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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-05-10

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

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

Tuesday, 10 May 2011 Issue No: 3783

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Papandreou addresses 'International Transparency' conference
  • [02] FinMin: Simplified tax laws a major project for gov't
  • [03] Transparency Int'l con'f
  • [04] PM meeting with employment minister
  • [05] Loverdos call for increased majority vote on updated Memorandum
  • [06] Gov't on health minister's statements
  • [07] Gov't calls for cool-headedness, calm to exit crisis
  • [08] ND on Luxemburg meeting; opinion polls
  • [09] President receives central bank chief
  • [10] President Papoulias to receive PM Papandreou on Tuesday
  • [11] PM Papandreou receives Lord Michael Bates
  • [12] Greece's exit from eurozone 'inconceivable', Austrian FM says
  • [13] Probe ordered into controversial Greek 'euro exit' report in foreign magazine
  • [14] Droutsas on EEA, relations with Turkey
  • [15] Message by FM Droutsas on Europe Day
  • [16] KKE leader on economic crisis
  • [17] Interior minister announces changes in legal framework on checking of parties' finances
  • [18] Skandalidis to visit Cyprus Tuesday
  • [19] Mikis Theodorakis' response to Central Jewish Council of Greece
  • [20] Gov't strongly reacts to latest downgrade by S&P
  • [21] Inflation down in April
  • [22] Business start-ups surpass closures in March
  • [23] PPC approves establishment of subsidiary in Bosnia
  • [24] Athens metro employees to hold work-stoppage on May 11
  • [25] ISAP electric railway work stoppage on Tuesday
  • [26] THALES award given to National Bank
  • [27] Business Briefs
  • [28] Stocks at new 2011 lows
  • [29] Greek bonds calmly react to debt scenarios
  • [30] Greek bond market closing report
  • [31] ADEX closing report
  • [32] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [33] Suspects for Rendi shooting before magistrate
  • [34] Five arrests for rail network cable theft
  • [35] Four foreign nationals arrested in abduction of fellow national for ransom
  • [36] Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos breaks leg in fall
  • [37] Twinning of high schools of Hania, Canakkale
  • [38] Missing man found dead
  • [39] W. African art at Benaki
  • [40] AEK tops Superleague playoffs
  • [41] Rainy on Tuesday
  • [42] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [43] Cypriot FM and UN Chief discuss Cyprus issue Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou addresses 'International Transparency' conference

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing an "International Transparency" conference on Monday on the theme "State and Corruption", stressed that transparency, solidarity and meritocracy are the principles "we are serving".

    Papandreou referred to the pathogenies of the Greek state and to the efforts the government is making lately to change things.

    The prime minister attributed to practices of untransparency all that is taking place in the international economy lately as well, the actions of markets, as well as the attack Greece sustained as well as the euro last Friday.

    Papandreou termed as "criminal propaganda" against the country what has taken place in the past days, as he said, against the euro. He said they are undermining the country as well as the eurozone.

    The prime minister attributed to the monetary system that it was the one that tought deceit with various products it was selling as first class, while he also classified in the same category the "offshore" companies that "manage resources that are stolen from the peoples."

    Lastly, he referred to the change that is being promoted in the electoral law on the funding of parties, in the framework currently permitted by the constitution, while stressing that that there is a will on the part of the government for a change in the law on the responsibility of ministers during the constitutional revision.

    [02] FinMin: Simplified tax laws a major project for gov't

    The major project for the Greek government is a radical simplification of tax laws in the country, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou emphasised on Monday.

    Addressing a conference organised by Transparency International Greece on the issue of "State and corruption: How to Build High Levels of Integrity", Papaconstantinou, commenting on "grey zones" existing in the relations between taxpayers and tax agency officials, stressed that taxpayers must be kept out of tax agencies.

    Along these lines, he recently announced a drastic cut in the number of tax bureaus around the country -- from 300 to around 80 -- in an effort to combat corruption.

    The minister reiterated once again that tax evasion was a crime and noted that this crime was so big that was undermining a recovery of the economy. He added that he did not believe in the necessity of one single tax factor, but to a progressive tax system.

    "We are currently in a difficult position, as the country was based on the wrong growth model. This does not mean that there is no prospect," he added and expressed his optimism that measures adopted by the government would result to fiscal consolidation, more jobs, etc.

