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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-07-07

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

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

Thursday, 7 July 2011 Issue No: 3831

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou extends invitation to political dialogue
  • [02] KKE reaction to PM's invitation to dialogue
  • [03] PM meets Public Administration inspector
  • [04] FM Lambrinidis holds talks with German counterpart
  • [05] FM Lambrinidis in Berlin
  • [06] FM Lambrinidis to visit Vienna
  • [07] FinMin Venizelos holds talks with German counterpart
  • [08] FinMin meets with Archbishop
  • [09] New IMF director on Greek situation
  • [10] DM praises peaceful summer season in Aegean; refers to Gaza vessel ban
  • [11] Education minister discusses college reforms issue with ND leader
  • [12] ND on press report regarding OGA pension cut; WSJ reference to Samaras
  • [13] Employment ministry on OGA pensions
  • [14] Bakoyannis calls for re-examination of wartime resistance pensions
  • [15] Culture and Tourism Minister Geroulanos in Istanbul
  • [16] 20th annual session of OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly begins
  • [17] Omnibus bill on energy policy
  • [18] French proposal won't help Greece, CEPS report
  • [19] Heads of N. Greece enterprises remain pessimistic
  • [20] Tourism sector reps decry recent violence in central Athens
  • [21] Taxis on strike on Wednesday
  • [22] Business Briefs
  • [23] Stocks continue slipping
  • [24] Greek bond market closing report
  • [25] ADEX closing report
  • [26] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [27] Elytis centenary celebrations on Lesvos
  • [28] Papoulias meets with federation of Istanbul Greeks
  • [29] Wildfire in Psachna in Evia
  • [30] Fair on Thursday
  • [31] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [32] Negotiations need to be revitalized, Downer says
  • [33] Barroso calls on leaders to ensure a successful outcome of Geneva meeting
  • [34] FM briefs French counterpart on Cyprus problem
  • [35] Archbishop Demetrios expresses support to Cypriot's struggle for a solution Politics

  • [01] Papandreou extends invitation to political dialogue

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday lashed out at all those who incite or exercise violence targeting Parliament deputies and political parties, as he said.

    Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Papandreou rejected the view promoted by certain circles blaming the economic crisis and austerity measures for all the country's ills.

    "The crisis alone cannot breed violence," the prime minister stressed, adding that "assaults, attacks and jeering, even when targeting ordinary citizens, are being urged and incited by extreme political groups" and "by individuals desperately seeking a personal political role, as well as, by certain media-bred public opinion shapers".

    He said that everybody should assume their share of responsibility and underlined that "a State that is ruled by the law cannot tolerate 'spontaneous' or organized violence."

    He pointed out that the attacks on MPs and the parliament "mutilate democracy and undermine civil liberties". Referring to historical precedence, he stressed that "every time anti-parliamentarianism and the practice of challenging democratic institutions were cultivated have resulted to anti-democratic diversion."

    Papandreou extended an "invitation to dialogue and responsibility" to everybody and added that he will suggest the establishment of a cross-party committee to discuss and decide on policies and measures "that will protect institutions, safeguard the rule of law, improve the organizing of public gatherings, police operation, etc.

    The prime minister referred to the reforms currently promoted by the government focusing on the tertiary education and stressed that reactions are expected by those "who have an interest in maintaining the status quo".

    Expressed faith in the reforms that are being promoted and pointed out that "the decisions we make today will serve in the future as a reference point; a turning point in our country's history."

    Papandreou ruled out the likelihood of snap elections, stressing that in 2013 the people will be called to assess the job done.

    [02] KKE reaction to PM's invitation to dialogue

    An invitation to political dialogue that Prime Minister George Papandreou extended to political parties, intellectuals and citizens, as well as, the planned establishment of a cross-party committee to discuss measures and policies that will safeguard institutions and prevent politically motivated violence, prompted the immediate response of the opposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

    "The prime minister and his government are being deceived if they believe that they can squash the organised popular movement by utilising provocations and the ludicrous conflict between ruling PASOK and SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left parliamentary alliance)," the KKE statement underlined.

    [03] PM meets Public Administration inspector

    Prime minister George Papandreou met on Wednesday with Public Administration Inspector General Leandros Rakintzis, who submitted to the premier his annual report on public administration.

