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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-10-26

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

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

Tuesday, 26 October 2010 Issue No: 3628

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Papandreou: 'We must not let country's course be undermined'
  • [02] ND: PM employing blackmailing dilemmas
  • [03] 4th Greece-Turkey Interministerial Committee meeting opens in Ankara
  • [04] Top Greece-Turkey joint inter-ministerial com't convenes in Ankara
  • [05] Greece requests Frontex assistance on eastern border to stem illegal migration
  • [06] Deputy infrastructure minister on flood-stricken Ikaria island
  • [07] Health minister holds talks with hospital suppliers
  • [08] LA.O.S President Karatzaferis visits Kastelorizo
  • [09] MP Voridis cites possible departure from LA.OS
  • [10] President cancels Thessaloniki visit due to virus infection
  • [11] Foreign Ministry event and exhibition
  • [12] Birbili addresses IEW, meets Russian energy minister
  • [13] Gov't unveils 241-mln-euro projects to support tourism sector
  • [14] Gov't cites overhaul in business licencing, operation
  • [15] Maritime Affairs minister confident that cruise companies will soon sign contracts with Greece
  • [16] Hellenic Shipyards workers protest to demand back-pay
  • [17] Minister on unemployment problem in eastern Macedonia-Thrace region
  • [18] MIG to invest 260 mln euros in health sector in 2010-11
  • [19] Greek pavillion in WOMEX
  • [20] Stocks jump 1.95 pct
  • [21] ADEX closing report
  • [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [23] Culture Minister inaugurates Toulouse Lautrec exhibition
  • [24] Scorpions concert on October 27
  • [25] Search operation for missing 85-year-old trekker
  • [26] Demolished building to free up space for new park
  • [27] Building collapse kills one, injures 3 workers
  • [28] Moldova-flagged ship's skipper, engineer arrested for pollution
  • [29] Rainy on Tuesday
  • [30] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [31] Spokesman: Date for tripartite meeting not yet set
  • [32] UN Spokesperson: Nothing to add about a tripartite meeting Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou: 'We must not let country's course be undermined'

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking in an interview with television channels on Monday evening, stressed that "we must not let the country's course be undermined or stopped," adding that many have invested in Greece's failure.

    Asked about the possibility of early elections, Papandreou said: "I have no intention of going to early elections" but pionted out that if the result of the local elections is added on to certain other parametres and the sum leads to a deadlock then, since there are no deadlocks in democracy, the sovereign people must speak.

    The prime minister noted that a package amounting to 110 billion euros was secured, the biggest to be secured historically and added that "today, after these sacrifices we can hope and the first light has appeared at the end of the tunnel."

    He further said that "if we delay or stop the course towards the big changes, all these sacrifices will be lost and what is most probable is that we will return to the past and to an even worse fate. We have escaped from the storm, but it cannnot be ruled out that we shall return to it."

    Papandreou underlined that he was not interested in the political cost and that his personal wager is to clash, with the aim of change, with those forces that are keeping the country behind.

    Referring in particular to the challenge in the local government elections, Papandreou said that there are two very important issues: "the first is that never in the past have the citizens being called on to elect local rulers with such power and for this reason we want capable and wise candidates to emerge."

    "The second is that the country is in a state of emergency and for this reason responsibility and seriousness is required."

    The first target, he said, is the salvation and reshaping of the country and this message must reach those who are undermining the country's course and to make it clear that the course for salvation cannot be checked.

    Papandreou ruled out the possibility of new economic, that will deal a blow at salaries and pensions and stressed that whatever new measures will concern the curbing of extravagance and cracking down on tax evasion.

    He added that 2010 was the year of averting bankruptcy and 2011 will be the year of the completion of the big structural changes. As regards the next two years, 2012 will be the year in which growth will acquire a positive index and 2013 the year of exiting from the memorandum.

    Papandreou said that what is at stake at present is "whether a sign will be given that we shall forge ahead or not."

    Papandreou stressed that he will respect every message by the Greek people, but stressed however that "games are being played by the main opposition and by different people," and, referring in particular to the measures, spoke of measures favouring transparency, as well as measures for the rich to pay what corresponds to them, since there are some who are tax evading.

    Asked how growth can be achieved with the imposition of a 45 percent tax on businesses, Papandreou said that "we have taxed the shareholders and dividends as income, since before there was taxation that favoured the rich and was unfair to the poor."

    The prime minister also said that in general "we would not like to increase taxation" and stressed that the amount of taxes can be reduced, if all pay normally what corresponds to them.

