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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-09-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 17 September 2010 Issue No: 3595


  • [01] PM Papandreou says country regaining reliability
  • [02] PM: Greece on right track
  • [03] ND spokesman on ministers' duties, truck owners strike
  • [04] Alt. FM on FYROM issue
  • [05] Deputy FM Spyros Kouvelis holds talks with German official
  • [06] Testimony on state-Vatopedi land swaps draws reaction
  • [07] Karatzaferis on Vatopedi probe, testimony
  • [08] Health Minister Loverdos' press conference
  • [09] Armed forces draft law articles passed in Parliament
  • [10] Survey shows high dissatisfaction among career military
  • [11] Tsipras urges voters to punish the 'parties of the Memorandum'
  • [12] Greek, French FinMins discuss economic developments
  • [13] Labour Minister rejects additional fiscal measures
  • [14] Road freight bill approved by Parliament committee
  • [15] Greek unemployment rose to 11.8 pct in Q2
  • [16] GSEE-ADEDY Labour Institute report forecasts galloping unemployment in 2011
  • [17] Greek trade deficit down 8.0% in H1
  • [18] DM on Skaramangas Shipyards
  • [19] Piraeus port head addresses IDC seminar
  • [20] Stocks end 1.55% down
  • [21] Greek bond market closing report
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [24] Extra public transport for European Mobility Week on Saturday
  • [25] European Cultural Parliament readies for Athens session
  • [26] Violence reported in inner-city Athens square; 3 foreign nationals charged
  • [27] Drug ring busted in Thessaloniki
  • [28] Romanian man found dead
  • [29] Fair on Friday
  • [30] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [31] Markoullis asks lifting of Turkish restrictions to Cyprus shipping Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou says country regaining reliability


    Prime Minister George Papandreou stated shortly after the European Council summit here on Thursday that "the word austerity must be replaced by the word responsibility," stressing that the biggest problem faced by the country was the lack of reliability.

    Papandreou pointed out that responsibility must become evident in three sectors: the managing of macroeconomic indicators, the debt and the deficits, the growth strategy that will create new jobs and will make the economy more competitive and the transition to new infrastructures and renewable energy sources.

    The prime minister added that in order to reverse the climate of unreliability that was dealing a blow to the country, the government had to prove that it has the will to take difficult measures to enable the country to enter a restructuring path.

    Referring in particular to the high monetary deficit, Papandreou said that it is the result of practices, over the past years, that have to do with the governance, the country's rule of law, and untransparency and which did not permit the proper managing of the country's production sources and services, as well as the money of the Greek people.

    On the question of sanctions that preoccupied the European leaders on Thursday, in the framework of the discussion on the European Union's economic governance, the prime minister made it clear that Greece has no objections on the issue of sanctions, given that it is following a programme properly and this is recognised by its European partners.

    "A monitoring apparatus must be created as well as a sanctions apparatus," he said, adding that "if this apparatus existed years ago, Greece would not be in this position today."

    As regards the monitoring apparatus, Papandreou said that it must not concern monetary indicators only, but growth as well, while on the question of sanctions he said that they must be fair.

    More specifically, Papandreou noted that Greece's position is that sanctions must not be imposed on member-states only, but also on big financial establishments that favour tax evasion through tax paradises. He added that he himself proposed to the Council the implementation of new tools to improve economic governance, such as the green bonds, the tax on transactions and the tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

    Asked to comment on the possibility of the expulsion of a country from the eurozone, Papandreou replied that he considers this improbable, given that a change in the EU Treaty is not anticipatjed soon, but even if it existed, many countries have serious objections with this issue.

    As regards bilateral meetings he had with heads of state and government, on the sidelines of the European Council sessions, Papandreou stressed that it is an encouarging fact that the comments of all on the efforts being made by Greece to approach its targets were positive.

    "The positive comments of the Commission and our partners is an example of our country's reliability," the prime minister said, stressing that Greece desires to enter the markets as soon as possible and to forge ahead with its own forces.

    Called on to comment on the International Monetary Fund's report, that refers to the stance of the opposition parties, Papandreou stated that "there is a national crisis and not a crisis that serves petty political interests."

