|Friday, 19 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-09-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 15 September 2010 Issue No: 3593
 PM addresses PASOK National CouncilPrime Minister George Papandreou, addressing the ruling PASOK party's National Council on Tuesday, proposed PASOK deputy Mihalis Karhi-makis for the post of party secretary who "has waged tough struggles with PASOK, not only on the easy but the difficult days as well," while there was no other candidacy.
He also indicated that in a future session, after the local administration elections, he will bring his proposal on the composition of the Political Council, in which government members will not be participating.
Papandreou stressed that "the path for the stabili-sation of the economy is long and difficult, however, all we Greeks laid the foundations for the big changes to be turned into practice."
He further stressed that "we succeeded in keeping Greece upright and hope alive, so that we can build a stable Greece," while terming the November local government elections crucial and stressing that "Kallikratis" is a referendum in favour or against the big changes.
Papandreou underlined that these days the first cycle is closing, "but a new one is also opening, a cycle of big, revolutionary and self-evident changes for Greece that will not only lead our country out of the crisis, but that will also protect it from such future conditions, as well as to a state of viable growth."
Referring to the country's foreign policy, Papandreou said that although 11 months ago "the country had lost its reliability completely, we are regaining it today with toil and a struggle" and noted that since international lights remain on Greece, the goverment's initiatives take on an international dimension for the changing of this image.
"We are making it clear everywhere that Greece is present everywhere, that we have a say" and "we are always going a step ahead on all issues preoccupying the international community."
Papandreou also said that outgoing secretary Sokratis Xynidis assumed the post in a period of unprecedented difficulty for the country as well as PASOK due to the passing to the country's governance, with all that this has to do with organisational issues.
Earlier, Xynidis said in his address that "three generations have been expressed in PASOK. That of the National Resistance, of the unyielding struggle and of the Polytechnic. Today it is imperative that a fourth generation is also expressed. That which has been crushed and is being called on to pay for the distortions of the past."
 Mihalis Karhimakis new PASOK National Council secretaryMihalis Karhimakis is the ruling PASOK party's new National Council secretary, following elections held during the Council's session on Tuesday night.
Out of the 412 registered voters, 342 voted and Karhimakis received 282 votes. In addition, 12 invalid and 48 blank votes were cast.
"The weight of the responsibility that I am assuming in a very crucial conjuncture for the country is very big," Karhimakis said after being elected secretary.
 PM chairs government meeting on memorandum targetsPrime Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday chaired a government meeting to assess progress in meeting the requirements and targets outlined in the EU-ECB-IMF memorandum for the bailout package for Greece during the third quarter of 2010.
The meeting - attended by key members of the cabinet - reviewed the progress of action initiated by each ministry until the end of the year and of scheduled structural changes, as well as discussing the government's priorities during the final quarter of the year.
Those participating in the meeting included government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis, Development Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis, Labour Minister Louka Katseli, Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas and Environment Minister Tina Birbili.
According to sources within the finance ministry, Greece appears to be on track in terms of meeting the obligations under the memorandum for the third quarter. They were also optimistic concerning the size of revenues in 2010 and appeared satisfied with the results of Tuesday's bond issue.
 PM meets ethnic Greek minority delegation from AlbaniaPrime Minister George Papandreou had a meeting on Tuesday with Himare Mayor Vassilis Bollano, also president of Albania's ethnic Greek organisation Omonoia, and the president of Albania's Unity for Human Rights Party Vangelis Dule, who represents the country's 100,000-150,000 ethnic Greeks in the Albanian Parliament.
After the meeting, Dule said that they had discussed all issues affecting Albania's ethnic Greek minority, including the tragic incident involving the murder of ethnic Greek Aristotelis Guma in Himare in August that Dule described as "motivated by racial hatred".
The issues discussed included those relating to property, teachers, the cultural rights of the ethnic Greek minority, the ability to carry out developmental infrastructure projects in the areas inhabited by the minority but also Greece's systematic support for Albania's European perspective.
Dule said in statements to reporters that the delegation was concluding a round of contacts in Athens in the hope that, as until today, there will continue to be this cooperation for the benefit of the members of the ethnic Greek minority, both those living in Greece and those that remained in their homes in Albania.
Immediately after their meeting with the premier, the ethnic Greek delegation met Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas at the foreign ministry for further discussion of issues and developments affecting the minority.
