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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-04-20

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

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

Friday, 20 April 2012 Issue No: 4050

CONTENTS

  • [01] Bank recapitalization plan remains open
  • [02] Venizelos TV interview on election issues
  • [03] PASOK leader Venizelos addresses media representatives from northern Greece
  • [04] The people must decide content of policy after elections, PASOK party leader says
  • [05] Independent Greeks party unveils list of candidates for elections
  • [06] Kouvelis proposes raft of welfare measures to alleviate poverty
  • [07] New Democracy MP Halkidis pulls out of election race
  • [08] Opinion poll: ND lead and 8-party parliament
  • [09] Joint ministerial decision on election air time
  • [10] Dem Alliance leader meets central bank governor, calls for immediate reforms
  • [11] Education ministry launched dialogue on teacher evaluation
  • [12] Greece an official member of the Open Government Partnership
  • [13] Official report lambasts National Gallery security measures
  • [14] Venezuelan ambassador visits seaport city of Volos
  • [15] Development minister promises boost to market liquidity in June
  • [16] Greek part-time employment rates among EU's lowest, Eurostat reports
  • [17] European Commission Vice-President to speak at Athens conference on Friday
  • [18] Greek current account deficit down 44.1 pct in Jan-Feb
  • [19] Industrial turnover index up 7.6 pct in Feb
  • [20] Industrial new orders down 13.8 pct in Feb
  • [21] Greek merchant marine fleet down 3.8 pct in Feb
  • [22] Greek stocks end 1.75 pct lower
  • [23] Greek bond market closing report
  • [24] ADEX closing report
  • [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [26] Greek men but not Greek women above EU average for life expectancy at 65, report shows
  • [27] Police dismantle gang stealing PPC power transformers
  • [28] Three arrests for possession of explosive devices
  • [29] Three-year hunting ban on Gavdos island
  • [30] Rainy on Friday
  • [31] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Bank recapitalization plan remains open

    Some basic elements of a bank recapitalization plan, curently under negotiation, remain open two weeks before the general elections in the country. The issue was discussed again on Thursday, during a meeting between Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos.

    The parameters and the recapitalization process will be finalized and will be included in a special act of a cabinet meeting, while the Bank of Greece will determine the capital needed for each financial institution in order to fulfil the capital adequacy criteria.

    Under the provisions of the International Monetary Fund, Greek banks' total capital needs -to cover both the losses from PSI and write-offs of bad debt resulting from a BlackRock report- total 50 billion euros. Greece's Financial Stability Fund as already received a first tranche of 1.5 billion euros, with a next instalment of around 25 billion euros expected in the next few days, while another 23.5 billion euros will be available in June. Funding will be probably in the form of short-term bonds by the EFSF. Under the original plan, the bank recapitalization plan is expected to be completed by the end of September in time for Greek banks to be ready to undergo a new round of stress tests. By then, their capital adequacy rates must be at 10 pct.

    For those banks which will submit sustainable share capital increase plans, a provision will exist allowing them to receive state support combined with private sector participation, thus limitng the burden on taxpayers. The banks will be offered support from the Greek Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) through common shares and contingent convertible bonds.

    [02] Venizelos TV interview on election issues

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said that the three main issues of the May 6 general elections are how the Memorandum is being administered, how all the other major issues are being dealt with, and how the country will be governed, in a television interview on private MEGA channel on Wednesday night.

    Venizelos said that the "money exists" voiced by his predecessor George Papandreou before the previous parliamentary elections was a mistake, while in the first months of the subsequent PASOK governance the "paces were lost" and measures should have been taken then to send a message to the markets and to contain the state deficit.

    Venizelos said that the country was led to the first Memorandum "by necessity", noting that he had not been privy to the negotiations at the time and adding that he, personally, was against taking recourse in the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Also, he said the first Memorandum had been insufficient, as it had been based on the presumption that the Greek debt would be rendered sustainable without (salary and pension) reductions, a 'haircut' and the PSI.

    He also said that the EU did not fully understand the situation at the time and had been unprepared to deal with such a crisis, adding that it is "tragic" that the eurozone has resorted to the IMF.

