|Friday, 20 July 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-05-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 17 May 2011 Issue No: 3788
 PM chairs cabinet meeting on action in downtown AthensA cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister George Papandreou, decided on Monday to appoint government vice president Theodoros Pangalos to coordinate action for downtown Athens and the handling of unlawful behaviour.
The measures decided include daily patrols that will also be assisted by members of the municipal police, targeted action by the Crime Prevention and Suppression Group, large operations of generalised police checks at least on a weekly basis, the creation of a bicycle road network and the turning of old hotels in central Athens into student dormitories.
Addressing the cabinet meeting, Premier Papandreou said, according to reports, that Athens is the place where the meaning of a democratic city was born but today the citizen lives isolated from the city.
The meeting focused on the existing problems in the centre of Athens and was also attended by Athens Mayor George Kaminis and Attica Regional Governor Yiannis Sgouros.
The prime minister said the condemnation of violence is not enough, stressing that a new enactment of democracy is required in the country that will secure institutions which will cultivate the citizens' participation.
"Our intervention does not aim simply at the centre's self-evident security but at the city finding its soul once again," Papandreou added.
He further said the centre is experiencing phenomena of decline and accumulated problems whose roots go back to the 60s and 70s while, as he said, frequently in public speech the problems of Athens "are simplified and focus on the gathering of immigrants in the centre of the city."
The problems are social and the solution must be political, he said, adding that the police do not solve social problems.
Papandreou also said that all the Athenians remember the city in the period of the Olympic Games, in August 2004, and that opportunity was lost and today "we are experiencing the results of the policy of the government and the municipal authority after the Olympic Games."
Lastly, the prime minister, acknowledging on the one hand the workload that the ministries involved in the centre of Athens have, stressed on the other hand that delays are not justified and urged ministers to handle the crucial issues of the centre of the capital as soon as possible.
The prime minister received, before the cabinet meeting, Athens Mayor Kaminis.
 ND leader Samaras queries the PM on the rising crime in AthensMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Monday addressed a timely question to the prime minister on "increased crime and a growing sense of insecurity among the people".
Samaras underlined that "the situation in Athens' inner city districts has spiraled out of control given the fact that organized crime engaged in drug trafficking, prostitution, migrant trafficking and extortions has made certain neighborhoods inaccessible to citizens and very dangerous to unsuspecting tourists".
The ND leader underlined that "the situation has a negative impact on economic transactions in downtown Athens," and blamed the government of "never implementing the ambitious declarations that were occasionally made."
Samaras also referred to increased problems within the Greek Police (EL.AS) and called on the government to realize the gravity of the situation.
 ND on increased crime; economy; Strauss-Kahn case; PM-Samaras telephone communication?ain opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis on Monday referred to the latest attack by hooded extremists outside a police station in Athens' Exarchia district, stressing that Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis is largely responsible and essentially called for his resignation.
Speaking to reporters, Mihelakis stressed that Papoutsis' public statements concerning the quality of police work have offered an "alibi" to extremists while hurting the morale of the police force.
ND alternate economy sector head Christos Staikouras, who was present in the press briefing, underlined that "we are the only country in the Eurozone that is in recession and at the same time we are in the worst position in terms of economic growth".
On his part, the ND spokesman commented that the government follows a dead end policy that cannot meet the goals set, adding that "the government is ineffective".
Called to comment on possible complications stemming from the arrest of IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, he said that ND will see how things develop before making any comments.
Mihelakis also confirmed, without entering into details, that last Wednesday Prime Minister George Papandreou had a telephone communication with ND leader Antonis Samaras.
As regards the consensus issue, Mihelakis clarified that the ND leader was clear on that in the statements he made in Zappeion last Thursday when he unveiled the party's proposals aimed at leading the country out of the crisis.
 Minister presents plan for major overhaul of state sector to cabinetBriefing a cabinet meeting on Monday, Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis outlined his ministry's plans for a major overhaul of Greece's state sector that will transform it into a lean, efficient 'machine' that will not squander public money nor act as a dead weight and an obstacle to progress.
He stressed that human resources - the civil servants themselves - will be the main focus in this drive for a reformed state, which would be free of pockets of corruption and mismanagement.
