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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-09-17

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

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

Saturday, 17 September 2011 Issue No: 3892

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus has 'self-evident' right to explore for fuels, defence minister stresses
  • [02] FinMin: Implementation of July 21 decisions only way forward for Greece, Eurozone
  • [03] FinMin to have teleconference with troika heads on Monday
  • [04] Papandreou schedule for US, UN trip
  • [05] FM Lambrinidis in the US
  • [06] Amendment for special tax on real estate to Parliament
  • [07] SYRIZA, GENOP on extraordinary surtax on property
  • [08] GSEE criticises property surtax
  • [09] ND leader meets with production sector reps in Thessaloniki
  • [10] ND leader Samaras attends ONNED event
  • [11] Papariga slams government policy for methadone clinics in hospitals
  • [12] Former Finmin denies that Greece's 2009 deficit was 'artificially enlarged'
  • [13] Development minister gives interview to 'Spiegel Online'
  • [14] DM on situation at Neorion shipyards
  • [15] Hourly labour costs in Greece down 3.7% in Q2
  • [16] Home port status could double sea cruise revenues
  • [17] Tender to sell Hellenic Sugar Industry attracts 10 bids
  • [18] Greece launches two e-auctions for pharmaceutical supplies
  • [19] Stocks jump 1.95 pct on Friday
  • [20] Greek bond market closing report
  • [21] ADEX closing report
  • [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [23] Bourtzi fortress castle to be restored, upgraded
  • [24] Woman arrested for harbouring Psomiadis
  • [25] Man tries to set himself alight in protest
  • [26] Illegal casino discovered in Maroussi
  • [27] Con'f on drug-related crimes' draft law
  • [28] Greece beats Serbia 87-77 in Eurobasket
  • [29] Fair on Saturday
  • [30] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [31] Natural resources to benefit all Cypriots after solution, UN official says
  • [32] US support securing energy supplies and a Cyprus settlement Politics

  • [01] Cyprus has 'self-evident' right to explore for fuels, defence minister stresses

    National Defence Minister Panos Beglitis on Friday defended Cyprus' right to explore for fuels within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), following an official meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Demetris Eliades.

    "The Cyprus Republic as a sovereign state has the self-evident right to proceed with fuel exploration, exercising its sovereign right, as this arises from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the UN Charter," Beglitis underlined.

    He stressed that the policy of Greece and the Cyprus Republic on this issue was based on the principles of international legality, the rules of international law and international treaties, and a policy of peace, cooperation, stability and security in the eastern Mediterranean region.

    He noted that Greece and Cyprus were factors of stability and security, that replied to Turkey's "unilateral actions with a policy of respect for International Law and international treaties," and called on Ankara to respect international law and Cyprus' sovereign rights.

    "[Turkey's] unilateral actions and even its recent, repeated statements essentially help cultivate a climate of destabilisation, tension and, of course, a possible crisis in the region," he added.

    Beglitis urged calm and the required determination, while stressing that a political solution of the Cyprus issue will lead to a viable federal state in accordance with the decisions of the UN Security Council and the decisions of the European Union acquis.

    Eliades underlined that Cyprus is exercising its sovereign rights to its EEZ with complete respect for international law and remains dedicated to a course of peaceful developments.

    "It is a shame that Turkey, lacking arguments and international legitimacy for its views, is resorting to provocations and threats. We will not follow this path," he stressed.

    "We believe and it is our position that the international forces that have already adopted a position should spread an umbrella protecting the Cyprus Republic's legal right to carry out peaceful processes for exploiting our natural resources," Eliades added.

    Noting that Turkey could not legitimately resort to such behaviour, Eliades expressed hope that international legality and the powers would intervene to prevent incidents of military tension in the region.

    Beglitis, on his part, underlined that an insistence on respect for international legality, the principles of international law and international treaties had created a strong front of solidarity in the countries of the EU, the United States, the countries of the eastern Mediterranean and in Russia, as well with international organisations.

    "It is a powerful front and a defence against the unilateral action and threats of Turkey," he underlined, expressing hope that common sense would prevail among Turkey's leadership.

    He also warned the media to show restraint and act responsibly, denying recent rumours of a military alert as misinformation that he stressed could prove "extremely dangerous".

    "In spite of the recent difficult economic conjunction we must feel confident as a nation, feel the safety provided by the armed forces," he stressed, expressing pride in the high operational standard and readiness of the Greek armed forces.

