|Friday, 15 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-12-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 8 December 2010 Issue No: 3664
 PM meets IMF chief; Strauss-Kahn urges support for government effortsAfter talks with Prime Minister George Papandreou in Athens on Tuesday, Interna-tional Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn urged Greek society and Greek political parties to support the government's efforts to navigate Greece's economic crisis. He particularly emphasised the need for political support from opposition parties, saying that the country's rescue was at stake.
"We are here to help, we do not go somewhere uninvited," Strauss-Kahn said, noting that he was aware of how the IMF was viewed but urging Greeks not to "fight the doctor that sometimes gives us medicines we don't like".
The prime minister, in his statements, said the effort being made by the Greek people was a feat and that this was being increasingly recognised worldwide. As a sign of this recognition, he pointed to the start of a process to extend the repayment schedule for the 110 billion euros loaned to Greece via the European crisis support mechanism, thanking the IMF chief for his position on this issue.
Strauss-Kahn indicated that the IMF was ready to extend the repayment and termed the issue "technical", adding that there was increasing understanding within the EU of the need for such an extension to take place simultaneously.
"I did say that the worst was not over but neither did I say that the worst was coming. There is nothing new in the programme, which is continuing as planned," he said.
The IMF director also declared himself impressed with the efforts of ordinary Greek people and the fact that Greek voters had shown they understood the necessity for the government's "brave" measures via elections, adding that this "does not happen often".
Predicting that Greece will return to growth in 2012, he noted that controlling public finances had been a priority until now but the focus should now shift to structural reforms, especially for the problematic public sector.
"When a country has problems of this kind it must handle them in the right way," Strauss-Kahn said and urged continued efforts, in which the wealthy shouldered their share of the burden rather than allowing ordinary people to suffer.
Papandreou stressed that the government's efforts were not directed only at fiscal management but at placing the country upon a different path toward growth, one that made use of its comparative advantages in an environment of fair taxation, less red tape, better services, conditions that encouraged enterprise and initiatives to increase jobs.
The prime minister said that the government would place most emphasis in 2011 on education and noted that prior to his meeting with the IMF chief, he had met Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou.
According to Papandreou, Greece's huge public-sector deficits were simply symptoms of deeper problems in Greek society, so that the changes being made by the government did not only concern reducing public spending but also establishing values, rules and mechanisms for the proper management of public spending, for control, accountability and transparency and to establish a different culture.
In 2011 the greatest weight will be on structural changes so that in 2012 the country will return to growth, Papandreou stressed.
"As we meet our targets, so will the conditions and terms improve for a permanent exit from the crisis in a viable way," he added.
The IMF director said that the problems were not confined to Greece, noting that the situation in the EU and euro-zone was "very serious" and stressed the need for an overall solution and not a separate solution for each country. He emphasised that the problem was not debt, as such, but slow growth and noted that Europe needed growth levels of 3-4 percent, comparable to those of the United States.
Papandreou agreed on the need for a solution for all of Europe, saying that the crisis had to be "converted into an opportunity to tackle the system of economic governance."
After their statements to the press, Papandreou and Strauss-Kahn had a working dinner at the premier's office with the other members of the EU-ECB-IMF troika in Athens.
 President receives IMF chiefPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who arrived in Athens earlier in the day.
Strauss-Kahn asked that the vulnerable social strata not be affected, to the degree feasible, and that the weight be placed instead on collecting taxes from the more robust social groups.
He noted that the economic crisis is chiefly a European crisis, but added that Greece was the most vulnerable EU member country, and that was the reason it was the first to be hit by it.
Papoulias, in turn, thanked the IMF chief for his "understanding towards Greece's big problem".
He stressed that the Greek people are "waging a huge battle, with many difficulties, particularly for the vulnerable social strata".
On Germany's stance, he said "it has dug its heels in", and described the crisis as a European, and not only a Greek, crisis.
 ND leader holds talks with IMF managing directorMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras met in his office in Parliament on Tuesday evening with visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to whom he outlined his position on the memorandum that Greece has signed with the troika of EU/ECB/IMF.