    The Greek premier also announced that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will be visiting Athens next month.

    [02] PM: Greece on right track

    Greece is on the right track, in a painful way, but is making real progress and real changes, prime minister George Papandreou said on Wednesday in Brussels as he was going into an EU summit.

    He also said that Greece will emerge stronger, as will Europe.

    [03] ND spokesman on ministers' duties, truck owners strike

    The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Thursday criticised, through its spokesman Panos Panayiotopoulos, Prime Minister George Papanreou over the new duties of ministers, as well as the consequences of the truck owners strike.

    "Nobody had told the citrizens, when they voted, in October 2009, Mr. Papandreou for Prime Minister, that before he completed a year in power, he would share the Premiership with Mr. Yiannis Rangoussis," Panayiotopoulos said, adding that "it came to be added on to the monstrosity with the overlappings and confusion of duties, that characterises the new government and blocks its work."

    Panayiotopoulos also referred to the social consequences of the truckers strike, accusing the government of "cultivating a climate of conflict between the various social and professional groups. Pushing one against the other, to cover up its inadequacy and the mistakes in its own moves. Our people have judgement and understand what is hiding behind tricks of such a kind."

    [04] Alt. FM on FYROM issue

    Greece will continue to maintain its responsible position, alternate foreign minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou said Thursday in parliament, replying to questions by MPs on the FYROM name issue.

    This position, she added, is imposed by Greece's place as a factor of stability in the region and a force of peace and development "which, in fact, also puts forward specific proposals, such as the Agenda 2014, and is working for the European future of the western Balkans".

    [05] Deputy FM Spyros Kouvelis holds talks with German official

    German Economy and Technology Secretary of State Bernd Pfaffenbach spoke positively on Thursday about the Greek government's work regarding the handling of the economic crisis, underlining Germany's readiness to contribute to Greece's development effort.

    "We are adherred to the two countries' excellent relations and we believe that Greece is on a very good path in these difficult times," the German official said after his meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis.

    "We can do is to cooperate in the field of politics, the economy and entrepreneurship. We shall coordinate moves so that there can be a road map to enable us to reach specific results," he added.

    "We also spoke of the opportunities opening before us as a continuation of the agreement that has taken place between Prime Minister George Papandreou and Chancellor Angela Merkel and the road map that we have developed on a series of sectors, among which energy, the environment, tourism, research and technology," Kouvelis said on his part.

    [06] Testimony on state-Vatopedi land swaps draws reaction

    Ekaterini Peleki, a notary and wife of former New Democracy (ND) minister George Voulgarakis, on Wednesday criticised former ND prime minister Costas Karamanlis over the Vatopedi Monastery-state land swaps affair, during a testimony before the parliamentary preliminary fact-finding committee.

    In her testimony, Peleki said: "Obviously there was a central political decision taken, with the responsibility of the (former) prime minister and delegated to ministers by the relevant officials. I know that people of integrity assume their responsibilities, just as I am."

    Asked which ministers the relevant order was relegated to, she named former agriculture ministers Evangelos Bassiakos and Alexandros Kontos, and former deputy agriculture minister Costas Kiltidis, along with former finance minister Petros Doukas, while she also named former minister of state Theodoros Roussopoulos and former director of then PM Karamanlis' political office Yiannis Angelou.

    Peleki, who was the notary that handled most of the land swap contracts between the state and the Vatopedi Monastery, claimed that she is being politically persecuted because she is Voulgarakis' wife. "I have been destroyed professionally and socially. At the least I should be morally vindicated," she said, claiming that she had not made a single euro in the affair.

    Asked whether she believed that Karamanlis should also be sent before a special court on the affair, she said "I don't believe there is a scandal".

    "I have no indication that the state suffered losses from the exchange. But the prime minister (Karamanlis), instead of saying 'I know nothing', should have come out and said that a governmental decision was taken with legal ministerial decisions and invite five appraisal firms from abroad to give expert opinions on whether the state lost and the monastery gained (from the land swaps). That is truly how I would expect Mr. Karamanlis to speak, even now," Peleki said.

