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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-02-22

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

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

Tuesday, 22 February 2011 Issue No: 3727

CONTENTS

  • [01] Foreign minister at EU council on events in N. Africa, Middle East
  • [02] Situation in Libya examined in late-night foreign ministry meeting
  • [03] Foreign ministry on standby to evacuate Greeks in Libya
  • [04] FM again cites idea of Greece-based centre for democracy
  • [05] PM's address at Humboldt Univ. briefly interrupted by protest
  • [06] Draft bill on fighting tax evasion tabled in Parliament
  • [07] Samaras bashes PM, gov't
  • [08] DAP proposals on education unveiled
  • [09] Gov't on contacts between Papandreou with Strauss-Kahn in Dec. 2009
  • [10] KKE SG on PM and IMF
  • [11] President Papoulias expressed optimism that the country will exit the economic crisis
  • [12] Minister blames football club managements for hooliganism
  • [13] Tsipras calls for Parliamentary debate on developments in EU
  • [14] Minister of State Pamboukis in Qatar
  • [15] Alpha Bank again rejects National Bank's merger offer
  • [16] Greek gov't debt at 340.3 bln euros in 2010
  • [17] ESEE: failing businesses may cost state 8 bln in lost taxes
  • [18] Unions call nationwide strike for Wed.
  • [19] Transport stoppages this week
  • [20] Gov't accelerates procedures for Helliniko project
  • [21] Measure for 'semi-outdoor' spaces falls foul of civil engineers in town planning offices
  • [22] No backdated fees for 'semi-outdoor spaces'
  • [23] Record number of store closures in downtown Athens
  • [24] Aegean Airlines suspends flights to Cairo
  • [25] Greek merchant marine fleet down 0.8% in Dec.
  • [26] Building activity down 25.3% in Jan-Nov
  • [27] Stocks end sharply lower
  • [28] Greek bond market closing report
  • [29] ADEX closing report
  • [30] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [31] H1N1 deaths in Greece climb to 99 since start of year
  • [32] Attack against Super League office in wake of controversial derby
  • [33] EU: Internet access to public services
  • [34] Stolen car catches fire while in motion
  • [35] Arsonists target Tax Bureau office in Thessaloniki
  • [36] Rainy on Tuesday
  • [37] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [38] Cyprus President receives Turkish Cypriot party delegation Politics

  • [01] Foreign minister at EU council on events in N. Africa, Middle East

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Aroni)

    Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Monday confirmed that the Greek foreign and defence ministries have plans in place for the evacuation of some 250 Greek citizens and any Cypriot nationals currently in Libya. Droutsas was speaking in Brussels, where he had represented Greece at an EU General Affairs Council focusing on the events in north Africa and the Middle East.

    Droutsas said that Athens was working with the foreign ministry in Cyprus, while the operation was being coordinated by Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Dollis and foreign ministry general secretary Ioannis Zepos.

    Concerning the discussion at the General Affairs Council, Droutsas said he was satisfied with a decision that the EU should play an active role in the region and the agreement on a clearly defined political approach. He said Greece had supported proposals for a comprehensive 'Marshal-type' European plan for the region, to help with its economic growth.

    During the meeting, the minister presented a proposal for a 'Democracy Centre' based in Greece to help promote democracy in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, stressing that this was not an attempt to "patronise" these countries but to help them become more democratic.

    The meeting also focused on efforts to evacuate European citizens in Libya and discussed the probable increase in migration flows from the region.

    [02] Situation in Libya examined in late-night foreign ministry meeting

    The situation in Libya was examined during a late-night meeting at the foreign ministry on Sunday, ministry secretary general Ambassador Yannis-Alexis Zepos said on state TV on Monday.

    Zepos said that the tension in Tripoli and Bengazi were examined in particular.

    He said that the foreign ministry, in collaboration with the defence ministry, are on stand-by to ensure the safety of the Greek citizens in the area.

    [03] Foreign ministry on standby to evacuate Greeks in Libya

    Athens is carefully monitoring developments in Libya and ready to set in motion plans to evacuate any Greeks that live in that country and express a wish to leave, the Greek foreign ministry said in an announcement on Monday.

    The ministry said that an evacuation operation will be carried out using C-130 transport planes provided by the national defence ministry and in consultation with Libyan authorities.

