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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-11-17

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

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

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 Issue No: 3647

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM satisfied with outcome of SI sessions
  • [02] Gov't on extension of memorandum period; PM pans 'strict' German position
  • [03] No official discussion on extending debt repayments, Greece insists
  • [04] ND critical of PM's comments to French daily
  • [05] Health minister promises cuts of 1.4 bln euros by end 2011
  • [06] Greece and China to sign military cooperation agreement
  • [07] DM briefing on upcoming NATO summit
  • [08] NATO Cyber Defence exercise 2010 begins
  • [09] Defence minister meets German ambassador
  • [10] Commemoration of Polytechnic uprising
  • [11] Papoulias to begin visit to Bulgaria on Wed.
  • [12] Deputy Employment Minister Dalara in U.S.
  • [13] Education minister with Transparency Int'l Greece
  • [14] Minister meets with asylum seekers' reps
  • [15] Relocation of Kurdish refugees from Lavrio
  • [16] FinMin: Greece to fully respect targets set for 2011
  • [17] Development minister briefs 'troika' on ministry's priorities
  • [18] Troika delegation holds talks with Infrastructures minister
  • [19] Troika inspectors visit Employment ministry
  • [20] Fiscal deficit revision worth 4.0 billion euros, FinMin official says
  • [21] Greece raises 390 million euros from T-bills auction
  • [22] SEB calls for revision of memorandum
  • [23] Eurostat: Grk inflation falls to 5.2pct in Oct.
  • [24] Greek budget deficit down in Jan-Oct
  • [25] Ministry unveils 'Athens every week' promotional programme
  • [26] 26th Philoxenia this week
  • [27] Stocks end 1.04% down
  • [28] Greek bond market closing report
  • [29] ADEX closing report
  • [30] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [31] Tension reported at site of attempted outdoor Muslim prayers
  • [32] Woman injured during scuffles in Athens
  • [33] The spectacular twin waterfalls of Tzoumerka
  • [34] 10 tons of cheese stolen from cheese factory
  • [35] Series of arsons in Thessaloniki
  • [36] Rainy on Wednesday
  • [37] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM satisfied with outcome of SI sessions

    PARIS (ANA-MPA)

    Greek Prime Minister and Socialist International president George Papandreou expressed satisfaction here over results of the SI council sessions.

    The council adopted five resolutions, including one on the global economy following the meeting of the G20 in Seoul, the "Urgent Summoning of Paris" on tackling the repercussions from climatic changes, the global welfare state, the handling of conflicts as well as NATO's strategy and the anti-missile defence.

    Concluding the council's sessions, Papandreou made special reference to the first resolution regarding the G20. With the resolution, the Socialist International calls on all major powers to meet again and to agree on a common strategy for the achievement of "viable growth and balanced state budgets and for the reforming of the fiscal system to be decided."

    Papandreou said that "with this resolution we are sending an important message to the members of the Group of 20, whose presidency France has assumed in any way."

    He also appeared satisfied in relation to the results of the session on the "Summoning of Paris" on climatic changes. He explained that the Socialist International's relevant committee will be having a meeting in Cancun on November 26-27, on the eve of the Environmental Conference, whose sessions will begin on the 29th and last until December 10.

    With the resolution the socialists are underlining "with insistence" the urgent need for the conclusion of an "ambitious and realistic international agreement on climatic change, with compromises, targets and binding dates to enable a clear implementation."

    Concluding, the Greek PM thanked the head of the French socialists Martine Aubry for the holding of the conference in Paris.

    [02] Gov't on extension of memorandum period; PM pans 'strict' German position

    A veteran Cabinet minister on Tuesday reiterated that Greek Premier George Papandreou merely voiced the fact that many Europeans are annoyed with Berlin's recent initiatives in the euro zone economy, referring to high-profile statements by the latter at a Socialist International (SI) meeting in Paris a day earlier.

    Papandreou was quoted on Monday from the French capital as saying that Berlin's position of letting banks and bonds markets contribute to any Euro-zone debt default could push weaker economies into bankruptcy.

    "...(This) has created a spiral of higher interest rates for countries that seemed to be in a difficult position, such as Ireland and Portugal ... This could create a self-fulfilling prophecy ... This could break backs; force economies towards bankruptcy," the Greek PM was quoted as saying.

