|Monday, 19 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-06-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 17 June 2011 Issue No: 3814
 'We don't have the luxury of avoiding this fight', PM tells PASOK deputies - New cabinet to be announced on Friday"This is the time to do battle and we don't have the luxury of avoiding this fight," Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed in his address to ruling PASOK's Parliamentary group on Thursday.
Speaking to his MPs at the start of an unscheduled meeting that he called earlier the same day, in the wake of an avalanche of developments and the resignations of three ruling party MPs, Papandreou sought to explain his reasons for seeking the support of the opposition parties for the new round of austerity measures and why his efforts for a consensus had ended in failure.
While underlining that the government and PASOK's Parliamentary group were responsible for leading the country out of the crisis, Papandreou argued that a broader consensus would have given the country additional negotiating strength.
"When other Parliament decide to lend to Greece with large majorities, it is not right for us here in Greece to be unable to reach agreement," he said.
Stressing that he had always put the interests of the country above everything else, Papandreou then accused main opposition New Democracy of having torpedoed all chance of achieving an agreement by publicly setting terms that could not be accepted.
"I will continue down the same path of duty, along with PASOK's Parliamentary group," he said, repeating his intention to hold a reshuffle and then seek a vote of confidence from Parliament.
The prime minister said the primary aim was to create a primary budget surplus and that the country had to succeed in three important goals: getting the huge debt and deficit under control, carry out the changes and reforms needed by the country and creating conditions on the international scene that would allow Greece to effectively pursue its interests.
Papandreou also referred to the mixed messages coming out of Europe and revealed that he had discussed this issue on Thursday during a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Among others, he referred to an upcoming overall settlement of Greece's debt problems through plans for a new "mammoth" loan.
Papandreou reiterated that he will continue to wage the struggle, adding that he will proceed with the reshuffling of the government that he announced on Wednesday, as well as the procedure for the granting of a vote of confidence to the new government that will result from the reshuffle.
The prime ministewr admitted that there were mistakes and weaknesses in the previous period and promised that the new government will be more cohesive and more effective, so as to proceed with the necessary changes. He stressed, however, that the reshuffle does not mean that the previous government did not achieve many things.
He mentioned that many issues are being promoted for settlement, which he raised with the party leaders, such as the change in the electoral law, the beginning of the procedure of revising the constitution and the privatisations, clarifying that there is no question of corporial guarantees.
These major issues, as Papandreou said and told the party leaders, must be brought to the attention of the Greek citizens in the form of referendums, so that the citizens' judgement will commit the next governments.
Papandreou once again raised the issue of "cacophony" and perplexity that is being observed in the European Union, to which he attributed considerable mistakes in the way with which it handled the issues. And he added that "the right solution for Greece, will also be the right solution for Europe."
Lastly, he underlined that "either Europe will write history, or history will write off the European Union."
In a televised address on Wednesday, following a renewed attempt to form a consensus government that included Papandreou's offer to resign as prime minister, Papandreou had said he would hold a reshuffle on Thursday and then seek a vote of confidence from Parliament.
The resignation of three MPs last night and Thursday morning, however, followed by insistent calls for a meeting of the Parliamentary group, have delayed the announced reshuffle.
 New cabinet to be announced on FridayGovernment sources said late Thursday night that Government Spokesman George Petalotis will announce the composition of the new cabinet on Friday at 09:00, following a decision by Prime Minister George Papandreou to reshuffle his government. The new ministers will be sowrn in at 13:00 at the Presidential Mansion.
Papandreou said on Wednesday he would hold a reshuffle on Thursday.
 Finmin appeals for stability to keep 'country standing'In statements to reporters as he arrived at Parliament on Thursday, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou appealed for stability so that "the country and the economy can remain standing".
"The lending to our country by our (European Union) partners must continue without interruption so that we can get past this difficult point with the fewest possible losses for the weak," Papaconstantinou said.
Every initiative taken by the prime minister and the government was conducive to this and the government guaranteed this stability, he added.
 Vasso Papandreou criticism of gov'tHigh-profile PASOK party deputy and former minister Vasso Papandreou, addressing the ruling party's Parliamentary group on Thursday evening, made the following statement:
"It is the first time that I am concerned for PASOK and mainly for the country. The situation is very crucial. It depends on us if the country shall have a future as the new generation would like. Yesterday's events, as well as politics brought us here."
In addressing the prime minister, the former high-ranking minister said:
"The Parliamentary group, despite the unbelievable mishaps of the government, supported you and voted for measures of unprecedented harshness for the people. Only a cut in salaries and pensions was implemented. Unbelievable mockery of the economic staff for 18 months and you supported it, continuously."