    [03] Transparency Int'l con'f

    The existence of too many laws, which in its "extreme manifestation can become a corruption tool" was cited by Minister of State Haris Pamboukis as the most serious problem in combating corruption in the country, during his address at a Transparency International conference in Athens on Monday.

    Pamboukis underlined the importance of constantly codifying legislation to avoid a plethora of laws. He said characte-ristically that a major investment can be blocked by anyone through simple procedures underlining that the economic cost of Justice should also be considered.

    Addressing the conference, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party MP Costis Hatzidakis stressed, among others, that the inspection of "source of wealth statements" submitted by members of the judiciary and politicians should be upgraded. He stated that Greece has a record number of court judges and lawyers in relation to its population and that a total of 34 laws have been passed in recent years aimed at ensuring speedier justice procedures without accomplishing it considering that an average of 440,000 lawsuits are being filed annually.

    Thessaloniki Aristotle University law school professor Costas Hryssogonos underlined that the Greek justice system does not appear to be facing an intense corruption problem adding, however, that it does not mean that corruption in the judiciary is non existent.

    The conference was entitled "State and Corruption".

    [04] PM meeting with employment minister

    The fundamental principles and outstanding matters regarding the Medium-Term program were discussed on Monday at a meeting between prime minister George Papandreou with employment minister Louka Katseli that was also attended by finance minister George Papaconstantinou.

    According to sources, the program has been completed with respect to the employment ministry, the primary concern of which is rationalisation of expenditures, beginning with medical supplies.

    The sources said that the ministry's target is to reduce medical expenditure from the current 4.2 billion euros annually to 2.6 billion euros over the period 2012-2015.

    [05] Loverdos call for increased majority vote on updated Memorandum

    Health minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday proposed that the updated Memorandum should be passed by an increased parliamentary majority, during a press conference.

    Loverdos further proposed that all economy-related bills be co-signed by all the members of Cabinet from here on.

    "In order to send the necessary message in all directions, relevant draft laws, with the policies mentioned above, should be passed in the context of a creative parliamentary procedure in which all the data on the country's economic situation are submitted to the MPs, and on which we should ask for an increased majority of 3/5ths or 2/3ds (180 or 200 votes in the 300-member parliament) for their passing," Loverdos said.

    He added that this was mandated by the country's interests and would serve as a resounding reply that the Greeks are fighting to overcome the dramatic situation and that their efforts are not limited by party lines and by the harmful polarisaton that has plagued the Greek political system for decades.

    Loverdos added that whoever realises the tragic state of the circumstances cannot but agree with the need to forge the unity of all the forces of the country.

    [06] Gov't on health minister's statements

    Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis on Monday offered full backing to Health Minister Andreas Loverdos shortly after the latter's press conference.

    Petalotis said "Loverdos is doing an important work", underlining the positive work he did during his term in the ministry of labour when he managed to give a solution to the social security issue.

    As regards the proposal made by the health minister suggesting that the Medium-Term Programme be passed in parliament with a strong majority vote and that the decisions reached with the troika should be approved by the cabinet, Petalotis stated that it is "a productive practice when the government ministers table their proposals and viewpoints in a dialogue, however, the decisions are made by the cabinet where a common policy-line is shaped."

    [07] Gov't calls for cool-headedness, calm to exit crisis

    Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis on Monday stated that Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou "has described everything that has taken place in Luxemburg" and underlined that "the medium-term Stability Programme is used by the government as a guideline to lead us out of the crisis".

    He underlined that the efforts made by Greece have been acknowledged, adding that the government efforts should continue in an accelerated pace. He also stressed that cool-headedness, calm and determination are necessary to get out of the crisis, characterizing as "scenarios" the talk on the utilisation of public real property as collateral for loans.

    Petalotis repeated that holding snap elections to "legitimise a salvation policy for the country" is out of the question.

    [08] ND on Luxemburg meeting; opinion polls

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis on Monday told reporters that the government provided no details concerning last Friday's meeting in Luxemburg, which focused on economic developments in Greece.

    Mihelakis stressed that there are "only scenarios available and not facts", pointing out that "even government officials were unaware" of the meeting.

    He spoke of "government propaganda" when asked to comment on whether ND leader Antonis Samaras is "pressured" from abroad, the European People's Party (EPP) in particular, to give his consent to new government-imposed austerity measures.