Ragoussis said that the effort would require great political will and a willingness to ignore political cost, given the attitudes that dominate within the two main parties and high-ranking trade unionists concerning the civil service and broader public sector.
One of the pillars on which the new, reformed public administration will be based was the decision announced by the prime minister a few days earlier to convert the status of civil servants to that of 'employees of state', breaking down the barriers between each ministry and introducing evaluation mechanism for ministry staff.
Ragoussis noted that the more important change this introduced was not the power to fire employees but a process of evaluation that would reveal who was unfit to be in the civil service'. He expressed the opinion that the simple knowledge that they would be evaluated would prompt employees to "do their best" so that the majority would not fail such an evaluation.
"One of the major problems of the Greek state is that there is no such evaluation system for many years now, therefore no one ensures or has any incentive to perform better".
The above measures, combined with the introduction of the new, unified pay scale in the next months, will allow better staffing of public administration and end the treatment of public-sector jobs as 'prizes' to be shared out by whatever party was in power, Ragoussis promised.
According to the minister, the main wager for the success of the changes would be to convince the public, and especially civil servants still smarting after successive wage cuts, that the changes were being made to make the public sector better, rather than just cheaper.
Based on a study that Ragoussis presented to reporters, the main problem with Greece's public sector was neither its excessive size, nor the excessively high wages earned by public-sector workers, barring a handful of exceptions. According to the minister, the main problem was the policy that had been followed by successive governments in past decades.
Rather than the EU and IMF emphasis on a 'smaller' state sector, most Greeks wanted to see a 'better' state sector that would help pull the country out of the crisis, he added.
 Gov't sources confirm Papandreou-Samaras phone conversation last weekGovernment sources on Monday confirmed that prime minister George Papandreou had a telephone contact last Wednesday with main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, who the following day unveiled his party's package of economic proposals, dubbed "Zappeion 2".
The telephone discussion took place at the initiative of the prime minister, who briefed Samaras on the great difficulties the country is facing and stressed that an exit from the crisis requires national understanding and responsibility by everyone.
The same sources also said that the discussion did not extend into other matters, nor was any agreement made.
 Petalotis confirms Papandreou-Samaras phone callFollowing earlier confirmation by government sources, last week's telephone call between Prime Minister George Papandreou and main opposition leader Antonis Samaras was also confirmed by government spokesman George Petalotis on Monday.
Petalotis said the prime minister had called Samaras the previous Wednesday in order to be briefed about the main opposition's proposals in its 'Zappeion II' economic policy platform.
Papandreou had asked the main opposition leader for national consensus on the vote for the Medium-term Fiscal Programme, he added.
"The necessary consensus is not clinched with one phone call," Petalotis said, noting that actions were needed and that the electorate would not forgive "petty party-political tactics and practices for party benefits".
He denied rumours that the EU-IMF troika had asked that the Medium-Term Fiscal Programme be passed with an enhanced majority of 180 votes, saying that it would be voted on using the standard Parliamentary procedure.
 Gov't on economic crisis and Strauss-Kahn arrestGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Monday rejected arguments that the EU-IMF Memorandum was responsible for Greece's economic crisis, stressing that the blame lay mainly on the previous government's failure to promptly take measures to guard against it. According to Petalotis, the crisis would have occurred anyway but the use of false economic figures had meant the country was unable to respond in the right way.
"We could have avoided the Memorandum and not entered the crisis unprotected and happy," he told reporters.
While stressing that the government was neither complacent nor triumphant, he went on to point to recent improvements in major economic figures, such as a decrease in inflation to 3.9 percent in April, a gradual levelling off of the recession to 4.8 percent of GDP in the first trimester of 2011 from 7.4 percent of GDP previously, and a 35 percent increase in exports during the first trimester of 2011 relative to the same period in 2010.
Asked about the impact that the arrest of IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn will have on Greece, Petalotis said that Greece's cooperation with the IMF was institutional and based on policies, not people.
"A personal contribution may play some role but the Strauss-Kahn affair will not have any repercussions on the negotiations Greece is carrying out," he added.
 FM meets with visiting Russian Dep. FMForeign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Monday underlined the excellent relations shared by Greece and Russia while receiving Russian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs Alexander Grushko currently in Athens for a conference on European security.