    "Our problem as a government was that they did not believe us, we are building, however, our credibility with pain and toil," he further said.

    Asked why, as prime minister, he said on November 5, 2009, that PASOK would implement its programme, Papandreou said "money exists, but it was squandered and is still be squandered" and noted that the government's programme has received the European Union's approval.

    "We were unable to discern the fear of the markets from the crisis and their wild fury that broke out against Greece," he said, referring then to the effort that took place for the support mechanism to be created and stressed that "if Europe had reacted earlier we would be better off."

    Asked that since he said "we are on a good course, what other factors, excluding the outcome of the elections, could lead us to elections", the prime minister said "I am pleased that you are optimistic, I also want to be optimistic."

    The Prime Minister said he was certain that the European partners and the International Monetary Fund will recognise extenuating circumstances for the government in the event that the deficit exceeds predictions.

    "And this is so because they are aware that this is not the responsibility of the current government, that did and is doing what it must," he said.

    On the question of the renegotiating of the memorandum's terms, Papandreou said that there is something common between the country's lenders:They also want Greece to be saved and attributed this desire of theirs to that the contrary would possibly create great problems in Europe, even in the international economy.

    "They want and see growth for Greece, but request consistency from us. And this is what the government is doing," he said.

    Replying to a question on the decrease in incomes through the increase in public utility rates and the high cost of living, Papandreou referred to many and difficult, as he said, decisions and clashes by the government on such issues as the opening of 'closed' professions and dealing a blow at cartels, raising the question of which other government dared to make such changes.

    He stressed that these changes did not take place in the past because there was no political will to deal a blow at rings.

    The prime minister also expressed support for the posting of tax statements on the internet.

    [02] ND: PM employing blackmailing dilemmas

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) on Monday sharply criticised Prime Minister George Papandreou's scheduled appearance at a nationally televised interview -- in the evening -- charging that the premier is laying the groundwork for what he called "blackmailing dilemmas to the people".

    ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos said the ruling PASOK party's "plummeting popularity in opinion polls and the fact that the Nov. 7 local government elections have become a vote against the economic policy of the memorandum forced the prime minister to hastily resort to the all-channel televised interview in an effort to change the political agenda imposed on him by ND leader Antonis Samaras."

    [03] 4th Greece-Turkey Interministerial Committee meeting opens in Ankara

    ANKARA (ANA-MPA/A. Ambatzis)

    The 4th meeting of the Greece-Turkey Interministerial Committee opened in Ankara on Monday with deputy foreign minister Spyros Kouvelis representing Greece and minister without portfolio Egemen Bagis, who heads Turkey's delegation at the accession negotiations with the EU, representing Turkey.

    Kouvelis and Bagis had a private meeting before being joined by their respective delegations.

    Speaking to the press afterwards, Kouvelis noted Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Athens last week for the Mediterranean Climate Change Initiative (MCCI) conference hosted by Greek premier George Papandreou -- and sideline talks between the two prime ministers -- saying "that shows who closely we are working".

    "Today," he added," we are here for the further development of our economic relations and, at the same time, also observe growth in our diplomatic relations as well."

    Kouvelis refused to comment on press speculation of an imminent agreement between Greece and Turkey on the Aegean, stressing: "We do not comment on informal statements on such issues. What the prime ministers, ministers and officials of the two countries are doing at this stage is as follows: Resolution of the issue of the Aegean and other problems in the best and permanent way, and increase in contacts. In that direction, very serious steps are being made in the recent period. We are here for that very same reason, in the context of the meeting of the Joint Inter-Ministerial Committee. Together with Egemen Bagis, we will examine ways to enhance our relations, how to move further ahead".

    Bagis, in turn, said that Greek-Turkish relations are headed in the right direction. "We believe that there is no issue that cannot be solved between Turkey and Greece. With good intentions, will and a bit of daring the issues of the Aegean, Cyprus and the Theology School (Halki) can also be easily resolved."

    "In that direction, we see two courageous prime ministers, along the example of Ataturk and Venizelos, covering a significant distance. When the time comes, we will share with you the outcome of these meetings," Bagis said, adding that "they are in the right direction".

    Bagis also noted that, in the past, it was the diplomatic relations that determined the economic relations, whereas today the opposite is true.

    [04] Top Greece-Turkey joint inter-ministerial com't convenes in Ankara

    ANKARA (ANA-MPA / A. Abatzis)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis stressed here on Monday that domestic and foreign investments are extremely important during the current efforts by Greece to exit its economic crisis, while underlining that Greece and Turkey "should take steps that will boost bilateral cooperation".

