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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-10-25

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

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

Tuesday, 25 October 2011 Issue No: 3916

CONTENTS

  • [01] Senior Chinese official Jia in Greece; bilateral agreements signed worth 537 mln euros
  • [02] Greece and China sign economic cooperation memorandum
  • [03] Greek-Chinese economic cooperation developing rapidly
  • [04] PM: Goal is to lighten debt burden on Greek citizens
  • [05] PM Papandreou to meet President Papoulias on Tuesday
  • [06] Barroso: Confident that final decisions will be taken Wednesday at new EU summit
  • [07] FinMin on Parliament's vote of new borrowing program
  • [08] ND attacks PM, gov't 'inefficiency'; blames Papandreou for country's poor image abroad
  • [09] ND leader, Finmin speak on the telephone
  • [10] LAOS leader seeks Parliament debate on EU summit results
  • [11] SYRIZA attacks PM for agreements 'signing over' country's sovereignty
  • [12] Leftist leader Kouvelis sees snap elections as way out of political impasse
  • [13] Cyprus House President holds meetings in Athens
  • [14] Greek president receives senior Chinese official
  • [15] PM expresses sorrow for earthquake victims in Turkey
  • [16] Deputy FM Dollis in Belgrade
  • [17] Historic visit by Church of Greece Primate to Qatar
  • [18] Commission: Talks with private bondholders progressing satisfactory
  • [19] FinMin discusses state bond 'haircut' issue with banks' association
  • [20] Employment minister holds talks with Chinese Vice-Minister
  • [21] Shanghai port vice president visits OLP
  • [22] Alpha Eurobank to begin operating in early December
  • [23] Strikes delay issue of notices for 'solidarity' tax
  • [24] Business owners request compensation for damages during protests
  • [25] Tourism revenues up 10 pct in Jan-Aug
  • [26] Business Briefs
  • [27] Stocks end sharply lower, bank shares plunge
  • [28] Greek bond market closing report
  • [29] ADEX closing report
  • [30] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [31] Pilot scheme to convert rundown Athens hotel into student residence
  • [32] 24-hour public transport strike on Tuesday, 4-hour work stoppage for electric railway
  • [33] Serb Patriarch visits Halki School of Theology in Turkey
  • [34] Drug arrest in Florina
  • [35] Noted Italian archaeologist Di Vita passes away
  • [36] Hellenic Red Cross president Martinis resigns
  • [37] Acropolis Museum open all day on Friday
  • [38] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [39] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Senior Chinese official Jia in Greece; bilateral agreements signed worth 537 mln euros

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Monday received the visiting chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Jia Qinglin, who is heading a high-profile Chinese business and government delegation currently in Greece.

    Papoulias underlined what he called a "strategic partnership" between the two countries and made a special reference to the investment by the Chinese multinational Cosco at the port of Piraeus, the largest in the country, which "highlights China's interest in forging closer economic and commercial ties with Greece".

    Papoulias described as a "thought of true friendship" China's interest in purchasing Greek state bonds amid the current difficult period for the Greek economy.

    On his part, Jia referred to Papoulias as a "true friend of the Chinese people."

    Later in the evening, a wide-ranging economic cooperation memorandum in the industry and infrastructure sectors was signed by Greek Development, Competitiveness & Shipping Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis and China's visiting Vice-Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan.

    The memorandum was signed during a reception hosted by the Greek-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, held under the auspices of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV) and the Foundation of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), with the four bilateral agreements signed totaling 537 million euros.

    [02] Greece and China sign economic cooperation memorandum

    An economic cooperation memorandum between Greece and China concerning the sectors of industry and construction infrastructures was signed on Monday by Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis and the Deputy Trade Minister of the People's Republic of China Zhong Shan.

    The agreement was signed in the framework of a business dinner organised by the Greek-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, under the auspices of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB) and the Foundation of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) and 4 business agreements were subsequently signed totalling 537 million euros.

    It is reminded that Jia Qinglin, president of the Chinese Senate and fourth in the political hierarchy, is in Athens since Sunday, heading a large business mission.

