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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-01-29

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

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

Saturday, 29 January 2011 Issue No: 3707

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM again rules out default, sees 'positive' climate in Davos
  • [02] PM: Greece has 'positive image' at Davos
  • [03] Gov't eyes untaxed export of capital abroad
  • [04] FM addresses high-level gathering in Montenegro
  • [05] FM's contacts at SEECP meeting in Montenegro
  • [06] Droutsas-Milososki meeting in Montenegro cancelled
  • [07] Illegal migrants evacuate Athens law school
  • [08] Main opposition tables amendment abolishing university asylum
  • [09] FM spokesman praises EU-Turkey migrant readmission agreement
  • [10] DM Venizelos visits Rhodes
  • [11] Military chief: Illegal migration problem should be included in Greece's contribution to Afghan mission
  • [12] Agriculture minister in Israel on Sunday
  • [13] FinMin at Davos: Bond buy-back worth discussing
  • [14] Finmin: Greece to return to debt market by end of year
  • [15] Greece only discussing extension of 110-bln-euro loan repayment period
  • [16] Commission spokesman: Repurchase of Greek debt one of many ideas eyed
  • [17] More public transport strikes next week
  • [18] Greek PPI up 7.6% in Dec.
  • [19] Passenger traffic in Greek ports down in Q2
  • [20] Higher fares from Feb. 1, old tickets valid until Feb. 14
  • [21] Stocks end week 3.65% up
  • [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [23] Greek bond market closing report
  • [24] ELSTAT preparing for census in April
  • [25] "Art on Dock" exhibition at Lesvos marina
  • [26] Egypt Air plane requests emergency landing at Athens Int'l Airport
  • [27] 'Cells of Fire' suspect remanded in custody
  • [28] Deaths from H1N1 rise to 12
  • [29] Schoolbus involved in traffic accident, no injuries
  • [30] Greece loses organisation of Med Games 2013 (ADDS)
  • [31] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [32] Turkish Cypriots protest against financial policy in the occupied areas Politics

  • [01] PM again rules out default, sees 'positive' climate in Davos

    DAVOS (ANA-MPA - V. Mourtis)

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou twice ruled out the prospect that Greece would default on or restructure its debt while speaking to journalists on Friday. He stressed that if restructuring or a 'haircut' had been a part of Greece's plans, it would have done so at the start of the crisis.

    He noted that Greece has a road map for getting out of debt and this did not include default. The Greek premier also noted that the measures and reforms being carried out by the government were not imposed by the International Monetary Fund but would have been necessary even if the country had no debt at all.

    No one believed that Greece would take these measures and get results a year ago but it was now clear to everyone that we meant what we said, he added.

    The Greek premier emphasised that his government had an ambitious programme for restoring the economy to health and was sticking to this, while especially stressing the importance of transparency in issues of governance.

    Questioned about how well these measures were being received in Greece, and whether there was anger and a sense of injustice, Papandreou admitted that several harsh measures had been taken and a certain degree of anger was to be expected but noted that people still gave their support "because they realise that we are changing the country".

    He stressed that his government had found huge levels of waste, mismanagement and lack of transparency when it had taken over and had already delivered half of the things agreed in the three-year Memorandum with the IMF and EU during the first year.

    The prime minister stressed that Greece was doing everything that was necessary and needful to regain the confidence of the markets and had made significant progress in regaining competitiveness, boosting transparency and breaking into new sectors.

    Papandreou also referred to a series of agreements for Chinese investments in Greece, stressing that these were a positive development. He said the goal was to convert Piraeus, which would receive a major Chinese investment, into a centre for innovation.

    In talks with Greek correspondents at Davos, Papandreou said that the climate toward Greece in 2011 was greatly improved relative to 2010, talking of the "return of credibility to Greece". He noted that the debt crisis was now being treated as European problem and not one that only concerned Greece.

    [02] PM: Greece has 'positive image' at Davos

    DAVOS, Switzerland (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis)

    Greece's image at this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos is "positive", prime minister George Papandreou said on Friday on the sidelines of the Forum.