Droutsas stressed that the conference on "The Politico-Military Dimension of European Security: Proposals and Perspectives", co-hosted with Russia, is a follow-up to the so-called "Corfu Process" inaugurated by Greece while chairing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He also reminded that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was the first to speak about the need for a dialogue on the European security architecture.
The FM pointed out that the visit of the Russian government official presents a great opportunity for discussing international, regional and bilateral issues.
"Our bilateral relations are excellent on all sectors and are based on a deep-rooted friendship between our two peoples," Droutsas underlined, adding that Greece works systematically for a closer cooperation between Russia and the EU and between Russia and NATO.
He stressed that hopefully Greece will host a large number of Russian tourists this summer, adding that "the Greek consulate authorities in Russia are the fastest in the Schengen countries as regards visa issuance for Europe". He expressed the wish that soon the Russian citizens will not need a visa for Europe, underlining that this is a top priority for Greece which works systematically toward this direction.
On his part, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs Alexander Grushko underlined that Greece has played an important role in introducing a new spirit in the Russia-NATO relations, adding that the Greek-Russian transactions reached 7 billion euros last year breaking a new record.
He referred to the increased number of Russian tourists visiting Greece and pointed out that last year they were more than 390,000 expressing optimism that this year their number will be even larger.
The conference on "The Political-Military Dimension of European Security: Proposals and Perspectives", to be opened on Tuesday by Droutsas and Grushko, is aimed at holding a broad discussion on the role played in European security by Greece and Russia.
Among the speakers will be politicians, diplomats, military personnel and researchers with extensive experience in European security issues, from Greece, Russia, Sweden, Hungary, Germany and Ukraine.
 Deputy FM in China for joint agreement on mutual visa facilitationDeputy foreign minister Spyros Kouvelis arrived in Beijing on Sunday for the inauguration of an air flight between Athens and Beijing by Air China and the signing of a Joint Agreement for mutual visa facilitation.
On Monday, Kouvelis will have bilateral talks with the Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister and will sign the Joint Statement on visa facilitation for the citizens of the two countries. The joint Greek-Chinese accord arises from the current agreement between the European Union and China (ADS) for the facilitation of the tourist flow from China to the EU.
The Joint Agreement comes as a solid exemplification of the wish between countries to further strengthening their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Agreement dated October 4, 2010 between Greek prime minister George Papandreou and Chinese foreign minister Wen Jiabao following the Chinese Prime Minister's visit to Greece.
The signing of the Joint Agreement paves the way for furthering cooperation in the fields of the economy, entrepreneurship and outward-looking expansion, tourism, cultural agreement and scientific cooperation within the framework of the October 4 Joint Declaration.
The Joint Declaration aims at the facilitation and expedition of the bureaucratic processing of visa applications, the limitation of paperwork needed, the introduction of flexibility in the acceptance in the acceptance of application, the limitation in the submission of documentation.
On Wednesday, Kouvelis will be on the new flight from Beijing to Athens and will participate in the welcome reception of the flight organized by the Chinese Embassy in Athens and Athens International Airport.
Later Wednesday, Kouvelis will receive an eight-member mission from the Pan-Chinese Delegation of Journalists who will be visiting Greece to be briefed on the recent evacuation of 13,500 Chinese citizens from Libya.
Kouvelis will further meet with the Vice-President of the CNTA, Du Jiang.
 Gov't rules out firing of public-sector staffGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Monday denied rumours that the government was discussing lay-offs in the public sector, due to demands made by the EU-IMF troika.
"We are not discussing the firing of public-sector staff, whose job tenure is in any case protected by the Constitution," Petalotis said.
The spokesman said the government would restrict itself to staff transfers, pointing out that their numbers were reduced by 52,000 the previous year and only 1,000 were hired in that time.
"There are other ways, apart from dismissals, for a more flexible, productive state," he said.
Asked to clarify whether this would also apply for staff working in public-sector services that are due to be abolished, Petalotis said that for these there would be transfers on the basis of merit, using criteria established by the Supreme Council for Staff Selection (ASEP).
"This is not dismissal and ASEP has specific criteria that are logical and just," he stressed, adding that the same would apply for staff with indefinite contracts.
