|Monday, 11 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-06-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 18 June 2011 Issue No: 3815
 PM Papandreou addresses new CabinetPrime Minister George Papandreou on Friday addressed the first meeting of his new cabinet immediately after it was sworn-in.
"We are still at a turning point, in the middle of a tough negotiation that will determine the country's future and we are called to reach a viable solution to an immediate and major national problem - namely, the debt problem that threatens to ruin us, destroying the lives of millions of Greeks - while guaranteeing that this course will be safe and reliable," Papandreou said.
He said that a restart is being made through the new government, stressing that the previous government performed a "monumental, impressive and historic work".
Papandreou referred specifically to former finance minister George Papacon-stantinou, stressing that "he shouldered unthinkable burden in crucial times for the country" and said that his work was of national importance, adding that he "honored the country and government by giving tough battles".
Referring to Papaconstantinou's successor and government vice-president Evangelos Venizelos, the premier stressed that his experience and ability will be valuable in the ongoing negotiation and in the implementation of a very painful and tough programme of major structural reforms that will eventually lead to a sustainable economy in the next few years.
He also praised the ruling PASOK parliamentary group for the efforts made together with the people aimed at salvaging the country.
The premier said that the new government is cohesive, functional, battle worthy and determined to complete its work. He called for quick and effective reforms to lift the burden off of the shoulders of the Greek people, stressing that corruption and red tape should be tackled.
Papandreou said the major reforms in public administration will continue and materialize through the newly established administrative reform and e-governance ministry. Economic growth is another priority, he said, adding that many government ministries will have to cooperate to change the production model with an emphasis on "green" energy and development and the creation of a productive and sustainable economy. He also referred to the upgrading of networks, infrastructures and internet access.
On the issue of unemployment, Papandreou said that a cabinet meeting will be held soon focusing exclusively on the specific problem.
Referring to "weaknesses of the political system that need to be corrected," Papandreou said that a number of issues will have to be examined in cooperation with the political parties in the parliament, adding that "certain of those issues could be decided by the Greek people through referendums".
On the country's foreign policy, the prime minister stressed that "with hard work the country's image abroad has changed over the past few months". He underlined that Greece's presence and participation in peace efforts in the greater region will continue, adding that the recent elections in two neighboring countries "signal a renewed effort for the solution of long-drawn issues."
Papandreou said that the government has a long and tough work ahead for the next 28 months until the end of its term in 2013, stressing that "we want to be able to say then that we have managed to bring back hope not only for the present but for the future of the country and our children as well."
 New Cabinet sworn inThe new Cabinet arising from a reshuffle by prime minister George Papandreou announced earlier in the day was sworn in at noon on Friday.
After the swearing-in ceremony, which was held at the Presidential Mansion in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and the premier, the new government proceeded to its first Cabinet meeting, chaired by Papandreou.
The new ministers and deputy ministers will afterwards go to their respective ministries to take over their new portfolios from their predecessors.
Four members of the new government - Dimitris Reppas, Haris Kastanidis, Mihalis Chrysohoidis and Haris Pamboukis - were not sworn in on Friday because they will head up newly created ministries, which will be officially founded by presidential decree. The four will most likely be sworn in next week, once the presidential decrees now being prepared by the Council of State have been signed.
The new ministries being formed are an interior ministry and an 'administrative Reform and e-government' ministry created by splitting the former Interior, Decentralisation and e-Government ministry, as well as a Development, Compe-titiveness and Shipping ministry created by the merger of the former Regional Development and Competitiveness ministry with the former Maritime Affairs, Shipping and Fisheries ministry.
The swearing-in ceremony was only for the new members of the government or those receiving a different portfolio, not those ministers that remained in the same positions as before.
