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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-09-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 21 September 2010 Issue No: 3598


  • [01] PM Papandreou visits New York Stock Exchange
  • [02] Papandreou attends UN roundtable discussion on Millennium Dev'l Goals
  • [03] PM's agenda at UN, D.C. meetings
  • [04] FM discusses bilateral relations, regional issues with Saudi counterpart in NY
  • [05] FM briefs press in NY
  • [06] PASOK announces 39 candidates for local elections
  • [07] Papoutsis: "No red zones in Athens"
  • [08] Government decree for protection of Mount Parnonas, Moustos wetland
  • [09] Education minister unveils new electronic system for university course books, transfers
  • [10] KKE sg on shipbuilding and repairs industry
  • [11] Gov't: Road freight liberalisation to proceed as planned, no transition period
  • [12] ND urges protesting truckers to 'avoid extremes'
  • [13] FinMin's meeting with troika representatives concluded
  • [14] FinMin Papaconstantinou meets Finland's European Affairs, Immigration Policy minister
  • [15] Finance ministry invites business associations to dialogue on tax settlement bill
  • [16] BoG: Greek banks' stress tests by end of 2010
  • [17] Energy, environment minister on official visit to Turkey
  • [18] Agriculture minister confers with ATEbank chief
  • [19] EU Commissioner, WWF delegation discuss Med fishing practices, reserves
  • [20] IOBE head: Exiting memorandum means economic 'death'
  • [21] Pilot operation of Euro-Turkish power grid connection
  • [22] Six bidders for Wind Hellas
  • [23] Greek current accounts deficit down 0.9 pct in Jan-July
  • [24] Budget deficit down 32.3% in Jan-Aug
  • [25] Merchant marine fleet up 0.3 pct in July
  • [26] Industrial turnover index down 3.6 pct in July
  • [27] Industrial new orders index down 4.1 pct in July
  • [28] Home building materials' price index up 3.3 pct in Aug.
  • [29] Stocks significantly drop
  • [30] Greek bond market closing report
  • [31] ADEX closing report
  • [32] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [33] Sixth Turkish-Greek Media Conference held in Izmir
  • [34] Short Film Festival in Drama
  • [35] Int'l conference on Anatolia genocides
  • [36] City of Athens to honour George Bizos
  • [37] Three men hospitalised after gunfight in Hania, Crete
  • [38] Yacht rescued on Crete stolen from Rafina, authorities say
  • [39] Antiquities smuggler arrested
  • [40] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [41] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [42] President Christofias says Turkey not ready for Cyprus solution Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou visits New York Stock Exchange

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed on Monday, during a visit to the New York Stock Exchange where he attended a working lunch with the stock exchange's president and leading Wall Street members, that Greece has changed dramatically over the past year, since in only a few months the country's new government has promoted the most ambitious monetary and structural reforms in the history of the eurozone.

    "We are responding to our commitments in time and within the time limits that had been set and often much earlier than expected exceeding expectations," the prime minister said, adding that now his government is focusing on strengthening growth and measures that will make the economy more competitive.

    He stressed that the radical restructuring of the pensioning and taxation system has already been promoted, as well as the restructuring of the public sector that will now function with geater transparency and effectiveness.

    He further said that it is proceeding with the deregulation of the markets of products, services and labour, including the liberalisation of the energy market and of closed professions and assessed that these structural reforms will lead to an increase in production by 5 percent to 6 percent.

    He also pointed out that Greece is providing a great prospect for investments in renewable energy sources as well as the infrastructures sector, while mentioning that assets of the public sector whose value amounts to 270 billion euros can be privatised or utilised, an amount that corresponds to almost the entire debt of the country.

    Lastly, the prime minister made it clear that there is no question of the country going bankrupt and stressed that the Greek government proved that it means what it says while expressing certainty that the spreads will recede and that while all these reforms will begin to produce results, Greece will regain the confidence of investors.

    [02] Papandreou attends UN roundtable discussion on Millennium Dev'l Goals

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA / T. Ellis)

    Prime Minister George Papandreou underlined what he called the disappointment caused by a lack of progress regarding the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), such as the 50-percent decrease by 2015 of people living with less than one dollar a day.

    He spoke during an intervention at a roundtable discussion held at the UN headquarters on Monday.

    Papandreou stressed that the number of people who are starving increased from 842 million in 1990 to 1.02 billion in 2009, a development that he termed as unacceptable. On the other hand, he stressed the progress achieved concerning the decrease in mortality, the combating of illnesses and access to education although, as he noted, a great deal still remains to be done on these fronts as well.

    After stressing that it is certain that the economic crisis made the effort more difficult, he pointed out that monetary austerity is functioning as an excuse for there to be no further moves and protectionism to return that obstructs the growth of developing countries.