    [03] Greek-Chinese economic cooperation developing rapidly

    The Greek-Chinese Chamber of Commerce held a business dinner under the auspices of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB) and the Foundation of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), during which speakers stressed that the doubling of bilateral trade to reach 8 billion dollars in the next five years is the two countries' target.

    The Deputy Trade Minister of the People's Republic of China Zhong Shan stressed China's interest in imports from Greece in the sectors of marble, olive oil and wine, as well as the promotion of Chinese investments in Greece in the sectors of energy, ports and infrastructure projects in general.

    He added that the development of economic cooperation between the two countries is rapid lately and called on Greek investors to make investments in China.

    Jia Qinglin, president of the Chinese Senate, referring to economc relations between the two countries, said that in 2010 bilateral trade amounted to 4.35 billion dollars, increasing 18.4 percent since 2009. Greek invetsments in China amount to 100 million dollars and the Chinese ones in Greece to 500 million dollars.

    Greek government Vice President Theodoros Pangalos said that the two countries' relations have passed childhood long ago and indeed through these meetings new cooperations have appeared such as exports to China of wine and olive oil.

    Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis said "the viability of the debt constitutes the country's main and of vital importance priority".

    [04] PM: Goal is to lighten debt burden on Greek citizens

    BRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Aroni)

    Greek prime minister George Papandreou stressed late Sunday that "our goal is to lighten the burden of the debt that weighs down on the Greek citizens", in a statement at the end of a eurozone summit in Brussels, noting that the efforts of the Greek people have been acknowledged.

    He added that Europe must take serious decisions of a European dimension.

    Papandreou said that over the past two years the Greeks have made an unprecedented effort of an unprecedented fiscal adjustment.

    "No citizen in any European country has shouldered such a burden in such a short time," Papandreou said, adding that "our effort is acknowledged by everyone."

    "We are a proud people and we deserve respect," the Greek premier stressed.

    Papandreou noted that the goal of the Greek side is to succeed in lightening the burden of the debt of the past, that weighs down on the Greek citizens, adding that, in order to solve decades-long problems, the country was proceeding with reforms and structural changes which, however, require time in order to produce results.

    The premier said that the first stage began on Sunday of a tough negotiation that will address not only the Greek crisis but also the European crisis. "No problem will be solved if Europe itself does not take serious decisions that are of a Europe-wide dimension," he said, and expressed belief that the EU has the determination to create the conditions for growth, generating jobs, a competitive economy and social cohesion.

    As for the Greek debt itself, Papandreou said the target is a viable solution that will include the private sector, and particularly the banks, in the distribution of the burden.

    He further said that Greece is continuing to put its house in order. "With our credibility as the weapon, we are seeking a clearer, permanent solution for Greece and Europe," he said, adding that the negotiation was continuing, with Greece present, and with specific and clear-cut targets.

    [05] PM Papandreou to meet President Papoulias on Tuesday

    Prime Minister George Papandreou will brief President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday on discussions at European level regarding economic developments in the eurozone and efforts to handle the debt crisis.

    [06] Barroso: Confident that final decisions will be taken Wednesday at new EU summit

    BRUSSELS(AMNA/V. Demiris)

    A sustainable solution for Greece is part of the overall package that will be finalised by the EU for dealing with the debt crisis at a follow-up EU summit on Wednesday, European Council president Herman van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said late Sunday after EU and eurozone summits in Brussels.

    "We welcome the vote by the Greek parliament on a new set of measures, as well as the decision by the Eurogroup to disburse the 6th tranche," Rompuy said, adding also that "we are working towards a solution with the private sector to improve sustainability as part of a new programme for Greece."

    Barroso, in statements after the summits, formally announced "the agreement to disburse the European contribution to the next (6th) tranche of financial assistance to Greece", adding that a determined commitment for achievement of fiscal stability and promotion of the structural changes was awaited on the part of the Greek authorities.