    Back in Athens, Alternate Culture Minister Tilemachos Hytiris, a veteran PASOK cadre, underlined that "there is widespread concern in Europe that things have changed and that this is not the Europe we used to know. The Europe of the crisis is different. This is true (there is a leadership deficit in the EU) and this becomes much more evident in a period of crisis."

    "The initiatives undertaken mainly by Germany while, at the same time, is trying to be in charge -- probably the only one in charge in Europe considering that France is being dragged along to support its (Germany's) positions -- are initiatives that start slowly to become annoying and this annoyance was expressed by the prime minister.

    "If things do not change, we will not be talking about a Europe of two speeds?it will become unbalanced (?). Europe used to stand out for its social policy, its traditions in social policy and culture, and of course its history. However, the globalization in recent years and the current crisis appear to have changed that, while Germany also appears to be moving toward becoming the absolute rapporteur on European issues," he added.

    In contrast with Germany, Hytiris referred to the personal assistance offered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Greece as regards the economic crisis the country is facing.

    "France's stance helped Greece to find a solution and a way out and continues to do so. This is a steady assistance reflected by the political stance of President Sarkozy."

    "In terms of the memorandum itself, every 4-5 months we are faced with an upward revision of the deficit (?) This triggers an additional effort on our behalf in order to reduce the deficit. We would be reducing it to 8 pct but now considering that the deficit rose to 15.5 pct it will have to be reduced to 9-10 pct. Therefore, this is the understanding we are seeking. We do not ask to change what we have to do. There are voices in Europe that agree with that, namely that Greece is really trying but it could be given more time so that the measures taken won't be as harsh as the figures dictate. This is the point we are at, namely, at the discussion underway by many Europeans. The fact that the effort should continue is undoubtedly not being questioned by anyone," he stated.

    [03] No official discussion on extending debt repayments, Greece insists

    Government spokesman George Petalotis repeated on Tuesday that Greece has not made any official request or begun any official discussion on extending the repayment schedule for its loans. He also noted that talking about extending the repayment schedule was a different thing to talking about a new memorandum or extension of the existing memorandum.

    "We are not discussing an extension of the Memorandum. The Memorandum refers to our contractual obligations and the major changes that we wanted to carry out in any case," Petalotis underlined in response to questions.

    The spokesman had been asked whether the government was negotiating with the EU-IMF troika to postpone the repercussion of the upwards revision of the deficit over the next two years and replied that the government was steadfastly aiming to meet the targets and seeking ways in which to do this. Extending the repayment of the loans was one possible way of doing this, he added, while noting that a prerequisite for this would be a stable economy.

    "What we are doing is adhering to our targets are these are set down. If there is an issue of paying our obligations in more instalments there will be a specific request and a specific decision that, for the time being, does not exist," he emphasised.

    The government had not yet made any decision to request a different approach, he clarified in response to further questions.

    Petalotis said the government's intention was that Greece should begin borrowing in international markets as soon as possible but that the current economic situation was still "fluid".

    Concerning the result of Greece's T-bill auction on Tuesday, he said the government was satisfied given the current conditions and the rise of spreads in all Europe.

    Asked whether EU-IMF inspectors had asked the government to make further cuts to the public-sector payroll, he repeated the government's position that there should be no more cuts to wages and pensions.

    Finally, he emphasised that this was the first time that the European Union had no reservations concerning the accuracy of Greece's financial figures.

    Asked to comment on a statement made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who criticised her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder for allowing Greece into the eurozone, Petalotis noted that Prime Minister George Papandreou had replied to the German chancellor during his address to the Socialist International.

    "The Greek side, through the Greek prime minister, has expressed itself in the most categoric way. We are not discussing debt restructuring, we have our own proposals that have unfortunately arisen from our own experience, because we are not mere observers and theoretical analysts in European events," he said when asked if Greece will veto a forced debt restructuring for member-states.

    "We are the first that are subjected to the repercussions of a crisis that we are still undergoing, therefore we have a heightened responsibility both to our own country but also toward the countries that may be facing a problem," he added.

    [04] ND critical of PM's comments to French daily

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos on Tuesday lashed out at Prime Minister George Papandreou, accusing him of "missing the message" sent by voters in last Sunday's second round of local government elections.

