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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-08-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 31 August 2010 Issue No: 3580


  • [01] PASOK: Local gov't candidacies on Sun.
  • [02] Three-day 9th PASOK National Council Session begins on Friday
  • [03] PM's legal adviser resigns over flap involving staff hirings
  • [04] Alt. FM in Ankara on Tues.
  • [05] KKE leader blasts memorandum; main parties
  • [06] Statistics on school pupils/teachers in 2009-2010 released
  • [07] Ban on smoking in indoor public places from Sept. 1
  • [08] PM Papandreou to meet Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou, Fofi Yennimata on Tuesday
  • [09] Pressure builds to allow rebuilding of church destroyed in 9/11
  • [10] FinMin Papaconstantinou on VAT
  • [11] Merchant marine fleet grew 5.1 pct in June
  • [12] Greece's OTE to delist from NYSE within September
  • [13] ESEE president meets Finmin, Economy minister
  • [14] ASE: Stocks rise for 3rd session, turnover low
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [17] Injured Albanian rescued after falling into gorge
  • [18] Trio of foreign nationals charged in home burglary ring
  • [19] Detainees caught after Kos island jailbreak
  • [20] Illegal migrants, traffickers caught in Igoumenitsa, Aitoloakarnania
  • [21] Hunger-strike Iranians granted political asylum
  • [22] Wildfire on Samos
  • [23] Exhibition on exam cheating in Thessaloniki
  • [24] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [25] The Monday edition of Athens ' dailies at a glance

  • [01] PASOK: Local gov't candidacies on Sun.

    Ruling PASOK's candidates for November's local and regional elections pre-occupied the largest part of Monday's lengthy meeting at the Maximos Mansion, chaired by Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    According to reports, during the PASOK party's national council session on Sunday the candidates for regions will be announced, while regarding the political framework with which PASOK will proceed, it was announced that the party is ready to announce another 60-70 mayoral candidates.

    On the question of the major municipalities of Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, according to the same reports, PASOK has reached a conclusion on the candidates preferred.

    The prime minister's decision on these names might be announced on Sunday or even earlier.

    In any case, over a period of seven or eight days, all of PASOK's candidacies will have been announced.

    A session of the party's political council is expected during the week.

    Internal consultations and opinion polls will be completed for PASOK party in the coming days, reports state.

    [02] Three-day 9th PASOK National Council Session begins on Friday

    The three-day 9th Session of the PASOK party's National Council and the Panhellenic Cadres Conference will begin on September 3, at the indoor stadium in Faliro, with an address by Prime Minister George Papandreou, who will also be chairing the Session.

    The event will come to an end on Sunday with the sanctioning of the political framework and of the candidacies for the forthcomning local administration elections.

    On Friday, before the prime minister's address, an introductory address will be made by the party's National Council secretary Sokratis Xynidis.

    [03] PM's legal adviser resigns over flap involving staff hirings

    The legal adviser in the prime minister's office on Monday tendered her resignation from the post, citing a "matter of principle".

    Glykeria Siouti's resignation was accepted.

    The development followed press reports sharply criticising Siouti for her staff selections, particularly the hiring of a 25-year-old attorney with a year's practical experience, for a position in the legal department's press section.

    A relevant announcement also clarified that the number of transferred employees in the premier's office totaled 105, whereas 20 more positions were added in order to cover future needs.

    Referring to former Italian finance minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa's appointment as an adviser to PM George Papandreou, his office reminded that Padoa-Schioppa declined to receive remuneration, as he was entitled to and as claimed by press reports.

    [04] Alt. FM in Ankara on Tues.

    Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas will travel to Ankara on Tuesday, at the invitation of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, to attend the Turkey-Greece basketball game at the World Championship 2010 currently underway in Turkey.

    Droutsas is expected to attend the game in the company of Davutoglu.

    On Wednesday, the Greek alternate FM will be received by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul, while he will also tour the "Tracing Istanbul" art exhibition being hosted at the Halki School of Theology.

    [05] KKE leader blasts memorandum; main parties

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga on Monday called on ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy voters to abandon the two mainstream parties and vent their anger towards the "troika" memorandum by supporting a KKE-led front, speaking at a press conference.

    Papariga said a vote for ND or PASOK doesn't mean voters accept the memorandum, however, it legalises their policy. The KKE leader cited the need for social and political struggles to intensify in order to prevent workers from "paying the burdens of the economic crisis".

    Asked about Greece- Israel ties, Papariga said Athens is facilitating Washington with its policy in order to receive benefits.

    [06] Statistics on school pupils/teachers in 2009-2010 released

    There was a 0.1 percent reduction in the population of primary school pupils during the 2009-2010 academic year relative to the 2008-2009 academic year, according to figures released by the Greek statistical service on Monday. Conversely, there was a 0.1 increase in the population of secondary school students.

