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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-09-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Friday, 24 September 2010 Issue No: 3601

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM meets with distinguished Greek-Americans at NYC consulate reception
  • [02] PM Papandreou speaks on Greek economy at NY event
  • [03] Greece and Qatar to sign bilateral development partnership agreement
  • [04] PM meets with Turkish president, Albanian PM and UNGA chair in New York
  • [05] PM Papandreou meets fYRoM president, attends UNGA opening session
  • [06] Droutsas strongly criticises Gruevski no-show in New York
  • [07] Papandreou's schedule on sidelines of UN General Assembly
  • [08] FM Droutsas meets NY Mayor Bloomberg
  • [09] ND leader blasts Papandreou
  • [10] Karamanlis to reply in writing to Parliament com't probing Vatopedi affair
  • [11] Report on hospitals points to violation of procurement code; Simitis will not testify in Siemens case
  • [12] Papariga urges voters to cast protest vote for KKE
  • [13] KKE leader tours power plants in Kozani, Ptolemaida
  • [14] President, DM to attend Cyprus 50th anniversary celebrations in Nicosia
  • [15] German minister visits Ecumenical Patriarch
  • [16] Gov't on investments: 'the crisis becomes opportunity'
  • [17] IMF expects Greece to return to markets late 2011 or early 2012
  • [18] Infrastructure minister again promises to meet trucker demands via future legislation
  • [19] GSEE labor rally Wednesday as part of Europe-wide mobilisation
  • [20] Vote on tax settlement bill next Thursday
  • [21] Greek GDP may contract less than 4 pct in 2010, finmin says
  • [22] Crisis could become catalyst for economic transformation, BoG
  • [23] BoG governor meets interior minister
  • [24] EU: No extension of Greek financing programme
  • [25] Greece still lagging in transposition of EU internal market directives
  • [26] Arab-Greek Economic Forum in Athens on Sept. 23-25
  • [27] BTG Pactual eyes Greek market
  • [28] PPC only bidder in power station tender in Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • [29] Athens hotels' revenues down 6.1 pct in Jan-Aug
  • [30] FTSE: Athens bourse to remain in developed market category
  • [31] Stocks end lower
  • [32] Greek bond market closing report
  • [33] ADEX closing report
  • [34] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [35] Delta Airlines flight makes emergency landing; two Greek ministers on board
  • [36] Parliament 'adopts' children of Air Force pilots killed while on duty
  • [37] Football coaches, referees under investigation for undeclared income
  • [38] 3rd Autumn Flower Show in Athens
  • [39] Photo exhibition on Greek emigration to Germany
  • [40] 3 kilos of cocaine seized
  • [41] Scattered showers, storms in west
  • [42] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM meets with distinguished Greek-Americans at NYC consulate reception

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Prime minister George Papandreou met with officials of Greek American organisations, com-munities, federations, academics, people of the arts and letters, and Archbishop Demetrios of America during a reception in his honor at the Greek General Consulate in New York on Wednesday night.

    Papandreou expressed appreciation for Demetrios' and the overseas Greek community's support for the Greece, adding that this support was precious at this difficult time for the country.

    He said that his PASOK government had needed to take measures and decisions to protect Greece from bankruptcy, and not only, so as to render the country strong and dynamic once again and change it for the better.

    "We found ourselves not only at the center of the crisis, but also at the center of the interest of the media in the US and globally, and we still are," Papandreou said, adding that "many times we also hear unpleasant words about are country that are not befitting to us, because we know that Greece and Hellenism are a country and a people with immense potential," the premier said, adding his government's determination, through the difficult decisions being taken, to prove "first of all to ourselves, and also to the reset of the world, that Greece is moving forward.

    "We are creating a new Greece of meritocracy and transparency, accountability, economic growth and social solidarity. A Greece of open democracy and liberty that will be able to become competitive in the global economy," Papandreou continued.

    [02] PM Papandreou speaks on Greek economy at NY event

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed on Thursday a "World Leadership Forum 2010" event at a New York hotel hosted by the Foreign Policy Association and presented a comprehensive view of the economic situation in Greece and the country's future prospects.