    Referring to the comments made by the premier to the French newspaper "Le Figaro", Panagiotopoulos stated that "the prime minister reads the message of the polls backwards, that's why he pretends that he did not understand that the Greek people's vote called for a change in the policy followed."

    Panagiotopoulos pointed out that the people, with their vote, called for "measures that will boost development and help the economy recover".

    [05] Health minister promises cuts of 1.4 bln euros by end 2011

    Health Minister Andreas Loverdos on Tuesday received a delegation of "troika" inspectors and briefed them on the measures he intends to take to ensure cuts of roughly 1.4 billion euros in the public healthcare sector by the end of 2011.

    "Whether the troika representatives will be convinced that we can pull this through will depend on whether the interventions we suggest will be deemed as satisfactory," Loverdos stated, clarifying however, that "the interventions in question are specific" and that "no more measures in store."

    The health minister stated that salaries and benefits in the healthcare sector will not be affected, while also ruling out hospital mergers.

    Loverdos said 840 million euros can be saved through the implementation of measures in the daily operation of public hospitals, the e-prescription system and (ANA-MPA) changes in "long embedded attitudes", as he said, stressing that civil servants will have use some 12,000 physicians employed by the their health fund and not outside physicians.

    He also stated that roughly 280 million euros can be saved through the reforms implemented in the specific fund and another 250 million through the timely payment of hospital suppliers. In addition, 150 million euros will be saved through changes implemented in the purchasing of 89 of the most expensive prescription drugs.

    The health minister pointed out that the uninsured and indigent in Athens and Thessaloniki will be able to seek healthcare in six designated public hospitals, four in Athens and two in Thessaloniki, in an effort to put an end to practices of over-prescription.

    [06] Greece and China to sign military cooperation agreement

    A three-member delegation sent by the Hellenic Armed Forces General Staff is currently in Beijing in order to sign a military cooperation agreement between Greece and China for 2011.

    The delegation, led by the head of the Greek military's strategy and policy sector, arrived in Beijing on Monday and is due to return to Athens on November 20.

    During the meetings in Beijing, delegations of the two countries will also explore potential new areas of cooperation and exchange views on issues of mutual interest.

    [07] DM briefing on upcoming NATO summit

    Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos briefed members of the national defence and foreign affairs committee on Tuesday, in light of a NATO summit in Lisbon on Nov. 19-20, underlining Greece's active participation in discussions on the shaping of NATO's new structure, as well as in procedures for the implementation of new plans, including the anti-missile shield for Europe.

    [08] NATO Cyber Defence exercise 2010 begins

    The Greek Armed Forces General Staff announced the start on Tuesday of NATO's "Cyber Defence Exercise 2010 (NCDEX 10). The aim of the exercise is to test the processes for taking strategic decisions and train personnel in technical and operational cyberdefence issues.

    Also being tested are the ability of various member-state agencies and NATO's central cyberdefence command to cooperate with each other.

    Taking part in the exercise, which will be completed on November 19, are several broader public sector agencies and the academic community.

    [09] Defence minister meets German ambassador

    National Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday had a meeting with Germany's ambassador in Athens Dr. Roland Michael Wegener, discussing the sum of issues in Greek-German defence relations.

    [10] Commemoration of Polytechnic uprising

    Three-day events commemorating the 37th anniversary of the November 17, 1973 Polytechnic uprising against the military dictatorship in Greece continued on Tuesday with the laying of wreaths and flowers at the Polytechnic monument by the public as well as officials, including President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and political party representatives, while statements were issued by parties.

    In a statement issued earlier, Papoulias said that this year's anniversary comes in a very difficult year for the country in which many things are at stake.

    The President pondered "how many will the 'stone years' be for the Greek society, which is being tested, but also when and how will politics regain their reign over the markets, when and how will the political system find the way to meet the needs of the times.

    "The Polytechnic uprising reminds us that the young generation is always on the front lines of the social reversals. Reversals are made with participation and struggle, with devotion to the collective, with faith in something that may seem unreachable, and with distancing from the path of individualism," his statement said.

    "The Polytechnic anniversary also reminds us that the slogan of then remains, in a way, what is being is being sought today: We want bread for all, education that produces social culture and active citizens, freedom that is not restricted by fiscal necessity," he added.

