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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-12-09

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

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

Friday, 9 December 2011 Issue No: 3948

CONTENTS

  • [01] Dimas emphasises importance of NATO stance on FYROM accession
  • [02] Clinton-Dimas meeting on sidelines of NATO summit
  • [03] Foreign ministry spokesman: Greece's position on the fYRoM name issue is firm
  • [04] Greek PM replies to letter from FYROM counterpart
  • [05] Greece remains dedicated to Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline project, foreign ministry says
  • [06] Justice ministry unveils omnibus bill for speeding up judicial process
  • [07] AMNA work stoppages Thursday-Friday
  • [08] FinMin in taped message to Investor Forum on Greece in NY
  • [09] Deputy shipping minister attends cruising forum in Istanbul, invites cruise companies to set up 'home porting' in Greece
  • [10] Further reductions in net pay from January, due to new taxation law
  • [11] Greek bank deposits down 6.8 bln euros in Oct
  • [12] RAE approves TAP pipeline application to use natgas grid
  • [13] Inflation posts marginal decline yr/yr in November
  • [14] Unemployment jumps to 17.5pct in September
  • [15] Industrial production down 12.3 percent
  • [16] Greek stocks end 1.30 pct lower
  • [17] ADEX closing report
  • [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [19] Greece second-to-last in EU for tackling climate change, report claims
  • [20] Event at Ukrainian embassy for Greek graduates of Ukrainian universities
  • [21] Doctors in orthopedic supplies scandal to pay back two million euro
  • [22] Man arrested for setting off makeshift explosive devices
  • [23] Truck driver arrested, 40 illegal migrants detained
  • [24] Police crack Monday homicide case
  • [25] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Dimas emphasises importance of NATO stance on FYROM accession

    BRUSSELS (AMNA - V. Demiris)

    The doors of both NATO and the European Union "remain open as soon as the candidate countries fulfill the criteria set by the two organisations," Greece's Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas stressed on Thursday, underlining that it was up to the countries themselves to exploit this positive message.

    Commenting on the ruling issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case brought against Greece by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Dimas emphasised the importance of NATO's common position on the issue of accepting FYROM in the Alliance, which he said reaffirmed the unanimous decisions taken by NATO member-states in Bucharest, Strasbourg and Lisbon.

    The foreign minister noted that the last three days were crucial for Greek foreign policy issues and that the country had successfully tackled difficult situations. He especially underlined three points that he said must be clear to all sides concerning the name dispute with FYROM.

    Dimas stressed that Greece must remain dedicated to a swift resolution of the name issue via negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations. He noted that a solution would allow the two countries to fully exploit the potential of their relations, boosting regional cooperation and European integration in the region.

    He also underlined that the name issue could not be resolved "tangentially", something also confirmed by the ICJ ruling that called on the two sides to negotiate in good faith.

    "It is a matter of political will and I repeat that Greece has this. I hope that the FYROM government will display the same will," he added.

    Dimas repeated that Greece will continue to do its utmost to promote the completion of European integration in the region and announced that Athens would be undertaking initiatives in this direction in the coming months, as part of the preparation for Greece's EU presidency.

    "We would like the active participation of all our partners in the western Balkans in this effort," he said.

    [02] Clinton-Dimas meeting on sidelines of NATO summit

    Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas had a meeting on Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the NATO meeting in Brussels.

    According to Greek foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras, the meeting was conducted in a very friendly atmosphere and was requested by Clinton, who repeated Washington's support for Greece's efforts to tackle the economic and debt crisis, underlining the American side's respect for the efforts of the Greek people.

    Dimas proposed a reactivation of the Greek-American Economy and Trade Committee and they discussed the need to attract U.S. investments in Greece.

    In this context, they examined ways of improving Greece's image abroad and ways to activate the huge potential of the Greek-American community in the U.S.

    Their talks also touched on developments in the Balkans, the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the situation in the Middle East and the Cyprus issue.

    [03] Foreign ministry spokesman: Greece's position on the fYRoM name issue is firm

    "Greece firmly supports the efforts of UN special envoy for the fYRoM name issue Matthew Nimetz, focusing on finding a mutually acceptable solution with fYRoM," foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Thursday underlined.

    He added that Greece's position is firm and clear and has been repeated in parliament by foreign minister Stavros Dimas.

