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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-05-16

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

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

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 Issue No: 4072

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece to head for new elections after failure of efforts to forge coalition government
  • [02] Leaders to meet again at 13:00 Wednesday to set up caretaker gov't to take country to elections
  • [03] Samaras: elections unavoidable, liberal forces will fight 'opportunist populism'
  • [04] Tsipras: People didn't vote for SYRIZA to shore up pro-bailout government
  • [05] Greece heading for elections because party interests came first, Venizelos charges
  • [06] Independent Greeks leader blames mainstream parties for failure of talks
  • [07] Kouvelis on failure of coalition talks: some parties wanted elections from the start
  • [08] President Papoulias briefed political party leaders on the situation faced by banks
  • [09] Presidency statement refutes Independent Greeks party leader
  • [10] Minutes from Monday party-leaders' meeting posted on Internet
  • [11] KKE party leader speaks of 'hypocrisy of exploratory mandates'
  • [12] Democratic Alliance leader calls for creation of widest possible pro-European front in light of elections
  • [13] Ex-PM Simitis: Greek exit from Eurozone a disaster
  • [14] Archbishop of Athens Ieronymos: 'Greece stands above all of us'
  • [15] Dimas at EU FMs meeting on illegal immigration
  • [16] Thessaloniki Jewish community slams ultra-nationalist's views on Holocaust
  • [17] Unscheduled Airforce rapid reaction force exercise
  • [18] Prosecutors study new evidence in Tsohatzopoulos' case
  • [19] Greece to repay in full a 435-mln-euro bond issue
  • [20] Greece raises 1.3 billion euros from three-month T-bill auction
  • [21] Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce president on political developments
  • [22] GDP drops 6.2 pct in Q1 2012
  • [23] Credit conditions deteriorate in Greece
  • [24] Building activity down 5.4 pct in Feb
  • [25] Business Briefs
  • [26] Stocks end 3.62% down
  • [27] Greek bond market closing report
  • [28] ADEX closing report
  • [29] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [30] Australian Archaeological Institute con'f on Zagora site on Andros
  • [31] LA Greek Film Festival opens May 31
  • [32] Pair arrested for assaulting foreign nat'l in outrageous attack
  • [33] Protesting European activists detained in Syntagma Square
  • [34] Former Thessaloniki mayor sent to court
  • [35] Illegal migrants arrested at Araxos airport
  • [36] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Greece to head for new elections after failure of efforts to forge coalition government

    Greece is poised to go to new elections, after President Karolos Papoulias' last-ditch efforts with the leaders of the political parties elected to parliament in the May 6 general elections failed on Tuesday to forge agreement for a coalition government.

    The meeting ended just before 4:00 p.m. after nearly four hours of deliberations among New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos -- the top four of the seven parties elected to parliament in the May 6 polls -- and Democratic Left (7th place) party leader Fotis Kouvelis.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE, 5th place) leader Aleka Papariga refused to attend, while the leader of the 7th party, the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) Nikos Mihaloliakos was not invited.

    [02] Leaders to meet again at 13:00 Wednesday to set up caretaker gov't to take country to elections

    The party leaders will meet again at 13:00 (11:00 GMT) on Wednesday to set up a caretaker government to take the country to elections, after the failure of deliberations under President Karolos Papoulias to forge agreement on a coalition government.

    [03] Samaras: elections unavoidable, liberal forces will fight 'opportunist populism'

    Elections were now unavoidable, New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras said on Tuesday after the failure of talks to agree on a coalition to govern Greece. He stressed that the elections would pit 'Leftist statism' and 'opportunist populism' against the creative, liberal forces in the country.

    In a televised statement, Samaras stressed that the message of the elections was clear and called for Greece to remain in the euro. Referring to the efforts to form a government, he said ND had put Greece's future above getting a place in government but had come up against a "wall of obstinacy" and stressed the need for unity in this time of crisis.

    "Our country is experiencing the most crucial and difficult moments since the post-junta era. Our present and future is being threatened. The country is being isolated and its citizens are being crushed," Samaras said.

    He added that "we had said from the first moment that we must safeguard the two most important national priorities today: Our stay in the euro and in Europe. And, what was always and is our priority since May 2010, the change in the terms of the memorandum, that sinks the country in recession, ruins the real economy and deprives the Greeks of hope."