    "Looking at the Polytechnic, we see the horizon more clearly and hope more vividly," the President concluded.

    In its own statement, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called on the working people and youth to "honor the Polytechnic" by active participation in the counter-attack for hope and prospect.

    It said that the heavy sacrifices being imposed on the people will have no end, and no result for the people, while only the creation of a strong social popular alliance against the monopolies, the EU and the parties that serve capitalism can raise obstacles to the barbarous Memorandum that permanently condemns the people to poverty and a life without rights.

    The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN), in a statement, said that the 1973 uprising lives in today's struggles for peace, equality, democracy and social liberation.

    "Our message, the message of the renovative radical Left, which gave its own unparalleled contribution to the November uprising, especially to the youth, is a message of dispute and a positive way out through unifying efforts to restore the values and ideals of collectivity, social solidarity and emancipation," the message said.

    [11] Papoulias to begin visit to Bulgaria on Wed.

    President Karolos Papoulias will pay an official visit to Bulgaria on Wednesday and Thursday.

    During his stay in Sofia, Papoulias will meet his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Parvanov, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, the mayor of the Bulgarian capital, Yordanka Fadakova, the Patriarch of Bulgaria Maximos, as well as the leaders of the political parties. Moreover, the presidents of Greece and Bulgaria will jointly inaugurate a Greek-Bulgarian business forum.

    The agenda of talks is expected to bilateral relations, developments in the European Union and NATO, as well as prospects for further development of economic cooperation.

    Papoulias will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Agricultural Development Minister Costas Skandalidis.

    [12] Deputy Employment Minister Dalara in U.S.

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Deputy Employment and Social Insurance Minister Anna Dalara discussed the serious aspects of the immigration problem, Greece's efforts on its humanitarian handling and the role of the international community in this issue with UN Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang, during their meeting at the international organisation's headquarters on Tuesday.

    [13] Education minister with Transparency Int'l Greece

    Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou met on Tuesday with tNGO "Transparency International Greece" board members focusing on the role school education can play in the familiarization of children with the notions of transparency and meritocracy.

    They agreed on the promotion of specific actions within the framework of the school curriculum, including the establishment of competitions and the awarding of prizes to schoolchildren on the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day on Dec. 9.

    [14] Minister meets with asylum seekers' reps

    Citizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Tuesday received 10 representatives of 35 asylum seekers from Iran, most of whom are on a hunger strike with their lips sewn shut in downtown Athens since last month.

    The minister said that responsible committees will be activated immediately and will process each of their political asylum requests individually as early as today or tomorrow.

    The hunger strikers' representatives said they intend to remain outside the ministry building indefinitely, until the committees in question are activated.

    [15] Relocation of Kurdish refugees from Lavrio

    Ethnic Kurds, who have been sheltered in a refugee reception building in Lavrio, in the extreme SE of Attica prefecture, will soon be relocated, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The refugees will be moved to other housing facilities provided by local municipal authorities.

    The relocation was possible following a joint effort by the ministries of health and defence.

    Financial News

    [16] FinMin: Greece to fully respect targets set for 2011

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Tuesday expressed his satisfaction over a Eurostat decision to withdraw all reservations regarding Greece's fiscal statistics.

    Speaking to reporters ahead of a Eurogroup meeting here, the Greek minister said that following a fiscal deficit revision for 2009, Greece will accomplish the biggest fiscal effort ever achieved in the European Union by cutting its deficit by six percentage points.

    "It is an unprecedented reduction of the deficit by 14 billion euros," Papaconstantinou said, adding that Greece would fully respect all targets set and noted that Athens would take any additional measures necessary.

    [17] Development minister briefs 'troika' on ministry's priorities

    Regional Development and Competitiveness minister Michalis Chryssohoidis on Tuesday predicted a de-escalation of inflation in Greece to 2-3 percent from the current 5.4 percent, speaking after a meeting with a team of European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' experts who arrived in Athens on Monday for a scheduled review and progress report of the Greek economy ahead of the disbursement of a 9 billion euros third tranche of the 110 billion euros EU-IMF support loan to Greece.

    The absorption rate of the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) has already neared 15 percent and will close at 17-18 percent at the end of the year, contributing to a rekindling and restart of the Greek economy, he added.