    Papandreou stressed the importance of the report, given that "public administration is the big patient", adding that the people are demanding changes.

    He said that a large part of the government's targets aim for public administration to function in the people's benefit.

    [04] FM Lambrinidis holds talks with German counterpart

    Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis met in Berlin on Wednesday with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle.

    According to a Foreign ministry announcement, Lambrinidis stressed that "the solidarity being shown by Germany and the responsibility, as well as the solidarity and responsibility that Greece is also being called on to show are, I think, the basic principles that will take us out, united and stronger as Europeans, from this crisis."

    Lambrinidis further said "with Guido we discussed a great deal about the efforts to tackle this crisis. Greece has proved its determination over this past year and a half. It took measures that it had to and will take even more difficult measures now. Measures that cost dearly to the Greek people, measures that are producing, thanks to the sacrifices of the Greek people and I am deeply grateful to Guido Westerwelle and in our discussion over the fact that so much and so intenseley and so much, if you want, humanely recognised these sacrifices. I thanked him naturally particularly for Germany's contribution to this very difficult effort for Greece as well as for Europe."

    Lambrinidis also said "I want to stress here something that is frequently overlooked. Today's Greece is consistent, it is reliable. We are fulfilling the measures that we have said that we shall take. Last year the changes that took place in the country in one year alone were changes that have not taken place ever in any other European country in the history of the European Union. Mistakes were made naturally and we are corrrecting them with new determination and with new support from our partners and for this reason I thank once again publicly for the solidarity and for the support."

    Lastly, Lambrinidis said "it is not only the European and the Greek-German issues that preoccupied us. We spoke of the 'Arab spring', we spoke about Libya, we spoke about the Middle East, about a series of issues that we shall each face seperately as well as together as Europeans soon."

    [05] FM Lambrinidis in Berlin

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/G. Pappas)

    Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis is carrying out a series of contacts in Berlin with the aim of improving Greece's image in Europe.

    "We must change Greece's image in Europe, to pass the message of a positive Greece. To break the vicious circle of negativism," Lambrinidis said in a statement. He stressed that "many things have been achieved in the past year with great sacrifices by the Greek people" and warned that "the impression that Greece is not trying, that it is not changing, can poison the climate and we have the obligation to change it."

    Speaking to the German Foreign Policy Society "DGAP", Lambrinidis underlined the efforts made by Greece "to return to the principle of responsibility." At the same time he criticised credit rating firms and their roles. He referred to the example of the latest downgrading of Portugal by Moody's that did not need, as he said, fresh aid and spoke of the "madness of a self-fulfilled prophecy."

    The Greek Foreign minister also stressed the need "for the rhetoric of punishment to stop" that poisons the climate both in Greece and in the countries providing aid, while strengthening Euroscepticism.

    In the German capital, Lambrinidis will be having his first meeting with his German counterpart Westerwelle, while he met with the president of the Parliamentary Group of the Socialdemocrat party (SPD) Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as well as the president of the Greens party Cem Ozdemir.

    [06] FM Lambrinidis to visit Vienna

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis will be discussing a series of issues of mutual interest for the two countries, focusing on developments on the economic situation in Greece and its European dimension with his Austrian counterpart, Vice Chancellor of the Austrian government and leader of the conservative People's Party Michael Spindelegger during their meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

    Talks between the two foreign ministers are also expected to include the issue of the Western Balkans and the Greek initiative "Agenda 2014", Turkey's European perspective as well as the situation in North Africa and the Middle East.

    The Greek Foreign minister is expected to brief his Austrian counterpart on the government's efforts to tackle and overcome the economic and fiscal crisis, the great structural reforms that it has promoted and which already have positive results with many sacrifices by the Greek people.

    [07] FinMin Venizelos holds talks with German counterpart

    Greek government vice president and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos met in Berlin on Wednesday night with the Finance Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany Wolfgang Schauble. It is their first bilateral contact since the day Venizelos assumed the duties of Finance minister last June.

    According to finance ministry announcement, during a working dinner, the two ministers discussed current European issues. Issues discussed also included the debt crisis in the eurozone, with special emphasis on the progress of the reforms programme in Greece.

    Schauble praised the Greek government's reformist and economic efforts and hailed the ratification by Parliament, last week, of the medium-term fiscal adjustment programme and of the enabling law.

