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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-09-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Thursday, 16 September 2010 Issue No: 3594


  • [01] FM: Greek foreign policy to be revamped; touches on all issues
  • [02] PM heads for Brussels for EU summit
  • [03] Interior minister's new duties
  • [04] Papariga press conference at TIF
  • [05] Tsipras criticises government policy
  • [06] Vassilis Mihaloliakos to run for Piraeus mayorship
  • [07] Dep. FM receives ActionAid Hellas, briefed on 1GOAL campaign
  • [08] Patriarchate opposed to holding of religious service in Agia Sofia
  • [09] LA.OS leader meets with Iraqi envoy
  • [10] IMF report: Stability program made strong start
  • [11] EU's Rehn on Greek economy
  • [12] FinMin's contacts in London
  • [13] Katseli meets with ILO director-general
  • [14] Katseli addresses Geneva UNCTAD conference
  • [15] Pampoukis presents "fast-track" investments plan
  • [16] Greek inflation rises to 5.6% in Aug.
  • [17] Gasoline price ceiling measure being suspended as of midnight
  • [18] Piraeus Port Authority unveils tender for construction of 5-star hotel
  • [19] Illegal fuel trade costs 2 billion euros annually
  • [20] Greek Shipowners Union on Merchant Marine Ministry
  • [21] Employment in retail sector up 0.3 pct in Q2
  • [22] Turnover in services sector down in Q2
  • [23] Stocks end off lows
  • [24] Greek bond market closing report
  • [25] ADEX closing report
  • [26] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [27] Some 30 tourists injured, 5 seriously, as Turkish-flag catamaran crashes into port on Kos
  • [28] Drug dealers arrested
  • [29] Fire on Mt. Olympus
  • [30] Event on smoking ban
  • [31] Cloudy on Thursday
  • [32] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] FM: Greek foreign policy to be revamped; touches on all issues

    The key-points of the Greek foreign policy were outlined on Wednesday by Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, who also announced that a committee will undertake to process a new political doctrine for Greece's foreign policy in response to whatever changes on the international scene.

    Speaking in a press conference in the presence of Alternate Foreign Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, and Deputy Foreign Ministers Spyros Kouvelis and Dimitris Dollis, Droutsas clarified that the committee will be comprised of foreign ministry officials and academics, while a special role will be played by the National Council on Foreign Policy (ESEP).

    In beginning with regional issues, Droutsas referred to the "Agenda 2014" initiative concerning the European prospects of the Balkan countries and his recent visits to Belgrade and Pristina, while in regards to the fYRoM "name issue", he underlined that Greece has proved that it has the necessary political will to find a solution. He noted that no international pressure is now exerted on Greece because Athens has clearly defined its policy framework.

    Droutsas underlined that "if our neighbors decide to examine the problem with an open mind, we will be here with our positions."

    He also mentioned that he intends to meet with UN envoy Matthew Nimetz in New York (on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly) and he did not rule out a meeting between the prime ministers of Greece and fYRoM in New York. Referring to recent negative statements by fYRoM officials, Droutsas stated that "we will not let a statement affect us."

    Greek-Turkish relations

    As regards the all-important field of Greek-Turkish relations, the FM reiterated that Athens seeks close cooperation with Turkey under the precondition that International Law, Greece's territorial integrity and sovereign rights are fully observed.

    "Within this framework, we are ready, we support Turkey's European prospect and its goal for EU accession," he stressed, pointing out that the promotion of a different EU-Turkey "relationship" is not in Greece's interests.

    He added that the outcome of a recent referendum in Turkey allows Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to proceed with more decisive reforms in the area of human rights, International Law and the rules of good-neighbourly relations as well as in a solution of the long-standing Cyprus problem.

    Droutsas described last Sunday's referendum as a "window of opportunity" for Turkish leadership and stressed that "we should utilise this opportunity by making cautious steps."

