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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-12-13

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

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

Tuesday, 13 December 2011 Issue No: 3951

CONTENTS

  • [01] Government must cut spending further, Finmin says
  • [02] PM's meetings with ministers
  • [03] LA.O.S opposed to adoption of new austerity measures
  • [04] Papoulias received DM
  • [05] Independent healthcare com't findings released to troika reps
  • [06] MPs seeking backdated salary increase reach 121
  • [07] Parliament president rules out backdated salary payment to MPs
  • [08] Reactions to backdated salary claims by MPs
  • [09] French authorities neutralise letter-bomb to Greek ambassador
  • [10] AMNA work stoppages on Monday, rolling 24h strikes Tues-Thurs
  • [11] Delegation of Chinese maritime officials in Greece this month
  • [12] Event in Athens focuses on Greek exports to Russia
  • [13] Environment minister asks for faster action on creating land register
  • [14] Nutriart announces 13.9-mln-euro syndicated bond loan
  • [15] OGA welfare benefits to be paid on Tuesday
  • [16] Stocks end significantly lower
  • [17] ADEX closing report
  • [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [19] Sino-Greek forum in Beijing on Greek studies
  • [20] Ioannina Archaeological Museum amongst EMYA candidates
  • [21] Former head of media sector-related pension fund in jail pending trial
  • [22] Foreign nationals arrested on gun running charges
  • [23] Robbery arrest in Ilioupoli
  • [24] Another arrest for major debts to state
  • [25] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Government must cut spending further, Finmin says

    There have to be additional measures to reduce spending, Finance Minister and government vice-president Evangelos Venizelos said on Monday, stressing that there could be no new measures to further increase revenues.

    Venizelos had successive meetings on Monday with EU-IMF troika officials and the Institute of International Finance Managing Director Charles Dallara in the framework of talks for a new loan agreement and a deal for a 50 percent haircut of Greek bonds held by private creditors (PSI).

    In a press conference after these meetings, Venizelos said that if the 2011 budget was executed as planned there will be no need for additional measures.

    In the case that targets for 2011 were not met, he said that this was an issue that had to be tackled by a government with a fresh mandate from the voters.

    Asked whether the troika might demand new measures in order to approve the new loan agreement, Venizelos said that this would be judged by the government and political forces, appealing for the other parties to clearly state their proposals.

    He said a preliminary round of negotiations with the troika would be held during this "crucial and difficult week" and that the troika would depart after meeting Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and representatives of the political parties, returning in January to complete negotiations for the new loan agreement, the memorandum and PSI.

    Before that time, the finance ministry will seek to table an omnibus bill with the structural reforms in Parliament before Christmas, Venizelos added.

    [02] PM's meetings with ministers

    Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Monday held successive meetings with Labour & Social Security Minister Giorgos Koutroumanis and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    The meetings focused on preparations for talks with representatives of the EC-ECB-IMF 'troika', who are currently in Athens.

    [03] LA.O.S opposed to adoption of new austerity measures

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) president George Karatzaferis on Monday forecast that the outcome of the next general elections will produce a "cooperation government", adding that the new government will be much smaller in size than the present one.

    Speaking to an Athens private radio, he referred to the visit of troika (EC-ECB-IMF) representatives, stressing that his party will oppose the adoption of new austerity measures other than those included in the Oct. 26 agreement.

    [04] Papoulias received DM

    President Karolos Papoulias on Monday received Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, who underlined that the armed forces' morale is high despite whatever difficulties.

    Avramopoulos expressed certainty that "if certain things are placed on the right track in a spirit of cooperation, which is necessary in the present conjuncture, we will be able to avoid harder challenges and we'll continue to move forward with a sense of security and confidence, while guaranteeing our country's integrity and independence."

    [05] Independent healthcare com't findings released to troika reps

    A report prepared by the independent committee of experts in the sector of health was unveiled on Monday to visiting troika (EC-ECB-IMF) representatives.