    "Greece is a small country," the Greek premier said, adding that "the economic crisis is not our problem only and this has been shown by developments." Papandreou placed emphasis on the need to further reinforcing cooperation.

    "Greece is a different country today, with a credible government that works with determination in the path of longterm stability and growth," Papandreou noted.

    [03] Greece and Qatar to sign bilateral development partnership agreement

    Greece and Qatar were expected to sign, in the early hours of Friday (Greek time) in New York, a general framework agreement to boost development cooperation between the two countries. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani were due to sign the agreement .

    Commenting on press reports over the issue, government spokesman George Petalotis said it was too early to talk about investments and noted that the two sides will try to cooperate in several levels and stressed that the introduction of a "fast track" investment policy by the government was a significant tool to overcome hurdles in attracting investments.

    He added that the government was unraveling rapidly its initiatives towards a better management of the state's real estate property to the benefit of the country in the long-term. Petalotis said the government was examining plans to offer favourable tax status for new investors.

    [04] PM meets with Turkish president, Albanian PM and UNGA chair in New York

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou continued his contacts with international political leaders on the sidelines of the 65th UN General Assembly meeting in New York, with separate meetings with Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Albanian President Sali Berisha late Wednesday afternoon NY time).

    Papandreou also met with the new president of the UN General Assembly, former Swiss President Joseph Deiss.

    Improvement in Greek-Turkish and Greek-Albanian relations was ascertained in Papandreou's meetings with the leaders of those two countries.

    Papandreou and Gul, accompanied by their foreign ministers Dimitris Droutsas and Ahmet Davutoglu, respectively, discussed the issues put forward at the UN General Assembly and the Millennium Development Goals summit, in addition to bilateral relations.

    On bilateral relations, the two sides expressed satisfaction over the progress and noted Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent visit to Athens and the establishment of the council of joint ministerial meetings, adding that there will be follow-ups to the first meeting and citing as an example Greek environment and energy minister Tina Birbili's visit to Ankara two days earlier, where she met with her Turkish counterpart.

    Droutsas and Davutoglu agreed that the latter will visit Greece in October, while Erdogan has accepted an invitation from Papandreou t take part in a conference on the effects of climate change in the Mediterranean to take place in Greece, according to diplomatic sources.

    The same sources said that Papandreou and Gul also discussed the Cyprus issue, with Papandreou urging the Turkish side to take the necessary steps for real progress in the talks and the Turkish side expressing the desire for seeing progress soon.

    The two leaders further discussed developments in the Middle East and Iran.

    [05] PM Papandreou meets fYRoM president, attends UNGA opening session

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou met at the UN headquarters on Thursday with the President of the neighbouring former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) Gjorgje Ivanov. The meeting was described by the Greek side as a "courtesy meeting".

    Earlier, the prime minister attended the formal opening of the 65th UN General Assembly meeting which featured addresses by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US President Barack Obama.

    Meanwhile, the Greek premier had the opportunity to give a series of interviews to important US radio and TV stations, higlighting Greece's economic situation and his government's efforts to guide the country out of the crisis by introducing bold reforms.

    [06] Droutsas strongly criticises Gruevski no-show in New York

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA - P. Panagiotou)

    Greece's Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas was highly critical of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in statements on Thursday, following the latter's refusal to visit New York and meet with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    "All the time and all the energy that the Skopje side now expends in its effort to create certain impressions that act in the wrong direction, if it instead invested these in finding a solution to the name issue, then we would be in a very different position," Droutsas underlined.

    Gruevski was "creating impressions that do not contribute at all to a solution," he added.

    While in New York, Droutsas participated in an informal NATO-Russia foreign ministers' meeting held on Wednesday and a working dinner for EU foreign ministers and their Russian counterpart. He also had a round of meetings with several of his counterparts from other countries that will continue on Thursday.

    On Wednesday night he attended a dinner for leaders, foreign ministers and officials of Balkan countries that was also attended by Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Bulgarian premier Boyko Borisov. The Greek foreign minister had an opportunity to converse with several of the guests and exchange views on promoting economic and political cooperation in the Balkans.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis on Wednesday represented Greece at a high-level meeting on biodiversity.