    Samaras further said "before the (May 6) elections I had warned of the risk of the lack of governance. In the past days I did everything for a government to be formed. Some did not listen and are leading the country to an adventure today. We, however, will not give up, we are not going to hand over the weapons. Provided that we take advantage of two things:

    -Firstly, that Europe now realises, that the unilateral austerity which ignores growth is deadlocked and dissolves society. At some time I was alone in Europe when I was saying precisely this. Now all the more are saying this. The time has come that we are being vindicated. Provided, of course, that we stay in Europe.

    -Secondly, that our country has many, very many, unexploited possibilities: natural wealth, mineral and energy deposits, tourism, shipping, geostrategic position and excellent human potential. All this, however, we can utilise in Europe, not outside it."

    Samaras went on to say that "provided that we finally leave behind us what keeps us bound with the past: Extravagance, corruption, the lack of meritocracy, impunity, clientele relations and statism. The sins, at this moment, of Greek political life."

    "On the one hand, we have those insisting on the left-leaning pit of statism, that leads outside new Europe, that is being shaped and to the country's absolute impoverishment, isolation, backtracking and national visible dangers," the ND leader further said.

    "On the other, we have the creative liberal forces of the country, that are struggling for Greece to stand on its feet again, that are claiming, in a Europe that is changing, to gain the respect and, mainly, a better future."

    "I call on all the Greeks who care about their children, whatever they voted for in the past, apart and above parties, to create a strong front of hope, responsibilty and creative resistance," Samaras concluded.

    [04] Tsipras: People didn't vote for SYRIZA to shore up pro-bailout government

    The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) decided not to betray the hopes and expectations of the Greek people by supporting the pro-bailout parties, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday after the failure of last-ditch efforts to form a coalition government brokered by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    He said the mainstream parties PASOK and ND were asking SYRIZA to support them and "leave the country without hope", putting the party's signature to measures that would impoverish the Greek people. This was the time for a "decisive step for a government of the Left," he added, that would consign the forces of yesterday to "the cupboard of history".

    SYRIZA's leader said the time had come to complete the step begun on May 6, urging voters to condemn the parties that were responsible for the bailout and its terms and to put an end to the policies destroying the country. He said the May 6 elections had essentially rendered the bailout policies null and condemned the forces responsible for casting the country into poverty and handing over its national sovereignty.

    Tsipras said his party's stance had blocked the formation of a government that would continue implementing the bailout terms, while SYRIZA had missed coming first in the elections for a few thousand votes and was unable to form a government of the Left.

    He claimed that SYRIZA had attempted to form a government that would respect the people's verdict on a minimal level, with its five-point proposal, in which the reversal of wage and pension cuts and restoration of labour relations were central. He noted that this had been turned down by the mainstream parties that were bound by their written commitments to implement the terms of the bailout loans, forcing the dilemma either bailout or elections.

    [05] Greece heading for elections because party interests came first, Venizelos charges

    Greece was heading to repeat elections in extremely unfavourable circumstances because party leaders cold-bloodedly put their own interests and those of their parties above the interests of the country, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said after the failure of last-ditch efforts to form a coalition government on Tuesday.

    Speaking after a meeting of the political party leaders brokered by Greek President Karolos Papoulias, Venizelos said that these politicians had misinterpreted the will of the Greek people, who wanted a cooperation government and a joint effort by all the political forces, and that these forces had fallen prey to "arrogance," "opportunism" and "petty party politics".

    He urged all Greeks to carefully read the minutes of the meeting, in order to understand the behaviour displayed by all those involved.

    Venizelos chiefly blamed the left-wing parties - the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and Democratic Left - for the failure of efforts to form a coalition. He noted that a proposal by Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos that his party form a government with the support of the rest was not accepted, since it did not reflect the Greek people's vote.

    PASOK's leader admitted that his party would be heading for elections from a relative disadvantage, adding that the country could be saved if that was what voters chose, expressing hope that their choice would be "more mature" the second time around.

    "We should never had reached this point," he underlined, adding an effort must be made to do better and "for God's sake, not worse".

    [06] Independent Greeks leader blames mainstream parties for failure of talks

    Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos on Tuesday blamed the failure of talks for a coalition government on the two mainstream parties PASOK and New Democracy, while he attacked ND leader Antonis Samaras and said that he had sought new elections in order to become prime minister.

