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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-08-09

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

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

Tuesday, 9 August 2011 Issue No: 3859

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek FM Lambrinidis holds talks in Oslo
  • [02] PM Papandreou confers with Commission chief, Eurogroup president
  • [03] PM Papandreou focuses on health sector
  • [04] Greece pursuing eurobond issue, strengthening of support mechanism, tax on transactions
  • [05] ND; LA.O.S; SYN statements on the economy
  • [06] Papariga calls for popular reaction in September
  • [07] Former minister Peponis dies at the age of 87
  • [08] ICAP survey shows net losses in all sectors of the economy
  • [09] ELPE completes 100pct absorption of subsidiary Petrola
  • [10] Greek stocks drop 6 per cent Monday
  • [11] ADEX closing report
  • [12] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [13] Fortress of Larissa to be restored
  • [14] Greek plane trees threatened by killer fungus
  • [15] Wildfire broke out in Farsala, central Greece
  • [16] Fires on Crete under control
  • [17] Clone card ring members arrested
  • [18] Arrest on drug and gun possession charges in Hania, Crete
  • [19] Icons stolen from Megisti Lavra Monastery
  • [20] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Greek FM Lambrinidis holds talks in Oslo

    Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis expressed Greece's "strong solidarity" to the people of Norway after the of the 22 July 2011 attacks in Oslo and Utoya, during a meeting with his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr St?re, in Oslo on Monday.

    The two ministers discussed issues relating to the current international economic crisis and the recent Eurozone summit decisions as well as the Cyprus problem and the situation in the Middle East.

    Lambrinidis laid flowers at Oslo Cathedral in memory of the vicitms of the 22 July 2011 attacks, expressing the Greek people's solidarity and respect to the manner Norway responded to the murderous attacks, by committing itself to respect democratic institutions and its open, participative society.

    The Greek minister briefed in detail his Norwegian counterpart on Greece's efforts for an exit from the crisis and reiterated the Greek government's committmet to implement its reforms program. He also underlined the importance of a speedy implementation of the July 21 Eurozone summit decisions, not only for Greece but also for the entire Eurozone.

    On his part, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store announced his government's decision to resume the financing of common actions with Greece, in the framework of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism, in the sectors of environment, climatic change, migration and the protection of cultural heritage, actions that were interrupted last May.

    Through this move, St?re noted, the Norwegian side reconfirms its confidence in the big changes that are taking place in Greece and their results.

    The two ministers condemned the ongoing use of violence against demonstrators in Syria while they underlined the need for the start of a political process that would allow an exit from the crisis in Libya.

    The Greek minister also briefed his counterpart on recent developments regarding the Cyprus problem and the negative statements by Turkish officials that undermine any effort towards a solution.

    Lambrinidis also met with the President of the Foreign Affairs Standing Committee of the Norwegian Parliament Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide.

    He will depart for Denmark on Tuesday morning.

    [02] PM Papandreou confers with Commission chief, Eurogroup president

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had telephone discussions on Monday with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker that focussed on the current debt crisis in Europe and economic developments in the USA.

    In his discussion with Juncker, Papandreou insisted on the need of issuing a Eurobond.

    Papandreou had a similar telephone discussion on Sunday afternoon with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

    [03] PM Papandreou focuses on health sector

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday called for the acceleration of reforms in the sector of health in a meeting with Health Minister Andreas Loverdos and government spokesman Elias Mossialos.

    The meeting focused on hospital mergers, expenditure cuts in medicines and the launch of the methadone programme in public hospitals.

    According to reliable sources, the issue of international e-auction for hospital procurements was also discussed and it was decided that it should be implemented on a broader basis considering that the first e-tender held has contributed to considerable cost reduction of thousands of euros.

    [04] Greece pursuing eurobond issue, strengthening of support mechanism, tax on transactions

    The Greek government is pursuing from the EU the issue of a euro-bond, lower interest, a tax on financial transactions and substantial strengthening of the support mechanism, Greek government spokesman and minister of state Elias Mossialos said on a newspaper website on Monday.