    The report included specific scientifically documented proposals focusing on a more effective management of the National Health System (ESY), many of which are already implemented in the management of hospitals and health sector human resources.

    A health ministry statement clarified that public hospital privatizations are not within its intentions or the committee's.

    A definitive decision on the implementation of the committee's proposals will be made by Health Minister Andreas Loverdos.

    [06] MPs seeking backdated salary increase reach 121

    The list of retired and current MPs that have sought a backdated salary increase plus interest through the courts has now reached 121.

    Another four names have been added to the original 117 MPs seeking the salary rise, all of them belonging to main opposition New Democracy. With the four new suits, there are now 52 PASOK MPs that have resorted to the courts to get the backdated salary rise and 66 from ND.

    Each of them is seeking the difference in pay between their own salary and that of the president of the National Commission for Telecommunications and Post, including the legal interest.

    In their suits, the MPs noted that they are automatically eligible for the same pay as the NCTP President based on the Constitution, after it was pegged with the salaries of senior court judges.

    The MPs are also seeking 10,000 euro compensation in moral damages for the failure to adjust their salaries in line with those of top judges.

    [07] Parliament president rules out backdated salary payment to MPs

    Parliament President Philippos Petsalnikos on Monday stressed that he would personally refuse to sign for the payment of backdated salary claims by MPs, even if these were awarded by the courts.

    He pointed to past Parliamentary decisions saying that the equivalent salary increases to judges did not have any bearing on the salaries of MPs.

    In order for MPs to receive pay rises in line with judges, there had to be a joint decision of the finance minister and Parliament president, Petsalnikos said, while ruling out all chances that this would happen.

    On the contrary, he pointed out, he had personally proposed and Parliament had agreed to total salary cuts for MPs that exceeded 45 percent a year, in the last two years.

    [08] Reactions to backdated salary claims by MPs

    New Democracy (ND) Parliamentary group secretary Costas Tassoulas on Monday stressed that "no serving ND deputy is claiming backdated salaries," adding that four active MPs that had resorted to the courts have withdrawn their claims.

    Tassoulas underlined that "such claims are unacceptable amid this extremely crucial period, when incomes of millions of Greeks are being cut and the people's endurance is being tested."

    He also stressed that the former MPs in question had resorted to the courts back in 2008 when the country's economic problem was not apparent.

    "The claims of backdated salaries by MPs are an insult to any sense of justice," PASOK parliamentary group secretary Vassilis Exarchos underlined on Monday.

    He added that PASOK has long expressed a clear position that its former or current MPs should not proceed with such claims, realising the country's crucial situation.

    The Democratic Alliance party characterised the claims as "provocative and unjustifiable" and called for their immediate withdrawal.

    Democratic Left president Fotis Kouvelis described as an "unacceptable move" the lawsuit by scores of former MPs to claim backdated salary increases.

    [09] French authorities neutralise letter-bomb to Greek ambassador

    French bomb disposal experts on Monday successfully neutralised a letter bomb sent to Greece's Ambassador to Paris through a controlled explosion.

    The letter was addressed to the Greek ambassador and was sent from Italy, arriving at the Greek Embassy in Paris on Monday morning. It was considered suspicious and turned over to French authorities, who confirmed that it was a bomb of limited strength.

    None of the staff at the embassy were at risk while th building did not suffer any damage.

    [10] AMNA work stoppages on Monday, rolling 24h strikes Tues-Thurs

    Ongoing work stoppages at AMNA will continue on Monday, December 12, followed by 24-hour rolling strikes from Tuesday through Friday (Dec. 13-15) by decision of the journalists' unions.

    Three work stoppages will be taking place at AMNA (ANA-MPA) on Monday, December 12, 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.

    Three 24-hour rolling strikes will also take place from 6:00 a.m. Tuesday to 6:00 a.m. Friday.

    During the work stoppages and strikes 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

    [11] Delegation of Chinese maritime officials in Greece this month

    A large group of maritime and shipping cadres from the Peoples Republic of China arrived earlier this month in Greece for a training visit scheduled to run until Dec. 22.