The new Cabinet
The composition of the new Cabinet, as announced by outgoing government spokesman George Petalotis, is as follows:
Prime Minister: George Papandreou
First Government Vice President: Theodoros Pangalos
Second Government Vice President (and Finance Minister): Evangelos Venizelos
Administrative Reform and e-Governance Ministry (new ministry)
Minister: Dimitris Reppas
Deputy Minister: Dinos Rovlias
Deputy Minister: Pantelis Tzortzakis
Minister: Haris Kastanidis
Deputy Minister: Paris Koukoulopoulos
Minister: Evangelos Venizelos
Alternate Minister: Filippos Sahinidis
Alternate Minister: Pantelis Economou
Minister: Stavros Lambrinidis
Alternate Minister: Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou
Deputy Minister: Dimitris Dollis
National Defence Ministry
Minister: Panos Beglitis
Deputy Minister: Costas Spiliopoulos
Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Ministry (new ministry)
Minister: Michalis Chrysohoidis
Alternate Minister: Haris Pamboukis
Alternate Minister: Socrates Xynidis
Deputy Minister: Thanos Moraitis
Environment, Energy and Climate Change Ministry
Minister: George Papaconstantinou
Alternate Minister: Nikos Sifounakis
Deputy Minister: Yiannis Maniatis
Education, Life-Long Learning and Religion Ministry
Minister: Anna Diamantopoulou
Alternate Minister: Fofi Yennimata
Deputy Minister: Evi Christofilopoulou
Infrastructures, Transport and Networks Ministry
Minister: Yiannis Ragoussis
Deputy Minister: Yiannis Magriotis
Labor and Social Security Ministry
Minister: George Koutroumanis
Deputy Minister: Yiannis Koutsoukos
Health and Social Solidarity Ministry
Minister: Andreas Loverdos
Deputy Minister: Christos Aidonis
Deputy Minister: Marcos Bolaris
Deputy Minister: Michalis Timosidis
Agricultural Development and Food Ministry
Minister: Costas Skandalidis
Deputy Minister: Yiannis Drivelegas
Minister: Miltiadis Papaioannou
Deputy Minister: George Petalotis
Citizens' Protection Ministry
Minister: Christos Papoutsis
Deputy Minister: Emmanuel Othonas
Culture and Tourism Ministry
Minister: Pavlos Geroulanos
Deputy Minister for Tourism: George Nikitiadis
State Minister and Government Spokesman: Elias Mossialos
Outgoing government spokesman Petalotis also announced the creation of an Inner Cabinet, which will comprise the ministers of Administrative Reform and e-Governance (Dimitris Reppas), Interior (Haris Kastanidis), Finance (Evangelos Venizelos), Development, Competitiveness and Shipping (Michalis Chrysohoidis), Environment, Energy and Climate Change (George Papaconstantinou), Education, Life-Long Learning and Religion (Anna Diamantopoulou), Infrastructures, Transport and Networks (Yiannis Ragoussis), Health and Social Solidarity (Andreas Loverdos), Agricultural Development and Food (Costas Skandalidis), and Citizens' Protection (Christos Papoutsis).
The New Cabinet ins and outs
The new Cabinet announced on Friday comprises a total of 41 ministers and alternate/deputy ministers, seven fewer than the preceding scheme.
It contains nine new faces: foreign minister Stavros Lambrinidis, justice minister Miltiades Papaioannou, minister of state and government spokesman Elias Mossialos, alternate finance minister Pantelis Economou, deputy interior minister Paris Koukoulopoulos, deputy health minister Marcos Bolaris, deputy agricultural development minister Yiannis Drivelegas, deputy administrative reform minister Pantelis Tzortzakis, and deputy defence minister Costas Spiliopoulos.
A total of 16 previous Cabinet members are not included in the new government scheme. Dimitris Droutsas, the former foreign minister, will take over his successor Stavros Lambrinidis' seat in the European Parliament, as he was the first runner-up on the PASOK ticket in the last Europarliament elections. Other ministers not included in the new scheme are Tina Birbili (environment, energy and climate change), Louka Katseli (labor and social security) and Yiannis Diamantidis (maritime affairs, islands and fisheries ministry, which has been abolished), alternate minister Telemachus Hytiris (culture and tourism, for media issues), and deputy ministers Milena Apostolaki (agricultural development), George Dolios (interior), Theodora Tzakri (interior), Anna Dalara (labor and social security) Dimitris Kouselas(finance), Spyros Kouvelis (foreign), Panagiotis Rigas (regional development and competitiveness), Yiannis Panaretos (education), Spyros Vougias (infrastructures, transports and networks), Vassilis Kegeroglou (labor and social security) and Elpida Tsouri (maritime affairs, islands and fisheries.