    [07] Papandreou's schedule on sidelines of UN General Assembly

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)

    The Greek premier addressed an event at a New York hotel hosted by the Foreign Policy Association and presented a comprehensive view of the economic situation in Greece and the country's future prospects.

    He was also expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Albanian President Bamir Topi, Serb President Boris Tadic, and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

    Later in the evening (local time), the Greek premier will wrap up his visit to the United States by attending a reception at the Museum of Natural History hosted by the US president in honor of the heads of states and governments participating at the UN General Assembly.

    On Thursday morning (Greek time), the prime minister attended a reception at the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted by the organization of former US President Bill Clinton, with whom he had a 20-minute talk. The former US president reportedly inquired about the course of the Greek economy and exchanged views with Papandreou on a number of international issues.

    [08] FM Droutsas meets NY Mayor Bloomberg

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas met here on Thursday with the Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg .

    The two men discussed issues pertaing to New York and the Greek-American community.

    [09] ND leader blasts Papandreou

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Thursday harshly criticised prime minister George Papandreou and warned that when his party comes to power it will set up a parliamentary examination committee into how the country reached the point of the Memorandum.

    Samaras accused Papandreou of setting up examination committees because otherwise he would not be able to govern: "He thinks he is holding ND hostage. Let him set up as many examination committees as he likes. We will set up only one, on how we reached the point of needing to resort to the support mechanism and the Memorandum."

    The ND leader further accused Papandreou of having 'taken up residence' abroad for weeks, although the authorities of his (recently reshuffled) ministers' authorities have not yet been clarified. "The shortest joke in Greece today is the coordination of the government," he said.

    Samaras further criticised the PASOK government of preparing to set up an examination committee on the economy but limiting the period it covers to only 2004-2009, and not the periods before or after that.

    "They have forgotten the stock market, which was the biggest scandal of all," Samaras added.

    [10] Karamanlis to reply in writing to Parliament com't probing Vatopedi affair

    Former prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday announced that he will send a written reply to a relevant preliminary Parliament committee of inquiry currently probing the Vetopedi land swap affair, the chairman of the committee, MP Dimitris Tsironis, said.

    He added that Karamanlis told him, in a same-day telephone communication, that he will send the letter on the entire issue next week.

    Tsironis added that "all of us would prefer for Mr. Karamanlis to appear in person. However, you cannot violently summons a former prime minister".

    Meanwhile, in a related development, main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputies participating on the same committee have demanded that a report be composed on exactly what, if any, damages were incurred in the property exchanges between the state and the Vetoed Monastery. The opposition MPs also charged that the ruling PASOK majority on the committee does not know whether the state sustained a monetary damage.

    [11] Report on hospitals points to violation of procurement code; Simitis will not testify in Siemens case

    Inspections around the country conducted by the health inspectors' corps at the request of a parliamentary committee investigating the Siemens kickbacks and bribery case showed that a number of violations in the state procurements code, and specifically in supply contracts between state hospitals and the German multinational.

    According to a report, there are indications of possible financial damage to the state, given that many times the cost of maintenance and spare parts was not included as a criterion in the signing of contracts.

    Meanwhile, the chairman of the parliamentary committee probing the Siemens affair, PASOK MP Sifis Valyrakis, stated on Wednesday that former prime minister and PASOK president Costas Simitis will not be summoned to testify.

    Valyrakis opined that there is not enough evidence to support a decision to request information from Simitis and his successor as premier, Costas Karamanlis.

    The statement was made after the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party expressed a position against requesting Simitis' testimony.

    [12] Papariga urges voters to cast protest vote for KKE

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Thursday urged voters to "punish" ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy during the November elections and vote for KKE-supported candidates instead. She was speaking to employees at a Public Power Corporation (PPC) coal mine in Kozani.

    "If there is a repetition with minor variations of the electoral result of October 2009, it will be as if the people are scrubbing out whatever happened both before 2009 and after. You see, all that counts when you vote is where you cast it. It doesn't make any difference if you're swearing and cursing as you cast it, or whether you're saying "OK, I'll give you another chance," Papariga said.