    As regards the likelihood of new initiatives by the UN, Delavekouras stated that Nimetz is in contact with both parties but there is nothing specific for the time being. He cited a relevant statement by Nimetz reminding that he has underlined the need, particularly after the ICJ judgement, for the two sides to focus their efforts on finding a solution to the name issue through UN negotiations.

    As regards the ICJ ruling, Delavekouras focused on the fact that the international court decided not to forejudge Greece's future behaviour and, at the same time, called on the two countries to enter negotiations in good faith to be able to reach a solution to the name issue.

    Delavekouras added that both the EU and NATO repeated that they are ready to welcome candidate states, stressing that that first they will have to meet specific preconditions. "This is a positive message that will have to be utilized by the candidate states," he stressed.

    Delavekouras also said that these decisions are very important and hopefully will lead to the "intensification of negotiations with fYRoM within the framework of the UN to solve the name issue by adopting a mutually acceptable solution."

    Commenting on the recent meeting of foreign minister Stavros Dimas with his fYRoM counterpart Nikola Poposky in Brussels, he said that it was an acquaintance meeting and that "both sides referred to the importance of the negotiating process within the UN framework", adding that Greece expressed its firm support to the European integration of the western Balkan states.

    [04] Greek PM replies to letter from FYROM counterpart

    Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has replied to a letter sent by Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, AMNA sources revealed on Thursday.

    They said that Papademos expressed Greece's steadfast aim to establish good neighbour relations with FYROM and Athens' willingness to continue negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations in order to find a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue to be used erga omnes.

    Papademos' letter replied to a letter sent by Gruevski roughly 10 days earlier, in which he asked Athens to consent to the start of EU accession negotiations with FYROM.

    [05] Greece remains dedicated to Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline project, foreign ministry says

    Greek foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Thursday said that Athens continues to back the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, considering that it is an important energy plan for Europe that would relieve traffic through the Bosphorus Straits.

    He said that there had not yet been any official notification from the Bulgarian side about its decision to pull out of the planned pipeline, expressing hope that it could continue.

    Delavekouras said that the pipeline was discussed during a recent meeting between Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Vilnius, with both sides expressing their continued dedication to completing the project.

    [06] Justice ministry unveils omnibus bill for speeding up judicial process

    Justice Minister Miltiades Papaioannou on Thursday unveiled a draft omnibus bill that includes more than 80 measures and reforms designed to speed up the judicial process in Greece in all areas.

    Papaioannou said the draft bill addressed several 'taboo' areas after discussion with all the sides involved, such as judges, lawyers etc.

    He said the aim of the bill was to speed a creaky judicial process that regularly exceeded the reasonable time limit for reaching a final verdict in cases of all types, from divorces to serious criminal offences.

    [07] AMNA work stoppages Thursday-Friday

    Three daily work stoppages will be taking place at AMNA (ANA-MPA) on Thursday and Friday, December 8-9, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., from 14:00 to 18:00, and from 19:00 to midnight, against the government's measures of reserve labour and uniform salary scale, which also affect the news agency.

    During the work stoppages news items and information will not be broadcast by the Agency and the ANA-MPA website will not be updated.

    The ongoing stoppages and strikes come in protest to efforts by the government to institute a unified wage scale, initially foreseen for civil servants, on AMNA staff.

    Financial News

    [08] FinMin in taped message to Investor Forum on Greece in NY

    NEW YORK(AMNA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos expressed hope that "important decisions" will be taken at the two-day EU summit, that opens Thursday in Brussels, in a videotaped message to the 13th Annual Investor Forum-Greece, titled this year "A New Beginning", held in Manhattan on Wednesday.

    Venizelos, who had been slated to be the keynote speaker at the Forum's luncheon but was unable to attend due to the crucial EU summit, said in a recorded message that the European leaders must send a "clear and strong message" of their "determination and ability" to deal with the debt crisis.

    "I am sure that tomorrow and the day after tomorrow the leaders of the euro area and the European Union will take important decisions and send a clear and strong message to the markets that the euro area has the ability and power to overcome this crisis," Venizelos said.

    On Greece specifically, Venizelos said that the country is on a "good road", adding that the next three months will be a "very critical period" in the government's effort to tackle the "deep and multi-faceted" crisis.

    He further stressed the "imperative need" for Greece to remain in the eurozone.

    Venizelos further spoke on the prospect of general elections in Greece, but after the "achievement of agreement" with the country's private creditors in a bond swap deal to reduce the Greek debt.

