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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-12-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 28 December 2010 Issue No: 3679


  • [01] Trade deficit down 34.2% pct in Jan-Oct
  • [02] Parcel bomb sent to Greek embassy in Rome
  • [03] Foreign Ministry spokesman on religious ceremony prohibition in occupied Cyprus territory
  • [04] Government spokesman visits army camp in Rodopi prefecture
  • [05] Greece-China shipping sector cooperation expanding
  • [06] Gov't on battered tourism sector
  • [07] DEPA response to debt allegations by Turkey
  • [08] Latsis Group raised majority stake in Hellenic Petroleum to 40.984 pct
  • [09] Social sensitivity work stoppage on Wednesday
  • [10] Greek stocks end 2.77 pct down
  • [11] Greek bond yields rise in November
  • [12] Greek bond market closing report
  • [13] ADEX closing report
  • [14] Greek archaeological finds among 10 most important in 2010
  • [15] Police ordered to remove political asylum applicants' 'tent city'
  • [16] 2 villages relocated due to proximity to lignite mines
  • [17] Tsunami response exercise on Crete
  • [18] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [19] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Trade deficit down 34.2% pct in Jan-Oct

    Greece's trade deficit shrank by 38.6 pct in October this year for a 34.2-pct decline in the trade deficit in the January-October period, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Monday.

    The statistics service, in a report, attributed this decline to higher exports and services and a fall in imports as a result of the sharp economic recession in the country. The value of import-arrivals totaled 3.029 billion euros in October, down from 3.618 billion euros last year, for a decline of 16.3 pct, while the value of export-deliveries totaled 1.591 billion euros from 1.277 billion euros over the same period, respectively, for an increase of 24.6 pct.

    The trade deficit fell to 1.438 billion euros in October, down from 2.341 billion euros in October 2009, a decline of 38.6 pct.

    [02] Parcel bomb sent to Greek embassy in Rome


    Italian authorities confirmed on Monday that a suspicious parcel delivered to the Greek embassy in Rome on Friday did, in fact, contain an explosive substance.

    The name on the sender's field listed the "Greece-Italy cultural association", while the makeshift emplosive device was located inside a black CD case.

    Italians requesting Greek magistrates' assistance on terrorism cases

    Cooperation with Greek investigating magistrates probing cases of terrorist groups is desired by their Italian colleagues who have already, through the relevant ministries, requested judicial assistance from the Greek authorities.

    Italian Justice has turned to Greece since last April, when a bombing incident occurred at Fiumicino airport for which responsibility was assumed by the group FAI (Federazione Anarchica Informale).

    The developments of the past days in Italy with the parcel bombs, which as it appears are actions of FAI might possibly speed up the two sides' cooperation procedures. In any case, according to reports, the Italian authoritries are also requesting from the magistrates evidence on specific persons, Italian nationals, who they believe might be related with Greek files of proceedings.

    [03] Foreign Ministry spokesman on religious ceremony prohibition in occupied Cyprus territory

    Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said on Monday, referring to a ban on a Greek Orthodox religious ceremony in the occupied Karpassia peninsula in Cyprus, that "the forbidding of a religious ceremony to be held on Christmas day in Rizokarpasso and Yialousa constitutes a very serious violation of the human rights of the enclaved Greek Cypriots of Karpasia and reveals the real face of the occupation regime, leaving exposed those who support it and are trying to beautify it."

    The Turkish occupation forces and the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime stopped a religious service on Christmas day, at the Turkish-occupied villages of Rizoparpasso and Yialousa, where Greek Cypriots continue to live under Turkish occupation.

    The Greek foreign ministry spokesman added that "the unacceptable negative actions of the occupation regime do not contribute to the creation of a climate facilitating the progress of negotiations and achieving a mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus issue."

    [04] Government spokesman visits army camp in Rodopi prefecture

    Government spokesman and Rodopi deputy George Petalotis on Monday visited the "Lieutenant General Kyroudis Nikolaos" army camp in Nea Santa in the Rodopi prefecture, nrthern Greece, in the presence of Army General Staff chief Frangos Frangoulis.

    "The presence of the military in the region is important. The conditions may not be the same as in the past, however, we being Thracians experienced them at all levels. The military's deterrent power is of great importance particularly when it constitutes, as here, a lighthouse of social work," the spokesman said in a statement.

    In parallel, he stressed that the interventions of the specific camp in local society are extremely important so that there will not be any feelings of exclusion and pointed out that "we as Thracians consider the military a part of the local society, not only economically but morally as well. It is important that today we have a military that is excellently equipped, modern, with young people and ideas in all sectors."

    Financial News

    [05] Greece-China shipping sector cooperation expanding

    Acceleration and further promotion of bilateral cooperation between Greece and China, focusing on the exchange know-how in the shipping sector, were the main points of recent seminars organised at the initiative of the maritime affairs, islands & fisheries ministry.