    Kammenos said that he had made a last effort for a solution by presenting his proposals and asking for the support of the other parties, proposing a discussion on foreign policy issues and the upcoming NATO summit, including a freeze on the measures to be taken in June so that people might have a "respite from the extortionary attacks of their creditors".

    He said that PASOK had agreed to most of his points except writing-off Greece's debt and rejecting the loan agreements, adding that the two mainstream parties blocked his proposals and "served the interests of the bailout pacts and not the people".

    According to the Independent Greeks leader, Greeks now had to choose between living with the threats of its creditors and having them run the country or a "free Greece that with hard work will proceed to tomorrow, for a Greece that belongs to the Greeks".

    [07] Kouvelis on failure of coalition talks: some parties wanted elections from the start

    Some of the parties had wanted the country to go to repeat elections from the start, Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said on Tuesday after the failure of talks to form a coalition or cooperation government.

    He noted that the Dem. Left's proposal for a broad coalition government with a specific and politically binding nature was not accepted, even though Dem. Left had done everything possible to avoid repeat elections and serve the country's interests.

    Kouvelis suggested that this effort had failed because some of the parties involved had wanted a second round of elections, prompted by narrow party interests and urged Greek voters to "draw their own conclusions".

    Elaborating on the details of his proposal, Kouvelis said that he had called for a broad coalition that could be based on an agreement on policies and with reliable figures and forces that wanted the country to remain within the euro while also seeking changes to the bailout terms.

    "I proposed that this framework could include an express commitment to immediately begin a disengagement from the bailout agreements and in this direction could promote measures to lift laws for the reduction of wages, extend the period of fiscal adjustment, make commitments for growth, restore collective labour agreements and make radical changes to the political system."

    He said no agreement could be reached on his proposal, which called for the participation of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) as a prerequisite, even though New Democracy and PASOK had agreed to SYRIZA's presence.

    [08] President Papoulias briefed political party leaders on the situation faced by banks

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was very alarmed when he briefed the political party leaders on Monday evening on the situation the banking institutions are in, according to the meeting's minutes posted on the Greek presidency website on Tuesday.

    New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis were briefed by President Papoulias that according to Bank of Greece (BoG) Governor Giorgos Provopoulos "the banks are in a very difficult situation".

    "By 4:00 p.m. when I called him on the phone, bank account withdrawals and capital outflow had exceeded 600 million euros and were close to 700 million euros," the president said, according to the minutes made public, adding "Provopoulos told me that there is no panic but there is great fear which could evolve into panic. He also said that, at the moment, the banks' resilience is close to its limits."

    President Papoulias underlined the need to form a government and also said that he had a telephone communication with European Commission President Manuel Barroso "who is concerned".

    [09] Presidency statement refutes Independent Greeks party leader

    The office of the Greek presidency on Tuesday refuted Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos, allegations regarding a controversial text ostensibly listing his positions on the formation of a coalition government.

    According to a formal statement by the presidency, Kammenos requested that President Karolos Papoulias forward to the political party leaders the text he had presented him during their private meeting on Sunday night.

    The statement stressed that the text with the positions of the Independent Greeks party included various scenarios towards forming a government.

    "Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos yesterday and this morning made statements in private television stations and explained that he handed no such note to the President of the Republic; and not only that. He also said, and please read the minutes made public, that the dialogues made do not show that such a document was ever discussed," party spokesman Terence Quick on Tuesday said.

    Speaking to a private radio station in Athens, he also stated that Kammenos said he will send a "registered letter" with his positions even though the minutes taken mentioned that "he will present the list with his positions in a letter to the Hellenic Presidency Secretariat".

    Quick said the party's agenda was handed over in a spiral-bound textbook. In any event, he said that according to the minutes takes, President Papoulias handed over his positions to the political party leaders that met with him after Kammenos. The note in question was also included, as confirmed by the Communist Party (KKE) spokesman. He said that "certain quarters want to take Kammenos out of the picture and play the game with their terms. I wish to clarify that I am not referring to the President of the Republic."

    [10] Minutes from Monday party-leaders' meeting posted on Internet

    The minutes from Monday's meeting between New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis on Monday were posted on the Greek presidency's website http://subscriber.amna.gr/anaweb/attachment/www.presidency.gr on Tuesday.