    During the same academic year, the number of schools increased by 0.7 percent in primary education and 0.3 percent in secondary education. There was a 2.9 percent increase in the number of primary school teachers and a 6.9 percent increase in the number of secondary school teachers.

    The ratio of students to teachers is 11.7 to one in kindergarten, 9.9 to one in primary school, 8.0 to one in middle schools and 9.0 to one in general lyceums.

    [07] Ban on smoking in indoor public places from Sept. 1

    As of Wednesday, September 1 there will be a blanket ban on smoking in all indoor public areas throughout Greece, with stiff fines for transgressors. The ban applies equally to work places and recreational venues, without the option of a special smoking area, except in the case of casinos and recreational venues larger than 300 square metres playing live music. For the last two categories, there will be an eight-month transitional period and the full ban will begin to apply from June 1, 2011.

    Under the new law, private individuals that flout the smoking ban face fines ranging from 50-500 euros, while companies found to be tolerating smoking on their premises can be fined between 500 and 10,000 euros.

    The details of the smoking ban were outlined in a health ministry circular issued on Monday, with restaurateurs and club owners objecting to the timing that they said will be a further knock to a sector already struggling to cope with a decline in turnover of as much as 25 percent.

    In a press conference on Monday, Health Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou said that policing would be lenient during the first month that the measures are imposed, with authorities confining themselves to issuing warnings to offenders.

    Repeat offenders, however, including those given warnings during the first month, would face progressively stiffer penalties or even arrest, she clarified.

    Fines for businesses, both work places and recreational venues, will be imposed on those in charge of a particular enterprise. After a fourth repeat offence, shops and businesses would be temporarily closed for 10 days while after the fifth their licence will be permanently revoked.

    Anyone wishing to report smoking offences, meanwhile, will be able to call the number 1142.

    The minister clarified that the fines had been halved, both because that was more reasonable and also because it would be easier to enforce and collect them.

    Responsibility for enforcing the smoking ban has been given to the coast guard, municipal police and the police force, as well as prefecture and municipality social services.

    [08] PM Papandreou to meet Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou, Fofi Yennimata on Tuesday

    Prime Minister George Papandreou will be meeting at the Maximos Mansion at 11 in the morning on Tuesday with the Minister and Deputy Health and Social Solidarity Ministers, Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou and Fofi Yennimata respectively, as well as with the president and the members of the Anti-Smoking Committee.

    [09] Pressure builds to allow rebuilding of church destroyed in 9/11

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)

    Reactions and pressure are reportedly increasing on the New York and New Jersey Port Authority over stalled efforts to fully rebuild the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, which was destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers.

    The Greek Orthodox Church was the only house of worship destroyed in the 9/11 terror attacks.

    Former New York state governor George Pataki followed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other political officials in expressing his full support for the removal of any administrative obstacles to the rebuilding of the church.

    During a radio programme, Bloomberg referred to his cooperation with the Archbishop of America Demetrius, pointing out that it appeared that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Port Authority, which has the responsibility for the rebuilding efforts at "Ground Zero", had come close to the terms for the church's reconstruction in 2008, although the talks were never concluded, because a final agreement on the size and location of the church was not achieved.

    Financial News

    [10] FinMin Papaconstantinou on VAT

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, referring to the possibility of an increase in VAT for various products as well as for Public Power Corporation (DEH) bills, said that "we are examining plans and solutions that will not burden the Greek households."

    Papaconstantinou stressed in statements to the MEGA television channel that the economic staff are examining a series of other measures, for the avoidance of an increase in VAT for other products if possible.

    As regards the state's revenues, the minister said that "over the seven-month period we have exceeded the initial targets by 100 million euros."

    [11] Merchant marine fleet grew 5.1 pct in June

    Greece's merchant marine fleet grew 5.1 pct in June, compared with the same month in 2007, after a decline of 5.8 pct recorded in the 2004-2007 period, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday. The statistics service, in a report, said the number of vessels in April this year totaled 2,125 with a gross tonnage of 43,212,696 dwt, up 20.1 pct compared with the corresponding month in 2007,after recording a 2.3-pct growth in the 2004-207 period.

    [12] Greece's OTE to delist from NYSE within September

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) intends to delist from the New York Stock Exchange within September, OTE's management said in an announcement on Monday.

    The announcement said that OTE will provide written notice to the NYSE of its intention to delist. OTE also intends to file the related Form 25 with the SEC on September 9. Once the delisting has become effective at around September 20 and the Company meets the criteria for deregistration, it intends to file Form 15F with the SEC in order to deregister its equity securities.