    Papandreou said there was across-the-board acknowledgement of Greece's efforts, that the sacrifices of the Greek people were producing results, and of the Greek people's and government's determination.

    It has become apparent these days that Greece is regaining its credibility and consistency, and maintains its hope and its prospects, the premier added.

    He stressed that everyone must safeguard this effort and carry on to further boost the country's hope and prospects.

    [03] Gov't eyes untaxed export of capital abroad

    DAVOS, Switzerland (ANA-MPA)

    Prime Minister George Papandreou met here on Friday with the President of the Swiss Federation, Doris Leuthard, with talks focusing on the establishment of a bilateral committee to pinpoint untaxed capital exported from Greece to Swiss banks.

    Greek FinMin George Papaconstantinou, referring to the same issue, said that beyond any bilateral agreement, his ministry will exploit all information available to trace the illegal flight of capital to Switzerland and other countries.

    [04] FM addresses high-level gathering in Montenegro

    PODGORICA, Montenegro (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)

    Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas on Friday expressed conviction that the future of Montenegro and of the entire western Balkans region was "in the European family, the EU, in this community of values", addressing a meeting of diplomats and senior public administration officials in Montenegro.

    "This is the only way to move forward. There are no alternative solutions," Droutsas said, stressing that "Greece is at your side, on the road to the European Union".

    In his address, titled "Bringing Europe to the heart of the Western Balkans: the story of Montenegro", in the context of his visit to Montenegro for an SEECP ministerial meeting, Droutsas outlined Greece's "Agenda 2014" initiative, which he called a "peace plan 100 years after the declaration of WWI, a symbolic date to awaken Europe and the enlargement process but also the reform creativity in the western Balkan countries".

    Noting that Greece will hold the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2014, Droutsas said that "we will build on the successful example of the Thessaloniki 2003 Agenda, and our goal is to convene another EU-Western Balkans summit, a Thessaloniki II".

    "Our aspiration is the adoption of a political declaration that will set specific targets for completion of the Western Balkans' accession course," he said, noting that an indicative date for the region's accession to the EU could be 2018, "a symbolic date as it marks 100 years from the end of the War".

    Droutsas also endorsed the Euro-Atlantic prospect, provided all the criteria and values required for NATO accession are met.

    On the European economic crisis, he said that despite the voices being heard, the European budget should not be reduced, and new and more investment tools, such as the eurobonds -- the promotion of which the Greek government is acting systematically -- need to be utilised.

    Asked whether, with so many problems it is facing, Europe will open its doors to new members, Droutsas responded that "without vision there is no path", stressing that very good preparation must be made.

    [05] FM's contacts at SEECP meeting in Montenegro

    PODGORICA (ANA-MPA / N. Melissova)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas sent a "clear message" from here that the coming future of all Balkan peoples lies within the European Union.

    Droutsas is in the Montenegrin capital to participate in an informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).

    On the sidelines of the meeting, the Greek foreign minister held bilateral talks with his counterparts from Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, Albania, Edmond Haxhinasto and Croatia, Gordan Jandrokovic.

    After the end of the meeting, Droutsas made the following statement:

    "Interbalkan cooperation is an important tool for regional cooperation. The Balkans are the neighborhood of Greece. Stability and prosperity in the region is important for Greece's security and economic growth as well. Our message is one and clear: the future, the near future of all Balkan peoples is in the European Union and in this path towards Europe, Greece shows the direction, plays a leading role with concrete proposals. This meeting provided a good opportunity for me to meet with counterparts from neighbouring countries and be briefed on latest developments in the region and, of course, in Albania."

    [06] Droutsas-Milososki meeting in Montenegro cancelled

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA - N. Frangopoulos)

    A scheduled meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and his counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Antonio Milososki has been cancelled, it was announced on Friday.

    The meeting would have taken place on the sidelines of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) ministers' meeting in Montenegro but Milososki was unable to attend after his flight from Skopje was delayed on Friday due to bad weather.