    Papandreou also said that globalisation is characterised by deep inequalities and assymetries and stressed that securing a fairer distribution of benefits from globalisation was among the targets of the Millennium which, however, has not become a reality.

    He pointed to the increase in unemployment and poverty in most countries in the world. In this framework, he stressed the need for the creation of over 300 million new jobs in the next five years, so that the employment rate will return to the levels that existed before the economic crisis. He mentioned characteristically that even in the United States poverty has increased, with 4 million Americans living below poverty level.

    Papandreou further stressed that Greece, despite the difficult situation that its economy is in, remains determined to implement its commitments regarding the backing of developing countries with the biggest percentage of aid that it will give being channeled to Subsahara Africa.

    The Greek prime minister also stressed the need for greater progress concerning the equality of the genders, and observed that in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia women constitute only 30 percent of the labour force. In this context, he also noted the need for the participation of women in the exercising of power to increase.

    Papandreou said that success in all these efforts requires an overall approach, the coordination of moves, and the handling of developed and developing countries as equal members of this effort, while terming important the role played by social partners, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

    [03] PM's agenda at UN, D.C. meetings

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, currently in the United States for the 65th UN General Assembly was also scheduled to meet with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa.

    Afterwards, he will return to the UN headquarters to attend a Socialist International (SI) board meeting.

    A meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to take place around midnight (Greek time).

    He will also attend the afternoon session of the UN high level plenary meeting and address it from the UN General Assembly podium.

    In the evening, he was to attend a reception hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a Manhattan hotel.

    On Tuesday, the PM will visit Washington D.C. and return to New York in the evening of the same day.

    While in the US capital, Papandreou will be received by US Vice-President Joe Biden, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Ma) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

    Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, who is accompanying the PM to the United States along with Dep. foreign ministers Spyros Kouvelis and Dimitris Dollis, continued his contacts at the UN on Monday.

    He was scheduled to meet with his counterparts from Algeria and Cuba and later with Matthew Nimetz, the UN secretary general's special envoy on the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM).

    Kouvelis was to meet later on Monday evening with Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yakovenko..

    [04] FM discusses bilateral relations, regional issues with Saudi counterpart in NY

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas, who is accompanying prime minister George Papandreou on a visit to the US for the 65th UN General Assembly, met late Sunday night (Greek time) with his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal, and accepted an invitation from the latter to visit Riyadh.

    During their meeting, the two foreign ministers discussed a wide range of issues covering bilateral relations as well as the wider region and the situation in the Middle East.

    The 45-minute meeting took place in a "friendly and constructive" climate, and Droutsas briefed Saud on Greek foreign policy issues, including Greek-Turkish relations and the latest developments in the Cyprus issue following the proposals put forward recently by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

    They also discussed the new Middle East peace process and prospects, putting emphasis on the need of settling disputes through peace efforts.

    Saud described the reforms being made in Greece to face the economic crisis as "bold", while he also noted Greece's "positive and constructive role" for peace and security in the region.

    Droutsas further briefed his Saudi Arabian counterpart on the Greek government's efforts to overcome the crisis through a developmental policy that creates a climate and opportunities favoring investments.

    The two ministers also discussed the prospects arising for further strengthening the cooperation and relations between the two countries.

    Droutsas was scheduled to meet later with Kuwait foreign minister Sheikh Muhammad al Sabah al-Salim al-Sabah and attend a working dinner on the situation in the Middle East, to be attended by a number of foreign ministers and officials of countries from the wider region.

    [05] FM briefs press in NY

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas briefed the press on prime minister George Papandreou's and his own meetings in New York, which commenced on Sunday.

    Droutsas referred to the 'red lines' on the FYROM name issue, and in reply to a press question denied any "secret diplomacy" on the issue.

    He also spoke on climate change, and noted Papandreou's scheduled address on Monday to the Millennium Development Goals summit in New York, as well as an international conference in climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean that will be held in Athens on October 22 with the participation of leaders of the region's countries, including the President of the Palestinian Authority and the prime ministers of Israel and Turkey.

    Droutsas further outlined Greek foreign policy in general, and stressed the necessity of the country's presence and participation in the international political scene and chiefly in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

    On Papandreou's scheduled meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Droutsas noted that the Greek premier's meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gul will take place on Wednesday and will also be attended by himself and Turkish foreign minister Ahmed Davutoglu.

    To another question, he said that the government considers economic policy as very important not because Greece is currently facing an economic crisis but because contemporary diplomacy requires concentration in that area.