    Chryssohoidis also forecast that inflation will cease to be a major topic of discussion in the coming period, given that the rise in the rate last year had resulted from an increase in taxes which, he added, will not continue.

    He further said that prices would fall in both products and services, adding that the process has already begun and in the previous month net inflation had increased by just 0.03 percent.

    The minister said his ministry aims to move the focus from the fiscal problem to growth, the creation of new enterprises and new jobs, and announced that a bill on the establishment of a Greek Entrepreneurship and Development Fund -- the 'evolution' of the current Guarantee Fund for Small and Micro Businesses (TEMPME) -- and its funding with 460 million euros from the ESPA, will be submitted to the Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday.

    Also, in the next 10 days, the new development-investment law will also be unveiled, he said, adding that it will introduce a major revamping in the assumption of developmental initiatives by enterprises. Shortly, he continued, a special program to boost export companies will also be unveiled.

    Chryssohoidis said that there has recently been a "spectacular increase in exports" while, by the end of the year, an electronic platform to support innovation and young entrepreneurship will be created, which is expected to contribute to the creation of at least 50,000 new businesses over the next two years.

    Also ready is a bill for the reform of the operation of the Competition Committee, while the process of activation of the one-stop-shop for the creation of new businesses via the country's industry and commerce Chambers is also nearing completion, and the ministry is working on the simplification of licensing of industries and the establishment of new business zones, he added.

    [18] Troika delegation holds talks with Infrastructures minister

    Infrastructures, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas was visited on Tuesday afternoon by the Troika delegation currently in Athens, to check data regarding the course of the implementation of Greece's stability programme. No statements were made after the meeting, but according to reports issues discussed included the curbing of expenditures in loss-making public utilities.

    [19] Troika inspectors visit Employment ministry

    Troika inspectors insisted in their meeting with the Employment ministry's political leadership on Tuesday that business contracts must prevail over sector contracts and the Collective National Employment Contract to enable competitiveness to be boosted.

    On the ministry's part, it was stressed that sector contracts are not to blame for the Greek economy's reduced competitiveness but the way with which negotiations were taking place until now, the legal environment, the high non-wage cost and bureaucratic obstacles.

    [20] Fiscal deficit revision worth 4.0 billion euros, FinMin official says

    An upwards revision of the country's fiscal deficit for 2009 would result to an budget adjustment of 4.0 billion euros, Dimitris Georgakopoulos, secretary-general of the Finance ministry said on Tuesday.

    In a radio interview, Georgakopoulos said next year's budget revenues would be based on implementing living standard criteria, raising VAT rates, higher taxes on fuel and alcohol and a ministry decision offering tax amnesty to outstanding tax cases in the past decade. He said the goal was to cut the fiscal deficit to 7.6 pct of GDP in 2011 and said that this year's budget revenues would be short by 2.0 billion euros. Georgakopoulos said a new tax draft bill would be tabled to Parliament by November 25 and will include changes in VAT rates. He stressed that for some products a low VAT rate of 11 pct would be raised to 13 pct, while other products would be transfered from the low rate to the highest rate of 23 pct.

    He acknowledged that a sharp fall in building activity and adverse conditions prevailing in real estate markets were limiting expectations of higher revenues from a government plan to raise real estate taxes.

    [21] Greece raises 390 million euros from T-bills auction

    Greece on Tuesday successfully auctioned a three-month Treasury bills issue raising 390 million euros from the market. The Public Debt Management Organisation accepted bids totaling 300 million euros and non-competitive bids totaling 90 million euros, although at a higher cost. The interest of the Treasury bills rose to 4.10 pct, up from 3.75 pct in the previous auction of same securities in October. The issue was 4.98 times oversubscribed. Settlement date was set Friday 19, November.

    [22] SEB calls for revision of memorandum

    "We are looking bankruptcy in the eye. We are at a crucial turning point of an effort to save the country and a revision of the Memorandum is necessary", Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB) said on Tuesday.

    Speaking at a press conference, the head of Greece's largest employers' union said the Federation will present detailed proposals on the revision of the memorandum to EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn on Wednesday, and to the Greek government and troika officials on Thursday.

    The basic points of these proposals are: First, achieving fiscal targets for 2010 and 2011 is doubtful or impossible while taking additional tax measures will not have any results and will put the country's social stability at risk. Second, acceleration of all the structural reforms is necessary, combined with urgent measures to boost export activity and support business activity. Third, reducing the state must be the hard core of reforms along with the opening up of domestic markets.