    Ruling out the prospect of a self-sufficient majority by any party, Venizelos further said that repeat elections in the event that a self-sufficient government does not arise from the May 6 elections "is Mr. Samaras' threat", and warned that such an eventuality would be tantamount to destruction of the economy, and that the country must not find itself in a state of non-governance, accusing New Democracy leader Samaras of having a "fixation" with the premiership, whereas he was not interested in "being a prime minister".

    He said that he made agonizing efforts for the country, adding that PASOK must emerge as the first party in the elections in order to lead the effort to create a pro-European progressive majority that will lead Greece from the Memorandum to a National Restructuring Plan.

    Replying to questions, Venizelos admitted that scenarios of Greece's exit from the eurozone had been discussed in the previous period in the EU. He said that there had been extensive discussion of the prospect of a structured default which, he added, would have led to eventual exit from the eurozone. In order to avert that danger, the country needed to have the answers and to be able to formulate the necessary correlations and have the ability to negotiate, "and it has been proven that the government had them".

    Venizelos also said that the country's fiscal adjustment programme should be extended to 2015, adding that, provided all the structural changes proceed as planned, he himself guarantees that low salaries and pensions will not be touched, that across-the-board cuts will not be made and that new taxes will not be imposed.

    "Now we must follow a reverse course," he said, adding that "whoever says that he will not make any cutbacks is lying."

    [03] PASOK leader Venizelos addresses media representatives from northern Greece

    "The country is in a very difficult situation. However, we have covered two-thirds of the distance and all we need to make is one more effort," PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said on Thursday.

    Speaking at a press conference attended by representatives of media in northern Greece, he outlined the reasons why people should vote for his party.

    Venizelos stated that new measures will be taken in June to save 11 billion euros, adding that he has suggested the programme's extension until 2015 to make the adjustment smoother.

    He stressed that if structural reforms go ahead and unnecessary public spending is curbed, the pressure for across-the-board cuts will be reduced.

    The PASOK leader also wondered if the rest of the political parties can guarantee that wages and pensions will be paid in June.

    He said that the country has to be governed and underlined that only PASOK can play a leading role in the shaping of an alliance of responsible political powers that will promote progressive reforms and social solidarity.

    Venizelos said that New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras has been trapped by the goal of a strong majority set for his party and criticised the Communist Party (KKE) as anti-European. As regards, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), he said that it wishes to lead the anti-memorandum powers. On the Democratic Left (DIMAR), he said that it says 'yes' to Europe but without a memorandum, namely, without commitments and framework.

    The leader of PASOK acknowledged that many people will go to the polls feeling angry, adding that the urge to 'punish' the political system should not result in the country's 'self-punishment'.

    Asked about the likelihood of post-election cooperation, he said that he never renounced the premiership, clarifying that he does not set it as a precondition for cooperation.

    He did not rule out the likelihood of PASOK-ND cooperation after the elections adding, however, that it is not certain that the vote results will give a PASOK-ND government.

    Referring to the first memorandum, he clarified that he described it as incomplete and not a mistake. He said that it failed to address the debt sustainability issue, considering the short duration of the loan and the high interest rate and, therefore, a complete renegotiation had to be made immediately afterwards.

    As regards energy policy, he said that the Energy Planning Council will have to be reestablished, stressing that a lot has been done in the past two years for the exploitation of the country's mineral resources, stressing that the delineation of the continental shelf and the EEZ based on the Law of the Sea is a priority.

    On illegal migration, he said that Frontex, the EU's border agency, should operate on the Turkish side of the borders as well, and also along its eastern borders.

    As regards the Reception Centres for illegal migrants, he said that local communities will have a say on the issue and that he is in favour of dynamic measures aimed at dealing with the problem.

    [04] The people must decide content of policy after elections, PASOK party leader says

    PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, addressing a rally at the Mylonas indoor stadium in the Athens district of Nea Smyrni on Thursday evening, said that PASOK "is not available for whatever government solution after the elections, nor a given partner, the people must decide the content of policy after the elections."

    The PASOK leader said that if the opinion poll findings are recorded in the polls as they are, then there is the risk of the lack of governance in the country and expressed support for "a progressive alliance of the responsible forces whose creation PASOK can lead coming the first party."