    Greece lodges demarche with Turkey over NAVTEX for exploration in area overlapping with Greek continental shelf

    Greece late Thursday sternly warned Turkey to abstain from every exploratory activity that affects Greece's sovereign rights and instructed its embassy in Ankara to lodge a demarche with the Turkish foreign ministry, after Ankara earlier in the day issued a NAVTEX for the conduction of exploration by the Norwegian research vessel 'Bergen Surveyor' and accompanying vessels from September 15 to November 15 in an area that also overlaps with the Greek continental shelf south of the island of Kastelorizo, as delineated under the Law of the Sea.

    Greek foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras, in a statement, said that the Greek Embassy in Ankara has been instructed to lodge a demarche with the Turkish foreign ministry calling for abstention from every research activity that affects Greek sovereign rights in the region.

    At the same time, instructions were also given to the Greek Embassy in Oslo to contact the shipowning company of the research vessel, and the Norwegian foreign ministry to inform it of the Greek positions.

    "The foreign ministry will continue to monitor the development of the issue, and will take all the necessary actions," Delavekouras concluded.

    The M/V Bergen Surveyor is owned by Wavefield Inseis ASA, a Norwegian marine geophysical company that provides exploration and other related services that has been acquired by CGGSVeritas.

    Turkey early Friday issued a NAVTEX advising of "Seismic survey by M/V Bergen Surveyor, M/V Sharona, M/V Glomar Venture and Thor Beamer between 15 Sept-15 Nov".

    [02] FinMin: Implementation of July 21 decisions only way forward for Greece, Eurozone

    Implementing structural reforms -- reducing the public sector and spending, privatisations, opening up closed markets, boosting competitiveness -- is imperative for overturning the current and high degree of disbelief vis-?-vis Greece, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Friday.

    Speaking to reporters after an informal Eurogroup meeting in Wroclaw, Poland, the Greek minister said he briefed the Council over decisions taken by the Greek government to achieve fiscal targets for 2011 and 2012, and towards reaching primary budget surplus the soonest possible.

    Venizelos said the Eurogroup meeting agreed that all decisions taken during an EU Summit in July 21 must be fully implemented and stressed that "an international environment was fuelling uncertainty, which affects the implementation of Eurozone decisions and our policies' performance, ones aimed at dealing with the debt crisis. This vicious cycle must end".

    He added that speculation, leaks and comments undermining the July 21 decisions and Greece's course towards implementing these decisions are "harmful", not only for country but the Eurozone in general, a view adopted by US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

    Venizelos stressed that "all Greeks must understand that if all this will not be implement now, the consequences will be dramatic for the country and for the Eurozone".

    He noted that national governments were moving ahead with efforts to ratify an extended role for EFSF and agreeing on a PSI programme envisaging a Greek state bond swap program and underlined that the Greek banking system was "fully secured".

    [03] FinMin to have teleconference with troika heads on Monday

    Government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will be having a teleconference with the heads of the EC-ECB-IMF troika on Monday to speed up the process regarding the checking of the Greek economy and the approval for the disbursement of the loan's 6th tranche.

    This was revealed by Finance ministry officials who mentioned, in parallel, that the preparatory check is continuing by the troika's technical delegation that is remaining in Athens.

    Moreover, according to the same officials, the completion of the adoption, by the Parliaments of the eurozone member-states, of the new institutional framework of the EFSF, in the framework of the decisions taken on July 21, is expected in September.

    [04] Papandreou schedule for US, UN trip

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Saturday departs for New York City and Washington, where he is scheduled to meet with heads of states and international organisations. The premier will travel to the United States on the occasion of the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

    On Sunday, Sept. 18, he will meet in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon after meeting earlier with representatives of Jewish organizations.

    On Monday, Sept. 19, he will visit the NYSE and have a working lunch with NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer. Later in the afternoon, he will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas and address the Foreign Policy Association.

    On Tuesday, Sept. 20 he will be in Washington and meet with IMF General Director Christine Lagarde, followed by meetings with US House Speaker John Boehner, US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Tim Johnson, and US Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner. Later in the day, he will address an event at Peterson Institute for International Economics.

    On Wednesday, Sept. 21, he will be in New York and attend the opening of the 66th UN General Assembly. He will have meetings with Qatar Emir Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani and the King of Jordan Abdullah II Bin Al Husein.

    PM Papandreou will also attend a luncheon hosted by the UN Sec-Gen in honor of foreign leaders, followed by a meeting with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias. Later in the evening, he will attend a formal reception hosted by US President Barak Obama in honor of foreign heads of states.