 Health minister addresses WHO session in GenevaHealth Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday addressed the World Health Organization (WHO) 64th plenary session in Geneva, underlining that international cooperation in the sector of health is a universal demand considering that infectious and non infectious diseases know no boundaries.
Loverdos referred to the parliament's decision in March to ratify the agreement for the establishment of a WHO office in Athens, stressing that it "constitutes an investment in our common future".
Referring to the growing problem of illegal migration faced by Greece, Loverdos stated that healthcare expenditures for uninsured migrants in Greece are estimated at 150 million euros annually, corresponding to more than 5 pct of the hospital care budget.
Loverdos underlined that in this period of economic crisis the country is going through, the public health system reform is a top priority for the Greek government given the fact that the healthcare services enjoyed by the Greek people are not the desired ones in spite of the fact that over 10 pct of the GDP is spent on the health sector.
Among the goals set by the Greek government are the improvement of the primary healthcare system, the restructuring of public hospitals and the reduction of non essential spending.
Loverdos also supported the imposition of an international levy on tobacco that will contribute to the anti-smoking campaign worldwide.
 Gov't sharply condemns racist behaviourCitizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Monday issued a written response to a tabled question by independent MP Fotis Kouvelis concerning recent vandalism against a Jewish synagogue on the Ionian island of Corfu.
Papoutsis underlined in his response that "we are very sensitive on issues of racism and xenophobia and the citizens' protection ministry will not tolerate the creation of such a climate in the country including any expression of extreme manifestations of improper behaviour or racist phenomena. We send a clear message toward every direction that the ministry is determined to display zero tolerance to all kinds of violence and protect the rights of minorities and vulnerable citizens".
In the document dated May 11, Papoutsis underlined that the vandalism against the Corfu synagogue "is an isolated incident and under no circumstances constitutes a proof of racism and xenophobia in our country".
In his question Kouvelis underlined that "desecrations of monuments, attacks on synagogues, intolerance and anti-Semitism constitute shameful acts".
 DM on latest sub developmentThe German multinational HDW has revoked a sub-construction contract it had concluded with the Hellenic Shipyard, for the "Poseidon" programme, which included the modernistion of the submarine "Okeanos" and the construction of another two 214-type subs for the Hellenic Navy.
A notification was provided by the German firm legal representative towards the defence ministry.
An announcement by the ministry later stated, among other things, that the interests of the country are fully safeguarded with law 3885/2010 and this development does not obstruct the delivery, according to the timetable agreed, of the three 214 type submarines that are ready at the shipyards -- the "Archimidis" programme.
 IOBE seminar: 'Troika'-mandated reforms only way to exit punishing econ crisisImplementing reforms agreed to with the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" is necessary to help the country exit the current deep economic crisis was the leitmotif of a seminar organised on Monday by the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), entitled "Economic Crisis and Governance".
Addressing the seminar, IOBE president Mihail Kortesis said the country was currently experiencing an unprecedented situation, "a multi-sided crisis that has highlighted the deeper roots of evil; a society driven by fear, without a vision; a faint-hearted political world, without a clear target, and an institutional system malfunctioning, untrustworthy".
Kortesis said the situation was exceptional and that the main challenges facing the country should focus on competitiveness - a top national priority, as he said -- a new role for the state, balanced economic growth and a educational system adjusted to these changes.
"To achieve these goals we must urgently put forward a transition process from the state to the private sector, from protection to competitiveness, from collective inaction to individual initiative, from overspending to efficiency, from closed sectors to an open economy," he noted.
Kortesis said this transition demands overcoming strong resistance by vested and special interest groups.
Yiannis Stournaras, IOBE's managing director, underlined the need to save 23 billion euros to cut the country's fiscal deficit in the next three years and stressed there were economic sectors which could easily attract investments. Stournaras said that opening up markets and professions in the country could boost the country's GDP by 17 pct, the employment by 5.0 pct and exports by 10.5 pct.
He noted, however, that a new growth model was necessary for the country and stressed that time is running out for Greece, as delays in reforms and significant diversions from a fiscal consolidation program were already visible.