The new Cabinet's also has seven first-timers in government: Kozani MP Paris Koukoulopoulos (deputy interior minister), non-parliamentarian and consultant to the prime minister Pantelis Tzortzakis (administrative reform deputy minister responsible for e-governance), MEP Stavros Lambrinidis (foreign minister), Athens A district MP Pantelis Economou (deputy finance minister), Achaia MP Costas Spiliopoulos (deputy defence minister), Halkidiki MP Yiannis Drivelegas (deputy agricultural development minister), and minister of state Elias Mossialos (minister of state and government spokesman).
The new Cabinet further brings back two former government members, veteran minister Miltiades Papaioannou (justice minister) and Marcos Bolaris (health deputy minister).
 Parliament to begin debating vote of confidence motion on SundayThe three-day debate on a renewed vote of confidence sought by the government after Friday's reshuffle will kick off in Parliament at noon on Sunday with a speech by Prime Minister George Papandreou.
Sunday's session will last around five or six hours and the leaders of the political parties in Parliament during this time will have the right to take the stand during this time.
The debate is scheduled to end at midnight on Tuesday with an open roll-call vote.
 Maritime issues handled by outgoing minister DiamantidisMaritime and shipping sector issues will be handled by outgoing Minister Yiannis Diamantidis until a new presidential decree is signed, one which will define the responsibilities of the new ministry of development, competitiveness and shipping -- created by the merger of the former regional development & competitiveness ministry with the maritime affairs, shipping and fisheries ministry.
According to reports, the sectors of islands policy and fisheries will be handled by the newly formed ministry.
"The government still does not learn from its mistakes," opposition New Democracy (ND) party sector head Yiannis Plakiotakis said, commenting on the shipping sector being included once again in the ministry of regional development and competitiveness.
 ND on Cabinet reshuffle: Government with time limitMain opposition New Democracy (ND) on Friday described as a 'government with a time limit' the new Cabinet arising from a government reshuffle earlier in the day.
In an announcement ND press spokesman Yiannis Michelakis said that prime minister George Papandreou is "recycling the same faces, and instead of a government of national salvation has made a government with a time limit, in order to implement the same, wrong policy".
"Mr. Papandreou first admitted that he cannot govern. Then he baptized the inability as a "reshuffle". A reshuffle 'carom' that reflects the failure of his policy. The chief admittance of the failure of the government's economic policy is the replacement of (outgoing finance minister George) Papaconstantinou," Michelakis added.
ND also considers as an "admission of organisational inability" the creation of an Inner Cabinet in which half the ministers are participating, with the purpose of coordinating the other half of the ministers and in which, for the first time, unprecedented in the world, the defence and foreign ministers will not be taking part.
"Everyone can make their own conclusions on the expediency of the composition of such an Inner Cabinet," the ND spokesman continued.
Michelakis further warned that the dissolution of the two national champions of the Greek economy, tourism and shipping, is being continued, especially that of shipping, which continues to go back and forth from ministry to ministry.
 KKE's Papariga on gov't reshuffleOpposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Friday commented on the government reshuffle, stressing that "it was nothing special. The same old policy will continue. Certain in-party issues were probably settled but nothing will change in terms of policy."
Speaking to an Athens private radio station, Papariga said the reshuffle had the additional goal "to ease popular discontent. But I don't thing that this is possible."
Commenting on new Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, she said that "the minister's personality is not the issue but self-deceptions to the contrary are likely".
Papariga stressed that Venizelos "will follow the same policy particularly now within the framework of the EU negotiations on controlled default".
 LA.O.S president on gov't reshuffleOpposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) president George Karatzaferis on Friday launched an indirect but clear attack on main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras.
In a statement he made on the new government, Karatzaferis blamed Samaras - without naming him - because according to the LA.O.S leader "Papandreou is again Greece's prime minister and with him the 'deep' PASOK, whatever this could mean," adding that "the country has lost the opportunity to have an ecumenical government and a premier that enjoys wide acceptance."
He described the new government and the choice of its members as a "smart move by Papandreou" adding, however, that "the move is ineffective considering the country's needs".
 Tsipras dismissive of government reshuffleCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras was dismissive of the new government unveiled by Prime Minister George Papandreou after a reshuffle on Friday, commenting that "one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry with all this".
"From the joint government of Papandreou and [main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras], which did not succeed because Samaras did not accept Papandreou as prime minister, we have been led to the joint government of Papandreou and [new finance minister Evangelos Venizelos], because finally Mr. Venizelos accepted Papandreou for prime minister," he said.