    OTE intends to maintain an American Depositary Receipt program on a so-called "Level I" basis in order to enable investors to trade ADRs in the US over-the-counter (OTC) market. One ADS is equivalent to 0.5 OTE shares.

    OTE's board had first announced its intention to delist from NYSE and terminate its reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act on May 12 citing a need to cut administrative costs, redce complexity in financial reporting and concentrate trading of its shares on the market providing the highest liquidity, the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [13] ESEE president meets Finmin, Economy minister

    The head of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce Vassilis Korkidis on Monday had a meeting with Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli.

    During the meeting, Korkidis outlined the problems faced by small shop owners in particular and warned against any further increase in VAT, noting that several merchants were already struggling to meet outstanding VAT payments.

    [14] ASE: Stocks rise for 3rd session, turnover low

    Stocks rose for the third consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) on Monday, with the composite index closing 0.92 percent up at 1,561.20 points and turnover at a very low 45.15 million euros.

    The Big Cap index was up 0.64 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.16 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose by 0.83 pct.

    Foods and Beverages (3.81) and Travel (2.93) posted the biggest gains of the day, while Commerce (0.37 pct) and Banks (0.26) posted the biggest percentage losses of the day.

    Advancers led decliners 100 to 59, while 43 shares did not move.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +1.48%

    Industrials: +2.10%

    Commercial: -0.37%

    Construction: +0.17%

    Media: +0.83%

    Oil & Gas: +0.41%

    Personal & Household: +0.23%

    Raw Materials: +0.21%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.93%

    Technology: +1.99%

    Telecoms: +0.92%

    Banks: -0.26%

    Food & Beverages: +3.81%

    Health: -0.18%

    Utilities: -0.24%

    Chemicals: +2.80%

    Financial Services: +0.64%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Motor Oil, Alpha Bank and Coca Cola.

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.11

    ATEbank: 1.10

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.54

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.50

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.85

    National Bank of Greece: 10.15

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.13

    OPAP: 11.70

    OTE: 5.47

    Bank of Piraeus: 4.05

    Titan: 15.30

    [15] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a small discount 1.10 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday with turnover rising to 20.105 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index was 3,537 contracts worth 15.647 million euros, with 26,113 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 7,651 contracts worth 4.458 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank contracts (1,270) followed by Eurobank (1,224), MIG (626), OTE (650), PPC (231), OPAP (155) and Piraeus (428).

    [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.280

    Pound sterling 0.823

    Danish kroner 7.506

    Swedish kroner 9.462

    Japanese yen 108.4

    Swiss franc 1.315

    Norwegian kroner 8.028

    Canadian dollar 1.344

    Australian dollar 1.427

    General News

    [17] Injured Albanian rescued after falling into gorge

    Greek rescue workers on Monday successfully retrieved an Albanian national that became trapped after falling into a gorge in the Plikati region of Ioannina in northwestern Greece. The man was alive but had sustained injuries to both his legs and was rushed to Ioannina hospital in an ambulance.

    The Albanian fell into the gorge on Sunday afternoon while illegally hunting with friends in remote and inaccessible territory on the Greek side of the border. An EMAK rescue team was alerted and arrived at the site where he had fallen but the operation to lift him out of the gorge did not begin until Monday morning and ended shortly after 17:00.

    [18] Trio of foreign nationals charged in home burglary ring

    Three Georgian nationals were arrested in the south-central city of Lamia on Sunday evening on multiple burglary charges, after a traffic accident involving the trio's vehicle garnered authorities' attention.

    A vehicle loaded with PCs, jewelry and burglars' tools initially drew police attention, with stolen goods and the suspects' "modus operandi" reportedly linked to 26 separate burglaries throughout Fthiotida prefecture.

    Meanwhile, in a separate incident, a trio of juveniles, all identified as Palestinian teens, were arrested on Sunday morning and charged with a string of muggings against mostly elderly women in the Athens districts of Perissos and Galatsi.

    Police said the teen suspects -- 14, 15, 16 -- would prey of elderly women exiting churches, snatching gold chains and crosses from the victims' necks before fleeing. Seven gold chains and four gold crosses were reportedly found on the suspects' possession at the time of their arrest, police said.

    All three teens are due to face a local prosecutor on robbery and illegal residency charges.

    [19] Detainees caught after Kos island jailbreak

    Six detainees escaped late Sunday evening from the police precinct on the Dodecanese island of Kos island. The six men, five Iraqis and a local man, escaped after prying open the bars in a jail cell's window. All six fugitives were arrested hours later.