    He further said that the second programme for Greece was being formulated with the credible participation of the public and the private sector, and on the basis of the troika report on the sustainability of the Greek debt.

    The Commission president also expressed confidence that final decisions on all the elements of the comprehensive response will be taken on Wednesday.

    "We expect final decisions to be taken in 72 hours (Wednesday) and I am confident these decisions are going to be taken," Barroso said.

    [07] FinMin on Parliament's vote of new borrowing program

    Government vice president and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Monday evening that the government was considering the endorsement, by the Greek Parliament, of the country's new borrowing program with a broader (180) majority vote.

    The new program will follow a Eurozone Summit on Wednesday regarding a "haircut" of Greek bonds.

    "I briefed, by order of the prime minister, the opposition party leaders on everything: on the negotiations' framework, on basic numbers, the crucial questions, priorities, the dangers. It is obvious that the government considers that such issues should be dealt with an increased sense of responsibility. Therefore, they should be endorsed, if possible, by Parliament with a broad majority, not because this is legally necessary but because it is nationally imperative and politically liable," Venizelos told reporters in Brussels.

    [08] ND attacks PM, gov't 'inefficiency'; blames Papandreou for country's poor image abroad

    Main opposition New Democracy spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis turned his fire on Prime Minister George Papandreou in person on Monday, blaming him for the country's poor image abroad and accusing him of failing to negotiate with his EU partners in order to protect Greece's interests.

    He also noted that Papandreou, after three years of acting as though the crisis were a purely Greek phenomenon and making statements to the effect that he was governing a "corrupt country", had completely changed his tune now that the "unreliability and inefficiency of his government is being exposed".

    "Yesterday he felt it necessary to state that the crisis was not Greek but European, forgetting that he had cultivated this conviction himself in order to harm ND," Mihelakis added.

    He strongly criticised the prime minister but also Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos for acting as "onlookers" at EU meetings and failing to either negotiate or to present any Greek plans for the measures taken in the country, a mistake that for two years had taken matters from bad to worse.

    He underlined the position of ND leader Antonis Samaras, who had stressed that Greece's debt could only be sustainable if there were high rates of growth and large primary surpluses, apart from any debt haircut that might be imposed.

    "For this reason, there must be a jump-start of the Greek economy and a reduction of deficits," the spokesman said.

    He also emphasised the dangers that Samaras foresaw resulting from a revision of the decisions of July 21, such as its impact on the resilience and control of the banking system, the need to recapitalise banks and ensure liquidity, the risks to pension funds, the risk of 'contagion' to the rest of Europe and the risks for the country's ability to meet its borrowing needs outside the market, as well as the dangers to the financial control of the country and even harsher austerity.

    Mihelakis also repeated that the findings of an EU report on the Greek economy were particularly damning for the government, highlighting the failure of successive rescue plans for the Greek economy, putting the spotlight on delays and weaknesses in the preparation and implementation of structural reforms and confirming reports of illegal public-sector hiring.

    [09] ND leader, Finmin speak on the telephone

    Finance Minister and government vice-president Evangelos Venizelos contacted main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on the telephone at around 4:00 p.m. on Monday and briefed him on developments so far during the ongoing negotiations for tackling Greece's debt at the European Union.

    [10] LAOS leader seeks Parliament debate on EU summit results

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis on Monday demanded an off-the-agenda Parliamentary debate between the party leaders on the results of the European Union summit, in a letter sent to the Parliament President.

    Citing a statement by French President Nicolas Sarkozy concerning a "democratic deficit" resulting for the "concession of national sovereignty", Karatzaferis underlined that clarifications had to be given concerning the permanent placement of Commissioners at Greek ministries.

    [11] SYRIZA attacks PM for agreements 'signing over' country's sovereignty

    In a stinging attack on Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras said that his government "was completing its disastrous political cycle with the signature of an agreement that means permanent austerity, permanent supervision, a permanent loss of national sovereignty".

    Tsipras said the agreement would not be able to stand, noting that its insistence on a policy of austerity could have only disastrous results but also because the Greek people had already shown their opposition.

