|Monday, 18 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-12-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 6 December 2011 Issue No: 3946
 Biden meets Papademos, stresses U.S. support for GreeceU.S. Vice-President Joe Biden on Monday stressed that Greece can count on U.S. support for its efforts to overcome the debt crisis, especially in terms of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), following his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos in Athens on Monday.
"We are both member-states and allies in NATO and it is in everyone's interest for Greece to overcome this difficult situation," Biden added.
The U.S. vice-president, who is currently in Greece on an official visit, said that the purpose of his visit was to express U.S. solidarity toward Greece via the IMF.
On his part, Papademos stressed the importance of Biden's visit and the long ties of close friendship, shared values and struggles for freedom and democracy between the two countries.
He noted that the U.S. had steadfastly supported Greece during this critical time for Greece's economy and that Greece could hope for a positive U.S. stance in its effort to overcome the crisis.
The two men also sat down to a working dinner given by Papademos, during which they discussed the Cyprus issue, the Middle East and the situation in southeast Europe.
Biden is due to meet PASOK President George Papandreou at a central Athens hotel later on Monday afternoon and with the head of main opposition New Democracy Antonis Samaras in the early evening.
 U.S. vice-president received by PapouliasU.S. Vice-President Joe Biden on Monday conveyed his country's solidarity toward Greece during a meeting with Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
According to sources, Biden stressed during the meeting that the debt crisis was not an exclusively Greek problem but a broader European, American and global problem. He said that the U.S. wanted Greece to regain its crucial role in affairs within Europe and the Eurozone, considering this important. He also indicated that Washington was prepared to assist and exert pressure on Europe to find solutions, even if these were not easy.
Biden, who is on an official visit to Greece, was accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador to Athens Daniel Bennett Smith and a U.S. government delegation.
 Debate on 2012 budget continuesThe debate on the 2012 state budget continued in Parliament for a fourth day on Monday, defended by the three-party cooperation government but strongly criticised by the parties of the Left. The debate will end at midnight on Tuesday in a roll-call vote immediately preceded by the speeches of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and the leaders of the political parties.
Among those scheduled to speak on Monday afternoon are deputy finance minister Pantelis Economou and health minister Andreas Loverdos.
An issue that figured strongly in the speeches of ruling PASOK MPs and ministers was that of the succession within the party, while the statements of development minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis on this issue caused a stir.
In his speech Chrysohoidis stressed the need for a "new national alliance" using all political forces in order to avoid "losing a generation to conditions of fiscal retrenchment".
 Greece on ICJ ruling in FYROM vs Greece caseGreece on Monday said that it will continue to negotiate in good faith with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for a mutually acceptable solution to the name dispute, after the International Court of Justice announced its ruling in a case brought against Greece by FYROM, in which it accused Greece of violating the terms of the 1995 Interim Accord by blocking the country's admission to NATO in 2008.
The court's ruling upheld Skopje's argument that Greece had breached its obligation under Article 11, paragraph 1, of the interim accord. This states that Greece will not block FYROM's bid to join international organizations using the name 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'.
The ruling is final and cannot be appealed but does not address the main issue in the long-running dispute between Greece and FYROM concerning the latter's use of the name 'Macedonia'.
A Greek foreign ministry announcement stressed that the name dispute can only be resolved through negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations.
It added that Greece will study the court's decision, while noting that the court admitted FYROM's first submission on whether Greece had breached the terms of the interim accord but rejected FYROM's other submissions.
These asked that the ICJ order Greece not to raise objections in the future, either directly or indirectly, to FYROM's admission to NATO or other organizations in which Greece is a member provided it use the temporary name of FYROM.
The foreign ministry announcement also points out that the decisions taken at the NATO summits in Bucharest in 2008 and subsequent NATO summits in Strasbourg and Lisbon were unanimous and reflected the shared conviction of the member-states that the name dispute must be resolved before FYROM is invited to join the Alliance.
 Greece ready to continue negotiations on Macedonia name dispute, PM saysPrime Minister Lucas Papademos on Monday said that Greece was prepared to continue negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations on resolving the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in order to find a name to be used erga omnes by Greece's northern neighbour.