    He also clarified that no EU partner has supported Turkey's "unconditional accession" into the EU, adding that certain partners maintained that "Turkey should not be cut off from Europe" and that "somehow Turkey should be integrated into the EU policies." Droutsas underlined that the only way for Turkey is to "fully meet its obligations for EU accession."

    On Greece's intention to proceed with explorations for natural gas reserves in areas where Turkey is not involved, Droutsas stated "Greece will utilize all its rights guaranteed by International Law.

    As regards the "casus belli", he reiterated that it is an "unacceptable" reference both on the level of general principles and good neighborly relations and in terms of the preconditions an EU candidate country will have to observe.

    Cyprus issue

    He added that the Cyprus issue remains a top foreign policy priority and pointed out that its current phase is not easy, underlining the close cooperation and coordination between Greece, Cypriot leadership and President Demetris Christofias.

    Moreover, he made a special reference to a proposal for the return of Varosha (a quarter in the occupied Cypriot port city of Famagusta) and the opening of the Famagusta harbour, expressing a hope that the Turkish Cypriots will respond positively. "This is an opportunity for Turkey to show not just words but deeds as well," the foreign minister stressed.

    Referring to any "room for flexibility" allowed by the participation of Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu in the talks on the Cyprus issue, Droutsas cited Erolgu's statements that "echo past positions", stressing that "this is not promising as regards flexibility of negotiations." He also said that "clearly, Turkey will play a crucial and essential role."

    Asked about cooperation with Israel, he stressed that such cooperation "is not in conflict with the traditionally close relations Greece has with the Arabs," clarifying that "it is not a matter of antagonism but an effort that is aimed at consolidating peace and stability in the region."

    Middle East

    Turning to another area, Droutsas also referred to Athens' strong relations with the Arab world and the important role Greece can play in the promotion of a solution in the Middle East issue, which has entered a new phase.

    Finally, responding to a question on the issue of illegal immigration, Droutsas stated that "aside from the bilateral tools offered, Greece will utilise all EU tools available as regards the issues of (illegal) migrants, while important initiatives have already been undertaken in the drawing up of immediate readmission agreements." Referring to the likelihood of Roma (gypsies) from France and Italy moving to Greece, he underlined that "the country is ready to meet such a likelihood."

    On his part, Dep. FM Spyros Kouvelis referred to economic diplomacy and its major role in Greece's foreign policy, with an emphasis on the Arab world, the Gulf countries, the Balkans, Russia and China.

    He mentioned the establishment of a joint committee with Qatar for a multi-billion-euro investment at the harbour in Astakos, in western Greece, and recent high-profile contacts with Libya and Black Sea countries.

    Kouvelis also referred to the Arab-Greek Forum to take place on Sept. 24 with the participation of officials and entrepreneurs, stressing that Greece has become an important economic partner of the United States.

    [02] PM heads for Brussels for EU summit

    Prime minister George Papandreou left Wednesday afternoon for Brussels to attend Thursday's EU summit.

    Earlier, the premier chaired a meeting of the government policy strategic planning team, which discussed economic policy planning for the coming period as well as the prime minister's itinerary for his Brussels visit and upcoming trip to New York for the 65th UN General Assembly.

    [03] Interior minister's new duties

    By decision of Prime Minister George Papandreou, the duties of Interior, Decentralisation and Electronic Governance Minister Yiannis Rangoussis were assigned and validated as of Wednesday.

    Rangoussis will be responsible, among other things, for the cohesive, strategic, political and communications planning for the promotion of the government's work in the sectors that the prime minister assigns to him every time and the monitoring of its implementation.

    [04] Papariga press conference at TIF

    November's local government elections are comparative to general elections and are of great importance because they will be the first ballot after the Memorandum, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said on Wednesday during a press conference in the context of her visit to the 75th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), and called on voters to "crush" the two mainstream parties, ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy (ND) in the upcoming ballot.

    Papariga accused the PASOK government of having waged the most barbarous attack against the working people, warning that although the Memorandum procedures may end in 2013 the repercussions will continue for many years to come.