    "The Greek people have sent their message, both within Greece and in Europe. Greece is a sovereign country that has democracy. And its people are sovereign. Democracy in Greece, whether the government wants this or not, whether the supervisors in Brussels want this or not, will finally prevail. The Greek people will defeat all those who are trying to impose the bonds that will keep them bound for the next 50 years," he said.

    [12] Leftist leader Kouvelis sees snap elections as way out of political impasse

    Democratic Left president Fotis Kouvelis on Monday underlined that "snap elections emerge as necessary development that will lead the country out of political and social asphyxiation".

    He stressed that political correlations should be changed to direct policies to a progressive and popular direction.

    Referring to European developments and the Greek debt, Kouvelis said Europe has reached its limits by the developments prepared in Europe, which are aimed at dealing with the Greek debt and the generalised debt crisis in Europe.

    Kouvelis stressed that the reduction of the Greek debt sounds attractive but, at the same time, it could be extremely negative in case it does not feature regulations that will guarantee social insurance funds, pensions and Greek bank deposits.

    [13] Cyprus House President holds meetings in Athens

    The international community and the EU should not just be passive observers of Turkish aggression against Cyprus but it should react, said in Athens on Monday President of the Cyprus House of Representatives Yiannakis Omirou.

    Omirou met on Monday with leaders and representatives of Greek parliamentary parties during an official visit to Athens. He met main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Aleka Papariga, George Karatzaferis the leader of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and Parliamentary Spokesman of SYRIZA Panayiotis Lafazanis.

    ''We are faced with developments, challenges, dangers but also opportunities," Omirou said in statements to the press after his meetings, adding that ''the challenges should be met successfully, the opportunities should be seized and the dangers should be avoided''.

    Turkish expansionism is not fiction, he noted, it is a constant threat not only for Cyprus but for the Aegean, and the Greek islands, adding that therefore Greece and Cyprus should face this real and ongoing danger jointly.

    Referring to the ongoing UN led negotiations which aim to resolve the longstanding division of Cyprus, Omirou said that all political parties and the government of Cyprus have concluded that things are deteriorating, explaining that Turkish intransigence has become more evident and that developments show that Turkey has stepped up its aggressive behaviour with an aim to upgrade the Turkish Cypriot illegal regime in Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas or even to possibly promote its recognition.

    ''Turkey's provocations, threats and aggressive stance as regards the Republic of Cyprus' sovereign rights within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) constitute an illegal policy which is in direct contrast with the Law of the Sea Convention and the basic rules of international law'', he noted.

    The House President referred to the deployment of Turkish warships within Cyprus' EEZ and the presence of fighter planes over the area where exploration drilling is taking place, he said.

    ''The international community and the EU cannot observe this behaviour passively'', Omirou stressed, expressing the view that statements alone are not enough and that they have to react to Turkey's illegal behaviour.

    During the meetings he had with Greek party leaders and representatives, the House President was briefed on the financial problems Greece is faced with.

    He expressed Cyprus' full support to Greece in these difficult economic times and the hope that Greece would soon overcome its problems and start recovering.

    Omirou thanked all leaders and representatives he met for their unwavering support.

    On their part Greek political leaders expressed their support to Cyprus and their wish to join forces in dealing with developments in the Mediterranean, saying that the two countries can coordinate efforts to deal with Turkey's moves.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led negotiations have been underway since 2008 between President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu with a view to reunify the island under a federal roof.

    Drilling in Cyprus' EEZ has begun and is being carried out by Houston-based ''Noble Energy'', off Cyprus' south-eastern coast. Following Nicosia's decision to begin drilling in its EEZ, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean.

    The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey's moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.

    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 has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.

    [14] Greek president receives senior Chinese official

    Republic President Karolos Papoulias on Monday received visiting the chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Jia Qinglin, who is heading a high-profile Chinese business delegation during a visit to Greece.