    [06] PASOK announces 39 candidates for local elections

    The ruling PASOK party on Monday announced the names of another 39 candidates that will run for mayor in the new enlarged municipalities created under the Kallikratis plan on November 2. In its announcement, PASOK again emphasised the significance of the November elections and said they would help elect the people that would help create the new architecture of the state using the Kallikratis plan as a vehicle.

    [07] Papoutsis: "No red zones in Athens"

    "I will not accept red zones in Athens," Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis said in an interview published on Monday in the daily newspaper "TA NEA", and announced that controls at Greek borders will be intensified and the international law on illegal migrants' readmission will be fully implemented.

    "Greece is not a 'fenceless land'. It is a modern country, an open, hospitable and democratic society with sensitivity and understanding for people seeking a new homeland. But there are limits. Our top priority is to guarantee security and quality of life to the Greek citizen and to those who want to respect the laws of the Greek state," underlined Papoutsis.

    Referring to existing problems in districts of Athens that have lately been the scenes of violence among migrant groups, he stressed that lawlessness is not acceptable "I will not allow red zones in the city of Athens. I pledge that Athens' neighborhoods will become humane again" adding that what comes foremost is clean and safe living conditions for all city residents.

    [08] Government decree for protection of Mount Parnonas, Moustos wetland

    A government decree signed by the environment and agriculture ministries on Monday establishes a strictly protected status for Mount Parnonas and the Moustos wetland, greatly restricting building and land use rights for both land and water expanses in the area.

    The status of a region of absolute protection of nature is given to the Malevi Monastery juniper wood and the Moustos wetland, in which only licensed research activity and works to protect the natural environment or mark out paths and observatories for visitors will be allowed.

    The juniper forests of Prastos, Agios Vassilios Platanakiou and Paleohori are protected nature regions where permitted activities include research and existing traditional activities (forestry, bee-keeping, herding animals and agricultural activity), the improvement of existing livestock breeding facilities and work to protect and highlight the region.

    While access to pedestrians is permitted, it is forbidden to collect plants or plant species foreign to the region or do building work, with the exception of already existing buildings maintaining their present use or making additions for reasons of hygiene, safety, water storage, energy conservation and the installation of small renewable energy source units.

    It is forbidden to erect wind parks for electricity production or to mine new quarries.

    The decree finally establishes the limits for the water courses Dafnonas, Vrasiatis and Tanos for a breadth of 50 metres along their shores and describes acceptable activities in the surrounding lands.

    [09] Education minister unveils new electronic system for university course books, transfers

    Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou on Monday presented the ministry's new electronic system for student transfers and for course text books for higher education classes. The minister stressed that education was passing into a "smart era" through the use of new technologies.

    In the case of transfers, these will take place electronically at the beginning of October in order to save time since, previously, it took up to six months to complete paperwork for a transfer. The change are likely to affect some 400,000 students and 10,000 families that seek transfers every year, as well as some 1,000 publishers.

    Under the new system, students wishing to transfer to another university will complete a form available on the Internet. The information they supply will be checked to ensure it is accurate and genuine, while if any discrepancy is found the transfer will be denied and the case investigated by a three-member committee led by a judge. If an intention to deceive is ascertained, the student will also lose his or her place on the original course that they passed.

    The system for distributing course notes and text books is expected to speed up delivery and eliminate massive delays that meant students were often getting their text books just days before they had to sit exams.

    It will also ensure prompt payment of publishers and avert the exploitation of public funds while also allowing students with shared academic interests to set up Internet communities. In addition, the ministry hopes to use the system to distinguish between the students actively pursuing their courses and the "perpetual" students that remain enrolled but are not attending or passing classes.

    The new system will go into operation during the current academic year for all university and technical educational institute (TEI) students. It will also be used in the following year, with any modifications considered necessary based on an assessment of its first year of operation. During the second year of operation, IT students will be given the option of downloading course books onto e-readers.

    [10] KKE sg on shipbuilding and repairs industry

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, speaking during a discussion at the party's offices in Omonia Square on Monday evening on the shipbuilding and repairs industry in Greece, placed responsibilities on the government and the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on the state of the shipbuilding and repairs industry in Greece.

    Papariga said that "we are heading for a premeditated criminal option of the present government, ND also offered support, on the desperate shrivelling of the sector of the shipbuilding and repairs industry in Greece, so that shipowners build their ships far away from Greece."

    Papariga also said that "we are proceeding towards a very slippery path, we are ordering warships from Arabs and Germans which in reality we have paid for in advance, we do not ultimately know what we shall receive. And with the agreement that when the cost goes up the Hellenic state will pay for it."

    Finanancial News

    [11] Gov't: Road freight liberalisation to proceed as planned, no transition period

    The government on Monday reiterated that there will be no five-year transitional period in the implementation of the legislation liberalising road freight transport in Greece and rejected proposals by protesting truck owners, suggesting that they retain 35 pct of the value of their licences.

