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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-01-01

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

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

Saturday, 1 January 2011 Issue No: 3683

CONTENTS

  • [01] New Year's message by President Papoulias
  • [02] Papandreou sends wishes for the New Year
  • [03] Samaras' wishes for 2011
  • [04] KKE leader's statement for New Year
  • [05] New Year's carols for LA.OS leader
  • [06] PM: Country will return to growth in 2010 if we con't efforts
  • [07] Commentaries on 2011 signed by opposition party leaders
  • [08] Minister announces tougher policy vis-a-vis illegal immigration
  • [09] Poll: Majority of Greeks against EU, eurozone exit
  • [10] Minoan Lines cancels sale of Hellenic Seaways to ANEK
  • [11] Greek stocks end year 35.62 pct down
  • [12] ADEX closing report
  • [13] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [14] Metro and electric railways to operate between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday
  • [15] Public transport work stoppage in Athens announced
  • [16] Migrant-laden truck intercepted on way to Italy
  • [17] Contraband cigarettes confiscated in freighter off Kissamos
  • [18] Cloudy on Saturday
  • [19] The Athens dailies at a glance
  • [20] Community leaders to meet on January 12 Politics

  • [01] New Year's message by President Papoulias

    "A tough year has become part of the past but an even tougher year is on its way. The Greek people are paying a heavy price for decades of mismanagement and sins. For the greed and imperfections of the global economic system, for the weaknesses of Europe and for the mistakes and blithe lack of concern on the part of the country's political world, part of which I too am part of," Republic President Karolos Papoulias underlined on Friday in his New Year's message.

    Papoulias stated that he shares the anguish of the people who "became poorer and sink into insecurity", adding that "I can see the dead end with which the young generation is faced inheriting a huge debt from the older generations. I feel the rage and social injustice, the collective demand for the exemplary punishment of those who became rich through illegal means and for the arrest of those responsible for the gray economy."

    "The state has an obligation to impose effective regulations to force the tax dodgers to pay their dues and declare their assets," the president underlined.

    He also stated that his thoughts go out to fellow citizens who are the most in need: the ill, the lonely, the indigent; stressing that the preservation of social cohesion is a must.

    "Regardless of how multifaceted our problems are in our neighborhood, our country, on the European and international level, regardless of how complex needed answers are, the government should remember that social cohesion is impossible without social justice, particularly in the crisis we are going through," he pointed out.

    "We should keep in mind that we are a country with history that has displayed endurance in even rougher seas. I send my heartfelt wishes to our merchant seamen traveling across the globe; to our soldiers serving on the borders; to the Diaspora Greeks, to all those who cannot be with their loved ones today. I deeply wish that 2011 will be a year with fewer trials in store for our country. I wish you all a good year," the president's message concluded.

    [02] Papandreou sends wishes for the New Year

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Friday sent his New Year's message, expressing a wish for a better, more just and kinder society.

    He also called for solidarity towards one another, love and protection and the combating of racism, exclusion and any kind of violence.

    The PM made the statement during a visit with his spouse to the NGO charity "Kivotos tou Kosmou" in the Athens district of Kolonos.

    Children sang New Year's carols and exchanged presents with the prime minister.

    Earlier, Papandreou and his wife Ada toured in the charity's premises and were briefed on its mission.

    [03] Samaras' wishes for 2011

    ?ain opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Friday was treated to New Year's carols by a Pontian community group from the NW city of Preveza.

    Samaras exchanged wishes with the group's members, which also performed traditional Pontian dances.

    Afterwards, Samaras expressed his best wishes for "good health and love to everybody.

    "In these difficult times my thoughts are also with those who lost their jobs and to those who were forced to close their businesses; to those who are going through difficult times ... Let us wish for Greece to find its way to growth and for the Greek people to always be smiling and optimistic".

    [04] KKE leader's statement for New Year

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Friday made the following statement on the occasion of the arrival of the New Year.

    "In 2011 we will do the best we can to help the popular front, the only hopeful message in the struggle, counter-attack and reversal, to become stronger."

