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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-04-20
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 20 April 2011 Issue No: 3769
 PM chairs preparatory meeting on tourism policyPrime Minister George Papandreou and a team of ministers on Tuesday concluded a preparatory meeting held in Parliament to discuss the government's policies on tourism. Announcements concerning tourism are to be made by Papandreou at a meeting of the Association of Greek Tourism Enteprises (SETE) due to take place in early May.
Sources said that the prime minister intends to review what has been done in the tourism sector over the past year and announce the government's plans for the sector. A series of proposals have apparently been put forward and these are to be examined on a bilateral basis between ministries. There is a consensus among government members to keep things low key, given that the tourism season extends over a long period that begins in early spring and ends in mid-November and can be easily affected by surprise developments.
 PM Papandreou meets with FinMin, Alt. FM, on social cohesion European programmesPrime Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday had a brief meeting at his office in parliament with Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and Alternate Foreign Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou.
The meeting focused on social cohesion European programmes.
 Inter-ministerial commission discusses privatizations programAn informal inter-ministerial Privatizations Commission meeting on Tuesday discussed a package of interventions included in a Medium-term Fiscal Strategy Framework (2012-2015) unveiled by the government last Friday.
According to sources, the Commission agreed to push on with a survey on reforms in the energy sector, including the future of DEPA and a plan to separate its subsidiary DESFA along with an option right by Public Power Corporation to buy the company. The survey is expected to be ready after the Easter holidays and a tender for the company's sale will be made later this year.
The meeting also discussed privatization procedures for Hellenic Telecommunications Organization while the government is expected to hire consultants in a drive to make a more efficient management of the state's real estate property. Sources said that representatives of PMU (Paris Mutuel Urbain), the French state-controlled totalizator that controls the pari-mutuel betting on horseracing in France and Europe's largest betting organisation, with annual turnover of 9.5 billion euros, attended the meeting expressing interest in an anticipated tender for the sale of ODIE, Greece's state organisation of horse racing and betting.
Under the Medium-term Fiscal Strategy Framework, the government plans to sell an additional equity stake in Hellenic Telecoms this year, selling up to 31 pct of DEPA in 2011, selling Trainose and Larco this year, selling up to 17 pct in PPC in 2012 (with the state maintaining control and management) and selling the state's equity stake in OPAP -Greece's state lottery. The government expects to raise 15 billion euros from privatizations by 2013 and a total of 50 billion euros by 2015.
 Gov't on debt restructuring, ND statements on debtGovernment spokesman George Petalotis again ruled out any possibility that Greece will restructure its debt on Tuesday, emphasising the government's determination to continue efforts to exit the crisis using the 'road map' unveiled by the prime minister as its primary tool.
He also noted that the government was not at this time contemplating seeking any further change in the terms of the EU-IMF Memorandum, apart from those agreed at the EU summits of March 11 and March 25.
The spokesman also strongly criticised claims by main opposition New Democracy that the bulk of money borrowed under the previous ND government went to pay interest on loans and outstanding obligations left by its PASOK predecessors.
He accused ND's current leadership of being "just the same" as the previous one and of providing entirely false figures that had nothing to do with reality.
ND on the renegotiation of the memorandum; gov't vice-president Pangalos; Samaras' meeting with former premier Karamanlis
The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Tuesday insisted on the renegotiation of the memorandum (signed with the EU-ECB-IMF troika), stressing that a revision of its terms is necessary and feasible.
"Our goal is a drastic change of the memorandum terms," ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis stated, adding that ND leader Antonis Samaras has made this suggestion repeatedly.
"The Irish premier has managed through negotiations to overturn two unfavorable terms of the memorandum signed by the country's preceding government," Mihelakis said, adding that European Commissioner Olli Rehn has left open the possibility of renegotiation.
The ND spokesman stressed that the policy mix implemented by the government is wrong. "The government is ineffective?the country sinks deeper and deeper into recession," he said.
As regards the reconstruction issue, he said "in a crucial moment for the country's economy disaster scenarios are not helping". Commenting on the privatization plan unveiled by the government, he reminded that "all privatizations launched by the preceding government have stopped," adding that the updated ND positions will be unveiled in the scheduled presentation of its proposals in Zappeion 2.
Referring to the refutation issued by government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos in response to a news report in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, the ND spokesman stated that he expects a clearer statement. He said that the refutation should be more specific and pointed out that the government vice-president was in Istanbul for two days whereas the refutation concerns only one day. He also wondered whether the news report concerned a speech delivered by Pangalos rather than statements made by him.
Mihelakis confirmed that Samaras and former PM Costas Karamanlis had a 15-minute meeting on the sidelines of a memorial service for the late statesman Constantinos Karamanlis and made no comments on the content of their discussion.