    The two ministers agreed that the measures enacted must be implemented immediately with the aim of speeding up the country's economic recovery.

    [08] FinMin meets with Archbishop

    Government vice president and Finance minister Evangelos Venizelos met on Wednesday with Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece and discussed outstanding Church finance issues.

    Venizelos met with the Archbishop and members of the Holy Synod at the Church headquarters at Moni Petraki.

    Ieronymos said afterwards that the meeting had been "beneficial", adding that all the Synod members were given the floor, while "answers were given to our requests, and these aim at progress".

    He noted that the Church in Greece has always stood and fought at the side of the people and has given all that it could.

    Venizelos in turn thanked the Archbishop for the "fruitful" discussion and praised the "great work" the Church has done throughout the years.

    "It is our duty to safeguard our national unity and social cohesion," Venizelos said, adding "therefore, in both word and action, the Church is of decisive importance".

    Venizelos expressed optimism that, following this meeting, "we can do very specific and practical things that will give relief to the people in need".

    [09] New IMF director on Greek situation

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panayiotou)

    "Courageous decisions" are needed for Greece, the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) new managing director, Christine Lagarde, told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

    Lagarde also appealed to Greek political parties to cooperate amongst themselves, following the example of Ireland and Portugal. She also announced that the IMF will meet on Friday to discuss the next round of support for Greece.

    "There is an IMF board meeting, which is scheduled for Friday, at which we shall consider the fourth review and eventually the payment of the fifth tranche that falls due," the former French finance minister said.

    [10] DM praises peaceful summer season in Aegean; refers to Gaza vessel ban

    Defence Minister Panos Beglitis on Wednesday expressed satisfaction over Turkey's stance during the ongoing summer season, stressing that it began with positive practices on behalf of the neighbouring country both in the air and at sea.

    Speaking before a Parliamentary committee on the ratification of international contracts, Beglitis underlined that the elimination of the component command Air Izmir (CC-AIR) from the NATO command structure will contribute to the creation of a positive atmosphere with Turkey, considering that it was a "source of conflicts and tensions".

    The defence minister stated that a tourism season moratorium is in effect, adding that naval activities have stopped, while airspace violations or FIR infringements are very few and there are no overflights over inhabited islands.

    "Even the Turkish navy, which is participating in Libya missions, follows the sea routes that are dictated by international law and does not violate Greece's interests or national sensitivities," the minister said.

    He also expressed hope that the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend the exploratory contacts seeking mutual benefit and cooperation.

    As regards the ban on the departure of "Boat to Gaza" vessels from Greek ports, Beglitis underlined that the "government and the competent ministries concluded that the specific decision serves the country's interests, while taking under consideration peace in the region and Greece's strategic relations with Israel and the Palestinians."

    Beglitis stressed that "the further development of our relations with Israel will contribute to regional peace, security and stability, while our historical relations with the Arab world and Turkey will not be affected."

    He pointed out that the institutional framework of the international contracts mirror the country's international obligations that are rooted in the principle of reciprocity.

    "None of these texts takes away the power of this principle. No obligation transcends the country's constitutional framework," he said, adding that "our national sovereignty or our ability to defend our interests is not being limited. The protection of national interests cannot be assessed in economic or statistical terms by no economist."

    [11] Education minister discusses college reforms issue with ND leader

    Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou on Wednesday met with main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, concluding her contacts with the political party leaders over the planned reforms in tertiary education.

    After the meeting that lasted over an hour, Diamantopoulou stated that "there is common ground but further improvement can be achieved through discussion."

    ND education sector head Aris Spiliotopoulos stressed that his party is in favour of consensus on important issues like education adding, however, that he finds reasonable the university rectors' demand for more time until September to present their own positions.

    ND's objections to the tertiary education reform focus on student reading material, professor evaluation, lecturers, rector elections and student participation in the procedure, as well as, university board of trustees' issues.

    [12] ND on press report regarding OGA pension cut; WSJ reference to Samaras

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis on Wednesday criticised Finance Minister and government VP Evangelos Venizelos, in response to a news report claiming that the minimum monthly pension of 360 euros paid by the farmers' state pension and health care fund (OGA) will be reduced.