 PM postpones visit to BrusselsPrime Minister George Papandreou postpones his scheduled visit to Brussels on Friday and his meeting with the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, moving it to next week.
According to government sources, the latest political developments, the imminent government's reshuffle and vote of confidence, are currently the premier's first priority and dictate the postponement of the visit, according to government sources.
 ND leader on failure of agreement on cooperation governmentMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, on Thursday blamed Prime Minister George Papandreou for the failed outcome, on Wednesday, of talks for a national salvation government and called for elections once again.
"Elections that we are calling for, will take place, not because we are calling for them, but because (the ruling) PASOK is being dragged by itself to elections by its contradictions or by its guilt or by both. PASOK cannot rule, the people must provide the solution now. PASOK is being torn apart and is collapsing, we are remaining standing and we are uniting the people. The people will be making their choice soon and will make the leap to a new era of Democracy," Samaras said while addressing his party's parliamentary group.
Samaras went on to say that "yesterday, Mr. Papandreou proposed to me to support a national salvation government. I saw it as a historic opportunity for all of us to go to negotiaste together the restarting of the Greek economy, which will permit Greece to be consistent with its commitments and for the creditors to get their money."
The ND leader also said that "I saw it as a historic opportunity and proposed to Mr. Papandreou for us to go for a renegotiating of the memorandum and of the mid-term programme. Papandreou did not refuse the proposal for renegotiating, on the contrary. Then, I stressed to him that he cannot be prime minister in such a government, because he has lost the confidence of society and of the market and that we must find another person of mutual acceptance."
Samaras added that "he accepted this as well. Shortly afterwards we learnt from the media that he proposed it to me himself. It does not matter who proposed it. What matters is that Mr. Papandreou was accepting to resign."
Samaras added that a few hours later he notified him that this initiative cannot go ahead. He himself rejected what he had proposed, or what he himself had accepted.
"In the end, Mr. Papandreou backed down because he did not withstand the pressures from inside his party by those who are clinging to power and became their prisoner. And so the common initiative for the salvation of Greece turned in a few hours into the agonising salvation of the pasok power," the ND leader also said.
 Second ruling PASOK MP resigns in space of 2 daysRuling PASOK MP George Floridis on Thursday tendered his resignation, the second ruling party MP to resign in the space of two days, following George Lianis on Tuesday afternoon.
Floridis resigned from his MP post, but did not declare himself an Independent, thus in effect "returning" the seat to PASOK.
Floridis, MP from Kilkis prefecture, notified parliament of his resignation in a two-page letter.
Lianis, who was elected in Florina prefecture, in a letter to prime minister George Papandreou released to the press on Tuesday, resigned from the PASOK parliamentary group and declared himself an Independent, in disagreement over the government's economic policy.
Floridis, a former public order minister (2003-2004) and former deputy minister of finance (2001-2003), culture (sport portfolio, 2000-2001), and interior and public administration (1998-2000), said in his letter of resignation that he honors the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and its struggles, "but at this marginal time for the country, the national duty was defeated by the leader-oriented and partisan interest".
"Thus, will absolute awareness of the criticality of the moments, I submit my resignation from the post of MP," Floridis said in his letter, and blamed all the political parties of failing to reach elementary agreement in order to deal with the climaxing national crisis, due to the party-oriented nature of the effort, while he also warned that (early) elections, despite being the firm and irreplaceable democratic way out, "at this particular time entail severe danger for the country's economic viability".
Floridis further accused the government of "wrong choices in the economy and the state" and "inability of comprehensive planning", and a "clearly unequal and unjust distribution of the burdens and unprecedented inefficiency", and main opposition New Democracy of "investing in the government's wear and tear, with choices unprecedented for a conservative party of authority", and with the risk of the country's destruction as the "prize".
In the past days, initiatives for national understanding aimed at political stability had created the impression that such stability could be achieved, he said, stressing that only a transitional 'national salvation' governmental scheme could have contributed in that direction, with the mandatory participation of the two main political forces of the country (PASOK and ND).
"Unfortunately, the leaderships of the two mainstream political parties were once again beneath the national circumstances, in a politically unforgivable way," he said, adding that instead of a national rallying, what prevailed was a rationale of partisan and political pretexts, self-serving calculations and petty party pressures.
"There is no worse way to verify the end of a worn down and outgoing political system," he added.
 Fraggidis to replace resigned PASOK MP FloridisA 56-year-old doctor, George Fraggidis, will replace former PASOK minister George Floridis in parliament after the latter resigned the seat earlier Thursday in disagreement with the government's economic policy.
