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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-06-16

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

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

Thursday, 16 June 2011 Issue No: 3813

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM announces that he will form new gov't, seek vote of confidence
  • [02] 'Only Greek people can provide solution', ND leader says
  • [03] Vote of confidence procedure in Parliament
  • [04] PM concludes extraordinary meeting with President
  • [05] PM and ND leader discuss all-party government, sources claim
  • [06] PM willing to step down in exchange for consensus, gov't sources claim
  • [07] ND denies reports of Samaras meeting with Papandreou representative
  • [08] Communist Party leader asks for elections during call from PM
  • [09] KKE leader, officials join PAME rally in downtown Athens
  • [10] Tsipras calls for immediate elections in phone call with PM
  • [11] Kouvelis confirms phone contact with PM
  • [12] Papoulias to receive LA.O.S head on Thursday
  • [13] Discussion on Mid-term Programme begins at Parliamentary Economic Committee
  • [14] Few MPs brave entry into besieged Parliament on Wednesday morning
  • [15] Leftist parties condemn 'provocations' in downtown Athens
  • [16] Police clash with hooded individuals outside parliament
  • [17] Thirty injured in clashes at Syntagma
  • [18] Fifteen people to be brought before prosecutor on Thursday
  • [19] Arrests and clashes in Syntagma as bulk of protestors appeal for end to violence
  • [20] Far-right, anarchist groups trigger clashes during Syntagma protests
  • [21] KKE to hold rally in Omonia Square on Thursday evening
  • [22] Holy Synod address to Greek people
  • [23] EU: Greece will get next aid tranche in July
  • [24] FinMin cites changes to tax proposals
  • [25] Chambers present joint plan for economy's 'reset'
  • [26] Number of persons employed in retail trade drops 2.8pct yr/yr in Q1 2011
  • [27] Migrant remittances sent to Albania record seven-year low
  • [28] Ryanair inaugurates new flight from Thessaloniki
  • [29] 12th Thessaloniki Forum postponed
  • [30] Business Briefs
  • [31] Stocks end significantly lower
  • [32] Greek bond market closing report
  • [33] ADEX closing report
  • [34] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [35] Stolen ton of copper found in Corinthia prefecture
  • [36] 1st Greek-Turkish Festival "Archipelagos' on Lesvos
  • [37] Cloudy on Thursday Politics

  • [01] PM announces that he will form new gov't, seek vote of confidence

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday evening announced that he will form a "new government" the next day and seek a renewed vote of confidence from Parliament, capping off a day of intense political speculation in Athens -- all amid confirmed same-day reports that he could consider some sort of power sharing agreement.

    In a televised address to the nation, Papandreou accused the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party of handling the issue of consensus among the parties for the formation of a government of wider acceptance "in an absolutely communicational way and not in terms of national responsibility."

    The prime minister's statement reads as follows:

    "The country is experiencing crucial moments.

    We must safeguard the future of the country with a feeling of national responsibility, handling the present multiform crisis with determination.

    I assumed the responsibility of governance at a time when the country was on the verge of disaster and bankruptcy.

    We took the sins of others on our shoulders.

    With dedication our government has been waging the struggle for the country's rescue for the past 20 months.

    And the country has remained upright also opening prospects for major changes.

    I requested that this effort take the characteristics of a common national effort.

    The duty is a national one, not a partisan one.

    I made continuous proposals for cooperation to the opposition parties.

    Today I came back with new proposals to the leaders of all parties, for the necessary national consensus to be achieved.

    I clarified that I never related my responsibility with posts.

    Despite my stance, the main opposition party handled this whole effort with communicational terms and not with terms of political and national responsibility.

    Before even the essence was discussed, terms were raised publicly that can not be accepted, because they keep the country in prolonged instability and introversion, while the major national issue is the handling of the public debt.

    I have learnt in my life to wage struggles for the country, for the economy, for the citizens, for values.

    Let us all assume the responsibilities for our actions towards the country.

    I shall continue along the same path, the path of duty, together with the Parliamentary Group of PASOK, the cadres and the Greek people.

    I shall form a new government tomorrow and immediately afterwards I shall request a vote of confidence from Parliament.

    It is the time of responsibility."

    [02] 'Only Greek people can provide solution', ND leader says

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras called for elections after his talks with Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday.

