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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-12-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 24 December 2010 Issue No: 3676


  • [01] Papoulias expresses optimism for future in Christmas message
  • [02] Papoulias message towards Greeks abroad
  • [03] PM meets European Ombudsman Diamantouros
  • [04] PM meets with disabled persons' organisation president
  • [05] EU welcomes approval of 2011 budget by Greek parliament
  • [06] Samaras meetings with top cadres
  • [07] Environment minister: Greek climate change initiatives achieved goals
  • [08] No indications that parcel bombs in Italy sent from Greece
  • [09] Gov't announces 'Green Tourism' programme
  • [10] Thessaloniki Innovation Zone CEO resigns
  • [11] New organising structure for Greek Stock Exchanges S.A. company
  • [12] Stocks end 0.34% down
  • [13] Greek bond market closing report
  • [14] ADEX closing report
  • [15] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [16] Holiday events in Athens ahead of Christmas
  • [17] Three defendants in 'crime syndicate' case released pending trial
  • [18] Thessaloniki Int'l Film Festival calls for release of Iranian filmmakers
  • [19] Policeman suspended for allegedly keeping found wallet -- of a colleague, no less
  • [20] Two 4.3R quakes jolt Lemnos
  • [21] Cloudy on Friday
  • [22] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Papoulias expresses optimism for future in Christmas message

    President of Republic Karolos Papoulias on Thursday expressed optimism for the future in statements after hearing Christmas carols and traditional holiday scores played by an armed forces orchestra, the presidential guard, and children from the charity organisation "Hamogelo tou Pediou".

    Additionally, carols were sung by Special Olympics athletes and the Boy Scouts, amongst others.

    "We will persevere ... Let's keep hope, because that's the only way to overcome the difficult things that we will have to face in the coming days. I am optimistic that we will overcome the difficult times. I am optimistic because I am aware of the Greek people's abilities and fortitude," he said in reference to the ongoing economic crisis.

    [02] Papoulias message towards Greeks abroad

    President of Republic Karolos Papoulias on Thursday, in a Christmas message to Greeks Abroad, underlined that "Hellenism outside Greece's frontiers is a force for our country, one which instills us with optimism and teaches us creativity".

    The economic crisis is a huge ordeal for Greek society, which has proven its fortitude and persistence, he noted, adding under the current difficult situation all Greeks, wherever they reside, must strengthen unity.

    [03] PM meets European Ombudsman Diamantouros

    European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamantouros on Thursday presented Prime Minister George Papandreou with his latest report on strategic planning for the period 2009-2014 during their meeting at the prime minister's offices in Athens.

    Diamantouros also expressed his gratitude to the prime minister and the Greek governments that supported his candidacy for European Ombudsman.

    The prime minister stressed his faith in the institution of the ombudsman in both Greece and Europe, stressing that it was a great honour for Greece that Diamantouros was in this key position for the democratic functioning of Europe.

    [04] PM meets with disabled persons' organisation president

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Thursday received National Confederation of Persons with Disabilities President Ioannis Vardakastanis at the former's office in Parliament.

    The premier underlined that the government wants every individual's active participation in society regardless of the economic crisis.

    On his part, the group's president stressed that persons with disabilities should not be forgotten in this difficult period the country is going through.

    [05] EU welcomes approval of 2011 budget by Greek parliament

    European Union officials on Thursday welcomed the ratification, by a majority of MPs in the Greek Parliament, of the 2011 budget and the fiscal consolidation measures included in the legislation.

    "We welcome the fulfilment of Greece's international obliga-tions," Christina Arrigo, a representative of the European Commission, told reporters.

    A vote just after midnight on Wednesday saw approval of next year's closely watched budget. Ruling PASOK party deputies voted in favour, while all opposition parties' deputies voted against the budget plan.

    [06] Samaras meetings with top cadres

    ?ain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Thursday held a series of meetings with top party cadres ahead of changes he will reportedly announce in the party's internal administration and operation.

    [07] Environment minister: Greek climate change initiatives achieved goals

    Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili, in comments to the ANA-MPA on Thursday, said Greece had been behind two promising international initiatives for dealing with climate change in 2010 - the Initiative for Climate Change in the Mediterranean and 'Greening the Black Sea' - both of which had achieved their goals.

    She noted that 2010 was a year when global efforts for averting global warming did not get off to a good start but was ending more hopefully with an agreement on protecting biodiversity and the Cancun climate change agreement that bore the signature of all UN member-states.

    "We considered that discussions before international meetings should take place between countries that need to adapt to the results of climate change in the same way," she said, noting that Greece's climate was much closer to that of Eastern European and North African countries than to Finland or Norway.

    The second stage of these initiatives was to find shared programmes that would bring all sides closer to a 'green development' model, the minister added.

    She said that Greece intended to help Malta and Turkey prepare the agenda for the next meetings on climate change in the Mediterranean. In Malta the emphasis will be on drawing up a regional action plan for adapting to the repercussions of climate change, while the meeting in Turkey would examine action in the framework of green growth and the green economy.