    The ND spokesman called on Venizelos to present Parliament with concrete explanations on the issue, which is of major concern for tens of thousands of pensioners, as he said.

    Mihelakis reminded that last Monday, the same newspaper revealed that the updated memorandum includes a clear reference to the layoffs of employees after a year in "labour reserve".

    He also referred to Wednesday's editorial in the Wall Street Journal, characterising it as very important, because it focuses on ND leader Antonis Samaras' positions regarding taxation and the economy.

    The ND spokesman stated that his party is in favour of setting up a European credit rating agency supervised by the European Central Bank (ECB). He stated that Samaras had raised the issue as early as March 25, 2010 during contacts in Brussels and on June 16, 2010 when he discussed it with European People's Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens.

    Mihelakis stressed that "Samaras had underlined the importance of such an initiative early on, while PM Papandreou was busy preparing Greece for the bailout mechanism."

    [13] Employment ministry on OGA pensions

    The Employment ministry stressed in an announcement Wednesday on the occasion of relevant reports in the press and the statement by the main opposition New Democracy party's Employment and Social Insurance sector that there will be no decrease with the medium-term programme and the enabling law and nor with any other law in the pensions of the Farmers Pensions Oganisation OGA and in the lowest limits of the other funds.

    [14] Bakoyannis calls for re-examination of wartime resistance pensions

    Democratic Alliance party president MP Dora Bakoyannis on Tuesday suggested the immediate re-examination of pensions paid to WWII-era national resistance fighters.

    In a tabled question addressed to Labour & Social Insurance Minister Giorgos Koutroumanis, she referred to "unreasonable expenditures" and "pension approvals based on political criteria and clientele relations". She also called for all relevant documents be submitted to Parliament.

    "In many instances individuals who were not eligible presented false documents to receive the national resistance pension," according to Bakoyannis.

    She also asked the government if it "intends to order an investigation into pensions received by alleged resistance fighters born in the 1930s who, during WWII, were either infants or under the age of 10," as she said.

    [15] Culture and Tourism Minister Geroulanos in Istanbul

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos, who arrived in Istanbul on a private visit, met on Wednesday with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Patriarchate. Among other things, the discussion included the Culture ministry's cooperation with the Ecumenical Patriarchate on cultural issues, as the minister said afterwards.

    The minister also met with officials of Turkish industry, representatives of Turkish television networks (CNN Turk) and foreign correspondents, to strengthen Greek tourism's extroversion.

    [16] 20th annual session of OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly begins

    The 20th annual session of the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly opened in Belgrade on Wednesday and will last until July 10. The session was inaugurated by Parliamentary Assembly president Petros Efthymiou and the president of the Serb Parliament Slavica Jukic-Dejanovic.

    Efthymiou said in his address that the OSCE is passing through a period of crisis, stressing the need for the organisation's role to be upgraded.

    "The cohesion of all the members of the OSCE is required, for us to function as one punch, so that all the modern-day threats for security, democracy, human rights to be tackled witrh effectiveness," Efthymiou said.

    Financial News

    [17] Omnibus bill on energy policy

    Government sources termed the unified omnibus bill that will be tabled in Parliament soon as the biggest and most important bill concerning energy in the past 20 years and aspects of which were discussed during Wednesday's cabinet meeting.

    The omnibus bill will include the deregulation of the energy market, the agency and the hycrocarbons research framework, the pipelines for the transfer of hydrocarbons and other arrangements such as issues regarding geothermy, renewable energy sources, Ai Stratis- "green" island, quarries, etc.

    The cabinet meeting discussed the creation of an agency for the exploitation of hydrocarbons and the research framework. In parallel, with the tabling of this bill, existing legislation gives the government the possibility to proceed with the proclamation of a tender for the carrying out of seismic research in the Ionian Sea as far as the south of the island of Crete.

    The region in question has a surface of 230,000 square kilometres and already, according to reports, great interest has been shown by international companies which, according to the same reports, include the three biggest internationally and which finance these research operations.

    This proclamation has also been sent to the International Union of Seismic Research Companies headquartered in the US, in which 150 companies are participating, while observations on the improvement of the proclamation were also requested by the Union.