    Asked to comment on government Vice-President Theodoros Pangalos' statement charging that "KKE is dreaming of a new Soviet Union", Papariga responded "What can someone say to such professional anti-communists?"

    [05] New Year's carols for LA.OS leader

    New Year's carols were sung on Friday to opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) president George Karatzaferis by members of the Association of Pontian Unions of south Greece and islands.

    Karatzaferis wished for a promising 2011, adding that hopefully the hearts of the Greek people will be filled with hope.

    [06] PM: Country will return to growth in 2010 if we con't efforts

    Prime Minister George Papandreou was quoted on Friday, in a press interview, that "If we work together and continue the effort we made in 2010, the New Year will be the last of the recession and in 2012 our country will return to growth."

    His comments were carried by the newspaper "Ethnos".

    Papandreou also promised that his government is determined to alleviate long-standing or temporary injustices caused by the crisis, underlining that "in 2010 we did our best to avert the worse but without the Greek people's maturity no government could have succeeded by itself".

    He also referred to major reforms being implemented for the benefit of the country, its society and the majority of citizens, "which however, in some cases such changes are inconvenient and affect a minority's vested interests."

    "At the same time we are giving battle in Europe and making allies on various proposals, such as the issue of the eurobonds," he emphasised.

    [07] Commentaries on 2011 signed by opposition party leaders

    The opposition parliamentary party leaders signed com-mentaries with their views on how 2011 will unfold, published on Friday by the paper "Ethnos".

    "The memorandum policy, the policy offering a way out through?.asphyxiation, apparently leads nowhere," main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras underlined in his commentary. Samaras predicted that 2011 will be a milestone year for Greece as the country will be called to change the policy currently implemented in order to get out of the debt crisis and alter its political and economic model.

    Samaras underlined that only economic recovery and growth will allow the country to meet its obligations toward its debtors, stressing that over-taxation would lead to an even deeper recession.

    Opposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga underlined that the standoff, between the workers and the forces identified with major economic interests, is inevitable".

    "The Greek people are concerned and fear for their future," Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis stated, expressing optimism that "the Greek people will emerge victorious if they resort to their national values and ideals for strength."

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary group president Alexis Tsipras stressed that 2011 could be the most crucial year in Greece's modern history and called on the leftist forces to unite and back a social resistance activation plan to open the way for alternative solutions.

    [08] Minister announces tougher policy vis-a-vis illegal immigration

    Citizen's Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Friday warned that Greek society has exceeded its ability to absorb any more illegal immigrants in the country, speaking on the occasion of an ANA-MPA study on the increasingly menacing issue.

    In fact, the high-profile government minister, a former EU Commissioner, said his ministry, in cooperation with the coast guard, is considering the construction of a new and more prominent fence along Greece's land border.

    "I want to make something clear: Only those migrants who have an internationally recognised right to protection or a right to asylum will remain in the country, no one else. Everyone else should clearly understand this message. They will leave Greece, either via a voluntary repatriation or via an involuntary deportation," Papoutsis told the ANA-MPA, adding:

    "We are absolutely determined on this issue. Additionally, we want to provide a decisive blow against the migrant smuggling rings that trade in people and their hopes for a better life. The Papandreou has a strong political volition (on this issue)," he said.

    [09] Poll: Majority of Greeks against EU, eurozone exit

    Ruling PASOK party's lead over main opposition New Democracy (ND) stands at 2 percentage points, according to opinion poll results published by an Athens newspaper on Friday.

    Specifically, PASOK was preferred by 22.2 percent of respondents to 20.2 percent for ND; the Communist Party (KKE) garnered 8 percent; the right-of-centre Popular Orthodox Rally party (LA.OS) 4 percent and leftist SYRIZA 3.3 percent.

    A new centre-right party formed by former FM Dora Bakoyannis earned 2.8 percent of respondents' preferences, below the 3-percent ceiling necessary for Parliament representation. Additionally, another new party formed by SYRIZA dissenters also failed to cover the 3-percent mark, posting 2.3 percent.