    On Thursday, Sept. 22, PM Papandreou will meet with Serb President Boris Tadic, Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister of Slovakia Iveta Radicova and attend a reception in honor of representatives of the Greek-American community.

    On Friday, Sept. 23, he will meet with Arab League General Secretary Nabil El-Araby and Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He will also attend a Socialist International (SI) board meeting and later in the evening he will address the UN General Assembly.

    [05] FM Lambrinidis in the US

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    The programme of Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis, who will be accompanying together with Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Dollos and Health Minister Andreas Loverdos Prime Minister George Papandreou to the United States for the 66th UN General Assembly, includes several meetings.

    Lambrinidis will have several bilateral contacts with counterparts of his and representatives of international organisations, while he will be participating in a series of multilateral and regional meetings of a high level, such as those focusing on terrorism, the Middle East issue and Libya, in the framework of the "Friends of Libya" group. He will also participate in the European Union's meetings with the Foreign ministers of the US and Russia.

    Lambrinidis will begin his contacts programme on Saturday with a meeting he will be having with Archbishop of America Dimitrios and on Sunday with the special envoy of the UN secretary general in the negotiations between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Matthew Nimetz.

    Next weekend, Lambrinidis will go to Los Angeles and San Francisco, where he will be having contacts with representatives of the political and economic world and will be speaking at institutes and university foundations.

    [06] Amendment for special tax on real estate to Parliament

    An amendment legislating for a special tax on all real estate was tabled in Parliament on Friday. Among others, this stipulates a fine that will be imposed on the Public Power Corporation (PPC) and other power providers if they do not cut the power to tax payers that refuse to pay the tax.

    The amount of the fine will be equal to the amount of the tax plus 25 percent and will be paid by either the PPC or the other providers. The companies are also obliged to inform the state which tax-payers have not paid the tax so that measures for compulsory payment might be taken.

    The amendment also outlines the method for calculating the amount of the tax on buildings, from which the government hopes to raise 2.6 billion euro.

    It also provides clarifications concerning those exempted from the measures, such as the unemployed that do not receive unemployment benefit or Church properties.

    Specifically, those that are unemployed with an annual family income of less than 8,000 euro and do not receive the Manpower Employment Agency (OAED) benefits can qualify for the lowest tax rate (0.5 euro per square metre) if they make an electronic application to the General Secretariat of Information Systems (GSIS) so that their income can be cross-checked with the files of the tax office and other public-sector agencies.

    In later clarifications, the government said that the unemployed that continued to receive the OAED benefit and had an income greater of 8,000 euro during the previous year would not qualify for the lower rate of taxation but have to pay the full rate for their zone and age of the building.

    Others qualifying for the minimum rate of taxation included the heads of households with four or more children and persons that were disabled or officially had a disabled person in their care.

    In all cases, the low tax rate will not apply for buildings within a price zone exceeding 3,000 euro per square metre and only for the first 200 square metres of any residence.

    The PPC or other providers will then be informed so that they can calculate the tax due based on the lower rate and activate the return of any higher sum that had already been paid.

    Also exempt from the tax are properties owned by the Church or religious legal entities (monasteries and nunneries) and are used exclusively as places of worship or for educational, religious or public welfare purposes.

    [07] SYRIZA, GENOP on extraordinary surtax on property

    Opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Friday said that he agrees with GENOP, the union representing Public Power Corp. SA employees, that "only economic assassins and terrorists are capable of taking tough economic measures like those implemented by the government."

    Speaking to reporters after his meeting with GENOP representatives, Tsipras stressed that the collection of the extraordinary surtax on real estate property via electricity bills is unconstitutional and will turn the PPC workers into tax collectors. He also underlined that according to the Constitution, taxes should be imposed on citizens based on their individual financial status.

    [08] GSEE criticises property surtax

    The General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) on Friday characterised as "unacceptable" a government decision, according to which people receiving unemployment benefits, will not be exempt from paying the extraordinary surtax on real estate.

    GSEE, the country's largest umbrella trade union organisation, called on the government to take back the decision, stressing that it would be yet "another blow on those who have lost their jobs, whose numbers increase quickly by the day."

    The trade union also expressed opposition to the likely exemption of hotel real estate from the measure, stressing that "large hotels already enjoy enough privileges".

    [09] ND leader meets with production sector reps in Thessaloniki

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras on Friday met with representatives of local production sectors in Thessaloniki, within the framework of his visit to the city on the occasion of the 76th International Fair (TIF).