    [11] KKE party leader speaks of 'hypocrisy of exploratory mandates'

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Tuesday spoke of "paper expectations" that are being disseminated to the people with the "one side speaking of danger and extorting" and "the other side disarming the people."

    Papariga said "the ballot had been decided in advance, as was shown by the hypocrisy of the exploratory mandates. A new dilemma is standing before the people now, meaning an old dilemma in a new form: "centreright or centreleft" that they can shape "right government or left government," adding that "both parts of the dilemma do not bring a change in policy."

    [12] Democratic Alliance leader calls for creation of widest possible pro-European front in light of elections

    Democratic Alliance party leader Dora Bakoyannis said in a statement on Tuesday that "I hope that in the new elections that will be more crucial than the previous ones, the Greek people will also have a new option of European stability, through the creation of the widest possible pro-European front, with the target not only being the coutry's stay in the eurozone, but its radical modernisation as well."

    She stressed that the only option for the country's salvation is the cooperation of the political forces that believe that Greece's place is in Europe and the euro, "far from the dangerous logics of populism and the drachma."

    [13] Ex-PM Simitis: Greek exit from Eurozone a disaster

    "A Greek exit from the Eurozone would be a "disaster," former premier Costas Simitis underlined, speaking in the Chinese television network CCTV2 on Monday.

    Simitis stressed that such a development must be "avoided at any cost", and that "the political parties considering such changes should think carefully what they say because what they promise is not feasible".

    He added that "new talks with the EU are imperative and should be based on a plan according to which, adjustments will be made not by 2014 but by 2016-2017. We need two to three more years".

    [14] Archbishop of Athens Ieronymos: 'Greece stands above all of us'

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos intervened in political developments on Tuesday and made the following statement:

    "Even at this last moment, all must realise the self-evident. Above whatever interests of ours, lies the general interest of the country and the common good. Greece stands above all of us."

    [15] Dimas at EU FMs meeting on illegal immigration

    BRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Spinthourakis)

    Greek foreign minister Stavros Dimas stressed the need for dealing with illegal migration from Afghanistan both with a policy and by stemming the migration flows and the repatriation of the illegal immigrants, addressing a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

    In his intervention during a discussion on Afghanistan, Dimas also urged, as another fundamental aspect of EU policy, the development of a balanced EU-Afghanistan relationship in the context of which Afghanistan will meet its commitments for more transparency and an upright administration, clamping down on the production and trafficking of narcotics, and protection of the human rights, especially of the children and women.

    On the migration pressures, Dimas also referred to the developments in Libya, reiterating Greece's support in the difficult process of democratization of the country and underlining the reports of increased migration flows.

    He stressed that Greece, a country comprising an external border of Europe, faces the heaviest pressure of all the member states due to the thousands of illegal immigrants attempting to enter the country, via Turkey, with the purpose of heading on to other countries in central Europe, but effective measures have not been taken by the EU to deal with this phenomenon.

    The Council of Ministers also discussed developments in the so-called Southern Neighborhood, with the focus mainly on Libya and Syria, the situation in the Middle East and the prospects for the peace talks.

    On Syria, Dimas expressed Greece's worry over the continuing violence and reiterated Greece's steadfast and active support for the efforts of the UN Secretary General's special representative and the UN's mission in Syria.

    On the developments in the Middle East and the prospects of the peace process, Dimas underlined that the EU must secure the viability of a two-states solution, noting that the formation of a government in Israel enjoying broad parliamentary backing could contribute to the creation of the conditions for the resumption of the peace talks.

    [16] Thessaloniki Jewish community slams ultra-nationalist's views on Holocaust

    The Jewish community of Thessaloniki on Tuesday characterised the views of an ultra-nationalist party leader's positions on the WWII Holocaust as being "ignorant of history...promoting fanaticism, intolerance and racism, (ones) laying the foundations for similar words and actions."

    In response to televised statements by ultra-nationalist Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) leader Nikos Mihaloliakos to a private TV news programme on Sunday evening, the Jewish community underlined that "comparing the Holocaust to the outcome of war operations and doubting the annihilation of six million Jews in Europe, among them 77,377 Greek Jews, including 50,000 Thessaloniki Jews, is an insult to the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps and to the memory of those brutally murdered in gas chambers and crematoriums, the existence of which is denied by Mihaloliakos."