    [20] Illegal migrants, traffickers caught in Igoumenitsa, Aitoloakarnania

    Authorities in the northwestern port of Igoumenitsa on Monday reported the arrest of four Iraqi nationals that were caught transporting illegal migrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan. A total of 16 migrants had each paid them a fee for their transport in four passenger vehicles in which Greek authorities found and confiscated eight forged passports, a pair of Austrian licence plates and 18 ferry tickets.

    The migrant traffickers and illegal migrants were arrested and will be led before a Thesprotia prefecture public prosecutor.

    Also arrested in Igoumenitsa was a Turkish nationals that had used his car to transport three Turkish illegal migrants. All four were arrested and led before a public prosecutor.

    In nearby Aitoloakarnania, near the town of Menidi, Arta police flagged down a vehicle that failed to comply and attempted to flee. During the police pursuit, the driver crashed the car into the protective bars at the side of the road and those on board abandoned the car and attempted to flee on foot. One man, an illegal immigrant, was caught and arrested while another two are being sought. The car itself, in which police found 12 bullets, was found to have been stolen from Agios Panteleimonas in Attica on August 11.

    [21] Hunger-strike Iranians granted political asylum

    The Citizens' Protection Ministry on Monday announced a decision to finally grant political asylum to a group of Iranian migrants that have been on hunger strike outside the offices of the UN High Commission for Refugees in Athens for the past month.

    The government said that it had activated the Refugees Comittee created by a presidential decree in 2009 to tackle the accumulated asylum applications, even though the government insists that the current asylum system is practically unenforceable, ineffective and outdated. The decision to activate the committee was made after the hunger strikers started to develop health problems due to their extended fast.

    A UN High Commission for Refugees announcement hailed the minister's decision on humanitarian grounds but insisted on the need for a new presidential decree for refugee and asylum issues that will ensure a fairer and more effective examination of pending applications.

    [22] Wildfire on Samos

    A wildfire that erupted early Monday morning at the Kakoperato site on the fire-ravaged eastern Aegean island of Samos is reportedly under control.

    [23] Exhibition on exam cheating in Thessaloniki

    An original and humorous exhibition that illustrates how resourceful and imaginative even the dullest students can become at exam time has been organised by the Thessaloniki University economic science department.

    On display are some of the 200 'crib sheets' confiscated over the last three decades (1984-2010) by invigilators during exams, including some true "masterpieces" of the cheater's art. Thirty-two representative "types" of crib sheet are set out in two display cabinets.

    Among the most impressive is a "scroll" that is two metres long and just four centimetres wide, wrapped around two sticks at either end and densely written on both sides in order to cram the maximum of information into the minimum space.

    Of considerable craftmanship is a second 'scroll' measuring one metre in length made out of extremely thin rice paper and written using an architect's rapidograph - a specialist technical pen used to make extremely thin lines.

    According to a professor at the university, writing out the particular crib sheet probably took the student in question up to 10 hours at least - time that, if devoted to studying, would probably have allowed the student to pass the exam without cheating at all.

    Also notable among the more traditional crib sheets is an entire 'mini-book' made of 100 photocopied pages reduced to 7X10 centimetres, while one student had so many hidden crib sheets on him that he was forced to make an "index" to remember which was which.

    Organisers of the exhibition noted that the collection of "traditional" crib sheets will stop as of this year since the art of cheating has evolved along with modern technology and students now use more sophisticated electronic means involving their mobile phones and other portable electronic devices.

    The exhibition is currently on show at the Thessaloniki University Economic Science Department but organisers say that it may be permanently moved to the department's library as a "example to be avoided" for students.

    Weather Forecast

    [24] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 17C and 35C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with westerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 24C to 35C. Local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 22C to 30C.

    [25] The Monday edition of Athens ' dailies at a glance

    The state's efforts to collect revenues and Prime Minister George Papandreou's policy statements at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras' sharp criticism of the government, press speculation over tension within ruling PASOK party and ubiquitous issue of social security funds' financial health mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Government to change civil servants' payroll system".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Society ready to explode, PASOK a boiling cauldron".

    AVRIANI: "Civil war in PASOK over Fofi's (Gennimata) candidacy (in Athens )".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Papandreou-Samaras' secret agreement on local government elections".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Recession and collapse in revenues lead government to new painful measures".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Ten packages without money in state coffers'.

    ESTIA: "Simple solutions for economy - The problem lies in politicians understanding them".

    ETHNOS: "Nine taxes shake real estate market".

    IMERISSIA: "Social security funds lose six billion euros from shares, bonds".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "New framework in monitoring of state contracts - Independent authority to be established".

    TA NEA: "State property to private interests".

    VRADYNI: "Antonis Samaras' sharp attack against government: Memorandum devastating economy and society".

    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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