    "It is necessary for the EU to shield itself with more tools, such as the euro-bond, lower interest, a tax in financial transactions, and also with substantial reinforcement of the support mechanism," Mossialos said in a written statement, but stressed, however, that there will be no laxness, and that the Greek government will materialise its commitments.

    "This, however, does not mean laxness on the domestic front, because the Greek problem will be solved when we collect more than we spend and create a primary surplus...when we acquire a productive and competitive public sector and an extrovert economy that reverses the current model in which imports are triple the exports," Mossialos said.

    [05] ND; LA.O.S; SYN statements on the economy

    The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, as well as, opposition parties Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) on Monday commented on the latest economic developments.

    "The recent developments in Europe highlight the need for a more effective mechanism with a high degree of solidarity, namely, the issuance of a Eurobond, a position we have firmly supported since the beginning of the crisis," ND economy sector head MP Notis Mitarakis stressed. He also called for a more active role by the European Central Bank (ECB) and observed that ND's warnings that "the participation of private investors would have no positive effect on the Eurozone credibility were proven to be correct".

    LA.O.S alternate spokesperson Sissy Aligizaki underlined that "the global fluidity caused as a result of the markets' dominance over political leaderships makes the survival of weaker economies almost impossible".

    "The combination of austerity, successive memorandums and expensive loans in order to bail out bankrupt bankers has failed in Greece and fails in other countries as well," the SYN press office underlined.

    SYN stressed that "an alternative solution can be reached if markets are bypassed and the ECB undertakes an active role."

    [06] Papariga calls for popular reaction in September

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Monday called for a strong popular reaction in September aimed at blocking the implementation of the new austerity measures announced by the government.

    In a press conference, Papariga called for reaction across the board, in schools, universities and places of work.

    She further expressed certainty that a new "storm" of measures, was ahead, given the developments in the eurozone.

    "The intense discussions in recent days on saving the eurozone are just a new storm on the way against the peoples, with unpredictable, for the time being, consequences," Papariga said, adding that "the European leaders are not unworthy, as is being said, the problem is that there is no administrative medicine for the crisis of capitalism".

    Questioned on the prospect of early general elections, Papariga said that if elections are held, they will mark the desire of the corporate groups for collaboration between ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy (ND), adding that that is why a deep break with the present political system is needed, through reinforcement of the KKE.

    She warned that the Greek people, and all the peoples of Europe, must not just sit and watch with their hands crossed but must react and emancipate themselves from the imperialist and capitalist forces, and expressed hope that the next two decades will be decades of uprisings and revolutions to overturn the system.

    [07] Former minister Peponis dies at the age of 87

    Anastassios Peponis, a former minister of PASOK and a leading party cadre, died on Monday at the age of 87 from heart disease.

    He was elected in parliament with PASOK from 1977 to 2000.

    After Greece's accession into the then EEC on Jan. 1, 1981, he became a provisional member of the European Parliament representing Greece until the country held its first European Parliament elections.

    In successive PASOK cabinets he held the portfolios of industry and energy (1981-82), industry, energy and technology (1986-89, 1989-90 and in 1995).

    He served as minister without portfolio in 1984, minister to the presidency of the government in 1989 and in 1993-94, minister of justice in 1995, and minister of health and welfare in 1996.

    Financial News

    [08] ICAP survey shows net losses in all sectors of the economy

    Businesses in all sectors of the economy declared net losses on average during 2010, according to the results of a survey released by ICAP on Monday.

    Based on the aggregated financial reports of 25,616 individual firms, the report painted a bleak picture of a downturn in every sector of economic activity and showed that private-sector profitability had taken a severe pounding compared with previous years.

    The overall aggregated figures showed a 3.3 percent decline in overall sales but without an equivalent reduction in cost of sales, leading to a sharp decline in gross profits (-11.6 percent) and a 78 percent fall in operating income (corresponding to 3.7 billion euro). This was made worse by a drastic increase in non-operating expenses leading to net losses in 2010 amounting to 2.33 billion euro, down from net profits of 4.0 billion euros in 2009.

    Aggregate EBITDA declined 25.5 percent, down to 11.4 billion euro in 2010 from 15.4 billion euro in 2009.