    The ND spokesman repeated Samaras' statement that his party "cannot be blackmailed", responding to a question on the stance ND will adopt in case the government calls for a strong majority support when the medium-term programme will be voted in parliament.

    Mihelakis avoided commenting on recent opinion polls, pointing out that ND is interested in winning over the citizens who remain undecided.

    [09] President receives central bank chief

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday called for a national effort to achieve in full the targets of the economic adjustment program and earn the respect and appreciation of the international community, in order for Greece to put an end to the dangerous speculations on debt restructuring and extension.

    During a meeting with Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos, also referred to a recent article in the German magazine Der Spiegel alleging that Greece was mulling an exit from the euro currency and the general climate, spoke of "merciless attacks, which are frequently manufactured", and called for a nation-wide effort.

    Provopoulos referred to the extensive denationalisations program announced by the government, saying this an opportunity for the government to act with determination, daring and conviction to eliminate, in the shortest time possible, the divergences and shortfalls that have indeed occurred and which give food for negative comments internationally.

    [10] President Papoulias to receive PM Papandreou on Tuesday

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will receive Prime Minister George Papandreou at the Presidential Mansion at 13:30 on Tuesday, according to an announcement issued on Monday by the Presidency of the Republic.

    [11] PM Papandreou receives Lord Michael Bates

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday received Lord Michael Bates, a member of the House of Lords and former minister of the British government.

    50-year-old Lord Bates began, on April 22, 2011, a walk in the framework of which he will be walking 6,500 kilometres, from Ancient Olympia to London.

    His aim, as he said, is the promotion of the Olympic Truce.

    [12] Greece's exit from eurozone 'inconceivable', Austrian FM says

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, in statements on Monday, said he considers an exit from the eurozone by Greece "inconceivable."

    Speaking during an event at the Diplomactic Academy of Vienna on Europe Day, Spindelegger (who is also the leader of the conservative People's Party that participates in government with the Socialdemocrats), termed Greece's exit from the euro inconceivable, stressing that "I cannot imagine that this is what the Greeks want."

    He further said that the euro's Support Mechanism secures the overindebted countries of Southern Europe adequately, while claiming that "there is no alternative option" to the measures the EU has already taken, noting at the same time the importance of a stable euro and adding that "nobody stands to gain when the euro sustains pressures."

    Spindelegger reacted negatively to the possibility of joint economic governance in the EU, saying that it is "excessive" and "unnecessary" for separate countries to cede duties, such as that of tax policy, to the EU.

    [13] Probe ordered into controversial Greek 'euro exit' report in foreign magazine

    The Athens prosecutors' office on Sunday ordered an urgent preliminary investigation over a controversial report appearing last week on the internet page of the German magazine Der Spiegel on a prospective exit from the euro currency by Greece, which sparked a flurry of denials by Greek and EU officials.

    In a report on a meeting last Friday afternoon chaired by eurozone president Jean-Claude Juncker, the magazine alleged that Greece was considering the prospect of leaving the euro currency, listing a series of "difficulties" in such an eventuality and noting that no procedure exists from a member states' exit from the eurozone.

    The chief prosecutor has called for an investigation into whether the crime of spreading false news has been committed with the purpose of causing panic among the public and loss of confidence in the common currency.

    [14] Droutsas on EEA, relations with Turkey

    In statements broadcast live by local radio station Vima on Monday, Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas replied to criticism of his position concerning attempts to claim to an Exclusive Economic Area (EEA) in the Aegean and stressed that Greece was not waiving any of its rights.

    "There is no danger of selling out any of Greece's sovereign rights. Let us be clear and categorical on this point, because many people have tried to play on people's fears, especially during a period when Greek society is in a state of insecurity due to the economic crisis. There is no such issue. Nor is it correct that the government does not want to claim an EEA," he emphasised.

    Droutsas pointed out that the government had repeatedly stated its intention to claim an EEA and had a clear plan for coming to such agreements on maritime zones with all its neighbours.

    "We have already signed an agreement with Albania, which due to certain obstacles within that country has not gone ahead at this time. We have been in negotiations for some time with others of our neighbours, such as Libya and Egypt, and for obvious reason such issues are not at the moment at the top of the agenda for those countries. In fact, a few weeks ago, I visited Egypt and spoke with my counterpart on this issue," the minister pointed out.