    At the same time, the PASOK leader said that he and the party "guarantee the country's safe course for an exit from the crisis."

    [05] Independent Greeks party unveils list of candidates for elections

    The Independent Greeks party on Thursday unveiled the list of candidates that will run for Parliament on its election tickets throughout the country at the May 6 polls. The majority of the candidates listed are largely unknown to the general public.

    The party's president Panos Kammenos will be a candidate in the 2nd Athens constituency and in Evros. The leader of the 'Panhellenic Citizens' Chariot' party Giannis Dimaras, who recently announced a coalition between his party and the Independent Greeks, will also be running in the 2nd Athens constituency, along with rebel former New Democracy MP Yiannis Manolis, the lawyer Vassilis Kapernaros, former Kifissia mayor Vasilis Varsos and actor Pavlos Kontogiannidis.

    In the central Athens constituency, the party's candidates include former ND MP Elena Kountoura and among candidates for the island of Evia is the former minister Costas Markopoulos.

    Leading the party's state deputy ticket is the well-known journalist and TV anchor Terens Kouik, with Mihalis Yiannakis second and Sotiris Stanotas of the 'Citizens' Chariot' third.

    The full list of the party's candidates has been posted on the party's website at http://anexartitoiellines.gr/election_map.php

    [06] Kouvelis proposes raft of welfare measures to alleviate poverty

    Democratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis on Thursday called for a series of welfare programmes to assist the burgeoning ranks of the poor, including food aid for those in want and help for the homeless, stressing that 30 percent of Greeks were now living below the poverty line while unemployment continued to soar.

    He also suggested action to identify and provide care for school students facing serious poverty issues, involving local authorities, support for families without any source of income, such as single-parent or large families, the merging of various disability benefits to a new single disability benefit begged to the needs created by each different form of disability, the reintroduction of rent-support benefit for low-income households and restoring unemployment benefit to the previous level, as well as measures to extend payment of welfare benefits to the long-term unemployed.

    He also called for plans to gradually introduce a minimum guaranteed income by the end of 2012, noting that this already existed in 23 of the 27 EU member-states.

    [07] New Democracy MP Halkidis pulls out of election race

    Main opposition New Democracy MP Mihalis Halkidis, who has served four consecutive terms in Parliament, on Thursday announced that he was pulling out of the election race as an ND candidate, in protest at the inclusion on the party ticket of "individuals serving different principles and policies".

    "I refuse to coexist with those that represent a policy of different principles and guarantees," he said in a letter to ND leader Antonis Samaras, announcing his decision to pull out of the electoral race.

    [08] Opinion poll: ND lead and 8-party parliament

    A New Democracy (ND) lead and an 8-party parliament are indicated in an opinion poll conducted by VPRC appearing in the political magazine Epikaira.

    According to the poll, ND is preferred by 22 percent of the respondents against 14.5 percent for PASOK, while the other six parties securing the 3 percent minimum requirement for entry to parliament being the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) with 13 percent, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 11.5 percent, Democratic Left (DIMAR) with 10 percent, Independent Greeks with 9 percent, the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi with 5 percent, and the Popular Orthodox Rally with 3.5 percent.

    These are followed by the Ecologists Greens follow with 2.5 percent, and Democratic Alliance and the Citizens' Chariot with 1.5 percent each, while 4.5 percent of the respondents said that they would vote for other parties, and 24.1 percent said they will abstain or cast blank votes.

    [09] Joint ministerial decision on election air time

    The broadcast time to be allocated to the parties of PASOK and New Democracy (ND) ahead of the May 6 parliamentary elections will be reduced compared to the 2009 elections to ensure that enough time will be allocated to smaller political parties the number of which has increased, it was announced on Thursday.

    A joint ministerial decision signed by Interior Minister Tassos Yannitsis and Minister of State Pantelis Kapsis clarified that PASOK and ND will be allocated 66.66 pct of the total free broadcast time (33.33 pct each) compared with the 2009 elections when they were allocated 75 pct of the air time.

    The Communist party (KKE) will be allocated 8.4 pct of the broadcast time, Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) 6.27 pct, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) 5.12 pct, Ecologists-Greens 2.82 pct, Democratic Left (DIM.AR) 3.35 pct, Independent Greeks 3.35 pct, Social Contract 2.68 pct and Democratic Alliance 1.34 pct.