In a written statement issued after the International Court of Justice announced its ruling in the Greece vs FYROM case, Papademos stressed that Greece "steadfastly seeks to establish good neighbour relations with FYROM and will continue to work in this direction."
He noted that Greece has supported FYROM's European course on many occasions in this framework but stressed that complete normalisation of relations requires achieving a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue.
Papademos underlined that continuing provocations did not contribute to establishing good neighbour relations and mutual trust, noting that Greece continues to steadfastly support these positions after the ICJ ruling in the case.
 ND on ICJ ruling in FYROM vs Greece caseGreece must not budge from the 'lines in the sand' that have already been announced concerning the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), main opposition New Democracy stressed on Monday.
These included that of agreeing to a single name to be used erga omnes, ND foreign policy sector head Panos Panagiotopoulos stressed in comments on a ruling announced on Monday by the International Court of Justice at the Hague concerning a case brought against Greece by FYROM.
Panagiotopoulos said the Greek government must reply immediately to the 'PR attack' from FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, highlighting the real content of the ruling that calls on FYROM to take steps needed to reach understanding on the name dispute, abandoning policies of intransigency and extreme nationalism.
He also noted that the ruling did not have any bearing whatsoever on the name dispute in itself but only to the implementation of the 1995 interim agreement, adding that the result will be judged at the EU General Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday and the NATO summit on December 7-8.
 UN special envoy Nimetz, NATO SecGen Rasmussen on ICJ ruling in FYROM vs Greece caseN.YORK - BRUSSELS (AMNA / P. Panagiotou, V. Demiris) -The ruling issued by the International Court of Justice in The Hague should be "studied carefully", a written statement by UN special envoy for the fYRoM name issue Matthew Nimetz underlined on Monday.
According to Nimetz, the ruling announced earlier on Monday, in which Greece is found to have breached its obligations under the 1995 Interim Agreement, deserves to be studied carefully by both governments. He stressed that in recent days he "contacted the governments (Greece, fYRoM) and urged them to see this fact as an opportunity for creative thinking as regards their mutual relation and to consider a new initiative to reach a definitive solution to the name issue."
Nimetz maintained that "in the present circumstances an insightful stance that focuses on solutions and not on the differences will help to find a viable solution as soon as possible." He added that he has informed "both parties that he is ready to cooperate with them as soon as possible and to suggest intensification of the efforts for a permanent solution."
NATO has taken under consideration the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruling issued on Monday and underlined that it does not affect the NATO Summit meeting decision reached in Bucharest in 2008.
NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen in a written statement underlined that he has taken under consideration the ruling issued by The Hague as regards the bilateral issue between Greece and fYRoM.
He underlined that the ruling does not affect the NATO decision reached in the 2008 Summit meeting in Bucharest.
"We have agreed that an invitation will be extended to fYRoM as soon as a mutually acceptable solution is reached on the name issue," Rasmussen stated, underlining that the NATO decision has been reaffirmed by subsequent summit meetings and ministerial meetings held by the alliance.
 Commission urges Athens, Skopje to resume talks on name disputeBRUSSELS (AMNA - M. Aroni)
The European Commission on Monday again urged Athens and Skopje to resume negotiations to resolve the dispute over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, while declining to comment on a ruling announced by the International Court of Justice at the Hague in the case brought against Greece by FYROM.
European Commissioner for enlargement Stefan Fule said that the Commission noted the court's ruling concerning the 1995 interim agreement between the two countries and said the European Commission had no jurisdiction with respect to the specific issue.
 Ragoussis accuses Papandreou ministers, PASOK MPs of 'blocking necessary reforms'Addressing Parliament during the debate on the 2012 budget on Monday, Alternate Defence Minister Yiannis Ragoussis launched stinging criticism against certain elements in ruling PASOK, including former colleagues in the governments of George Papandreou, saying that they "did their utmost to block the progressive reforms that the country needs".
According to Ragoussis, responsibility for this lay with Papandreou's ministers, members of PASOK's Parliamentary group and forces in society".