At a time when Greek society was in turmoil and people had lost their trust in politicians, some people were insisting on playing tactical power-sharing games and were apparently unaware that their days in power were numbered, Tsipras added.
During a visit to Greece's Institute of Geological and Mining Studies (IGME) on Friday afternoon, Tsipras also strongly criticised plans to shut down IGME as a "crime against the environment and growth", pointing out that no advanced European country lacked its equivalent and accusing the Memorandum of "demolishing the research and development facilities".
 Party reactionsThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Friday described the new Cabinet arising earlier from a government reshuffle, as a "government dangerous to the people, for the passing of the new barbarous measures and preparation of the government's more apparent collaboration with the parties of the plutocracy". It reiterated its call for immediate elections and called for popular and political vigilance, organisation and action with the KKE.
"The parties of the system do not change by changing faces. They only become worse for the people," it added.
The Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, said that "from an ecumenical government (being sought) we ended up with a government of the 'deep' PASOK", adding that "Greece missed a golden opportunity, because some sides did not manage the issue well, or did not want to".
The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) said that the "tragicomedy we have been living in these past days continued with today's reshuffle", adding that "it seems that noting is capable of halting the course to complete collapse of the government".
SYN stressed that it was of absolutely no importance who will implement the most unjust and anti-social policy of the last decades, when the issue was its full reversal. It added that the ease with which the government and main opposition party exchange accusations and invitations for a joint "national" effort underlines how similar their policies are and how hypocritical their stance is towards the Greek people.
"PASOK and ND are part of the established vicious political system of the last decades, which is completing its circle," SYN said.
The non-parliamentary Democratic Left party said that with the policy that the government has been implementing over the past 20 months, the country and society are facing the immediate danger of collapse.
The content of this policy must change, it stressed, adding that the only thing that the Cabinet reshuffle can accomplish is a temporary beautification of the picture, but which will not endure.
Non-parliamentary Democratic Alliance press spokesman Yiannis Economou said that the reshuffle was the outcome of Papandreou's effort to "survive in his parliamentary group". The result, he added, was an "electoral government of transfers and balances".
Economou said that the main issue for Greece remains averting bankruptcy, and the mobilisation of all the creative forces of the country for that purpose, on the basis of sincerity and the specific policies required in order to succeed.
 PM due in Brussels on Monday, Venizelos at Eurogroup SundayPrime Minister George Papandreou held a meeting at his offices on Friday with new Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and former finance minister George Papaconstantinou, who now takes over the environment ministry, after the end of the new government's first cabinet meeting.
The meeting was held to prepare for Papandreou's trip to Brussels on Monday and to brief Venizelos for a Eurogroup meeting taking place in Luxembourg on Sunday.
During his trip to Brussels, which was postponed due to the radical developments at home, Papandreou is scheduled to meet Eurogroup chair Jean-Claude Juncker and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
In all likelihood, there will also be a meeting between Papandreou and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on Tuesday.
The Eurogroup meeting will mainly discuss the issue of Greek debt and a new support package for the Greek economy, so the briefing with Venizelos focused mainly on aspects of the negotiations and discussed the best approach for the Greek side.
 PM to meet Barroso on Monday evening in BrusselsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)
A European Commission spokesman on Friday confirmed that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is scheduled to have a meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday evening in Brussels, at around 11:00 p.m. Greek time.
A spokesman for Eurogroup chair Jean-Claude Juncker, however, said that there was no meeting scheduled at present between Papandreou and Juncker in Luxembourg on the same day.
 Support for Papandreou from Merkel, SarkozyBERLIN (ANA-MPA - G. Pappas)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday expressed support for Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, during a joint press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy held after their meeting to discuss the Greek debt crisis.
Referring to her phone conversation with the Greek premier on Thursday, Merkel said she was able to determine the depth of Papandreou's commitment to ensuring that Greece met its obligations and the way he was fighting so that Greece might follow the right path.
"It would be good if the main opposition supported the Greek prime minister," she added, criticising the stance displayed by Greece's New Democracy party and its dogged refusal to open the way to a broader consensus on the austerity measures.
Sarkozy also hailed the efforts of the Greek government and urged it to continue reforms and privatisations.
The two leaders said that the French and German governments were currently waiting for EU-IMF troika inspectors to complete a detailed report that would cover not just political issues but also very technical matters concerning the size of the adjustment programme and technicalities concerning its implementation.