    The radio and television stations are obligated to broadcast at least three debates and an hour-long press conference by the political parties.

    The election campaign spending limit for party candidates is set between 18,000 euros (single-seat constituencies) and 135,000 euros (Athens' B' constituency, the country's largest electoral district).

    [10] Dem Alliance leader meets central bank governor, calls for immediate reforms

    Democratic Alliance party leader Dora Bakoyannis had a meeting with Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos on Thursday and was briefed on the state of the Greek economy. In statements afterward, she called for immediate structural reforms and changes.

    "There is only one conclusion. We cannot afford to lose a single day. The reforms, the structural changes must be carried out diligently and must happen as quickly as possible," Bakoyannis underlined.

    She expressed the opinion that the pre-election period was only making the situation worse, while noting that the elections also gave Greeks an opportunity to make crucial decisions that must punish the two-party system, on the one hand, but not lead the country to destruction of the other.

    [11] Education ministry launched dialogue on teacher evaluation

    Education Minister George Babiniotis on Thursday had separate meetings with primary and secondary education teacher unions in the public and private sectors focusing on the educators' evaluation issue.

    The representatives of the high school teachers' union OLME, primary school teachers' union DOE and Federation of Private School Teachers (OIELE) voiced opposition to a proposal suggesting that the teachers' evaluation will directly affect salaries and job promotion.

    Babiniotis stated after the meeting that the evaluation will concern the entire education system, the school units and the teachers themselves. He stressed that the union representatives were asked to present their proposals, adding that they will be taken under consideration.

    [12] Greece an official member of the Open Government Partnership

    Greece is an official member of the international initiative Open Government Partnership -OGP as of Thursday, following the acceptance of the Greek Action Plan on Open Government that was submitted by Deputy Administrative Reform Minister Pantelis Tzortzakis at the organisation's annual conference which was concluded in Brazil on Thursday and had been announced in advance last week by Minister Dimitris Reppas.

    The OGP is an initiative that started in the framework of the UN, aimed at securing specific commitments by the governments of countries participating in it for transparency and cracking down on corruption, as well as an increase in the degree of citizens' involvement in all levels of public administration.

    [13] Official report lambasts National Gallery security measures

    Public Administration General Inspector Leandros Rakintzis on Thursday presented a very damning report concerning the running of the National Gallery and the reliability of its security system, whose weaknesses were brutally exposed after the robbery of three works of art in January, among them an extremely valuable painting by Picasso.

    The report was based on the findings of extensive inspections revealing a number of problems with the security system, including a lack of batteries, that security camera video tapes had expired, that the security system was not linked to a central police monitoring service and that the few guards had received no training on how to handle a robbery situation if it should arise.

    [14] Venezuelan ambassador visits seaport city of Volos

    Municipal authorities in the city of Volos, central Greece, received visiting Venezuelan Ambassador to Athens Rodrigo Oswaldo Chavez Samudio, it was announced on Thursday.

    The senior diplomat extended an invitation for cultural cooperation between the Venezuelan Embassy in Athens and the City of Volos after referring to the history of his country and the close ties with Greece.

    Financial News

    [15] Development minister promises boost to market liquidity in June

    Apart from a new round of austerity cuts, this coming June will also see the first actions boosting liquidity in the Greek market, Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Anna Diamantopoulou promised on Thursday in an interview with the local radio station 'Flash'.

    "That is when the course of growth will be reversed, when money will be injected into the market - for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - from the programmes we have signed with the European Investment Bank (EIB)," she said.

    The minister noted that entrepreneurship will bring growth and new jobs.

    "With the completion of a recapitalisation of banks, money to be used as working capital for all businesses will be injected into the market. There will be liquidity in the market from money that could not be released until now because of the PSI and the overall risk of the country," she added.

    [16] Greek part-time employment rates among EU's lowest, Eurostat reports

    BRUSSELS (AMNA - M. Aroni)

    Rates of part-time employment in Greece are among the lowest in the European Union, according to a Eurostat report on underemployment and part-time work in 2011 published on Thursday.