    On the issue of environmental refugees, Birbili pointed out that UN reports predicted the arrival of hundreds of thousands of environmental refugees in EU countries as a result of climate change.

    She pointed out that this would not be linked to transitory or occasional extreme bad weather but things such as chronic water shortage, where populations no longer had the basic means of survival. She noted that these would lead to either migration of populations fleeing such areas or refugees from conflicts triggered by competition for natural resources.

    Birbili noted that countries had to plan ahead for such environmental refugees when drawing up plans for adapting to climate change repercussions. She said each country had to have its own national plan for dealing with such issues but, since many of the problems would extend beyond national borders, countries could also draw up regional plans as well.

    [08] No indications that parcel bombs in Italy sent from Greece

    There is no indication that the parcel bombs exploding at the embassies of Switzerland and Chile in Italy were sent from Greece, an official of the Citizen's Protection ministry told the ANA-MPA, replying to reports on the possible involvement of Greeks in the sending of the parcels.

    According to the same source, the Italian authorities with which there has been communication by the Greek side have not submitted any request for cooperation in the specific case, nor have they produced indications or evidence that involve Greek anti-establishment members in the sending of the parcels.

    However, according to reports, they are examining the possibility of the parcel bombs being sent by an Italian organisation as a show of solidarity to Greek detainees, something that has happened in the past as well and according to the same reports there might also be an assumption of responsibility for this in Italy.

    Financial News

    [09] Gov't announces 'Green Tourism' programme

    The culture and tourism ministry on Thursday launched a "Green Tourism" programme, budgeted at 30 million euros, and funded through a 4th Community Support Framework programme.

    Under the plan, existing hotel, camping and rent rooms businesses, operating before Jan 1, 2009 throughout the country, are eligible for funding to cut operating costs through energy and water saving actions and waste management projects, as well as funding to improve the quality of services, eco-certification, promoting environmental practices and social corporate responsibility.

    Each project may be funded between 15,000 and 400,000 euros, with state funding covering 40 pct of a plan.

    [10] Thessaloniki Innovation Zone CEO resigns

    Thessaloniki's Alexander Innovation Zone S.A. (AIZ S.A.) CEO Dr. Iordanis Arzimanoglou, a noted biotechnology and genetics researcher and administrator, has tendered his resignation to the relevant regional development and competitiveness minister, it was announced on Thursday.

    Justifying his decision to resign three and a half years after taking over the post, Arzimanoglou underlined that "after two governments, six supervising ministers and a score of general and special secretaries" he came to the conclusion that "the zone was not a priority for any (Greek) government or political parties".

    [11] New organising structure for Greek Stock Exchanges S.A. company

    The Greek Stock Exchanges S.A. company informs investors that the Group's new organising programme will be implemented as of January 1, 2011. The post of chief operations officer will be created and Dimitris Karaiskakis will be holding the post, while the post of deputy chief operations officer will also be created and filled by Nikolaos Porfyris.

    [12] Stocks end 0.34% down

    Stocks ended lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday ahead of a three-day Christmas holiday in the markets. The composite index fell 0.34 pct to end at 1,444.19 points, with turnover shrinking to 47.2 million euros. The Big Cap index fell 0.73 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.33 pct lower and the Small Cap index eased 0.31 pct.

    Viohalco (4.61 pct), PPC (1.07 pct) and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (0.50 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Ellaktor (4.78 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (4.31 pct) and ATEbank (4.05 pct) were top losers.

    The Commerce (4.26 pct) and Media (2.02 pct) sectors scored gains, while Financial Services (2.51 pct) and Oil (2.12 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 76 to 74 with another 54 issues unchanged. Spider (20 pct), Avenir (12.5 pct) and Athens Medical (10.17 pct) were top gainers, while Atti-kat (12.5 pct), Vell Group (11.76 pct) and Mohlos (9.0 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: +1.19%

    Commercial: +4.26%

    Construction: -1.38%

    Media: +2.02%

    Oil & Gas: -2.12%

    Personal & Household: -0.60%

    Raw Materials: +0.10%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.35%

    Technology: -1.58%

    Telecoms: -0.16%

    Banks: -1.04%

    Food & Beverages: +0.48%

    Health: -1.97%

    Utilities: +0.85%

    Chemicals: -0.92%

    Financial Services: -2.51%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 4.03

    ATEbank: 0.71

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.36

    HBC Coca Cola: 20.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.80

    National Bank of Greece: 6.26

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.85

    OPAP: 12.77

    OTE: 6.36

    Bank of Piraeus: 3.70

    Titan: 16.21

    [13] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remained at very high levels in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Thursday (924 basis points), with the Greek bond yielding 12.21 pct and the German Bund 2.97 pct. Turnover in the market was a low 32 million euros, of which 3 million were buy orders and the remaining 29 million were sell orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.53 pct, the six-month rate was 1.25 pct, the three-month 1.02 pct and the one-month rate 0.81 pct.