    On Saturday evening, the ND leader will deliver an address at the Vellidis conference centre, while at 1 p.m. on Sunday he will hold a customary press conference at the same venue.

    Earlier on Saturday, Samaras will tour the TIF and participating pavilions, while he will also meet with the administrations of TIF S.A. and Helexpo S.A.

    [10] ND leader Samaras attends ONNED event

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, who is in the northern city of Thessaloniki since Friday morning, appealed during an event of the party's youth group ONNED to young people "to stay and help Greece". He made his appeal in an internet communication with six young people.

    Samaras said "we do not want there to be new bloodlettings," adding that the state with "simple, correct, fruitful, methodised practices" must stand "by the side of young people" and provide incentives for studies, employment and the return to Greece and of those young people who have emigrated to widen their professional horizons so as to work for the country.

    "We must stay to help Greece, because Greece, I truly believe, I believe it deeply inside me, can stand on its feet again," he said.

    Samaras stressed that the problem of growth has two parameters, one of which is the relationship of the market with education and the universities and the second the orientation of young people towards studies and activities linked with the comparative advantages and the needs of their country.

    It was revealed during the event that 51,000 young people are studying abroad and spending in exchange over 1 billion euros a year. Moreover, 7 out of 10 young scientists seek employment abroad.

    [11] Papariga slams government policy for methadone clinics in hospitals

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Friday expressed her party's strong objections to the government's policy for drug users and the transfer of methadone programmes to hospitals.

    Papariga was speaking in Parliament, during debate on a question put to Health Minister Andreas Loverdos.

    Loverdos announced that 380 patients had entered methadone programmes in hospitals since September 1.

    "If things are the way they appear today, in November the list of shame will not exist and no addict will have to wait more than 15 days to enter a programme, whereas it now takes seven years and three months so that 4 percent of addicts die and 8 percent are imprisoned for delinquency or crime," Loverdos said.

    "The drug dependent are not patients - they are victims," replied Papariga. "Instead of the minister announcing a policy to prevent and fight drug dependency, he is explaining how he will take the dependent that accept substitutes and hide them in hospitals. The moral measure of this government is lower than zero," she added.

    Financial News

    [12] Former Finmin denies that Greece's 2009 deficit was 'artificially enlarged'

    In a press release on Friday, former finance minister George Papaconstantinou denied that Greece's independent statistical authority ELSTAT had been pressured into artificially bumping up the size of Greece's public deficit for 2009 by including spending by public utilities and companies.

    "Unfortunately for all of us, Greece's deficit in 2009 was finally 15.4 percent of GDP, as officially announced by ELSTAT and Eurostat," stressed Papaconstantinou, who is now serving as minister for the environment, energy and climate change.

    The accusation had been levelled by former ELSTAT board member Prof. Zoi Georganta, in an statements to a private radio station on Thursday, while her claims were also published by the newspaper "Eleftherotypia" on Friday. Georganta had earlier sent letters to the political parties in Parliament, making the same claims.

    The entire ELSTAT board bar its chairman, including Georganta, were abruptly fired by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in a surprise decision on Thursday.

    In a question put to the finance minister, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) MP Dimitris Papadimoulis questions the reasons for his decision to fire six of the seven members of ELSTAT's board, noting that the finance minister did not have the power to appoint the board members of the independent authority, who were chosen by a majority vote of the conference of Parliament presidents following a public proclamation.

    He also noted that Georganta had reported that the board had essentially be inactive for months and that the size of the deficit announced by ELSTAT in 2009 was not the real figure.

    In Eleftherotypia, Georganta is quoted as saying that "the '09 deficit was artificially enlarged so that it appeared that the country had the highest deficit in all Europe, even than that of Ireland which was 14 percent, in order to justify all the harsh measures against the country. And we presented to Eurostat [a public deficit of] 15.4 percent".

    He asked Venizelos to reply on whether the government intended to investigate Georganta's claims and whether ELSTAT's entire board will be summoned before the Parliamentary Committee for Economic Affairs when this convenes next Tuesday so that Parliament may be briefed.

    In statements to a radio station on Friday, Papadimoulis noted that the finance minister's amendment firing the ELSTAT board, which was convened as an independent authority by his PASOK predecessor Papaconstantinou, was an act of "extreme autocracy that raises issues of legality".

    He pointed out that ELSTAT had been touted as an independent authority precisely so as to stop the ability of any given government to "cook the books" and tweak economic figures. He claimed the decision was similar to Venizelos' decision to oust the head of the Parliament's budget office after she unveiled figures that did not suit the government.