    She also stressed that abstention was not the answer, as this would only serve to support the current situation and would not prompt any change in policy, no matter how large.

    [13] KKE leader tours power plants in Kozani, Ptolemaida

    Opposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga predicted on Thursday that "difficult times" will come for Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC S.A.) employees and called on them to respond with "forceful mobilistions".

    Speaking during a visit to the lignite mines and power plant stations in the northwest cities of Kozani and Ptolemaida, Papariga expressed concern over developments in state-run PPC and the plans eyeing partial privatisation.

    The communist leader expressed opposition to such a move regardless of the shape it will take.

    [14] President, DM to attend Cyprus 50th anniversary celebrations in Nicosia

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will be in Cyprus on October 1 to attend the main celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Papoulias will arrive in Nicosia at noon on October 1 and deliver a greeting to the event later in the evening.

    The following day he will have a meeting with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias before departing for Athens later in the day.

    The Greek government will be represented at the traditional military parade on the morning of October 1 by Greece's defence minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    [15] German minister visits Ecumenical Patriarch

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A.Kourkoulas)

    German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizičre was received on Thursday in Fanar by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

    "A United Europe can not be conceived without Orthodoxy and particularly without this Church here (the Ecumenical Patriarchate) which transmitted the Orthodox civilisation to the West," de Maizičre said.

    The German minister and Bartholomew discussed outstanding issues for the Patriarchate, such as the reopening of the Halki Seminary and the property rights of Orthodox foundations and ethnic Greek communities.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his optimism regarding the future despite the existence of pending issues and thanked de Maizičre for Germany's support to the Patriarchate.

    Financial News

    [16] Gov't on investments: 'the crisis becomes opportunity'

    Government spokesman George Petalotis on Thursday referred to the country's strong presence in the international scene and the efforts made by the government to attract foreign investors and boost domestic enterprises, stressing that through "systematic work" and "consistency between words and deeds, the crisis becomes an opportunity."

    Petalotis stated that "the memorandum will not be extended," expressing certainty that the work done will be completed in 2013.

    He referred to the public sector reform which "creates the basis for a lasting viable development," pointing out that this is "the only way to attract major credible and long-term investments."

    Petalotis announced that the general framework of a developmental cooperation agreement will be signed later on Thursday in the United States between Greece and Qatar and stressed that it is too early to talk about investments when asked about press reports concerning the Ellinikon region.

    He referred to the "fast track" investment framework to be voted in parliament soon and pointed out that the state-owned real estate property will be utilized in the best possible way for the country's benefit.

    Petalotis also stated that VAT on basic consumer goods will not be increased.

    [17] IMF expects Greece to return to markets late 2011 or early 2012

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T.Ellis)

    "We expect that Greece may return to markets within the next 12 to 18 months", Caroline Atkinson, the IMF's Foreign Relations director said on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters, Atkinson noted that the Greek program was proceeding as anticipated and stressed that the Greek government's contacts with its creditors -that took place recently during a road show by Greek Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou accompanied by troika experts in European capitals- "went very well".

    The IMF official said Greece could return to markets by the end of 2011 or early 2012, although she underlined that a restructuring program allowed the country to remain outside capital markets for longer.

    [18] Infrastructure minister again promises to meet trucker demands via future legislation

    Just hours before truck owners hold crucial meetings to decide protest action against the new law liberalising the road freight sector, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas on Thursday repeated a promise that truckers will be included in a development bill due to be tabled in Parliament next month.

    In an interview with the Athens radio station Vima 99.5, Reppas stressed that all his promises to truckers will be carried out in due course through legislation tabled by the appropriate ministries, including their two main demands concerning their pension plans and tax breaks for those that only recently acquired a trucker's licence.

    Reppas again explained that these three key demands made by truckers had not been included in the bill passed by Parliament on Wednesday because they were in the purview of other ministries that would soon table the necessary legislation.

    The head of the truck owners' federation George Tzortzatos has repeatedly demanded that the minister make these pledges in writing.