"To achieve, more than anything else it is necessary to have the right governance structure," Stournaras said.
Mario Blejer, a former vice-president of the Bank of Argentina, said the two countries "were not moving along parallel roads", and stressed that loss of competitiveness and inconsistency in fiscal deficits were the major problems for his country, while he noted that Argentina focused on privatisations to deal with the crisis.
Hasan Ersel, a professor and former vice-president of the Bank of Turkey, also addressed the seminar, stressing that: "When you don't know what to do, the best thing to do is to do your best", adding that in periods of crises, psychology plays a very important role.
Commenting on a crisis that hit Turkey in 2001 and 2008, he noted that Turkey managed to implement a socially-painful and politically-risky programme without large social reactions.
Finally, Lu?s Campos e Cunha, Portugal's former finance minister, underlined that Turkey, Argentina, Portugal and Greece have great differences and no safe conclusions could be derived from the aforementioned crises.
 Greece, China sign agro products, foods accordGreece and China on Monday signed a five-year cooperation agreement on quality, hygiene and safety of farm products and foods.
The agreement, signed between Greece's agricultural development and foods ministry and China's quality control general inspectorate, is expected to contribute to closer cooperation between the two countries with the aim of facilitating Greek farm and food product exports to the Chinese market.
"Our aim is to further promote the good cooperation between our two ministries," Chinese minister Zhi Shuping said, noting the close ties that have developed between Greece and China in recent years.
"This is the fourth consecutive agreement we have signed with the general inspectorate," agricultural development and foods minister Costas Skandalidis said.
The talks between the two sides also covered matters of bilateral interest, while Skandalidis further accepted an invitation to visit China for the purpose of projection of Greek products.
The accord covers the mutual recognition of production systems and quality certification, as well as the control and certification methods for agricultural and food products hygiene and safety between the two countries.
The cooperation will include exchanges of information and knowhow regarding the management and operation of certification systems in the production of agricultural products and foods, as well as programs for preventive controls and quarantine rules.
It further envisages exchange of knowhow in the development of standards in the production of certified quality products and monitoring, control and certification systems, including the requirements for cross-border promotion of agricultural products and foods.
In that context, a Mixed Greek-Chinese Committee will be set up with representatives of the two sides, which will meet regularly in Greece and China alternately, on dates to be set via diplomatic channels.
The five-year accord will be extended automatically for further five-year periods.
Bilateral issues were also discussed between the agriculture ministry leadership and a large Chinese delegation, with the participation of Chinese ambassador to Greece Luo Linquan.
 Support for Eurobonds at 12th ETUC Congress in AthensAddressing the 12th Congress of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) that began in Athens on Monday, ETUC General Secretary John Monks urged the European Union "to alter its direction of travel" and do more to support economic growth within the countries in crisis, rather than putting emphasis entirely on austerity policies.
"Austerity is not working," Monks stressed, pointing out that growth was stagnant in both Greece and Ireland, but also in the UK where the Coalition Government was "prescribing similar medicine".
He said the ETUC wanted to see European politicians issue Eurobonds to help countries with sovereign debt problems and adopt plans for youth unemployment, while he also pointed to strong support among Europeans for a financial transaction tax.
ETUC President Wanja Lundby-Wedin said the ETUC was against workers paying the price for the crisis and pointed out that wages throughout Europe had fallen but public debt was increasing.
Criticising attitudes that treated labour rights as subordinate to freedom of markets, she said trade unions had to fight in order to make the principle of equal pay for equal work accepted throughout Europe, calling for a 'social progress protocol' to be inserted into the Lisbon Treaty.
Support for such as 'progress protocol' was also voiced by other speakers, while there was agreement that the Euro Plus Pact would be used to further compress wages and the real purchasing power of European workers.
 Greek inflation slows to 3.7% in April, EurostatBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)
Greek annual inflation slowed to 3.7 pct in April from 4.3 pct in March, Eurostat said on Monday. The EU executive's statistics agency, in a report, said the inflation rate rose to 2.8 pct in April from 2.7 pct in March in the Eurozone, up from 1.6 pct a year earlier, while in the EU-27, the inflation rate rose to 3.2 pct from 3.1 pct and 2.1 pct, over the same periods, respectively.