    "For this purpose, the Greek embassy in Tripoli is in constant contact with both representatives of the Greek communities in Benghazi and Tripoli, and with Greek-owned companies active in Libya that employ staff in various parts of the country, some of which are far from the major urban centres," the announcement said.

    [04] FM again cites idea of Greece-based centre for democracy

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas again called for the creation of a centre for new politicians from the Arab world, an institution he said could be hosted in EU member-state Greece, speaking here on the sidelines of a public discussion on the future of the euro.

    Droutsas outlined the Greek proposal for such a centre, which he had previously presented to both the British foreign secretary and the UNSG during the previous week.

    [05] PM's address at Humboldt Univ. briefly interrupted by protest

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA / G. Pappas)

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed an audience at the noted Humboldt University here on Monday evening, although his speech was interrupted at several points by a group of students shouting slogans and unfurling a banner in the auditorium.

    On his part, Papandreou called on the protesters to first listen to his speech and then protest if they want. According to reports, the Greek PM asked if the protesters had a representative who could take the podium and express their views.

    "In Greece we need to proceed with major changes; it would be good if protest, by itself, could solve Greece's problems."

    [06] Draft bill on fighting tax evasion tabled in Parliament

    The government on Monday tabled in Parliament a draft bill on fighting tax evasion, which includes harsher penalties and treatment for tax offenders but also creates the post of a financial public prosecutor to investigate serious tax fraud.

    When the draft bill is passed, offences such as failing to pay taxes that are due, concealing income in one's tax statements or non-payment of VAT can all lead to arrest and prosecution for a period ranging from 20 months to five years. Offences for smaller amounts are classed as misdemeanours, while for sums in excess of 150,000 euros income tax or more than 75,000 euros VAT they are classed as criminal offences.

    The offences all carry possible prison sentences, ranging from periods of up to a year for sums less than 5,000 euros, while for sums higher than 150,000 euros they range from a minimum of three years to a maximum of 20 years.

    For repeat offenders, the penalties can neither be suspended nor converted to fines.

    Among others, the draft bill also establishes an Internal Affairs Service within the finance ministry to investigate the involvement of finance ministry employees in possible offences and to check the statements of means and assets submitted by finance ministry employees.

    [07] Samaras bashes PM, gov't

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Monday lashed out against prime minister George Papandreou and the PASOK government over an article appearing in the Sunday edition of "Kathimerini", according to which Papandreou had secretly asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to intervene in order to bail out Greece in December 2009, in a communication with IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn

    "We asked the government. We asked them and they did not reply. And there is no longer any reason for them to reply. Everyone understands," Samaras said in reply to a journalist's question.

    [08] DAP proposals on education unveiled

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras called for a broad dialogue on education issues that will be far removed from the problems of the past, after attending a presentation of the ND-affiliated DAP-NDFK student organisation's proposals on education.

    Samaras said that DAP, with the platform it presented, 'broke' the decades-long established mentality in Greek education, and called the proposals bold and specific, which were finalised after a long process of public dialogue.

    "You see what is going on in Europe, where the universities are the steam engine of growth," Samaras said, calling the proposals a lesson in politics because they tackle the real problems, and a lesson in democracy because "you know how to listen".

    The proposals include abolition of the university asylum, and amendment of Article 16 to allow private univerisities.

    [09] Gov't on contacts between Papandreou with Strauss-Kahn in Dec. 2009

    Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis on Monday cited newspaper reports in the Dec. 11, 2009 issues of two Athens dailies that referred to contacts between Prime Minister George Papandreou and IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, which had taken place at the time in an effort to underline that they were not made in secrecy.

    The newspaper reports in question referred to statements made then by the government spokesman as regards the premier's contacts with Strauss-Kahn and European leaders.

    Concerning the French television network Canal+ documentary, due to be broadcast next month, which apparently contains footage in which Strauss-Kahn mentions that he was approached by the Greek premier and asked whether Greece might seek the IMF assistance, Petalotis stressed that nobody knows yet what exactly the IMF head says in the documentary.

    Petalotis stated that the government was seeking a European solution from the start, adding that in the beginning it was difficult to obtain it as a result of the huge credibility deficit the country inherited from the preceding New Democracy (ND) government. He said that the contacts Papandreou had with Strauss-Kahn "were exploratory discussions for the purpose of meeting our loan needs and not negotiations," adding that the moves made "were a patriotic duty to prevent the country from going bankrupt".

    "It was then when the government was discovering the size of the crisis day-by-day," he said and underlined that it was totally reasonable and necessary for the premier to have contacts with the IMF head and all the EU partners.