    The signing of a Greece-China cooperation memorandum last June led to the seminars, which were held with the participation of senior executives of leading Chinese shipping companies, and which featured lectures by academicians and senior shipping sector executives. A series of visits to the Piraeus Port Authority S.A., adjacent shipyards, the Merchant Marine Academy and shipping companies' headquarters was also included in the itinerary.

    Meanwhile, in a report from Beijing, the largest news agency in China and one of the largest in the world, Xinhua, on Saturday inaugurated a new on-line multimedia applications platform, featuring financial news items and economic data about the Far East economic powerhouse.

    The new platform was heralded under the headline "Xinhua officially launches financial information exchange", and launched via gigantic video screens in the Chinese capital.

    Scenes from a recent visit by the Chinese prime minister to Greece and his talks with his Greek counterpart, as well as a 20-minute interview with Greece's ambassador to China, Amb. Theodoros Georgakelos, speaking on bilateral relations, investment possibilities and expansion of trade ties were shown.

    [06] Gov't on battered tourism sector

    Deputy ??urism Development Minister Giorgios Nikitiadis announced on Monday that legislation on alternative forms of tourism will be completed in 2011.

    In reference to 2010, the minister underlined that it was certainly a difficult year for Greece, with the tourism sector not immune to negative economic developments.

    "We have struggled to stand on our feet and I can say that we achieved it through meetings and visits to all international tourism exhibitions, where we tried to reverse the adverse climate for our country," he said.

    [07] DEPA response to debt allegations by Turkey

    Greece's Public Gas Corporation S.A. (DEPA) is studying the request made by the Turkish BOTAS company for a backdated readjustment of the natural gas price, was announced on Monday.

    A DEPA statement clarified that the company "has not requested any economic facilitations" rejecting such allegations and underlined that Greece has no outstanding debts owed to Turkey that stem from natural gas trade transactions.

    The negotiations between DEPA and BOTAS on the price of the natural gas that comes from the Sach Deniz I field in Azerbaijan are in progress in an atmosphere of mutual cooperation, the statement underlined.

    [08] Latsis Group raised majority stake in Hellenic Petroleum to 40.984 pct

    Latsis Group on Monday announced it has raised its majority equity holding in Hellenic Petroleum to 40.984 pct. In an announcement to the Athens Stock Exchange, Latsis Group said it has purchased an additional equity stake in Hellenic Petroleum in the period from September 2008 to December 2009 -through its affiliate Paneuropean Oil and Industrial Holdings- raising its equity stake in the company to 40.984 pct, from 39.023 pct.

    Latsis Group's equity stake totals 125,262,955 common nominal shares. The group's stake is larger than the Greek state's (27.46 pct plus an additional 8.02 pct owned by DEKA, totaling 35.48 pct).

    [09] Social sensitivity work stoppage on Wednesday

    Metro, electric railway and tram drivers have called a work stoppage from the beginning of their shift until 8 in the morning on Wednesday December 29 during which, however, trains will be operating as normal.

    The reason for this move is because they agreed that the money that their companies would be deducting from their salary, due to the work stoppage, will be returned to them and they will then provide it for "our afflicted and suffering fellow citizens", as they noted in a relevant announcement.

    More specifically, they will support the effort concerning the providing of meals that is being organised at the initiative of the Athens Archdiocese (Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos) in cooperation with the municipality of Athens.

    [10] Greek stocks end 2.77 pct down

    Greek stocks suffered heavy losses in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index of the market finding support at the 1,400 level. The index ended 2.77 pct down at 1,404.20 points, with turnover a low 57.832 million euros.

    The Big Cap index dropped 2.91 pct, the Mid Cap index fell 1.58 pct and the Small Cap index plunged 4.08 pct. Viohalco (1.04 pct) was the only blue chip stock to end higher, while Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (4.35 pct), MIG (4.23 pct), Ellaktor (3.83 pct) and Cyprus Bank (3.79 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    The Media (10.15 pct), Health (7.04 pct) and Food (4.29 pct) sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 136 to 26 with another 44 issues unchanged. Spider (16.67 pct), Allatini Ceramics (8.33 pct) and Douros (7.95 pct) were top gainers, while Neorio (18.99 pct), Moda Bagno (18.18 pct) and Altec (14.29 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.51%

    Industrials: -0.27%

    Commercial: -1.18%

    Construction: -2.85%

    Media: -10.15%

    Oil & Gas: -2.17%

    Personal & Household: -1.71%

    Raw Materials: -2.17%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.06%

    Technology: -2.83%

    Telecoms: -1.41%

    Banks: -3.17%

    Food & Beverages: -4.29%

    Health: -7.04%

    Utilities: -2.54%

    Chemicals: -0.12%

    Financial Services: -3.14%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 3.88

    ATEbank: 0.69

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.02

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.13

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.69

    National Bank of Greece: 6.04

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.75

    OPAP: 12.50

    OTE: 6.27

    Bank of Piraeus: 3.64

    Titan: 15.76

    [11] Greek bond yields rise in November

    Both turnover and prices fell significantly in the Greek electronic secondary bond market in November, the Bank of Greece said on Monday. In a monthly report, the central bank said state bond prices suffered significant losses in November, with the three-year benchmark bond return rising by 2.59 pct. Turnover in the market shrank by 52 pct to 926 million euros, from 1.94 billion euros in October, while average turnover fell to 42.1 million euros, from 97.1 million euros in October.