Samaras explained why the memorandum, apart from socially unfair, is also economically ineffective. He said that it does not lead to results and insisted on the need for a change in course with recovery and growth because if these do not exist greater deadlocks will result which neither society nor the economy can stand.
The ND leader further said that these deadlocks cannot be prevented by the extension of the repayment of the loan alone. ND agrees with the extension provided that it includes the entire amount of the loan of 110 bilion euros and not contains new burdensome measures.
The meeting with Strauss-Kahn was attended by ND vice president Stavros Dimas, the relevant economy sector chiefs Christos Staikouras and Mitarakis, ND spokesman Panos Panayiotopoulos, and the director of his office Constantine Arvanitopoulos.
 IMF managing director briefs Parliament Economy CommitteeInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, briefing the Greek Parliament's Economy Committee on Tuesday, considered the possibility of the extension of the loan's repayment time without new terms as being a foregone conclusion, but in parallel stressed the need for structural reforms with salary and pension cuts since, as he said, there is no other way for productivity to be balanced.
Strauss-Kahn pointed out that although achieving the target of fiscal restructuring is diffucult, however there are many sectors in which expenditure cutbacks can take place and appeared convinced that if the measures proposed by the IMF are implemented without deviations then the programme will be crowned with success, calling on all the parties to support it.
He claimed that Greece had no other choice since, as he said, "in May when it resorted to the IMF it was on the cliff's edge" and stressed that the success of the programme is linked "with the degree of justice that it will inspire in the people and commenting on the protests against the measures noted that "if I were a Greek I might also be in the streets."
He further said that "all must realise the situation and each to assume his own share of responsibility," adding that "you must show that in this national effort all are participating."
The IMF managing director assessed that "the amount of the loan for 110 billion will be enough for Greece if things develop as we think" and that "growth is expected to be restored at the end of 2011."
He made a characteristic reply to the remark by Economic Committee president Vasso Papandreou (ruling PASOK MP) on the high rates of unemployment among young people and on their leaving abroad.
"The possibility of youth leaving is an issue that is developing in many countries. It is important that you create incentives for them because when they return to their country they will have obtained experience. I understand their desperation that they might decide to leave abroad. Well, when normalcy is restored and there is growth they will return," Strauss-Kahn.
 Opposition leaders on IMF chief's visitCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga commenting Tuesday on International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn's visit to Athens called for a "frontal counter-attack against the policies of the government and the troika," because it is still possible to overturn things.
On his part, Radical Left Coalition (Syriza) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras said "the IMF and all those who represent it are responsible for the misery of millions of people all over the planet, since with their political options are driving peoples into bankruptcy, social impoverishment and social exclusion."
 ADEDY, PAME group hold protest rallies against MemorandumThe Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) held a rally in Klafthmonos Square in downtown Athens on Tuesday afternoon to protest the Memorandum on the occasion of IMF president Dominique Strauss-Kahn's visit to Greece. The rally was followed by a protest march to the House of Parliament.
The rally was orzganised by the first stage societies of the private and public sector demanding "the annulment of the memorandum and of the anti-labour government options."
Earlier, a rally by the Communist Party of Greece-affiliated labour group PAME was concluded in Syntagma Square, also to protest the Memorandum.
 IMF on managing director's visit to AthensWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)
The importance of the possibility he had to meet and exchange views with the Greek government and the parties, is stressed by IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a relevant announcement by the Fund, following the conclusion of his visit to Greece where, as it is mentioned, "he held discussions on the recent economic developments."
"I am pleased to have the opportunity of visiting Athens and exchanging views with the Greek Authorities, with members of Parliament and with the opposition. I congratulate the efforts that the Greek government and the Greek people are making for the implementation of their ambitious reformist programme which aims at the modernisation of the economy, the strengthening of competitiveness, as well as the restoration of growth and the labour market. The IMF together with our European partners, are fully devoted to supporting the efforts of Greece, including the provision of aid for it to be secured that the economic programme is socially balanced and fair, and that it provides protection for the more vulnerable members of society," Strauss-Kahn said at the end of his visit, adding that "in the six months of the programme's implementation, a great deal has been achieved, but much still remains that must be done."