    Transports and Infrastructure Minister Dimitris Reppas also stated that the government is considering the likelihood of allowing privately owned trucks to execute road transport, in an effort to prevent possible shortages in market supplies.

    Truck owners, who are protesting against plans to pass legislation that will liberalise their mostly "closed shop" profession by allowing new truck licences to be issued, have lined up their vehicles along major motorway intersections in the greater Athens, causing serious traffic jams.

    Reppas stressed that the mobilisations were expected to a certain degree adding, however, that "it is the protesters' right to escalate their action provided that it is legitimate and constitutionally guaranteed."

    "In a different case, the responsible law enforcement authorities should take action against those responsible," he stressed.

    The government legislation seeks to open up the currently closed road freight market that is open only to licenced "public use" trucks. The last government licences were issued in the 1970s -- and subsequently and opening this market is among Greece's obligations to the EU.

    [12] ND urges protesting truckers to 'avoid extremes'

    Meanwhile, main opposition New Democracy's sector head for transport Stavros Kalafatis on Monday appealed to protesting truck owners to "avoid extreme actions and behaviour, let logic prevail, not disturb the operation of the market or the individual rights of citizens."

    He noted that ND agreed with the abolition of obstacles and distortions of free competition on the market while criticising the government's handling of the issue.

    "PASOK, with its mistaken handling and prevarication, has succeeded in converting a major reform into a crisis. The government presented a different bill a few months ago to society as a result of consultation and brought a different bill to Parliament. It acted without a plan and did not promote honest dialogue with representatives of the sector," he said, accusing the ruling party of "failing to organise the promotion of the reform".

    [13] FinMin's meeting with troika representatives concluded

    The meeting held at the Finance ministry between Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and the heads of the troika, focusing on the implementation of the current budget and the preparation of the new one, has been completed.

    The interim check of the Greek economy will come to an end with the departure of the troika delegation on Wednesday.

    The new regular check of the Greek economy will be taking place in October and according to its results the disbursement of the 3rd instalment of the loan in December will be approved.

    [14] FinMin Papaconstantinou meets Finland's European Affairs, Immigration Policy minister

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou met at the Finance ministry on Monday afternoon with Finland's Minister of European Affairs and Immigration Policy Astrid Thors.

    No statements were made after the meeting.

    [15] Finance ministry invites business associations to dialogue on tax settlement bill

    The finance ministry will be sending copies of a draft bill for settling outstanding tax cases to various associations representing businesses and manufacturers on Tuesday, according to an announcement on Monday.

    The Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the general confederation of free-lance workers, artisans and merchants (GSEBEE), the National Confederation of Greek Trade, the nationwide tax office employees federation, the central union of chambers of Greece, the Economic Chamber of Greece, the Institute of Economic and Tax Studies and the national federation of tax-accountants and free-lance workers will be receiving letters from the ministry, asking them to attend dialogue on the draft bill for settling outstanding tax cases.

    This will be held at the finance ministry on Wednesday with the participation of ministry officials and representatives of the above groups.

    [16] BoG: Greek banks' stress tests by end of 2010

    Greek banks will be put under an "extreme scenario stress test" by the end of the year, the Bank of Greece announced on Monday.

    In an announcement, the central bank confirmed that a decision to delay Greek banks' autumn stress tests was reached during the summer, after an agreement with the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

    The reason for the postponement, the central bank said, was that Greek authorities had no recent information over the condition of domestic banks, after local financial institutions passed - along with the European counterparts - an EU stress test in July.

    The Bank of Greece said the decision was not related with a recent roadshow in three European capitals by the Greek finance minister, or recent business initiatives.

    The central bank said these tests will be held by the end of the year and expressed its confidence that the results will reconfirm the solvency of Greek banks.

    [17] Energy, environment minister on official visit to Turkey

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili will be in Ankara, Turkey on Tuesday where she will meet with Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Y1ld1z.

    Birbili will be briefed on the project concerning the development of an action plan to strengthen Greek-Turkish cooperation in the Renewable Resources sector undertaken by the Centre for Renewable Sources of Energy (KAPE).

    [18] Agriculture minister confers with ATEbank chief

    Agricultural development and foods minister Costas Skandalidis met on Monday with the governor of ATEbank (Agricultural Bank of Greece) Theodoros Pantalakis for a discussion on issues of mutual interest concerning the bank, the ministry and Greek farmers.

    Skandalidis voiced backing for the ATEbank leadership's efforts to streamline and upgrade the bank and its position in the Greek banking system.

    The two sides also agreed to undertake joint initiatives that will contribute to agricultural development and the resolution of long-standing problems faced by farmers.