    Concerning Turkey, in particular, Droutsas noted that Greece had been in talks with Turkey for some time in order to delineate the contintental shelf in the Aegean.

    "It is not easy nor self-evident for Turkey to sit and talk on this issue. You know that - and this is our unambiguous position and the reality - that the goal of our exploratory talks with Turkey are to delinate the continental shelf and nothing more," he said.

    The foreign minister noted that the current Turkish prime minister, in Athens' view, was someone that permitted hope that the process of talks could lead somewhere and that the Greek side had invested on this process.

    "What I cannot accept is that some people will use the term EEA to create a tense political atmosphere when essentially there is nothing there," he added.

    In statements last week, Droutsas had spoken out against "further complicating" talks with Turkey on the continental shelf by introducing "new terms" such as the EEA, arguing that the EEA and continental shelf were to all intents and purposes identical in a small sea such as the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean.

    [15] Message by FM Droutsas on Europe Day

    Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, in a message on the celebration of Europe Day on Monday, stressed the imperative need for the European politicians to state their position on the new reality and take decisions, giving sincere answers, as well as the importance of EU solidarity and the participation of the European citizens.

    "Solidarity must not remain a void letter, particularly today that we are before great developments that put to the test the endurances of United Europe. And I refer here particularly to the challenge of the joint economic and monetary policy on economies that are at a different economic cycle stage, as well as to increased migratory flows from the South that no country of the EU must be left to handle alone," he said.

    The Foreign minister, also referring to the 30th anniversary, this year, of Greece's accession to the EEC, stressed that Greece is supporting and promoting the European Idea, while expressing optimism that the current period of recollection will lead to the deeper destination of the European Union itself.

    [16] KKE leader on economic crisis

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga, speaking in an interview with NET on Monday, said the government and the EU are discussing how the so-called 'haircut' will take place, "we call it degradation of capital, destruction of production forces, we have our own terms."

    Papariga added that she was not surprised with all that happened in Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg on Friday, noting that the discussion that must take place is "who will foot the bill most".

    Asked whether bankruptcy or the so-called "haircut" of the Greek debt is a one-way path, the KKE leader said that in the past and now, for the cycle of the capitalist crisis to be able to close and the profit-making of capital to begin again, apart from the rights of working people being destroyed a part of capital must also be destroyed or degraded. This will be enterprises, a part of enterprises, because they cannot do otherwise, she added.

    [17] Interior minister announces changes in legal framework on checking of parties' finances

    Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis, addressing Monday the conference of the "International Transparency-Hellas" on the theme of "State and Corruption" taking place at a downtown hotel in Athens, announced important changes in the legal framework on the checking of the finances of parties and politicians.

    Ragoussis said that in the coming weeks the draft law, which includes predictions on the funding of parties from legal entities as well, with assurances, will be made available for consultations.

    It is reminded that the political parties have huge debts to banks, giving as guarantees their revenues from the state subsidisation of coming years.

    Ragousis said that all the changes that will take place for transparency in the checking of parties' finances will be combined with the changing of the electoral law, adding that the government aims at the relevant bill being ratified by all the political forces and noted that if this is not achieved then the government will proceed with its ratification.

    [18] Skandalidis to visit Cyprus Tuesday

    Greek Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Costas Skandalidis will pay a two-day official visit to Cyprus at the invitation of Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Demetris Eliades.

    According to an official announcement, Skandalidis will arrive in Cyprus Tuesday, May 10. He will have bilateral talks with his Cypriot counterpart, followed by a joint press conference. A two-year agreement on cooperation in the agricultural sector is expected to be signed by the two ministers.

    In the afternoon Skandalidis will meet the Mayor of Nicosia, Eleni Mavrou and he will visit the 36th Cyprus International Fair.

    On Wednesday, May 11 the Greek minister will be received by the President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and later on by the House President, Marios Garoyian.

    Furthermore, he will attend an event to be held at the Second Primary School of Kokkinotrimithia in the framework of the European Dairy Promotion Program. In the afternoon of the same day, Skandalidis will have separate meetings with representatives of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), the Cooperative Movement in Cyprus and Agriculture Organizations.

    [19] Mikis Theodorakis' response to Central Jewish Council of Greece

    World-renowned Greek music composer Mikis Theodorakis on Monday addressed a letter to the Central Jewish Council of Greece (KISE) following a statement issued by the latter as regards the cancellation of the performance of his work "Mauthausen" decided recently by the Austrian Parliament.