    She also accused ND of, although not voting in favor of the Memorandum in parliament, in reality backing the Memorandum-related measures and of not saying that it will abolish those measures if it takes power.

    [05] Tsipras criticises government policy

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group president Alexis Tsipras lashed out at the government on Wednesday, accusing it that the policy it follows "brings society to its knees".

    Tsipras made the comments during his tour of the TEVE (Self-Employed Workers' Insurance Organization) offices in Thessaloniki, underlining that "small and medium sized enterprises go out of business, the social insurance funds are sinking and society is driven to despair."

    Referring to the local government elections on Nov. 7 he stressed that "the outcome will be a clear display of the Greek people's rage and discontent," highlighting that the "Greek people have tolerated enough".

    [06] Vassilis Mihaloliakos to run for Piraeus mayorship

    Vassilis Mihaloliakos announced during an event at the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) on Wednesday his intention to contest the municipality of Piraeus in the local elections.

    "I decided following a demand by you to leave behind all my inhibitions and be a candidate for mayor in our beloved Piraeus," he said and mentioned that he resigned from the post of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party local administration secretary.

    Mihaloliakos also stressed that he will resign from post as deputy as well, underlining that he calls on all the people of Piraeus for joint mobilisation, regardless of their political origin, while his main message was "Piraeus unites us."

    [07] Dep. FM receives ActionAid Hellas, briefed on 1GOAL campaign

    ActionAid Hellas children volunteers met with Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis at his office in the foreign ministry on Wednesday, within the framework of the 1GOAL campaign - Education for all, a campaign promoting the children's right to education worldwide.

    The organisation's volunteers held a banner that read "schools have opened for us but not for 72 million children".

    Kouvelis met with ActionAid International Chief Executive Joanna Kerr and received a ball with the number 88,000 written on it; the number of signatures collected by ActionAid Hellas within the framework of the 1GOAL campaign.

    The meeting took place a few days before the UN session in New York that will focus on the international organization's Millennium Development Goals, agreed by its members to be achieved by 2015, among them the abolition of illiteracy.

    [08] Patriarchate opposed to holding of religious service in Agia Sofia

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate, in an announcement on Wednesday, expressed opposition to the intention of US Orthodox faithful to hold a service at Agia Sofia here on Friday September 17, declaring itself distanced from the specific action to the Turkish authorities.

    The arrival of about 250 Greek Orthodox faithful of the US - who are members of the Global Agia Sofia Parish, headed by the Parish's president Chris Spyrou - in Istanbul has been scheduled for Friday. They intend to hold a religious service on the premises of Agia Sofia.

    [09] LA.OS leader meets with Iraqi envoy

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis met on Wednesday with Iraqi ambassador to Greece Burhan Jaf.

    Karatzaferis expressed a hope that Greece will contribute to efforts for a normalisation of Iraq following the withdrawal of US forces from the country.

    Financial News

    [10] IMF report: Stability program made strong start

    The Greek economy's stability program has made a strong start, and quantitative performance criteria to date have been met, led by forceful implementation of the fiscal program, and major reforms are ahead of schedule, according to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) first review (report) on progress in implementation of the Memorandum, which was released on Tuesday, which noted, however, that important challenges and risks remain.

    It further noted that recession was unfolding in line with projections, but inflation is higher than expected from indirect tax hikes, but does not seem to have led to second round effects as wage growth is moderating.

    Also, fiscal consolidation is broadly on track, with overperformance of the state budget offsetting slippages at sub-national levels of government, the report added.

    Further, liquidity in the banking system is tight but adequate, supported by the ECB's securities market purchase program (SMP) and other measures to boost banks' repo eligibility, while far-reaching pension and labor market reforms have been implemented ahead of schedule and other important reforms are underway.

    The report said that despite slightly lower revenue, end-June performance criteria were met, but the indicative target on the non-accumulation of domestic arrears was missed, reflecting weak expenditure control at the sub-national level.