Ragoussis blamed Greece's current problems on the "collapse in the hands of the Papandreou government of the model of easy post-junta development based on borrowing abroad that helped create easy political careers based on promises and handouts".
He identified a second major cause as the extended uncertainty about whether Greece would remain in the eurozone, however, which caused people to panic and spirit their savings abroad.
"This uncertainty was the main cause of the ills that have now extended to the whole of Greek society," he underlined, adding that this uncertainty was cultivated by those that blocked reforms and might have sent a message that the Greek economy could stand on its feet.
 PASOK leader has phone talks with EU's Van RompuyPASOK leader George Papandreou held telephone talks with European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy on Monday. The talks focused on current developments in view of Friday's EU Summit.
 Gov't tables draft bill against racismA draft bill against racism and especially racist attacks was tabled in Parliament on Monday by the Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Ministry.
The bill introduces fines ranging from 3,000-10,000 euro and prison sentences ranging from six months to three years to anyone that incites, provokes or urges others to commit violence or hate crimes against people or objects based on racial, genetic or other characteristics such as colour, creed or ethnicity in ways that threaten public order of people's safety.
It also establishes penal sanctions in the cases where these actions result in a crime being committed, ranging from a minimum jail sentence of one year and fines ranging from 6,000-20,000 euro.
In addition, those participating in any organization or union that systematically promotes the above actions will face up to two years in jail.
 24-hour strike at AMNA on TuesdayA 24-hour strike has been called at the Athens News Agency (AMNA) by unions representing journalists and media sector administrative staff for Tuesday, Dec. 6. The strike comes in protest to efforts by the government to institute a unified wage scale, initially foreseen for civil servants, on AMNA staff.
During the industrial action, news items and information will not be broadcast by the Agency and the AMNA website will not be updated.
 Economic sentiment index stable in NovemberEconomic sentiment in Greece remained unchanged at the previous month's levels in November, with the relative index at 68.6 points, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Monday.
IOBE, in a monthly report, said that "despite a slight improvement in consumer confidence, pessimism was widespread in all sectors of the economy".
"Pessimism grew by intense political uncertainties in the country last month, while a stabilization of the political situation with the formation of a partnership government could lead to some improvement, offering a temporary way out of the dead-end. However, a convincing more cohesive policy was necessary to lift this climate of pessimism," the report said.
Business expectations in the manufacturing sector remained negative, with expectations over inventories showing some improvement.
In the services sector, business expectations continued falling over the current level of demand and the short-term development of demand.
In the retail sector, expectations were more negative over current sales, while inventories grew slightly. Expectations, however, were partly better in the next three months.
In the construction sector, business expectations improved over the current works program, although employment expectations worsened afresh.
Consumer confidence showed some improvement, after October's record low levels, although saving prospects fell to all historic lows in November and expectations over unemployment remained very negative.
The consumer confidence index recovered to -82.3 points in November, from -83.8 in October, despite a decline in most other European states (with the exception of Finland and Sweden). Greek households' expectations over their finances improved slightly in November, along with their forecasts over the country's finances, while households' intention to save fell to new record lows, while the percentage of households saying "they barely afford to meeting their obligations" rose slightly in November.
 Greek stocks end moderately upGreek stocks ended moderately higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday with investors sidelined awaiting comments from a Merkel-Sarkozy meeting. The composite index of the market rose 0.35 pct to end at 693.12 points, with turnover shrinking to 29.975 million euros.
Piraeus Bank (6.92 pct), Viohalco (5.57 pct), Ellaktor (4.76 pct) and Marfin Popular Bank (4.53 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Titan (3.08 pct), OTE (1.89 pct) and Alpha Bank (1.08 pct) were top losers.
The Big Cap index rose 0.31 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.79 pct up and the Small Cap index rose 0.35 pct. Most sectors moved higher, with the Industrial Products/Services (2.85 pct), Commerce (0.85 pct), Oil/Gas (1.19 pct), Personal/Home Products (2.85 pct), Travel (0.20 pct), Technology (0.93 pct), Banks (0.94 pct), Health (0.46 pct), Food/Beverage (0.34 pct), Chemicals (2.08 pct), Financial Services (2.72 pct) and Utilities (0.30 pct). The Construction (1.88 pct), Raw Materials (0.76 pct) and Telecoms (1.89 pct) sectors suffered losses while the Insurance sector was unchanged.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 76 to 60 with another 29 issues unchanged. Nafpaktos Mills (29.57 pct), Druckfarben (28.51 pct) and Levenderis (22.45 pct) were top gainers, while Motodynamiki (29.82 pct), Ideal (29.68 pct) and Medicon (27.84 pct) were top losers.