    A KISE statement had underlined that "unfortunately, in recent years, comments made by Mikis Theodorakis such as 'the Jews are the root of evil' and that 'the Jews are responsible for the economic crisis' have brought about surprise and deep regret exactly because Mikis Theodorakis was the co-creator of this extraordinary work."

    "Why do you insist in making me an enemy of the Jews?" Theodorakis underlined in his letter, characterizing as "big lies" everything attributed to him, while adding that "millions of people in Israel are aware of my love to their country and their people not only because of "Mauthausen", which is an internationally recognized tribute to the sacrifice of the Jews."

    Theodorakis clarified that speaking in an interview he had said that "unfortunately the state of Israel supports the United States and their foreign policy, which is the root of the Evil and, therefore, it is close to the root of the Evil."

    He also rejected that he allegedly had stated that he is an "anti-Semite" repeating that his controversial phrase in a television interview was as follows: "I should clarify that I am anti-Semite. Essentially, I love the Jewish people, I love the Jews, I have lived long with them but as much as I hate anti-Semitism, I hate Zionism even more so."

    Addressing KISE, Theodorakis stated that anyone can understand that the word "anti-Semite" he used was a mistake made in the course of a long and exhausting interview.

    Financial News

    [20] Gov't strongly reacts to latest downgrade by S&P

    Finance ministry on Monday strongly reacted to a decision by Standard & Poor's to downgrade the country's credit rating by two notches, from BB- to B.

    In an announcement to the press, the ministry said the decision "comes in a period when no additional information or any decision has arrived worsening the country's situation compared with the firm's previous rating a month ago".

    The ministry added that "credit rating firms' decisions should be based on facts, decisions and real assessment of the fundamentals of each economy. Their credibility is questioned when it is based on facts beyond these".

    Standard & Poor's on Monday downgraded Greece's credit rating to B from BB- ahead of a likely extension of the repayment period of the 110-billion-euro loan received by the EU and the IMF. The credit rating firm said that such an extension would lead creditor states to ask for a "comparable treatment" of private investors, with a relative extension of maturity period for their bonds and loans.

    "Even if there was not a reduction of the nominal value of Greek bonds, such an extension is generally considered to be less favourable for private investors, compared with repayment on initial terms," S&P said.

    [21] Inflation down in April

    Greek inflation dropped to 3.9 percent in April from 4.5 percent in March, and against a rise of 4.8 percent in April 2010, according to figures released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Monday.

    According to ELSTAT, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in April 2011 compared with April 2010, increased by 3.9%. In April 2010, the annual rate of change of the CPI was 4.8%.

    The CPI in April 2011 compared with March 2011 increased by 0.6%. In April 2010, the monthly rate of change of the CPI was 1.2%.

    In the twelve-month period from May 2010 to April 2011 compared with the period from May 2009 to April 2010 the annual average rate of change of the CPI was 5.0%. The corresponding annual average rate of change of the CPI in the previous year (May 2009 to April 2010), was 1.9%.

    The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in April 2011 compared with April 2010, increased by 3.7%. In April 2010, the annual rate of change of the HICP was 4.7%.

    The HICP in April 2011 compared with March 2011, increased by 0.7%. In April 2010, the monthly rate of change of the HICP was 1.2%.

    In the twelve-month period from May 2010 to April 2011 compared with the period from May 2009 to April 2010, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 5.0%. The previous year, in the corresponding twelve - month period, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 2.0%.

    [22] Business start-ups surpass closures in March

    New business start-ups slightly outnumbered business closures in March, after a negative balance in the first two months of the year, Regional Development and Competitiveness ministry said on Monday.

    In a monthly report, the ministry said new business start-ups totaled 5,050 in March, while business closures totaled 4,680 in the month. In the January-February period, business start-ups totaled more than 9,200, while the number of business closures surpassed 10,200. The ministry said that business start-ups totaled 62,781 in 2010, while business closures totaled 56,037 in the same year.

    [23] PPC approves establishment of subsidiary in Bosnia

    The Athens-listed Public Power Corporation (PPC) board of directors on Monday approved the establishment of a subsidiary company titled "PPC Quantum Energy SA".

    An announcement said that the subsidiary's share capital will comprise 51 percent for PPC, 40 percent for Quantum and 9 percent for Cyprus Bank.