    Papadimoulis stressed that the entire board should be called before Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee and not just the sole remaining member as a "matter of credibility".

    Responding to the furore created by Georganta's claims, Papaconstantinou underlined that the revision of financial figures in 2010 was carried out in close cooperation with Eurostat and using the exact same methodology as all other European countries.

    "Let us appreciate the dire state that the country found itself in, instead of looking for cheap and easy, conspiracy-theory type excuses for the absolute fiscal derailment we experienced and the repercussions of the choices of New Democracy governments," he said.

    According to Papaconstantinou, it was the previous ND government that had hidden Greece's true economic figures, leading to a collapse in Greece's credibility.

    The revision carried out under PASOK helped lift all reservations concerning the accuracy of Greece's figures by November 2010, the environment minister added.

    He dismissed the assertions made by Georganta, noting that the seriousness of her claims was summed up in her phrase "we are under German occupation".

    [13] Development minister gives interview to 'Spiegel Online'

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/G. Pappas)

    Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis, speaking in an interview with "Spiegel Online", stressed the need for the mechanisms that will support the growth of the Greek economy to be strengthened.

    Chryssohoidis said that negotiations are taking place with the European Commission for the boosting of investments so as to improve the provision of structural aid for the small and medium-size enterprises.

    "We are also discussing with the German government, how to establish a Greek investments bank on the model of the German 'KfW'," the minister said. This foundation can finance major projects for example in the energy sector or in infrastructures. "More detailed announcements can be made in a few weeks," Chryssohoidis added.

    [14] DM on situation at Neorion shipyards

    Defence Minister Panos Beglitis on Friday underlined, from Parliament, that the defence-sector manufacturers and shipyards are being supported as much as possible, considering the present economic situation and the needs of the armed forces.

    Responding to a current question by opposition Coalition of the Radical left (SYRIZA) MP Thodoris Dritsas as regards the shipyards at Neorion, on the Cyclades isle of Syros, Beglitis said the ministry of defence cannot bear the burden of sustaining companies in the sector, and that it assigns projects based on existing legislation.

    On his part, Dritsas accused the government of "lacking a development policy plan for the shipyards, as proved by a number of incidents, among them, the long delay in the tender for the repair of the navy's floating docks."

    In response, Beglitis said the tender is in progress, underlining that there are no delays and that workers' rights are being protected.

    [15] Hourly labour costs in Greece down 3.7% in Q2

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)

    Hourly labour costs in Greece fell 3.7 pct in the second quarter of 2011, compared with the previous quarter, Eurostat said on Friday. The EU executive's statistics agency, in a report, said that the euro area1 rose by 3.6 percent in the year up to the second quarter of 2011, compared with 2.7 percent for the previous quarter.

    In the EU27, the annual rise was 3.4 percent up to the second quarter of 2011, compared with 2.3 percent for the previous quarter, the EU executive's statistics.

    The two main components of labour costs are wages and salaries and non-wage costs. In the euro area, wages & salaries per hour worked grew by 3.5 percent in the year up to the second quarter of 2011, and the non-wage component by 4.3 percent, compared with 2.3 percent and 3.5 percent respectively for the first quarter of 2011. In the EU27, hourly wages and salaries rose by 3.2 percent and the non-wage component by 3.9 percent in the year up to the second quarter of 2011, compared with 1.9 percent and 3.0 percent respectively for the first quarter of 2011.

    The breakdown by economic activity shows that in the euro area hourly labour costs rose by 4.5 percent in industry, 2.9 percent in construction and 3.2 percent in services in the year up to the second quarter of 2011. In the EU27, labour costs per hour grew by 4.3 percent in industry, 2.8 percent in construction and 3.0 percent in services.

    Among the member-states for which data are available for the second quarter of 2011, the highest annual increases in hourly labour costs were registered in Bulgaria (+12.4 percent), Romania (+7.2 percent) and Slovakia (+6.5 percent). Annual decreases were observed in Greece (-3.7 percent), Ireland (-3.5 percent) and Portugal (-0.8 percent).

    [16] Home port status could double sea cruise revenues

    Greek tourism revenues could double from a flourishing sea cruise activity in the country if Greek ports would be established as home ports for sea cruise, Yiannis Retsos, president of the Hellenic Hotels Federation told ANA-MPA on Friday.