    The Jewish community also called on society, headed by the representatives of the institutions of the Greek state, to isolate such voices and protect historical memory.

    [17] Unscheduled Airforce rapid reaction force exercise

    National Defence General Staff (GEETHA) chief Michail Kostarakos on Tuesday ordered an unscheduled preparedness exercise of the country's Airforce rapid reaction force.

    On Tuesday morning, Kostarakos ordered the rapid reaction force to carry out a mission in order to ascertain its readiness level.

    According to sources, the mission concerned a remote area of the country, and the reaction time of the force was considerably faster than set out in the procedures.

    [18] Prosecutors study new evidence in Tsohatzopoulos' case

    Examining magistrate Gabriel Mallis is reportedly examining crucial documents in the money-laundering case of former PASOK minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The case files on the purchase of German-made submarines and Russian-designed TOR M1 anti-aircraft systems -- when Tsohatzopoulos was the minister of defence -- as well as seized documents from the defendants' residences, have been forwarded to the prosecutor's office.

    Among the seized documents are detailed notes allegedly kept by Tsohatzopoulos in the form of a journal.

    Financial News

    [19] Greece to repay in full a 435-mln-euro bond issue

    Greece will repay in full a 435-million-euro bond under foreign law which was not included in a PSI program, maturing today, government sources said on Tuesday.

    The decision was made by the Greek government taking in mind prevailing conditions in the economy and markets, combined with domestic political developments. Government sources said it was too risky for the country not to repay the specific bond as it could have a significant effect on the country's international image, while at the same time, it could leave room for maneuver by international creditors against Greece. Greece faces another 6.0 billion euros in state bonds maturing this year which were not included in the PSI program.

    [20] Greece raises 1.3 billion euros from three-month T-bill auction

    Greece on Tuesday successfully auctioned a three-month Treasury bills issues raising 1.3 billion euros from the market at a higher cost.

    The Public Debt Management Organization said the issue was 2.32 times oversubscribed, while the interest rate rose to 4.34 pct from 4.2 pct in the previous auction of same T-bills.

    The organization also accepted non-competitive bids worth 300 million euros. Settlement date was set for Friday, 18 May 2012.

    The organization will also accept non-competitive bids up to 30 pct of the asked sum by Thursday.

    [21] Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce president on political developments

    The president of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce Yiannos Grammatidis said that "at the difficult time, the defence of party interests prevailed over the national interest and the future of Greece."

    He assessed that the decision of the party leaders to lead the country to elections constitutes a severe blow to the economy and paves the way for catalytic as well as unfavourable developments.

    Grammatidis further said "with a state in absolute inertia due to the prolonged political crisis and the elections, we are going to new elections with the immediate result being the extension of both uncertainty as well as the inertia of the state mechansim. The result of this situation is that the country will not be able to fulfill its immediate internal and external commitments with not unforeseen, we fear, consequences."

    [22] GDP drops 6.2 pct in Q1 2012

    The Greek economy continued to be in a deep recession in the first quarter of 2012, in which GDP dropped by 6.2 percent, according to flash estimates released on Tuesday by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

    According to ELSTAT, available non-seasonally-adjusted data indicate that, in the 1st quarter of 2012, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant prices of year 2005 decreased by 6.2 % in comparison with the 1st quarter of 2011.

    Greece's GDP fell by 6.2 percent to 40.751 billion euros in the first quarter of 2012, from 43.448 billion euros in the first quarter of 2011.

    The slump in GDP is attributed mainly to a decline in consumption (mostly private) and investments (both private and public), and was only slightly offset by an improvement in the trade balance.

    Recession was running at 6.95 percent on average in 2011, with GDP posting declines of 8 percent in Q1, 7.3 percent in Q2, 5 percent in Q3 and 7.5 percent in Q4.

    The European Commission recently revised downwards the predictions for the Greek GDP in its spring forecasts, anticipating a recession of 4.7 percent against initial estimates of 4.4 percent.

    This is the fifth consecutive year of deep recession for the Greek economy.

    [23] Credit conditions deteriorate in Greece

    Credit conditions deteriorated further in the first quarter of 2012, reflecting a deep economic crisis hitting the country, official data showed on Tuesday. A report by Tiresias SA, the market's watchdog, said that bounced checks totaled 610.2 million euros in the January-April period, with April figures (109.6 million euros) down 45.7 pct compared with March and down 20.46 compared with April 2011.