    Papoulias underlined what he called a "strategic partnership" between the two countries and made a special reference to the investment by the Chinese multinational Cosco at the port of Piraeus, which "highlights China's interest in forging closer economic and commercial ties with Greece".

    Papoulias described as a "thought of true friendship" China's interest in purchasing Greek state bonds amid the current difficult period for the Greek economy.

    Chairman Jia referred to Papoulias as a "true friend of the Chinese people."

    [15] PM expresses sorrow for earthquake victims in Turkey

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday expressed his deepest sorrow at the heavy loss of human life during the devastating earthquake that shook eastern Turkey on Sunday, extending his condolences to the families of the victims and those injured or left homeless by the quake.

    "Greeks and Turks have suffered greatly from earthquakes. Nevertheless, these difficult times have brought us closer with active assistance and solidarity, supporting those struck by these major natural disasters."

    "As in the past, so today, the Greek government and the Greek people are prepared to offer every kind of help possible," he said, according to a press release from the premier's office.

    [16] Deputy FM Dollis in Belgrade

    BELGRADE (ANA-MPA/N. Pelpas)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Dollis met here on Monday with Serbia's Foreign and Economic and Regional Cooperation Ministers Vuk Jeremic and Nebojsa Ciric respectively.

    Bilateral issues were examined during the meetings and the excellent relations between the two countries were confirmed once again.

    Dollis's meetings with the Serb officials also focused on economic cooperation and the activities of Greek businesses in Serbia.

    The Greek Deputy Foreign minister is in Belgrade where he will be participating in the two-day "Go International" business conference due to begin on Monday evening.

    [17] Historic visit by Church of Greece Primate to Qatar

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos arrived in the Gulf State of Qatar on Sunday for an unprecedented visit, accompanied by a several of his closest associates.

    The head of the Church of Greece is scheduled to meet with the leader of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

    Financial News

    [18] Commission: Talks with private bondholders progressing satisfactory

    BRUSSELS (AMNA / M. Spinthourakis)

    A European Commission spokesman on Monday said the EU's executive would prefer an agreement under which private holders of Greek state bonds can voluntarily accept a reduction of the nominal value of their bonds, while he dismissed reports claiming that Greece would be put under some type of "guardianship", saying that the EU Treaty does not include any such provision.

    Amadeu Altafaj, a spokesman for EU Commissioner Olli Rehn, said negotiations with private bondholders are progressing satisfactory and noted that "we are close to a solution". He declined any comment on the percentage of a possible "haircut", but stressed that a total cut in Greek debt would be a result of coordinated actions, both by private and national authorities.

    Altafaj said any discussion over new measures, to be adopted by the Greek government, promotes structural reforms, which would help in boosting competitiveness of the Greek economy.

    The EU spokesman said the European Commission does not wish, or can, place any EU member-state under guardianship, according to Community law, while he stressed that all EU member-states must report economic policies to Brussels.

    [19] FinMin discusses state bond 'haircut' issue with banks' association

    Any Greek state bond "haircut" and its impact on the domestic banking system, which will be forced to recapitalise, was discussed in a teleconference on Monday between Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Alternate Minister Filippos Sahinidis and members of the Hellenic Bank Association (HBA) board.

    Venizelos, who is in Brussels, also had telephone contacts with opposition party leaders (KKE, LA.O.S, SYRIZA) on the course of negotiations as regards the public debt's "sustainability" and a new support programme for the Greek economy.

    Venizelos will attend the Eurogroup meeting again on Tuesday in Brussels, within the framework of preparations for an utterly crucial EU Summit on Wednesday.

    [20] Employment minister holds talks with Chinese Vice-Minister

    Greek Employment Minister George Koutroumanis on Monday met here with visiting Chinese Human Resources and Social Security Vice-Minister Sun Baoshu, with talks focusing on the social security system and labour relations.

    Koutroumanis referred at length to the new social security law in Greece, stressing that with the changes being implemented since 2010, an integrated social security system has been created that will be completed in 2012 with unified rules and terms for all the insured, regardless of whether they are employed in the private or public sector.