Fraggidis was the first runner up in Kilkis prefecture in the 2009 general elections, on the PASOK ticket.
Born in 1955 in Melissourgio, Kilkis, he studied in Italy where he became active in the local branch of the Panhellenic Liberation Movement (PAK, precursor of PASOK), and joined PASOK just after its establishment.
He remained in PASOK until the autumn of 1975, when he became active in Left parties (KKE and SYN) up until 2003, and rejoined PASOK when current prime minister George Papandreou took over the party's leadership.
Fraggidis is married to pharmacist Katy Panagiotidou, and they have two daughters.
 Third PASOK MP announces intention to resignRuling PASOK MP Ektoras Nassiokas on Thursday announced, from Parliament's podium, no less, that he will tender his resignation from the PASOK parliamentary group later in the day.
He is the second ruling party MP to resign on Thursday, and the third in less than 48 hours.
Briefing Parliament on his intention, Nassiokas said that "this is the least I can do to reverse today's condition of impasse, for the salvation of the country".
Nassiokas did not express intentions of declaring himself an independent.
Speaking minutes after the Larissa-area MP and former minister's resignation, former Parliament president and high-ranking PASOK deputy Apostolos Kaklamanis noted that "we do not serve our country by resigning. We serve it here (in Parliament), where the people sent us."
Almost simultaneously, former PASOK minister Vasso Papandreou and other MPs called for the immediate convening of the ruling party's Parliamentary group, a request which is expected to materialise at 4:30 p.m. (14.30 GMT).
 President receives LA.O.S leader; criticism by latterPresident of Republic Karolos Papoulias on Thursday received Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) leader George Karatzaferis at the presidential mansion.
Papoulias initially expressed his concerns over the ongoing political developments, stressing that "in this crucial period we must all be responsible, in order not to turn the economic crisis into a crisis of democracy".
On his part, Karatzaferis noted that "we are heading towards dangerous paths" and predicted that "the responsibility is collective, nobody will be excluded".
Moreover, he sharply criticised the leaderships of both mainstream parties, ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy, saying that the country's "salvation is too serious an issue for us to leave it in the hands of short-sighted political leaderships."
 Gov't spokesman on Samaras statementsGovernment spokesman Giorgos Petalotis in an announcement late Wednesday on the recent political developments, stated that (main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis) "Mr. Samaras and ND proved that the perception of national responsibility in this crucial period for the country, goes only through their party interest" .
Responding to Samaras' statement, he charged that it is "contradictory? for Mr. Samaras to point at Europe, "to indicate to us ways of governance and to refuse to countersign supposed 'mistakes', at the same time that he undermined a big opportunity for joint assumption of a national and historical responsibility".
Concluding, Petalotis said that such attitudes are at the expense of the country itself .
 Elections inevitable, even if government wins vote of confidence, KKE leader predictsThe country will soon be led to early elections even if the government succeeds in getting a vote of confidence, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga predicted on Thursday during a press conference.
Commenting on the failed attempts to create an all-party cooperation government and the prime minister's subsequent announcement of a reshuffle, Papariga said the "operetta of national consensus followed the operetta of a reshuffle" and called on workers to keep their eyes open and minds alert. The call for an immediate resort to the polls was now more than overmature, she added.
Papariga said that the majority of the political forces in Greece were in favour of consensus, including main opposition New Democracy, the Democratic Alliance, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and the still-wavering Democratic Left. She stressed that even the left-wing SYRIZA alliance was seeking a solution within the system, calling for a separation of legitimate debt from that which was illegal and then a negotiation within the European Union.
She also disagreed with the view that the factor triggering developments had been the 'Indignados' movements in the squares, saying that the impact of other actions such as strikes and sit-ins in the workplace should not be underestimated since they contributed to raising people's awareness and contributed to the 'Indignados' movement.
Papariga called for elections that would lead to a weak government, a weakening of the two-party system and a strong KKE, adding that the people could then "disrupt the plans" of the "governments for the salvation of big capital". She said that Prime Minister George Papandreou and main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras had taken a step toward a cooperation government on Wednesday, saying that a government with people from both parties remained a possibility.
 KKE leader addresses rally in Omonia Square in AthensCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing a rally of supporters in Omonia Square in central Athens on Thursday evening, stressed that elections are unavoidable even if the government gets a vote of confidence from Parliament and stressed that "it is the time of the responsibility of the people, of ideological and political awakening."
"We call for elections for the people to deal the first strong blow on the bourgeois political system," she said, adding that the weaker the government that results is the easier it will be for the people to avert the worse.