    "Mr. Papandreou made his choices and the people can judge. Tomorrow's reshuffle has to do with persons and balances. Unfortunately for the Greek people the government policy will remain the same. We are continuing the struggle in ND for a change in policy. And a change of the political scene itself now. It is now clear that the only one who can provide a solution is the Greek people," he said.

    He also said that he requested from Papandreou to resign from the prime minister's post and that Papandreou accepted at first and utimately rejected it. "And so a historic opportunity was lost," Samaras stressed.

    [03] Vote of confidence procedure in Parliament

    According to Parliament's regulation (article 141) the government can call for a vote of confidence from Parliament with either a written or an oral statement by the prime minister.

    The proposal is registered in a special daily agenda and the discussion begins two days after its tabling, unless it is requested to begin immediately, as is the case today. It lasts three days and on midnight of the last day a rollcall vote is held.

    The government enjoys the confidence of Parliament if it receives the absolute majority of the deputies present, which in no case is permitted to be less than two fifths of the entire number of deputies (120).

    This means that following Wednesday night's statement by Prime Minister George Papandreou, the discussion will probably begin on Friday, immediately after the swearing in of the new government, and will be concluded at midnight on Sunday with the open rollcall vote.

    [04] PM concludes extraordinary meeting with President

    Prime minister George Papandreou had an extraordinary meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias an hour after noon on Wednesday, at his own request.

    The premier made no statements after the one-hour audience with the President but headed directly to the government headquarters at the Maximos Mansion, and would make an address to the nation later in the day.

    Papandreou was also holding a series of telephone contacts with the political party leaders on Wednesday.

    He spoke with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis before the meeting with the President.

    The premier will call main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras and Democratic Alliance leader Dora Bakoyannis after the with the President, and before his address to the people.

    Government sources said that the premier was not expected to announce snap elections, an option they said has been ruled out and was not among the topics discussed by Papandreou with the President.

    Greece is at a "historically critical" moment, prime minister George Papandreou said on Wednesday, and reiterated his call for national understanding, as he was greeted at the Presidential Mansion by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias for an extraordinary meeting asked by the premier.

    Papandreou said that, even today, he was in contact with the leaders of the other political parties to seek understanding, adding: "Everyone undertakes his responsibilities. I am aware of my responsibilities and the responsibilities of my government towards the Greek people and the country."

    "In every instance, we will move ahead, with this sense of responsibility, for the necessary decisions in order for the country to exit the crisis," Papandreou added.

    Papoulias stressed the need for a nationwide effort.

    [05] PM and ND leader discuss all-party government, sources claim

    Prime Minister George Papandreou held talks with main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on the telephone on Wednesday, after a round of telephone calls with the leaders of the other political parties in Parliament. Their conversation lasted roughly 20 minutes.

    While an earlier official announcement by ND had refused to disclose the content of their talks before Papandreou had expressed his position, unnamed sources within the party said that the prime minister had described the situation as extremely difficult and that he was prepared to consider either an all-party government or a broader alliance government.

    The same sources said that Samaras did not reject the proposal but made it clear that this could not work with Papandreou as prime minister. To this, always according to ND sources, Papandreou apparently replied that he was not concerned about whether he was prime minister.

    Other sources within the party announced that there would be a second telephone communication between the two men later on Wednesday afternoon.

    Samaras has apparently made it a condition that there is a substantial renegotiation of the terms of the Memorandum for the loans to Greece, in order to agree to an all-party government.

    The ND leader, who has been in continuous contact with his closest aides since the morning, is expected to head to his party's headquarters in a short while.

    [06] PM willing to step down in exchange for consensus, gov't sources claim

    Government sources on Wednesday confirmed rumours leaked earlier within main opposition New Democracy, namely that Prime Minister George Papandreou was prepared to step down if this would allow a cooperation or all-party government to be formed.

    They said the prime minister had indicated in talks with the political party leaders on Wednesday that he was open to all proposals for getting the country of the crisis, especially with main opposition ND leader Antonis Samaras.

    In a 20-minute telephone call with Samaras, Papandreou apparently clarified that he would only be prepared to consider such an all-party government, even if he were not its leader, in the event that all the political parties were able to agree on a set of specific political goals, on time commitments for the negotiations and the changes that the country needs to make.

    During talks with Samaras, Papandreou indicated that the country was going through critical moments with decisions of historic importance had to be made, requiring proposals of historic responsibility for the present and future of the country.