    Retsos said the figures of a significant increase in sea cruise were not telling the whole truth. Tourists arriving to Greek ports are spending only a minimum amount of money to museums and they did not eat at local restaurants since they enjoyed all inclusive packages on board, Retsos said, adding that a transit sea cruise passenger was spending an average 60-65 euros in every port, while a sea cruise passenger boarding a port spends a minimum of 200 euros.

    The country's tourist community estimates that a change of policy and a full abolition of cabotage in sea cruise could explode tourist revenues that could reach 1.5 billion euros annually, from 600 million euros currently. The Piraeus Port Authority said recently that sea cruise passengers arriving at the port of Piraeus in the January-August period totaled 1,611,429, up 28.6 pct, of which transit passengers were 1,309,681 (up 37.5 pct compared with 2010).

    [17] Tender to sell Hellenic Sugar Industry attracts 10 bids

    More than 10 Greek and foreign companies expressed interest to buy 82.33 pct equity stake in Hellenic Sugar Industry owned by ATEbank. The first phase of an international tender to sell the majority stake in Hellenic Sugar Industry attracted 10 non-binding bids and a shortlist of candidates will be prepared before binding bids were made around mid-November.

    Under a government plan, the privatization of Hellenic Sugar Industry was expected to be completed by the end of 2011. The industry operates three sugar producing units in Plati, Serres and Orestiada, it holds majority stakes in two subsidiaries in Serbia (AD Fabrica Secera Crvenka and AD Fabrica Sajkaska), holding 80 pct and 92.32 pct, respectively.

    [18] Greece launches two e-auctions for pharmaceutical supplies

    Greece's National Procurement Commission will hold the second electronic auction for the supply of 13 drastic substances, worth 95,693,160 euros, to cover the pharmaceutical needs of all public hospitals in the country. The e-auction will be held on Monday, 31 October.

    The Commission said that its first international electronic auction for the supply of pharmaceutical products, based on the drastic substance, saved thousands of euros. A third international e-auction, budgeted at 107,156,943 euros is scheduled in mid-November.

    [19] Stocks jump 1.95 pct on Friday

    A wave of buying interest for blue chip stocks pushed prices up at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday. The composite index of the market rose 1.95 pct to end at 864.94 points, for a net loss of 2.46 pct in the week. The index is down 38.83 pct so far this year.

    Turnover remained an improved 108.23 million euros.

    The Big Cap index jumped 2.54 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.99 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 0.16 pct. Marfin Popular Bank (14.29 pct), Piraeus Bank (8.93 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (8.27 pct) and Hellenic Postbank (6.73 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Folli Follie (8.0 pct), Titan (3.29 pct) and OTE (3.91 pct) were top losers.

    The Oil (7.10 pct), Personal Products (6.37 pct), Financial Services (5.27 pct) and Banks (4.90 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Commerce (7.76 pct) and Telecoms (3.91 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 68 to 46 with another 56 issues unchanged. AXON Holdings (18.75 pct), Fourlis (15.75 pct) and Marfina Popular Bank (14.29 pct) were top gainers, while Zampa (9.57 pct), Alko (8.82 pct) and Folli Follie (8.0 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.22%

    Industrials: +2.16%

    Commercial: -7.76

    Construction: -1.28

    Oil & Gas: +7.10%

    Personal & Household: +6.37%

    Raw Materials: +2.84%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.06%

    Technology: -1.69%

    Telecoms: -3.91%

    Banks: +4.90%

    Food & Beverages: +1.21%

    Health: -3.90%

    Utilities: +1.89%

    Chemicals: -1.43%

    Financial Services: +5.27%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Coca Cola 3E, National Bank, Bank of Cyprus, and OPAP.

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.70

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.15

    HBC Coca Cola: 12.95

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.15

    National Bank of Greece: 3.19

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 1.19

    OPAP: 7.50

    OTE: 3.69

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.61

    Titan: 11.75

    [20] Greek bond market closing report

    The Greek electronic secondary bond market remained inactive for one day on Friday. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 16.03 pct from 15.84 pct on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 17.94 pct and the German Bund 1.91 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 2.06 pct, the six-month rate 1.73 pct, the three-month 1.52 pct and the one-month rate 1.34 pct.

    [21] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday. Turnover fell to 47.127 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 16,518 contracts worth 29.550 million euros, with 26,283 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 148,330 contracts worth 17.576 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (85,516), followed by Eurobank (7,433), MIG (7,690), OTE (3,543), PPC (1,137), OPAP (1,722), National Bank (14,868), GEK (1,725), Alpha Bank (2,559), Marfin Popular Bank (3,089), Intralot (2,719), Mytilineos (1,095), Cyprus Bank (7,269), Hellenic Postbank (1,739) and ATEbank (3,213).