    [14] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.68 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover falling to a low of 13.460 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,115 contracts worth 10.344 million euros, with 24,917 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,920 contracts worth 3.113 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (1,445), followed by MIG (2,817), Alpha Bank (1,301), Piraeus Bank (1,181) and OTE (414).

    [15] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.316

    Pound sterling 0.854

    Danish kroner 7.512

    Swedish kroner 9.034

    Japanese yen 109.82

    Swiss franc 1.265

    Norwegian kroner 7.899

    Canadian dollar 1.337

    Australian dollar 1.315

    General News

    [16] Holiday events in Athens ahead of Christmas

    The annual lighting of a towering Christmas Tree in central Athens' Syntagma Square, across from Parliament, marked the beginning of festivities in the otherwise recession-plagued Greek capital this holiday season, with the Athens municipality again organising a series of high-profile events and lighting ceremonies.

    This year's Christmas tree will be replanted, part of efforts to send an environmentally friendly message.

    The National Gardens across from Syntagma Square, outside the Zappeion Hall, will again host a large carousel and a Santa's village, replete with elves and inter-active games.

    Meanwhile, the municipality's Technopolis centre, in the inner city Gazi district, hosts an ice rink, a playground with floats, carnival rides, a carousel and theatrical productions for children.

    Finally, a large "Christmas Fairytale" village has been erected outside the Olympic Badminton facility in the east Athens district of Goudi.

    [17] Three defendants in 'crime syndicate' case released pending trial

    Three of the 20 defendants in the case of the so-called "new crime syndicate" were conditionally released on Thursday after being on remand in custody for the maximum 18 months, as dictated by the criminal law procedure.

    The three are defendants in the abduction case of ship-owner Pericles Panagopoulos.

    Earlier, the appellate court judges' council ratified a proposal by a prosecutor suggesting the defendants' release on the condition that they will not be allowed to leave the country and they will have to appear at a police station twice a month pending their court trial.

    [18] Thessaloniki Int'l Film Festival calls for release of Iranian filmmakers

    The Thessaloniki International Film Festival Organisation has strongly condemned the sentencing of Iranian film directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof and called for their immediate release.

    A statement issued on Thursday underlined that their arrest "is unacceptable and an embarrassment to humanity, constituting blatant violation of fundamental human rights", stressing that "no effort will be spared to overturn this development".

    Panahi received a six-year prison term and is not allowed to make any films for the next 20 years after being accused of "inciting opposition protests" and making a film without official government approval.

    The same prison sentence was imposed on Muhammad Rasoulof.

    [19] Policeman suspended for allegedly keeping found wallet -- of a colleague, no less

    A Good Samaritan's deed to deliver a wallet she found on a central Athens pavement apparently wasn't matched by the shift supervisor at the police precinct where she turned it in, as the latter was subsequently accused of keeping the wallet, cash and all, to himself.

    To add scorn to injury, the wallet apparently belonged to a colleague, a fellow police officer, something easily discerned by the police ID tucked inside.

    The bizarre and thoroughly disheartening incident came to light on Dec. 9, the day the wallet was found, when the woman, identified as a Bulgarian national, returned to the police station to find out why no one had contacted her from the precinct, especially the owner of the wallet.

    Greek Police's (EL.AS) internal affairs division was immediately notified and after an inquiry the offending police officer was suspended from duty pending a court trial. (ANA-MPA)

    [20] Two 4.3R quakes jolt Lemnos

    Two earthquakes, both measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale, were recorded at 3:35 a.m. (01.35 GMT) and 3:40 a.m. on Thursday in a sea region off the NE Aegean island of Lemnos.

    No damages were reported.

    Weather Forecast

    [21] Cloudy on Friday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 4-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 5C and 23C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with southerly 5-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 11C to 21C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 9C to 15C.

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

    Ratification, by the government majority in Parliament, of the 2011 state budget and decreases in listed state-controlled enterprises' payrolls, as ordered by the finance minister, mostly dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras in Parliament: Take measures now".

    AVGHI: "Government in social, political isolation

    AVRIANI: "Mr. PM Papandreou, send Nikos Sifounakis (the deputy transports, infrastructures and networks minister) home".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Papandreou is unbelievable! He doesn't understand that he's the prime minister".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Two letters set political scene on fire".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Traps in power utility's new rates".

    ESTIA: "Society deregulated".

    ETHNOS: "4,000 the highest salary in public utilities and agencies".

    IMERISSIA: "Objective property values for 4,458 communities".

    KATHIMERINI: "Cuts in listed state-run enterprises".

    LOGOS: "State budget untrustworthy".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Opposition parties against new state budget".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "State budget a tool for anti-popular exit from crisis".

    TA NEA: "Government in a minefield".

    VRADYNI: "Christmas present ... with new cuts in salaries".

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

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