    To address still significant fiscal risks, tax administration steps and better expenditure monitoring and controls are envisaged to be in place by end-September. The measures required under the structural benchmarks have all been implemented albeit, in one case, with slight delays, except for the benchmark on the completion of the actuarial report, whose implementation has been delayed by staffing and data constraints.

    In that framework, the report noted that the government appears determined but is likely to be fiercely tested by an entrenched and pervasive culture of tax evasion and opposition from within the tax service. Progress is bound to be gradual, but a determined pursuit of tax evaders through the presumptive tax mechanism and through the work of the task forces pursuing high-income individuals is essential due to the already existing concerns about the fairness of the distribution of the burden of adjustment.

    The entire 107-page report may be accessed at:

    [11] EU's Rehn on Greek economy

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    The assessment that Greece is on the right path regarding the efforts it is making for monetary restructuring, as well as with the structural reforms that are underway, was made here on Wednesday by Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn and European Central Bank board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi.

    Intervening at the European Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee, the two EU officials insisted in parallel on the need for these efforts to be continued with an undiminishing rate so that the Greek economys' reliability towards markets can be restored.

    Replying in particular to a question by PASOK party Eurodeputy Anny Podimata on the continuing uncertainties that continue to be noted in the markets' handling of Greece, Olli Rehn stressed that "Greece is on the right path having achieved impressive monetary discipline results" and pointed out that after such a crisis time is required for the restoration and boosting of confidence.

    [12] FinMin's contacts in London

    LONDON (ANA-MPA/L. Tsirigotakis)

    Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou met for three hours on Wednesday with international investors and briefed them on the Greek economy's programme, as well as on investments opportunities that Greece is providing at present.

    The Greek minister underlined the new legislative framework which is being created aiming at attracting and facilitating foreign investments.

    At the same time, Papaconstantinou gave a briefing on the developments in the Greek economy, as well as on investments issues in Greece in interviews he gave to important foreign media and specifically to the economic television channel Bloomberg, the Reuters news agency, the economic and political magazine Economist and the newspapers "Financial Times" and "Wall Street Journal." Papaconstantinou left for Paris at 6 o'clock London time.

    [13] Katseli meets with ILO director-general

    Labour and Social Insurance Minister Louka Katseli met in Geneva on Wednesday with International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Juan Somavia.

    The talks focused on the need to support the small and medium sized businesses, boost employment and implement social protection policies in combination with social entrepreneurship policies. The necessity of a "safety net" was also underlined as an integral part of the overall economic policy.

    Somavia accepted an invitation to visit Greece.

    Katseli also met with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi before addressing a high-level segment meeting, entitled "toward sustainable recovery", as a guest speaker.

    [14] Katseli addresses Geneva UNCTAD conference

    Greek Labour and Social Insurance Minister Louka Katseli addressed on Wednesday evening a special debate in the framework of the 57th session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held in Geneva.

    Katseli called for transforming the present economic crisis into an opportunity for changes. She said that the Greek crisis could offer useful experiences to many other countries.

    "Every country that uses funds from international markets must implement a wise fiscal management and protect its liability, otherwise the punishment will be severe," she said.

    "The punishment for Greece was its rapid exclusion from fund sources as a result of profiteering actions that set the Euro as their target, while the activation of the support mechanism was a salvation for Greece, while it highlighted the importance of regional cooperation institutions which must be strengthened," the Greek minister also noted.

    [15] Pampoukis presents "fast-track" investments plan

    A new "fast-track" investment framework introduced by the government is an investment tool aimed at facilitating and speeding up procedures for candidate investors, along with promoting transparency and efficiency, State Minister Haris Pampoukis, said on Wednesday.

    Addressing an event, organized by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greek minister said the new legislation was limiting business risks directly connected with problems facing the Greek public administration and noted: "Our aim is, among others, investments that will fortify the country strategically and upgrading its geopolitical status to avoid any return to the point-zero we reached a few months ago".

    Pampoukis referred in detail to the benefits from introducing this "fast-track" procedure in attracting investments. Constantinos Mihalos, president of the Chamber, said the new legislation was clearly a positive step aimed at attracting and facilitating new large investments and urged for actions to ensure the efficient implementation of the new law.