Droutsas stressed that the Greek government has categorically condemned the murder of Guma and that "it is the obligation of the Greek government to stand at the side of the Greek minority, it is doing this and will continue to do this."
After the meeting, Dule was asked whether he had linked the issues of the minority with the process for Albania's accession to the EU and replied that the issue was discussed but that "we are not the ones that decide the priorities".
"We put the priority on protecting the rights of the members of the Greek minority, as this is established under the treaties," he added.
Earlier, Bollano and Dule had meetings with Parliament President Philippos Petsalnikos and New Democracy Vice-President Dimitris Avramopoulos.
In talks with the delegation, Avramopoulos assured them of the support of ND and ND leader Antonis Samaras, pointing to the party's immediate response after the murder of Guma in August and its support of the minority's claims in the framework of Albania's obligation to the EU.
 FM briefs President PapouliasForeign minister Dimitris Droutsas on Tuesday had his first meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias since the former's assumption of the ministry helm.
He told reporters afterwards that it was a "self-evident" action that he sought an audience with Papoulias, a former foreign minister himself, "whose advice and experience are particularly valuable".
According to sources, the two men exchanged views on all foreign policy issues, while Droutsas briefed the President on his recent visit to Cyprus.
He also described as "substantial but also symbolic" his decision to convene the National Council on Foreign Policy on Tuesday afternoon, saying that the move aims to "underline the importance I place on cooperation with all the political parties, with all the political forces of the country, on foreign policy issues.
"I deeply believe that the national issues, the defense and promotion of our country's interests, need us to be united. There is no room for party clashes, we must all be united in order to achieve our targets in all sectors," Droutsas said.
 National Foreign Policy Council concludes sessionThe National Foreign Policy Council, chaired by Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, and with the participation of representatives of the ruling PASOK, the main opposition New Democracy (ND), Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parties concluded its session on Tuesday evening. No statements were made afterwards.
 UN reiterates interest in FYROM name solutionNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday reiterated his interest in a solution of the FYROM name issue, in reply to questions during a press conference on the occasion of the 65th UN General Assembly.
"As I have been doing in the past, I will continue to do whatever I can to have a harmonious solution to this name issue, which has quite serious political implications," the UN chief said.
"As you know, (Special Representative) Matthew Nimetz has had active discussions with the parties concerned on this matter. And I understand that he is now consulting with both parties about arranging appropriate meetings while delegations are in New York for the General Assembly opening. But you will be able to know when the meeting is set. I will fully support his activities," he added.
"I have had many meetings with the Prime Minister of Greece and the Foreign Minister, and also representatives of FYROM on this issue, on the necessity of addressing this issue with a sense of flexibility and mutual understanding. And I will continue to do that when I meet leaders from both countries," Ban said in reply to another question.
 Dep. FM meets with visiting Hungarian counterpartÅnergy and transport issues dominated a meeting here on Tuesday between Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis and Hungary' s State Secretary for the Economy Zsolt Bescey, who is currently on a visit to Athens.
The meeting focused on the utilisation of renewable energy sources and the operation of natural gas pipeline networks, with the two ministers agreeing that these are priorities in bilateral and regional cooperation.
Transport issues, particularly prospects for the establishment of a high-speed rail link, were also discussed, as well as, development cooperation issues in greater SE Europe.
Kouvelis and Bescey, who holds the international economic relations and external trade portfolio, agreed that inter-governmental cooperation will be re-assessed in early 2011 in Budapest.
 Spokesman on ministers' portfoliosGovernment spokesman Giorgos Petalotis referred to the government ministers' portfolios on Tuesday, stressing that government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos has specific responsibilities and that he has been exercising them for the past 11 months since the present government took over.
Petalotis reiterated that Minister of State Haris Pamboukis is responsible for international investments, adding that these types of investments will be made specific shortly through a presidential decree. The government spokesman also stated that Mihalis Karhimakis will be nominated by the PM for the post of the ruling PASOK's national council secretary.
 Health minister carries out surprise inspection of 'Elpis' hospitalHealth Minister Andreas Loverdos on Tuesday carried out a surprise inspection of 'Elpis' hospital in Athens, one of the oldest hospitals in the Greek capital.