    The government spokesman strongly criticised main opposition New Democracy (ND) accusing it of "hypocrisy" and stressed that the government never hid anything.

    [10] KKE SG on PM and IMF

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, commented Monday on a report in Sunday's edition of the newspaper "Kathimerini" according to which Prime Minister George Papandreou had secretly asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to intervene in order to bail out Greece in December 2009.

    "I think that Mr. Papandreou had decided long before the elections and long before he assumed governance. He was saying that 'money exists' precisely to justify himself afterwards that they gave him false data and therefore to justify the deliberate resorting to the troika".

    [11] President Papoulias expressed optimism that the country will exit the economic crisis

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday expressed optimism that the country will exit the economic crisis speaking in Ioannina, northwest Greece, after the student and military parade held within the framework of the celebrations marking the 98th anniversary of the city's liberation from the Ottoman rule.

    Papoulias likened the current situation the country is experiencing with the "nightmare" of the Ottoman rule and urged the Greek people to display "the same boldness, courage and patriotism with our ancestors". He also called on the people "not to lose hope", stressing that "fighters never lose their hope".

    "Certain things need to be fixed. Those who are weaker than others will have to be assisted but in the end, I am certain that we will be winners," he said.

    Earlier, President Papoulias attended a doxology at Saint Athanasios Cathedral and laid a wreath at the monument built in memory of those who fell in the Battle of Bizani (south of Ioannina) in February 1913. The battle was decisive in the liberation of the entire northwest province of Epirus.

    [12] Minister blames football club managements for hooliganism

    Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Monday blamed the boards of the football clubs that tolerate hooliganism by their fans, speaking in Parliament on the occasion of the violence that marred Sunday's derby between Olympiacos Piraeus-Panathianikos Athens.

    The match ended with a controversial 2-1 victory by league-leading Olympiacos in the wake of a handful of questionable referee calls, while several Panathinaikos players were roughed up while running from the pitch after the game's end.

    Papoutsis underlined that police had taken all necessary measures in accordance with the law hours before the opening of the match. "I cannot accept that the football club boards, considering the money they spend, cannot control what their fans bring with them at the stadium," he stressed.

    Papoutsis made the comments in response to a current question by opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) MP Adonis Georgiadis, who called on the government to take a stand as regards Sunday's incidents.

    [13] Tsipras calls for Parliamentary debate on developments in EU

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group president Alexis Tsipras, in a letter to Parliament president Filippos Petsalnikos, requested the holding of an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament at party leader level on developments in the European Union in light of the special summit on March 13.

    Tsipras mentioned in his letter that under normal conditions, the holding of an analytical discussion at the plenum, for such important issues should constitute a priority for the government itself, as is the case accordingly in the rest of the European parliaments, before crucial decisions.

    Financial News

    [14] Minister of State Pamboukis in Qatar

    The Greek delegation, headed by Minister of State Haris Pamboukis, that is visiting Doha, met on Monday with the Prime Minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani and the Executive Director of the Qatar Investment Authority Ahmad Al Sayed.

    According to an announcement, issues of mutual interest were raised during the meeting with the prime minister and the recent developments in Europe and the Arab world were also discussed, while the discussions with the Qatar Investment Authority focused on the plan to restructure the area of the former Elliniko airport.

    Pamboukis also met with the Energy and Industry Minister of Qatar Mohammed Saleh Al-Sada with the aim of further developing relations between the two countries in the energy sector.

    On Tuesday, the Minister of state will be meeting the emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.

    [15] Alpha Bank again rejects National Bank's merger offer

    Alpha Bank chairman Yiannis Kostopoulos on Monday reiterated his group's rejection of National Bank's offer for a friendly merger between the two banks, saying the terms of the offer were not to the benefit of Alpha Bank's shareholders.

    In a letter sent to the bank's staff, the veteran Greek banker said that Alpha Bank's board examined in detail National Bank's offer and rejected it, taking in view the interests of its shareholders, its employees and customers.

    "This decision also took into consideration the uncertainty caused by the current situation and the context of the offer," Kostopoulos said, adding: "With the honesty and confidence established in our relations, we continue our effort, focusing on our work, ignoring rumours and speculations, most of which are not related with reality. With confidence in our principles and fully acknowledging our value, we continue are creative course together."