Papariga also announced an intensification of KKE's action on all fronts with the aim of the party's electoral backing, with a simultaneous invitation for rallying and common action, despite whatever differences, for the creation of a social, popular front.
 Synaspismos calls for snap electionsThe political secretariat for the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) on Thursday convened to discuss the current political developments in the country.
An announcement issued after the meeting charged that the PASOK government "is collapsing under the weight of the failure of its policies and the massive social mobilisations across the country."
Synaspismos "is listening to protesters all over the country, who through their mobilisations are disputing the existing political system and the policies that are being implemented ... Under this prism, recourse to elections is the only option, which both (ruling) PASOK and (main opposition) New Democracy are afraid of," it concluded.
 Bakoyannis criticises main parties' failure to reach consensusIndependent MP and head of the Democratic Alliance party Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday criticised both Prime Minister George Papandreou and main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, saying they had proved themselves, "unable to rise to the occasion and accept their responsibilities toward the country".
Bakoyannis said that if Thursday's developments again failed to lead to national consensus, then this would confirm the end of the post-junta political system.
"For the birth of something new that will reorder the country, the people must speak and strictly evaluate the proposals and honesty of each person," she added.
 Rehn: Greece to get 12-bln-euro tranche in early JulyBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)
Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn on Thursday said he expects a Eurogroup meeting on Sunday to sign-off on the release of a 12-billion-euro loan to Greece.
In a written statement, the EU Commissioner expressed certainty that the meeting will complete - in cooperation with IMF - an assessment of Greece's economic programme, while he noted that Sunday's and Monday's Eurogroup sessions will discuss the content, terms and the character of the participation of the private sector in a new support programme for the country, so that final decisions could be reached in Eurogroup's next meeting in July 11.
This way the default scenario would be avoided paving the way for an agreement on a new bailout programme, he said.
Rehn acknowledged this was a difficult procedure, but noted that with this double approach, in cooperation with IMF, any "accidental scenario" could be avoided. This means that funding of the Greek debt could be ensured until September, while decisions for after that period could be taken in July.
Rehn again urged Eurozone finance ministers to overcome differences at Sunday's meeting and to reach an agreement on the issue. He noted that Greek authorities and all Greek political leaders had to bear the heaviest burden, stressing that he expects the Greek Parliament to ratify the Mid-term Fiscal Strategy Programme as agreed to by the end of June.
"It is sad that efforts to reach national unity failed yesterday," he said, adding that all political forces have the responsibility to agree on the necessary efforts to avoiding bankruptcy.
Rehn said the next few days were crucial for economic stability and the recovery of Greece and Europe. "I am confident that all leaders in Greece and Europe will realize their responsibility and act accordingly," he said in his statement.
Amadeu Altafaj, Rehn's spokesman, speaking to reporters, said preconditions for the release of the fifth tranche of the EU bailout to Greece remained the same as in previous tranches, based on the EC-ECB-IMF "troika's" report, while commenting on whether the memorandum could be renegotiated he said:
"The issue is not on the table as no such demand has been tabled by Greek authorities". He noted however that any effort to renegotiate the memorandum would be considered as speculation, while he reiterated that there was no 'Plan B' to the support programme.
 IMF ready to continue its support for GreeceNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P.Panagiotou)
The IMF on Thursday reiterated its commitment to continue its financing of Greece on the precondition that Greek authorities implemented the agreed framework of reforms.
Caroline Atkinson, Director of External Relations at the International Monetary Fund, in a statement issued to the press, responding to media queries regarding Greece and the statement from the European Commission earlier on Thursday, said: "We stand ready to continue our support for Greece subject to adoption of the economic policy reforms agreed with the Greek authorities. Progress is being made in the discussions to ensure the full financing of the program, and we anticipate a positive outcome on this at the next Eurogroup meeting. Conclusion of the pending program review remains subject to approval by the IMF's Executive Board."
 Hellenic-Chinese Business Partnering Conference wraps up in AthensPotential for even greater bilateral business and economic cooperation between Greece and China and the utilisation of existing opportunities dominated the agenda during the inaugural Hellenic-Chinese Business Partnering Conference, which was hosted by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) and the Business Confucius Institute (BCI).
Chinese ambassador to Greece Luo Linquan opened the conference, underlining that "China believes in Greece's future ... the Greek government has undertaken significant initiatives aimed at reinforcing the competitiveness of the Greek economy and creating the appropriate conditions for investments".
He added that "the friendship and strong ties between the two countries form the basis for the further development of the Greek-Chinese business relations", while he described the Cosco and Folli-Follie ventures as successful examples.