A ministry announcement said the minister had praised the devotion of the nursing and medical staff in their effort to provide a better service to patients and was briefed on the hospitals major problems.
Following his inspection, there was a meeting attended by the head doctors and supervisors of the nursing staff to discuss the problems and propose solutions.
 KKE leader addresses Thessaloniki eventCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing a party event in the "Pasha's Gardens" in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, stressed the "need for organising and for unified action by social forces to reverse the antipopular measures."
Papariga said that a "mood to clash with the monopolies and the capitalists is required" and called on all who voted for the ruling PASOK or the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party "but are from the working classes and are being crushed by the government's measures to go along with KKE."
 LAOS party leader gives press conference in ThessalonikiPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, speaking at a press conference after visiting the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Tuesday, criticised the government over its economic policy.
The government "is doing the opposite of what it should," Karatzaferis said and called for a reduction in taxation and the VAT.
The LAOS leader also reiterated his proposal for an all party government of an all party government.
 Siemens case : No ex prime minister will testify before examination committeeThe parliamentary fact-finding committe on the Siemens Hellas slush funds case, decided on Tuesday not to call former prime ministers to testify before the committe unless the need arises from the outcome of a committee delegation's meetings in Germany.
The committe is scheduled to conclude its works on September 30.
 Greece raises 1.17 bln euros from 6-month T-bill auctionGreece on Tuesday successfully completed the auction of a six-month Treasury bills issue, raising 1.17 billion euros from the market. The return of the issue was set at 4.82 pct, slightly higher from 4.65 pct of the previous auction.
The auction was 4.54 time oversubscribed, up from a 3.64 of the previous auction. Bids submitted totaled 4.084 billion euros. The finance ministry will auction a three-month T-bills issue.
 FinMin begins European roadshowFinance Minister George Papaconstantinou is embarking on a European roadshow to showcase the latest developments in the Greek economy, progress of an ongoing reform and austerity programme and issuing an invitation for investments in the country.
The FinMin will be accompanied by senior delegates from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the so-called "troika".
On Wednesday, Papaconstantinou will be in London to meet international investors.
On Thursday morning he travel to Paris to meet with French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and later that day, he will arrive in Frankfurt. Before making a presentation to investors he will meet the president of ECB, Jean-Claude Trichet.
After his return to Athens on Friday, Papaconstantinou is expected to meet with the second-tier troika experts - currently on a regular visit to Athens - as part of procedures to draft a crucial 2011 state budget.
 Drive against fuel over-pricing brought results, government saysIntensive inspections to prevent excessive mark-ups on fuel brought results, with the majority of petrol station owners complying with the price ceilings imposed, government spokesman George Petalotis said on Tuesday.
"It must be made clear to all sides that on no account will we allow price-gouging at the expense of Greek citizens," Petalotis stressed during the regular press briefing, adding that inspections had brought about the "desired result".
"The overwhelming majority of petrol sellers complied while all those that attempted to make excessive profit will suffer the consequences under the law," he said.
The government's "lightning response" concerning price ceilings for fuel showed its commitment to protecting citizens and the public interest from the behaviour of a few that created a disturbance or those that attempted to profit by this disturbance, he added.
Petalotis went on to stress that the government will immediately implement an announcement by the prime minister for the voluntary settlement of outstanding past tax cases, inviting interested parties to take advantage of the measure. He noted that this was the first time that a settlement and closure of outstanding tax cases that have gone to court was taking place.
On the issue of abolishing the different tax rates for diesel and oil used for heating, Petalotis said that the measure will not be implemented until a mechanism was in place that "made a redistribution of the cost clear".
He noted that the measure was among alternative ideas being considered by the government in order to collect one billion euros in revenues and thus avoid covering this amount by raising VAT, as foreseen in the Memorandum.
He said the government's criteria were that measures appearing to place extra burdens on citizens to also have provisions to protect those with low or middle incomes. He noted that any such measure, if finally adopted, would be permanent.
 Gas station owners pan fuel price ceilingPetrol station owners warned of mobilisations if the government insists on maintaining a short-term fuel price ceiling, applicable only on retail prices and not on all stages of fuel sales.
The Federation of Petrol Station Owners (POPEK) demanded a fuel price ceiling for oil refineries and wholesalers as well, warning on Tuesday that all petrol stations on the island of Crete will be closed in protest.