    Addressing a joint Greece-Turkish inter-ministerial committee, Kouvelis said the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Athens last May launched well-intentioned and bold initiatives by the two prime ministers towards lifting all obstacles to entrepreneurship.

    He underlined that a forum of Greek and Turkish entrepreneurs will be held in Istanbul on Tuesday, stressing that "the meeting of the joint inter-ministerial committee will play an important role in lifting obstacles to bilateral trade."

    Referring to cooperation that can be explored by the two countries, he cited a pipeline transporting natural gas pipeline from Azerbaijan to Europe. He also cited tourism and transports, pointing out that a joint Greek-Turkish committee has been set up to deal with the consequences of natural disasters.

    "We see Turkey as a good friend and neighbour. The national flags of the two countries side-by-side means a better future for the peoples of Greece and Turkey," he concluded.

    Turkish Minister Egemen Bagis also addressed the meeting, stressing that "the two countries have achieved something very difficult by brushing aside any hostile feelings."

    Referring to trade relations between the two countries, he said the volume of the Greek-Turkish trade in year 2000 was under 900 million US dollars, while in 2008 it reached 3.5 billion, while the Greek investments in Turkey are estimated to total 6.5 billion.

    Bagis said that last year roughly 630,000 Greeks visited Turkey, before predicting that bilateral relations could post a record high in 2011.

    Finally, Bagis referred to Turkish investments in Greece, stressing that the number of Turkish businesses active in Greece is very small compared to Turkish investments in Romania and Bulgaria, noting that this can be changed through decisions that will be made by the joint inter-ministerial committee.

    [05] Greece requests Frontex assistance on eastern border to stem illegal migration

    Greece has asked the EU for the immediate deployment of rapid border intervention teams (RABITS) and FRONTEX operational means on its eastern borders to stem the massive influx of undocumented migrants attempting to enter the country via Turkey.

    The request was made in writing by Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis to EU Internal Affairs Council chairman Annemie Turtelboom and Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem.

    Papoutsis, on behalf of the Greek government, sent letters to Turtelboom and Malmstroem on Sunday, stressing that "a mass influx is noted daily on Greece's external land borders with Turkey of third-country nationals who attempt to illegally enter Greek territory with the aim of accessing other EU countries".

    The minister also stressed in the letters that "the increasing pressure of the illegal migrant flows at the Greek borders is a clearly European problem and requires a corresponding European solution in the context of EU solidarity".

    In a quick reply, Malmstroem said on Monday morning that RABITS teams, coordinated by FRONTEX -- the EU Agency for the Management of the Operational Cooperation at the External Borders -- "will be deployed at the external border and will ensure mutual assistance between Member States of the European Union; they will act under the authority of Greece and will be in place for a limited period of time", in the first activation of the RABITS since their creation in 2007.

    According to a European Commission press release, "the Greek Government requested from FRONTEX (the EU Agency for the Management of the Operational Cooperation at the External Borders) the deployment of Rapid Border Intervention Teams, to assist Greece in controlling its external land border with Turkey. Recently, the number of irregular migrants crossing the border has steadily augmented and the situation has become increasingly dramatic, particularly at the 12.5 kilometres stretch near the Greek town of Orestiada".

    "The Rapid Border Intervention Teams have been created in 2007, and are activated today for the first time. This mechanism aims to provide rapid operational assistance to a Member State that is facing a situation of urgent and exceptional pressure at points of its external borders, due to large numbers of third-country nationals trying to enter in an irregular way on the territory. The teams, coordinated by FRONTEX, will be deployed at the external border and will ensure mutual assistance between Member States of the European Union; they will act under the authority of Greece and will be in place for a limited period of time, the Commission said.

    Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem stated: "The situation at the Greek land border with Turkey is increasingly worrying. The flows of people crossing the border irregularly have reached alarming proportions and Greece is manifestly not able to face this situation alone. I am very concerned about the humanitarian situation. I trust that proper assistance will be given to all person crossing the border and that the request for international protection will be considered, in full compliance with EU and international standards. Over the last week, I have followed the situation very closely and I am in close contact with the Greek authorities and with FRONTEX. Following intense discussions during the last days, I have been informed today by Mr Christos Papoutsis, the Minister for Citizens Protection, of the Greek government's request of assistance from the Rapid Border Intervention Teams and of cooperation with the European Commission."