 PM chairs meeting on public utilities, labour relationsPrime Minister George Papandreou chaired a meeting in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, focusing on the state of public utilities and labour relations.
According to reports, Employment Minister Louka Katseli is in constant contact with the Troika member Servaas Deroose in an effort to shape the relevant text concerning labour relations. According to the same reports, the discussion is focused on finding points of contact on the issue of collective labour contracts, as well as the shaping of the operating framework of business contracts.
According always to the same reports, the discussion is expected to be concluded on Wednesday.
 PM to meet Palestinian Authority president, Archbishop of Albania on WednesdayPrime Minister George Papandreou will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Maximos Mansion on Wednesday morning. The meeting will be followed by statements.
The prime minister will then be addressing an event of the Regional Development and Competitiveness ministry on the theme of "National Strategy for Exports-Greece of Extro-version," at the "Ellinikos Kosmos" Culture Centre.
Moreover, the prime minister will be having a meeting at noon with the Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania Anastasios at the Maximos Mansion.
 PM meets with visiting Iranian FMPrime minister George Papandreou met on Tuesday with visiting Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki.
No statements were made after the talks.
 Parliament briefing on illegal migration, asylum policyGuarded optimism that the major problem of illegal migration will be tackled through a broader cooperation between responsible state agencies involved as well as internationally was expressed on Tuesday by Deputy Labour Minister for migration issues Anna Dalara.
Addressing a parliamentary committee on migration, the deputy minister said the top priority is the reform of the political asylum system through the adoption of a relevant draft law that will define asylum granting criteria.
A special emphasis was given to the need for revising the "Dublin II" Regulation, the EU law concerning asylum seekers, with Dalara echoing government statements that Greece is inordinately burdened by the treaty, while adding that no progress has been made in the efforts aimed at reaching a readmission agreement with Turkey
Responding to observations made by ruling PASOK MP Christos Magkoufis and opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) MP Adonis Georgiadis as regards the construction of a mosque in Athens' Votanikos district, Dalara said she shares the position that are opposed to large areas and constructions that could favour the creation of a ghetto.
She also underlined the major role played by the Frontex forces in the protection of the Greek borders from the inflow of illegal immigrants, stressing that its officers should change frequently to prevent corruption breeding conditions.
 Garbage strike dominates talks between minister, new Athens mayorInterior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis on Tuesday lashed out at outgoing Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis after meeting with newly elected mayor Giorgos Kaminis to discuss the issue of short-term municipal contract workers, and more importantly, the pressing problem of garbage collection throughout the greater Athens area during the Christmas holidays.
Tons of uncollected garbage is piling up in greater Athens after several days of work-to-rule action by staff at a landfill in extreme northwest Athens, which has slowed garbage collection in the region. Protesters demand the renewal of short-term work contracts for roughly 100 employees.
Ragoussis stressed that the municipal authority should "announce new hirings immediately or it could face the prosecutor". He underlined that there is no excuse for not hiring personnel "through the objective ASEP (Supreme Staff Collection Council) procedures following the example of the public sector and other municipalities that have already proceeded with the hirings of tens of thousands of contract workers in different sectors including garbage collection".
Ragoussis said his meeting with Kaminis was "very constructive", focusing on all the thorny issues with which the largest municipality in the country is faced.
In an immediate reply, outgoing mayor Kaklamanis emphasised that "the difficulties now begin, Mr. Ragoussis will now reap the mistakes he made due to his political intransigence," referring directly to the new garbage strike.
He also charged that the same problem will exist in other municipalities around the country, while reminding of a proposal by the Union of Municipalities (KEDKE) for a two-year transition period and increased point-system for contract workers vying for permanent status.
In an unrelated development, Piraeus Port Authority S.A. President & CEO Giorgos Anomeritis met on Tuesday with newly elected Piraeus mayor Vassilis Michaloliakos, with talks touching on the developmental programme for the country's largest commercial port and the new mayor's priorities for the municipality.