    [16] Greek inflation rises to 5.6% in Aug.

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / D. Demiris)

    Greece's annual inflation rate rose to 5.6 pct in August from 5.5 pct in July, Eurostat said on Wednesday.

    The EU executive's statistics agency, in a report, said the Eurozone's inflation rate slowed to 1.6 pct in August from 1.7 pct in July and -0.2 pct in August 2009, while in the EU-27, the inflation rate slowed to 2.0 pct from 2.1 pct in July and 0.6 pct in August 2009.

    Ireland (-1.2 pct), Latvia (-0.4 pct) and Germany (1.0 pct) recorded the lowest inflation rates, while Romania (7.6 pct), Greece (5.6 pct) and Hungary (3.6 pct) the highest rates.

    The inflation rate was up in 10 member-states, it was unchanged in nine and fell in eight member states in August.

    [17] Gasoline price ceiling measure being suspended as of midnight

    The measure of the price ceiling on petroleum products, in effect as of September 13, was to be suspended as of midnight on Wednesday September 15, while an announcement by the Regional Development and Competitiveness ministry stressed that "following the intensive checks carried out and that are being carried out it is being ascertained that the market is now functioning smoothly as regards both the supplying of petrol stations and the shaping of prices. Consequently, the need to continue the implementation of the measure no longer exists."

    It is reminded that the measure had been taken to prevent unjustified increases in fuel prices that appeared as a result of strikes by truck and fuel truck owners.

    Referring to the issue, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party Development and Competitiveness sector rapporteur Kostis Hatzidakis discerns offhandedness in the government's policy on the price ceiling since "in only two days it is taking back the ceiling measure, after previously orientating itself on its readjustment upwards," adding that "in any case the basic problem for the consumer is that this year he is paying for gasoline 50 percent more expensively than last year."

    [18] Piraeus Port Authority unveils tender for construction of 5-star hotel

    The Piraeus Port Authority on Wednesday announced that it will hold an open tender on Dec. 15 to lease out the Piraeus exhibition centre building for its transformation into a modern five-star hotel.

    In an announcement, the Port Authority said the ambitious project aims to fill a void in terms of high-end hotel rooms for the major port city, which currently lacks a large five-star hotel.

    The current building includes 30,000 sq.m. of space. The current tender envisions that it will keep its Pagoda-style architectural form. Moreover, the port authority said it will build a new passenger terminal for cruise ships on the ground floor.

    The underwriter of the project will have to set up a societe anonyme company and to deposit a letter of guarantee worth 800,000 euros, regardless of the bid price.

    [19] Illegal fuel trade costs 2 billion euros annually

    Fuel smuggling in Greece is estimated at roughly 2 billion euros annually, financial crimes squad (SDOE) special secretary Yiannis Kapeleris said on Wednesday.

    He also stated that Greece is expecting the outcome of inspections conducted in the period between Oct. 2009 and the first months of 2010 by Greek and Bulgarian authorities on roughly 9,000 fuel tank trucks destined for Bulgaria to determine if there were any incidents of fuel smuggling.

    Meanwhile, roughly 500 physicians in the northern seaport city of Thessaloniki alone are involved in tax law violations as shown by recent inspections. A large number of lawyers and other professionals are also included on the list of tax-dodgers.

    Kapeleris confirmed that more than 1,100 private pools in the greater Thessaloniki region and the neighboring prefectures of «alkidiki and Pieria have not been declared to the tax bureaus by their owners. In addition, roughly 220 offshore companies in Thessaloniki and the greater region have in their possession large undeclared real estate property.

    Kapeleris revealed that a football manager in Thessaloniki is under the microscope of the SDOE inspectors for undeclared bank accounts of 26 million euros.

    The SDOE head stated that only a few of the 1,000 cases concerning Greeks citizens with suspicious accounts of millions of euros in foreign banks have been investigated stressing that it is a time-consuming process.