    The prime minister also made it clear that if such an agreement was not possible, he was determined to stay and finish the job, as the elected prime minister of the country.

    Speaking with his aides in the ruling party, Papandreou relayed that he had "made his choices, taken his decisions" and was prepared to proceed either one way or another in the effort to take the country into a new era, during which Greeks would never have to go through the same things as today ever again.

    The same sources claimed that during his conversation with Papandreou, ND's president had been evasive, undecided and had avoided a substantive discussion.

    [07] ND denies reports of Samaras meeting with Papandreou representative

    Main opposition New Democracy categorically denied on Wednesday rumors appearing on several blogs and websites of a meeting on Tuesday between ND leader Antonis Samaras and a representative of prime minister George Papandreou.

    In an announcement, ND press officer Yiannis Michelakis called the rumors "absurd" and unworthy of denial.

    ND further denied any telephone contact whatsoever between Samaras and Papandreou.

    [08] Communist Party leader asks for elections during call from PM

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Wednesday said that the party's general secretary Aleka Papariga has asked for early elections, during a conversation with Prime Minister George Papandreou on the telephone. The call was made by Papandreou.

    A KKE announcement said the prime minister had once again raised the issue of consensus between the parties on the terms set by the European Union in order to give additional loans to Greece. Papariga replied that the KKE refused to discuss any kind of consensus with "terms of impoverishment for the people" and once again expressed her party's complete opposition to the strategies of ruling PASOK, main opposition New Democracy and the EU.

    When Papandreou opened a discussion on holding a referendum, Papariga replied that the issue was not to set disorientating, extortionist and terrorist dilemmas but for the people to speak through elections.

    Sources within the party also clarified that Papandreou had not proposed another council of the political party leaders or further meetings at his offices during the conversation, nor made any such invitation.

    [09] KKE leader, officials join PAME rally in downtown Athens

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga, heading the entire KKE parliamentary group and a large delegation of the party's central committee, are taking part in the KKE-affiliated PAME labor organisation demonstration at noon Wednesday in the center of Athens.

    It is noted that the KKE parliamentary group is abstaining from all procedures in parliament that have to do with the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy Framework program.

    [10] Tsipras calls for immediate elections in phone call with PM

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday called for immediate general elections as the only way out for the country, during a telephone discussion with prime minister George Papandreou, according to party sources.

    Papandreou called Tsipras after an extraordinary meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias earlier in the day, in the context of a round of phone calls to all political party leaders.

    Sources said Papandreou reiterated his government's and his own personal determination that the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy Framework program will be passed by parliament, to which Tsipras replied that SYRIZA remained firm in its stance that the Memorandum and the Medium-Term program are catastrophic for the country, and that the only way out, and to the benefit of stability in Greece, is immediate recourse to general elections.

    The same sources said that neither a new meeting of the Council of Political Party Leaders nor a one-on-one meeting with Papandreou were put forward during the phone discussion.

    Tsipras will make statements immediately after the prime minister's address to the nation later Wednesday.

    Statements

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group president Alexis Tsipras called on Prime Minister George Papandereou to proclaim elections immediately, stressing that "in democracy when deadlocks appear the people and only the people can solve them."

    According to the SYRIZA leader, "the hundreds of thousands of strikers and demonstrators in the streets and squares call for clear democracy and the immediate withdrawal of the anti-popular measures, they are not calling for the two-party rule, to turn from a bankrupt political system of alternating in power, into a unified government that will implement the memorandum."

    Tsipras concluded that the "only prospect of salvation is the radical change in correlations, the defeat of two-party rule and of the parties of the memorandum and the creation of a new power coalition with the focus being the forces of the left that will disengage the country from the memorandum of bankruptcy."

    [11] Kouvelis confirms phone contact with PM

    Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis, in a statement on national television NET on Wednesday, confirmed a telephone contact with prime minister George Papandreou ahead of the latter's extraordinary meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    According to Kouvelis, Papandreou called him shortly before his meeting with President Papoulias and announced to him his decision to meet with the political leaders.

    On his part, Kouvelis said that he would attend such a meeting because, as he stated, he believes that "dialogue is always useful".

    [12] Papoulias to receive LA.O.S head on Thursday

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will receive opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) president George Karatzaferis on Thursday at approximately 1:30 p.m., it was announced on Wednesday.