    He pointed out that in general the creation of a unified framework at benefit and contribution level is being promoted for both the health sectors and the auxiliary funds.

    [21] Shanghai port vice president visits OLP

    Shanghai port vice president Guoping Chen visited the Piraeus Port Organisation (OLP) heading a five-member delegation of Chinese officials and showed special interest in the cruise sector and for the scheduled infrastructures modernisation projects.

    The director of OLP SA's board and senior OLP officials briefed the Chinese officials on the port of Piraeus, while a visit and tour of the Cruise Terminal followed.

    Meanwhile, work will begin at OLP's port next week for the construction of the new breakwater to serve cruiseships.

    [22] Alpha Eurobank to begin operating in early December

    Alpha Bank and Eurobank postponed their general shareholders' meetings for November 4, to discuss a merger plan between the two banks. Executives from both banks said that the merger plan was progressing according to a timetable set by the two boards and noted that following approval by their shareholders, the plan would only need approval by Greek banking authorities. They expect that Alpha Eurobank would begin operating as a single organization by early December.

    Alpha Bank's and Eurobank's shareholders will have to approve both the merger plan and the actions accompanying it, on the basis of a capital boosting scheme which envisages a 1.25 billion euros share capital increase, which will be entirely covered by a Qatar investment group.

    [23] Strikes delay issue of notices for 'solidarity' tax

    The General Secretariat for IT Systems announced on Monday that more than one million tax-payers have not yet received notices for the second installment of an emergency 'solidarity' tax levied by the government. It said the delay was caused by the repeated strikes of tax officials over the past month.

    The new notices should have been sent to tax-payers that had paid the first installment of the tax in September.

    Those wanting to pay the next installment have been advised to use either the receipt issued to them when they paid the first installment or the initial notice that was sent to them when they make their payment at a bank. If neither are available, they can also pay at their local tax office.

    The finance ministry has not ruled out an extension of the deadline until early November in order to avoid congestion at tax offices.

    The General Secretariat for IT Systems is also preparing to make the notices available from the Internet for tax-payers that submit their tax statements electronically, enabling them to use their code in order to print the notice and use them to pay the next installment.

    [24] Business owners request compensation for damages during protests

    Material damages caused to private businesses and banks during violent incidents in recent demonstrations in downtown Athens total roughly 400,000 euros, according to an Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA), in a letter addressed to Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday.

    EBEA president Constantine Mihalos requested that compensation be paid by the state, pursuant to a relevant law, underlining that at least 62 private businesses, including nine bank branches, were damaged, while looting was also reported.

    [25] Tourism revenues up 10 pct in Jan-Aug

    Tourism foreign exchange revenues were up 10 pct in the January-August period this year, compared with the corresponding period in 2010, totalling 7.718 billion euros, while tourist arrivals grew 9.9 pct over the same period, the Bank of Greece said in a report.

    The central bank's report noted that the tourism sector was taking a leading role in the Greek economy, helped by a strong recovery in tourist arrivals in the country. A total of 10.33 million visitors arrived in Greek airports in the January-September period this year, up 9.67 pct compared with the same period in 2010, a very significant figure for air travel in the country. Tourism industry officials expect foreign visitors numbers to reach 16.5 million euros this year, with tourism revenues rising more than 12 pct for the year. Industry officials said that a 10 pct rise in tourism revenues equals a 1.0 pct increase in the country's Gross Domestic Product.

    [26] Business Briefs

    -- Deposits in Greek banks continued to drop in early autumn, with retail banking deposits down 4.9 pct in the period from end August until mid-October, the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" stated in its report on the Greek economy.

    -- The Athens Stock Exchange on Monday announced a decision to temporary suspend trading in the shares and derivatives of Alapis ABEE, following a decision by the listed company to apply for bankruptcy protection procedures.

    -- Three companies submitted formal interest in an international tender to fully liberalise airport ground services in 34 regional airports in Greece, a tender launched by the Civil Aviation Authority.