    [07] Illegal migrants evacuate Athens law school

    Roughly 250 illegal immigrants -- all from North African countries -- abandoned an under renovation Athens Law School building in the early morning hours of Friday, ending a standoff that drew even more attention to the spectre of illegal migration, while at the same time reopening heated debate on a controversial law that bestows "asylum" on practically every tertiary educational institution in Greece.

    The group of migrants camped inside the law school building and began a hunger strike, as they said, demanding that European Union member-state Greece grant them and all illegal immigrants in the country legalisation and even naturalisation.

    The illegal migrants, all men, evacuated the building in downtown Athens and headed -- along with supporters affiliated with migrants' rights groups and leftist political groupings -- to a neo-classical building a few kilometres away, and after a cursory agreement was achieved with the building's owner.

    The agreement foresees their stay there no more than 15 days.

    The entire group was ferried from the large island of Crete via ferry boat and arrived at dawn on Monday. Most of the migrants ostensibly lack residency papers and even travel documents, working as farm help and unskilled construction workers in Crete, one of the most prosperous regions in the east Mediterranean country of 11 million.

    "The government calmly and decisively ensured the peaceful and safe exit of this group from the university and the termination of the asylum's tresspassing, all while at the same time defending the rule of law," government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis said.

    Gov't reiterates 'no isolated or mass legalisations, as illegal migrants leave Law School for relocation to other premises

    Interior minister Yiannis Ragoussis on Friday reiterated the government's decision that there will be no isolated or mass legalisations of illegal migrants in Greece, during a press conference on the occupation of an Athens University Law School building in central Athens since Monday by some 250 illegal migrants, all from North African countries, in demand of across-the-board legalisation of all migrants in Greece, both legal and illegal.

    After all-night negotiations with the migrants, they finally abandoned the Law School building, currently closed for renovation, in the early morning hours of Friday and were relocated to a neo-classical building a few kilometers away after a tentative agreement was reached with its owner.

    Ragoussis also said that a prosecutor would launch procedures to attribute responsibilities to all those who had taken part in the procedure of occupation of the Law School.

    Meanwhile, members of the Solidarity Initiative for the hunger-striking illegal migrants at the Law School charged "wretched living conditions" in the neoclassical building.

    They said that the migrants and supporters "left the Law School with their heads high".

    "With a march, carrying their belongings, we came here to face wretchedness. The building conceded is not adequate for even 100 people. At this time the migrants are piled together, while there are no toilet facilities. The entire building has not been made available, but only the first floor and the basement. A total of 80 people were asleep in the yard until 6:00 in the morning and, as soon as it started to drizzle, they were moved to other solidarity premises in Athens," Solidarity Committee member Petros Giotis said.

    The illegal migrants, on their part, said they will carry on with their hunger strike until they are "vindicated".

    At this time, 157 of the illegal migrants and 15 members of the Solidarity Committee are being accommodated at the neoclassical building on Epirou street.

    Roughly 250 illegal immigrants -- all from North African countries -- abandoned an under renovation Athens Law School building in the early morning hours of Friday, ending a standoff that drew even more attention to the spectre of illegal migration, while at the same time reopening heated debate on a controversial law that bestows "asylum" on practically every tertiary educational institution in Greece.

    The group of migrants camped inside the law school building and began a hunger strike, as they said, demanding that European Union member-state Greece grant them and all illegal immigrants in the country legalisation and even naturalisation.

    The illegal migrants, all men, evacuated the building in downtown Athens and headed -- along with supporters affiliated with migrants' rights groups and leftist political groupings -- to a neo-classical building a few kilometres away, and after a cursory agreement was achieved with the building's owner.

    The agreement foresees their stay there for no more than 15 days.

    The entire group was ferried from the large island of Crete via ferry boat and arrived at dawn on Monday. Most of the migrants ostensibly lack residency papers and even travel documents, working as farm help and unskilled construction workers in Crete, one of the most prosperous regions in the east Mediterranean country of 11 million.

    "The government calmly and decisively ensured the peaceful and safe exit of this group from the university and the termination of the asylum's trespassing, all while at the same time defending the rule of law," government spokesman George Petalotis said.