    Part-time workers between the ages of 15 and 75 represent 19.4 percent of the workforce in the 27 EU countries and 20.8 percent in the Eurozone, according to the report. The lowest rates of part-time employment were in Bulgaria (2.3 percent), Slovakia (4.1 percent), the Czech Republic (5.4 percent) and in Greece (6.7 percent).

    On the contrary, countries with the highest percentage of part-time employment include the Netherlands (49.1 percent), the United Kingdom (26.7 percent), Germany (26.5 percent), Sweden (26 percent), Denmark (25.9 percent), Austria and Belgium (25 percent).

    [17] European Commission Vice-President to speak at Athens conference on Friday

    BRUSSELS (AMNA - V. Demiris)

    European Commission Vice President and Commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani is due to visit Greece on Friday in order to discuss ways to better exploit Community tools for helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with Greek authorities, the European Commission announced on Thursday.

    Tajani and Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos are to be the key speakers at a conference taking place in Athens on "Growth in Greece: SMEs and entrepreneurship in the Europe 2020 strategy".

    The Commission noted in its announcement that six out of 10 Greek businesses have seen their profits drop in 2011 relative to 2010, while 150,000 jobs were lost and the country's SMEs were folding at an estimated rate of roughly 1,000 per week in the first half of 2012.

    [18] Greek current account deficit down 44.1 pct in Jan-Feb

    Greece's current account balance deficit shrank by 44.1 pct in the first two months of 2012, helped by rising exports and lower spending on fuel imports, the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.

    The central bank, in a monthly report, said that the country's external deficit fell to 2.5 billion euros at the end of February, from 4.5 billion euros in the corresponding period in 2011.

    In February, the current account balance showed a deficit of 1.1 billion euros, down by 781 million euros, or 41.6% year-on-year.

    The trade deficit fell by 581 million euros, mainly as a result of a decrease of 379 million in the trade deficit excluding oil and ships, as well as declines of 95 and 107 million in the net import bill for oil and ships, respectively. The trade deficit excluding oil and ships declined mainly due to the considerably reduced import bill, whereas the rise in export receipts was very small, by 16 million euros or 1.6%.

    The services surplus increased by 215 million euros as a result mainly of higher net transport receipts and a decline in net payments for "other" services. Also, the travel services balance showed a small surplus of 0.7 million, compared with a deficit of 20 million in February 2011. In more detail, travel spending in Greece by non-residents decreased by 26.0% year-on-year, while travel spending by residents abroad fell by 35.7%.

    The income account deficit shrank by 45 million euros owing to a decline in net interest, dividend and profit payments.

    Finally, the current transfers surplus declined by 59 million year-on-year, reflecting a drop of 65 million in general government net transfer receipts. Concurrently, the "other sectors" showed slightly higher net receipts than in February 2011.

    In the January-February period, the current account deficit fell by 2.05 billion euros, or 44.1% year-on-year, to 2.6 billion.

    This development mainly reflects a significant decline of 841 million in the non-oil trade deficit and a drop of 634 million in the net import bill for oil.

    In more detail, the overall trade deficit decreased by 1.5 billion euros, as a result of a 597 million decline in the trade deficit excluding oil and ships and a 244 million drop in net payments for purchases of ships, whereas the net oil import bill declined considerably, as already mentioned. Receipts from exports of goods excluding oil and ships rose at a fast rate (12.3%) year-on-year, whereas the corresponding import bill registered a decline at a relatively slower rate (8.7%).

    An increase in the surplus of the services balance reflects significantly lower net payments for "other" services, higher net transport receipts and lower net travel payments. In more detail, travel spending in Greece by non-residents fell markedly (by 17.5%) year-on-year, reflecting the drop in non-residents' arrivals at an average year-on-year rate of 11.1%. Moreover, travel spending abroad by residents of Greece fell by 26.1%. During the same period, gross transport receipts (chiefly from merchant shipping) remained broadly unchanged (+0.4%) and the corresponding payments dropped by 13.8%; as a result, net receipts rose by 179 million euros.

    The income account deficit decreased by 90 million year-on-year, mainly due to lower net interest, dividend and profit payments (down by 10.3%).

    Finally, the current transfers balance showed a surplus of 1.4 billion euros, up by 50 million compared with the corresponding period of 2011.