 Papoutsis attends meeting of EU Mediterranean countries on migrationNICOSIA (ANA-MPA / A. Viketos)
Citizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Tuesday attended a meeting of EU Mediterranean countries here calling for European Union solidarity to help them cope with the problems that stem from the massive inflow of illegal migrants from North Africa and the Middle East.
The meeting was attended by the competent ministers of Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain.
In a press conference, Papoutsis stated that a common European migration policy is imperative and changes are necessary in the Dublin II Regulation. He stressed that the EU was late in the implementation of the European strategy and in making the Mediterranean a region of cooperation and growth while focusing on environmental protection.
During the meeting, Papoutsis stated that the Dublin II Regulation is ineffective and needs changes because in its present form it creates serious problems and lays a disproportionately large burden on the countries at the EU external borders.
"Solidarity is a one-way street in facing the European problem of illegal migration. For example, 95 pct of the migrants entering Greece wish to move to other EU states," he said.
Papoutsis stressed that dealing with the issue is a common responsibility and therefore, a cohesive policy on migration is necessary, as well as, a consistent asylum policy which currently is absent.
However, he stated that social solidarity was expressed to Greece when FRONTEX was ordered to monitor the Greek borders, as well as, in the case of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) put in operation a month ago.
As regards illegal migration and security issues, Papoutsis stated that Greece is an entry gate and a total of 132,000 illegal migrant were arrested last year alone. He also suggested that migrant smuggling rings should be tackled with determination on European level.
 Keratea landfill plans not changed, government insistsThe plans for a landfill in the Keratea region of east Attica have not essentially changed, government spokesman George Petalotis insisted during a press briefing on Tuesday. He stressed that an agreement to withdraw riot police after four months of clashes with the local community and a promise to hold talks would not alter either the plans or the laws involved.
"The work will go ahead but when we can improve the conditions - especially when this concerns an entire local community - it is certain that this outcome could only be judged as positive," Petalotis said concerning the decision to stop clashes and start talks.
He insisted, however, that this was being done "in the framework of implementing the project" and that the talks with residents would "discuss the plans so that details of their implementation might become better".
He denied that Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis and Environment Minister Tina Birbili had not been kept informed on the Keratea issue by Citizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis, stressing that the planning and implementation of the government's plan was a "collective decision" in which each minister fulfilled their particular role.
The spokesman clarified that Papoutsis had handled the withdrawal of the police after residents agreed to abandon barricades, while the other issues would be discussed by the appropriate ministers. He denied that Papoutsis had agreed to any postponement of the project and said the mediation of the local metropolitan so that tension between two sides might be defused "was not something bad".
"We cannot predict the future reactions but the government's project will go ahead, there is a law and government decision. From then on a way was found to defuse the situation and some details of the plan can be discussed, such as the management body."
Sources within the interior ministry, meanwhile, said work on creating the landfill in Ovriokastro, Keratea was progressing without any interruption on Tuesday, while talks between the local community, Environment Minister Tina Birbili and Deputy Interior Minister Theodora Tzakri will be held after Easter.
Concerning an alternate proposal put forward by the Lavreotiki municipality, for creating a landfill in the Keratea industrial zone, the ministry noted that there was no provision for this in a 2003 law and that the businesses within the industrial zone did not agree with the proposal.
 Greece raises 1.625 bln euros from 3-month T-bill auctionGreece on Tuesday successfully auctioned a three-month Treasury bills issue raising 1.625 billion euros from the market at a slightly higher cost. The Public Debt Management Organization, in an announcement, said bids submitted totaled 4.316 billion euros, or 3.45 times more than the asked sum of 1.25 billion euros, while the interest rate was set at 4.10 pct, slightly up from 3.85 pct in the previous auction of six-month Treasury bills on April 12.
 Employment ministry cooperation accord with OSHA on work safety, healthA cooperation agreement between Greece's employment and social security ministry and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) was signed on Tuesday by deputy minister Vassilis Kegeroglou.
The accord contains the entirety of the planned annual actions in safety and health at work to be implemented at national level in promotion of the European organisation's task.
The actions are separated into four basic categories that include networking with the authoritative agencies at national and European level and participation in the OSHA programs; advisory actions through participation in research and studies being carried out and sharing of information, statistics, experience and knowhow; webpage management for providing online information to citizens on safety and health at work issues; and public awareness and information actions, including employers, employees and their representatives, representatives of the social partners, individuals involved in work safety and health, and also the general public.
 Federation of Civil Aviation Unions suspends strikeThe three-day strike announced by the Federation of Civil Aviation Unions (OSYPA) on April 27-29 will not be taking place, following assurances the federation received from the Infrastructures, Transport and Networks ministry.