    [08] Main opposition tables amendment abolishing university asylum

    Main opposition New Democracy on Friday tabled an amendment that seeks the abolition of university asylum in its current form. The amendment was attached as a rider to a draft bill on setting up a fund for enterprise and development that will be debated in Parliament next Tuesday.

    In its supporting report, ND noted that today, 29 years after it was first established, "university asylum constitutes a controversial institution with degenerative tendencies".

    The party argued that the law no longer served its original purpose, which was to ensure academic freedoms, the free exchange of ideas and unobstructed education and research.

    "Instead it creates an 'islet' that lends itself to committing all kinds of illegal actions and facilitates external interventions by all sorts from outside the universities," ND stated, pointing to the recent occupation of a Law School building by economic migrants and warning that university campuses might well become lawless enclaves where delinquent behaviours were protected.

    Its proposed amendment would abolish articles governing university asylum in a 2007 law and replace these with articles that specifically protect academic research, freedom of expression and the right to teach different ideas and views.

    The party has sought to differentiate its stance from that of the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, which tabled draft legislation to fully abolish asylum in universities a day earlier. Despite a statement earlier this week from ND leader Antonis Samaras that asylum should be abolished, the party has toned down its final stance to one of modifying asylum laws as these exist today.

    [09] FM spokesman praises EU-Turkey migrant readmission agreement

    A Greek foreign ministry spokesman on Friday said a new migrant readmission protocol between the European Union and Turkey this week covers all of the Union's external borders.

    Moreover, spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said Greece attributes increased significance to the agreement, adding that the Greek government hopes it will be implemented in full. He added that the agreement also confirms the "massive problems" faced by Greece vis-?-vis the problem of illegal immigration from Third World migrants, with most of the flow now using neighbouring Turkey as the main transit country.

    Asked about the issue of a three-year transitional period during which only Turkish nationals that enter the Union illegally will be repatriated, Delavekouras said a Greek demand to include a clause stating that bilateral readmission agreements must also be honored was included in the same article.

    "This was a very important development that we achieved, because implementation of the bilateral protocol for repatriation now comprises part of the agreement with the entire European Union," he said, adding:

    "For Greece, during the transitional period and based on the bilateral pact with Turkey, the procedure for readmission will be applied in all instances, regardless (of an illegal immigrant's) nationality."

    Queried on whether the agreement deals only individuals intercepted on the borders with Turkey, Delavekouras said this was not accurate.

    "... the field of implementation of the agreement extends throughout the breadth of the EU's external borders, regardless of whether these borders are with Turkey. This means that the procedure for repatriation is foreseen even on our borders in the Ionian Sea or on the borders of France or Italy."

    The spokesman said the current bilateral agreement with Turkey -- the initial and ground-breaking protocol was signed in November 2001 -- will be in force throughout the transitional period and under the supervision of the EU, replaced after three years with the EU-Turkey agreement.

    Delavekouras also cited the two-speed system of repatriation, an accelerated version and one followed for illegals found residing far from border areas.

    [10] DM Venizelos visits Rhodes

    National Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos visited on Friday military units on the eastern Aegean island of Rhodes.

    In statements to reporters, Venizelos said that Greece was willng to make important steps aiming at stability and peace in the Aegean, in eastern Mediterranean and the broader region.

    "Greek-Turkish raproachment is a reality in which the Greek people believe, but there are rules that are inviolable, despite the fact that they are known, such as the respect of existing borders, of international law, the respect of good neighbourly relations, the respect of the European acquis. Of course it is evident that everything is influenced not only by the level of Greek-Turksih relations but by the situation in Cyprus, that is by the prudent effort to find a just and viable solution, in the well-known United Nations framework," the minister added.

    [11] Military chief: Illegal migration problem should be included in Greece's contribution to Afghan mission

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)

    The chief of Greece's armed forces general staff, Air Force Lt.-Gen. Ioannis Yiagos, on Thursday called on the NATO alliance to calculate the costs and consequences of an increasing influx of illegal migrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan into the east Mediterranean country as part of Greece's contribution to the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan.