    He noted that Alpha Bank, active amid a very difficult period for the Greek economy, is acknowledged by the domestic market as a strong banking group with positive prospects.

    "With a history of more than 100 years and a remarkable performance, the bank is at the centre of attention and a leader in developments. The challenges we are facing today are many and uncertainty is on the rise. Our strong bases, shareholders' confidence, customers' preference and our workforce's commitment, allow us to face difficulties with success," he said.

    On the other hand, National Bank chief executive Apostolos Tamvakakis, speaking to institutional investors during a teleconference, expressed surprise over Alpha Bank's negative response to the proposal and said that negotiations between the two banks were in a very good level, without any negative signs over the final outcome.

    Tamvakakis presented in detail all the positive aspects of the friendly merger, a move that could offer multiple benefits to both the two banks' shareholders and the Greek economy in general, as he said. The National Bank executive said the entity produced from merger between the two banks would enjoy greater resistance against systemic risks and adverse developments in capital markets, with a core Tier I ratio of 10.7 pct. It would also have a capitalization of 9.7 billion euros, ranking amongst the 30 largest banks in Europe.

    Finally, Piraeus Bank chairman Mihalis Sallas merely noted that such a merger could benefit the domestic banking sector and the Greek economy in general.

    [16] Greek gov't debt at 340.3 bln euros in 2010

    Greece's central government debt totaled 340.277 billion euros at the end of last year, up from 336.807 billion euros on Sept. 30, 2010, the finance ministry announced on Monday.

    The ministry noted the country's reserves totaled 7.187 billion euros on Dec. 31, 2010, down from 11.176 billion euros three months earlier.

    [17] ESEE: failing businesses may cost state 8 bln in lost taxes

    The Greek state stands to lose up to eight billion euro in taxes if predictions that 120,000 small and medium-sized businesses will close in 2011 are borne out, the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) pointed out on Monday.

    Based on a study conducted by the ESEE's Institute for the Study of Commerce and Services, six in 10 SMEs are currently operating at a loss.

    According to figures presented in the study those facing the prospect of closure included 24,000 self-employed currently generating 309,494,880 euros in tax revenue, 66,000 single person businesses that would lead to revenue losses of 3,598,514,700 euros, 24,000 small companies that would result in 2,276,835,360 euro in losses for the state and 6,000 societe anonyme leading to 1,703,970,960 euros in lost revenue for the state. In total, these sums amount to an estimated 7,888,815,900 euros.

    There were 65,000 business closures in 2010 and the lost tax revenue for the state was roughly three billion euros. According to ESEE, another wave of business closures is expected to take place immediate after the end of the winter sales.

    Commenting on a strike by retailers on February 23, on the same day as the general strike declared by the country's two largest trade union federations, ESEE President Vassilis Korkidis stressed that this was mainly symbolic and a sign that people "have had enough".

    He said that the way to stop businesses closing was to put an end to "invisible tax evasion" in the form of black market trade.

    Asked about projected participation in the protest closure on February 23, Korkidis said that 150 owners of shops in the centre of Athens intend to stay shut on that day, even though their association as a whole decided to close during the hours of a planned march and rally, while other merchant associations around Greece intend to join in the shop closures.

    [18] Unions call nationwide strike for Wed.

    A 24-hour strike on Wednesday has been called by the two umbrella federations, GSEE and ADEDY, representing the private and public sectors. respectively, in Greece.

    The union representing bank employees, OTOE, also announced that it will participate in a protest rally to be staged at the Pedion tou Areos square in central Athens at 11 a.m.

    Also, the unions of primary and secondary school teachers announced a 48-hour strike on Tuesday and Wednesday to protest salary cuts, reduction of education sector funding and school mergers.

    Meanwhile, Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air also announced changed to the schedule for Wednesday due to a four-hour work stoppage by air traffic controllers in the early afternoon. A handful of flights, mainly to domestic destinations, have been cancelled.

    [19] Transport stoppages this week

    Urban buses and trolleys, and ISAP trains will be holding work stoppages on Tuesday, while all urban transport will come to a standstill on Wednesday as the relevant unions have stated they will take part in a 24-hour nationwide labor strike called by the country's two largest umbrella unions, GSEE and ADEDY, representing the public and private sector respectively.

    On Tuesday, ISAP trains will not be running from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm, while buses and trolleys will not be running from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm to enable employees to hold a general assembly to decide further action.