    Bounced checks fell 12.11 pct in volume in April compared with March and were down 15.32 pct compared with April 2011. Unpaid bills totaled 72.1 million euros in the four-month period, or 44,417 in volume.

    Unpaid bills totaled 13.4 million euros in April, down 13.99 pct from the same month last year.

    [24] Building activity down 5.4 pct in Feb

    Building activity fell 4.4 pct in permits and by 5.4 pct in volume in February, compared with the same month last year, after a temporary recovery in January, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Tuesday.

    The statistics service said that building permits totaled 2,252 in February. In the two-month period January-February, building activity rose 17.1 pct in the number of building permits issued and by 2.6 pct in volume, compared with the corresponding period in 2011.

    [25] Business Briefs

    -- BMW Hellas on Tuesday reported lower revenues and losses for the second consecutive year in 2011. Turnover fell to 64.75 million euros last year, from 98.15 million euros in 2010, for a decline of 34 pct. Operating results (EBITDA) showed a loss of 10.4 million euros, while pre-tax and interest results showed a loss of 19.05 million euros in 2011.

    [26] Stocks end 3.62% down

    Stocks ended sharply lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday as news that consultations to form a unity government failed - paving the way to new general elections in the country - which undermined sentiment in the market and reversed an early recovery trend. The composite index of the market fell 3.62 pct to end at 562.88 points, off the day's lows of 553.61 points. Turnover remained a low 43.428 million euros.

    The Big Cap index dropped 4.25 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 2.01 pct and the Small Cap index ended 3.20 pct lower. All blue chip stocks ended lower with Eurobank (10.6 pct), Viohalco (10.09 pct), Cyprus Popular Bank (9.46 pct) and PPC (7.47 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    All sectors moved lower, with Industrial Products (6.0 pct), Utilities (5.24 pct), Banks (4.90 pct) and Health (4.28 pct) suffering the biggest losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 89 to 33 with another 19 issues unchanged. Ilyda (27 pct), Boutaris (19.23 pct) and NEL (18.75 pct) were top gainers, while Papoutsanis (29.89 pct), Dromeas (25.21 pct) and Vioter (19.32 pct0 were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -6.00%

    Commercial: -2.41%

    Construction: -4.36%

    Oil & Gas: -3.23%

    Personal & Household: -2.37%

    Raw Materials: -2.62%

    Travel & Leisure: -3.62%

    Technology: -0.49%

    Telecoms: -1.55%

    Banks: -4.90%

    Food & Beverages: -3.89%

    Health: -4.28%

    Utilities: -5.24%

    Chemicals: Unchanged

    Financial Services: -3.90%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.74

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 1.61

    HBC Coca Cola: 12.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.02

    National Bank of Greece: 1.41

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.46

    OPAP: 4.95

    OTE: 1.90

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.22

    Titan: 14.00

    [27] Greek bond market closing report

    A prolonged political instability in Greece put more pressure on state bond yields with the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widening to 27.02 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, form 25.45 pct on Monday. The Greek bond yielded 28.48 pct and the German Bund 1.46 pct. Turnover in the market was 11 million euros of which 10 million euros were sell orders and 1.0 million euros buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed to lower. The 12-month rate was 1.27 pct, the six-month rate was 0.97 pct, the three-month rate eased to 0.68 pct and the one-month rate was 0.39 pct.

    [28] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.40 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover remaining a low 13.715 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,400 contracts worth 7.973 million euros, with 19,588 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 57,412 contracts worth 5.742 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (26,798), followed by National Bank (16,017), MIG (494), OTE (1,078), PPC (851), OPAP (492), Piraeus Bank (1,078), Cyprus Bank (7,917), Hellenic Postbank (855), GEK (254) and Titan (131).

    [29] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.303

    Pound sterling 0.812

    Danish kroner 7.545

    Swedish kroner 9.179

    Japanese yen 104.19

    Swiss franc 1.219

    Norwegian kroner 7.732

    Canadian dollar 1.304

    Australian dollar 1.302

    General News

    [30] Australian Archaeological Institute con'f on Zagora site on Andros

    The Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens in collaboration with the Archaeological Society at Athens and with the support of the Australian embassy, will hold a conference in Athens on May 20-22 regarding the findings at the archaeological site of Zagora, on the Cyclades island of Andros.