    Sharp ND reaction

    On its part, the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party reminded on Thursday that Peleki is herself a defendant, and most likely decided to change her testimony to make use of favourable legislation.

    A ND statement noted that "Peleki's testimony confirms the ND position that there is "no flow of political money; bribes have not been received by individuals and there is no scandal whatsoever."

    The statement also mentioned that in 2004, the ND government had made "the political decision to return the specific property to the farmers," stressing that the ND government had two options: "either to pay for the specific real estate or give it back," concluding that it was a "perfectly legitimate and dignified decision "(former PM) Mr. Karamanlis has said what he had to say," the statement concluded.

    [07] Karatzaferis on Vatopedi probe, testimony

    Opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) President George Karatzaferis on Thursday called for former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to be summoned to testify before a parliamentary committee investigating the Vatopedi Monastery-state land swaps affair. Karatzaferis maintained that the former PM's testimony is imperative, following the testimony given by notary Katerina Peleki on Wednesday.

    [08] Health Minister Loverdos' press conference

    Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, in his first press conference after receiving his new portfolio, underlined on Thursday that his priority is less profits and more reason in the healthcare sector.

    Loverdos stated that a new price list for diagnostic tests, the same for all social insurance funds, will be promoted in cooperation with Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) and the new labour ministry leadership. The new prices already approved for a total of 93 diagnostic tests are reduced by 15-20 pct.

    As regards the responsibilities of the two deputy ministers will be defined shortly, while the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) will be under the jurisdiction of the deputy health minister and not the ministry of agriculture.

    [09] Armed forces draft law articles passed in Parliament

    All 91 articles of a defence ministry draft law concerning armed forces personnel and operational issues were approved by majority vote in parliament on Thursday.

    Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos noted that a "multilevel intervention" has been completed through the regulation of numerous issues pertaining to the operation of the military, such as rank and promotion matters, command structure, conscription, conscientious objectors, reserve forces, management of real estate, airmen's benefits and upgraded military academy education.

    Representatives of opposition parties were invited by Venizelos to the ministry to be briefed in detail on the new regulations.

    [10] Survey shows high dissatisfaction among career military

    Low pay, family reasons but also a low standard of living in the military are among reasons given by officers and non-commissioned officers for wanting to quit the Greek Armed Forces according to a survey carried out by VPRC and presented by the periodical "Monthly Review" on Thursday. According to this survey, 52 percent of officers and 65 percent of NCOs were seriously considering leaving their jobs within the next five years.

    Another major reason cited for this decision was the reduced prestige of Armed Forces personnel and better career opportunities outside the Armed Forces, especially for navy and air force officers.

    The survey carried out between January-June 2010 used questionnaires completed by 750 officers and 676 NCOs in the regions of Attica, Thessaly, Thrace, Crete and three Aegean islands. Almost 90 percent of those completing the survey said that armed forces pay, transfers and insecurity for their families were major problems that they face.

    The survey was completed before Greece started implementing the Memorandum but also before the defence ministry tabled its draft bill regulating career and promotion issues within the armed forces.

    Most of the officers and NCOs appeared dissatisfied with the standard of military housing, holiday resorts, sports facilities and family programmes. Only one in four officers is satisfied with military housing, two in three rarely or never use armed forces holiday programmes and 71 percent are not satisfied with military resorts. Rates of dissatisfaction are even higher among NCOs.

    Seventy percent of officers and NCOs are very satisfied with health services for the military, especially in military hospitals, but 86 percent believe that incorporating military hospitals into the National Health Service will make these services deteriorate.

    Fourty-four percent of officers and 65 percent of NCOs would not recommend a career in the military to third parties, while 37 percent of officers and 56 percent of NCOs are dissatisfied with their own career in the Armed Forces. A further 56 percent of officers and 70 percent of NCOs believe that there is little or no support for the Armed Forces in society and they criticised the legal framework for the Armed Forces as "not rationalised".

    An overwhelming majority of 75-82 percent is not satisfied with the operation of the military leadership in the last 20 years, while an even higher percentage (85-86 percent) is unsatisfied with the performance of the defence ministry's political leadership.