    The activities of the new company include the study, planning, set up, construction, operation, management and exploitation of electricity production units in the Serbian Republic of Bosnia (Srpska Republika).

    [24] Athens metro employees to hold work-stoppage on May 11

    Athens metro employees will participate with a work-stoppage during a nationwide 24-hour general strike called by private and public sector unions, GSEE and ADEDY, for Wednesday, May 11, it was announced on Monday.

    The decision to hold a three-hour work stoppage from the beginning of the shift until 8 a.m. was made to facilitate the people's access to downtown Athens, where rallies are scheduled to take place, the metro employees' trade unions announced.

    Meanwhile, OTOE, the union representing bank employees, called on its members to participate in the May 11 general strike.

    A bank employees' union statement underlined that any discussion on wage cuts is rejected, stressing that it will not remain idle when faced with "an all-out attack targeting the democratic institution of free collective labour bargaining."

    [25] ISAP electric railway work stoppage on Tuesday

    Athens Piraeus Electric Railways (ISAP) trains will not be running for four hours on Tuesday between noon and 4:00 p.m. due to a work stoppage by ISAP staff in protest against worker transfers to other state-sector jobs.

    Effectively, this means that the last trains leaving the terminals before the work stoppage begins will depart roughly 20 minutes before 12.

    [26] THALES award given to National Bank

    The "THALES-Top Social Partnership Responsibility Distinction" was awarded to the National Bank in the framework of the CEO&CSR MONEY CONFERENCE 2011 on the theme of: "Moral Entrepreneurship: Possibilities, benefits, tools and prospects for healthy and longterm growth and prosperity."

    This fact constitutes yet another reward for the high level of Partnership Social Responsibility that the Bank is showing, distinguished for its social and environmental sensitivity and its labour environment, continuing with consistency a tradition of social contribution for 170 years.

    [27] Business Briefs

    -- Hellenic Steel, a member of Italian steel group Riva, returned to profitability in 2010 and said it expected the further improve its performance this year.

    The company said its revenue grew 10.8 pct to 126.95 million euros in 2010, from 114.57 million in 2009, while its gross profits rose to 8.37 million euros after a loss of 2.78 million euros in the previous year. EBITDA rose to 7.87 million euros in 2010 from a loss of 5.62 million in 2009, while pre-tax and interest earnings totaled 2.07 million euros from a loss of 9.66 million euros over the same periods, respectively.

    -- Sea cruise vessels arrivals at the port of Piraeus grew 5.1 pct in the January-March period this year, compared with the same period in 2010, George Anomeritis, chairman of the Piraeus Port Authority said on Monday. Addressing the annual fair of chartered yachts on the island of Poros, Anomeritis stressed that passenger arrivals grew 58.1 pct in the first three months of the year, to 139,692 from 80,808 in 2010, while transit passenger numbers jumped 72.9 pct.

    -- Hotel room occupancy rates fell in March in the Athens-Attica region, the Association of Athens-Attica Hoteliers said on Monday. In a report, the association said that four-star hotels recorded a 0.80 pct decline in occupancy rates to 65 pct in March, while five-star hotels rates fell 1.7 pct to 47.2 pct. Two- and three-star hotels' occupancy rates fell by 14 pct to 62.9 pct in March.

    [28] Stocks at new 2011 lows

    Stocks fell to new 2011 lows in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, hit by a decision by S&P to cut the country's credit rating by two notches to B. The composite index of the market fell 1.47 pct to end at 1,349.91 points, remaining on a downward trend of the sixth consecutive session. Turnover, however, improved to 110.123 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 2.17 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.20 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 1.95 pct. Coca-Cola 3E (3.90 pct), Mytilineos (1.39 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (1.16 pct) and Viohalco (0.51 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while OTE (5.14 pct), Ellaktor (4.76 pct), National Bank (4.07 pct) and OPAP (3.66 pct) suffered losses.