    Meanwhile, the 1517 hotline set up by the finance ministry has already received roughly 15,000 calls referring to suspected tax-evadors.

    [20] Greek Shipowners Union on Merchant Marine Ministry

    An announcement issued by the Union of Greek Shipowners on Wednesday stressed that "the entire maritime Community does not understand the state's insistence on abolishing the historic Merchant Marine Ministry and proceed with the creation of a cloudy administrative agency with irrelevant and overlapping duties."

    The announcement terms "inconceivable and extremely insulting for many the insinuations of the Government Representative according to which the active for eight decades Merchant Marine Ministry has supposedly a heavy and sinful past."

    The Union of Greek Shipowners stresses that it will insist on the re-establishment of the Merchant Marine Ministry and has one pursuit and position alone that the Greek merchant navy remains the first and biggest in the world, as it is today for the benefit of the mercantile community and the entire country.

    [21] Employment in retail sector up 0.3 pct in Q2

    The employment index in the retail sector rose 0.3 pct in the second quarter of 2010, compared with the same period last year, after a decline of 1.7 pct recorded in the second quarter of 2009, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Wednesday.

    In a report, the statistical service, said the number of employed people rose 1.0 pct in supermarkets and by 0.5 pct in other stores category in the second quarter.

    [22] Turnover in services sector down in Q2

    The turnover index in the services sector fell in the second quarter of 2010, compared with the same period last year, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Wednesday.

    The statistics agency, in a report, said turnover in the IT sector fell 30.2 pct, in the consultancy sector it was down 28.3 pct, in the architect and engineer services sector it fell 23.5 pct, advertisement (-14.1 pct), publications (-14 pct), telecommunications (-8.5 pct) and postal services (-5.4 pct).

    [23] Stocks end off lows

    Stocks ended lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, although they managed to recover from earlier sharp losses. The composite index of the market fell 0.21 pct to end at 1,560,08 points, after losing as much as 1.73 pct during the session. Turnover was a low 95.363 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 0.53 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.35 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 1.44 pct.

    The Food (2.68 pct) and Financial Services (1.32 pct) sectors scored gains, while Telecommunications (2.68 pct) and Chemicals (2.03 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 117 to 51 with another 44 issues unchanged.

    Edrasi (12.5 pct), Akritas (10 pct) and Perseus (8.70 pct) were top gainers, while Kreka (17.14 pct), Ridenco (16.67 pct) and NEL (16.67 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: +0.19%

    Commercial: -1.91%

    Construction: +0.55%

    Media: -1.17%

    Oil & Gas: -1.24%

    Personal & Household: -0.14%

    Raw Materials: -0.86%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.13%

    Technology: -1.29%

    Telecoms: -2.68%

    Banks: -1.23%

    Food & Beverages: +2.68%

    Health: -0.44%

    Utilities: +0.38%

    Chemicals: -2.03%

    Financial Services: +1.32%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.17

    ATEbank: 1.02

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.74

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.80

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.98

    National Bank of Greece: 9.18

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.87

    OPAP: 11.85

    OTE: 5.80

    Bank of Piraeus: 3.76

    Titan: 14.25

    [24] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 37 million euros on Wednesday, of which 28 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 9.0 million euros were buy orders. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 10 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 915 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 11.54% and the German Bund 2.39 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.41 pct, the six-month rate 1.13 pct, the three-month rate 0.88 pct and the one-month rate 0.62 pct.

    [25] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.35 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover jumping to 172.818 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 40,094 contracts worth 148.826 million euros, with 27,420 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 47,034 contracts worth 23.992 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (10,135), followed by Eurobank (1,943), MIG (5,245), OTE (4,175), Piraeus Bank (3,720), Alpha Bank (5,713), Intracom (2,169), Marfin Popular Bank (1,697), Ellaktor (1,505), Mytilineos (2,430) and ATEbank (2,235).