    Protests by truckers on Thursday were toned down relative to the previous day, with traffic on both major national highways leaving Athens moving normally except for 10 minutes at around midday, when truckers shut the Athens-Lamia highway at Metamorfosi.

    [19] GSEE labor rally Wednesday as part of Europe-wide mobilisation

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) is organising a demonstration next Wednesday (September 29) afternoon in central Athens' Klafthmonos Square, taking part in a Europe-wide mobilisation of trade unions.

    On that day, working people and citizens in all the EU member countries will be holding rallies against the anti-labor, anti-social and neoliberal policies of the EU leaders under the slogan "The people and their needs above the markets", according to a GSEE announcement.

    The rally will begin at 8:00 p.m., and at 10:00 p.m. a delegation of GSEE and other trade union organisations will make a protest at the EU offices in Athens.

    A GSEE delegation and representatives of its member unions will be in Brussels on Wednesday to take part in the central Europe-wide demonstration.

    [20] Vote on tax settlement bill next Thursday

    The conference of Parliament presidents on Thursday decided that the final vote on a draft tax settlement bill will take place next Thursday using fast-track urgent procedures.

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou will brief the Parliamentary committee processing the bill on Friday, copies of the draft legislation will be distributed to the other political parties in Parliament on Monday and the bill itself formally tabled on Tuesday.

    Discussion on the bill by the Parliamentary committee will take place next Wednesday and the legislation will go before the recess session of Parliament for a final vote on Thursday.

    The draft legislation, through which the government hopes to boost flagging revenues that are currently lagging behind targets, allows businesses to close all pending and putative tax cases by paying a set amount that also allows them to forego future tax inspections for the period in question.

    [21] Greek GDP may contract less than 4 pct in 2010, finmin says

    The contraction in Greece's GDP during 2010 may be less than the original forecast of 4 percent, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said on Thursday.

    "We see some interesting and encouraging signs from leading indicators which makes us think that it could be possible that in the year we have a slightly better result than we have projected," Papaconstantinou said on the margins of a conference in Berlin.

    The minister's statements were reported by Reuters.

    Papaconstantinou also played down concerns over a shortfall in tax revenues and repeated that Greece intends to return to capital markets for its long-term borrowing needs some time in 2011.

    [22] Crisis could become catalyst for economic transformation, BoG

    The Greek economy has great growth potential and the present crisis could become a catalyst for a new course that could reform the economy, improving competitiveness and prosperity, Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos said on Thursday.

    In a prologue to a series of surveys covering the country's current accounts balance, published by the central bank, Provopoulos said many of the policies needed to achieve a transformation of the Greek economy are included in the economic programme of the memorandum signed with the EU and the IMF in May. The central banker stressed that the programme offered a unique opportunity to set in motion positive and long-term sustainable growth dynamism.

    The country current accounts deficit ranged between 0 and 5.0 pct of the Gross Domestic Product in the period from 1960 to 1990.

    But from 200 onwards a dramatic worsening of the situation occurred with the deficit skyrocketing to 14 pct of GDP in 2008, reflecting competitiveness losses. Since the country's entry in the eurozone, all competitive indexes have suffered a loss of 20-25 pct, the central banker said, adding that reforms in the labour and product markets were needed to change this situation.

    [23] BoG governor meets interior minister

    Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos on Thursday hosted a working lunch for Interior, Decentralisation and Electronic Governance Minister Yiannis Ragoussis.

    Ragoussis briefed Provopoulos on the institutional reforms his ministry was promoting. On his part, the BoG governor briefed the minister on the general state of the economy.

    [24] EU: No extension of Greek financing programme

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni)

    The European Union and the International Monetary Fund are not examining plans to extend an emergency loan financing scheme for the Greek economy, Amadeu Altafaj, a spokesman for EU Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn, said here on Thursday.

    Responding to reporters' questions whether an extension of the Greek support programme was considered, Altafaj said: "No. We are not involved in any discussions of this kind ... The situation is difficult but it is no different from what we forecasted".

    He that the Commission believes Greece will continue implementing the programme and that the aim was for the country to return to markets before the end of the programme in 2013.