    The survey was carried out using on the annual financial reports published by 25,616 companies up until July 19, 2011 that had also published a report the previous year.

    The sample included 5,176 industrial companies, 6,861 firms in commerce, 7,719 service providers (excluding banks), 2,519 technical and construction firms and 3,341 tourist enterprises.

    On a sector-by-sector basis, industrial firms showed higher turnover but did not avoid net losses due to higher costs relative to sales, commerce showed a 7.4 percent slump in sales and smaller profit margins, the service sector recorded a 3.5 percent decline in turnover, technical firms showed a 20.2 percent slump in sales due to the overall slowdown in the construction sector, while tourist enterprises recorded a 4 percent slump in sales.

    [09] ELPE completes 100pct absorption of subsidiary Petrola

    The Athens-listed Hellenic Petroleum S.A. (ELPE) on Mnday announced completion of its merger with Hellenic Petroleum Company-Petrola S.A. through absorption of 100 percent of its wholly-owned subsidiary Petrola.

    The merger had been approved by the regional development, competitiveness and shipping ministry, recorded in the Athens Prefectural records on July 4, 2011, and was effected in accordance with the provisions of Article 68, paragraphs 2 and 68-78 of Law 2190/1920 in cnjunction with the provisions of articles 1-5 of Law 2166/1993.

    ELPE controls three of the country's four refineries -- in Aspropyrgos, Elefsina and Thessaloniki -- and more than 60 percent of the market.

    Under the existing legislative provisions, the absorption of 100 percent of subsidiary companies did not require the convening of the general assemblies of shareholders of the merging companies as no change was effected to the share capital of ELPE, and therefore no issue of new shares was required.

    [10] Greek stocks drop 6 per cent Monday

    Greek stocks suffered another heavy blow in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, hit by global concerns over developments in a debt crisis hitting the Eurozone and worries over a double dip recession in the US economy. The composite index of the market dropped 6.00 pct to end at 998.24 points. Turnover fell to 84.21 million euros.

    The Big Cap index dropped 5.84 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 4.75 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 4.52 pct. Folli Follie was the only blue chip to end higher (2.17 pct). OTE (-10.845%), OPAP (-8.89%), PPC (-8.09%) and Coca Cola 3E (-8.09%) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 137 to 24 with another 27 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -2.22%

    Industrials: -3.99%

    Commercial: +1.78%

    Construction: -3.30%

    Media: Unchanged

    Oil & Gas: -5.78%

    Personal & Household: -5.78%

    Raw Materials: -6.20%

    Travel & Leisure: -8.75%

    Technology: -3.97%

    Telecoms: -10.85%

    Banks: -4.31%

    Food & Beverages: -7.71%

    Health: -6.36%

    Utilities: -7.30%

    Chemicals: -2.93%

    Financial Services: -5.51%

    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: 2.62

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.25

    HBC Coca Cola: 15.30

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.74

    National Bank of Greece: 4.06

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 2.30

    OPAP: 9.22

    OTE: 4.19

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.70

    Titan: 13.55

    [11] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.17 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 30.128 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,200 contracts worth 22.549 million euros, with 30,616 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 25,225 contracts worth 7,579 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (7,702), followed by ATEbank (3,856), Piraeus Bank (2,523), Eurobank (2,517), PPC (1,465), Cyprus Bank (1,506), Alpha Bank (1,320) and OTE (841).

    [12] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.443

    Pound sterling 0.882

    Danish kroner 7.561

    Swedish kroner 9.364

    Japanese yen 112.45

    Swiss franc 1.101

    Norwegian kroner 7.884

    Canadian dollar 1.423

    Australian dollar 1.393

    General News

    [13] Fortress of Larissa to be restored

    The Fortress of Larissa, one of the most important monuments of Argos, designated a Byzantine monument since 1922, is currently being restored, after falling into disarray from extensive excavations that began in the middle of the 20th century.

    The fortress, named after the nymph Larissa, daughter of the mythical Pelasgus, is situated at the top of Fortress Hill, at an elevation of 287 meters, west of the city.