    [26] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.305

    Pound sterling 0.842

    Danish kroner 7.506

    Swedish kroner 9.268

    Japanese yen 111.93

    Swiss franc 1.312

    Norwegian kroner 7.960

    Canadian dollar 1.344

    Australian dollar 1.397

    General News

    [27] Some 30 tourists injured, 5 seriously, as Turkish-flag catamaran crashes into port on Kos

    Some 30 tourists were injured, of which five seriously, on Wednesday when a Turkish-flagged catamaran crashed into a pier in the port of the island of Kos.

    The vessel had set off from the Turkish town of Didim with 213 tourists aboard, mostly British nationals.

    The accident occurred at 11:20 a.m. as the crew attempted to tie up at Kos.

    According to initial indications, the accident is due to engine problems.

    The injured tourists were rushed to Kos Hospital, while the Kos port authority is investigation the circumstances and causes.

    [28] Drug dealers arrested

    Corinth police after an organised operation arrested late Tuesday on the Athens-Corinth highway, two men aged 27 and 26 for drug dealing. The two suspects attempted to sell to police officers posing as buyers three kilos and 265 grams of hashish.

    Police confiscated the drugs, and a car which the perpetrators were using to transport the drugs.

    The suspects will be sent before a Corinth prosecutor.

    [29] Fire on Mt. Olympus

    Firefighters on Wednesday resumed efforts to approach a wildfire that broke out the previous day on Mt. Olympus, in the Kalogeros region at an altitude of 2,200-2.400 meters.

    A ground force of firefighers set off from Litochoro at noon on Tuesday after reports came in of the fire, but low cloud and heavy fog on the mountain prevented them from reaching the blaze, and the firemen were obliged to spend the night at a skiers training center at an altitude of 1,820 meters in order to resume approach efforts at first light of day.

    The fire is believed to have been started by lightning.

    [30] Event on smoking ban

    Members of coffee-bar and restaurant professionals' coordinating body expressed their disagreement with the total ban on smoking in food and recreation centres, in an event held in Athens on Wednesday.

    Speakers reiterated the coordinating body's "fair and clear" position for their to be a ban wherever people gather imperatively and a choice wherever voluntarily.

    "Today smoking is forbidden for us, what will follow tomorrow," they wondered.

    Weather Forecast

    [31] Cloudy on Thursday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 14C and 32C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 32C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 17C to 29C.

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

    The procedures for the closure of outstanding tax cases, Tuesday's issue of Greek treasury bills on the international markets, a government meeting on the economy chaired by Prime Minister George Papandreou and a planned increase in VAT on staple goods, and Education Ministry announce-ments on the changes in the University entry exams, mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Who the closure of the last decade's outstanding cases applies to".

    APOGEVMATINI: "New increase in VAT sealed".

    AVGHI: "Local government elections a 'referendum' on government policy'.

    AVRIANI: "Former Prime Minister Costas Simitis' close associate Theodoros Tsoukatos revealed at the parliamentary examination committee on the Siemens Hellas scandal: Apart from Siemens, we received money from others also".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Tsoukatos: "They are lying and are hiding in PASOK - They always receive big sponsorships from private entities ahead of general elections".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "All the provisions for the closure of outstanding tax cases".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Elections a 'referendum' - Prime Minister raised the standard of the local government elections in November".

    ESTIA: "Partisanism dismantled everything'.

    ETHNOS: "Reversals in nationwide university entry exams".

    IMERISSIA: "How the tax for the outstanding cases will be calculated".

    KATHIMERINI: "Education Ministry proposal on changes in nationwide university entry exams".

    LOGOS: "Gas station owners press the government to reconsider the fuel prices ceiling".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Greek state obtained expensive money".

    NIKI: "Government opens war on the guilds".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "PASOK and main opposition New Democracy are to blame that welfare was thrown into the waste bin".

    TA NEA: "Finance Ministry financial crimes corps (SDOE) targets sports managers and football referees".

    TO VIMA: "The crisis struck luxury and brand name products and businesses".

    VRADYNI: "11 percent VAT rate in staple goods increases to 13 percent".

    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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