    "Greece will now be able to benefit concretely of European solidarity in the management of external borders. I have immediately activated the mechanism to liaise with FRONTEX and to communicate among all interested partner, so as to handle this emergency situation in the most expeditious and efficient way," Malmstroem added.

    Papoutsis

    On his part, Papoutsis later reiterated that the land borders between Greece and Turkey are experiencing extreme pressure by the mass inflow of third country nationals, who are trying to reach other EU countries via Greece. He also underlined that the specific problem is purely European and a solution will have to be found within the framework of the community solidarity principle, adding that 88 pct of illegal migrant interceptions are conducted by Greek authorities.

    Responding to relevant questions, Papoutsis stated that illegal migrants are primarily behind the tension and problem in Athens' Aghios Panteleimonas inner city district. He described the situation as very serious, one that cannot be solved by the Greek police alone.

    He underlined the need for "a radical solution to the problem of the inflow of illegal migrants", adding that in the letters addressed to the EU, Greece requests assistance on operational level through human and technical resources.

    The inflow of illegal migrants has been notably reduced in the Aegean islands, the field of operations for Frontex, while the port city of Piraeus is the seat for one of the three Frontex offices in Europe.

    [06] Deputy infrastructure minister on flood-stricken Ikaria island

    Deputy Infrastructure, Networks and Transport Minister Yiannis Magriotis, who has been on the flood-stricken island of Ikaria for the past two days, on Monday said that a joint ministerial decision for the release of relief funds to flood victims has already been signed, so that the money could be paid out as soon as damage was recorded and certified.

    The health ministry immediately send an initial 100,000 euros to the island in emergency relief funds, with the remaining 300,000 euros due to arrive in the next few days.

    Magriotis was accompanied on his visit to the island by Samos MP Pythagoras Vardikos, Samos Prefect Manolis Karlas and Northern Aegean regional authority head Sofia Theologitou.

    According to an urgent document sent to the infrastructure ministry by the Samos prefecture, meanwhile, the damage to the island's road network as a result of the heavy rains and flooding greatly exceed's the capacity of the prefecture's technical services to repair. It has urged that the job be assigned to a public or private body capable of undertaking projects of this size as a matter of urgency.

    [07] Health minister holds talks with hospital suppliers

    Health Minister Andreas Loverdos announced a new way of procurements which is expected to be applied as of early 2012, in a meeting with suppliers at the Health ministry on Monday.

    The minister revealed that a private agency will result, following a tender, possibly from abroad, since corresponding agencies do not exist in Greece, that will undertake, following tendering a contract with the Hellenic state, the procedure of providing hospitals with materials and pharmaceuticals.

    This agency will be composed of one or two companies that will be responsible for supplies tendering, the keeping and distribution of materials at hospitals.

    Health ministry circles believe that the better the prices these companies secure for the Hellenic state so much bigger their profit will be, according to the contract that will be signed.

    [08] LA.O.S President Karatzaferis visits Kastelorizo

    Opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) President George Karatzaferis visited the easternmost island of Kastelorizo on Monday following a request by the local elementary schoolchildren.

    In comments he made during the visit, Karatzaferis appealed to the political world to display reason and prudence to help the nation overcome the crisis.

    [09] MP Voridis cites possible departure from LA.OS

    Opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) MP Makis Voridis on Monday expressed displeasure over comments by LA.OS leader George Karatzaferis, which were published in a newspaper interview a day earlier.

    Karatzaferis was quoted as saying that he was "protecting" Voridis from his political past by not backing the latter's possible candidacy as regional head for the all-important Attica region.

    In comments to a private radio station, Voridis said he has won voters' support in two elections, adding that the LA.OS leader has also expressed his approval by naming him the party's parliamentary group general secretary.

    Voridis said he would consider leaving the party if it becomes clear that he is regarded as a "burden". He clarified that he has never considered the likelihood before, underlining that now this eventuality should be discussed.

    [10] President cancels Thessaloniki visit due to virus infection

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias has come down with a virus infection and will be unable to attend the three-day celebrations in Thessaloniki for the city's patron saint and the 'Oxi' national holiday on October 26-28, the presidency announced on Monday.

    [11] Foreign Ministry event and exhibition

    The Foreign Ministry's Service of the Diplomatic and Historical Archives will be holding an event and an exhibition on Wednesday on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the declaration of war against Greece by the Axis forces.

    Winston Churchill's historic phrase that "Heroes fight like Greeks" is the title of the film that will be screened in the framework of the event, which was produced by the Diplomatic Archives Service with historical documents from the Foreign Ministry's Film Archives.