    According to government sources "what we know until now is that there might be 3-4 'Prinos' in the region." From "Prinos" 120 million barrels have been pumped over the 25 years of its operation, the entire cost of the investment over this period has amounted to 1.5 billion dollars, while it has yielded about 7 billion dollars, of which the public sector's revenues amount to 3 billion dollars.

    Government sources stressed, however, that these amounts have been assessed with different prices and with energy needs equally different.

    [18] French proposal won't help Greece, CEPS report

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / Special contributor Irene Karanassopoulou)

    The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) recently unveiled its report on the evaluation of a French proposal for a restructuring of the Greek debt.

    The think-tank's report, signed by Christian Kopf, noted that if the French proposal was implemented under the proposed parametres, private creditors would only suffer a minimal "haircut", while official lenders would be provided with cash-flow relief of around 20 billion euros over the next three years, although the solvency of the Greek state would worsen significantly.

    Under the French proposal, Greece's interest payments on public debt will amount to 8.6 pct of GDP in 2014.

    The costs of this magnitude are outside the range of debt servicing expenditures that advanced economies have sustained over the past 15 years. There are only four out of 110 countries rated by Moody's that have faced public debt service in excess of 8.5 pct of GDP in recent years.

    These countries have been able to alleviate their public debt service through debt restructuring (Jamaica and Lebanon) or through devaluation, inflation and rapid growth (Turkey and Iceland). In all four countries, most of the government debt has been held by domestic agents, sometimes even by state-owned banks. In the case of Greece, devaluation and inflation are impossible under the current monetary regime, rapid growth is quite unlikely, whereas financial repression is also not an option, as most of the government debt is held by foreign investors.

    Kopf's analysis concludes that the French proposal would not allow for any debt service relief - to the contrary - it would significantly increase Greece's debt burden. "From Greece's perspective, it is difficult not to regard the initiative in its current form as an insult," Kopf said.

    [19] Heads of N. Greece enterprises remain pessimistic

    The heads of enterprises based in northern Greece remained pessimistic over their business outlook in the next six months, while a rising rate (15 pct from 8.0 pct in May) saw their current general business condition as "good".

    At the same time, pessimism over the future was highlighted by a zero intention for new hirings while more than two in 10 businesses examining lay-offs (23 pct in June down from 30 pct in May).

    A monthly report of the Northern Greece Business Index 500, based on a sample of 500 enterprises in the region, said the NBGI 500 index fell to -39 points in June, from -40 in May and -46 points in the same month last year, with only 8.0 pct of respondents saying they expected "better days ahead", a 45 pct expecting a stalemate and 47 pct a worsening of the situation.

    Turnover shrank by 43 pct in June, after shrinking by 55 pct in the previous month. Manufacturing-industrial enterprises reported the biggest problems, showing the highest rate of lay-off intention, while the services sector reported the best picture over their current situation.

    [20] Tourism sector reps decry recent violence in central Athens

    The national Federation of Tourism Enterprises (GEPOET) addressed a letter to Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis and Culture & Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos, citing the recent violent incidents recorded during demonstrations in central Athens.

    "While the country's economy is at its lowest and the ordinary Greek citizen expects from the political leadership to rise to the occasion by setting an example with its stance, we are faced with exactly the opposite, considering that our leaders have not realised yet that tourism suffers huge damage each time violent incidents take place."

    [21] Taxis on strike on Wednesday

    Taxi owners launched a surprise 24-hour nationwide strike at dawn Wednesday in protest over a decision by Infrastructures, Transport and Networks minister Yiannis Ragoussis to proceed immediately with full deregulation of the closed profession.

    Since early morning, drivers have lined up their taxis along central Messogion Avenue, near the ministry, although no major disruption has been caused to traffic.

    MAT riot police were deployed outside the ministry, while it was made known in the morning that a meeting scheduled for Wednesday between Ragoussis and a delegation of taxi owners was postponed because the minister would be taking part in a Cabinet meeting.

    The meeting may be rescheduled for Thursday, according to sources.

    The snap strike began at 5:00 on Wednesday morning and will run through 5:00 on Thursday morning.

    [22] Business Briefs

    -- The Greek banking system will support the government in its titanic effort to save the country and to return to growth, Vassilis Rapanos, the president of the Hellenic Banking Federation and chairman of National Bank, stressed on Tuesday.