    The visit is organised by China's State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, while on the Greek side the visit is coordinated by the Eurasian Consulting firm S.A. in cooperation with the University of Piraeus' research centre, and with technical assistance provided by the Hellas-China International Exchange Center.

    The visit to Greece by the Chinese delegation is the second in consecutive years and comes within the framework of ever-closer Greek-Chinese trade and economic relations.

    A briefing of Greek-owned shipping sector and an exchange of views on all major issues dealing with international maritime shipping, particularly in the sectors of risk management, safety and insurances, will be the focus.

    The visit includes tours of shipping and port facilities, meetings with local shipping executives, public sector officials and Greek business leaders.

    [12] Event in Athens focuses on Greek exports to Russia

    Efforts to gain a bigger share of the all-important Russian market should not focus exclusively in Moscow but also in other regions, which offer good potential for the Greek products, speakers emphasised on Monday at a symposium in organised Athens by the Hellenic-Russian Chamber of Commerce.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Dollis underlined the importance of exports for the economy, adding that within the next week he will travel to Moscow to attend a joint ministerial meeting.

    Russian envoy to Greece V. Chkhikvishvili underlined the importance of the two countries' cooperation in trade, adding that in 2010 the trade ties posted a 22-percent increase, while 34 percent of Russia's imports of farm products hailed from Greece. Vegetables and fruits as well as olive oil are among the top Greek exports to Russia.

    The conference is entitled "Greek Food & Beverage Exports to Russia - Regional Cooperation".

    [13] Environment minister asks for faster action on creating land register

    Environment Minister George Papaconstantinou had a meeting with the management of the Greek land registry company 'Ktimatologio S.A.' on Monday and asked that the work on creating Greece's land cadastre be speeded up after a tender concering the second phase of the project was cleared by the Court of Audit.

    The meeting focused on issues concerning the general running of the registry process and any outstanding issues that exist in order to activate the final land registry offices where the process has been completed.

    The minister asked that Ktimatologio's management examine alternative possibilities for speeding up the process in the rest of the country as well.

    [14] Nutriart announces 13.9-mln-euro syndicated bond loan

    Nutriart ABEE on Monday announced that an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting approved a board plan to issue a syndicated bond loan worth 13.9 million euros. The shareholders' meeting also approved agreements reached between Tinola Holdings SA -the main shareholder- and creditor banks over a debt restructuring of the company.

    [15] OGA welfare benefits to be paid on Tuesday

    All welfare benefit paid by the farmers' pension fund OGA - including family benefits, large-family benefits, third-child benefits, and large-family lump sums and pensions - for the second half of 2011 will be paid to beneficiaries on Tuesday.

    An OGA announcement said that the benefits will be paid to 421,899 families and their total cost is 117,175,494.87 euro. Payment will be either directly into bank accounts or through the post office.

    [16] Stocks end significantly lower

    Stocks ended significantly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday amid a negative climate in international markets and a decline in the euro currency, as investors seemed unconvinced by the results of an EU Summit last week.

    The composite index of the market dropped 2.08 pct to end at 661.77 points, only seven points above this year's lows of 654.93 points. Turnover was a low 32.676 million euros.

    Bank shares came under strong selling pressure on the debut of formal negotiations over a PSI agreement with international debt owners. National Bank (12.64 pct), Alpha Bank (11.69 pct), Hellenic Postbank (11.40 pct), Eurobank (10.47 pct) were top losers among blue chip stocks, while Folli Follie (4.11 pct), MIG (3.36 pct) and OTE (2.67 pct) were top gainers.

    The Big Cap index fell 2.94 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.16 pct lower and the Small Cap index dropped 2.65 pct.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: unchanged

    Industrial Products/Services: -2.60 pct

    Commerce: +3.98 pct

    Construction/Materials: -2.57 pct

    Oil/Gas: -1.01 pct

    Personal Products: -1.12 pct

    Raw Materials: -3.84 pct

    Travel: +0.93 pct

    Technology: -3.66 pct

    Telecoms: +2.67 pct

    Banks: -9.37 pct

    Food/Beverage: -1.43 pct

    Health: -5.95 pct

    Utilities: -1.50 pct

    Chemicals: -0.47 pct

    Financial Services: +2.33 pct

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 104 to 45 with another 17 issues unchanged.