    Prof. Marie Bashir, governor of New South Wales, will officially open the conference at the Archaeological Society in Athens, 22 Panepistimiou Ave., on Sunday, May 20.

    As the best-preserved settlement of the period, Zagora has been fundamental for understanding life in the Aegean during the 8th century BC - the period, which many scholars date Homer, the beginning of the Greek city-state (polis) and democracy in Athens.

    Thirty international experts will highlight new discoveries at Zagora and their contribution to better understanding the excavations, as well as examine similarities and differences among settlements of the Geometric period across the Hellenic world.

    [31] LA Greek Film Festival opens May 31

    The 6th Los Angeles Greek Film Festival will take place between May 31 and June 3 focusing on the struggle against the Greek economic crisis.

    The festival entitled, "Defeating the Crisis Through the Viewfinder", will focus on new generation films inspired by the "reality" in the country.

    [32] Pair arrested for assaulting foreign nat'l in outrageous attack

    Police in Laconia prefecture, southern Greece, arrested two local men, aged 45 and 48, on charges of assaulting and injuring a 78-year-old Dutchman, ostensibly because they mistook him for a German national, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The incident took place at Pori Beach in Monemvassia, where the victim, who had moved to the area 17 years ago, was attacked while jogging. The assailants then fled in a pickup truck.

    The 78-year-old was rushed to a nearby hospital with seroius, but not life-threatening, injuries to his jaw and chin.

    The two suspects are accused of assault and battery and illegal possession of shotguns, which were found during a police search of their residences.

    Police authorities in the region visited the victim in the hospital to express their solidarity.

    [33] Protesting European activists detained in Syntagma Square

    Sixteen activists from European countries were detained on Tuesday at 9 in the morning following a police operation to remove them from Syntagma square, central Athens, where they had spent the night in protest of the economic condition in Greece and Europe.

    According to police, approximately 25 activists (from Spain, Italy, Ireland, France and Greece) spent the entire night at Syntagma square and refused to leave when asked by municipal employees, and lay down on the ground.

    Athens Municipality called in the police to remove the activists from the site, but 16 of them did not conform with their orders and were being held at the Syntagma police station, facing charges of resisting authorities.

    The sixteen activists will be sent before an Athens prosecutor, who will decide whether they will be charged.

    [34] Former Thessaloniki mayor sent to court

    Former Thessaloniki mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos will be sent to Court charged with the embezzlement of 51.4 million euros from the municipality's coffers in the period 1997-2007.

    Seventeen other persons, former high-ranking employees of the municipality including three vice-mayors, will also be sent to court facing the same charges.

    [35] Illegal migrants arrested at Araxos airport

    Five foreign nationals aged 18-36 were arrested at the civilian airport of Araxos on Tuesday for possessing forged travel documents.

    During the passport check, two Afghani nationals, two Pakistani nationals and a Somali showed fake Italian, Belgian, Spanish, French and Pakistani travel documents.

    Araxos airport has become the new channel for illegal migrants to enter other European countries following the start of regular flights to Italy and Britain.

    Twenty days ago eight more illegal migrants attempted to leave from Araxos airport using fake documents.

    [36] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The ultimate effort for the formation of a government as well as the intense pressures from Europe, mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Government of personalities or elections".

    AVGHI: "Government of the willing on the table...".

    AVRIANI: "They are setting up a 'freak' government with ministers obedient to the troika's (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) employees".

    DIMOKRATIA: "The minutes of the leaders' meetings".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos' bomb with his 'non existing' proposal".

    ESTIA: "How we were led to today's impasse".

    ETHNOS: "Last chance for a government".

    IMERISSIA: "Government of personalities a challenge".

    KATHIMERINI: "President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias: Danger of collapse".

    LOGOS: "Last minute before new elections...".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Lack of governance in Greece gives birth to 'exit from eurozone' scenarios".

    NIKI: "Nightmare of lack of governance and return to drachma".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Alert! People ready with Communist Party at the lead".

    TA NEA: "The last...Kammenos (play on words, as 'kammenos' is also the Greek world for burnt' card".

    VRADYNI: "Ultimate effort for government of personalities or technocrats".

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