    A statement issued by LA.O.S called on the prime minister to make "brave decisions" and referred to "moves empty of content that are made for the sole purpose of creating impressions". The statement underlined that such "moves" deteriorate further the already heavy atmosphere.

    LA.O.S called on the prime minister to make the necessary "brave decisions" now that he still can before he is overcome by reality.

    [13] Discussion on Mid-term Programme begins at Parliamentary Economic Committee

    The discussion on the mid-term fiscal strategy programme began at the Parliamentary Economic Committee, from which the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) is absent and the deputies of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) have walked out.

    Ruling PASOK party rapporteur Andreas Makrypidis made an "opening" to the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, admitting that Greece "is paying for the weaknesses of decades and not only of a few years."

    Makrypidis termed the mid-term programme a "national plan for the salvation of the country" with a time horizon of four years that exceeds the time limits of the specific government.

    On the part of ND, Christos Staikouras said that "the mid-term framework itself constitutes the most tangible confession of the failure of the memorandum and society is in even deeper darkness because the new measures as well show insistence on the same mistaken recipe."

    Staikouras counter-proposed ND's plan on the restarting of the economy, combined with the utilisation of the state's property and a decrease in the deficit.

    [14] Few MPs brave entry into besieged Parliament on Wednesday morning

    Parliamentary sessions continued in spite of the protestors surrounding the building since early on Wednesday morning, but not more than 30 of the 300 MPs had braved the crowds in order to attend a debate on an organ transplants bill scheduled for that morning.

    Even though Health Minister Andreas Loverdos insisted that "there were no impasses in Democracy", the climate within the chamber was extremely subdued, while many MPs were jeered by protestors as they entered the building.

    Toward the middle of the day, deputies on the Committee for Economic Affairs that is due to begin discussing the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy began to arrive one by one, under extremely high security, from the Vassilisis Sofias entrance.

    A meeting of PASOK's Parliamentary Work Sector is to begin at 2:30 p.m. with a presentation by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, while Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee is scheduled to convene roughly two hours later at 4:30 p.m.

    During the debate, Loverdos underlined that Parliament was continuing its work and not intimidated, while noting that "we can't solve the issue by denouncing ourselves in order to be likeable. We have responsibilities but primarily we have a responsibility to keep the country upright".

    New Democracy's Parliamentary representative Constantinos Tasoulas responded by saying that ND's responsibility was to persuade the government that there was another way out of the crisis.

    Independent MP Dora Bakoyannis noted that party leaders had to be in Parliament at this time because, if they weren't, they broadcast a message of fear. She stressed the need for the parties to work together in order to present a united front.

    "At this time an aswer must be given from within Parliament and in unity because otherwise tomorrow morning democracy will be in trouble," she said.

    Former Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis criticised the fact that many MPs had not been informed that access to Parliament was open since the crowds outside were protesting peacefully and only a handful were capable of triggering extreme events.

    [15] Leftist parties condemn 'provocations' in downtown Athens

    A statement issued on Wednesday by the opposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) referred to the violence in downtown Athens, condemning what it called the "the provocation by hood-wearing individuals and anti-riot police, exercised to terrorize the people and overshadow the success of the nationwide strike."

    The KKE statement underlined that "the responsibility belongs to the government and the state mechanisms", adding that "the people should not be intimidated and give their response to the terrorizing dilemmas or any intimidation effort".

    "The people must have faith in their power," the KKE statement underlined.

    SYRIZA

    On its part, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) condemned "the unsuccessful provocation at Athens' Syntagma Square, attempted by circles of the terrified system of power".

    SYRIZA also condemned what it claims was the "presence of dozens of undercover police that wore hoods over their heads and in collaboration with police forces attempted to break up the tens of thousands of demonstrators who protested peacefully at Syntagma Square".

    SYRIZA underlined that the peaceful mass demonstration cannot be hurt by provocation and blamed the government stressing that it "chose violence over democracy".

    [16] Police clash with hooded individuals outside parliament

    Incidents broke out after noon on Wednesday outside parliament, at the corner of Amalias and Vassilissis Sophias avenues, on the sidelines of a massive, peaceful demonstration by Indignants and strikers protesting severe austerity measures.

    Groups of hooded individuals threw stones, molotov cocktails (home-made firebombs) and sticks against police inside the parliament courtyard, who responded with teargas.

    A strong police contingent remains inside the parliament courtyard, while Amalias avenue, where tension had arisen earlier, has been emptied of demonstrators.