    Akritas (26.26 pct), Motodynamic (23.24 pct), Sanyo Hellas (19.23 pct) were top gainers, while Kyriakoulis (29.38 pct), Druckfarbenk (24.62 pct) and Alsinco (20.08 pct) were top losers. National Bank, Cyprus Bank and Alpha Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. The market's capitalization fell to 26.252 billion euros.

    Blue chips ended as follows:

    ALPHA BANK: 0.52

    FOLLI-FOLLIE: 7.60

    VIOHALCO: 2.97

    ELLAKTOR: 1.15

    PPC: 4.12

    COCA COLA: 11.80

    HELLENIC PETROLEUM: 6.21

    NATIONAL BANK: 1.59

    EUROBANK: 0.35

    CYRPUS BANK: 0.47

    JUMBO: 3.71

    HELLENIC POSTBANK: 0.44

    MYTILINEOS: 3.00

    MOTOR OIL: 6.08

    OPAP: 6.69

    OTE: 3.08

    PIRAEUS BANK: 0.29

    TITAN: 11.18

    MARFIN POPULAR BANK: 0.24

    MARFIN INVESTMENT GROUP: 0.40

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: Unchanged

    Industrials: -2.60%

    Commercial: +3.98%

    Construction: -2.57%

    Oil & Gas: -1.01%

    Personal & Household: -1.12%

    Raw Materials: -3.84%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.93%

    Technology: -3.66%

    Telecoms: +2.67%

    Banks: -9.37%

    Food & Beverages: -1.43%

    Health: -5.95%

    Utilities: -1.50%

    Chemicals: -0.47%

    Financial Services: +2.33%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Bank of Cyprus and Alpha Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.52

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 4.12

    HBC Coca Cola: 11.80

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.21

    National Bank of Greece: 1.59

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.35

    OPAP: 6.69

    OTE: 3.08

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.29

    Titan: 11.18

    [17] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.32 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 32.037 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 20,424 contracts worth 17.055 million euros, with 23,734 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 88,438 contracts worth 14.982 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (37,886), followed by Eurobank (1,116), MIG (1,491), OTE (12,094), PPC (1,686), Piraeus Bank (3,059), GEK (4,372), Alpha Bank (15,269), Cyprus Bank (2,628), Hellenic Postbank (4,755) and ATEbank (1,743).

    [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.345

    Pound sterling 0.860

    Danish kroner 7.547

    Swedish kroner 9.188

    Japanese yen 104.67

    Swiss franc 1.253

    Norwegian kroner 7.817

    Canadian dollar 1.378

    Australian dollar 1.330

    General News

    [19] Sino-Greek forum in Beijing on Greek studies

    BEIJING (AMNA) he past, the present and the future of Hellenic studies in China was the subject of a two-day forum here in early December, organised by the Centre for Hellenic Studies of Peking University and the embassy of Greece in the Peoples Republic of China, and with the contribution of the Peking University Centre for Classical Studies.

    Several noted Chinese Hellenists and noted academics from universities throughout China (Peking University, Tsinghua, Renmin, Nankai, Fudan, Beijing Academy of Social Sciences) participated, discussing issues and studies on ancient Greek and Byzantine history and philosophy, ancient drama, ancient and modern Greek language teaching and of translations of Greek authors to Chinese.

    Speaking during the opening ceremony at the historic library of Peking University, the ambassador of Greece, Theodore Georgakelos, the director of the University's history department, Gao Yi, the former ambassador of PRC in Greece, Yang Guansheng, and the general director for international cooperation of the Chinese ministry of education, Xu Yongji, addressed the audience.