Speaking at the conference, Regional Development & Competitiveness Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis stressed that "the crisis we are experiencing marks the end of an era for the present economic system" and underlined that despite the tough economic circumstances "we should work systematically laying the foundations that will help the economy find its pace again".
"The economic recession took away from the market a total of 25 billion euros of fake prosperity. That money can be regained through the materialization of a national plan that will mobilize six sources of developmental momentum and healthy entrepreneurship namely, exports, privatizations, foreign investments, well-targeted utilization of community funds, increased production for domestic consumption and measures against "black economy".
On his part, IOBE general director Yiannis Stournaras referred to the challenges faced by the Greek economy and to opportunities for economic growth. He referred to the early signs indicating that the downward course of the economy is now in the process of being reversed and also to the great prospects for growth in sectors such as shipping, tourism, farm production, fisheries and energy.
He underlined the need for fiscal adjustment, immediate implementation of the privatization policy and public property utilization. He also referred to the absence of consensus and the risk behind the growing populist rhetoric targeting the EC-ECB-IMF Memorandum.
Distinguished academicians from both countries and business community leaders addressed the conference that concluded on Wednesday held under the auspices of the regional development and competitiveness ministry, the environment, energy and climate change ministry, the minister of state and the Hellenic Chinese Chamber in cooperation with the Athens University of Economics and Business, the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) of Beijing and Hanban Institute.
 Parliamentary com't discusses Helliniko site developmentMinister of State Haris Pamboukis on Thursday outlined the framework for the development of the former Helliniko airport site in southern coastal Athens.
Speaking before the parliamentary special permanent committee on environmental protection, Pamboukis underlined that "subtle handling" is necessary considering that it is a great opportunity for the region's developmental and social upgrading.
He underlined that offers, by way of a non-binding tender, will be invited in the next 10 days and stressed that the strategic plan tabled by a noted Spanish architect provides new ideas for the region's development.
 Chamber president on political developments"Developments in the political landscape of the country place a gravestone over expectations of an entire people," Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) President Constantine Mihalos underlined on Thursday.
Responding to questions by the media as regards political developments that took place a day earlier, Mihalos stressed that "the risky trick attempted by the prime minister, his ministers and ruling party cadres to win more time in office can cause only anger to the business community, the wage-earners and the Greek society as a whole."
Mihalos stressed that prudence and national unity were sacrificed for the sake of petty political interests and the desire for power.
 Unemployment at 15.9 pct in 1st quarter 2011The unemployment rate in Greece jumped to 15.9 percent in the first quarter of 2011, up from 14.2 percent in the previous quarter and 11.7 percent in the corresponding quarter of 2010. This was announced on Thursday by Greece's independent statistical authority ELSTAT in a report.
The number of employed amounted to 4,194,429 persons while the number of unemployed amounted to 792,601 in Q1 2011.
The number of employed persons decreased by 2.4 percent compared with the previous quarter and by 5.2 percent compared with Q1 2010. The number of unemployed persons increased by 11.3 percent compared with the previous quarter and 35.1 percent compared with the 1st Quarter of 2010.
The unemployment rate for females (19.5 percent) is considerably higher than the unemployment rate for males (13.3 percent). Across age groups, the highest unemployment rate is recorded among young people aged 15-29 years (30.9 percent). For young females, the unemployment rate is 35.8 percent.
As regards the educational attainment level, the unemployment rate is highest among persons who have not attended school (23.4 percent), and 18.9 percent for those who have not completed lower secondary education (International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2 programmes). The lowest unemployment rates are observed among tertiary education graduates who have completed ISCED 5AS and ISCED 6 programmes (9.8 percent), and among those who have completed ISCED 5A (10.6 percent).
88.9 percent of unemployed persons are looking for a full time job as employees. More specifically, 51.7% of those looking for job as employees are looking exclusively for a full time job, while 39.7% are looking for full time job, but, if needed, would accept to work part time.
A significant part of the unemployed persons (6.8%) did not accept a job offer, during the 1st Quarter of 2011, because of various reasons. The main reasons reported were: a) the location of the job was not suitable (25.4%), b) the wage was not satisfactory (25.1%), c) the working hours were not convenient (16.3%).
The percentage of the "new" unemployed, that is the percentage of persons first entering the labour market, is 22.8%. We should note that the percentage of the "long term" unemployed, that is the percentage of persons that have been looking for a job for more than 1 year (irrespectively of being "new" or "old" unemployed), is 46.6 percent.
The unemployment rate is higher for persons of foreign nationality (19.8 percent) compared with those of Greek nationality (15.5 percent). On the contrary, the percentage of the economically active persons with foreign nationality is much higher than the corresponding percentage for persons of Greek nationality (73.3 percent compared to 52.0 percent).