    Prime Minister George Papandreou received the biggest percentage (34.6 percent) of the vote as the most important Greek for 2010, followed by ND leader Antonis Samaras (10.7 percent).

    More importantly, 58.2 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that Greece has avoided bankruptcy, with 33.5 percent opting for the opposite opinion. Finally, 60.3 percent of respondents are against Greece's exit from the EU and 61 percent are against a possible return to the drachma.

    The poll was conducted by Kapa Research firm and published in the weekly "Vima".

    Financial News

    [10] Minoan Lines cancels sale of Hellenic Seaways to ANEK

    Minoan Lines, a Greek-listed shipping company, on Friday announced the cancellation of the sale of a 33.35 pct of Hellenic Seaways to ANEK, after the latter company failed to meet payment obligations expiring Nov. 30, 2010.

    In an announcement, Minoan Lines said it would offer timely and detailed information to the public over any developments in the issue, while ANEK said it would not pay a tranche to Minoan Lines and would offer detailed information to the public over its actions.

    [11] Greek stocks end year 35.62 pct down

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index ended the year at 663.10 points, the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended at 1,498.57 points and the FTSE/ASE 80 index at 254.41 points.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance 1,846.51 +1.45 pct,

    Industrial Products/Services 3,368.28 (-0.42 pct),

    Commerce 1,721.42 (-0.19 pct),

    Constructions (2,380.78 (2.31 pct),

    Media 805.55 (-2.83 pct),

    Oil/Gas 2,257.81 (0.57 pct),

    Personal/Home Products 2,877.14 (1.78 pct),

    Raw Materials 2,144.71 (1.47 pct),

    Travel 2,257.32 (-0.49 pct),

    Technology 630.58 (0.38 pct),

    Telecoms 1,687.33 (0.33 pct),

    Banks 1,250.99 (-1.34 pct),

    Food/Beverage 6,931.32 (-1.80 pct),

    Health 763.04 (-0.57 pct),

    Utilities 3,002.83 (-0.22 pct),

    Chemicals 6,826.51 (-0.56 pct),

    Financial Services 1,788.73 (1.90 pct)

    Piraeus Bank, Marfin Popular Bank, MIG and National Bank were the most heavily traded shares of the session.

    Blue chips ended as follows:

    ALPHA BANK: 3.80

    ATEBANK: 0.74

    VIOHALCO: 4.05

    ELLAKTOR: 3.35

    PPC: 10.74

    COCA COLA: 19.36

    HELLENIC PETROLEUM: 5.86

    NATIONAL BANK: 6.05

    EUROBANK: 3.75

    CYPRUS BANK: 2.58

    JUMBO: 4.94

    HELLENIC POSTBANK: 2.93

    MYTILINEOS: 4.42

    MOTOR OIL: 7.50

    OPAP: 12.94

    OTE: 6.13

    PIRAEUS: 3.65

    TITAN: 16.42

    MARFIN POPULAR BANK: 1.15

    MARFIN INVESTMENT GROUP: 4.48

    [12] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -2.62 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, last trading session of 2010, with turnover shrinking to a record low of 4.131 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 624 contracts worth 2.022 million euros, with 28,586 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 4,722 contracts worth 2.106 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (1,030), followed by MIG (135), OTE (926), Piraeus Bank (837), National Bank (584), Cyprus Bank (202) and Mytilineos (124).

    [13] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.346

    Pound sterling 0.867

    Danish kroner 7.513

    Swedish kroner 9.037

    Japanese yen 109.52

    Swiss franc 1.260

    Norwegian kroner 7.862

    Canadian dollar 1.342

    Australian dollar 1.324

    General News

    [14] Metro and electric railways to operate between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday

    Metro and electric railways drivers have decided to suspend the 24-hour strike scheduled for Saturday and turn it into work stoppages from the beginning of the shift until 9 in the morning and from 10 at night until the end of the shift. Consequently, the Metro and the electric railways will be operating as normal from 9 in the morning until 10 at night. Their Tram colleagues have also taken a similar decision.