    [25] Greece still lagging in transposition of EU internal market directives

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)

    Greece continues to perform badly among European Union countries in writing European internal market directives into national law, according to a scoreboard published by the European Commission on Thursday.

    This showed that 2.4 percent of European internal market directives that are overdue have not yet been written into Greek law, compared with the EU27 average of 0.9 percent.

    Top performers are Denmark, Malta, Slovenia and Latvia, while the total number of infringement proceedings for all EU countries relating to the internal market has decreased by 2.1 percent compared with half a year ago.

    Belgium is now the country with the highest number of open infringement proceedings (111 cases), followed by Greece (94 cases) and Italy (92 cases).

    Greece is also the country that has the highest number of cases where directives have been transposed into national law incorrectly or after the deadline (57), followed by Poland (51) and Portugal (45).

    [26] Arab-Greek Economic Forum in Athens on Sept. 23-25

    The 3rd Arab-Greek economic forum, jointly hosted by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) and the Arab Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Development opened in Athens on Sept. 23.

    The three-day forum on "Fostering business alliances to tap emerging opportunities" will is expected to attract some 200 Arab delegates and 450 Greek ministers, officials, business leaders and executives, who will participate in more that 650 scheduled meetings.

    The forum is among the international initiatives undertaken by SEV within the framework of its strategy aimed at boosting the extroversion of Greek enterprises, while seeking new markets with good prospects.

    [27] BTG Pactual eyes Greek market

    BTG Pactual, Latin America's largest investment bank, is reportedly examining plans to boost its investment presence in Greece.

    Representatives of the Brazil-based bank - along with representations in London, New York and Hong Kong - discussed the prospect with the director of the Institute for International Economic Relations, Haralambos Tsardanidis and a group of Greek businesspeople during a closed-session organised by the Association of Societe Anonymes and Limited Companies of Greece

    The meeting focused on problems and macro-economic prospects of the Greek economy and problems facing Greek banks in the approval of business loans, along with problems facing local enterprises in their transactions with state agencies.

    [28] PPC only bidder in power station tender in Bosnia-Herzegovina

    Public Power Corporation, Greece's electricity utility, on Thursday said it was the only participant in an international tender for the construction and management of four hydro-electric power stations in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    The tender is expected to enter into the second phase of negotiations, after submitting formal interest to become a strategic investor in the project which is expected to have a power of 238 MW. PPC said it is the only participant in the tender out of a total 10 initial bidders.

    [29] Athens hotels' revenues down 6.1 pct in Jan-Aug

    Athens hotels' revenues were down 6.1 pct in the January-August period, after recording a 17.8-pct decline in revenues throughout 2009, the Athens-Attica Hoteliers' Association said on Thursday, adding that any result better than -8.0 pct for 2010 should be considered a success.

    Despite the fact that the July-August period is a traditionally strong period for Attica (greater Athens) tourism, the results this year are definitely disappointing, both on occupancy rates and revenues. Four- and three-star hotels reported a decline in revenue per available room of -14.8 pct and -17 pct in July, reaching 26.2 pct and 24.7 pct in August, respectively.

    The figures appear even more disappointing if the average room price is compared with Athens' main competitors in Europe.

    The Athens hotel average room price was 70 euros per room, while in London it was 161.4 euros, in Paris 162.71 euros, in Istanbul 130 euros, in Rome 96.83 euros, in Amsterdam 93.77 euros and in Barcelona 90.7 euros.

    All other European city destinations showed an increase in August.

    Athens also reported the lowest occupancy rate (57.7 pct), the fifth lowest average price (109.36 euros) and the third lowest revenue per available room (63.14 euros) in the eight-month period.

    [30] FTSE: Athens bourse to remain in developed market category

    Ôhe Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) will remain in the developed markets category, FTSE Group said on Thursday.

    The group, in an announcement, added however, that the ASE will remain on a watch list for another year, until the next assessment by FTSE in September 2011.

    FTSE Group said the Greek market will remain on its watch list along with the markets of Thailand, Taiwan, Kuwait, Ghana, Kazakhstan and Colombia.