    On Wednesday, only the ISAP trains will run from 9am to 5pm, while all other public transport means will hold a 24-hour strike in the context of the nationwide labor strike called by GSEE and ADEDY.

    The ISAP trains will be running to serve people who wish to take part in the mass demonstration and march to be held in downtown Athens on Wednesday, according to an announce-ment by the employees' union. ISAP employees will be holding work stoppages from the beginning of the morning shift to 9am and from 5pm to the end of the night shift.

    [20] Gov't accelerates procedures for Helliniko project

    The government on Monday announced plans to set up a "Helliniko SA" company, responsible for the management and exploitation of facilities of the former Helliniko airport and surrounding properties. The new company will have an equity capital of 1.5 million euros.

    The establishment of the company was included in a new tax draft bill, tabled to Parliament on Monday. Under the plan, the transfer of any part or all the property will require a government legislation - after completion of the property's value.

    Minister of State Haris Pampoukis is currently visiting Qatar for talks over the exploitation of the former airport, while an inter-governmental commission for strategic investments unanimously agreed to include the Helliniko project in a fast track procedure for large-scale investments in the country.

    [21] Measure for 'semi-outdoor' spaces falls foul of civil engineers in town planning offices

    Civil engineers in town planning offices on Monday announced that they will stop processing all applications concerning the measures giving an 'amnesty' for the illegal conversion of building features to other uses, initially until the end of February.

    The measures concern millions of buildings throughout Greece with building code violations such as conversion of so-called 'semi-outdoor' spaces to interior spaces, loft conversions or the conversion of basements into main living areas.

    Their union said that the deadlines set by the government could not be met with the staff currently available at town planning departments and the "administrative chaos" that followed implementation of the Kallikratis plan for local government mergers.

    [22] No backdated fees for 'semi-outdoor spaces'

    The imposition of backdated fees on previously undeclared "semi-outdoor spaces" is eliminated without any exception through a legislative regulation sponsored by the interior ministry to be voted in parliament was announced on Monday.

    The legislative regulation will settle once and for all the issue that arose following an interior ministry circular issued last week that gave municipal authorities the power to backdate municipal rates on previously undeclared "semi-outdoor spaces".

    The existence of thousands of such illegally enclosed building features - known in Greece by the shorthand "semi-outdoor spaces" and usually the "handiwork" of contractors wishing to offer bigger apartments to buyers - was recently revealed when owners took advantage of a measure allowing them to "maintain" illegal building conversions for 40 years by paying a lump sum.

    [23] Record number of store closures in downtown Athens

    Sixty-five thousand commercial stores have closed down and 100,000 jobs have been lost all over Greece in the past 13 months. Of these, 25 percent have closed in the wider region of downtown Athens according to the latest data by the Athens Trade Society. The main reason is the inability of owners to pay their rents that constitute the biggest burden on the stores' operational cost.

    Over the last three months a downward trend is being observed in the rents of downtown stores that reaches up to 30 percent.

    The stores that are estimated to have closed, according to the Athens Trade Society's data, are only groundfloor stores and those located on floors are not included.

    On the part of owners, the trend is being noted of the traditional rent contract between the owner and the storekeeper being replaced by private agreements through which the owner of the real estate participates in the turnover of the business with perentages ranging between 20-25 percent.

    [24] Aegean Airlines suspends flights to Cairo

    Aegean Airlines on Monday announced the suspension of its flights to Cairo, noting that the instability in the Egyptian capital has resulted in low capacity on the flights.

    Aegean said it is suspending its flights to and from Cairo for the 2011 summer season, effective as from March 23, 2011.

    In an announcement, Aegean said it will examine the exploitation of the capacity of the above flights in other destinations presenting greater interest and prospects for boosting Greek tourism.

    [25] Greek merchant marine fleet down 0.8% in Dec.

    The Greek merchant shipping fleet declined slightly by 0.8 pct in December 2010, compared with the same month in 2009, after an increase of 1.4 pct recorded in the previous 12-month period, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Monday.

    The service said the Greek fleet totaled 2,096 ships. Total capacity of the Greek merchant shipping fleet grew 4.2 pct in December, after an increase of 5.6 pct recorded in December 2009.

    [26] Building activity down 25.3% in Jan-Nov

    Building activity dropped 31.4 pct in November 2010 for a decline of 25.3 pct in the January-November period, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Monday.