 Democratic Alliance leader visits Ecumenical PatriarchateISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)
Democratic Alliance party president Dora Bakoyannis, speaking after meeting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Phanar on Tuesday, said "I want to hope that the target that we have set for the reopening of the School of Halki as well as of the return of the property belonging to the Patriarchate and the Greek Communities will be achieved and we shall see it soon."
The Greek politician added that "there is a note of optimism in the atmosphere" and that "I always said that the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is extremely important not only for us Orthodox faithful but for Turkey itself as well."
Bakoyannis is visiting Turkey in the framework of a meeting of the Babi-Ali Institute, at which she shall be the main speaker and the speaker of honour. She will speak of issues concerning the future of Greek-Turkish relations.
 Expatriates on promotion of Greek national issuesCATO Institute of Defence and Foreign Policy Studies Department vice president Dr. Ted G. Carpenter, speaking in the Greek Parliament said that "it is an opportunity for Greece to show that together with Cyprus they are far more important allies for the US than Turkey is."
He added that "Greece needs to remind with every opportunity and not let anyone forget how much it has supported the interests of the US. There are opportunities for us to promote national interests through our relations with the US. However, we must chase them because the window will not remain open forever. Now is the opportunity and we must seize it."
Dr. Carpenter, together with the member of the Board of the American Hellenic Institute, Inc., on foreign policy issues of the US in the Eastern Mediterranean, Nick Larigakis, briefed the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Diaspora Hellenism Committee on the efforts being made by expatriates in promoting Greek national issues.
 New publications by Greek embassy in Beijing's press officeA new biweekly news review in both English and Chinese entitled "Newsletter", as well as the cultural review "epiKoInoNiA", was unveiled by the Greek embassy in Beijing's press & communication office, aimed at better informing the Chinese public opinion.
Additionally, the office inaugurated the edition "A Passage to Greece", establishing a multi-dimensional framework that combines current affairs information regarding modern Greece.
Additionally, the press & communication office has revamped its website www.grpressbeijing.com <http://www.grpressbeijing.com>
The new website includes information from the previous webpage plus a plethora of new features.
 Rehn: EU to soon approve extension for Greek loansBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Aroni)
European countries will soon approve an extension of the repayment schedule for 110-billion-euro bailout loans to Greece, European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn said in Brussels on Tuesday. The Commissioner said this would help Greece overcome difficulties in refinancing its debt.
During a press conference after the end of the ECOFIN Council in Brussels, Rehn repeated that the EU finance ministers had agreed on aligning the maturities of the financing of Greece to that of Ireland and asked the European Commission to look into the issue.
 Regional Development minister, Iranian FM discuss bilateral economic relationsThe period in question is an opportunity for strengthening bilateral economic relations between Greece and Iran in a series of sectors such as energy, construction, mechanical equipment and foodstuffs, Regional Development, Growth and Competitiveness Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis and visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki ascertained during their meeting on Tuesday.
Both ministers underlined the importance of the longstanding bonds of friendship and cooperation linking the two countries, that are based on the mutual understanding and respect of two peoples with a rich history and tradition and views were exchanged on the viability of the global economic model adopted over the past 35 years, while the need was also stressed for smooth and peaceful relations between peoples being an essential preconditioon for a strong global economy.
Motaki termed the present economic crisis an opportunity for strengthening bilateral economic relations between Greece and Iran in a series of sectors: from energy to construction and mechanical equipment to foodstuffs, in the framework always of international legality.
Chryssohoidis underlined the will of the Greek economy and of businesses to become more extroversive saying "we have our gaze turning outwards" and briefed the Iranian Foreign Minister on the presentation of the National Plan for Exports that will take place on Wednesday, December 8, in the presence of Prime Minister George Papandreou.
The possibility of the creation of a cooperation group was examined for specialising the parametres of economic cooperation between the two countries for an exchange of visits under the auspices of the Foreign ministry.
 Canadian Int'l Trade minister to visit AthensCanadian International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan will arrive here on Thursday for a two-day visit at the head of a Canadian business delegation, including representatives from the sectors of aerospace and defence, "green" energy, environmental sciences, IT services and telecoms.