    By contrast, 83 percent are satisfied with their relations with colleagues, 57 percent with their relations with their service, while 66 percent of officers and 91 percent of NCOs are in favour of trade unionism within the Armed Forces.

    [11] Tsipras urges voters to punish the 'parties of the Memorandum'

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Thursday urged voters to "punish" the two main parties and the "forces that support or tolerate the destruction of the country by the Memorandum" when they cast their vote in the local government elections on November 2.

    During a press conference at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), Tsipras said the country needed to send a "resounding slap" to the PASOK government and main opposition New Democracy and make clear its rejection of the Memorandum.

    "Society must resist, defend its right to life and dignity. Otherwise, the downhill slide will be endless," Tsipras stressed.

    Concerning Prime Minister George Papandreou's appearance at TIF, Tsipras said the prime minister had seemed as though "he lives in another country".

    "He is either completely divorced from reality or deeply underestimates the intelligence of the average Greek citizen," Tsipras added. He stressed that the policies of the Memorandum created bigger problems than those they solved and condemned all prospect of a recovery.

    He also slammed ND's objections to the Memorandum as "opportunist" and said they were not prompted by real policy differences but because ND was now in the opposition.

    Financial News

    [12] Greek, French FinMins discuss economic developments

    PARIS (ANA-MPA/O.Tsipira)

    Greek Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou on Thursday completed a round of meetings with French government officials and banking executives in Paris as part of a roadshow in major European capitals to present economic developments in Greece to foreign investors.

    In Paris, the Greek minister met with his French counterpart Christine Lagarde. During the one-hour talk, Papakonstantinou briefed his French counterpart of the progress of an economic stabilization program.

    Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister stressed that France is one of EU member-states with the biggest participation in a support mechanism for Greece. "It is very positive that the French government acknowledges our progress. Of course, taking in mind the fact that it is a program that has just started, showing the first positive results and has a long way ahead," he added.

    The two ministers also exchanged views over a fiscal governance debate, currently underway in Europe. The Greek Minister also met with the chairman of BNP-Paribas Michel Pebereau.

    Papakonstantinou said he was not worried over the course of budget revenues. He said he was confident that the government will achieve its goals for the year.

    Commenting on the issue of attracting foreign investments, he said he did not discuss specific plans with the French minister, but stressed that France was actively participating both in Greece's restructuring and privatizations programs, as well as wider foreign investments in the country.

    [13] Labour Minister rejects additional fiscal measures

    Labour Minister Luca Katseli on Thursday said the government was not examining taking any additional measures beyond those included in a memorandum signed with the EU and the IMF.

    In a radio interview, the Greek Minister said: "All measures expected to be taken have been already included in a three-year program, in the memorandum. I do not expect any new measures, but the implementation of all those agreed".

    Katseli stressed that action was needed to combat social contribution evasion, while she noted that economic growth should be based on three axes: supporting a restructuring of production forces, avoiding consumption based on borrowed money, promoting active employment policies and obtaining a social protection net.

    The Greek minister noted that the Labour ministry would aim at supporting vulnerable social groups and particularly unemployed.

    [14] Road freight bill approved by Parliament committee

    The infrastructure, transport and networks ministry bill for liberalising road freight transport in Greece was approved by a Parliamentary Committee without modifications on Thursday, even as truckers throughout the country continued protest action against the proposed reform.

    During discussion of the bill, Infrastructure Minister Dimitris Reppas once again appealed to truck owners to cooperate with the state for a smooth transition to a new, modernised and European sector "instead of battling with their eyes on the past".

    "The state has the means to protect society and ensure the smooth running of the market for the benefit of the economic and development," Reppas stressed, noting that the protestors were trying to preserve an outdated system that had been scrapped in all other European countries.

    [15] Greek unemployment rose to 11.8 pct in Q2

    Greek unemployment rate rose to 11.8 pct in the second quarter of 2010, from 11.7 pct in the first quarter and 8.9 pct in the second quarter of 2009, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday. Practically, the unemployment rate in the country returned to its 1999 levels (11.9 pct).