    The Food (3.68 pct), Media (3.98 pct) and Raw Materials (0.65 pct) sectors scored gains, while Telecoms (5.14 pct), Travel (3.50 pct), Technology (3.07 pct) and Banks (2.79 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 123 to 27 with another 39 issues unchanged. Altec (20 pct), Vovos (8.0 pct) and Nutriart (7.69 pct) were top gainers, while Elfico (17.65 pct), Sfakianakis (16 pct) and Unibios (14.29 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.72%

    Industrials: -0.10%

    Commercial: -1.32%

    Construction: -2.18%

    Media: +3.98%

    Oil & Gas: -0.10%

    Personal & Household: -1.89%

    Raw Materials: +0.65%

    Travel & Leisure: -3.50%

    Technology: -3.07%

    Telecoms: -5.14%

    Banks: -2.79%

    Food & Beverages: +3.68%

    Health: -2.85%

    Utilities: -3.06%

    Chemicals: -0.26%

    Financial Services: Unchanged

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, OTE and Coca Cola 3E.

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

    Alpha Bank: 3.44

    ATEbank: 0.45

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.70

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.10

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.00

    National Bank of Greece: 4.72

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.22

    OPAP: 13.97

    OTE: 7.02

    Bank of Piraeus: 1.00

    Titan: 17.00

    [29] Greek bonds calmly react to debt scenarios

    The Greek bond market reacted calmly to the scenarios which emerged on Friday, following a meeting between European G20 finance ministers' in Luxembourg to discuss developments over the Greek economy.

    In the secondary bond market, the 10-year benchmark bond yield was slightly higher (0.1 pct) compared with its closing price last week, at 15.3 pct, with the yield spread against the 10-year German benchmark bond at 12.16 pct.

    Greek CDS widened slightly, by 0.5 pct compared with Friday, to 14.39 pct. The five-year Greek benchmark bond yields jumped to 22 pct, while Portugal's state bond yields also rose significantly, Reuters said.

    [30] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 12.66 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market, with the Greek bond yielding 15.75 pct and the German Bund 3.09 pct. Turnover in the market was a low 44 million euros, of which 41 million were sell orders and the remaining 3.0 million euros were buy orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security of the day, with a turnover of 36 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 2.15 pct, the six-month 1.70 pct, the three-month 1.42 pct and the one-month rate 1.25 pct.

    [31] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.48 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 64.124 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 17,290 contracts worth 51.684 million euros, with 33,893 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 24,646 contracts worth 12.439 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (10,713), followed by Eurobank (1,219), OTE (5,512), Piraeus Bank (777), Marfin Popular Bank (2,448), Ellaktor (410), Mytilineos (335), Hellenic Petroleum (335) and Hellenic Postbank (271).

    [32] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.461

    Pound sterling 0.892

    Danish kroner 7.568

    Swedish kroner 9.113

    Japanese yen 118.02

    Swiss franc 1.280

    Norwegian kroner 7.984

    Canadian dollar 1.409

    Australian dollar 1.359

    General News

    [33] Suspects for Rendi shooting before magistrate

    Twelve suspects arrested in connection with a robbery at Menidi and the subsequent shooting deaths of two DIAS motorcycle police officers in Rendi during a police pursuit were led before an examining magistrate on Monday.

    Ten of the 12 were given until Tuesday morning to prepare their testimony while two suspects facing relatively minor charges of drug possession for their own use were released on Monday.

    The remaining 10 suspects face more serious charges, while three of those now in custody are among the four suspects for the murder of the two officers and the attempted murder of another two DIAS officers that were injured.

    The remainder of those arrested face criminal charges of robbery and forming a criminal gang.

    [34] Five arrests for rail network cable theft

    Five local men, aged 22-42, were arrested near the resort of Kineta, west of Athens proper, while loading some 300 metres of railway cables, worth a market value of 100,000 euros, onto two private cars, it was announced on Monday.

    The cables were allegedly stolen from the Hellenic Railways' (OSE) network.

    Meanwhile, police, in the presence of a prosecutor, searched a gypsy settlement in Lamia, central Greece, looking for copper removed from similar stolen cables. The operation, the fourth conducted by authorities in the region, yielded no results.

    [35] Four foreign nationals arrested in abduction of fellow national for ransom

    Four Pakistani nationals have been arrested in Argos for kidnapping a fellow national, and will appear before an examining magistrate in Nafplion on Tuesday.

    The four were arrested during a traffic police check on their car, in which a fifth Pakistani, the victim of the kidnapping, was also riding.

    A preliminary investigation revealed that the victim had been abducted in Aspropyrgos on May 2 by a group of some 15 Pakistanis, including the four arrestees, who demanded a 5,000 euros ransom from the abductee's family for his release.