    [23] Stocks continue slipping

    Stocks lost further significant ground at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, hit by renewed market concern over developments in the Eurozone after Moody's downgraded Portugal's credit rating on Tuesday and worries over a new support package for Greece. Bank stocks were particularly hit. The composite index of the market fell 1.75 pct to end at 1,265.78 points, with turnover remaining a low 77.579 million euros. The Big Cap index dropped 2.67 pct, the Mid Cap index fell 2.53 pct and the Small Cap index ended 2.09 pct down.

    Viohalco (1.90 pct), Coca-Cola 3E (1.30 pct), Ellaktor (1.21 pct) were to gainers among blue chip stocks, while ATEbank (15.62 pct), Piraeus Bank (5.5 pct), MIG (4.84 pct) and National Bank (4.55 pct) suffered losses.

    The Food (1.19 pct), Oil (0.50 pct) and Industrial Products (0.03 pct) sectors scored gains, while Banks (4.62 pct), Technology (3.57 pct) and Telecoms (3.48 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 95 to 34 with another 40 issues unchanged. Attica Publications (14.71 pct), NEL (9.09 pct) and Haidemenos (9.0 pct) were top gainers, while CPI (17.65 pct), TBank (16.67 pct) and ATEbank (15.62 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: +0.03%

    Commercial: -2.78%

    Construction: -1.89%

    Media: Unchanged

    Oil & Gas: +0.50%

    Personal & Household: -0.89%

    Raw Materials: -1.72%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.17%

    Technology: -3.57%

    Telecoms: -3.48%

    Banks: -4.62%

    Food & Beverages: +1.19%

    Health: -1.81%

    Utilities: -1.89%

    Chemicals: -0.17%

    Financial Services: -3.36%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Alpha Bank and Eurobank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 3.38

    ATEbank: 1.35

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.62

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.74

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.56

    National Bank of Greece: 4.82

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.21

    OPAP: 10.90

    OTE: 6.10

    Bank of Piraeus: 1.03

    Titan: 16.00

    [24] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 13.48 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 13.16 pct on Tuesday, reflecting market concern over developments in the Eurozone after Moody's downgraded Portugal's credit rating. The Greek bond yielded 16.39 pct and the German Bund 2.91 pct. Turnover was a thin 3.0 million euros, all sell orders. The six-month Treasury bill issue was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 3.0 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 2.18 pct, the six-month rate 1.81 pct, the three-month 1.56 pct and the one-month rate 1.33 pct.

    [25] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.65 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange, with turnover remaining a low 33.981 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,340 contracts worth 26.697 million euros, with 28,010 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 22,736 contracts worth 7.283 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (6,811), followed by Eurobank (990), MIG (549), Piraeus Bank (4,124), Alpha Bank (2,703), Cyprus Bank (654), Hellenic Postbank (208) and ATEbank (5,318).

    [26] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.453

    Pound sterling 0.908

    Danish kroner 7.570

    Swedish kroner 9.226

    Japanese yen 117.77

    Swiss franc 1.224

    Norwegian kroner 7.883

    Canadian dollar 1.404

    Australian dollar 1.362

    General News

    [27] Elytis centenary celebrations on Lesvos

    A series of cultural events will be held at the end of July on Lesvos island to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nobel Literature Prize winning poet Odysseas Elytis (1911-1996), a descendant of the island's eminent industrial Alepoudelis family.

    Elytis, born Odysseas Alepoudelis on November 2, 1911 in Heraklion, Crete, was regarded as a major exponent of poetic modernism in Greece, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1979 for his "Axion Esti".

    To mark the centenary anniversary, 2011 has been declared 'Elytis Year' by Greece's culture and tourism ministry.

    The venue of the events, to take place July 29-31, is the historic Vrana traditional Oil Press on the island of Lesvos, which re-opened as an Industrial Museum in 2009 after extensive restoration works that lasted three years by the Archipelagos Society.

    The Vrana Olive Oil Press, one of the first steam-powered factories from the industrial revolution of Lesvos, dates back to the 19th century.

    Built in 1887 in Papados village, in the Bay of Yera, the impressive stone and marble Press belonged to Nikolaos Vranas, Elytis' grandfather, and was in operation up to the early 1970s, while the olive oil it produced was traded throughout Greece and in Istanbul on the opposite Turkish coast on the Bosporus Strait.