    [31] Stocks end lower

    Greek stocks ended moderately lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with the composite index of the market managing to end above the 1,500-level. The index fell 0.70 pct to end at 1,501.87, after rising as much as 0.92 pct during the session. Turnover was a low 69.588 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 0.89 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 0.37 pct and the Small Cap index fell 0.95 pct. The Health (2.05 pct) and Food (1.15 pct) sectors scored gains, while Commerce (4.03 pct) and Insurance (3.10 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 107 to 61 with another 43 issues unchanged.

    Parnassos (16.67 pct), Epilektos (10 pct) and Hellenic Fish Farms (10 pct) were top gainers, while Euroxx (19.85 pct), Vell Group (18.75 pct) and Progressive (16.67 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -3.10%

    Industrials: -0.28%

    Commercial: -4.03%

    Construction: +0.52%

    Media: -2.61%

    Oil & Gas: -0.79%

    Personal & Household: -1.21%

    Raw Materials: -1.45%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.11%

    Technology: -1.67%

    Telecoms: -2.35%

    Banks: -1.14%

    Food & Beverages: +1.15%

    Health: +2.05%

    Utilities: -2.28%

    Chemicals: -0.88

    Financial Services: -1.13

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Eurobank and OTE.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index

    closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 4.57

    ATEbank: 0.95

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.40

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.75

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.65

    National Bank of Greece: 8.05

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.30

    OPAP: 11.50

    OTE: 5.41

    Bank of Piraeus: 3.69

    Titan: 14.45

    [32] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 865 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with turnover remaining a low 78 million euros. The Greek bond yielded 10.92 pct and the German Bund 2.27 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 0.87 pct and the one-month rate 0.61 pct.

    [33] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -2.51 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover at 33.982 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,451 contracts worth 30.260 million euros and with 25,779 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 7,547 contracts worth 3.722 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (1,450), followed by Eurobank (620), MIG (663), OTE (564), Piraeus Bank (331), Alpha Bank (1,159), Mytilineos (213), Cyprus Bank (497) and Hellenic Postbank (789).

    [34] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

    Reference buying rates per euro released

    by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.343

    Pound sterling 0.857

    Danish kroner 7.509

    Swedish kroner 9.279

    Japanese yen 113.39

    Swiss franc 1.324

    Norwegian kroner 7.982

    Canadian dollar 1.390

    Australian dollar 1.417

    General News

    [35] Delta Airlines flight makes emergency landing; two Greek ministers on board

    A Delta Airlines flight for Athens made an emergency landing at Manchester Airport on Thursday after the pilot smelled smoke in the cockpit and feared a malfunction. Among the passengers were two members of the Greek government, Citizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis and Deputy Finance Minister Philippos Sahinidis.

    The landing was carried out safely and a subsequent inspection by maintenance crews did not reveal any problems with the aircraft.

    [36] Parliament 'adopts' children of Air Force pilots killed while on duty

    The Greek Parliament on Thursday decided to "adopt" the underage children of all Air Force pilots killed in the line of duty since an incident on the Aegean islet of Imia in 1996, in recognition of their sacrifice for the country.

    A total of 29 children, aged between 6 and 22 years old, will be adopted in addition to the children of Air Force pilots Iosif Anastasakis, Andreas Dermaris, Nikolaos Parousis and Konstantinos Iliakis already adopted based on earlier decisions.

    The Parliament will provide financial assistance on an annual basis until they become adults and, in case they are students, until their 25th year.

    The decision was reached in the Parliament Presidents' meeting after a proposal presented by Parliament President Filippos Petsalnikos.

    [37] Football coaches, referees under investigation for undeclared income

    Press reports on football coaches with large bank accounts and referees who place football bets made public on Thursday prompted an intervention by Supreme Court Prosecutor Ioannis Tentes who assigned assistant prosecutor Anastasios Kanellopoulos to proceed with the investigation of the allegations made.

    Financial crimes squad (SDOE) special secretary Yiannis Kapeleris and journalist and publisher Antonis Delatolas have been called by the assistant prosecutor to present all available evidence pertaining to the case on Sept. 28.