    [19] EU Commissioner, WWF delegation discuss Med fishing practices, reserves

    European Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki met in Athens on Monday with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) representatives.

    The meeting with Sergi Tudela, the head of fisheries at WWF Mediterranean, and Giorgos Paximadis, head of the marine environment programme at WWF Hellas, focused on issues concerning the bluefin tuna population reserves in the Mediterranean and WWF's proposals on fishing practices.

    The WWF representatives unveiled proposals on the fisheries policy in the Mediterranean within the framework of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform and underlined that fishing practices should comply with European regulations.

    [20] IOBE head: Exiting memorandum means economic 'death'

    The head of the Athens-based Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), former bank and finance ministry executive Yiannis Stournaras warned on Monday that "exiting the memorandum will mean instant death" for the country's financial health.

    "Greece will fall into bankruptcy immediately and for those who think that's good it's better to look at Argentina 10 years after (its) bankruptcy; that country still cannot borrow from capital markets, people still have not gotten their money back from the banks, and there is a large part of the population literally starving in a very prosperous, very productive country," he said.

    In a radio interview, Stournaras however, cited the need for the update of the memorandum, noting that the memorandum is a necessary fiscal adjustment programme, but not a new development model, thereby it needs several adjustments.

    "The memorandum does not say much about growth, about innovation, education, research, universities, it leaves many things open," Stournaras said.

    [21] Pilot operation of Euro-Turkish power grid connection

    A pilot connection of the European and Turkish power grids began on Saturday via links with the high voltage lines of both the Greek and Bulgarian grids, according to an announcement here on Monday by the Hellenic Transmission System Operator S.A. (HTSO).

    The pilot phase will last for one year, with the first month of operation being executed without commercial transactions. The second phase envisions an evaluation of the operational results and commercial transactions, such as electricity sales etc.

    Greek and Turkish grids were first connected, temporarily, along high voltage lines in the summer of 2007, in order to facilitate electricity transfers during peak periods.

    The new connection is implemented along a 400,000-volt line and falls under the European Network of Transmission System Operators - Electricity (ENTSO) as well as the former Union for the Coordination of Transmission Electricity.

    According to HTSO officials, the development upgrades Greece's role as an energy hub in southeast Europe.

    [22] Six bidders for Wind Hellas

    A total of six investment groups have formally expressed interest for Wind Hellas, Weather Finance III - the parent company - said on Monday.

    In an announcement, Weather Finance III said it has received six bids for a process to find a strategic investor for Wind Hellas. The company said it will proceed with talks with all interested parties and its group of creditors before reaching a final decision by Oct. 14, 2010.

    [23] Greek current accounts deficit down 0.9 pct in Jan-July

    Tourism foreign exchange revenues fell 9.0 pct in the January-July period, compared with the same period last year, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.

    The central bank, in a monthly report, said travel spending in Greece by foreign holiday-makers fell by 473 million euros to 4.7 billion euros in the seven-month period, while shipping revenues grew by 4.7 pct in the same period.

    The country's current accounts deficit shrank by 0.9 pct to 16 billion euros, reflecting a lower trade deficit and a higher services surplus. The trade deficit fell by 358 million euros to 17.9 billion euros in the seven-month period, although excluding fuel and ships the trade deficit fell by 13 pct. Imports fell by 9.0 pct, while export revenues fell by 4.1 pct in the January-July period.

    The incomes deficit fell by 41 million euros compared with the same period last year, reflecting lower net payments on interest, dividends and earnings. The current transfers surplus fell by 444 million euros, reflecting lower net revenues from immigrants and lower net transfer of capital from the European Union.

    The capital transfer surplus shrank to 801 million euros, from 1.25 billion euros last year. The financial transactions balanced showed a net inflow of foreign investments totaling 1.2 billion euros and a net capital inflow by foreign on direct investments totaling 1.6 billion euros in the January-July period, after a net outflow of 2.2 billion euros last year.

    The portfolio investment category recorded a net capital outflow of 6.2 billion euros, after a net inflow of 23.7 billion euros in 2009.

    [24] Budget deficit down 32.3% in Jan-Aug

    Greece's budget deficit fell 32.3 pct in the January-August period, exceeding the government's target of a 26.5 pct decline for the same period, the finance ministry said on Monday.

    In an announcement, the ministry said the fiscal deficit shrank to 14.485 billion euros in the eight-month period, down from 21.382 billion euros in the corresponding period last year. The budget target for the year envisages a 39.5-pct decline of the deficit.

    The ministry said the July-August period was characterised by the large accumulation of interest payments, accounting for around 40 pct of the annual interest payment program, as well as revenues falling short of targets.