POPEK will announce its decisions on the protest action it intends to take after meeting with the general secretary on commerce.
The government announced ceilings on the prices of fuel on Monday - applicable by geographical zones - by virtue of a joint ministerial decision.
The maximum price for unleaded was put at 1.473 euros per liter for the prefectures of Attica (greater Athens) and Thessaloniki, while the ceiling prices for LERP gas is 1.561 euros per liter; for super unleaded 1.701 euros per liter, and diesel is set at 1.282 euros per liter.
The ceiling prices are valid for seven days, at which time the expediency of extending the measure will be re-examined.
 Talks with truckers end in deadlock, protests to continueA meeting between Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas and the nationwide truck owners' federation ended in deadlock on Tuesday, with truckers saying they were determined to continue protest action. No statements were made by the minister.
Truckers are protesting against plans to pass legislation that will 'open' their profession, allowing new truck licences to be issued.
A delegation of truck owners plans to visit Parliament on Wednesday in order to present its views to the Parliamentary committee currently discussing the draft bill.
According to truckers, the government side had insisted that the reforms must go ahead, while truckers had demanded that the draft bill be withdrawn and that dialogue continue. Their federation president Giorgos Tzortzatos said that truckers' protests will continue since "they no longer have anything to lose".
The head of the tanker truck owners Giorgos Tsamos, meanwhile, said that the ministry side had outlined new measures for the truckers' pension system and for including them in the developmental law but had refused to give assurances in writing. None of these issues are included in the bill tabled in Parliament because, according to the ministry, they concern other ministries that will table the measures in their own bills.
Ministry sources also noted that the government has a plan for dealing with trucker mobilisations and blockades of national highways, if these continue.
Tsamos said the truckers had asked that they retain 35 percent of the value of their current licences and that the transitional period envisaged under the draft bill be extended from three to five years, adding that the minister had refused. He also gave assurances that there would not be any shortage in fuel as a result of the protest action.
Reports throughout the country said that truckers had voted to stop working in Hania, on the island of Crete, and to prevent public-use freight trucks from boarding ferries from Tuesday evening and prevent any trucks arriving from leaving the port.
Trucks were also ranged along the side of the road at the Nestani road tolls in Arcadia, the road tolls outside Corinth and at the entrance to the town of Sparti in the Peloponnese.
 Infrastructures minister on truck issueInfrastructures Minister Dimitris Reppas, referring on Tuesday to mobilisations by truck and fuel truck owners, said that the requisitioning of trucks does not concern the means alone but the service as well.
"The requisitioning does not concern the means only, it concerns the service as well. It is not only the vehicle that the transporter is obliged to provide for the transportation task to be carried out, but he has to provide his own services as well. He must carry out the contracts that he has drawn up," he said while speaking to the Flash radio station.
"We shall not make any move that will give the impression to the representatives of the working people that we are trying to disrupt their front. Whatever issues they have raised for discussion if they concern the opening or not of the market are issues that we do not discuss, the market will open, it will function with open competitive terms, we have not received any proposal for further dialogue. We saw them, we have discussed, we have reached our proposals, we have made them known. This kind of discussion is a discussion which if it has an interest for the transporters as well can take place and be substantive and productive," the minister added.
 EU Commissioner Damanaki unveils Marine Knowledge 2020 proposalEuropean Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki has unveiled the Commission's Marine Knowledge 2020 proposal to unlock the potential of Europe's marine knowledge. The proposal was unveiled on Monday and seeks to enhance understanding of Europe's seas and oceans, make using marine data easier and less costly and foster competitiveness among marine data users.
"Marine Knowledge 2020 is a direct response to the call by marine data users for the EU to step in. We have therefore come up with this comprehensive proposal, which has three basic objectives. Firstly, by freeing bottlenecks and reducing operational costs for those who use marine data, we can help private industry compete in the global economy and meet the challenge of sustainability; we can improve the quality of public decision-making at all levels; and we can strengthen marine scientific research. Secondly, by providing wider access to quality-checked, rapidly available coherent marine data, we can step up competition and innovation amongst users. And thirdly, by reducing uncertainty in knowledge of the oceans and the seas, we can provide a sounder basis for managing future changes. This will provide businesses and public bodies with the means to meet the crucial aims of our Europe2020 strategy," Damanaki said.