The geographical areas (NUTS II regions) with the highest unemployment rate are South Aegean (24.3 percent) and West Macedonia (22.3 percent). The lowest unemployment rates are observed in Peloponnese (12.4 percent) and North Aegean (12.6 percent).
During the 1st Quarter of 2011, 84,278 persons who were unemployed one year ago found a job. During the same period, 47,690 persons who were inactive one year ago, got into employment. On the contrary, 195,193 persons who were working one year ago, during the 1st Quarter of 2011 are unemployed and 101,609 persons, who were working, are now inactive. In addition, 102,329 persons who were inactive one year ago, during the 1st Quarter of 2011 entered labour market and are searching for a job.
By sector of economic activity, the figures show a decline in employment in all sectors compared to the 1st Quarter of 2010. In the primary sector the decrease was 7.7 percent, in the secondary 13.8 percent and the tertiary sector 2.2 percent.
The percentage of part-time employment was low and amounted to 6.8 percent of total employed. The percentage of part time workers who choose to work part time because they cannot find a full time job is 54.1 percent, while 5.9 percent choose a part time job because they are looking after children or incapacitated adults.
The percentage of employees is estimated at 63.4 percent of the total of employed persons and is by far lower than the mean percentage of employees in the European Union which is 80 percent.
 Registered unemployment down in May, OAEDGreece's Workforce Employment Organization (OAED) on Thursday said the number of registered unemployed fell 3.0 pct, the number of unemployed people receiving unemployment benefits fell by 21 pct while new hirings jumped 71 pct in May.
The Organization, in a monthly report, said employment rose by 52,946 in May, from 17.543 in April and 49,608 in May 2010. The number of registered unemployed totaled 685,000 in May, of which 299,984 were men (43.79 pct of total), 385,016 women (56.21 pct), while registered unemployed in the 30-54 age group accounted 62.4 pct of total, with the below 30 age group accounting for 28.06 pct and the above 55 age group 9.54 pct.
Greek citizens accounted for 92.24 pct of total unemployed people in May, followed by third country citizens (6.38 pct) and EU citizens (1.38 pct).
The number of unemployed people receiving unemployment benefit totaled 222,976, down 21 pct in May from April.
New hirings totaled 122,258, up 71 pct from the previous month, while dismissals totaled 47,820 in May, up 35.43 pct from April.
 Stocks fall to 2011 lowsStocks fell to 2011 lows at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, hit by uncertainties over political developments in the country and by a new surge in Greek bond spreads and CDS to record highs. The composite index of the market fell 2.81 pct to end at 1,208.09 points, after falling as low as 1,197.28 points during the session. Turnover was a low 85.329 million euros. The Big Cap index fell 2.87 pct, the Mid Cap index fell 3.08 pct and the Small Cap index ended 2.14 pct lower. ATEbank (4.46 pct) and Viohalco (0.77 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end higher, while MIG (5.08 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (4.92 pct), Alpha Bank (4.29 pct) and Ellaktor (4.39 pct) were top losers.
All sector indices ended lower with the Travel (4.0 pct), Financial Services (3.93 pct), Health (3.66 pct) and Banks (3.37 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 104 to 31 with another 34 issues unchanged. Xylemporia (11.36 pct), Lambrakis Press (10 pct) and Druckfarben (8.33 pct) were top gainers, while Pairis Plastics (19.23 pct), AEGEK (17.65 pct) and Vovos (14.71 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.03%
Personal & Household: -1.93%
Raw Materials: -1.01%
Travel & Leisure: -4.00%
Food & Beverages: -3.10%
Financial Services: -3.93%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, EFG Eurobank Ergasias and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 3.12
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.14
HBC Coca Cola: 17.52
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.33
National Bank of Greece: 4.38
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 2.90
Bank of Piraeus: 0.97
 Greek bond market closing reportGreek bond spreads continued widening, hit by uncertainties over efforts to revolve a Greek debt crisis. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 14.67 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 14.64 pct on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 17.60 pct and the German Bund 2.93 pct. Turnover in the market was an extremely low 6.0 million euros, all 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 1.74 pct, the three-month rate 1.48 pct and the one-month rate 1.28 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.31 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover jumping to 140.183 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 29,867 contracts worth 80.248 million euros, with 38,657 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 172,946 contracts worth 59.935 million euros, with investment interest focusing on OTE's contracts (48,127), followed by Eurobank (4,164), MIG (12,321), GEK (37,491), PPC (2,789), OPAP (1,153), Piraeus Bank (10,498), National Bank (25,554), Alpha Bank (4,492), Marfin Popular Bank (10,809), Ellaktor (1,224), Intralot (1,223), Mytilineos (4,762), Cyprus Bank (2,893) and ATEbank (2,742).