    Regular budget revenues grew 3.4 pct, down from a budget target for an annual growth rate of 13.7 pct. Regular budget spending fell 7.6 pct, exceeding a budget target of 5.5 pct, with primary spending down 12.1 pct (annual decline target 5.8 pct), while interest payments grew 6.6 pct (annual target 5.6 pct). Lower primary spending reflected mainly cutbacks in pension and healthcare.

    Spending by a Public Investments Programme was down 32.8 pct, while revenues fell 2.7 pct compared with the same period in 2009.

    [25] Merchant marine fleet up 0.3 pct in July

    Greek merchant marine fleet grew 0.3 pct in July 2010, compared with the corresponding month last year, after recording an increase of 1.4 pct in the 2009-2008 period, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.

    The statistics agency said the merchant marine fleet totaled 2,118 vessels, of a gross tonage of 42,965,160 dwt (up 3.3 pct compared with July 2009).

    [26] Industrial turnover index down 3.6 pct in July

    Turnover index in the industrial sector fell 3.6 pct in July, compared with the same month last year, after a decline of 27.1 pct recorded in the same months between 2009 and 2008, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.

    The statistics agency, in a report, attributed this develepment to an 8.6 pct decline in the mining index and a 3.5 pct fall in manufacturing. The report also said that the 3.6 pct decline in the turnover index reflected an 8.8 pct fall in the domestic turnover index and a 10.8 pct fall in the external market turnover index.

    [27] Industrial new orders index down 4.1 pct in July

    The new orders index in the industrial sector fell 4.1 pct in July, compared with the same month last year, after a decline of 31.1 pct recorded in July 2009, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.

    The statistics agency attributed this development to a 19.6 pct drop in the domestic market new orders' index and a 25.8 pct increase in the external market index.

    [28] Home building materials' price index up 3.3 pct in Aug.

    New home building materials' price index rose 3.3 pct in August, after a 3.5 pct decline recorded in August 2009, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.

    The statistics agency, in a report, attributed the August figure to a 26 pct rise in petrol, a 23 pct increase in copper pipes, an 11.8 pct in plastic and synthetic pipes, an 1.4 pct rise in cement and a 2.9 pct decline in bricks.

    The index was up 0.2 pct in August from July 2010.

    [29] Stocks significantly drop

    Stocks came under strong selling pressure at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market below the 1,500 level. The index fell 2.09 pct to end at 1,492.36 points, with turnover at 127.384 million euros. Foreign institutional investors were top sellers, particularly of Greek bank shares.

    The Big Cap index fell 2.52 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 1.33 pct and the Small Cap index ended 2.55 pct lower. The Technology (0.40 pct) was the only sector to scored gains, while Health (4.57 pct) and Banks (3.37 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 134 to 47 with another 32 issues unchanged. Attikat (14.29 pct), Elmec Sport (10 pct) and Mohlos (9.09 pct) were top gainers, while Druckfarben (14.06 pct), Hatzioannou (12.5 pct) and Vovos (10.32 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -5.67%

    Industrials: -1.09%

    Commercial: -3.10%

    Construction: -0.26%

    Media: -2.66%

    Oil & Gas: -1.99%

    Personal & Household: -0.07%

    Raw Materials: -2.14%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.22%

    Technology: +0.40%

    Telecoms: -1.06%

    Banks: -3.37%

    Food & Beverages: -1.82%

    Health: -4.57%

    Utilities: -1.14%

    Chemicals: -2.89%

    Financial Services: -1.81%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 4.73

    ATEbank: 0.98

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.30

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.85

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.70

    National Bank of Greece: 8.84

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.43

    OPAP: 11.00

    OTE: 5.60

    Bank of Piraeus: 3.68

    Titan: 14.45

    [30] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 60 million euros on Monday, of which 27 million were buy orders and the remaining 33 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 20 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 911 basis points, from 917 bps on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.56 pct and the German Bund 2.45 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.42 pct, the six-month rate 1.13 pct, the three-month rate 0.89 pct and the one-month rate 0.65%.

    [31] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.37 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a low 25.664 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,118 contracts worth 18.322 million euros, with 23,540 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,981 contracts worth 7.342 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,768), followed by Eurobank (1,161), Piraeus Bank (2,247), Alpha Bank (1,650), Hellenic Postbank (208), ATEbank (377), GEK (380) and PPC (147).

    [32] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.317

    Pound sterling 0.845

    Danish kroner 7.507

    Swedish kroner 9.251

    Japanese yen 112.97

    Swiss franc 1.326

    Norwegian kroner 8.017

    Canadian dollar 1.359

    Australian dollar 1.393

    General News

    [33] Sixth Turkish-Greek Media Conference held in Izmir


    Turkish and Greek journalists attending the Sixth Turkish-Greek Media Conference, which was held in Izmir, Turkey, on September 17-19, 2010, have decided to establish a joint organization called "Turkish-Greek Journalists Association."