    [09] Deputy shipping minister attends cruising forum in Istanbul, invites cruise companies to set up 'home porting' in Greece

    Deputy Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Adonis Georgiadis has invited cruise lines to make Greek ports and harbours their home base, while attending an international cruising forum held in Istanbul on December 5-7.

    Georgiadis stressed that Greece had taken steps to make itself an attractive base for cruising, following the complete abolition of cabotage in Greek seas.

    "Greece's message to cruise companies is extremely candid and clear: come to Greece for jobs, making our ports 'home porting'. And in this direction we have already fully abolished cabotage and will cooperate so that Greece becomes the number one tourism destination for cruises," he said.

    Georgiadis also had meetings with representatives of cruise lines, who outlined the problems and obstacles that had so far deterred them from developing home porting in Greece. They also presented their plans to extend the cruise season to winter months and to link the Mediterranean with the Black Sea in cooperation with Turkey.

    During his visit to Istanbul, the deputy minister was received by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

    [10] Further reductions in net pay from January, due to new taxation law

    Wage earners will see further reductions in their take-home pay from January 1, 2012 due to the the reduction of the tax-free allowance under the new taxation system, which has dropped from 12,000 euro a year to 5,000 euro a year, as well as the monthly payments of the emergency contribution.

    This was revealed in a circular sent out by the finance ministry on Thursday, containing instructions to public-sector and private-sector businesses on how to calculate the tax due on monthly salaries and pensions at the start of the year.

    The emergency contribution will continue to be paid until the end of 2014.

    [11] Greek bank deposits down 6.8 bln euros in Oct

    Greek bank deposits fell by 6.8 billion euros in October, the Bank of Greece said on Thursday. The central bank, in a report, said that deposits by enterprises and households fell to 176.4 billion euros in October, from 183.2 billion euros a month earlier.

    Greek households' deposits fell to 146.9 billion euros from 152.3 billion euros over the same months, respectively. Bank of Greece's governor George Provopoulos, speaking in Parliament last week, said that bank deposits showed signs of improvement in November after the stabilization of the political situation in the country.

    Meanwhile, Greek banks continued lowering their dependence from ECB liquidity mechanisms, while they raised their borrowing from the central bank's extraordinary liquidity mechanism. Greek banks' debt to ECB fell to 74.34 billion euros in October from 77 billion euros in September.

    [12] RAE approves TAP pipeline application to use natgas grid

    The Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) has approved an application by Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to use Greece's national natural gas grid. Conversely, RAE denied permission to the Swiss company EGL, one of the shareholders of the TAP pipeline.

    The authority denied EGL permission because the company did not meet the criteria for inclusion in the grid users register since it is based in Switzerland, which is not an EU member-state.

    [13] Inflation posts marginal decline yr/yr in November

    Greek inflation posted a marginal decline in November 2011, year on year, and was running at a rate of 2.9 percent against 3.0 percent in October, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Thursday.

    ELSTAT, in a report, said that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in November 2011 compared with November 2010, increased by 2.9%. In November 2010, the annual rate of change of the CPI was 4.9%.

    The CPI in November 2011 compared with October 2011 increased by 0.2%. In November 2010, the monthly rate of change of the CPI was also 0.2%.

    In the twelve-month period from December 2010 to November 2011 compared with the period from December 2009 to November 2010 the annual average rate of change of the CPI was 3.6%. The corresponding annual average rate of change of the CPI in the previous year (December 2009 to November 2010), was 4.5%.

    Also, the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in November 2011 compared with November 2010, increased by 2.8%. In November 2010, the annual rate of change of the HICP was 4.8%.

    The HICP in November 2011 compared with October 2011, increased by 0.2%. In November 2010, the monthly rate of change of the HICP was also 0.2%.

    In the twelve-month period from December 2010 to November 2011 compared with the period from December 2009 to November 2010, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 3.4%. The previous year, in the corresponding twelve - month period, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 4.5%.

    [14] Unemployment jumps to 17.5pct in September

    Greek unemployment climbed to 17.5 percent in September, up nearly five points from the corresponding month last year (12.6 percent), the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Thursday.

    ELSTAT, in a report, said that the unemployment rate in September 2011 was 17.5% compared to 12.6% in September 2010 and 18.4% in August 2011. The number of employed amounted to 4,051,109 persons while the number of unemployed amounted to 857,656 and the number of inactive to 4,440,050.