    The Vrana Oil Press-Museum is a rare architectural monument and living proof of Lesvos' major industrial development in the second half of the 19th century, and of Elytis' origin.

    The events include the inauguration on July 29 of a thematic exhibition titled "Elytis' Lesvos' which will be on permanent display at the Museum.

    Another event will be the world premiere of a musical work composed by George Kouroupos specifically for the centenary celebrations at the Vrana Museum, based on Elytis' poem "The Moon of Mytilene". The world premiere will take place in the Museum's small courtyard on Friday, July 29 immediately after the inauguration of the thematic exhibition. Due to the limited space, the inauguration and first performance will be by invitation only, and so the performance will be repeated the following day and will be free to the public. Lyric performers Spyros Sakkas and Daphne Panourgia will take part in the performance, during which poems by Elytis will be read out by the late poet's companion and poet Ioulita Eliopoulou.

    A larger concert, also free to the public, will be held on Sunday, July 21, in the Museum's large courtyard, during which popular singer Alkistis Protopsalti will perform pieces from Elytis' first poetry collection "Prosanatolismoi" (Orientations, 1939), put to music by Elias Andriopoulos, which made her known to the Greek public 27 years ago.

    [28] Papoulias meets with federation of Istanbul Greeks

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday received the leadership of the umbrella federation of ethnic Greeks of Istanbul (Constantinopolites).

    Papoulias stressed that they "constitute vibrant part of a Hellenism that bears memories and emotions and continues to provide a great deal to the historic city."

    [29] Wildfire in Psachna in Evia

    A wildfire broke out in a forested area in Psachna, central Evia, between Kamaritsa and Politika shortly before 8 on Wednesday night. According to the fire brigade, the wildfire is not threatening a residential area and is being tackled by 20 firemen with 10 fire engines and backing by four firefighting aircraft.

    Another wildfire broke out at 7 p.m. in the region of Anogiata in Preveza, western Greece.

    Weather Forecast

    [30] Fair on Thursday

    Fair 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 15C and 35C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 32C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 18C to 32C.

    [31] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The acceleration of reforms for implementation of the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy Framework, the opening of closed professions, the shortened list of heavy and unhealthy professions and Europe's criticism of the rating firms, mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS:"Despite curtailment of hiring, number of civil service staff remains high at 668,158".

    AVGHI: "Implementation Law (for Mid-Term fiscal programme) devastates the low pensions".

    AVRIANI: "Ministers and MPs afraid of the people's rage".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government makes secret cutbacks in low pensions".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Public services unaware of the opening of closed professions".

    ESTIA: "Gloomy predictions for Greece".

    ETHNOS: "Heavy and unhealthy professions list becomes lighter".

    IMERISSIA: "Open war with the foreign rating firms".

    KATHIMERINI: "Race for 30 changes in economy within 90 days".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Europe casts the gauntlet to the rating firms".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "New adverse 'framework law' will render higher education market-oriented".

    TA NEA: "2004 model for the Mid-Term programme".

    VRADYNI: "Heavy professions: Those that are directly included and those included under conditions".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [32] Negotiations need to be revitalized, Downer says

    GENEVA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    UN aim to steer up the process UN SG Special Adviser on the Cyprus problem, Alexander Downer said, pointing out that ''it is been disappointing over the last 3 months how slowly these negotiations have been going''.

    In statements to the press after the meeting, which lasted one and half hour, he held Wednesday afternoon in Geneva with President of the

    Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and the Greek Cypriot negotiation team, Downer said that the negotiations really need to be revitalised.

    At Thursday's meeting, the UN ''will do what they can to try to revitalise the process, to give more life and better prospects of success,'' Downer said.

    Asked whether the UN expect acceleration of the negotiation process, Downer said: ''the short answer to that question is yes. It could not go any slower without stopping all together. The last 3 months have been the worst 3 months we had since these negotiations began in September 2008. So, we really need to get these negotiations moving again''. The negotiations need to be revitalised and much more energy to be put into, Downer added, expressing his hope that Thursday's meeting will provide the opportunity to begin that process.

    Asked how this will be done, he replied that for this "we should wait for the meeting".

    Additionally, Downer said replying to a question as to what the expectations of the United Nations are since there were no convergences after the last meeting in Geneva, Downer said that there have been ''minor convergences''.