    The main bulk of the demonstrators remained congregated in central Syntagma Square and surrounding streets, continuing their peaceful protest.

    [17] Thirty injured in clashes at Syntagma

    Thirty people - 29 men and one woman - were injured during clashes that occurred in central Athens on Wednesday, during a massive demonstration held to protest against a new round of fiscal austerity measures and higher taxes planned by the government.

    The injured were taken to Erythros Stavros hospital and eight were immediately released after receiving first aid. According to a health ministry press release, those that remained in hospital were suffering from respiratory problems or injuries from slight blows and were not at risk.

    [18] Fifteen people to be brought before prosecutor on Thursday

    Fifteen people will ultimately be brought before a prosecutor on Thursday, following Wednesday's incidents during a rally in Syntagma Square, according to the latest announcement by police.

    According to the same announcement, the windows of two shops, the signs of two banks, the blinds of a hotel and four bus stops were broken during the incidents, while damage was caused to pavements that were broken by troublemakers to throw pieces at the police.

    [19] Arrests and clashes in Syntagma as bulk of protestors appeal for end to violence

    Violent clashes between riot police and organised, hood-wearing agitators forced the bulk of peaceful protestors with the "Indignant Citizens Movement" to retreat the upper part of Syntagma Square on Wednesday afternoon, even as their organisers appealed for an end to the violence over their loudspeakers.

    The trouble makers, who had earlier been confined to the lower part of the square and surrounding streets succeeded in moving the clashes to the centre of the square, attacking platoons of MAT riot police with sticks, bits of broken marble and petrol bombs and provoking a response with tear gas and chemicals.

    Authorities have so far made two arrests and detained 18 people in connection with the incidents. Twelve of those detained, during earlier clashes on Vassileos Georgiou Street, have already been released and another six are being questioned.

    Police said two officers have been injured in the violence so far.

    [20] Far-right, anarchist groups trigger clashes during Syntagma protests

    Violence was triggered during the otherwise peaceful protests in central Athens, by anti-establishment and extreme-right groups that clashed between themselves and with riot police stationed outside Parliament.

    Moving in roads surrounding Syntagma Square and chiefly long Amalias Avenue in front of Parliament, where the majority of the 'Indignant Citizens Movement' protestors were gathered, they attacked police and each other with clubs, stones and petrol bombs, prompting police to respond with use of tear gas.

    Several people among the peaceful protestors interevened in an attempt to stop them and keep the trouble-makers away from the peaceful protests, while some people suffered minor injuries during the clashes.

    Among them the TV documentary journalist Tasos Telloglou, who was attacked by a group of unidentified individuals on the corner of Perikleous and Lekka streets. He was has been taken to hospital for tests.

    [21] KKE to hold rally in Omonia Square on Thursday evening

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) will hold a rally in Omonia Square in central Athens at 7:30 on Thursday night, with Secretary General Aleka Papariga being the main speaker.

    According to an announcement, KKE stresses that the people "must demonstrate their opposition now to the scenarios on the shaping of a cooperation government that is being promoted by the European Union-plutocracy." Their aim, it adds, "is to chain the people with every way and lead them subdued to the abyss of bankruptcy, protecting the interests and the power of monopolies."

    The announcement further underlines that a solution exists "only with an organised, determined people, together with KKE," and expresses certainty that the people "can repel the new barbaric attack rallying, struggling for truly radical changes, for the reversal of the authority and sovereignty of monopolies and the disengagement from the EU."

    [22] Holy Synod address to Greek people

    Members of the Church of Greece's Holy Synod, in a message addressed to the Greek people on Wednesday, underlined its members are watching "with great concern the developments on national, social and economic level that have worn out the people".

    The hierarchs of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece stressed that "at this moment of responsibility, the Holy Synod feels obligated to address the Greek people with fatherly love".

    They underlined that the "love to the country is amongst the highest values in life" and stressed that "the Holy Synod condemns all those who acted against the country's interests, the prosperity of its people and national dignity".

    "Our people have acted with admirable maturity in the past and have displayed social solidarity in difficult times in our history. Today, more than ever before, we need the solidarity to support the vulnerable, relieve the jobless and all those affected by the crisis, mainly the young," the hierarchs stressed.