    Yiagos spoke at the 164th NATO military committee of chiefs of defence and military representatives in Brussels.

    On the sidelines of the summit, the Greek military chief also met with his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi.

    [12] Agriculture minister in Israel on Sunday

    Greek Agriculture Development Minister Costas Skandalidis begins on Sunday an official visit to Israel at the invitation of his counterpart Orit Noked.

    Apart from his official talks, Skandalidis will also meet Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos.

    Financial News

    [13] FinMin at Davos: Bond buy-back worth discussing

    DAVOS, Switzerland (ANA-MPA/A. Haralambidis)

    Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou said Friday that the idea of a buy-back of the Greek state bonds at prices lower than their nominal value "is worth discussing", during a press conference on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

    "For this to happen, money is needed, and so it is one of the ideas that are being discussed, although not officially," Papaconstantinou said, adding "it is an idea that deserves some discussion, like others".

    The comprehensive package of measures to address Europe's debt crisis, which is expected within the next couple of months, will improve market sentiment, the Greek minister said.

    "That will allow us, during the course of the year, perhaps towards the end of the year, to come back (to the markets) with a longer (treasury bill) issuance," Papaconstantinou said on Reuters TV, stressing that the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) needs to have more firing power and flexibility.

    The idea of a buy-back of Greek bonds from the secondary market, in which the current prices are lower than the nominal, is being examined by the eurozone finance ministers, according to Reuters, aiming to reduce Greece's debt.

    [14] Finmin: Greece to return to debt market by end of year

    DAVOS (Reuters)

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Friday said Greece could return to the debt market by the end of this year and reiterated that Athens would not restructure its debt to private creditors.

    Greece became the first euro zone country to receive an EU/IMF bailout last May, receiving 110 billion euros in loans after it was shut out of capital markets due to massive debts.

    Separately, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said European Union governments were considering the possibility of allowing EU financial institutions to recapitalise European banks that need bolstering.

    Papandreou was asked whether a collective solution at an EU level to recapitalise banks that needed funds along the lines of the U.S. TARP programme was under consideration.

    "These are issues which are being seriously discussed now," he replied. "Who is going to do this if it is necessary? Will it be the EFSF? Will it be the ECB (European Central Bank)? These are issues that are on the table."

    His finance minister stuck to an official forecast of a 3 percent contraction in Greek GDP this year after a 4 percent fall in 2010, but added: "Let's see if we can surprise the market."

    Athens is committed under its austerity programme to cut its budget gap to below the EU limit of 3 percent of GDP in 2014.

    Papaconstantinou said he expected the euro zone and the IMF to agree to stretch out the repayment period for rescue loans and reduce the interest rate to help make the debt sustainable.

    Greece's public debt stands at 145 percent of GDP and is projected to peak at 158 percent in 2013, according to EU and IMF forecasts, a level which many say is unsustainable.

    [15] Greece only discussing extension of 110-bln-euro loan repayment period

    The Greek government on Friday reiterated it was only discussing an extension of the repayment period of a 110-billion-euro loan. Speaking to reporters, during a daily briefing, government spokesman George Petalotis said there were currently several scenarios over the Greek debt but stressed that "we are only discussing a plan to extend the repayment period of the 110-billion-euro loan".

    Commenting on comments made by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou earlier in Davos, the spokesman said the Finance minister stressed there was an idea of discussing the repurchase of Greek debt and underlined that "this is a public debate in which we do not participate".

    Petalotis stressed that Greece dismissed all pessimistic forecasts for Greece and noted that the government was moving forward with a vision and a plan to strengthen the country, the economy, the society and its institutions in order to avoid being in a similar position again in the future.

    [16] Commission spokesman: Repurchase of Greek debt one of many ideas eyed

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni)

    The issue of repurchasing Greek debt is one of many ideas currently under discussion in the Eurozone, Amadeu Altafaj, a spokesman for EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Olli Rehn said on Friday.