    The film has English subtitles and includes rare scenes, including the ceremony on the hoisting of the Greek Flag on the Acropolis.

    A photo exhibition will then be inaugurated in the same place, as well as an exhibition of documents, mementoes and other historical items regarding the period of World War II and the Civil War.

    Financial News

    [12] Birbili addresses IEW, meets Russian energy minister

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA - T. Avgerinos)

    The importance of the South Stream pipeline for European energy security was underlined by Greek Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili at the 5th International Energy Week that began in Moscow on Monday.

    She stressed that the 'South Stream' should be treated as a priority plan for the EU and that Athens supported its inclusion in the European networks development programme for 2011-2020.

    "Our goal is to establish Greece as a modern transit hub, not just for oil via the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline but also for natural gas," Birbili added.

    The minister said Greece's aim was to enhance energy security in the region, acting as a conduit between East and West, Europe and the Balkans, and linking its natural gas system with that of its neighbours in order to promote diversification of energy sources and routes.

    She particularly emphasised the importance of the two pipeline projects - Burgas-Alexandroupolis and Southstream - for relations between Greece and Russia while highlighting Russia's role as the now most significant energy provider.

    Within the EU, Greece supports a reinforcement of relations with Russia by establishing a stable and strong legal framework that will encourage trust and transparency, she said.

    Prior to addressing the IEW, Birbili held talks with Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko and they agreed to set up a working team that will meet before the end of 2010 to discuss a joint position on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project.

    The minister said that she had presented Shmatko with an invitation to hold their next meeting in Athens.

    She said their talks had covered the two pipeline projects but also outstanding issues concerning hydroelectric plants that involved Russia, noting that the aim was for Greece and Russia to have a "lasting, systematic and predictable cooperation in this area."

    According to the minister, the two sides had reaffirmed that the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline project, currently stalled due to Bulgarian objections on environmental grounds, remained a priority for Athens and Moscow.

    Asked to comment on Bulgaria's stance, Birbili noted that there was "definite deferment" on the side of the Bulgarians, who have officially said that they will await the results of an environmental impact study before making a final decision about building the pipeline.

    On his part, Shmatko described Greece as a "strategic partner" and said the first meeting of the working team decided during his talks with Birbili would deal with a common position on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline. The Russian minister also noted that Russia was interested in participating in the construction and expansion of existing natgas distribution systems and networks in Greece.

    Birbili was accompanied on her trip to Moscow by Deputy Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis and the vice-president of Hellenic Petroleum. The Greek delegation left Moscow late on Monday afternoon.

    [13] Gov't unveils 241-mln-euro projects to support tourism sector

    The Greek government is promoting four new programmes for the development of the tourism sector, budgeted at 107 million euros, while it also plans more than 50 projects worth 134 million euros, Culture and Tourism Deputy Minister George Nikitiadis said Monday.

    Addressing a business lunch organised by the South East Group, a sponsor of the 11th Prodexpo, Nikitiadis said the first two programs for "Green Tourism" and "Alternative Tourism", budgeted at 30 and 28 million euros respectively, were already underway, while another two, "Modernise in Tourism" and "Cooperation-Innovation in Tourism", budgeted at 27 million and 22 million euros, respectively, will begin early in 2011.

    The Greek minister said the government is currently evaluating 50 projects aimed at boosting tourism in various regions in the country, worth around 134 million euros. These projects will not only boost tourism but they will create jobs as well, Nikitiadis stressed.

    He said a new ad campaign to promote Greek tourism abroad was aimed at highlighting other forms of tourism, such as congress, religious, sea, agro-tourism, diving and sport tourism and noted that a new legal framework was necessary to support this effort.

    Nikitiadis also referred to an effort to attract more low-cost airlines to Greek airports and simplifying visa issuance procedures for former east European countries.

    [14] Gov't cites overhaul in business licencing, operation

    The government will introduce four new draft legislations by the end of the year, as part of a plan to create an integrated framework for licensing and operation of enterprises, along with a new investment law, a new legislation for the restructuring of the Competition Commission and a setting-up of Business and Development Fund (TANEO), Regional Development and Competitiveness Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis said on Monday.

    The minister presented his plans during a meeting with the presidency of GSEBEE -the federation of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    Chryssohoidis said the new fund TANEO will be funded by the Fourth Community Support Framework program and commercial banks, with the aim to mobilise around 5.0 billion euros by the end of 2011, while he did not exclude extending a "Saving at Home" programme offering financial support for energy-saving works.