    [15] Public transport work stoppage in Athens announced

    More public transport strikes were announced in the greater Athens area for the coming week as unions continue to protest against government plans, now part of already ratified laws, for reforms in Greece debt-ridden wider public sector.

    On Monday, Jan. 3, buses, metro, electric railway and trams will hold a work stoppage and will run only between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

    [16] Migrant-laden truck intercepted on way to Italy

    A tip-off led to the interception of 65 illegal immigrants and the arrests of two truck drivers on Thursday on the main Athens to Corinth highway, after the illegals were found hidden inside a lorry carrying oranges to the western port of Patras.

    The truck, with Bulgarian licence plates, was spotted near Elefsina, west of Athens, and stopped.

    According to reports, each of the illegals -- described as Third World nationals -- paid between 1,200-2,220 euros per person for passage to Italy.

    The 42-year-old driver of the vehicle along with a 52-year-old local man suspected as one of the ringleader in the smuggling network, were arrested and sent before a prosecutor.

    The truck, seven mobile phones and 965 euros were confiscated.

    [17] Contraband cigarettes confiscated in freighter off Kissamos

    Port authorities in Crete confiscated 3,000 boxes of contraband cigarettes, according to initial reports, that were found in a freighter outside the port of Kissamos. The vessel had left the port of Famagusta, in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, heading for a port in Albania, while the nine seamen on board told authorities they were unaware of the cargo's content.

    The confiscation of the contraband cargo was confirmed late on Friday afternoon by the Hania harbour master, who said that the vessel was in the gulf of Kissamos due to the weather conditions and was considered suspicious since it had attracted the attention of the authorities in the past as well.

    Weather Forecast

    [18] Cloudy on Saturday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -5C and 16C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens, with light winds and temperatures ranging from 7C to 14C. Fair in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from -1C to 10C.

    [19] The Athens dailies at a glance

    The major issues facing the country during the coming New Year and a bomb attack outside the administrative first instance courthouse in Athens along with the ever-present dire economic situation mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ?DESMEFTOS TYPOS: "A bomb devastated everything at courthouse".

    AVRIANI: "Profiteers ready for 'Black Monday'."

    AVGHI: "2011: Zero year".

    CHORA: "2011: What kind of democracy we will have?"

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Bomb to fairytale of terrorism's eradication".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New year arrives with 11 burning issues".

    ESTIA: The newspaper re-publishes its 1900 edition.

    ETHNOS: "2011 year landmark for Greece and Europe".

    KATHIMERINI: "2010's heavy burden casts shadow on 2011's dawn".

    LOGOS: "Greece in recession in 2011".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "100 difficult days ahead with harsh ratings".

    NIKI: "The 365 days that rocked Greece".

    PROTO THEMA: "Turkish invasion with cheap loans!"

    REALNEWS: "Following an Austrian judge's charges on swaps ... prosecutor knocks on (Costas) Simitis' (the ex prime minister) door".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party's message for the New Year: Hope for the people with counter attack".

    TO VIMA: "The year of fear and major reversals".

    VRADYNI: "Social security: Guide for 2011".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [20] Community leaders to meet on January 12

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu will be holding a new meeting on January 12, in the context of UN-led direct negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem.

    The meeting will be preceded by a meeting of the aides of the leaders of the two communities, George Iacovou and Kudret Ozersay, on January 5.

    In statements to CNA, Iacovou said that, according to Eroglu's doctors, the Turkish Cypriot leader, who recently underwent heart surgery, will be well enough to attend the meeting on January 12.

    Iacovou noted that during Thursday's meeting with Ozersay they discussed issues concerning governance, adding that on January 5 they will be discussing issues relating to the economy and the EU, in preparation for the leaders' meeting on January 12.

    Asked if during the meeting with Ozersay he raised the interruption of the Christmas liturgy in the Turkish occupied areas, Iacovou said he did not, since representations had already been made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the UN.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    The Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides have been engaged in talks since September 2008 with a view to finding a negotiated settlement to reunite the country under a federal roof. Talks were postponed earlier this month when Eroglu had to undergo emergency heart surgery in Ankara.

    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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