 Foreign Exchange rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.429
Pound sterling 0.888
Danish kroner 7.570
Swedish kroner 9.341
Japanese yen 115.33
Swiss franc 1.213
Norwegian kroner 7.996
Canadian dollar 1.413
Australian dollar 1.362
 Copies of Rigas Feraios interrogation donated to Kozani municipalityCopies of documents that include all the details of the interrogation of Rigas Feraios (1757-1798) and his seven comrades in Vienna are now in the possession of the municipality of Kozani, in northwest Greece, delivered by history scholar Theophanis Pampas.
Pampas, originally from Kozani and a permanent resident of Vienna, came across the rare documents while conducting a research on the ethnic Greeks who were active in the greater Vienna region in the late 18th and early 19th century. The documents were first discovered in 1878, found abandoned at a Hofburg Palace corridor.
Rigas Feraios, a revolutionary and prominent figure of the Greek enlightenment, was a forerunner of the Greek War of Independence. His associates included numerous ethnic Greek traders and students, as well as, Pouliou brothers, printers from Siatista, a small town near Kozani, who printed the "Thourios" (the Hymn to Freedom written by Feraios) and Rigas Feraios' Charter (an emancipation text for the Balkans).
One of the rare copies of Rigas Feraios Charter is kept at the Municipal library of Kozani, the second largest in Greece, with roughly 150,000 volumes of books, rare publications and valuable documents.
 Police arrest suspect linked to two double homicidesThe Attica Security Police Crimes Against Life department on Thursday announced that they had cracked two cases of double homicide that they considered related, arresting a suspect they consider responsible for the second of these. They believe the killings were the result of a feud that broke out between rival Albanian gangs.
The suspect is a 31-year-old Albanian who was arrested for the shooting of two Albanian men aged 31 and 26 years old in a taverna in the Athens district of Kallithea on Tuesday. The two victims of the shooting, in their turn, are thought to be behind a drive-by shooting that occurred in Kallithea in the early hours of February 7, which resulted in the deaths of a 30-year-old special police guard and a 25-year-old Albanian.
In addition to shooting the two men in the taverna, there is an outstanding international warrant for the arrest of the suspect for a double homicide committed in Albania in 2001.
Police believe that their suspect was a passenger in the Mercedes driven by the special guard on the night he was shot, riddled with bullets from a kalashnikov rifle that also killed the 25-year-old in the back seat. Based on the information gathered by police, the shooter on that night was the 31-year-old victim of Tuesday's homicide.
The Albanian now in custody had been looking for the shooter in order to avenge the killing of his friends since that night and finally arranged to meet with him in a taverna, supposedly to talk. Instead, the 31-year-old arrived at the taverna, pulled out a gun and shot both men several times resulting in their deaths.
According to police, the feud between the two sides began when the special guard and the suspect's gang savagely beat up the Albanians of a rival gang over differences concerning transactions between them.
The suspect will now be led before a public prosecutor to be charged.
 Fifteen arrested for Wednesday protest violenceFifteen people arrested for the previous day's violent incidents during protest rallies in central Athens were led before a public prosecutor on Thursday. Two of them were underage and were referred to a juvenile court prosecutor.
Of the remainder, two face criminal charges for use of explosives and disrupting the peace, compounded by laws for people that commit offences while having their faces concealed.
Eleven other youths will face misdemeanour level charges for charges such as causing serious bodily harm, attempting to release a prisoner, resisting arrest and abuse. All eleven have been indicted to stand trial.
 Man arrested for blackmailing casinoPolice on Thursday announced the arrest of a 61-year-old man who had threatened to set himself alight in the Mont Parnes Casino unless the management returned money he had lost while gambling.
The man was arrested on Tuesday in Haidari by the Attica Security crimes of extortion squad and charged with blackmail.
Police said the accused had sent a hand-written letter to the casino's management on June 5, in which he demanded the return of 120,000 euro and threatened to set fire to himself within the casino grounds if they refused, so as to cause both damage and generate bad publicity. He claimed to have lost large sums while gambling.
Representatives of the casino contacted the man on the telephone and arranged that he should come to a meeting to receive 70,000 euro, at which time he was arrested. Police confiscated money which had been given to him in marked notes and a phone card that he had used in his telephone conversations with the casino.
He was led before the Athens first-instance court prosecutor.
 Sepulveda and Padilla in AthensChilean writer Luis Sepulveda and Mexican novelist Ignacio Padilla will speak on Thursday at the Iberoamerican Festival "Literature in Athens" which is taking place at the Institute Cervantes in Athens.