    The ministry has prepared draft legislation to reforming the Competition Commission and said that a new investment law would focus on innovation, export activities and supporting young entrepreneurs.

    "Greece's regulatory framework on access in business activity will be one of the best in Europe and the world, by the end of the year," Chryssohoidis said.

    GSEBEE's president D. Asimakopoulos, asked for the creation of an agency allowing businesses to boost their liquidity by collecting debt, something similar to factoring. This would allow businesses to pre-collect 80-90 pct of an invoice's value and then the agency to claim this money from the state.

    [15] Maritime Affairs minister confident that cruise companies will soon sign contracts with Greece

    Following a meeting on Monday with cruise company representatives, Greece's Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries Minister Yiannis Diamantidis appeared sanguine that there will soon be a final agreement with cruise companies regarding the details of the contracts that they must sign with the Greek state in order to embark and disembark passengers at Greek ports.

    "I am certain that there will be a final agreement on the contract and on the fee that will be charged for each passenger embarking or disembarking at Greek ports, as well as some sort of bonus in terms of this fee if they hire Greek seamen," Diamantidis told reporters.

    Such an agreement will effectively implement in action legislation passed earlier this year by the Greek government that lifted cabotage restrictions for international cruise companies in Greek seas and ports.

    Diamantidis said that more than 12 companies had turned up for the meeting to hold talks with the government on signing the contract as this had been tabled in Parliament. He predicted that this contract will have been signed within 10 to 12 days and would definitely help boost Greece's tourism sector from 2012 and possibly even 2011.

    "The vote on the bill was delayed as a result of all the events that occurred and companies make their plans well in advance so that I am afraid that we may have lost 2011," he noted.

    The minister said that cruise companies will be given a discount in the passenger fees as an incentive to hire Greek crew, regardless of whether the crew taken on were bridge officers, stewards or cooks.

    [16] Hellenic Shipyards workers protest to demand back-pay

    Workers at the Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas staged a protest outside the finance ministry on Monday morning to demand, among others, payment of back-pay owed to 1,100 of their colleagues for the past three months, as well as money owed to colleagues working on rolling stock that have not been paid for a year and a half.

    The workers also object to new obstacles that have arisen in the deal for the transfer to the shipyards to the company Abu Dhabi Mar, which should have been completed on October 22 but has been delayed as a result of bureaucratic problems that are preventing closure of the deal.

    [17] Minister on unemployment problem in eastern Macedonia-Thrace region

    Tackling unemployment, particularly in the eastern Macedonia and Thrace region of northern Greece, is the top priority for the ministry of labour, minister Louka Katseli underlined during an address at a social policy workshop.

    Katseli referred on Saturday to 17 programmes launched by the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) that have a budget of 2.5 billion euros and are being aimed at roughly 667,000 people.

    The eastern Macedonia and Thrace region had the highest unemployment rate, 14 pct, recorded in Greece during the second half of 2010.

    [18] MIG to invest 260 mln euros in health sector in 2010-11

    Marfin Investment Group (MIG) will invest 100 million euros in Greece and abroad this year and another 160 million euros in 2011 in its healthcare sector businesses, with the primary goal being to ensure the highest quality of services, group chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos underlined on Monday.

    Addressing the opening ceremony of a new wing of the Athens-based Mitera maternity hospital, Vgenopoulos stressed that "we are already implementing our own fast track and it is fully successful".

    He said the MIG-controlled Hygeia Group is one of the most successful groups in its field around the world, as shown by the numerous certifications it has won over the years.

    Alexios Komninos, the chief executive of the maternity hospital, said it is the largest such facility in Greece with 501 beds.

    Health and Social Solidarity Minister Andreas Loverdos, in his address, stressed the government will resolve all the primary problems facing the private health sector by the end of the year.

    [19] Greek pavillion in WOMEX

    The Greek Culture and Tourism Ministry will participate for the first time in the International Music Exhibition WOMEX to be held in Copenhagen from 27-31 October.

    The Greek pavillion will host record companies and individual artists.

    [20] Stocks jump 1.95 pct

    Stocks jumped 1.95 pct during the first trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index to 1,637.15 points. Turnover was an improved 130.205 million euros.

    OPAP (7.09 pct), Motor Oil (4.5 pct), OTE (3.16 pct) and MIG (3.16 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while National Bank's shares rose 2.41 pct to 8.49 euros, despite the listing of 227 million new shares resulting from a convertible bond issue.