The French president further underlined the strong commitment of France and Germany to the stability of the euro, which he said could not be improved on.
"We both support the euro with all our strength," he stressed.
Merkel made it clear, however, that release of a new support package for Greece would be conditional on the country approving the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy.
"The Greek Parliament must pass the necessary measures," Merkel stressed.
In other statements, Merkel indicated a softening of Germany's stance to the involvement of private investors in a Greek rescue, aligning herself with calls from France and the European Central Bank (ECB) that their participation should be strictly voluntary in order to avoid triggering a sovereign default.
She indicated that EU leaders were considering a rollover along the lines of a Vienna Initiative, where proceeds from maturing bonds were reinvested in new securities, thus buying time for Greece until its austerity programme begins to yield results or a permanent bailout mechanism goes into operation in mid-2013.
 White House on Greek economic reformsThe White House said that it is "important" that the Greek government continues the economic reforms and reiterated that the European Union is capable of overcoming the present crisis.
"Greece has achieved considerable progress" in handling the debt crisis but "it is important that the Greek government continues" the reforms said Jay Carney, the spokesman of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Carney, who stated the above during the daily press briefing, underlined that the White House is closely watching the situation in Greece, that might create "adverse winds" for the economy and reiterated that the European Union is, in the opinion of the American presidency, "capable of handling" this crisis.
 Foreign Minister Lambrinidis to visit Cyprus on SaturdayForeign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis will leave for Cyprus on Saturday on his first visit after assuming his new duties.
During his visit, Lambrinidis will be received by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and will meet Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou.
 New FM receives congratulations from Cyprus, Turkey counterpartsCyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou held a telephone conversation with newly-appointed Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis and wished him all the best in his new duties.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also communicated with Lambrinidis and congratulated him on his appointment at the Foreign ministry.
 Cyprus FM holds telephone conversation with Droutsas. Corresponding call by Turkish FMCyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou held a telephone conversation with outgoing foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas and wished him all the best in his new duties, as a Eurodeputy.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also communicated with Droutsas and congratulated him on his transfer to the European Parliament.
 National Bank's administration holds meeting with FinMin VenizelosNewly-appointed Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos held a meeting with the National Bank's administration, its president Vassilis Rapanos and managing director Apostolos Tamvakakis.
According to reports, the National Bank's administration briefed the Finance minister on developments in the local banking system and the course of the National Bank, the country's biggest bank.
 New Democracy urges measures to boost market liquidityMain opposition New Democracy on Friday urged the new finance minister Evangelos Venizelos to immediately take measures to boost liquidity in the markets while noting that ND did not expect him to substantially change the policies of his predecessor.
ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis called on Venizelos to immediate take five steps that would direct more funds to the real economy. Among these he listed:
Launching an initiative to use the capabilities offered by the European Investment Bank and the World Bank;
Once again setting in motion major concessions projects, such as the five major highways that were virtually stalled;
Speeding up absorption of National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds;
Proceeding to offset business debts to and from the public sector (taxes versus VAT refunds); and take steps to continue the provision of guarantees to the Greek banking system from the European Central Bank for at least another year, so that these funds might reach the real economy.
"All these actions have to be done immediately in order to give the necessary injection of liquidity into a market that needs it vitally," Mihelakis stressed.
 EBEA president on reshuffleAthens Chamber and Commerce and Industry (EBEA) president Constantine Michalos on Friday criticised the government reshuffle which, he said, "can only be considered as a mockery towards society, because the transfer of persons who have failed in their preceding duties to other ministerial seats cannot be considered a 'corrective move'."
Replying to reporters' questions on the reshuffle, he added that "at this time we are experiencing in Greece a political satire, but with the visible risk of it turning into an ancient Greek tragedy".
According to Michalos the new government is a "renovation" of the previous Cabinet with 40 members and only three new ministers and which, either way, will be called on to implement precisely the same hopeless policy, "a policy that deputies and cadres of the ruling party (PASOK) dispute, thus creating conditions of lack of governance".
For this reason an end must be put to the current and a new start must be made, he said, adding that recourse to early elections is the only way.
Michalos opined that the country needs a strong government with the political volition to advance the correct policy mix for exit from the crisis, a policy that will focus on the imposition of measures with main aim the safeguarding of the development and social cohesion and will aim chiefly at the taking of measures focusing on ensuring growth and social cohesion, and will not hesitate to renegotiate the Memorandum in order to achieve better repayment conditions.