    The number of unemployed people totaled 594,032 in the second quarter, up 151,469 or by 34.2 pct within a year, reflecting the impact of an economic recession in the labour market. The number of new unemployed seeking job, accounted for 23.8 pct of total unemployed people, while long-term unemployment accounted for 47.7 pct of total unemployment in the country.

    The statistics agency said unemployment among women totaled 15.3 pct in the April-June period, from 12.5 pct in the same period last year, while unemployment among men was 9.4 pct and 6.3 pct, respectively. The 15-29 age group recorded the highest unemployment rate among age groups (22.8 pct), while western Macedonia (14.6 pct), eastern Macedonia-Thrace (13.9 pct), central Macedonia (12.7 pct) recorded the highest unemployment rates. On the other hand, northern Aegean (8.5 pct) and the Peloponese (9.9 pct) recorded the lowest unemployment rates.

    The unemployment rate among foreigners was highest compared with Greek citizens (14.3 pct and 11.4 pct, respectively).

    The number of employed people totaled 4,426,992 at the end of the second quarter of 2010, down 2.3 pct from the same period in 2009.

    Part-time employment remained at low levels (6.4 pct of total employment), while salary workers accounted for 64.5 pct of total employment, down from an 80 pct average in the European Union.

    [16] GSEE-ADEDY Labour Institute report forecasts galloping unemployment in 2011

    Nightmare scenarios of galloping unemployment that an anaemic recovery will be unable to check are forecast in a report on the Greek economy and employment presented on Thursday by the Labour Institute (INE) of the two main Greek umbrella trade union organisations, General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' union ADEDY.

    GSEE president Yiannis Panagopoulos said the INE report for 2010 saw the economic crisis rapidly being converted into an employment crisis that would drive joblessness to very high levels. According to the labour institute experts, real unemployment at the end of 2011 may be as high as 20 percent of the workforce.

    Panagopoulos stressed that the current policy for tackling the crisis was not the only one and called for a policy mix that put the weight on income redistribution and improving the country's productive and technological base. He also announced that trade unions will be setting up an observatory for public finances.

    The trade union leader noted that European countries were currently locked into competing austerity and internal devaluation policies with potentially devastating repercussions, so that a recovery to pre-crisis standards of living would take many years.

    He called for a shift in economic and social policy that regarded income redistribution as a growth issue rather than one of social justice, while pointing to the evidence of massive levels of tax evasion and contribution evasion in Greece.

    According to the report, the ratio of income from assets and income from labour (including self-employment) in Greece during 2009 was 0.43 percent, or nearly double the same ratio in the Eurozone, where it was 0.25 percent.

    The INE experts also express fears that any recovery in 2012-2013 will be too sluggish to absorb the ranks of jobless while laws for the protection of workers have been made weaker.

    [17] Greek trade deficit down 8.0% in H1

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni)

    Greece's trade deficit shrank by 8.0 pct in the first half of 2010, compared with the same period last year, Eurostat announced on Thursday. The EU executive's statistics agency, in a report, said the trade deficit fell to 12.7 billion euros in the January-June period, down from 14.7 billion euros in the same period in 2009.

    Germany (74.3 billion euros) recorded the biggest trade surplus in the six-month period, followed by Ireland (20.4 billion euros) and the Netherlands (19.3 billion), while the UK (52.8 billion), France (30 billion), Spain (26 billion), Italy (14.2 billion) and Greece (12.7 billion) recorded the highest trade deficits in the EU-27.

    [18] DM on Skaramangas Shipyards

    An agreement has been reached on Thursday between the Greek government, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Abu Dhabi Mar on the transfer of shares of the Skaramangas Shipyards and the building of two submarines for the Navy.

    Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos termed the agreement a "new page for the Navy, the Skaramangas Shipyards and the entire Greek shipbuilding and repairs sector."

    Venizelos further said that tough and arduous negotiations, that were led many times to a marginal point, were held and stressed that the government will not be making any new order for submarines.

    [19] Piraeus port head addresses IDC seminar

    The president and CEO of Piraeus Port Organisation SA George Anomeritis on Thursday addressed an International Dockworkers Council (IDC) seminar concerning the aims of a restructuring plan for Greek ports and Piraeus Port policies.