Developments in fishing intensity, coastal development, navigational practices or offshore energy infrastructure, as well as an increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, are having an accelerating impact on the two thirds of this planet that are sea or ocean. The changes resulting from these human activities superimpose on the natural rhythms and cycles of the marine world. Since ocean circulation is the primary driver for the mildness or severity of Europe's seasons, the impact of these changes is felt beyond our coastal communities, by those who live and work far inland. At the same time, advances in technology are offering new opportunities to harness sustainably and responsibly the sea's rich and largely unexplored resources for the benefit of mankind.
To understand these changes, forecast future developments and exploit these opportunities we need to observe the seas' current and past behaviour. European public bodies are well aware of this and between them are spending more than one billion euro every year on collecting marine data for purposes as diverse as ensuring safe marine navigation, protecting coastlines, prospecting for new biomaterials or assessing fish stocks. However, a recent public consultation amongst those who require such data to do their jobs in industry, academia and public services confirmed that these data are not fit for purpose. Users find it hard to discover what data already exists. There are restrictions on access and on the uses to which the data can be put. Fragmented standards, formats and nomenclature, lack of information on precision and accuracy, the pricing policy of some providers and insufficient temporal or spatial resolution are further barriers. The opportunity to develop innovative new products and services based on these data is therefore lost. The vast majority of those working in the field believe that only action at an EU level can allow those whose business relies on readily available marine data to meet the "Europe 2020" goals for smart and sustainable growth.
The Commission's proposal shows how an integrated approach harnessing a range of legal instruments is progressively building an architecture whereby observations are collected and assembled to provide complete sea-basin data layers that meet the needs of stakeholders
 Katseli to attend UNCTAD con'fThe 57th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) opens in Geneva on Wednesday focusing on development strategies, international trade, employment, investments in developing countries and the global economic system reform.
Labour and Social Insurance Minister Louka Katseli will be a guest speaker in the high-level segment meeting, entitled "toward sustainable recovery".
Katseli will also have meetings with UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi and International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Juan Somavia.
The UNCTAD conference will be completed on Sept. 28.
 OSE strike as planned, despite court ruling it as 'illegal'An Athens court on Tuesday ruled as illegal a 24-hour strike by Hellenic Railway Organisation (OSE) workers that began at midnight (Monday to midnight Tuesday), but the federation of rail employees said the strike will be held as scheduled.
Meanwhile, train attendants are holding three 3-hour work-stoppages, which are scheduled for 6:00-9:00 a.m., 1:00-4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m to midnight.
The Nationwide Federation of Rail Employees, in an announcement after the ruling was issued, said that it had made an early announcement of the pending strike, and also passed off as "false" charges that it had not designated a skeleton staff given that "a relevant contract has not been signed, at the fault of the companies".
Consequently, the Federation said, "the strike action planned for September 14 (Tuesday) will take place as scheduled".
 New Ryanair route from Rome to RhodesIrish low budget carrier Ryanair on Tuesday announced a new route from Rome to the Dodecanese island of Rhodes, to be launched on Dec. 1, 2010
An official announcement was made in Rhodes on Tuesday by the company's sales and marketing director Ida Buonanno.
The new route from Rome's Ciampino Airport to Rhodes will be serviced twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays, creating 30 new local jobs.
Ryanair will now operate three routes from Rhodes to Milan, Pisa and Rome, two from Kos to Frankfurt and Milan and two from Volos to Frankfurt and Milan. (ANA-MPA)
 Polymylos toll booth on Egnatia opens on Tues.A new toll post on the Egnatia motorway crossing through the breadth of northern Greece opened at the Polymylos site near the city in Kozani on Tuesday.
The toll for private cars will be 2.80 euros; 2.00 euros for motorcycles; 7.00 euros for trucks and buses and 10.00 euros for lorries and other tractor trailer vehicles.
 Stocks end 1.53% lowerStocks ended substantially lower at the Athens Stock Exchange, with the composite index falling for a third consecutive session to end at 1,563.36 points, off 1.53 pct, reflecting losses in bank shares. Piraeus Bank fell 5.0 pct, Eurobank dropped 3.5 pct, Alpha Bank fell 2.61 pct and National Bank eased 1.59 pct. Turnover was a low 94.628 million euros.