OSYPA had called the strike, demanding payment for outstanding night work and holidays in 2011 and the ministry promised that the procedure for their payment will be scheduled soon.
 Industrial new orders' index up 16.8 pct in FebGreece's industrial new orders' composite index (measuring both the domestic and external markets) jumped 16.8 pct in February this year, compared with the same month in 2010, after a decline of 6.1 pct recorded in February 2010, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Tuesday.
The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development to an 8.6 pct decline in the domestic new orders index and a 52.9 pct jump in the external market index in February.
Hellenic Statistical Authority also announced that the turnover index in the industrial sector (measuring both the domestic and external markets) grew 6.8 pct in February, from the same month last year, after an increase of 0.7 pct recorded in February 2010. The statistics service attributed this figure to a 23.6 pct increase in the mining turnover index and a 6.5 pct rise in the manufacturing index. The domestic turnover index was up 3.6 pct in February while the external market turnover index rose 14 pct in the month.
 Greek stocks end moderately higherGreek stocks ended moderately higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, after a three-day sharp decline of prices which pushed the composite index of the market 6.76 pct lower. The index rose 0.69 pct to end at 1,437.28 points, off the day's highs of 1.44 pct. Turnover, however, remained a low 84.835 million euros.
The Big Cap index rose 1.02 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.30 pct higher and the Small Cap index fell 0.16 pct. OTE (3.12 pct), Cyprus (2.16 pct), Viohalco (2.16 pct) and Alpha Bank (2.09 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while PPC (3.05 pct), Mytilineos (1.74 pct) and Coca-Cola 3E (0.52 pct) were top losers.
The Health (4.02 pct), Telecoms (3.13 pct) and Commerce (2.85 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Utilities (2.52 pct) and Raw Materials (1.25 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 78 to 71 with another 44 issues unchanged. Alapis (12.5 pct), Athina (9.52 pct) and FHL Kyriakidis (8.82 pct) were top gainers, while Imperio (18.52 pct), Druckfarben (18.37 pct) and Bitros (13.95 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.10%
Personal & Household: +0.34%
Raw Materials: -1.25%
Travel & Leisure: +1.60%
Food & Beverages: -0.54%
Financial Services: -0.22%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 3.91
Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.11
HBC Coca Cola: 19.10
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.29
National Bank of Greece: 5.47
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.67
Bank of Piraeus: 1.17
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 11.38 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 11.27 pct on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 14.67 pct and the German Bund 3.29 pct. Turnover in the market was a low 40 million euros of which 21 million were sell orders and the remaining 19 million euros were buy orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 15 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 2.10 pct, the six-month rate was 1.63 pct, the three-month 1.33 pct and the one-month rate 1.16 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.44 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising slightly to 41.858 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,665 contracts worth 34.371 million euros, with 28,396 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 18,084 contracts worth 7.486 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (6,204), followed by MIG (722), Eurobank (601), OTE (1,304), OPAP (902), Piraeus Bank (731), Alpha Bank (1,042), Hellenic Postbank (1,584) and ATEbank (607).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.441
Pound sterling 0.885
Danish kroner 7.517
Swedish kroner 8.992
Japanese yen 119.18
Swiss franc 1.294
Norwegian kroner 7.825
Canadian dollar 1.380
Australian dollar 1.373
 PASOK MP urges education minister to end scientific research programme approval delaysThe delays in the progress of scientific research programmes and postdoctoral research are being noted in a letter addressed on Tuesday to Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou by ruling PASOK MP Costas Kartalis.
Kartalis referred to the problems created in scientific research as a result of the notable delays in the progress of ministry of education "Thales" and "Archimedes" research programmes, as well as, in postdoctoral research.
The PASOK MP pointed out that the delays weaken the country's higher education institutions and research centres considering that the available funds earmarked for scientific research become smaller, contribute to the 'brain drain' of scientists abroad and hamper the utilization of 230 million euros in community funds.
Kartalis called on the education minister to undertake initiatives aimed at speeding up procedures for the evaluation and approval of research proposals.
 Two former ministers' offices targeted by arsonistsThe offices of two former ministers, housed in the same building in downtown Athens, were targeted by arsonists late Monday night, causing minor material damage at one of the offices while the home-made incendiary device at the second office failed to explode.
A makeshift fire-bomb comprising three small propane canisters exploded at 10:20 p.m. at the entrance to the mezzanine level office of New Democracy (ND) former culture minister Fani Palli-Petralia on central Akademias street. Two of the canisters exploded, causing minor material damage to the entrance of the office.
A second mechanism, comprising five small propane canisters, had been placed outside PASOK former environment minister Vasso Papandreou's 5th-floor office, but did not explode.