    Although not an organised archaeological site, the citadel attracts a large number of visitors annually.

    That, however, is about to change, as the 25th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities aims to reorganise the Fortress as an "archaeological site and monument".

    The interventions have been designed so as to enable the site to remain open to visitors.

    [14] Greek plane trees threatened by killer fungus

    Ruling PASOK MEP Kriton Arsenis on Monday submitted a written proposal to the European Commission calling for the immediate adoption of extraordinary measures to combat a fungus epidemic that threatens plane trees across the European Union.

    Thousands of plane trees have already been killed in Greece by a disease caused by the "Ceratocystis platani" fungus while there are fears that it could take up the dimension of an ecological disaster.

    Arsenis called on the European Commission to issue a decision on the adoption of extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the fungus to the rest of the EU and fund scientific research that will lead to the treatment of the disease.

    The virulent incurable canker stain disease caused by the "Ceratocystis platani" fungus is one of the most catastrophic diseases of forest trees worldwide, National Agricultural Research Foundation (N.AG.RE.F.) - Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems forester-plant pathologist Panagiotis Tsopelas told ANA-MPA.

    The fungus was first traced in Messinia, Peloponnese in southern Greece, in 2003 and has already infected and killed thousands of plane trees in the region while recently the disease was spotted in the province on Epirus in the northwest.

    Tsopelas underlined that because of the highly contagious nature of the spores that cause the infection all traces of diseased trees must be destroyed on site and all equipment used to cut or prune the trees should be carefully disinfected before being used again. A plane tree regardless of its size and age if infected by the fungus will not live for more than two years.

    [15] Wildfire broke out in Farsala, central Greece

    A wildfire broke out on Monday in a forestland in the region of Kassidiaris near Farsala in the province of Thessaly, central Greece.

    Twelve firefighters with 6 fire engines and two units of firemen on foot are battling the blaze assisted by two water-bombing aircraft. The fire is not threatening inhabited areas.

    [16] Fires on Crete under control

    Two fires that broke out on Sunday in the prefecture of Rethymno on Crete and a third in the Filiata region of Thesprotia on Monday were under control. However, a Fire Brigade unit will remain in the areas until the blaze is totally contained.

    [17] Clone card ring members arrested

    Five Romanian nationals, aged 20-31, suspected of belonging to an international clone card ring were arrested by DIAS motorcycle police officers in the district of Agios Dimitrios in the greater Athens region, it was announced on Monday.

    They were arrested on Sunday night after police searched their car and found 43 clone cash cards with information stolen from cards issued by banks in the United States and Italy.

    During questioning it was established that the suspects used the skimming method to steal credit card information from unsuspecting bank ATM users.

    [18] Arrest on drug and gun possession charges in Hania, Crete

    Police on Crete arrested a 51-year-old man on drug and gun possession charges, it was announced on Monday.

    Acting on information, police searched the suspect's house in the village of Nio Horio, near Hania, and found 130 grams of unprocessed cannabis, a hand pistol, cartridges and a precision scale.

    Nine cannabis plants were found in the 51-year-old's farm which were uprooted and confiscated.

    [19] Icons stolen from Megisti Lavra Monastery

    Unidentified individuals targeted the Saint George monk cell in the Holy Monastery of Megisti Lavra in the monastic community of Mount Athos in Halkidiki, north Greece, police on Monday said.

    The robbers broke into the monastery and made off with two icons and offerings of the faithful worth roughly 3,000 euros.

    [20] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Fears of an international crash due to the downgrading of the US credit rating by Standard and Poor's dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Fears of an international crash due to US economy's downgrading".

    AVRIANI: "US and international economy at the mercy of the Chinese".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Economic Perl Harbor terrifies eurozone and Greece".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "US running after the rating agencies".

    ESTIA: "International worry over the downgradings"

    ETHNOS: "European leaders 'tele...viewers' of the crisis".

    IMERISSIA: "Agony on three continents - Markets in a speculation vise".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Strong turbulence in markets following US's downgrading".

    TA NEA: "International madhouse".

    VRADYNI: "Government arrangements for the trespassed lands, too".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS


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