    The number of employed decreased by 315,386 persons compared with September 2010 (a 7.2% rate of decrease) and increased by 16,572 persons compared with August 2011 (a 0.4% rate of increase). Unemployed increased by 229,941 persons (a 36.6% rate of increase) compared with September 2010 and decreased by 50,297 persons compared with August 2011 (a 5.5% rate of decrease).Inactive persons -that is, persons that neither worked neither looked for a job- increased by 120,120 persons (a 2.8% rate of increase) compared with September 2010 and by 36,547 persons compared with August 2011 (a 0.8% rate of increase).

    [15] Industrial production down 12.3 percent

    Industrial production fell by 12.3 percent in Greece in October 2011 compared with the same month in 2010, while manufacturing that directly affects employed fell by 11.9 percent, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) announced on Thursday.

    The rate of reduction in October 2010 was 5 percent compared with October 2009.

    [16] Greek stocks end 1.30 pct lower

    Greek stocks resumed their decline in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday amid a negative climate in other European markets as investors lowered their expectations over the results of an EU Summit. The composite index of the market fell 1.30 pct to end at 677.31 points, with turnover shrinking again to 27.076 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 1.60 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.82 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 0.01 pct. Ellaktor (1.77 pct), Folli Follie (1.39 pct) and Motor Oil (0.79 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Hellenic Postbank (6.83 pct), Eurobank (5.90 pct) and Alpha Bank (5.27 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: unchanged.

    Industrial products: -0.88 pct

    Commerce: +1.37 pct

    Constructions/materials: +0.24 pct

    Oil/Gas: +0.30 pct

    Raw Materials: -3.57 pct

    Travel: -2.82 pct

    Technology: -0.86 pct

    Telecoms: -2.25 pct

    Banks: -1.70 pct

    Food/Beverage: -1.30 pct

    Health: -1.59 pct

    Utilities: -1.83 pct

    Chemicals: +0.06 pct

    Financial Services: -2.04 pct

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 83 to 63 with another 22 issues unchanged. Kordellou Bros (29.53 pct), PC Systems (28.91 pct) and Ideal (26.39 pct) were top gainers, while Geniki Bank (-58.20 pct), Hellenic Textiles (19.69 pct) and Attica (19.61 pct) were top losers.

    Alpha Bank, Cyprus Bank and National Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. The market's capitalization fell to 26.910 billion euros.

    Blue chip stocks ended as follows:

    ALPHA BANK: 0.57

    FOLLI-FOLLIE: 7.30

    VIOHALCO: 3.10

    ELLAKTOR: 1.15

    PPC: 4.12

    COCA COLA: 11.80

    HELLENIC PETROLEUM: 6.37

    NATIONAL BANK: 1.85

    EUROBANK: 0.40

    CYPRUS BANK: 0.52

    JUMBO: 3.76

    HELLENIC POSTBANK: 0.51

    MYTILINEOS: 3.11

    MOTOR OIL: 6.35

    OPAP: 6.55

    OTE: 3.04

    PIRAEUS BANK: 0.30

    TITAN: 11.65

    MARFIN POPULAR BANK: 0.26

    MARFIN INVESTMENT GROUP: 0.43

    [17] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.86 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thurday, with turnover a low 13.355 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,889 contracts worth 7.830 million euros with 20,216 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 31,652 contracts worth 5.525 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (8,163), followed by Eurobank (877), OTE (3,195), PPC (1,431), OPAP (986), National Bank (8,163), Alpha Bank (4,152), ATEbank (3,517) and Hellenic Postbank (672).

    [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.361

    Pound sterling 0.865

    Danish kroner 7.545

    Swedish kroner 9.149

    Japanese yen 105.28

    Swiss franc 1.255

    Norwegian kroner 7.799

    Canadian dollar 1.372

    Australian dollar 1.320

    General News

    [19] Greece second-to-last in EU for tackling climate change, report claims

    Greece has ranked second to last among EU countries in terms of action to tackle climate change, according to the annual report issued by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network on Thursday.

    Greece has dropped from 43rd to 47th in world rankings and has low performance in terms of restricting carbon emissions, while on a national level it lacks a unified action plan for reducing CO2 emissions.

    According to the group Mediterranean SOS, Greece is displaying "criminal inertia and indifference toward issues of adapting to climate change and in drawing up national plans to prevent and moderate the repercussions of climate change on water resources, agriculture and tourism".

    Placing last in the world rankings for climate change policy is Saudi Arabia, while countries in the lowest ranks include Turkeyu, Poland and Croatia.

    Top-ranking is Sweden that has fourth place while the top three positions remain empty since no country has contributed sufficiently to containing the rise in global temperature to merit one of the top positions.