Ireland (1.5 pct), Czech Republic (1.6 pct) and Sweden (1.8 pct) recorded the lowest inflation rates, while Romania (8.4 pct), Estonia (5.4 pct) and Lithuania (4.4 pct) recorded the lowest rates. The inflation rate rose in 16 member-states, it remained in two and fell in eight member-states.
 Bouncing checks down 7.87% in Jan-AprA deep economic recession in the country kept the credit market under pressure in the first four months of the year, with the value of bouncing checks totaling 655.3 million euros, of which 137.7 million euros in April (down 15.59 pct compared with March), official figures showed on Monday. A report by Teiresias SA, credit market's watchdog, said the volume of bouncing checks totaled 14,482 in April, down 8.41 pct compared with March, while on an annual basis, the value and volume of bouncing checks was down 7.87 pct and 0.76 pct, respectively.
The value of unpaid bills totaled 80.6 million euros in the January-April period, while volume totaled 50,182.
 Electricity demand down in AprilDemand for electricity fell in April this year, compared with the corresponding month in 2010, reflecting a slight decline in electricity consumption by large industries in April, reversing a 12-13 pct increase in consumption recorded in the first quarter of the year. Greek households and small enterprises continued consuming less energy this year, compared with 2010, hit by an economic crisis, the electricity transportation system management body (DESMHE) said on Monday.
More analytically, electricity demand in April fell 1.73 pct compared with April 2010, with large consumers' demand falling 0.35 pct and households' demand falling by 1.56 pct.
Demand was slightly up 0.08 pct in the January-April period compared with the same period in 2011. Domestic electricity energy production rose 5.15 pct in the four-month period, while energy imports fell 38 pct. Lignite production rose 8.0 pct and natural gas production soared 64 pct, while the use of oil stations fell by 99.6 pct and hydro-electric stations dropped 56 pct. Alternative energy power stations raised their production by 1.7 pct in the January-April period.
 Wind power leads Renewable Energy Sources growthProduction capacity by Renewable Energy Sources grew 20.3 pct on average in the 2002-2010 period, a survey by ICAP said on Monday. The report said that electricity power sales by Renewable Energy Sources grew 25 pct in 2009, from the previous year.
ICAP said the sector was growing in an unbalancing way, with market focusing mainly to the technologically mature and economically more competitive wind power energy sector. Wind power parks accounted for 78 pct of total capacity, followed by small hydro-electric power units (12 pct), photovoltaic parks (7.4 pct) and bio gas and maze units (2.4 pct). Wind power energy should account for 72 pct of all Renewable Energy Sources' capacity by 2020.
The market has witnessed the birth of strong business groups, with a large number of subsidiaries, in the sector. A group balance sheet of 77 enterprises in the sector showed that sales grew 16.6 pct in 2009, from the previous year, while EBITDA rose 19.9 pct and pre-tax profits jumped 37.4 pct.
 90 food businesses finedThe Unified Food Control Agency has imposed fines totalling 487,500 euros on 90 food businesses that were checked both at a preventive level and following consumers' reports.
The checks ascertained that a series of food businesses possessed food that was improper, adulterated, unsafe and unsuitable for human consumption or failed to comply with suitability and properness specifications, while in some of them deviations from hygiene regulations were detected.
 Business Briefs-- Hellenic Exchanges SA on Monday said its consolidated net profits fell 6.0 pct to 9.2 million euros in the first quarter of 2011, from 9.8 million euros in the same period last year.
-- Intralot on Monday announced the signing of an agreement with Prime Sports (Jamaica) Ltd, a subsidiary of Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) for the supply of videolotto terminals (VLTs) and the pioneer iGEM management and control system.
-- ANEK Lines on Monday reported an after tax and minorities loss of 3.8 million euros in the first quarter of 2011, after a loss of 18.2 million euros in the same period last year, while net losses totaled 700,000 euros in the January-March period, up from a loss of 18.5 million euros last year.
 Stocks end significantly lowerStocks ended significantly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market to the lowest levels since March 28, 1997. The index fell 1.91 pct to end at 1,330.28 points, for a loss of 5.92 pct so far this year. Turnover remained a disappointing low 61.033 million euros.