    [36] Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos breaks leg in fall

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos is being treated at a hospital in the city of Agrinio, western Greece, following a double fracture in the leg he sustained as he was entering the church of Agios Christoforos.

    As the Archbishop was coming out of his car to go to the church, he slipped, probably due to slipperiness caused by rain, resulting in his injury.

    The Archcbishop expressed the desire to be taken to Athens.

    Archbishop Ieronymos was in Agrinio to attend events regarding the celebration of patron saint Christoforos, while earlier he had been proclaimed an honourary citizen of Agrinio.

    [37] Twinning of high schools of Hania, Canakkale

    The high schoolof Akrotiri in Hania, on Crete, and a high school in Canakkale, Turkey have entered a twinning programme, following an initiative by their faculties aimed at creating friendship ties between the pupils and upgrading the education provided.

    Canakkale HS students are currently on a visit to Hania accompanied by their teachers.

    [38] Missing man found dead

    A 23 year-old Romanian who had been declared missing was found drowned on Sunday drowned, after his body was washed up on a beach in western Kalamata, southern Greece.

    Kalamata coast guard officers, who retrieved the body, are conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the young man's death.

    [39] W. African art at Benaki

    Works of art and objects that belong to Libya-born Italian private collector Bruno Finocchiaro will be on display at the Benaki Museum in Athens on International Museum Day, celebrated on May 18.

    Finocchiaro, who lived in Africa for 30 years, aims to introduce the public to the history of African art with a lecture focusing on the significance of the African objects on display and how they came to his possession.

    Soccer

    [40] AEK tops Superleague playoffs

    AEK Athens on Sunday beat Olympiakos Volou 1-0 and took the lead after the conclusion of the first day of the Greek Superleague play-offs. Earlier PAOK Thessaloniki beat Panathinaikos 2-1.

    Results

    PAOK Thessaloniki-Panathinaikos Athens 2-1

    AEK Athens-Olympiakos Volou 1-0

    Standings

    AEK 4

    PAOK 3

    Panathinaikos 3

    Olympiakos Volou 0

    Weather Forecast

    [41] Rainy on Tuesday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 7C and 22C. Slightly cloudy with possible local showers in Athens, with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 11C to 20C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 6C to 19C.

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

    The European Commission, IMF and ECB "troika" initial results on the Memorandum's implementation mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Five changes in salaries and auxiliary pensions".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Waterloo: New Memorandum with new unbearable measures".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Deeper austerity to last longer".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Devastating Troika brings new shocking cutbacks and sale of state assets".

    ESTIA: "Government's catastrophic handlings'.

    ETHNOS: "New layoffs in public sector on the horizon".

    IMERISSIA: "EU demands 50 billion euro 'pawn' to give further assistance in 2012".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "New rescue effort with obligations and guarantees".

    TA NEA: "Mortgages and consensus - Troika arrives with harsh conditions".

    VRADYNI: "10-hour workday and reduction of salary".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [43] Cypriot FM and UN Chief discuss Cyprus issue

    ISTANBUL (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcos Kyprianou met on Monday in Istanbul with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, with whom he exchanged views on the Cyprus problem and efforts to reach a solution.

    Speaking after the meeting on the sidelines of the 4th UN Forum for the Least Developed Countries, Kyprianou said he had the opportunity to elaborate on ''our views and concerns regarding recent developments in the talks, how the process is moving and how we would like it to be moving, as well as the reasons for which there is no progress.''

    Kyprianou told CNA that he also listened to the views of the UN Secretary General, who he said was ''looking forward to a tripartite meeting in June or July, to discuss the core issues.''

    NTV channel said Ban intended to convene a tripartite meeting in June and launch a process that will be wrapped up in December, followed by a quintet meeting with the participation of Greece and Turkey, and when the agreement to have been reached will have been approved, referenda will be held in Cyprus.

    Ban had also spoken of a tripartite meeting in June or July in an interview recently with Turkish news agency Anadolu.

    Kyprianou will hold a meeting on Tuesday with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and on Wednesday he will participate in the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which will take place in Istanbul.

    Ban also met with President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, with whom he exchanged views inter alia on talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Earlier on Monday, Ban met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Davudoglu.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The leaders of the island's two communities are currently engaged in UN-led negotiations with an aim to reunify the island.

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