    The spokesman, commenting on statements by Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou ?n the issue, said the latter met with Rehn in Davos and added that a discussion was underway -- currently in the Eurozone and the EU in general -- over finding an overall solution to deal with a debt crisis in the Eurozone. These discussions included the issue of the current and future financing mechanism, which will be discussed at a European Council on Feb. 4.

    Altafaj underlined the efforts made by Commission President Jose Barroso and Rehn to ensure progress in decision-making and stressed that finding an overall solution to the problem was an urgent need for the Commission.

    The spokesman acknowledged that a plan to repurchase Greek debt was examined in unofficial discussions but added that other options were also examined.

    "The discussion is open and member-states should find the ways for a more efficient solution, through a permanent support mechanism," Altafaj said, adding there was room for improvement in the operation of the current mechanism.

    [17] More public transport strikes next week

    Athens public transport workers on Friday announced plans for a new round of strikes during the coming week, cutting short their talks with the transport ministry.

    The move came after the ministry decided to table a draft bill for reforming the public transport system in Parliament, with minimal modifications relative to the original proposals, while talks with the unions were still underway.

    So far, Athens buses have declared a work stoppage from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Monday so that staff can attend a general assembly to decide further strike action. Workers in other means of public transport are to hold assemblies and make decisions over the weekend.

    The ministry responded by saying that the bill had to be tabled in order to keep to the schedule but that dialogue could continue until it was voted on by Parliament.

    [18] Greek PPI up 7.6% in Dec.

    Greece's Producers' Price Index in the industrial sector (measuring both the domestic and external markets) grew 7.6 pct in December 2010, compared with the same month in 2009, up from a 5.0 pct rise recorded in the previous 12-month period, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Friday.

    The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development to a 6.9-pct rise in the domestic producer's price index and a 10 pct increase in the external market producer's price index. The December figure was up 1.8 pct from November, after a 0.2-pct increase recorded in the same period in 2009. The 12-month average index was up 6.7-pct in December, after a decline of 5.8-pct recorded in the previous 12-month period.

    [19] Passenger traffic in Greek ports down in Q2

    Passenger traffic at Greek ports dropped 6.6 pct in the second quarter of 2010, compared with the corresponding period in 2009, after a decline of 5.0 pct recorded in the previous year, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Friday.

    The service, in a report, said domestic traffic was down 7.1 pct while foreign traffic was up 5.0 pct.

    The same report said that cargo traffic in Greek ports fell 7.3 pct in the second quarter of 2010, after a 4.5 pct decline recorded in the same period in 2009, reflecting a 20.6 pct decline in domestic transport and 0.6 pct fall in foreign transport.

    [20] Higher fares from Feb. 1, old tickets valid until Feb. 14

    The new higher public transport fares announced by the government will start to apply from next Tuesday, February 1. Tickets bought in advance at the old prices will continue to be valid for use until the following Monday, February 14.

    As of Tuesday, February 15, and until April 1 the old tickets can be traded for new tickets of equal value at the Athens urban transport organisation (OASA) headquarters at 25 Metsovou Street in Athens and at the Syntagma and Panepistimio metro stations.

    [21] Stocks end week 3.65% up

    Stocks ended higher during the last trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday. The composite index of the market rose 1.35 pct to end at 1,591.23 points, for a net gain of 3.56 pct in the week. Turnover was a moderate 114.062 million euros.

    The Big Cap index rose 1.34 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.84 pct higher and the Small Cap index jumped 3.0 pt. The Raw Materials (4.68 pct) and Media (4.38 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel (2.30 pct) and Health (2.09 pct) suffered losses. Viohalco (6.09 pct), National Bank (4.81 pct) and Hellenic Postbank (3.95 pct) were major gainers among blue chip stocks, while OPAP (2.49 pct) and MIG (1.83 pct) were losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 121 to 42 with another 60 issues unchanged. Fieratex (20 pct), Evrofarma (17.78 pct) and ETEM (14.89 pct) were top gainers, while Paperpack (19.80 pct), Petzetakis (13.33 pct) and Attikat (11.11 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: unchanged

