bribes he gave to ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Prime Minister's consultant, Nobel prize-winning Joseph Stiglitz, says he advised Papandreou not to resort to IMF".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Memorandum strikes households and enterprises - Instead of development, government imposes new taxes".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Government reshuffle a government restructure".

    ESTIA: "Taxes create conditions of suffocation - Economy not breathing".

    ETHNOS: "Red card to thousands of children due to staff shortages in nursery schools".

    IMERISSIA: "Hellenic Federation of Enterprises attacks Economy Minister Louka Katseli over new development law - It's bureaucratic and ineffective'.

    KATHIMERINI: "Athens historical centre a ghetto - Illegal immigrants and lack of law enforcement the two major wounds".

    LOGOS: "He (Papandreou) confirmed reshuffle ... but stopped discussion for the time being".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Danger of double-dip recession strikes stock market - 3.42% drop in Athens Stock Exchange".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Popular rally - United front - Communist Party's intervention against updated memorandum".

    TA NEA: "Changes sealed - George confirms and prepares".

    TO VIMA: "Express controls for VAT and debts".

    VRADYNI: "People suffering and government busy with reshuffle".

    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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