    Daskalopoulos noted that unless the government finds the necessary political courage to cut jobs in the public sector, any effort for recovery will falter, leading the country to bankruptcy.

    He said the government was stalling in promoting fundamental reforms and in clashing with vested interests, thus allowing the economy to fall deeper into recession.

    Daskalopoulos dismissed any talk of a restructuring the country's debt, saying a priority was to implement the commitments undertaken in the Memorandum. He opposed the idea of having coalition governments in the country, although he stressed that it was the responsibility of the political system to take the necessary action to eliminate bankruptcy risks.

    [23] Eurostat: Grk inflation falls to 5.2pct in Oct.

    Greek inflation fell to 5.2 percent in October 2010 from 5.7 percent in September, according to figures released by Eurostat in Brussels on Tuesday.

    Euro area inflation was 1.9 percent in October, up from 1.8 percent in September, while a year earlier the reate was -0.1 percent. Monthly inflation was 0.4 percent in October 2010.

    Inflation in the entire EU was 2.3 percent in October, up from 2.2 percent in September, while a year earlier the rate was 0.g percent. Monthly inflation was 0.3 percent in October.

    In October 2010, the lowest annual rates were observed in Ireland (-0.8%), Latvia (0.9%) and Slovakia (1.0%), and the highest in Romania (7.9%), Greece (5.2%) and Estonia (4.5%).

    Compared with September 2010, annual inflation rose in fifteen Member States, remained stable in six and fell in five. The lowest 12-month averages up to October 2010 were registered in Ireland (-1.9%), Latvia (-1.8%) and Slovakia (0.5%) and the highest in Romania (5.5%), Hungary (4.9%) and Greece (4.3%).

    [24] Greek budget deficit down in Jan-Oct

    Greece's budget deficit fell to 20.618 billion euros in the January-October period this year, down from 27.119 billion euros in the corresponding period in 2009, the Bank of Greece announced on Tuesday.

    The central bank, in a report, said regular budget revenues rose to 40.163 billion euros in the 10-month period, up from 38.903 billion euros in 2009, while spending fell to 54.572 billion euros from 59.674 billion euros in 2009.

    [25] Ministry unveils 'Athens every week' promotional programme

    The culture and tourism ministry plans to turn the world's attention to Athens through a new promotional program, called "Athens every week".

    The presentation of the program was made by Culture & Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos during the annual general assembly of the Association of Athens-Attica Hoteliers on Tuesday.

    The hoteliers' world of Athens welcomed the project saying it would contribute to restoring the capital's reputation while it was also a good starting point for a fundamental and constructive cooperation between the public and private sectors.

    Addressing the general assembly, Geroulanos said the program would renew interest for Athens offering a chance to extend the tourism season and created a single platform for all actions and events happening in the city.

    "It is a program capable of promoting with some fantasy, a little effort and some money, all the things making Athens a special city, a lively city. A program offering answer to a question set by foreigners again and again during our trips abroad. Where have you been?" the minister said. He also announced that the ministry would use money from a National Framework Reference Fund to support tourism and cultural actions and said that a tender for creating a congress centre in the Tae Kwon Do facility would be launched in the next 10 days.

    Yiannis Retsos, president of the Association underlined the necessity of promoting Athens' tourism and presented a series of actions aimed at boosting hotel reservations. He also presented a report on 2010 figures so far, saying that room occupancy in Athens-Attica hotels surpassed 90 pct during the October 29-31 period, because of the Athens Marathon 2010 event, highlighting the benefits of such large-scale events on Greek tourism.

    GBR Consulting also presented a survey on customers' satisfaction rate, showing that more than 90 pct of respondents saying they would visit Athens again, despite the fact that several indexes (cleaning, security, transportation) showed a worsening since 2009. The survey showed that revenue per available room fell 6.9 pct in the January-September period for hotels in the Athens-Attica region, compared with a 12.2 pct increase in western Europe and a 5.9 pct rise in southern Europe.

    [26] 26th Philoxenia this week

    The 26th Philoxenia International Tourism Exhibition and the parallel Hotelia-Expro & Clean, the 1st exhibition of hotel and professional supplies, will take place at the Helexpo grounds in Thessaloniki on Nov. 18-21.