 List of major tax debtors published by end of JuneA ministerial decision expected to be signed by new Deputy Finance Minister Pantelis Economou will give the "green light" to publicising a list with the names of major tax debtors, each owing to the state more than 150,000 euros, it was announced on Friday.
Another decision, expected to be issued by the ministry of finance shortly, provides for the implementation of crosschecks on taxpayers who have deposited large amounts of money to banks abroad over the last two years.
The finance ministry will request details concerning the remittances sent by Greek citizens to banks abroad.
The evidence collected will be crosschecked with the "source of wealth" statements submitted by the individuals under investigation to establish whether the money moved correspond to income declared in recent years. If not they will be called to pay additional taxes and be fined for filing false income tax statements.
 Ministries' spending on public relations down 54 pct in 2010Government ministries' spending on public relations were cut by 54 pct last year to 5.8 million euros, from 12.6 million euros in 2009, with a further reduction expected this year as well, Greek Finance Deputy Minister Philippos Sahinidis said on Friday. Speaking in Parliament, Sahinidis also said that outstanding debt of the Greek state totaled 6.010 billion euros in the January-March period this year.
 GSEE declares 48-hour strike for mid-term programmeThe General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) decided on Friday to declare a 48-hour general strike on the days that the mid-term programme will be discussed and ratified in Parliament. Mobilisations whose content will be decided by the Confederation's executive committee will also take place during the ratification of the implementary laws.
It was also decided that on June 21, the day of the European action of unions, a protest demarche will be made at the offices of the European Union in Athens, while a delegation of GSEE will participate in the European demonstration taking place on the same day in Luxembourg.
 Business Briefs-- Greece's finance ministry will auction a three-month Treasury bills issues next Tuesday, 21 June, aiming to raise 1.25 billion euros from the market. The finance ministry, in an announcement said the issue will be offered to private savers tax-free on the precondition that they will hold the T-bills until their maturity.
-- Cardico on Friday announced the successful completion of a share capital increase plan, worth 11,664,624 euros. Under the plan, the company will issue 38,882,080 new common, nominal, voting shares at an offering price of 0.30 euros per share. Following the share capital increase plan, Cardico's equity capital will total 18.8 million euros.
 Stocks end significantly higherNews of a Franco-German agreement over a new support programme for Greece, along with the announcement of a new government, helped Greek stocks to a strong recovery on Friday in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The composite index of the market jumped 3.80 pct to end at 1,254.02 points, off the day's highs of 1,272.45 points, recovering a big part of a 4.64 pct loss recorded in the previous two sessions. The index was up 0.13 pct in the week. Turnover soared to 145.174 million euros.
The Big Cap index jumped 5.06 pct, the Mid Cap index rose 3.08 pct and the Small Cap index ended 5.95 pct higher. MIG (14.29 pct), Eurobank (9.31 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (8.62 pct) and National Bank (8.45 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Jumbo (1.17 pct) and Viohalco (0.25 pct) were top losers. The Personal Products sector (-0.25 pct) was the only one to end lower, while Financial Services (11.53 pct), Banks (7.82 pct) and Technology (4.19 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 121 to 26 with another 33 issues unchanged. Kekrops (19.61 pct), Vovos (19.54 pct) and MIG (14.29 pct) were top gainers, while Unibios (16.67 pct), Sanyo Hellas (11.11 pct) and Dimitriou (11.11 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.45%
Personal & Household: -0.25%
Raw Materials: +2.96%
Travel & Leisure: +3.51%
Food & Beverages: +0.76%
Financial Services: +11.53%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Alpha Bank and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 3.32
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.42
HBC Coca Cola: 17.64
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.40
National Bank of Greece: 4.75
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.17
Bank of Piraeus: 1.03
 Greek bond spreads down in middayGreek bond spreads eased in the domestic electronic secondary bond market in early trade on Friday, reflecting market relief after the French and German leaders reassured markets over a cooperation with the European Central Bank in resolving Greece's debt problem. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy stressed that any participation of private investors in a new support programme for Greece should be voluntary and noted that a solution to the problem must have the approval of ECB.