    Addresses were made at the opening session of the Conference by Greek Government Vice President Theodoros Pangalos and Turkey's Minister of State Hayati Yazici.

    "After two days of meetings and discussions the participants agreed on the need for an institutional structure to carry on and expand the work thus far undertaken by the media contact groups," a joint declaration issued at the end of the meetings said.

    "The Association will be governed by a board comprised of equal number of members from the two countries and a rotating presidency. Further details regarding the legal status of the Association will be announced in a month.

    "According to the Constitution provisionally adopted by the Conference, the Association will try to promote dialogue and exchange between the journalists of the two countries, organize conferences, promote the exchange of young journalists, and create conditions for reporting the other side "as it is."

    "The participants concluded that even though much progress has been made in the media coverage in both sides, more work is needed to reach even higher standards of journalistic practice and levels of mutual understanding," the declaration concluded.

    In the framework of the Conference a photo exhibition of the Turkish news agency "Anadolu" was held, that was represented at the Conference by its general director Hilmi Bengi.

    [34] Short Film Festival in Drama

    The 33rd Greek short films festival as well as the 16th International Short films Festival open on Monday in the northeastern Greek city of Drama with the participation of over 150 film-makers from Greece and abroad.

    The Festival will last five days and will include three official competition programmes, nine theme events, workshops, and artistic, literary and musical events that have made the festival an institution not only in Greece but also abroad.

    The festival's slogan this year is "Film your mind" calling on the film-makers and spectators to impress their feelings and thoughts on the screen.

    [35] Int'l conference on Anatolia genocides

    An international conference entitled "Three Genocides, One Strategy", held at the Old Parliament building in Athens, constitutes the first systematic attempt made on Greek soil to scientifically record and analyse the genocide of Christian populations in 19th and early 20th Anatolia committed initially by the Ottoman administration.

    The two-day conference was completed on Sunday, which focused on the slain Armenians, ethnic Greeks of Pontus (Black Sea) and Asia Minor as well as the Assyrians, was held under the auspices of International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS).

    In a meeting held in Sarajevo in December 2007, the IAGS agreed to study the specific period in Anatolia after recognising that the crime committed on the three peoples of Anatolia was indeed "genocide", according to a statement by organisers.

    In the spring of 2010, the three genocides were recognized by the Parliament of Sweden, a noteworthy decision considering that the Scandinavian country is a major supporter of Turkey's European course.

    Addressing the conference, the director of the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem suggested the establishment of an international organization on the Right to Life with the participation of peoples that were victims of genocide.

    The conference was attended by the president of the European Armenian Federation, university professors and authors.

    [36] City of Athens to honour George Bizos

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis will present the City of Athens' medal of honour and benefaction to Nelson Mandela's legal counsel and human rights advocate George Bizos, in a ceremony to be held on Friday at the Athens City Hall.

    [37] Three men hospitalised after gunfight in Hania, Crete

    Three men, a 29-year-old Georgian national and two Algerians aged 26 and 32 years old, respectively, have been hospitalised in Hania General Hospital after a gunfight.

    The incident occurred late on Sunday evening when the Georgian man visited the other two men at their home in the Kisamos area, armed with an automatic weapon. According to police, the Georgian had personal differences with the two Algerians and shot at them twice, inflicting minor injuries to their legs. In the ensuing struggle, the Georgian sustained an injury to the head.

    Police that sped to the scene arrested all three and confiscated an Uzi sub-machine gun and a clip containing 25 9mm bullets.

    In a subsequent search in their homes, police also found and confiscated a 7.65 calibre Martian pistol and a cannabis plant growing in a pot. In the home of the two Algerians they found two 9mm cartridge shells and a fragment of a slug.

    The two Algerians were also found to lack travel documents, while the Georgian has a past criminal record for weapons-related offences four years ago.

    The Georgian has been charged with attempted homicide, illegal weapons possession and use and drug offences while the two Algerians have been charged with causing grievous bodily harm.

    [38] Yacht rescued on Crete stolen from Rafina, authorities say

    A yacht that was towed to safety in Souda harbour after a breakdown at sea off the coast of Rethymno was later discovered to be stolen from the port of Rafina in Attica, Greek authorities said on Monday. The craft had been reported stolen at the end of August and had a breakdown while sailing northwest of Rethymno on Sunday.

    The four Turkish nationals on board claimed to have bought the yacht from another Turkish national in Turkey but Greek authorities have not found any evidence backing their claim on the vessel. All four are to be led before a public prosecutor to be charged.