    All Greek state securities' returns rose significantly in the month, with the three-year benchmark bond yield rising to 13.23 pct, while the 10-year benchmark bond yield rose to 12 pct.

    The average yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose to 930 basis points in November from 820 bps a month earlier. Greece successfully auctioned three- and six-month Treasury bills with yields rising to 4.10 pct and 4.82 pct, respectively.

    [12] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened further to 927 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market from 915 bps on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 12.29 pct and the German Bund 3.02 pct. Turnover in the market was a low 2.0 million euros, all being sell orders.

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

    [13] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -2.69 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to a low 19.188 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,586 contracts worth 11.595 million euros, with 25,924 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,051 contracts worth 3.796 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,269), followed by Eurobank (538), MIG (1,279), Piraeus Bank (652), Alpha Bank (646), Cyprus Bank (254) and Hellenic Postbank (179).

    General News

    [14] Greek archaeological finds among 10 most important in 2010

    The latest archaeological findings unearthed in Greece over the past year are in the top 10 discoveries of 2010 list, published in the latest issue of Archaeology Magazine, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America.

    The findings in question are Palaeolithic tools discovered in Plakias (Rethymno prefecture) on the large south Aegean island of Crete.

    According to the magazine, "the discovery of stone tools at two sites on the island of Crete that are between 130,000 and 700,000 years old was announced by a research team led by Thomas Strasser of Providence College and Eleni Panagopoulou of the Greek ministry of culture. The tools resemble those made by Homo heidelbergensis and Homo erectus, showing that one of these early human ancestors boated across at least 40 miles of open sea to reach the island, the earliest indirect evidence of seafaring.

    "If hominins could move around the Mediterranean before 130,000 years ago, they could cross other bodies of water as well," said team member Curtis Runnels of Boston University, who helped analyse the tools."

    [15] Police ordered to remove political asylum applicants' 'tent city'

    Riot police pushed back scores of foreign nationals -- mostly Palestinians, Iranians and Afghans requesting political asylum -- on Monday outside the UN Refugee Agency offices in the Athens district of Paleo Psychico.

    Some 100 individuals, including women and minors, have pitched tents outside the UN Refugee Agency headquarters for the past three months to protest what they claim is the lack of operation by political asylum committees.

    Riot police as well as a municipality crane arrived in the area just after dawn to remove the tents. A prosecutor was also present during the operation. The latter ordered the forced transport of migrants who stitched their mouths with thread to a local hospital order to remove the stitches.

    [16] 2 villages relocated due to proximity to lignite mines

    Two villages in the northwest prefectures of Kozani and Florina will be relocated within the next eight years in response to a standing demand by local residents, who complain of a drastic downgrading of their immediate environment and quality of life as a result of state-run Public Power Corp. SA (PPC) lignite mines operating in the region.

    The relocation plan for the villages of Akrini (Kozani) and Agii Anargyri (Florina) will be included in a provision incorporated into adraft law on biodiversity, sponsored by the ministry of environment, energy and climate change -- to be tabled in Parliament shortly.

    PPC and the state will share the relocation costs.

    [17] Tsunami response exercise on Crete

    A European exercise testing preparedness in case of a major earthquake and subsequent tsunami will take place in the southern part of the prefecture of Hania, Crete, it was announced on Monday.

    Technical University of Crete natural disasters lab director Prof. Costas Sinolakis said a map exercise will be held in the spring of 2011 and the actual exercise will take place between Nov. 2011 and Feb. 2012.

    The region selected is southwest Crete from Elafonissi to Agia Roumeli in Hania Prefecture, and the criterion used is its remoteness, in order to test intervention speed of those participating in the drill.

    Weather Forecast

    [18] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -1C and 19C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 9C to 13C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 2C to 7C.

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

    The reforms and draft laws promoted by the government and changes in public sector mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "2011 brings burning draft laws".

    AVRIANI: "Greece's political and economic system collapsing".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Seven bills burn government and prime minister George Papandreou".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Civil servants' tranfers devastating".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Kallikratis and unified payroll bring sweeping changes in public sector".

    ESTIA: "Who will save economy".

    ETHNOS: "Generals 'march' in armed forces fund".

    TA NEA: "Lawyers uprising and civil engineers' veto".

    VRADYNI: "12 billion euros of new measures a nightmare".

    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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