    The judicial authorities will decide whether a preliminary investigation will be ordered based on the evidence presented.

    [38] 3rd Autumn Flower Show in Athens

    The 3rd Autumn Flower Shop opens Thursday at Kotzia Square in downtown Athens, hosted by the City of Athens and the Agricultural Cooperative of Attica prefecture.

    The Flower Show, turning Kotzia Square into a flourishing garden, will run through October 10, open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

    Visitors will have the ability to choose from a wide variety of affordably-prices flowers and plants grown in Greece, while producers will also provide information on planting and maintaining plants.

    The official inauguration by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis and deputy mayor for greenery George Xepapadakos will be held the following day, on Friday evening.

    The Flower Show, being held for the third consecutive year, aims to raise public awareness on and encourage public participation in the effort for more greenery in open spaces and on balconies and rooftops.

    [39] Photo exhibition on Greek emigration to Germany

    A photography exhibition on the Greek emigration wave in the 1960s will open at the Goethe-Institut in Athens on Oct. 1 and run until the end of the year.

    The exhibition, entitled "Familiar foreign lands", details the major migration of Greek workers who left the tobacco fields of northern and western Greece, where most of them used to work, to seek a better future in German factories.

    Half a century since the signing of a guest worker recruitment agreement between Germany and Greece, the exhibition records the role of the immigrants in the German and Greek economy.

    [40] 3 kilos of cocaine seized

    A 24-year-old local woman was arrested on Thursday at the Athens International Airport by narcotics squad police charged with drug dealing.

    Officers found and confiscated in the suspect's luggage three kilos and 179 grams of cocaine divided into five packets.

    The woman had arrived from Sao Paolo, Brazil via Madrid, Spain.

    She will be sent before a prosecutor later in the day.

    Weather forecast

    [41] Scattered showers, storms in west

    Cloudy weather and scattered showers are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with storms in the west from the afternoon. Winds mainly from northerly and easterly directions, ranging from 3-6 Beaufort and up to 7 Beaufort at sea. Temperatures between 12C and 29C. Cloudy and wet in Athens, with temperatures from 18C to 27C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures between 15C and 25C.

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

    The Finance Ministry's review of the terms for the closure of outstanding tax cases, the stricter penalties for tax evaders, public utilities organisations' mergers, the ratification of the law for the liberalization of road transports and protesting truckers' mobilisations, and the condition in public hospitals, mostly dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' headlines.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Guerrilla warfare with truckers after the passing of the relevant law in parliament on Wednesday".

    APOGEVMATINI: "National health system in ICU one year after the general elections".

    AVGHI: "Unconditional surrender to tax evasion- Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou: Only 3 percent of tax evasion cases can be inspected".

    AVRIANI: "Justice's resounding blow against the irresponsibility of politicians taking part in the parliamentary preliminary investigation committee on the Siemens case".

    CHORA: "Pogrom of lay-offs in Public Utilities and Organisations (DEKO) immediately after (November's) local government elections".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Professionals react to the terms for closure of outstanding tax cases".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Qatar in Helliniko (former Athens international Airport area) - The plans foresee a coastal Las Vegas with casinos, luxury hotels, marinas and an airport for millionaires".

    ESTIA: "The damage from the mobilisations is unimaginable - Deficits increase and intensify recession".

    ETHNOS: "Revelations in the 'piranhas' in public Health sector".

    IMERISSIA: "Favorable changes in the closure of outstanding tax cases - Government revises the terms of the arrangement after the objections".

    KATHIMERINI: "Facing the cost of inertia - State has 60 billion euros in uncollected debts".

    LOGOS: "Siemens an 'Imperium in imperio' in public hospitals".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "New cutbacks in state investments and subsidies".

    NIKI: "Golden refuge in the era of the crisis - Huge profits for those who invested in gold".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Support the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) ticket in the local government elections".

    TA NEA: "Tax evaders will be sent to court under 'in flagrante delicto' procedures".

    TO VIMA: "Law on tax evasion toughens".

    VRADYNI: "Finance Minister preannounced express trials for tax evasion".

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