    The Big Cap index rose 2.09 pct, the Mid Cap index rose 0.83 pct and the Small Cap index ended 1.21 pct higher. The Travel (6.29 pct) and Telecoms (3.16 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Insurance (0.79 pct) and Health (0.65 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 116 to 54 with another 52 issues unchanged. Evrofarma (13.51 pct), Altec (12.5 pct) and Euroholdings (9.09 pct) were top gainers, while Ideal (13.33 pct), Shelman (9.76 pct) and Vivere (9.43 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.79%

    Industrials: +1.53%

    Commercial: +0.63%

    Construction: -0.24%

    Media: +2.17%

    Oil & Gas: +1.63%

    Personal & Household: +0.51%

    Raw Materials: +0.96%

    Travel & Leisure: +6.29%

    Technology: +2.59%

    Telecoms: +3.16%

    Banks: +1.57%

    Food & Beverages: +0.54%

    Health: -0.65%

    Utilities: +3.03%

    Chemicals: +0.79%

    Financial Services: +2.91%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and Bank of Cyprus.

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.48

    ATEbank: 0.93

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.67

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.38

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.91

    National Bank of Greece: 8.49

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.12

    OPAP: 13.60

    OTE: 5.88

    Bank of Piraeus: 4.06

    Titan: 15.69

    Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market was a low 11 million euros on Monday, of which 10 million euros were buy orders and the remaining one million euros were sell orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security of the session with a turnover of 3.0 million euros. The yield spread rose slightly to 694 basis points from 693 bps on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 9.38 pct and the German Bund 2.44 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.52 pct, the six-month rate 1.25 pct, the three-month 1.03 percent and the one-month rate 0.83 pct.

    [21] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.65 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover at 43.713 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,217 contracts worth 32.456 million euros with 28,086 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 18,154 contracts worth 11.256 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (5,596), followed by Eurobank (1,209), OTE (1,345), Piraeus Bank (4,691), Alpha Bank (1,266), Ellaktor (470), Mytilineos (314), Cyprus Bank (1,033) and Motor Oil (297).

    [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.414

    Pound sterling 0.899

    Danish kroner 7.517

    Swedish kroner 9.272

    Japanese yen 114.12

    Swiss franc 1.372

    Norwegian kroner 8.158

    Canadian dollar 1.440

    Australian dollar 1.422

    General News

    [23] Culture Minister inaugurates Toulouse Lautrec exhibition

    Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos will inaugurate on Monday noon an exhibition dedicated to French post impressionist painter Toulouse- Lautrec, hosted in the premises of the Telloglio Institute of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

    Earlier Geroulanos will meet the representatives of the National Theatre of Northern Greece employees, following the Ministry's decision to curtail the subsidy to the theater.

    Geroulanos will return in Athens late at night.

    [24] Scorpions concert on October 27

    The cancelled concert by metal rock band Scorpions in Athens will finally take place on October 27, organisers have announced.

    The Athens date on the band's farewell 'Get your Sting and Blackout' tour - originally scheduled for October 6 - had to be postponed after signer Klaus Meine suddenly came down with acute laryngitis. Organisers at the time had stressed that the Athens date was only postponed, however, and that all tickets already sold would be valid for the new date.

    The concert will finally take place this Wednesday at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro. The doors will open at 18:30 and the concert will begin at 19:30 with opening act Giorgos Gakis and The Troublemakers, a five-member classic rock band from Greece with influences from bands like Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Deep Purple and, of course, the Scorpions themselves.

    Next on stage at 20:35 is the Greek band Firewind, another metal band, with the Scorpions due to appear on stage at 21:45.

    [25] Search operation for missing 85-year-old trekker

    A search and rescue mission resumed at dawn Monday for an 85-year-old trekker who went missing Sunday afternoon on Mt. Olympos.

    The search is focusing on the Bourgara area on the borderline between Pieria and Larissa prefectures.

    The elderly trekker from Larissa, a member of the mountain-climbing association "Outdoor Life" (Ypaithria Zoi), was on a trek with a 40-member group, which was divided up into smaller groups of 6-7 people each for the trek. According to fellow trekkers, the 85-year-old man stopped to rest at some point but never caught up with the group.

    EMAK rescuers from Larissa and Elassona were combing the area for the lost trekker.

    [26] Demolished building to free up space for new park

    The former Navy Veterans Fund (NAT) building was demolished on Sunday via a controlled explosion in the heart of downtown Athens, freeing up space in the congested centre of the Greek capital for the first new square there in 150 years.

    According to a press release by the City of Athens, demolition of the building -- located for decades on the corner of Menandrou, Veranzerou and Xouthou streets -- illustrates the "start of a town-planning revival of the city's historic centre."