The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased to 14.01 pct, from 14.15 pct at the opening, with the Greek bond yielding 16.91 pct, down from 17.11 pct early in the day.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank spectacularly to 13.93 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Friday, from 14.67 pct on Thursday, as the market took a relief from favourable political developments in the Eurozone and domestic. The Greek bond yielded 16.87 pct and the German Bund 2.94 pct. Turnover in the market remained an extremely low 8.0 million euros, of which 5.0 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 3.0 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved slightly higher. The 12-month rate was 2.14 pct, the six-month rate 1.74 pct, the three-month rate was 1.48 pct and the one-month rate 1.28 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.49 pct on its debut in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover rising to 131.815 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 35,826 contracts, worth 99.732 million euros, with 35,876 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 106,323 contracts worth 32.083 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Hellenic Postbank's contracts (16,447), followed by Eurobank (9,378), MIG (5,438), OTE (8,507), PPC (3,580), OPAP (2,710), Piraeus Bank (9,136), Hellenic Exchanges (1,048), National Bank (3,147), Alpha Bank (9,546), Marfin Popular Bank (15,611), Ellaktor (1,322), Intralot (1,230), Mytilineos (4,658), Cyprus Bank (2,833), GEK (3,147) and ATEbank (5,029).
 Foreign Exchange rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.448
Pound sterling 0.895
Danish kroner 7.571
Swedish kroner 9.326
Japanese yen 116.43
Swiss franc 1.228
Norwegian kroner 7.987
Canadian dollar 1.417
Australian dollar 1.364
 France donates Louvre etchings inspired by Alexander the Great to Dion MuseumTwo etchings by French artist Sebastien Leclerc (1637-1714), displayed at the Louvre Museum, will be delivered to Archaeological Museum of Dion, in northern Greece, by French consul general to Thessaloniki Christian Thimonier.
The items were donated by French authorities.
Both works, inspired by Alexander the Great, were created for Louis XIV and have already been on display at Dion during the "Louvre at Dion" exhibition, held within the framework of the annual Olympus Festival last summer.
The works, entitled "Entry of Alexander the Great into Babylon" (1704), and "Academy of Sciences and Fine Arts" (1698), will be delivered to the Archaeological Museum of Dion on Monday.
The site, near the border of the Macedonia and Thessaly provinces, owes its name to the important ancient sanctuary dedicated to mythical Zeus.
 Patras police bust infant-trafficking ringOfficers with the Patras Security police on Friday said they had uncovered a ring involved in selling infants and babies, arresting two men and two women of Romanian nationality.
Acting on a tip-off, police officers tracked down members of the ring - a 25-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman - and posed as prospective buyers, agreeing to purchase a one-month-old baby for the sum of 10,000 euros.
The police officers arrived at the arranged meeting place in a Patras supermarket parking lot on Thursday, where they found the two suspects with two more individuals that accompanied them, a 30-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman.
During the transaction, the police officers learned that the 30-year-old woman had given birth a few days earlier to a baby boy that was handed over to the police officers posing as buyers, along with a downpayment of 5,000 euro.
Once the transaction was completed, other officers moved in and arrested all four individuals that turned up for the meeting. Police are now investigating whether others may be involved in the group's activities and whether they were behind other sales of infants.
 Cloudy on SaturdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 13C and 34C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 33C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 31C.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glancePrime minister George Papandreou's address to his ruling PASOK party's parliamentary group and Friday's imminent Cabinet reshuffle dominated the front pages in Friday's newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Samaras (main opposition ND leader) clear-cut positions".
AVGHI: "Power tricks in absentia of the people".
AVRIANI: "President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias should resign so as to force elections in order for the people to decide their fate".
DEAL NEWS: "They brought chaos and terror".
DIMOKRATIA: "Black comedy in four acts".
ELEFTHEROS: "They were cursing the MPs who disagree with the government's policy".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "PASOK, 'united', heading to collapse".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Government month-by-month".
ESTIA: "Papandreou's subterfuges".
ETHNOS: "Papandreou's agreement with the party's top cadres".
IMERISSIA: "Changes in heavy climate - New faces in the economy team".
KATHIMERINI: "Fragile truce in PASOK".
LOGOS: "Cabinet reshuffle - So, what?"
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Commission worried and approves 5th tranche".
NIKI: "He (Papandreou) won on his own".
PARASKEVI+13: "He (Papandreou) gave everything to save himself".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Back the KKE now in elections and struggles".
TA NEA: "Breather with...PASOK government".
VRADYNI: "Medium-Term government".
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