The Big Cap index dropped 2.61 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.06 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 2.87 pct. Titan (1.74 pct), Coca-Cola 3E (1.44 pct) and PPC (0.10 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end higher, while OPAP (8.55 pct), ATEbank (7.27 pct), Ellaktor (6.79 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (3.95 pct), Cyprus Bank (3.91 pct) and Eurobank (3.90 pct) were top losers.
The Media (4.29 pct), Food (1.30 pct) and Utilities (0.04 pct) scored gains, while Travel (8.07 pct), Financial Services (3.24 pct) and Banks (2.83 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 103 to 32 with another 39 issues unchanged. Technical Publications (8.33 pct), Audiovisual (5.71 pct) and Neorio (5.26 pct) were top gainers, while Altec (16.67 pct), Dromeas (14.29 pct) and Vovos (13.18 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.52%
Personal & Household: -0.62%
Raw Materials: -2.34%
Travel & Leisure: -8.07%
Food & Beverages: +1.30%
Financial Services: -3.24%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, OPAP and DEH.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 3.48
Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.38
HBC Coca Cola: 18.28
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.97
National Bank of Greece: 4.68
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.20
Bank of Piraeus: 1.01
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 12.48 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 12.38 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 15.59 pct and the German Bund 3.11 pct. Turnover was a low 10 million euros, of which seven million were buy orders and the remaining 3.0 million euros were sell orders. The five-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 4.0 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 2.14 pct, the six-month rate 1.70 pct, the three-month 1.42 pct and the one-month rate at 1.24 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.20 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 25.198 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,214 contracts worth 21.204 million euros, with 34,219 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,803 contracts worth 3.994 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,592), followed by Eurobank (451), OTE (744), Piraeus Bank (421), Alpha Bank (913), Marfin Popular Bank (703), Cyprus Bank (332) and ATEbank (664).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.435
Pound sterling 0.885
Danish kroner 7.568
Swedish kroner 9.144
Japanese yen 116.07
Swiss franc 1.273
Norwegian kroner 7.985
Canadian dollar 1.398
Australian dollar 1.359
 President receives Battle of Crete veterans from New ZealandPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday received a delegation of New Zealand veterans from the Battle of Crete, led by former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast.
Addressing the veterans, Papoulias stressed that they were "heroes of a very important battle for Europe and the entire world" who had resisted at a time when Nazism seemed invincible.
He pointed out that Hitler's defeat at the Battle of Crete had cost him one of his most elite forces and had a direct impact on his immediate plans, such as taking Great Britain from the air.
 Meeting on Liberty ship museum on WednesdayMaritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries Minister Yiannis Diamantidis is to have a meeting on Wednesday with Greek-American senator Leonidas Raptakis and a group of ship owners concerning the conversion of the cargo vessel "Hellas Liberty" into a floating museum.
An original U.S.-made 'Liberty ship' of the type that formed the backbone of the Greek merchant fleet after World War II, the ship sailed into Piraeus harbour in 2009 and is 100 percent owned by the maritime affairs ministry. The conversion of the ship was carried out at the Perama shipyard.
After the war, 100 such Liberty ships were given to Greek ship owners by the United States and helped in the rise of Greek merchant shipping after the second world war.
 Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos leaves hospitalArchbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos left an Athens hospital on Monday afternoon, where he had undergone surgery for a broken leg. The Archbishop will continue therapy at home.
Shortly before leaving hospital, he was visited by main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, while he had also been visited by Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou.
 Arrests for child pornography via InternetA 15-year-old boy was among seven suspects -- six Greeks and one Polish national -- who were arrested on Monday in Athens and Evia island charged with child pornography via the internet.
Attica electronic crimes squad officers digitally identified the users of the webpage following an organised operation.
A search of the suspects' residences revealed 12 hard discs, a laptop and a modem that have been confiscated and are being examined.
The arrestees were sent before Athens and Evia prosecutors.
 ISAP electric railway strike on TuesdayStaff at the ISAP Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway have announced a four-hour work stoppage between noon and 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday in protest against plans for mandatory transfers of 170 ISAP colleagues in the framework of a bill for restructuring Athens public transport. They also plan an occupation of ISAP central offices throughout the day.