    [27] Stocks end sharply lower, bank shares plunge

    Market worries over a larger "haircut" of Greek bonds shocked share prices at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with bank shares free-falling as investors discounted a 50-pct haircut in Greek bonds, which would result to losses of around 15 billion euros for domestic banks as well as lead several financial institutions to the Financial Stability Fund.

    The composite index dropped 4.51 pct to end at 747.08 points, off the day's lows of 740.19 points. Turnover was a low 47.463 million euros.

    Hellenic Postbank (25.11 pct), Attica Bank (24.9 pct), Piraeus Bank (22.15 pct), National Bank (20.79 pct), Eurobank (20.25 pct) and Alpha Bank (19.14 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses among blue chip stocks. The Big Cap index fell 6.70 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 4.96 pct lower and the Small Cap index dropped 5.48 pct.

    The Telecoms (1.49 pct) and Food (0.36 pct) sectors were the only ones to score gains, while Banks (16.85 pct), Health (11.54 pct) and Financial Services (7.84 pct) suffered the heaviest losses. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 125 to 33 with another 24 issues unchanged.

    VIS (29.03 pct), Mouzakis (23.73 pct), Electronic Athens (20 pct) were top gainers, while Ilyda (30 pct), Ideal (29.71 pct) and Kathimerini (29.64 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.49%

    Industrials: -2.23%

    Commercial: -1.26%

    Construction: -4.19%

    Oil & Gas: -1.84%

    Personal & Household: -2.66%

    Raw Materials: -5.05%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.55%

    Technology: -8.95%

    Telecoms: +1.49%

    Banks: -16.85%

    Food & Beverages: +0.36%

    Health: -11.54%

    Utilities: -3.30%

    Chemicals: -3.55%

    Financial Services: -7.84%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.93

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.01

    HBC Coca Cola: 12.90

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.47

    National Bank of Greece: 1.60

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.63

    OPAP: 6.94

    OTE: 3.40

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.23

    Titan: 13.13

    [28] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remained at 15.95 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, almost unchanged from Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 18.04 pct and the German Bund 2.09 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 2.12 pct, the six-month rate 1.78 pct, the three-month 1.58 pct and the one-month rate 1.36 pct.

    [29] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 16.816 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,475 contracts worth 9.401 million euros, with 21,459 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 50,372 contracts worth 7.415 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (28,427), followed by Eurobank (2,483), MIG (1,048), OPAP (1,050), Piraeus Bank (1,197), Alpha Bank (5,333), Intralot (487), Mytilineos (469), Cyprus Bank (420), Hellenic Postbank (1,055) and ATEbank (6,245).

    [30] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.406

    Pound sterling 0.882

    Danish kroner 7.556

    Swedish kroner 9.243

    Japanese yen 107.03

    Swiss franc 1.246

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    General News

    [31] Pilot scheme to convert rundown Athens hotel into student residence

    The Greek environment ministry, defence ministry and the City of Athens on Monday announced a pilot scheme to convert the rundown "La Mirage" hotel in Omonia Square into cheap residential quarters for students and young people, along the lines of similar successful experiments to revive decayed inner city districts in other countries of Europe.

    The hotel on Marika Kotopouli street, near Omonia Square, belongs to the Greek Airforce Shareholders' Fund and is currently closed down. The pilot scheme hopes to have it ready to act as cheap digs for young people and students by next September.

    The renovation is part of a programme launched by the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou to restore the city centre, in collaboration with National Defence Minister Panos Beglitis and Athens Mayor George Kaminis.

    Incentives designed to attract student tenants include a low monthly rent of about 200 euro, combined with advantages such as the easy access to public transport, the historic centre, round-the-clock security and cheap cleaning and laundry services.

    In addition to its 208 rooms, the hotel also has three restaurants, a bar, a cafe and a conference hall that can be used as common areas for the use of residents, as well as a parking area.

    The building's renovation will be financed by the Green Fund, as well as other sources, and carried out by the Athens municipality.