    He stressed that Greece was now an important country in terms of providing port services, particularly Piraeus Port that was counted among the large ports of Europe. He noted that Piraeus Port, due in part of the large number of Greek islands, was able to handle container and goods transport, passenger and vehicle transport, ship repair and cruises.

    [20] Stocks end 1.55% down

    Stocks ended lower for the fifth consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday. The composite index fell 1.55 pct to end at 1,535.83 points, losing 4.66 pct in the five-day decline. Turnover was a low 77.177 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 1.06 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 0.66 pct and the Small Cap index ended 0.28 pct higher. The Financial Services (1.98 pct) and Technology (2.04 pct) sectors scored gains, while Telecoms (4.31 pct) and Food (3.90 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 86 to 73 with another 43 issues unchanged. Iktinos (9.68 pct), Druckfarben (9.26 pct) and Sarandopoulos Mills (9.26 pct) were top gainers, while Ikona-Ihos (14.29 pct), Unibios (14.29 pct) and Attikat (13.33 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: -1.12%

    Commercial: +0.16%

    Construction: -1.45%

    Media: -1.52%

    Oil & Gas: -0.22%

    Personal & Household: -1.08%

    Raw Materials: -0.03%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.48%

    Technology: +2.04%

    Telecoms: -4.31%

    Banks: +0.02%

    Food & Beverages: -3.90%

    Health: -2.40%

    Utilities: -0.78%

    Chemicals: -0.09%

    Financial Services: +1.98%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Piraeus Bank and Titan.

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.10

    ATEbank: 1.02

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.68

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.99

    National Bank of Greece: 9.10

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.89

    OPAP: 11.50

    OTE: 5.55

    Bank of Piraeus: 3.70

    Titan: 13.96

    [21] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market was a low 68 million euros on Thursday, of which 29 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 39 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security of the day, with a turnover of 16 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose slightly to 9.07 pct with the Greek bond yielding 11.54 pct and the German Bund 2.47 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.

    [22] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.13 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover rising to 119.141 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 20,682 contracts worth 77.040 million euros, with 31,795 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 100,134 contracts worth 42.101 million euros, with investment interest focusing on GEK's contracts (38,321), followed by Eurobank (2,555), MIG (7,797), OTE (15,165), Piraeus Bank (1,245), National Bank (5,815), Alpha Bank (6,496), Intracom (1,169), Marfin Popular Bank (7,649), Mytilineos (2,123) and ATEbank (3,451).

    [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.318

    Pound sterling 0.843

    Danish kroner 7.505

    Swedish kroner 9.291

    Japanese yen 112.83

    Swiss franc 1.333

    Norwegian kroner 8.019

    Canadian dollar 1.353

    Australian dollar 1.407

    General News

    [24] Extra public transport for European Mobility Week on Saturday

    The Athens public transport authority OASA has decided to lay on extra trains and buses on Saturday in order to facilitate those travelling to Syntagma Square to take part in events marking European Mobility Week 2010.

    OASA said there will be additional trains, trams, buses and trolleys to the city centre, while travel throughout the day will cost one euro for adults and 0.50 euros for children and pensioners. As an exception, passengers will also be allowed to take bicycles onto the metro, electric railway and tram carriages throughout the day.

    Events marking European Mobility Week (September 16-22, 2010) will take place at Syntagma between 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and are organised by bodies and organisations seeking to promote "smarter" and more sustainable methods of transport and ways of using cars that are economical, safe and environmentally friendly.

    [25] European Cultural Parliament readies for Athens session

    "Europe and its Greek Legacy" is the theme of the 9th Session of the European Cultural Parliament, to be held in Athens from Sept. 16 to 19, 2010. The event has been organised by the City of Athens and the Athens Tourism and Economic Development Co. in collaboration with Parliament and within the framework of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the European Capitals of Culture institution.

    [26] Violence reported in inner-city Athens square; 3 foreign nationals charged

    Three Afghan illegal migrants, 18, 22 and 23, were led before an Athens prosecutor on Thursday on charges of assault and battery, following a violent incident near the Athens inner-city square of Aghios Panteleimonas the previous evening, during which two local men and an Albanian juvenile were allegedly stabbed and slashed by a group of Afghans.