    Amb. Georgakelos expressed his appreciation for the continuous teaching of Greek in China over the past 11 years, citing the sponsorship of late Greek shipping magnate Vassilis Konstantakopoulos towards the Hellenic studies programme here, as well as the support by then vice-rector of Peking University and current Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping, along with the support of then PRC ambassador to Greece, Yang Guansheng.

    The Greek ambassador also thanked, on behalf of Greece, all of the Chinese academics for their life-long efforts, and expressed a certainty that the upcoming younger generations will enhance the cultural and education ties for the future of the two countries.

    [20] Ioannina Archaeological Museum amongst EMYA candidates

    The Archaeological Museum of Ioannina in northwest Greece is among the candidates for the 2012 European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA).

    The winner will be announced in a special ceremony in Penafiel, Portugal, on May 19, 2012.

    The EMYA was established in 1977 and is presented by the European Museum Forum (EMF) under the auspices of the Council of Europe (CoE). The award promotes innovative museum practices and quality services to visitors.

    The 1981 EMYA was received by the Folk Art Museum in Nafplio, southern Greece, while the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki received the Council of Europe Museum Prize in 2005.

    [21] Former head of media sector-related pension fund in jail pending trial

    A court of appeals prosecutor on Monday recommended that the former president of the media sector-related pension fund, known as TSPEATh and later renamed ETAP-MME, Dimitris Kapranos, should remain in custody pending trial.

    The relevant prosecutor made the recommendation in response to an application for bail filed by the defendant, who stands accused of felonious mismanagement in the structured bonds affair.

    The one-time columnist and journalist is accused of approving, in July 2006, the purchase of a structured bond deal worth 130 million euros by TSPEATh. He has been in custody since Nov. 10 pending trial on four felony counts, namely, breach of faith, fraud, money-laundering and bribery.

    Evidence that surfaced during recent judicial questioning traced remittances of 1.887 million euros to his bank accounts in Greek and foreign banks (Switzerland) immediately after the purchase, by the pension fund, of the controversial structured bonds.

    [22] Foreign nationals arrested on gun running charges

    Four Albanian nationals were arrested on Monday following a coordinated police operation in the southern Athens district of Kallithea aimed at a gun running ring.

    A female accomplice, also an Albanian national, was arrested shortly thereafter.

    Acting on a tip-off, police located the suspects in a cafe in Kallithea, with a subsequent search in their vehicle revealing two 9mm handguns and two cartridges.

    A search of the suspects' residences revealed shell casings, shotgun shells, various cellphones, various types of jewelry, more than 10,000 euros cash as well as a large quantity of burglary tools.

    The suspects were led before Athens prosecutor.

    [23] Robbery arrest in Ilioupoli

    A 44-year-old man was arrested at the east Athens district of Ilioupoli on Monday on armed robbery charges. Earlier, the suspect had allegedly held up a mobile telephony shop at gunpoint.

    An investigation linked the man to another nine armed robberies, police said.

    [24] Another arrest for major debts to state

    A 47-year-old businessman, the manager of an Athens-based firm trading in nutritional supplements and foodstuffs, was led on Monday before an Athens prosecutor on charges of owing more than seven million euros to the state.

    Finance crime squad officers arrested the suspect.

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

    The government's negotiations with the ECB-EC-IMF 'troika' on Monday and the issue of civil servants' lump sum pension payments as well as lawsuits by former MPs demanding retroactive pay increases mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Civil servants' absenteeism, a new way of protest".

    AVRIANI: "Crooks aiming to change early election date should leave aside tricks".

    DIMOKRATIA: "117 (ex) MPs demand 240,000 euros each amidst crisis".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Secret memorandum with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos' signature".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "They're slashing 50 percent of lump sum".

    ESTIA: "Generous cutbacks in taxation".

    ETHNOS: "List with (former MPs) lawsuits of shame".

    IMERISSIA: "New, harsh measures - Government seeks billion euros in additional revenues".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Troika: 10 immediate tax commandments".

    TA NEA: "Troika asks for change".

    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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