    The statistical service, in a report, said shrinking activity in the sector was negatively affecting the country's GDP and contributing to rising unemployment. Private building activity totaled 3,735 building permits in November 2010, down 21.6 pct compared with the same month in 2009, while volume was down 31.4 pct over the same period.

    Epirus (79.2 pct), Central Macedonia (49 pct) and Eastern Macedonia-Thrace (46.3 pct) suffered the biggest percentage declines of the month.

    Building activity fell 12.2 pct in permits in the January-November period and by 25.3 pct in volume, with Attica (32.8 pct), Epirus (32.2 pct) and Central Greece (29.9 pct) suffering the biggest percentage declines in the 11-month period.

    Building materials' cost grew 3.9 pct in January 2011, compared with the same month last year, reflecting a 35.5 pct jump in diesel prices. The building materials' cost index was up 0.6 pct in January from December.

    [27] Stocks end sharply lower

    Stocks ended sharply lower at the Athens Stock Exchange as investors took profits in bank shares after Alpha Bank rejected National Bank's friendly merger offer. The composite index fell 2.73 pct to end at 1,668.25 points, with turnover a strong 258.66 million euros. The Big Cap index dropped 3.05 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.20 pct down and the Small Cap index fell 4.11 pct.

    The Insurance index (1.01 pct) was the only sector to end higher, while Financial Services (6.28 pct), Raw Materials (5.30 pct) and Chemicals (4.49 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Alpha Bank (5.01 pct), Titan (1.44 pct) and National Bank (0.40 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while ATEbank (11.70 pct), Hellenic Postbank (10.19 pct) and Piraeus Bank (10.16 pct) were top losers. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 131 to 48 with another 49 issues unchanged. CPI (18.75 pct), Mohlos (10 pct) and Eurobrokers (9.84 pct) were top gainers, while Intrakat (19.37 pct), ATEbank (11.70 pct) and Proton Bank (11.11 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +1.01%

    Industrials: -2.48%

    Commercial: -0.77%

    Construction: -0.77%

    Media: -1.66%

    Oil & Gas: -2.10%

    Personal & Household: -1.03%

    Raw Materials: -5.30%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.19%

    Technology: -4.14%

    Telecoms: -4.38%

    Banks: -3.25%

    Food & Beverages: -3.74%

    Health: -3.12%

    Utilities: -0.82%

    Chemicals: -4.49%

    Financial Services: -6.28%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 5.03

    ATEbank: 0.83

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.84

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.92

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.58

    National Bank of Greece: 7.60

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.80

    OPAP: 15.66

    OTE: 7.43

    Bank of Piraeus: 1.68

    Titan: 16.23

    [28] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell to 845 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.62 pct and the German Bund 3.17 pct. Turnover in the market remained a low 7.0 million euros, all sell orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.73 pct, the six-month 1.35 pct, the three-month rate 1.07 pct and the one-month rate 0.86 pct.

    [29] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -2.08 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 106.024 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 20,261 contracts, worth 80.893 million euros, with 31,436 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 55,018 contracts worth 25.131 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (10,305), followed by Eurobank (5,963), MIG (1,286), OTE (1,182), Piraeus Bank (8,127), Alpha Bank (13,111), Marfin Popular Bank (7,458), Ellaktor (953), Cyprus Bank (966), Hellenic Postbank (1,606) and ATEbank (975).

    [30] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.377

    Pound sterling 0.849

    Danish kroner 7.514

    Swedish kroner 8.832

    Japanese yen 114.59

    Swiss franc 1.306

    Norwegian kroner 7.831

    Canadian dollar 1.355

    Australian dollar 1.362

    General News

    [31] H1N1 deaths in Greece climb to 99 since start of year

    Deaths caused by the H1N1 virus in Greece climbed to 99 since the start of the year, according to figures released by Greek authorities on Monday. Another 127 people were receiving treatment in intensive care units for complications caused by the virus.

    Experts estimate that the epidemic peaked during the past week but expect a spike in the number of deaths during the current and following week. The epidemic is expected to gradually abate from the start of March and to have completely subsided in six weeks.

    According to figures presented on Monday at the National School of Public Health, 30 percent of those that are admitted to an ICU due to the virus do not survive. The average age of those that contract the disease is 53 and 57 percent of those falling ill are men.