    The Crete coast guard was called in when the craft developed engine trouble that was causing it to take on water. A rescue operation was organised on Sunday to safely bring the vessel and those on board to Souda harbour, where an inquiry showed the yacht to be stolen.

    This is the second case involving a stolen yacht to occupy authorities on Crete this week, following an incident when a craft of the same type stolen from the Vouliagmeni marina in Athens ran aground on a beach in Koube, Rethymno.

    [39] Antiquities smuggler arrested

    Án Archaeology Service of Corinth pensioner has been arrested for posessing 31 ancient artifacts, police said on Monday.

    Police officers found in his house in Corinth Classic and post-Byzantine era antiquities. The suspect claimed that he found the antiquities in a farm.

    The 61-year-old man was sent before a Corinth prosecutor.

    The antiquities were confiscated and sent to the Archaeology Service to be evaluated.

    Weather Forecast

    [40] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 14C and 30C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 18C to 28C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 16C to 27C.

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

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras' press conference on Sunday at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), the process for closure of outstanding tax cases and the contracts for works in the five most important national highways, mostly dominated the headlines in Athens' newspapers on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Samaras puts an end to PASOK's lies".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Samaras uncovered PASOK's lies - He proved that the memorandum is not the only way ".

    AVRIANI: "Samaras presented a solid proposal in order for the country to get out of the Troika's grip".

    CHORA: "Samaras in Thessaloniki: 'I am not Papandreou'."

    ELEFTHEROS: "Samaras revealed Prime Minister George Papandreou's seven huge lies told in order to win the (last) general elections".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Samaras' realistic plan to exit from the crisis".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Toll fees increase but road works are delaying".

    ESTIA: "Greece is sinking and the politicians argue - All are responsible for the present crisis".

    ETHNOS: "Truth test for 200,000 suspicious pensions - All social security funds under the Labour Ministry's microscope".

    IMERISSIA: "40 billion euros in loans to enterprises to be put through the sieve - Bankers struggle to control bad debts' increase".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Troika asks an additional 1.4 billion euros cutbacks in expenses and disagrees with the government's plan to impose additional taxes on enterprises and entities".

    TA NEA: "Closure of outstanding tax cases in 24 monthly installments with 20-25 percent of the amount in advance".

    VRADYNI: "Tax reductions for enterprises and entities - ND's seven axes to exit from the recession".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [42] President Christofias says Turkey not ready for Cyprus solution


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has said that Turkey was not ready for a solution of the

    Cyprus problem by the end of the year but assured that he would continue negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot side to reach a settlement.

    He noted that Turkey holds the key for a solution of the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem, which should be solved before convening an international conference on the international aspects of the problem, and expressed fear that new deadlocks would appear.

    Speaking to Greek reporters on his arrival in New York to participate in the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, President Christofias said the year 2010 was the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, noting that he would be promoting the Cyprus problem at the UN General Assembly.

    He pointed out that he was not satisfied with the course of negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem and that ''the change in the Turkish Cypriot community brought a leader who, in close contact and cooperation with Turkey, is submitting proposals and insisting on positions that surely do not lead to breaking the deadlock.''

    ''On the contrary, I fear that we will be led to new deadlocks,'' he said, adding that there has been no positive response to his own proposals.

    President Christofias said Turkey was not ready for a solution by the end of the year, despite statements in that direction, and expressed the Greek Cypriot side's determination to reach a settlement, based on UN resolutions, high level agreements, providing for a single federal state with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international identity, with a united economy and institutions.

    ''We are far from meeting such aims,'' he said, adding that he would be meeting with the UN Secretary General to assess the situation and discuss further moves.

    President Christofias said the negotiations under UN auspices with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu for a settlement would continue.

    Replying to questions, President Christofias said an international conference on the Cyprus problem would deal with the international aspects of the issue, which is why Turkey should help solve internal problems first.

    ''Turkey holds the key for a solution of the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem. I do not underestimate Mr. Eroglu at all. However, while I speak with Mr. Eroglu, I have the intense conviction that I am talking with Turkey in its absence,'' he added.

    President Christofias assured that the aim was to safeguard the rights of all Cypriots, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

    Replying to other questions, President Christofias said ''we patiently continue the negotiations and try to find a common language, to reach new convergences, in order to make progress or at least indicate who is responsible for the lack of progress.''

    He added that in the negotiations with former leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat, progress had been made, although not to the desired extent. ''With Mr. Eroglu no progress has been made,'' he pointed out.

    Furthermore, President Christofias expressed gratitude to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Minister of Foreign Affairs Demetris Droutsas and all political powers for their support.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led negotiations for a Cyprus settlement began in September 2008 between President Christofias and Talat, and continue with Dervis Eroglu, who succeeded Talat.

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