    According to the organisers, roughly 500 exhibitors will participate in the exhibition, while state participations include Egypt, Albania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Ghana, India, Cyprus, Russia, Serbia, Syria, Turkey and Tunisia.

    The 3rd European Tourism Conference and the Black Sea Forum will also take place within the framework of Philoxenia.

    [27] Stocks end 1.04% down

    Stocks ended lower at the Athens Stock Exchange with the composite index of the market losing 1.04 pct to end at 1,494.17 points on Tuesday. Bank shares came under pressure with turnover remaining a low 85.633 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 1.32 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 1.28 pct and the Small Cap index ended 1.11 pct lower. Viohalco (1.92 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (1.63 pct) and Jumbo (1.52 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Cyprus (5.66 pct), MIG (4.41 pct) and Piraeus Bank (3.17 pct) were top losers.

    The Health (1.41 pct) and Telecoms (1.15 pct) sectors scored gains, while Banks (2.49 pct) and Financial Services (3.41 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 108 to 35 with another 56 issues unchanged.

    Mohlos (10 pct), Sanyo Hellas (7.69 pct) and Maillis (5.26 pct) were top gainers, while Haidemenos (17.65 pct), Ideal (9.82 pct) and Vioter (9.52 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: -0.11%

    Commercial: -0.47%

    Construction: +0.52%

    Media: +0.60%

    Oil & Gas: +0.81%

    Personal & Household: +0.76%

    Raw Materials: -1.41%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.54%

    Technology: -1.98%

    Telecoms: +1.15%

    Banks: -2.49%

    Food & Beverages: -0.85%

    Health: +1.41%

    Utilities: -0.25%

    Chemicals: -0.92%

    Financial Services: -3.41%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank,

    Bank of Cyprus, OTE and Alpha Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 4.70

    ATEbank: 0.76

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.15

    HBC Coca Cola: 20.10

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.60

    National Bank of Greece: 7.01

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.20

    OPAP: 12.75

    OTE: 6.15

    Bank of Piraeus: 3.05

    Titan: 15.97

    [28] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 912 basis points on Tuesday from 889 bps on Monday in the Greek electronic secondary bond market. The Greek bond yielded 11.71 pct and the German Bund 2.59 pct. (ANA-MPA) Turnover in the market totaled 59 million euros of which 50 million were sell orders and the remaining 9.0 million euros were buy orders. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 30 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.54 pct, the six-month rate 1.27 pct, the three-month 1.04 pct and the one-month rate 0.84 pct.

    [29] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE index was trading at -1.13 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 55.100 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 13,459 contracts, worth 47.194 million euros. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,344 contracts worth 7.906 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,970), followed by Eurobank (871), MIG (658), OTE (1,095), Piraeus Bank (1,340), Alpha Bank (1,878), Intralot (520), Cyprus Bank (1,313) and ATEbank (200).

    [30] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.372

    Pound sterling 0.857

    Danish kroner 7.514

    Swedish kroner 9.450

    Japanese yen 114.12

    Swiss franc 1.351

    Norwegian kroner 8.232

    Canadian dollar 1.392

    Australian dollar 1.398

    General News

    [31] Tension reported at site of attempted outdoor Muslim prayers

    Tension was reported on Tuesday morning in an inner city neighbourhood of Athens after local residents attempted to block the holding of a mass outdoor prayer by Muslims, mostly migrants from the Middle East and South Asia, in the district's main square.

    Riot police arrived on the scene at daybreak, while the outdoor prayer was later interrupted and cancelled. Residents were seen waving Greek flags on balconies, while some people even threw eggs.

    The square, across from the Attiki electric rail station, is close to the congested inner city neighbourhood of Aghios Panteleimonas, where local residents have angrily railed against the presence of large numbers of illegal immigrants in their area, charging a significant increase in crime and a downgrading of the precinct.

    Repeated incidents have also attracted increased local media attention, especially following the presence of ultra-nationalist and neo-fascist elements in the district. The latter development has increased worries that extremist political elements are exploiting local residents' anger over conditions in the district.

    A handful of outdoor prayers were reported in other parts of the Greek capital, including in front of the Athens University's 19th century neo-classical administrative building, where the status of "university asylum" exists.