    "We are celebrating an exceptionally important and historic event, namely the creation of the first square in 150 years in a built-up area of the city's historic centre," Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis said at the scene.

    The building belonged to the Navy Veterans Fund (NAT) but had been abandoned since the 1980s, while in 2003 it was declared as hazardous. The municipality commenced efforts to acquire the NAT building in early 2008, efforts that were successfully concluded in January 2010. The building collapsed in 14 seconds.

    [27] Building collapse kills one, injures 3 workers

    An Albanian national was killed and another three colleagues were injured when part of an old house collapsed during renovation works in the northern city of Edessa, police said on Monday.

    The house is located in the Varossi district. According to eye-witnesses all four individuals were part of a construction crew working at the site.

    [28] Moldova-flagged ship's skipper, engineer arrested for pollution

    The skipper and first engineer of the Moldova-flagged freighter "Nazmi ABI" were arrested on Monday after the ship poured some 300 square metres of oily bilge water in the port of Sourpi in Magnesia prefecture while docked at the installations of a private company.

    The private company immediately sent out a clean-up crew that had cleaned up the spill to a satisfactory level by about noon the same day.

    An inquiry has been launched by the Amaliapolis department of the Volos Central Coast Guard.

    Weather Forecast

    [29] Rainy on Tuesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 27C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens, with westerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 26C. Local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 21C.

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

    The economy and the Bank of Greece's opposition to new taxes, the November local government elections and speculation of early general elections, mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Turmoil in higher education - Government clash with university rectors".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Prime Minister George Papandreou is 'fishing' for votes ....and threatens early general elections".

    AVRIANI: "George (Papandreou) is preparing to make a 'heroic exit'.

    ELEFTHEROS: "Papandreou is blackmailing with early elections and pseudo-dilemmas".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Local government elections a vote of confidence in the government's economic policy".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "He (Papandreou) is blackmailing because he is sinking".

    ESTIA: "The possibility of early elections".

    ETHNOS: "House loan installments skyrocketing".

    IMERISSIA: "Bank of Greece expressed opposition to new taxes".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Two out of ten businesses facing the danger of closure".

    TA NEA: "Papandreou asks for a vote of responsibility".

    VRADYNI: "Papandreou is leading the country to bankruptcy".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [31] Spokesman: Date for tripartite meeting not yet set

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that the date for a tripartite meeting in New York between UN Secretary General and the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus has not been set yet.

    Moreover, he underlined that the agreed procedure, which is being followed at the UN-led Cyprus talks, has not changed.

    Replying to questions Monday, Stephanou explained that the invitation extended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to meet in New York does not change the procedure followed at the Cyprus talks, saying that there are numerous UN resolutions defining the procedure as well as the basis of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem.

    "The UNSG has a mandate from the UN Security Council as regards the negotiations on the Cyprus problem", he pointed out.

    Replying to questions, the spokesman rejected allegations that the Cypriot President had initially not agreed to meet with the UNSG and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

    "It is not true that the President initially had not agreed to meet with the UNSG and the Turkish Cypriot leader in New York", he said, when invited to comment on a statement made by Eroglu on the matter.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader, he noted, attempts to give the impression that the Greek Cypriot side rejects or is unwilling to proceed to such a meeting.

    He went on to add that President Christofias has agreed to meet with them and has also proposed the 15th and the 17th of November as possible dates.

    Asked whether the dates of the meeting have been set, Stephanou said that this has not been agreed yet.

    "There is an ongoing consultation as to the dates, bearing in mind that Eroglu has announced that the particular dates are not convenient for him", he added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. UN-led direct negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities aiming to solve the problem which are underway began in September 2008.

    [32] UN Spokesperson: Nothing to add about a tripartite meeting

    UNITED NATIONS (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's Spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, said he did not have anything to add about a tripartite meeting in New York between the UN Secretary General and the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus.

    Asked during the daily briefing at the UN whether there will be an invitation to President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu to visit New York for a meeting with Ban, Nesirky said, "I think this was addressed last week, and I don't have anything to add on that. If I do, I understand your interest and others' interest in this topic, and you know that there has been some movement including at least of couple of meetings last week on the island".

    "If there is something further to add, then we will let you know," he said.

    Earlier on Monday, Cypriot Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou explained that the invitation extended by the UN Secretary General to the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to meet in New York does not change the procedure followed at the Cyprus talks.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led direct negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, aiming to solve the problem, which are underway, began in September 2008.

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