    Based on its results, the project may be used as a model for restoring other buildings in the city centre that are now in disuse.

    [32] 24-hour public transport strike on Tuesday, 4-hour work stoppage for electric railway

    Only the electric railway will be operating for a few hours on Tuesday, while all public transport means will not be in service.

    Public transport employees once again failed to observe a common stance despite the fact that on Friday their coordinating body decided a 24-hour strike in all public transport means. On Monday, the boards of the employees of the Metro, buses, trolleys and trams ratified the coordinating body's decision and consequently these means will be immobilised on Tuesday, while their colleagues in the electric railway changed their position and decided to hold a 4-hour work stoppage as of 12 noon.

    [33] Serb Patriarch visits Halki School of Theology in Turkey

    Serbia's Patriarch Irinej on Monday paid a visit to the Theological School of Halki, the former Orthodox seminary on the island of Heybeliada in Turkey, accompanied by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

    The party was received by the Metropolitan of Proussis Elpidoforos, the new abbot of the Halki Monastery that maintains the premises of the former seminary since it was closed by the Turkish government in 1971.

    The Serbian Patriarch attended an official dinner at the monastery and then departed for the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar in order to continue his visit.

    An international campaign to persuade Turkey to reopen the theological school entered its 40th year in 2011.

    [34] Drug arrest in Florina

    A 53-year-old Albanian national was arrested Monday morning in Krystallopigi, Florina prefecture, on an outstanding Greek arrest warrant for trafficking large quantities of drugs, and is believed to be a member of a drug smuggling ring.

    Police said the man is believed to belong to a ring that smuggles narcotics from Albania into Greece.

    The detainee is charged with smuggling 81.4 kilos of hashish into Greece through the customs station at Krystallopigi last June, which he was to give over to a 50-year-old Greek drug dealer in Sindos, Thessaloniki.

    The 50-year-old man was arrested as he took delivery of the hashish in June, while the 53-year-old Albanian, who had been driving a truck, had evaded arrest at the time.

    [35] Noted Italian archaeologist Di Vita passes away

    Noted Italian archaeologist Antonino Di Vita, who had led several significant archaeological excavations at the archaeological site of Gortyna, on the large island of Crete, died in Rome on Sunday at the age of 85.

    Local authorities on Crete expressed their deep regrets on Monday following the news of Di Vita's passing, stressing that the distinguished scholar played a major role in making the region known throughout the world. An engraved marble plaque at the archaeological site of Gortyna will pay tribute to his work.

    Born in 1926, Antonino Di Vita was a professor of archaeology who served as dean of the department of literature and philosophy and was president of the University of Macerata in Italy. He was also the director of the Italian School of Archaeology at Gortyna and published a book on the region's ancient history.

    [36] Hellenic Red Cross president Martinis resigns

    Hellenic Red Cross president Andreas Martinis on Monday announced that he has tendered his resignation. Martinis underlined, in a statement, that he "reached the decision after a great deal of thought".

    [37] Acropolis Museum open all day on Friday

    Admittance to the Acropolis Museum will be free on Friday, Oct. 28 on the occasion of a Greek national holiday, it was announced on Monday. The museum will be open from 08:00 until 22:00 and the second-floor restaurant will remain open until midnight.

    Weather Forecast

    [38] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 4C and 23C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 13C to 20C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 16C.

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

    The EU Summit in Brussels, the flurry of deliberations and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's new programme ahead of the new Summit on Wednesday during which the final decisions will be taken on the haircut of the Greek debt were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Three-day thriller with summits and European Council...".

    AVRIANI: "The country's only solution is to return to the drachma".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Haircut a nightmare".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Bit actors in Brussels".

    ESTIA: "Huge responsibilities for the bankruptcy".

    ETHNOS: "Merkel's blackmail on haircut, supervision".

    IMERISSIA: "Thriller with the haircut - Battle between governments and banks".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Decisions for the debt to be sealed on Wednesday".

    TA NEA: "Deep haircut and playing with fire".

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