    Industrials: +2.65%

    Commercial: -0.15%

    Construction: +1.22%

    Media: +4.38%

    Oil & Gas: +1.00%

    Personal & Household: +1.35%

    Raw Materials: +4.68%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.30%

    Technology: +2.12%

    Telecoms: -0.40%

    Banks: +2.50%

    Food & Beverages: +1.25%

    Health: -2.09%

    Utilities: +0.67%

    Chemicals: +1.29%

    Financial Services: +3.97%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 4.20

    ATEbank: 0.76

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.92

    HBC Coca Cola: 21.95

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.95

    National Bank of Greece: 6.97

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.20

    OPAP: 14.91

    OTE: 7.40

    Bank of Piraeus: 1.64

    Titan: 16.12

    [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.382

    Pound sterling 0.867

    Danish kroner 7.513

    Swedish kroner 8.923

    Japanese yen 113.66

    Swiss franc 1.304

    Norwegian kroner 7.996

    Canadian dollar 1.375

    Australian dollar 1.386

    [23] Greek bond market closing report

    Talk over the repurchase of state debt by the European Financial Support Fund maintained a positive climate in the European bond markets. Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market was a low 25 million euros, of which 16 million were buy orders and the remaining 9.0 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 7.0 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 817 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 11.34 pct and the German Bund 3.34 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month rate was 1.62 pct, the six-month rate 1.30 pct, the three-month 1.05 pct and the one-month rate 0.87 pct.

    General News

    [24] ELSTAT preparing for census in April

    The Hellenic Statistical Authority ELSTAT on Friday announced the start of work to count all residences in Greece in preparation for conducting a national census. The statistics authority said that this would help in dividing up the census sectors and regions so that the census can be carried out in roughly the same time throughout the country.

    The count of the buildings will take place on February 1-28, while the general census of population and residences will take place from March 30 until April 13

    [25] "Art on Dock" exhibition at Lesvos marina

    The Tourism Development Company (ETA) is advancing actions for the development of cultural tourism in Greece, in the context of efforts to maximise utilisation of the state properties it manages.

    The ETA announced on Friday that the marina in Mytilene, on the island of Lesvos, is opening its gates to host a thematic exhibition by four artists who live and work on the island, titled "Art on Docks".

    The exhibition, which will be inaugurated on Friday evening at the marina at Makrygialo, will present works by sculptress Lena Triantafyllou, photographer George Iordanou, painter Alexandros Karavas and Trash Art artists George Katsaros.

    The exhibition will run through February 13, open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily.

    [26] Egypt Air plane requests emergency landing at Athens Int'l Airport

    An Egypt Air company plane requested an emergency landing at the Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport on Friday evening, citing a telephone warning for a bomb on the plane.

    The plane was operating its London-Cairo route.

    After landing at 20:40, the plane was evacuated and police experts started their checking of the plane.

    [27] 'Cells of Fire' suspect remanded in custody

    A 23-year-old man arrested on Wednesday in Kifissia with two outstanding arrest warrants against him for participation in the "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire" urban terror group and in connection with a spate of parcel-bombs in November was remanded in custody on Friday after being brought before an examining magistrate.

    The detainee, Michalis Nikolopoulos refused to give testimony, saying that he does not acknowledge the procedure.

    The two arrest warrants against Nikolopoulos are for participation in the "Cells of Fire" and for a spate of 14 parcel bombs sent to foreign embassies in Athens and foreign leaders in November.

    After the two warrants are executed, the suspect will also be taken before a prosecutor to be charged for arms possession, given that police found a pistol and a handgrenade in his possession at the time of his arrest.

    [28] Deaths from H1N1 rise to 12

    Three more people died as a result of infection with the H1N1 flu virus over the past 24 hours in Greece, bringing the total death toll to 12 on Friday.

    A further four people had to be admitted to hospital ICUs over the same period after developing serious complications due to the flu.

    According to figures released by the Centre for the Control and Prevention of Diseases (KEELPNO), 65 people have been admitted to ICUs with complications of H1N1 since the start of the year, of which 34 are still being treated in ICUs.