    [22] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.396

    Pound sterling 0.884

    Danish kroner 7.559

    Swedish kroner 9.298

    Japanese yen 107.18

    Swiss franc 1.223

    Norwegian kroner 7.854

    Canadian dollar 1.376

    Australian dollar 1.350

    General News

    [23] Bourtzi fortress castle to be restored, upgraded

    Bourtzi, the famous fort that stands in a rock in the middle of the harbor of Nafplio, is to be restored and promoted following a study by the 25th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities that was recently approved by Greece's Central Archaeological Council (KAS).

    Attracting visitors all-year-round, the Bourtzi fortress castle was built in 1471 by Antonio Gambello, an architect from Bergamo, with construction completed by the engineer Brancaleone, and the entire city of Nafplion, including Bourtzi, was fortified in 1473 by the Venetians to provide protection against pirates and invaders from the sea.

    The castle, with entrances to the north and south, has three floors connected by movable stairs.

    Occupied by Turkey from 1715 to 1822, it was regained by Greece on June 18, 1822. It served as a fortress until 1865, and later served as the residence of the executioners of convicts from the castle of Palamidi. After alterations by the German architect Wolf Schaeffer, the Bourtzi Castle was used as a hotel from 1930 to 1970.

    Mainly a tourist attraction today and just a five-minute boat ride from Nafplio, the castle hosts events of the Nafplio Summer Music Festival.

    Under the Ephorate's plans, an exhibition area and souvenir shop will be created at the castle, while its small restaurant will remain in operation.

    [24] Woman arrested for harbouring Psomiadis

    A 37-year-old woman was taken before a police court on Friday, charged with harbouring fugitive club owner Makis Psomiadis, who stands accused of fixing football matches in the Greek league.

    The former model had rented the villa in Anavyssos that Psomiadis was found in at the time of his arrest on Thursday.

    Police sources said the woman leased the house last Sunday, with a 59-year-old man that is also being sought by authorities. She was arrested on Thursday and led before justice on Friday.

    According to the same sources, Psomiadis had been constantly moving from one house to another since a warrant for his arrest was issued, staying first in Palaio Faliro, then in Glyfada, then to Kalyvia and Anavyssos.

    He was tracked down by the counter-terrorism service, through the surveillance of the phones of his associates. At the Anavyssos villa, among others, police found and confiscated a number of cell phones and SIM cards.

    [25] Man tries to set himself alight in protest

    A 55-year-old man on Friday doused himself in petrol and attempted to set himself alight outside the central branch of Piraeus Bank in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. Holding a bullhorn in one hand and a can of petrol in the other, the man started to protest against the government, bankers and political parties and threatened to set himself on fire in protest.

    The incident occurred just before 3:00 p.m. on the corner of Tsimiski and Ethniki Amyna streets in Thessaloniki.

    A team of police officers and employees within the bank attempted to dissuade him but the man was adamant. At one point he poured petrol on his clothes and succeeded in setting them alight using a lighter but the flames were quickly put out by police and bank employees armed with fire extinguishers.

    The man was then rushed to a nearby hospital with slight burns to his chest and back, where he was pronounced out of danger.

    This was the second time the same man had tried to end his life in this way, as he had made a similar attempt outside the same branch of Piraeus Bank two years earlier, when he had also suffered burns.

    [26] Illegal casino discovered in Maroussi

    The Financial Police arrested 28 people in an organised illegal casino in Kifisias avenue in the Athens suburb of Maroussi at noon on Friday.

    The illegal casino was operating supposedly as a cultural society of friends for the promotion of the internet under the name of "ERMIS NET" and access to it was only allowed for registered members with the use of a special magnetic member card. For a person to become a member, as it was revealed, he had to be proposed and be guaranteed by at least one member.

    The premises was a real fortress since one had to pass through a secured shielded door to enter while his identity was given close scrutiny.

    [27] Con'f on drug-related crimes' draft law

    Justice ministry special secretary for correctional policy Marinos Skandamis on Friday addressed a one-day conference entitled "Addiction and Incarceration: Thought and Action", hosted at the auditorium of the University Research Institute on Mental Health in Athens.

    The speaker referred to the main axes of a draft law on drug-related crimes, focusing on the policy according to which drug users are treated as patients inside and outside correctional facilities.

    A public debate on the draft law will be completed on Sept. 25.