During his visit, Van Loan is expected to broach bilateral trade relations between, while reiterating Ottawa's interest in trade with the EU, especially via the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
 Gov't: Recession-hit firms may resort to individual work contractsThe government spokesman on Tuesday reiterated that "individual business work contracts will have prevalence over the sector-wide work contracts in companies with viability problems," in comments to an Athens radio station.
Spokesman Giorgos Petalotis said underlined, however, that "the size of the wages will be determined through negotiations ... no decision has been reached yet on whether there will be a ceiling in wage cuts".
"It is a matter of consultations between employers and employees," he said, stressing that a condition set by the government is that "wages cannot be smaller than provided by the national collective work contract".
Finally, he said a relevant draft law has not been finalised yet, considering that the consultation phase is still continuing.
 Annual IOBE report on entrepreneurship in GreeceThe ongoing economic crisis is, expectedly, drastically affecting entrepreneurship in the country, according to the Entrepreneurship in Greece 2009-2010 annual report prepared by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE).
The report is the seventh issued within the framework of its participation in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research programme.
In 2009, the entrepreneurship index dropped to 8.8 pct from 9.9 pct in 2008, while in 2010 it dropped even further to 5.5 pct. It is worth noting that in 2009 roughly 180,000 people stated that they have closed their businesses due to insufficient profits.
The downward trend continues and it is being attributed to the adverse economic developments and the fear expressed by those planning to enter the business sector. It is indicative that the average business capital rose from 40,000 euros to 60,000 euros. An alarming fact is that the capital in question is own capital and does not reflect banking credit based on business viability criteria.
Based on the available figures, roughly 1.6 million people are involved in business activities in Greece, while roughly 600,000 are in the early stages of entrepreneurship. In addition, roughly 1.2 million people plan to enter the business sector in the next three years, while opportunist entrepreneurship corresponds to 47 pct of the early stages entrepreneurship compared to 39.5 pct in 2009.
Superficiality, introversion and limited contribution to the creation of new jobs are again the characteristics of entrepreneurship in Greece.
Entrepreneurs in Greece occupy the top positions among their colleagues in the GEM countries as regards their self-confidence, knowledge, qualifications and previous experience needed to open a new business while, at the same time, they also occupy the top positions in the global listing as regards the "fear of failure".
 EOT, Athens International Airport sign cooperation memorandumThe Greek Tourist Organisation (EOT) and the Athens International Airport signed a cooperation memorandum on Tuesday with the aim of implementing coordinated joint actions that will utilise the potential of air transport as a basic axis for the development of tourist products and high quality services.
According to the memorandum, the cooperation framework between EOT and the Athens International Airport includes action axes such as: cooperation in sectors of communica-tion/advertising promotion of issues of mutual interest with the aim of developing the tourist product and of movement, joint participation in International Exhibitions, conferences and meetings, as well as cooperation in the holding of market research or participation of EOT also in relevant research that the Athens airport is already conducting.
 Ski tourism sector reforms eyedThe government on Tuesday pledged for find solutions for long-standing problems covering the operation of ski resorts in the country, particularly with licencing and investment.
Addressing a conference on recreational skiing in Greece, Deputy Culture & Tourism Minister Giorgos Nikitiadis called on all interested parties to present recommendations during an open meeting to take place soon with the participation of ski resort representatives.
A total of 18 ski resorts operate in Greece, offering 190 km of ski runs and 110 lifts, 30 of which are aerial, with an overall transporting capacity of roughly 70,000 people per hour. Their average annual turnover estimated to 50 million euros.
 Vienna con'f on investments in GreeceVIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)
Attracting investments to Greece and highlighting cooperation between Austrian and Greek enterprises in the sectors of tourism and real estate was the focus of a one-day seminar at the Austrian Economic Chamber on Tuesday.
The conference was jointly organised by the economic and commercial affairs office of the Greek embassy here, the Austrian Economic Chamber and the Greek Invest in Greece Agency (ELKE).
More than 20 Austrian enterprises, active in the sectors of real estate and tourism, took part in the event. Greek ambassador to Austria Panayiotis Zografos also addressed the seminar.