The Big Cap index fell 1.94 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.68 pct lower and the Mid Cap index fell 2.25 pct.
The Insurance (3.15 pct) and Commerce (1.50 pct) sectors scored gains, while Health (4.08 pct) and Financial Services (4.55 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 126 to 44 with another 41 issues unchanged.
Edrasi (14.29 pct), Mevaco (10 pct) and Perseus (9.52 pct) were top gainers, while Optronics Technologies (20 pct), Pairis (16.9 pct) and Vioter (11.43 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.26%
Personal & Household: -0.67%
Raw Materials: -1.85%
Travel & Leisure: -2.02%
Food & Beverages: -0.20%
Financial Services: -4.55%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Jumbo, OPAP and Titan.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 5.22
Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.70
HBC Coca Cola: 19.25
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.08
National Bank of Greece: 9.30
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.96
Bank of Piraeus: 3.80
 Greek bond prices significantly up in AugustGreek state bond prices fell significantly in August, with yields rising substantially in the month, the Bank of Greece said in a report published on Tuesday.
The central bank said that the five-year benchmark bond yield jumped 1.44 pct to 12.02 pct, while the 10-year benchmark bond yield rose 1.24 pct to 11.48 pct and the three-year bond yield rose 1.17 pct to 12.21 pct.
The average daily yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German state bonds widened to 8.32 pct in August, from 7.70 pct in July, ending the month at 9.37 pct. Turnover in August totaled 819 million euros, down from 1.5 billion euros in July and 30.8 billion euros in August 2009. Average daily turnover was 37.2 million euros in August, from 66.5 million euros in July. The three-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 103 million euros.
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market was a low 73 million euros on Tuesday, of which 16 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 58 million euros were sell orders. The three-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 21 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose slightly to 9.0 pct from 8.96 pct on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.36 pct and the German Bund 2.36 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.41 pct, the six-month rate was 1.13 pct, the three-month 0.88 pct and the one-month 0.62 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.44 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 125.735 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 27,533 contracts worth 104.303 million euros, with 21,017 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 39,981 contracts worth 21.432 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (8,790), followed by Eurobank (3,223), MIG (4,610), OTE (3,164), PPC (2,705), Piraeus Bank (1,822), GEK (1,263), Alpha Bank (2,471), Intracom (3,055), Marfin Popular Bank (2,056), Hellenic Postbank (1,868) and ATEbank (969).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.295
Pound sterling 0.840
Danish kroner 7.505
Swedish kroner 9.299
Japanese yen 107.9
Swiss franc 1.301
Norwegian kroner 7.941
Canadian dollar 1.330
Australian dollar 1.386
 President hosts event against hooliganismPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday referred to the "enduring responsibility of the state for the phenomenon of hooliganism in sports venues," addressing an event against violence involving sports fans, hosted at the presidential mansion on Tuesday attended by government ministers and football federation officials, coaches and players.
Papoulias stressed that "incidents of hooliganism are warning signs of a pathological situation that gives birth to them and, through some kind of a distorted tolerance, is at peace with them."
He underlined that the responsibility to tackle the phenomenon lies with the State, the sports authorities, the referees' association and the sports clubs, adding that no tolerance should be displayed.
Health and Sports Minister Andreas Loverdos stressed that "the phenomenon will be tackled" and addressing the president he underlined "we need to be under your auspices."
On behalf of professional football players, PSAP President Stelios Giannakopoulos thanked the president for his support to the effort made to combat hooliganism.
Greek Police (EL.AS) Chief Lefteris Economou pointed out that the violence or disorder involving sports fans has undergone a qualitative change considering that the hooligan ranks have been infiltrated by what he described as self-styled anarchists and neo-fascists.
 Parliament honours memory of Asia Minor Genocide victimsThe Greek Parliament on Tuesday honoured the memory of the thousands of victims of the Genocide of the Asia Minor Greeks, observing a minute's silence.
Speaking at the special event held in the framework of the National Memory Day of the Genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor by the Turkish state, Parliament President Filippos Petsalnikos stressed that the Genocide was the result of a systematic effort to eliminate the Greek element that heightened in 1922 and the tax in blood paid by the Asia Minor Greeks was very heavy with about 500,000 dead.
Petsalnikos also said that the unanimous recognition of this Day by the Greek Parliament was a historic duty that satisfied a steadfast demand of Asia Minor Organisations.