    [29] Schoolbus involved in traffic accident, no injuries

    A schoolbus carrying primary school pupils from Kilkis prefecture to Thessaloniki crashed with a passenger car on the Kilkis-Thessaloniki stretch of the national highway on Friday morning, but no injuries were reported.

    The accident took place on the 19th kilometer of the highway for reasons as yet unknown.

    The pupils and accompanying teachers were picked up by another bus and safely transported to their destination in Thessaloniki.

    The nearby Litis traffic police are investigating the circumstances of the accident.

    Sports

    [30] Greece loses organisation of Med Games 2013 (ADDS)

    The International Committee for the Mediterranean Games (ICMG) decided in Paris on Friday that Greece will not host the 2013 Mediterranean Games, which were to be held in Volos and Larissa.

    ICMG, which met in Paris on Friday, said that Greece has delayed in constructing the required facilities.

    Responding to the announcement, Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos noted that the decision had been "made in advance" and that the ICMG had three alternative candidates lined up to host the Games.

    "We submitted to the ICMG a responsible proposal given the economic crisis, which rationalised some of the excessive costs foreseen under the plan of the previous government and which reduced the overall cost of the Mediterranean Games from 358 million euro to 126 million euro," the minister revealed, adding that the original budget had contained several "excesses" that the government had attempted to correct.

    He stressed that Greece had guaranteed to host excellent Mediterranean Games, in spite of the substantial cutbacks proposed.

    [31] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The takeover of an Athens University Law School building in central Athens by illegal migrants and the economy were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Friday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Tragicomic operation at Athens Law School".

    AVGHI: "The migrants must not be forgotten".

    AVRIANI: "How you will get your IKA and OGA pensions".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Chaos, with Papoutsis' (Citizens Protection minister) seal".

    ELEFTHEROS: "They (government) bowed to the blackmail of the Muslim squatters (at Law School)".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "EU demands recognition of 'degrees' from franchise colleges here and now".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Odyssey of 250 'hostages' (illegal migrants at Law School)".

    ESTIA: "Resignation: Unknown word".

    ETHNOS: "Shadow Theater, with illegal migrants as the bit actors".

    IMERISSIA: "No to debt restructuring - Papandreou's optimistic message at Davos (World Economic Forum)".

    KATHIMERINI: "Bargaining and ultimatums at Law School".

    LOGOS: "Negotiations for the...self-evident".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Option of debt buy-back is attractive".

    PARASKEVI+13 (weekly): "The 'poor devils' in prison (for overdue debts to the state) - The Siemens kickback scandal 'gang' in the salons".

    NIKI: "Dangerous game with the university asylum".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Vigilance of the people prompted by incident at Law School".

    TA NEA: "They moved them (illegal migrants) from the Law School at dawn".

    VRADYNI: "Night of agony (marathon negotiations with illegal migrants for their relocation from Law School)".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [32] Turkish Cypriots protest against financial policy in the occupied areas

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Turkish Cypriots protested on Friday against the economic policy of the so called government in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    The massive rally was organized by the platform of Turkish Cypriot Trade Unions comprising approximately 30 trade unions, organizations and political parties opposing the policy followed by Dervis Eroglou's illegal regime. The Platform demands civil and labour rights and the re-unification of the country. The demonstrators protested against the package of financial measures the illegal regime, following Turkey's instructions, tries to implement in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Participants were holding placards, inter alia, with slogans against Turkey and the Turkish government, while on two placards the flag of the Republic of Cyprus was pictured. The Turkish Cypriot parties "Turkish Republican Party", "Democratic Party", "Democratic Society", "United Cyprus" and "New Cyprus" were participating in the rally along with the biggest unions of workers in the occupied areas, in the so called state and semi state services, telecommunications and electricity "authorities", health sector, banks and education system, teachers and professors.

    The main slogan on the podium of the rally was "There is no salvation for ourselves. All together or none of us". Representatives of the organizers estimate that the participants in the rally exceeded 20.000, while other estimations refer to 40.000 people. The protesters adopted a declaration A declaration prepared by the platform was approved.

    In the declaration, the support to a solution of the Cyprus problem the soonest is stated.

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