 Public transport strike in Athens on WednesdayPublic transport employees in Athens will be holding a 24-hour on Wednesday.
The Athens Metro, ISAP trains, trams and the Proastiakos suburban railway services will come to a standstill on Wednesday as employees strike in protest of changes planned by the government, and more specifically the infrastructures, transport and networks ministry, to the organisational structure of and labor relations in the branch of public transport.
Hellenic Rail (OSE) employees will also be joining in the 24-hour strike in Athens, resulting in the cancellation of at least 35 routes.
The ministry's plans to deal with the deficit-ridden public utilities and organisations (DEKO), which include the loss-making public transports, is to merge the five transport companies in Athens currently operating under the umbrella OASA organisation into two companies, with transfers of personnel, cutbacks in workers' remuneration through abolition of subsidies rather than salary cuts, increases in ticket prices and reduction of the state subsidy of tickets from the current 75 percent of the ticket value to 50 percent.
 Stocks rally on Tues.Stocks were on a bullish streak at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, boosted by investors' interest in bank shares, with the composite index up 2.74 pct to end at 1,533.76 points. Turnover was a moderate 109.91 million euros.
The Big Cap index rose0.87 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.44 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 2.35 pct.
Mass media (7.04 pct), Technology (5.34 pct) and Financial Services (4.98 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Foods & Beverages fell 2.38 pct.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 105 to 65 with another 51 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.95%
Personal & Household: +1.82%
Raw Materials: +3.29%
Travel & Leisure: +0.10%
Food & Beverages: +4.44%
Financial Services: +2.12%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and Piraeus Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.70
Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.54
HBC Coca Cola: 20.69
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.72
National Bank of Greece: 7.01
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.40
Bank of Piraeus: 3.23
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bond increased to 882 basis points on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.70 pct and the German Bund 2.88 pct. Turnover in the market was 23 million euros of which 9 million were buy orders and the remaining 14 million euros were sell orders. The three-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 11 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.52 pct, the six-month rate was 1.25 pct, the three-month 1.02 pct and the one-month rate 0.82 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount 0.92 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising to 87.931 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 21,194 contracts worth 76.659 million euros, with 33,664 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 27,946 contracts worth 11.272 million euros, with investment interest focusing on MIG's contracts (5,759) followed by National Bank (5,549), Piraeus Bank (3,849), Ellaktor (2,054), Alpha Bank (2,011), OTE (1,628), Intracom (1,465), Marfin Popular Bank (1,040) and Eurobank (1,000).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.347
Pound sterling 0.853
Danish kroner 7.512
Swedish kroner 9.170
Japanese yen 111.31
Swiss franc 1.316
Norwegian kroner 8.029
Canadian dollar 1.349
Australian dollar 1.352
 Police cite discovery of another safehousePolice on Monday announced the discovery of yet another "safehouse" allegedly used by at least six suspects arrested over the weekend on urban terrorism-related charges, with an apartment in the upscale southeast Athens district of Ano Glyfada cited.
Authorities said the latest site, located on Mystras street, was leased by one of the suspects under a fake identity.
The six suspects are charged with various terrorism-related counts, mostly with possession of firearms and explosives, with the investigation focusing on one of a handful of ultra-leftist and self-styled "anti-state" guerrila cells operating in the greater Athens area, namely, the "Revolutionary Nuclei of Fire" gang.
According to reports, no weapons were found at the location, only a PC and other items now under the scrutiny of the police forensics lab.
The apartment was leased in May 2010.
 Ballistics testing on Agrinio weaponryWeaponry discovered in an apartment in Agrinion during a police raid of several terrorist hideouts in Athens and the periphery are not linked with past terrorist activities, according to the results of ballistic testing completed on Tuesday.
The investigation was continuing, however, to ascertain whether the weapons have been used in cases of common crime.
 Six terror suspects served additional chargesAn Athens prosecutor filed additional charges against six suspects charged with terrorism-related activities, after they appeared before an examining magistrate on Tuesday.
The six, who were formally charged on Sunday on three felonies -- participation in a terrorist group, aggravated arms possession and acquisition and possession of explosive materials -- were additionally charged on Tuesday of terrorist actions not pertaining to activities of a group.