    The 2011 epidemic resulted in 126 ICU beds occupied by H1N1 patients, compared with 70 in 2010. Scientists stressed that of those presenting with complications, the number needing treatment in an ICU was doubled. They attributed the rise to the fact that several vulnerable groups that should have been vaccinated did not receive a vaccination in 2011 and also because the 2011 strain of H1N1 was more virulent. Other contributing factors were the appearance of cases clustered over a short space of time but spatially quite spread out.

    Experts again stressed that anti-viral medication if given promptly proved effective in prevention and often saved lives.

    They also underlined that vaccination was still an option, even at this stage.

    [32] Attack against Super League office in wake of controversial derby

    A blast and subsequent small-scale fire was reported on Sunday evening outside the northern Athens building housing the Greek Super League, the country's first division pro football tournament.

    Remnants of firebombs were found at the scene, while the blaze was quickly extinguished by the fire brigade.

    Authorities believe the attack is directly related to the Olympiacos Piraeus-Panathianikos Athens derby of the previous day, which ended with a controversial 2-1 victory by league-leading Olympiacos in the wake of a handful of questionable referee calls.

    [33] EU: Internet access to public services

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    Greece holds last place among the "27" in Internet access to public services, according to the results of the 9th report on the assessment of electronic governance in Europe, publicised by the European Commission.

    According to data for 2010, the availability of Internet public services is on average in the European Union 82 percent, while in Greece it stands at 48 percent.

    The best performances in the EU are shown by Austria, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Sweden and Portugal with 100 percent access to public services through the Internet, while in the last positions, following Greece, are Cyprus (55 percent), Romania (60 pc) and Slovakia (63 pc).

    [34] Stolen car catches fire while in motion

    A fire broke out at dawn Monday on a stolen car as it was moving along Ifikratous street in the Pangrati district of Athens.

    Eyewitnesses said the car suddenly caught fire at 5:45 am and the driver abandoned it and fled.

    The fire was distinguished a short while later by firefighters, who said that the fire had started from the dashboard and spread to the rest of the interior.

    Firefighters also found two propane canisters inside the car, but they had not exploded.

    Police said the car had been stolen a few days earlier from Argyroupolis.

    The counter-terrorism squad was initially informed of the incident, due to the propane canisters, but the case was turned over to the Pangrati security police station.

    Ifikratous street has been closed to traffic, and the car has been removed to the police forensics lab for examination.

    [35] Arsonists target Tax Bureau office in Thessaloniki

    A home-made incendiary device comprising small propane canisters exploded at 3:10 a.m. outside the Tax Bureau office in the Thessaloniki region of Toumba on Monday.

    The explosion caused minor damage and broke glass panes in the facade of the building.

    Weather Forecast

    [36] Rainy on Tuesday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 1C and 19C. Cloudy and rainy in Athens, with southerly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 9C to 16C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 4C to 9C.

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

    High-profile statements by IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, closer scrutiny in the wider public sector to stop unregistered hirings and a meeting on Tuesday in Berlin between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and PM George Papandreou mostly dominated the headlines on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "George Papandreou himself asked for IMF invasion".

    AVRIANI: "Papandreou betrayed his country and party".

    City Press: "Recourse to IMF was already decided".

    ELEFTHEROS: "All-out war between ministers over government's confusion."

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Recourse to IMF a premeditated crime (by the government)".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Stop to all hirings in public sector".

    ESTIA: "Understanding by political parties necessary".

    ETHNOS: "Law framework for transfers in public sector".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Banker mergers chapter opening".

    TA NEA: "Papandreou-Merkel meeting of the year".

    VRADYNI: "Sell-off of state land, assets".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [38] Cyprus President receives Turkish Cypriot party delegation

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Turkish Cypriot United Cyprus party leader Izzet Izcan has called on progressive democratic parties in Cyprus to contribute in a positive way to the process of negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.

    Izcan, who headed a delegation of his party, was received Monday by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias at the Presidential Palace. In statements after the meeting, he said they discussed about the course of direct negotiations on the Cyprus problem.

    He noted that even though the process is going on there are obviously some problems, stressing that his party supports a settlement of the Cyprus problem the soonest possible, in the framework of UN decisions providing for a federal solution.

    "We consider that the settlement must come through the common efforts of both communities," he went on to say, adding that reaching a solution will benefit all the people of Cyprus.

    He added that the settlement must protect the benefits and human rights of the people of Cyprus and provide for one and single sovereignty, territorial integrity and international personality of Cyprus.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu are currently engaged in UN-led negotiations with an aim to reunify the island.

    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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