    Financial News

    [23] EU: Greece will get next aid tranche in July

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)

    The European Union expects Greece to be granted the next 12-billion-euro tranche of aid from the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" in July, a European Commission spokesman for EU Commissioner Olli Rehn said here on Wednesday.

    According to a Reuters dispatch, when asked if the Commission still expected Greece to receive the bailout funding next month, spokesman Amadeu Altafaj told reporters that "yes, we do."

    [24] FinMin cites changes to tax proposals

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Wednesday unveiled changes to a package of tax proposals included in the Mid-term Fiscal Strategy Programme, schedule to be tabled to Parliament on Wednesday. Government sources said Papaconstantinou, presenting the programme to the ruling PASOK party's Parliamentary committee, said the government would leave a tax-exempt level of 12,000 euros annually, unchanged, while it will not impose any taxes on primary residences of up to 100 sq.m.

    He also said that the government will not proceed with a plan to equalise a special consumption tax on diesel and heating oil, while an extra tax charge on incomes will be imposed on three categories: 1% for annual incomes up to 20,000 euros, 2% for incomes up to 50,000, 3% for incomes up to 100,000 euros and 4% for incomes surpassing 100,000 euros.

    The same sources said that the finance ministry was under severe criticism from PASOK deputies for his proposals.

    [25] Chambers present joint plan for economy's 'reset'

    The National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE) and the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals Craftsmen and Merchants (GSEVEE) on Wednesday presented a joint resolution on the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy, which was set to be tabled in Parliament the same day.

    GSEVEE-ESEE representatives outlined the problems faced by local markets and the manufacturing sector, outlining positions they said will help the country overcome the punishing economic crisis.

    In their joint resolution they suggested, amongst others, a thorough restructuring of sectors of the Greek economy with the biggest comparative advantages; significant incentives for enterprises; a reduction in VAT rates; greater state investments; tougher measures against the so-called "underground market"; an additional three-year guarantee for personal and business bank accounts as well as measures to boost the real economy.

    [26] Number of persons employed in retail trade drops 2.8pct yr/yr in Q1 2011

    The number of persons employed in retail trade dropped by 2.8 percent in the 1st quarter of 2011, against the corresponding quarter in 2010, according to figures released on Wednesday by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), although it rose by 4.8 percent against the 4th quarter of 2010.

    ELSTAT, in a report, said that the Index of Number of Persons Employed in Retail Trade decreased by 2.8% in the 1st quarter 2011, compared with the 1st quarter 2010. More specifically, in the food sector, the index increased by 3.0% while in the non-food sector except automotive fuel, decreased by 6.8%.

    The Index of Number of Persons Employed in Retail Trade increased by 4.8% in the 1st quarter 2011, compared with the 4th quarter 2010. More specifically, in the food sector, the index increased by 7.1% and in the non-food sector except automotive fuel, increased by 3.3%.

    [27] Migrant remittances sent to Albania record seven-year low

    Remittances sent to Albania by Albanian nationals living and working abroad recorded a seven-year low in 2010, reaching 690 million euros down 12 pct, compared with 2009 (781 million euros), according to updated figures released recently by the Bank of Albania.

    The downward trend is expected to continue in 2011.

    The decline is attributed, amongst others, to the repatriation of Albanians as a result of the economic crisis in neighbouring countries, like Greece, according to a Greek embassy in Tirana document.

    [28] Ryanair inaugurates new flight from Thessaloniki

    Ryanair low-cost airline will inaugurate on November 1 its eighth flight from Thessaloniki, with the Italian city of Bari as the destination.

    The airline, in order to celebrate the new flight, is offering one million seats on flights in September for 9.99 euros. To take advantage of the special offer, interested travelers must book the tickets by midnight Thursday.

    Tickets for the new Bari flight also go on sale on Thursday.

    [29] 12th Thessaloniki Forum postponed

    The Federation of Industries of Northern Greece and the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce announced on Wednesday the postponement of the 12the Thessaloniki Forum scheduled to take place at Thessaloniki Concert Hall from 19-20 June.

    According to an announcement, the postponement decision was the result of the recent political and economic developments which, according to the organisers, "totally disorientate the main focus of the Forum, which is enhancing the developmental aspect of the periphery".

    Prime Minister George Papandreou and main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras were slated to address the conference, while 10 government ministers were also scheduled to attend.

    Representatives of the "Indignants movement" in Thessaloniki had announced that they would block off the venue of the Forum.