    In the January-February period, the capital transfers balance showed a surplus of 1.0 billion euros, compared with 326 million in the corresponding period of 2011.

    In the two-month period, direct investment showed a net outflow of 305 million euros (compared with a net outflow of 321 million in the corresponding period of 2011).

    At end-February 2012, Greece' s reserve assets stood at 5.3 billion euros.

    [19] Industrial turnover index up 7.6 pct in Feb

    Greece's composite turnover index in the industrial sector (measuring both the domestic and external markets) rose 7.6 pct in February, reflecting higher orders from abroad, compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 6.9 pct recorded in February 2011, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.

    The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development to a 45.1 pct drop in the mining turnover index and an 8.5 pct increase in the manufacturing sector index. The domestic market index fell 3.9 pct in February, while the external market index jumped 34.9 pct.

    [20] Industrial new orders down 13.8 pct in Feb

    New orders in the industrial sector fell significantly in February, with the composite index dropping by 13.8 pct compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 19 pct recorded in February 2011, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that this development was attributed to a 21 pct drop in the domestic market new orders index and an 8.9 pct decline in the external market index.

    [21] Greek merchant marine fleet down 3.8 pct in Feb

    Greek merchant marine fleet totaled 2,002 ships in February this year, down 3.8 pct compared with the corresponding month in 2011, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday. The statistics service, in a report, said that total capacity of the Greek fleet was 43,668,486 gross tonnage, up 0.6 pct over the same period. The Greek merchant marine fleet fell 2.1 pct in February last year.

    [22] Greek stocks end 1.75 pct lower

    Greek stocks ended significantly lower on the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, hit by market concern over a delay in finalizing the terms of a bank recapitalization plan and ahead of the publishing of Greek banks' results for 2011. The composite index of the market fell 1.75 pct to end at 713.92 points, with turnover remaining a low 27.175 million euros.

    The Big Cap index dropped 2.61 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 0.92 pct and the Small Cap index rose 1.29 pct. The Chemicals (1.53 pct) and Commerce (1.13 pct) sectors scored gains, while Banks (6.74 pct) and Technology (3.0 pct) suffered losses.

    Folli Follie (1.15 pct), Titan (0.95 pct), Viohalco (0.95 pct) and OPAP (0.74 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end higher, while Alpha Bank (12.82 pct), Piraeus Bank (10.30 pct), Eurobank (10.26 pct), National Bank (5.38 pct) were the top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 70 to 51 with another 19 issues unchanged. HOL (19.8 pct), Avenir (19.61 pct) and Progressive (13 pct) were top gainers, while Boutaris (18.18 pct), Balkan Export (13.19 pct) and Alpha Bank (12.82 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +0.32%

    Commercial: +1.13%

    Construction: +0.16%

    Oil & Gas: -1.12%

    Personal & Household: -0.29%

    Raw Materials: -2.68%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.57%

    Technology: -3.00%

    Telecoms: -2.58%

    Banks: -6.74%

    Food & Beverages: -0.48%

    Health: -1.00%

    Utilities: -2.29%

    Chemicals: +1.53%

    Financial Services: -1.58%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Alpha Bank, National Bank, HBC Coca Cola and PPC.

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.02

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 2.72

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.63

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.61

    National Bank of Greece: 1.76

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.63

    OPAP: 6.84

    OTE: 3.02

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.27

    Titan: 14.90

    [23] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened slightly to 19.56 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 19.53 pct on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 21.26 pct and the German Bund 1.70 pct. Turnover was a low one million euros, one buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.35 pct, the six-month rate 1.03 pct, the three-month rate 0.73 pct and the one-month rate 0.40 pct.

    [24] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.18 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover remaining a low 7.910 million euros.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,832 contracts worth 3.900 million euros, with 19,875 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 31,784 contracts worth 4.010 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (17,917), followed by Cyprus Bank (4,222), PPC (904), Piraeus Bank (921), National Bank (5,867), Mytilineos (623), Marfin Popular Bank (255), GEK (464), OPAP (204) and OTE (67).