    The incident marked the second time in the past two days that violence erupted in the neighbourhood.

    The two local men, 19 and 24, were slightly injured when they apparently came to the rescue of the 13-year-old Albanian youth, who was attacked by six or seven suspects and was injured with a broken glass bottle.

    The trio was arrested after reportedly being identified by the victims in a police line up.

    Another scuffle between what was described as a group of migrants and local residents was reported on Tuesday night in the same area, leading to a heightened police presence in the square.

    [27] Drug ring busted in Thessaloniki

    Six members of a major drug trafficking ring were arrested by security police in Thessaloniki, it was made known on Thursday.

    The six detainees, including one woman and aged between 25 and 64, were found with 1.563 kilos of hashish, 197 pharmaceutical pills, two precision scales, four cell phones, two knives and bullets in their possession, as well as 15,800 euros in cash believed to be from illegal activities, which were all confiscated.

    Four of the arrestees are of Armenian nationality, one is a Greek national from Georgia, and the sixth a local Greek man.

    [28] Romanian man found dead

    The body of a young Romanian man was found in an abandoned building outside Iraklio on Thursday morning. According to the initial reports, his death was the result of pathological causes.

    Weather Forecast

    [29] Fair on Friday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 13C and 33C. Fair in Athens, with variable 2-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 33C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 17C to 30C.

    [30] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    An International Monetary Fund (IMF) review on the debt-battered Greek economy, new testimony before a parliamentary fact-finding commission on the Vatopedi land-swap case critical of former PM Costas Karamanlis, press speculation over Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis' role in the government and the closing of outstanding tax cases mostly dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Athens one of the most expensive cities worldwide".

    APOGEVMATINI: "IMF's dramatic report on Greek economy".

    AVGHI: "Ten more years of unemployment".

    AVRIANI: "New scandal on the horizon", a banner headline alleging kickbacks by Germany's DT multinational.

    ELEFTHEROS: "Ragoussis becomes 'Interior Prime Minister'."

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Outrageous: Papandreou delegates powers to Ragoussis".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "IMF: Send tax-evaders to jail or else you will again burden the many".

    ESTIA: "Grotesque situation prevails in ministries - They're continuously changing names, swapping responsibilities".

    ETHNOS: "Former minister George Voulgarakis' wife and notary public in of Vatopedi land exchanges, Ekaterini Peleki, points at former PM Costas Karamanlis, in her testimony before parliamentary fact-finding committee".

    IMERISSIA: "Post-dated checks a 30-billion-euro bomb".

    KATHIMERINI: "Window for extra time - IMF official to markets: If it continues to adhere to Memorandum we will not abandon Greece".

    LOGOS: "Fuel market uncontrollable".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Tax courts via rapid procedures".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga: Popular alliance and organising in workplaces, working-class neighbourhoods"

    TA NEA: "The draft law for closure of outstanding tax cases".

    TO VIMA: "Civil servants' payroll through the sieve".

    VRADYNI: "IMF demands new austerity measures".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [31] Markoullis asks lifting of Turkish restrictions to Cyprus shipping


    Cyprus Minister of Communication and Works Erato Kozakou Markoullis has underlined Turkey's restrictive measures against Cypriot vessel, which ultimately extend to EU shipping.

    Speaking at the informal EU Council of Ministers of Transportation which took place Thursday in Antwerp, Markoullis stressed the need to lift all restrictive measures which annihilate the possibility of Cypriot ports to compete with non EU ports in the area, significantly eliminating the development of Cypriot shipping.

    She also referred to the need to use technology and give initiatives to vessel which function on the basis of friendly policies towards the sea environment.

    The minister also underlined the need for the EU to study the expansion of sea passenger transport, a development which would provide alternatives to island country-members, such as Cyprus, which at the moment have no sea link with other EU members states.

    On the sidelines of the Council, Markoullis exchanged views with her EU counterparts as well as with Vice President of EU, Siim Kallas.

    Turkey, a country that aspires to become an EU member, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member since May 2004.

    Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

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