    "We had a meeting January 26 in Geneva and I appreciate that there have been elections in Cyprus and Turkey," the UN Special Advisor said reminding that the UNSG last November drew attention to the fact that the elections ware going to make the process very difficult. ''But now that they are out of the way we really need to make this process more lively than it has been up to now,'' Downer stressed.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-backed talks for a mutually agreed settlement to the problem of Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion began in September 2008. President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu will hold a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, their third, tomorrow, July 7, in Geneva, to discuss further steps on the Cyprus issue.

    [33] Barroso calls on leaders to ensure a successful outcome of Geneva meeting

    President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso has called on both leaders, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, to intensify the negotiations so as to ensure a successful outcome of the Geneva meeting and to rapidly take the next steps towards a settlement.

    "They can count on the strong support of the European Commission", he said in a written statement released in Brussels on Wednesday, noting that all the citizens of Cyprus and the European Union as a whole will benefit from a united Cyprus.

    In his statement ahead of the meeting of UN SG Ban Ki-moon with the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, Demetris Christofias and Dervis Eroglu, on 7 July in Geneva, Barroso said that more than seven years after Cyprus' accession to the European Union a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem is overdue. "A mutually agreed settlement will be the basis for the long expected reunification of the country and end one of the oldest conflicts on European soil", he stressed.

    Barroso pointed out that in order to achieve this goal, a breakthrough in the talks is necessary. "I am confident on the political will of the leaders of the two communities in making all the necessary efforts to progress towards a satisfactory final solution", he added.

    At the same time, Barroso warmly welcomed all the efforts of the UN SG Ban Ki-moon and his representatives in reaching the goal and in particular, the initiative to meet the two leaders on 7 July in Geneva.

    "I call on both leaders to intensify the negotiations so as to ensure a successful outcome of this meeting and to rapidly take the next steps towards a settlement", he concluded.

    [34] FM briefs French counterpart on Cyprus problem

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias shows "an absolutely positive stance and will? in the direct talks, however the Turkish side is intransigent and appears not willing to cooperate in order to reach a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, Cyprus Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou has told his French counterpart Alain Juppe, with whom he met Wednesday in Paris.

    According to an official announcement, Kyprianou briefed his counterpart on the Cyprus issue, in view of Thursday's meeting between UNSG Ban Ki Moon, President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu in Geneva.

    The Cypriot FM expressed his gratitude for France's firm support towards the Cyprus issue, which is based on international laws and the UN Chart.

    Bilateral relations and ways of further strengthening were also discussed at the meeting.

    Furthermore, the two ministers touched upon the recent developments in the region and the upcoming Cyprus' presidency of the EU.

    The EU trio presidency (Poland-Denmark-Cyprus) will exercise the presidency of the European Council from July 1st 2011 until the end of 2012.

    This will be the first time that the Republic of Cyprus, since it joined the EU in May 2004, will assume the EU presidency, in the second half of 2012.

    Kyprianou will also due to meet with Jean David Levitte, diplomatic advisor to President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    [35] Archbishop Demetrios expresses support to Cypriot's struggle for a solution

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Archbishop of America Demetrios assured on Wednesday Acting President of the Republic, House President Yiannakis

    Omirou that both the Archbishopric of America and the Cypriots and Greeks living in the US will continue their efforts tirelessly to support the Cypriot people's struggle, expressing the wish that justice will soon come for Cyprus.

    An official press release issued here said that on his part, Omirou, who had a meeting with the Archbishop in the framework of the latter's official visit to Cyprus at the invitation of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, expressed the Cypriot people's gratitude for the contribution of the Archbishopric of America in promoting the Cyprus problem, particularly in a country which plays an important role in the international political arena.

    He informed Archbishop Demetrios on the current developments in talks for the Cyprus problems, expressing his dissatisfaction for the lack of substantial progress, due to the longstanding Turkish intransigence.

    Omirou reiterated the Greek Cypriot side's will to find a settlement that will be viable and functional and will safeguard the human rights of all Cypriots and terminate the occupation, without the anachronistic guarantees of foreign countries.

    On his part, the Archbishop referred to his recent meetings with politicians in the US, with whom he discussed, inter alia, issues concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Cyprus problem.

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