    [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.328

    Pound sterling 0.829

    Danish kroner 7.550

    Swedish kroner 8.974

    Japanese yen 108.52

    Swiss franc 1.220

    Norwegian kroner 7.661

    Canadian dollar 1.316

    Australian dollar 1.284

    General News

    [26] Greek men but not Greek women above EU average for life expectancy at 65, report shows

    BRUSSELS (AMNA - M. Aroni)

    Greek men outlive most of their European counterparts, apart from the French and Spanish, unlike Greek women whose life expectancy at that age is slightly below the European Union average, according to a Eurostat report on life expectancy after 65 in Europe released on Thursday.

    Specifically, the average 65-year-old Greek man can expect to live another 18.5 years, a full 13 months more than the EU average of 17.4 years. The highest life expectancy among men is in France (18.9 years) and Spain (18.6 years) while the lowest is in Latvia (13.3 years), Lithuania (13.5 years) and Bulgaria (13.6 years).

    Greek women do tend to outlast their men, with a life expectancy of 20.4 years at age 65, but not other European women who have an average life expectancy of 21 years.

    The longest-lived European women are again the French (23.4 years life expectancy at 65), followed by Spanish women (22.7 years) and Italian women (22.1 years). The shortest average life expectancy for EU women is in Bulgaria (17 years), closely followed by Romania (17.2 years) and the Slovakia (18 years).

    The Eurostat report shows that men and women in both Greece and the EU can expect another eight 'healthy life years' after age 65 on average.

    [27] Police dismantle gang stealing PPC power transformers

    Police on Thursday said they had dismantled a gang operating in the region of Argolida, in southern Greece, that had stolen power transformers from the Public Power Corporation's (PPC) grid causing an estimated 100,000 euro in damages.

    The three Romanian nationals, aged 21, 23 and 29, were arrested after police searched their car and found parts of cables and copper removed from a power transformer stolen overnight from a local factory generator.

    An investigation revealed that since late March 2012 the three had stolen six PPC transformers in the greater Argolida region assisted by a number of accomplices that is yet to be determined.

    [28] Three arrests for possession of explosive devices

    Three men aged 19, 23 and 27 were arrested on Thursday on the Ionian Highway near the turnoff for Arta after 14 home-made explosive incendiary devices were found in their possession.

    More specifically, a search of their car, driven by the 27-year-old, turned up the explosive devices comprising plastic water bottles filled with flammable liquid taped to explosives.

    The three will be taken before an Arta prosecutor on felony charges of illegal possession of explosive materials and illegal possession of weapons.

    [29] Three-year hunting ban on Gavdos island

    All hunting on the southernmost island of Gavdos, located south of Crete, will be banned for the next 3 years, according to a Chania forestry authorities' decision announced on Thursday.

    The decision was made in response to a request by the City Council of Gavdos in an effort to stop poaching practices that have led to the considerable decrease of the populations of rabbits and partridges found on the 29 square-km island.

    Weather forecast

    [30] Rainy on Friday

    Rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday. Winds 4-7 beauforte. Temperatures between 10C and 26C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with southerly 5-7 beauforte winds and temperatures between 12C and 24C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki and temperatures between 10C and 20C.

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

    PASOK leader and former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos' interview on a private television channel and the European Commission report on Greece were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Thursday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Checks on our pockets by the Finance Ministry".

    AVGHI: "Commission report uncovers Venizelos, Samaras - Barroso (Commission president) reveals Venizelos-Samaras secret programme".

    AVRIANI: "Commission report: New reduction of salaries by 15 percent and deregulation of job market".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Tax files on all the Greeks".

    ESTIA: "Constant changes of electoral laws".

    ETHNOS: "Venizelos: Commitments and criticism on the mistakes".

    IMERISSIA: "Tax-identity for all - Electronic recording of transactions".

    KATHIMERINI: "Tax net on transactions".

    LOGOS: "Electronic 'files' on all the Greeks".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Commission report: 30-measure plan for exit from recession

    NIKI: "Venizelos: How 'warm' cash will enter the market".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The KKE's platform on unemployment

    TA NEA: "Venizelos denounces: The prime ministership, the 'money exists', the first Memorandum, the Papandreou 'referendum', new taxes and further cuts in salaries and pensions".

    VRADYNI: "Mercy! New cuts in salaries to be imposed in June (Commission report)".

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