    Basketball

    [28] Greece beats Serbia 87-77 in Eurobasket

    KAUNAS (ANA-MPA)

    The Greek national basketball team beat Serbia 87-77 in a game played on Friday for a position between 5-8 in the 2011 Eurobasket competition taking place in Lithuania.

    At 21:00 on Saturday Greece will be playing against Lithuania for the 5th position in the competition.The 10-minute intervals had the following results: 34-8, 48-26, 64-48, 87-77.

    Weather Forecast

    [29] Fair on Saturday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 14C and 35C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 22C to 35C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 31C.

    [30] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Reactions over the new surtax on real estate properties, the reserve labour in public sector and civil servants' mass retirement exodus dominated the headline on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "20,000 resignations in public sector!".

    AVGHI: "Looting!"

    AVRIANI: "Germany: Greece's orderly default or else we dissolve the government coalition".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government's scheme with the reserve labour in public sector".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Second massacre for those who will be put into reserve labour".

    ESTIA: "Ruthless tax imposers".

    ETHNOS: "Outcry over the surtax on real estate".

    IMERISSIA: "International banking alliance - Coordination by five central banks for liquidity".

    KATHIMERINI: "Agitation in society and ruling PASOK over the surtax".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "European Commission task force for Greece arrives with lots of jurisdictions".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party of Greece: Organised popular 'no' to surtaxes".

    TA NEA: "The great fiasco with the 2009 Uniform Real Estate Tax and 2010-2011 Real Estate Property Tax (ETAK)".

    VRADYNI: "50 percent of reserve labourers will be laid off".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [31] Natural resources to benefit all Cypriots after solution, UN official says

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The UN appealed Friday for a peaceful resolution of the matter concerning the exploitation of natural resources in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), adding that potential discovery of such recourses would be for the benefit ?f all Cypriots, under the framework of a federal united Cyprus.

    The statement was made here Friday by Lisa Buttenheim, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cyprus, following the meeting between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, in the framework of direct talks aiming at a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue.

    Buttenheim said that the two leaders discussed Friday the economy chapter, exchanging ideas and views, with the aim of reaching further convergences.

    She added that the leaders authorized their experts on the economy to work on remaining outstanding issues and to report back to them upon their return from New York, where both will be next week.

    She noted that the next scheduled meeting is on Tuesday, September 27, where the leaders will discuss the chapter on the EU.

    Buttenheim was asked to comment on developments concerning the exploration of natural gas and their impact on the talks. She noted that the issue is not directly related to the talks and has not been discussed in the talks.

    She added, however, that in case natural resources were discovered, this would benefit all Cypriots, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, under the framework of a federal united Cyprus.

    "The United Nations would appeal to all involved to resolve this matter in a peaceful manner and look beyond the issues to the potential benefits that a united Cyprus can bring to Cypriots and to the region", Buttenheim noted.

    On another question concerning leaked documents from "wikileaks", on comments by Alexander Downer, a top UN official in Cyprus, to former US Ambassador in Nicosia Frank Urbancic, Buttenheim refrained from commenting, because, as she said, "we don't comment on things like wikileaks".

    "To my mind this is irrelevant to the process of what we're doing which is to focus on getting a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus", Buttenheim went on. Following a remark by the press, that the leaked documents are related to the talks, Buttenheim said she had not seen them.

    Houston-based company "Noble Energy" is expected to begin drilling in Cyprus' EEZ late September. The company has a concession to look for hydrocarbons in an offshore field in Cyprus' EEZ, south of Cyprus, known as Block 12.

    Recently senior Turkish government officials have warned that Ankara will not hesitate to deploy warships in the Mediterranean.

    Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement was signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, under a federal roof.

    [32] US support securing energy supplies and a Cyprus settlement

    NEW YORK (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    A US State Department official reiterated on Thursday USA policy on the Cyprus issue and on the matter of hydrocarbon exploration within Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

    "The United States continues to support strongly the efforts of both Cypriot parties to reunify the island into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation", said the official replying to a question on the matter.

    He pointed out that "securing energy supplies through better energy diversity is something that the United States strongly supports", adding that "having a US company involved in developing the energy resources of the Republic of Cyprus is also positive".

    This, he added "benefits energy diversity in Europe and energy supplies for the Republic of Cyprus".

    "We continue to believe that, in the context of an overall settlement, the island's resources should be equitably shared between both communities," the State Department official concluded.

    Recently, senior Turkish government officials have warned that Ankara will not hesitate to deploy warships in the Mediterranean, if the Republic of Cyprus proceeds with the exploitation of its natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

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