    Similar tensions have been recorded over the recent period in several parts of downtown Athens, as the predominately eastern Orthodox Christian country of 11 million on SE Europe's periphery struggles to deal with an increasing flow of illegal migrants -- now mostly hailing from Third World countries in the Mideast, South Asia and even Africa -- attempting to sneak into Greece from neighbouring EU hopeful Turkey.

    The only native-born Muslims in Greece are mostly centred in the extreme northeast province of Thrace, Greece's only land border with Turkey.

    Police estimated the number of people gathered in 12 different locations of greater Athens at 13,000, with some 600 Muslims reported in the Attiki square site.

    Tuesday marked the Eid al-Adha commemoration in the Muslim world.

    [32] Woman injured during scuffles in Athens

    A young woman was found injured late Monday following a spate of scuffles during a protest rally in downtown Athens.

    According to police, the scuffles began when a group of young people who were at the tail of the demonstration started throwing stones against riot police and afterwards set fire to trash bins.

    Later the same group threw stones at social security fund IKA building windows and caused damage to parked cars.

    The woman was taken to Red Cross hospital with a wound on the right temple. A prosecutor that was supervising the protest saw the incident, went to the hospital and ordered a medical examination and a preliminary investigation into the circumstances of incident.

    [33] The spectacular twin waterfalls of Tzoumerka

    The twin waterfalls on Mt. Tzoumerka in the southern Pindos mountain range in Epirus region are a breathtaking sight all year round.

    The two spectacular waterfalls stand side-by-side, near the village of Katarraktis, which in Greek means...waterfall...at an altitude of 1,200 meters, created by the water from the melting snow on the mountain's high peaks.

    The waterfalls have a 100 meter fall, while the maximum water flow is usually in May.

    Tzoumerka is abundant with springs, smaller waterfalls, traditional villages and its famed bridges.

    There is also a trekking path between the cliff-side villages of Kalarites and Syrrako, with their traditional architecture.

    [34] 10 tons of cheese stolen from cheese factory

    Unknown individuals early Monday broke into a dairy in Heraklion on Crete island and took off with 10 tons of cheese.

    According to police, the perpetrators opened a hole in the basement wall of the three storey building, took the cheese and disappeared.

    According to the owner the value of the stolen cheese is approximately 100,000 euros.

    [35] Series of arsons in Thessaloniki

    A series of arsons were reported early Tuesday in several areas of Thessaloniki (northern Greece).

    In Toumba district, unknown individuals placed a home-made explosive device at main opposition New Democracy (ND) local offices. The explosion caused damage to the building's windows and roof gutter.

    Another explosion was reported in Menemeni at the entrance of the municipal services office, causing damage to the building.

    In a separate incident in Sykies district, arsonists targeted a municipal truck, causing extensive damage to the vehicle.

    Weather Forecast

    [36] Rainy on Wednesday

    Rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 6C and 23C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with southerly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 12C to 21C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 17C.

    [37] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The revision of the Greek deficit, speculation of additional austerity measures and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement that Greece's accession to the eurozone was a mistake, mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The 4 billion euros 'black hole' sets fire to the State Budget".

    AVGHI: "(Greeks) 'convicted' to life sentence".

    AVRIANI: "IMF's slaves for at least three more years".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Ministers worried and demand from Prime Minister to proceed with corrective changes".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Cuts in 17 DEKO (Public Utilities and Organisations)".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "We have voted and now...we are paying".

    ESTIA: "Hour of truth for the government".

    ETHNOS: "Prime Minister George Papandreou furious with German Chancellor Angela Merkel".

    IMERISSIA: "Memorandum's extension - We seek extension of the repayment period for the 110 billion euros".

    KATHIMERINI: "Drastic cutbacks in DEKO and state hospitals".

    LOGOS: "30 percent cuts in the wider public sector".

    NIKI: "German occupation part 2".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "France says 'yes' to the extension of the loan payback period".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The people, with the KKE (Communist Party of Greece), for the abolition of the Memorandum, for popular alliance and authority".

    TA NEA: "Peace in the country, war abroad".

    TO VIMA: "George (Papandreou) outraged with Merkel's stance".

    VRADYNI: "Excuse for new harsher measures".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS


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