Warning that they intend to escalate labour action if their demands are ignored, they are seeking an immediate meeting with Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas.
 Sigri Castle closes for visitorsThe Sigri Castle on Lesvos island closed on Monday following a Sigri authorities' decision.
The local authorities took the decision due to a major risk of collapse of the castle's walls and to prevent visitors' injuries.
The 14th Byzantine Antiquities ephorate proposed the closing of the castle on March 30.
 Man arrested for posing as archbishop's nephew, seeking bribesAttica Security police on Monday arrested a 33-year-old man accused of posing as the nephew of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos and asking business people for money with the promise that he would intervene on their behalf so they might gain lucrative supply contracts for various church institutions.
The 33-year-old was arrested in a hospital where he had arranged to meet a business owner and receive the sum of 10,000 euros. The money was in marked notes, however, because the victim had already informed police, who were then able to move in and make an arrest.
Over the last three months, the impostor had succeeded in obtaining 77,912 euro from the same businessman in this way.
At the time of his arrest, the 33-year-old had on him the 10,000 euro in marked notes and a bank account passbook in which the money he had received was deposited. He was led before a public prosecutor.
 Superleague playoffs resultsAEK Athens on Sunday beat PAOK 3-0 and took the lead after the conclusion of the third day of the Greek Superleague play-offs. Later, Olympiakos Volou beat Panathinaikos 2-1.
Olympiakos Volou-Panathinaikos Athens 2-1
AEK Athens-PAOK Thessaloniki 3-0
Olympiakos Volou 3
 Cloudy on TuesdayCloudy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 12C and 25C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with southerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 24C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 14C to 23C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceIMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest for attempted rape and the prospective consequences to the Greek case, the new package of measures in order for the Troika (IMF, EC, ECB) to approve disbursement of the fifth installment of the support loan and the conditions in the centre of Athens, mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Strauss-Kahn arrested for attempted rape!..."
AVRIANI: "Troika's crook behind bars".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The maid blocks Greece - IMF takes for granted a harsher position towards Greece".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The maid resisted the...IMF rapist".
ESTIA: "Bad development for Greece".
ETHNOS: "Troika is blackmailing for the new loan".
IMERISSIA: "Dramatic 'behind the scenes' over the fifth installment".
TA NEA: "Sex, loans and mortgages".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Troika demands 4 billion euros in measures and privatisations".
VRADYNI: "10,000 layoffs in public sector".
 Christofias: 'We will not give in to any pressure'NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
President Demetris Christofias stressed here Monday that he will accept no pressure and no moves aiming at relinquishing principles and imposing a settlement contrary to UN Security Council resolutions.
Speaking during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace to honour those who have suffered and those who were injured during the military coup and the Turkish invasion in 1974, Christofias underlined that "we reject categorically the idea of becoming complacent with the division of our country and with the idea of handing over half of our country to Turkey", adding that "division is detrimental to the country and its people."
Christofias stressed that the only attainable solution that can lead to freedom and reunification is a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality.
"We continue to defend principles at the negotiating table. We continue to struggle for the implementation of international and European law in Cyprus. We will not abandon our efforts in spite of the difficulties we face," he added.
The president also stressed the need for unity "to achieve our goals," and noted that "any change in our strategic goal - which is to achieve a bizonal, bicommunal federaton with political equality as described by UN Security Council resolutions - will give the chance to Turkey to disengage itself from its commitment to the reunification of Cyprus through a federal solution and to promote, without any problems and repercussions on Ankara, its divisive plans on Cyprus."
"Undoubtedly the achievement of a settlement does not depend on us. It primarily depends on Turkey, which must change its intransigent stance. We are working hard towards this direction, consolidating Cyprus' position internationally and making use of Europe's role," he added.
President Christofias said that this ceremony should have taken place many years ago to pay tribute to the disabled, those who suffered and those who were injured during the coup and the Turkish invasion in 1974.
"Even 37 years later, our government fulfills this duty of the state after a decision of the Council of Ministers," he noted and thanked all those who fought to defend Cyprus and their families.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. The two sides in Cyprus are currently engaged in UN-backed direct negotiations which began in September 2008 with a view to solve the Cyprus problem.
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