The festival will run through 19 June and noted writers are due to speak to the Greek public.
 Visitors to Balos lagoon will pay entry feeThe municipality of Kissamos, northwestern Crete, unanimously decided on Thursday to impose a one euro entry fee for those who want to reach the lagoon of Balos.
According to the municipality's board, the money will cover cleaning and maintenance expenses of the area.
Visitors approaching the area by car will pay the entry fee at the end of the road where a toll post will be placed. The measure also includes those approaching Balos from the sea, who will pay the one euro fee at Kissamos port.
 Tanbay's 'Araz' in AthensZeynep Tanbay, a noted representative of modern dance in Turkey, and her dance troupe, the Zeynep Tanbay Dance Project (ZTDP), will present their most recent show entitled "Araz" (symptom) in Athens on June 17-19.
"Araz is all about the others 'the different'. Those who fight for their rights, their identity, those who have left their country, lost their roots and live between red lines. Those who are treated with reservation by society and try to survive," she told the ANA-MPA.
 Acropolis Rally 2011 kicks offThe Acropolis Rally 2011 kicked off on Thursday, with a total of 42 crews participating in what is said to be the toughest race of the World Racing Championship (WRC).
The Acropolis Rally, dubbed the "Rally of the Gods", is the seventh round of the 13-round 2011 World Rally Championship, and this year features 18 Special Stages (SS) and a Power Stage, which will be shown live on television.
According to the WRC, the Acropolis Rally is one of the most iconic events in the sport, and winning it earns significant kudos.
The ceremonial start took place beneath the historic Acropolis site at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, and will be shown live on state television ET-1, while Friday's stages are based around Kamena Vourla. A total of 8 Greek crews will be participating in the Rally Acropolis, which winds up on Sunday in Loutraki, near Corinth.
A little earlier, from 6:45-7:15 p.m., the crews will be on hand, across from the starting ramp, to sign autographs.
Drivers have already had two days of "reconnaissance" on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Many celebrated rally drivers have won the Acropolis Rally, including Walter Rohrl, Bjorn Waldegard, Ari Vatanen, Stig Blomqvist, Juha Kankkunen, Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae.
The WRC 2011 opened with the Sweden rally in February, followed by Mexico and Portugal in March, Jordan in April, and Italy and Argentina in May.
The next stages after Greece will be Finland (July 28-30), Germany (August 18-21), Australia (September 8-11), France (September 29 to October 2), Spain (October 20-23), and Wales (November 10-13).
The FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) pits cars and drivers in a series of two, three or four-day events though some of the toughest, and most varied, conditions on the planet.
The roads on this epic motorsport adventure range from the ice and snow of Scandinavia to the stifling heat of Jordan - over surfaces including packed ice, smooth asphalt and boulder-strewn rocky tracks.
Unsurprisingly, the series is widely regarded as the most challenging motorsport competition in the world.
The competition itself is deceptively simple. Each rally is split into a number (typically between 15 and 25) of 'special stages' which are run on closed roads. Drivers tackle these stages one car at a time in an effort to complete them in the shortest time. Competitors drive to and from each special stage on normal roads, observing normal traffic regulations. During the special stages, a co-driver, or navigator, reads pace notes to alert the driver to the conditions on the road ahead.
The WRC is regulated and controlled by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body for worldwide motorsport. Most WRC rallies follow the same basic itinerary: two days of reconnaissance on Tuesday and Wednesday, to enable the driver and co-driver to check the route, and 'shakedown' - in effect practice - on Thursday, followed by the competition itself on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Some events also include 'Super Special' stages - short and compact sprint tests which often feature two cars racing head-to-head.
 Cloudy on FridayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 13C and 32C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 31C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 30C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe dramatic political developments of the previous day, capped off by the prime minister George Papandreou's announcement that he will proceed with a government reshuffle followed by a vote of confidence in Parliament, dominated the headlines in Athens' dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "He (Papandreou) announced government reshuffle".
AVGI: "Elections now, the only solution".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Prime Minister at a dead end".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS:"Elections the only solution after Papandreou's silliness".
ESTIA: "Political consensus shipwrecked".
ETHNOS: "Risk by George (Papandreou) with elections on the horizon".
IMERISSIA: "New government a gamble - The developments will depend on the selection of the faces".
KATHIMERINI: "Political leaders did not dare".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "The govenment 'resigned' and then reshuffled".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga will speak at KKE's rally on Thursday at Omonia square (downtown Athens)".
TA NEA: "Poker atop the ballot box".
VRADYNI: "Irresolute and fatal".
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