    [30] Business Briefs

    -- Allianz Greece on Wednesday reported improved premium production, a higher market share and improved results in the first quarter of 2011.

    The company said operating earnings totaled 2.8 million euros and reported after-tax profits of 1.6 million euros in the January-March period, while premium production rose 1.0 pct to 61.6 million euros.

    -- Tourist arrivals at Greek airports grew 4.52 pct in the January-May period this year, compared with the corresponding period in 2010, the Federation of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) announced on Wednesday.

    -- Elinoil SA on Wednesday said an annual general shareholders' meeting decided to skip dividend payment for the year 2010.

    [31] Stocks end significantly lower

    Stocks ended significantly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange, but off the day's lows, hit by uncertainties over political developments in the country. The composite index fell 1.88 pct to end at 1,212.95 points, after losing as much as 4.26 pct during the day. Turnover was an improved 120.704 million euros. The Big Cap index fell 2.14 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.80 pct down and the Small Cap index ended 1.43 pct lower. Alpha Bank (2.52 pct), Jumbo (1.96 pct) and Coca-Cola 3E (0.44 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end higher, while MIG (6.35 pct), National Bank (5.97 pct), Ellaktor (5.96 pct) and ATEbank (3.45 pct) were top losers.

    The Technology (4.13 pct), Food (0.34 pct) and Personal Products (0.46 pct) were top gainers, while Financial Services (5.56 pct), Health (3.49 pct) and Raw Materials (3.26 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 109 to 24 with another 30 issues unchanged. Intracom (11.90 pct), Medicon (10 pct) and Entersoft (9.88 pct) were top gainers, while Evrofarma (17.39 pct), Moda Bagno (11.76 pct) and Nutriart (11.11 pct) were top losers.

    [32] Greek bond market closing report

    A Fitch Ratings report warning that any voluntary rollover of Greek bonds would be considered as a default hit Greek state bonds. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened further to 14.64 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market, from 14.30 pct on Tuesday. The Greek bond yielded 17.62 pct and the German Bund 2.98 pct. Turnover in the market remained a low 20 million euros, of which 3 million were buy orders and the remaining 17 million euros were sell orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved slightly higher. The 12-month rate was 2.14 pct, the six-month rate 1.95 pct, the three-month rate 1.48 pct and the one-month rate 1.28p ct.

    [33] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.59 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover soaring to 168.242 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 50,746 contracts worth 138.028 million euros, with 38,968 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 84,865 contracts worth 30.214 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (27,485), followed by Eurobank (3,903), MIG (4,295), OTE (9,487), PPC (1,387), OPAP (1,060), Piraeus Bank (9,344), GEK (7,295), Alpha Bank (7,365), Marfin Popular Bank (3,619), Mytilineos (3,023), Cyprus Bank (2,137), ATEbank (1,232) and Ellaktor (992).

    [34] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.450

    Pound sterling 0.892

    Danish kroner 7.571

    Swedish kroner 9.285

    Japanese yen 117.27

    Swiss franc 1.234

    Norwegian kroner 7.937

    Canadian dollar 1.407

    Australian dollar 1.358

    General News

    [35] Stolen ton of copper found in Corinthia prefecture

    An organised police operation was carried out at a Roma settlement at Zevgolatio, in the Corinthia prefecture, at dawn on Wednesday.

    During the search a quantity of copper weighing one ton was found concealed in a truck. The quantity had been stolen from the Corinth-Kiato railway line and its value amounted to 200,000 euros according to an assessment by a relevant employee of the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE), to whom police delivered the quantity of copper.

    A file of proceedings has been prepared against the 22-year-old owner of the truck, who is still at large, while a 50-year-old was also arrested during the operation because two convictions were pending against him.

    [36] 1st Greek-Turkish Festival "Archipelagos' on Lesvos

    The 1st Greek-Turkish Trade and Culture Festival "Archipelagos" opens on Friday, 17 June, at the Mytilene Marina on the island of Lesvos.

    Commercial and tourist enterprises as well as products from Northern Aegean islands and the opposite Turkish coasts (Asia Minor) will be showcased during the festival, which will run through June 20.

    The Festival is supported by the Northern Aegean Periphery and the Greek Turkish Chamber of Commerce.

    The main events will be complemented by cultural festivities.

    Weather Forecast

    [37] Cloudy on Thursday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 29C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 18C to 28C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 18C to 27C.

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