    [20] Event at Ukrainian embassy for Greek graduates of Ukrainian universities

    The Ukrainian embassy in Greece on Friday will host the seventh annual reunion of Greek graduates of Ukrainian universities, an event to be held at the embassy's premises in Athens.

    According to an embassy press release, Greek graduates of Ukrainian higher educational institutions retain close relations and cooperation with the country where they studied, while the Friday event aims boost the already close bilateral bonds between the two countries and to support academic and cultural exchanges between the two peoples.

    [21] Doctors in orthopedic supplies scandal to pay back two million euro

    Thessaloniki's Ippokration Hospital doctors involved in an orthopaedic materials' scandal are called to compensate the National Health System (ESY) with the sum of 2 million euros, it was announced on Thursday.

    Health minister Andreas Loverdos said that already one million euros have been returned to the hospital by orthopaedic material suppliers involved in the case. The hospital doctors involved in the scandal will have to return a total of 2 million euros payable to tax offices.

    One of the doctors, who is retired, was a candidate for the post of health inspector but was excluded from the procedure following an intervention by the health minister.

    [22] Man arrested for setting off makeshift explosive devices

    Police on Thursday announced the arrest of a 55-year-old west Attica highschool teacher who was caught booby-trapping a car in an Ambelokipi apartment building parking space with a makeshift incendiary explosive device.

    The arrest was made on Wednesday and, following an investigation, police discovered that the same man was responsible for setting another 20 explosive devices in cars, rubbish bins and parks in the Athens suburbs of Paleo and Neo Psychiko, Halandri, Filothei and other areas of Athens.

    The suspect also confessed to placing more than 30 such devices in several other areas of Athens that are now being investigated.

    Police investigating these incidents had managed to locate the suspect in Psychiko three days earlier and had placed him under surveillance.

    At the time of his arrest, he tried to threaten police with a gun that proved to be fake.

    The suspect is being held at the Northwest Attica Security Police headquarters.

    [23] Truck driver arrested, 40 illegal migrants detained

    A 43-year-old truck driver was arrested and 40 illegal migrants were detained after the migrants were found hidden in cardboard boxes in his truck in the port city of Igoumenitsa.

    A police search of the truck, was due to board a ferry for Italy, turned up the illegal migrants, all of them young men from Afghanistan, hidden inside cardboard boxes. Similar boxes filled with PVC plastic were piled up in front of the boxes with the migrants in an effort do evade detection by port authorities.

    The Igoumenitsa port authority is conducting a preliminary investigation, and the truck was seized by authorities.

    [24] Police crack Monday homicide case

    Police on Thursday identified four Egyptians as the suspects in the murder of an unknown man, whose mutilated body was found outside the Thriasio Hospital just before midnight on Monday.

    Working with the Mandra police, the West Attica Security headquarters arrested a 32-year-old and a 39-year-old on Tuesday night in Salamina, while the other two suspects are being sought.

    The motive for the murder was a financial dispute with the victim.

    According to police, the suspects abducted the victim on Monday afternoon and took him to a house in Salamina, where they tortured him to death. The 39-year-old then transport the body in a car and dumped it outside the Thriasio hospital.

    The men arrested will be led before a Piraeus Misdemeanours Court prosecutor.

    [25] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The critical two-day EU summit that opens in Brussels on Thursday, and problems with the reserve labour measure in the public sector, were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Thursday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The climate in PASOK over the succession in the party leadership is intensifying".

    AVGHI: "Heavy winter in schools - No heat".

    AVRIANI: "The only solution is a return to the drachma".

    DEMOKRATIA: "India-level salaries under the new Memorandum".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Perpetual blackmail with the extraordinary 'solidarity' contribution".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "IKA (state Social Security Foundation) pensions to be paid with five-day delay".

    ESTIA: "PM tells the full truth, without mincing words".

    ETHNOS: "Reserve labour goes into...early retirement".

    IMERISSIA: "Europe, zero hour - Hopes and fears over the Summit".

    KATHIMERINI: "Zero hour for solution in eurozone".

    LOGOS: "Package of 6 measures for financially weaker citizens".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The Summit wager: Agreement or collapse".

    NIKI: "Schoolchildren at the mercy of reserve labour and winter".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "KKE question in parliament on education".

    TA NEA: "Impasse with the reserve labour, and dismissals on the horizon".

    VRADYNI: "Recognition of insured time for interim periods".

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


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