Cyprus Bank, Alpha Bank, National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day, while National Bank, PPC, OPAP and Coca-Cola 3E recorded the biggest value of trading. The market's capitalization rose to 27.349 billion euros.
Blue chips ended as follows:
ALPHA BANK: 0.64
COCA COLA: 11.69
HELLENIC PETROLEUM: 6.55
NATIONAL BANK: 1.95
CYPRUS BANK: 0.52
HELLENIC POSTBANK: 0.57
MOTOR OIL: 6.36
PIRAEUS BANK: 0.31
MARFIN POPULAR BANK: 0.25
MARFIN INVESTMENT GROUP: 0.45
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased to 25.32 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 25.93 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 27.49 pct and the German Bund 2.17 pct. There was no turnover in the market.
In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed. The 12-month rate was 2.03 pct, the six-month rate was 1.70 pct, the three-month 1.47 pct and the one-month rate 1.20 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.364
Pound sterling 0.872
Danish kroner 7.546
Swedish kroner 9.181
Japanese yen 106.38
Swiss franc 1.256
Norwegian kroner 7.841
Canadian dollar 1.384
Australian dollar 1.326
 Two arrested for debts to the stateGreek authorities on Monday announced three arrests for debts to the state, in Athens and Thessaloniki.
The first involved the president and board chairman of a listed company trading in electrical goods based in Thessaloniki. The 54-year-old Jordanian national was taken into custody for failure to pay 173, 369 euro in VAT between April and September 2011. Along with fines for overdue payments amounting to 31,000 euro, his total debt exceeded 204,000 euro and a Thessaloniki prosecutor pressed criminal charges against him. The second arrest involved a 46-year-old manufacturer of false ceilings from the Athens district of Peristeri, for total debts to the state amounting to 231,530.32 euro.
 TB vaccination will continue in GreeceVigilance and continuation of the vaccination against tuberculosis (TB) for members of vulnerable population groups in Greece, is suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO), stressing that the country does not meet the preconditions that would have allowed interruption of the measure, it was announced on Monday.
Public Health general secretary Antonis Dimopoulos and Social Insurance Foundation (IKA-ETAM) have forwarded a relevant circular to all public health services underlining that TB vaccination of children aged between 6 and 12 will continue for another season with an emphasis on high-risk groups.
 Earthquake rocks island of LesvosAn earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale shook the Aegean island of Lesvos at 10:17 a.m. on Monday.
According to the Geodynamic Institute, the epicentre of the tremor was in the sea between the islands of Hios and Lesvos while its effects were most intense in Plomari on Lesvos.
No damage was reported.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe Merkel-Sarkozy meetings ahead of the crucial EU summit, additional cuts anticipated in salaries and public investments by 2015, and PASOK leader and former prime minister George Papandreou's continuing meetings with party cadres were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Monday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Chryssohoidis (development minister and high-profile PASOK official): Papandreou should step down right away".
AVRIANI: "Chryssohoidis 'executes' Papandreou".
DEMOKRATIA: "Chryssohoidis: George (Papandreou) and we (PASOK) destroyed the country".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Electronic Tax Statement E9 form (on property owned) hides 6 taxes on real estate".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "IKA (state-run Social Security Foundation) mortgages social security contributions, real estate".
ESTIA: "The psychology prevailing in the country must be reversed - Conditions for exiting the stagnation".
ETHNOS: "Greece on the brink of a social crash".
IMERISSIA: "The battle of the euro".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Revision of programme with 7 billion euros in additional measures".
TA NEA: "Dining and backstabbing".
VRADYNI: "Unlicensed structures: 11 clarifications for arrangement with Tax Bureau".
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