He went on to say that the recognition condemns the hideous phenomenon of Genocide and calls on all to consider ways of preventing such phenomena that shake the foundations of the edifice of humanitarian and democratic values of modern-day civilisation.
 55 drug arrests in Security Police 'sweep' in ExarchiaFifty-five (55) people were arrested Sunday night for drug dealing during a massive 'sweep' operation by Security Police in the Exarchia district in central Athens along the Tositsa pedestrian street, which is a known hangout for users, police said on Tuesday morning.
The drug dealers, must of whom are of African nationality, will appear before a public prosecutor on Tuesday, Athens Security Police deputy chief Thucydides Sakarelos will make detailed announcements later in the day.
A large quantity of heroin, cocaine, hashish and other narcotic substances were found in the possession of the detainees, as well as stolen goods they accepted from users to pay for the drugs.
 Turkish woman celebrates birthday by swimming from Marmaris to RhodesA Turkish woman celebrated her 40th birthday on Tuesday by swimming from the Turkish coastal resort of Marmaris to the Dodecanese island of Rhodes.
Nazli Hamitoglu, a veteran long-distance swimmer, was escorted by a British boat and covered a distance of 7 nautical miles before arriving in the harbour of Rhodes, where she was welcomed by the consul general of Turkey, among others.
 Cloudy on WednesdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 13C and 30C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 30C. Cloudy with possible showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 18C to 27C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glancePrime Minister George Papandreou's speech in Oslo at the joint IMF-ILO conference, the shortfall in revenues and the VAT increases in staple goods, medicines, electricity, natural gas rate and transport tickets, and the road shows on the Greek economy in European capitals dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Citizens Service Centers (KEP) at risk of closing due to government's irrational policy...".
APOGEVMATINI: "Cutbacks in successive insurance, too".
AVGHI: "Two months 'stay of execution' for the doomed".
CHORA: "Troika cutting 1.5 billion euros from the armaments expenditures".
ELEFTHEROS: "When the prime minister is on cloud "nine" - Papandreou's unbelievably contradictory statements from Oslo".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Prime Minister 'froze' us from Oslo - When abroad he speaks the truth".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Finance Ministry's plan to close outstanding tax cases to begin next month".
ESTIA: "What former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had stated a year ago in his speech at TIF - Today's developments vindicate him".
ETHNOS: "New system for successive insurance".
IMERISSIA: "Alarm over the revenues - New VAT increase on the verge".
KATHIMERINI: "Government 'measure'-mongering".
LOGOS: "New increase in VAT being mulled - Added burden to households".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Recourse to markets with the troika as an ally".
NIKI: "The two sides of Greece in the 'Memorandum era'."
RIZOSPASTIS: "Government's policy downgrades education".
TA NEA: "Pay and burn your accounting books".
TO VIMA: "1 million outstanding tax cases from 2000-2009 to be finally closed".
VRADYNI: "Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and (European Commission, ECB and IMF) troika desperately searching in Europe for investments".
 President briefs National Council on property issueNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias informed Tuesday the National Council's members on his assessment on the course of the inter-communal negotiations regarding the property chapter after the Greek and Turkish Cypriot side have submitted their positions.
In statements after the meeting of the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem), Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that some political parties have made an initial comment on the president's proposals. He added that it has been agreed that the discussion would be continued at the Subcommittee on the Property issue, and to be concluded at the National Council.
Asked if the dates for the Subcommittee's session have been set up, Stephanou replied negatively and added that the political parties will agree on the session of the Subcommittee and of the National Council.
He also said that the next meeting of the National Council would take place after the return of President Christofias from New York, where he will participate in the UN General Assembly meeting.
Replying to a comment made by a journalist that people was expecting a minimum unity to be reached in the domestic front, Stephanou noted that the effort is to find a consent, and for that reason a very specific discussion at the Subcommittee on the Property issue, will be held.
"Each political party will table its proposals, thoughts, estimations and comments on the proposals, thus making an effort to reach a common position", he said.
Stephanou pointed out that during Tuesday's meeting of the National Council a very productive and constructive atmosphere prevailed, which "sends the message that we can have a course that, at least, will satisfy the majority of the political parties".
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Peace talks are currently underway between President Christofias and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country under a federal roof.
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