The additional charges have to do with the facilities used by the arrestees and material found.
 Two of six terror suspects remanded in custodyAn examining magistrate on Tuesday ordered that two of six suspects arrested as members of an unspecified terror group be remanded in custody.
The two were Alexandros Mitrousias and Costas Sakkas, who told reporters that they intend to contest their arrest and detention on the grounds that they were prevented from fully exercising their rights to mount a defence and denied unobstructed access to their defence lawyer.
They also note that the constant addition of new evidence to the file and new charges against them was making it impossible to mount an effective defence.
The suspects Giorgos Karagiannidis, Stella Antoniou, Christos Politis and Dimitris Mihail have been given until Thursday to prepare their testimony.
Additional charges of participation in terrorist actions were filed against all six suspects on Tuesday, based on evidence found in the group's safe houses.
 Justice ministry confirms hunger strike in Greek prisonsGreece's justice ministry on Tuesday confirmed that prisoners had announced they were going on hunger strike in 16 of the country's 33 correctional facilities. According to the ministry announcement, 312 of the prisoners were on hunger strike, among 12,600 incarcerated in the 16 prisons involved.
In a press conference earlier on Tuesday, the group 'Initiative for the Rights of Prisoners' claimed that 1,000 inmates had begun a symbolic hunger strike since Monday to mark the anniversary of the 2008 shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, while a further 9,000 inmates were continuing to abstain from meals over the past week.
Members of the rights group, including the lawyer Ioanna Kourtovik, urged Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis to immediately arrange a meeting with a delegation of inmates and said they were "offended" by the minister's earlier statements concerning those "inciting" the prison protests, which they considered an indirect reference to their action.
 Inmates in Greek prisons on hunger strike, rights group claims; ministry disputes figureNine thousand inmates in Greek prisons continued to abstain from meals during the last week while 1,000 began a symbolic hunger-strike on Dec. 6, the anniversary of the shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, according to figures cited in a press conference by the Initiative for the Rights of Prisoners group on Tuesday.
Members of the rights group, including the lawyer Ioanna Kourtovik, urged Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis to immediately arrange a meeting with a delegation of inmates and said they were "offended" by the minister's earlier statements concerning those "inciting" the prison protests, which they considered an indirect reference to their action.
Conversely, the justice ministry later disputed the figures put forth by the advocasy group, noting that out of 12,600 inmates and prisoners in the 33 correctional facilities and lock-ups around the country, 312 were participating in declared participation in either a prolonged or symbolic hunger strike.
 42 arrests recorded during Monday protestsPolice late on Monday evening announced that 42 people were arrested throughout the day on charges related to various incidents of street violence that marred rallies in central Athens, which were attended by thousands of mostly young people to mark the two-year anniversary of the death of a teenager killed in by a police officer.
A total of 96 people were detained, of which 42 were slapped with charges, with the rest freed.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe scuffles in downtown Athens during a demonstration marking the anniversary of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos' shooting death by a policeman, reactions to IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn's visit to Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou's meeting with EC president Jose Manuel Barroso and the Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings in Brussels, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "112,989 lay-offs in public sector".
AVGHI: "Strauss-Kahn inspects the....burned land".
AVRIANI: "Welcome Mr.... Prime Minister to the country of corruption".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Blood and tears - Stones and clubs in the demonstrations for Alexis Grigoropoulos".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Extension of the repayment period and the painful changes: The carrot and the whip".
ESTIA: "Unpredictable events reverse everything".
ETHNOS: "Shocking law for Public Utilities and Organisations (DEKO)".
IMERISSIA: "Eurobond stumbles on German 'wall'."
KATHIMERINI: "The crisis is dividing Europe"
NAFTEMPORIKI: "European support to the Greek package of measures".
NIKI: "One step before the rift".
LOGOS: "Barroso demands bold reforms".
RIZOSPASTIS: "IMF representative Strauss-Kahn unwelcome".
TA NEA: "All-night bargaining over the debt and salaries".
VRADYNI: "Workers pushed over the cliff of rejection".
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