 ERT state broadcaster centres looted in Epirus, NW GreeceA state broadcaster ERT transmission centre in the northwestern province of Epirus became the target of looters, local police announced on Tuesday.
Following a recent break-in at Manoliassa transmission centre in the city of Ioannina, where transmitters and other equipment were stolen, the thieves targeted Agnanta transmission centre in the city of Arta and made off with three ERT transmitters worth 30,000 euros.
A police investigation is underway for the arrest of the perpetrators.
 Tax official charged with embezzlement, name releasedA public prosecutor on Tuesday pressed criminal charges of embezzlement on Kypseli tax office employee Nikos Andriopoulos, also ordering that his name be released to the media. Andriopoulos is suspected of stealing large sums of money from the tax office where he worked. It is unknown whether he is still in Greece.
The charges against him include issue false certificates and legalising income from illegal activities. Based on the first evidence collected by a financial crimes squad inspection, Andriopoulos has embezzled the sum of 500,000 euros in 2010 and is estimated to have embezzled up to eight million euro during previous years.
 Robbery at Athens Bar AssociationA large sum of money not yet disclosed by police was taken during an armed robbery targeting the Athens Bar Association on Tuesday.
The robbery was carried out by two men that had not concealed their faces in order to avoid arousing suspicion, who entered the building and went up to the second floor to the cashier, holding employees at gunpoint while they filled bags with money.
A security guard realised that something was wrong as they were leaving the building and attempted to alert the police but the two robbers beat him savagely and escaped, probably in a private car.
A search has been launched by police to locate and arrest them.
 Security guard killed in port accidentA 55-year-old security guard at the Thessaloniki Port Authority was killed in a labor accident in the port on Tuesday morning, when he was run over by a forklift.
The forklift's 48-year-old driver was arrested.
 Foreign national arrested on child porn chargesA Romanian national was arrested by electronic crime squad police in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, accused of trafficking in child pornography material.
According to police, a search of the 37-year-old detainee's residence in the Kalamaria suburb found 11 child porn videos in his PC hard drive.
Security police were interrogating the arrestee.
 Copper cable thieves caught in MegaraPolice on Tuesday reported the capture of a ring responsible for thefts of copper cable from railway lines and communications networks.
Five Greeks and three Pakistanis were arrested on Sunday in Megara as they were removing copper cabling from the 45th kilometre of the Athens-Kiato Proastiakos railway line.
The same group were found to be responsible for nine similar thefts, selling the copper cables for a substantial profits. The estimated damage to the Greek Railways over the past year from such thefts amounts to 250,000 euro, while they seriously undermine the network's safety.
 Attacks and damage at Fix, Holargos Metro stationsHooded persons entered the Fix and Holargos Metro stations in Athens on Tuesday afternoon and smashed ticket machines with sledgehammers before fleeing.
Police are conducting a preliminary enquiry into the incident.
 Cannabis field found in KalamataPolice in Kalamata, southern Greece, acting on a tip-off found a cultivation of 52 withered cannabis plants in a rural region near a village in the municipality of Messini, was announced on Tuesday.
The plants were apparently abandoned and an investigation is underway to find out who their grower was.
 Tremor in Kalavrita, southern GreeceA light earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale was recorded just before 15:30 p.m. on Tuesday with its epicenter located 10 km NNW of Kalavryta in the Peloponnese, southern Greece.
The tremor was felt in the city of Patras.
 Rainy on WednesdayRainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 6C and 22C. Cloudy in Athens, with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 8C to 19C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 8C to 19C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe economy and persistent speculation of a restructuring of the Greek debt were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Tuesday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "ND finally sets the record straight on the state debt".
AVGHI: "Haircut for the banks, not the people".
AVRIANI: "The country collapsing and the developments for uncontrolled bankruptcy speeding up".
DIMOKRATIA: "The Greek people preparing for melancholy Easter, and the prime minister for holiday on the islands."
ELEFTHEROS: "Debt restructure: The people know, PASOK playing hide and seek".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Pangalos (government vice-president) slandering the people".
ETHNOS: "Devaluation of salaries to 2003 levels".
ESTIA: "How we will come out of the crisis".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Restructure a given fact".
IMERISSIA: "The economy in a vortex - Nervous breakdown from rumors of restructure".
KATHIMERINI: "Provopoulos (central bank governor) sends warning signal over delays in Memorandum - New pressure from Germany for restructure".
LOGOS: "Debt restructure would be disastrous".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "World-wide reverberations 'terrify' the markets".
NIKI: "War between doctors, Loverdos (health minister) - Patients a ping-pong ball".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The people will rise up for the counter-attack and will win".
TA NEA: "Truce in Keratea, civil war in government".
VRADYNI: "The measures that were not announced - New heavy burden on households to be unveiled after Easter".
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