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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-05-25

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

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

Friday, 25 May 2012 Issue No: 4080

CONTENTS

  • [01] Caretaker PM: 'Clear and self-evident that Greece will remain in eurozone, provided it meets its commitments'
  • [02] Samaras: Think and vote with 'Greece in a changing Europe' as the criterion
  • [03] ND leader, Italian PM discuss crisis, emphasise 'growth parameter'
  • [04] Tsipras: Greece needs government that can represent it with dignity in Europe
  • [05] European 'change of climate' proved a delusion, Papariga says
  • [06] Kouvelis: Greece must have gov't after June 17 elections
  • [07] Eco-Greens, Social Agreement party hold talks
  • [08] ALDE leader Verhofstadt receives head of small liberal political party
  • [09] Support for Greece by Obama government
  • [10] SYRIZA on Tsipras' visit to Paris, Berlin
  • [11] ND attacks SYRIZA position on illegal migration
  • [12] Clash between PASOK, SEV over collective labour contracts
  • [13] Venizelos to address political event on Fri., tour Peloponnese on Sat.
  • [14] Athens Archbishop Ieronymos meets Putin during visit to Russia
  • [15] President Papoulias and BoG governor discuss growth prospects and situation in banks
  • [16] Finance ministry considering extension for submission of tax statements
  • [17] Loans to shipping down, shipbroker reports
  • [18] Halkidiki Green Olive receives PDO registration
  • [19] '100% Made in Italy' Festival opening on Friday
  • [20] Direct Athens-Prague flight by Aegean
  • [21] Stocks dive 4.53 pct to hover at 502.52 points
  • [22] Greek bond market closing report
  • [23] ADEX closing report
  • [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [25] Initiative to re-establish Jewish studies seat at Thessaloniki univ.
  • [26] Thessaloniki mayor receives visiting Bitola counterpart
  • [27] 60-yr-old man, nonagenarian mother, jump of roof in double suicide
  • [28] Burglars gang arrested in Athens
  • [29] Two foreign nationals arrested for drug dealing
  • [30] Rainy on Friday
  • [31] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Caretaker PM: 'Clear and self-evident that Greece will remain in eurozone, provided it meets its commitments'

    BRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Spinthourakis)

    For the European leaders, it is clear and self-evident that Greece will remain in the eurozone, provided that it abides by its commitments, Greek caretaker prime minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos said in the first hours of Thursday, following an informal European Union summit in Brussels, referring both to the summit session as well as his sideline meetings with European Council president Herman van Rompuy, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, German chancellor Angela Merkel and new French President Francois Hollande.

    Pikrammenos said that Greece's EU partners showed that they have the disposition to assist Greece, with economic measures that could deal with the problem of rising unemployment. He especially noted initiatives that the European Investment Bank (EIB) could take, financial tools to boost the small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), as well as for a distribution of the risk with respect to investments in Greece, and a bond loan for materialisation of major Europe-wide infrastructure projects.

    Asked if he had the impression that the EU member states were preparing plans to mitigate the repercussions in the event of a Greek withdrawal from the eurozone, Pikrammenos replied in the negative, adding that Merkel had expressed surprise and annoyance over such speculations.

    The caretaker prime minister further said that no issue of holding a referendum in Greece was put forward by the German side, noting a statement he had made a few days earlier that the matter was closed, and adding that it was only natural that Greece's partners were manifesting interest in the situation in the country, but beyond that there were no indications of an intention to intervene.

    On the eurobonds, Pikrammenos noted that their issue was not expected in the immediate future, and that time is needed for that idea to mature.

    Caretaker finance minister George Zanias, replying to a relevant question, said that it would be a God-send for Greece if it were given a one-year extension on the fiscal targets that have been set out, but added that this would depend on the willingness of Greece's lenders.

    [02] Samaras: Think and vote with 'Greece in a changing Europe' as the criterion

    New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras urged the Greek people to think and vote based on the criterion of 'Greece in a changing Europe', in an interview on private Antenna television station on Thursday morning.

    He warned that a prospective Greek exit from the euro would be an "act of suicide", and outlined the dangers that such an eventuality would entail for the citizens.

    Noting the contacts he had in Brussels on Wednesday on the sidelines of the European People's Party (EPP) summit and the climate that prevailed at Wednesday's informal EU summit, Samaras expressed his conviction that Europe is starting to change its perspective on Greece. "Abrogation of the Memorandum means exit from the euro. Europe is giving a message of change. We are building a new Greece, and they (SYRIZA) are demolishing it," Samaras said.

    He accused SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras of "demolishing the country's alliances", and of being hostage to "the many components" of his Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), calling him a menace to the country.

    [03] ND leader, Italian PM discuss crisis, emphasise 'growth parameter'

    BRUSSELS (AMNA - V. Demiris)

    Meeting in Brussels on Thursday, New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti emphasised the necessity of a "growth parameter" in order for Greece to exit the economic crisis. The meeting was held at the residence of the Italian ambassador in Brussels.

    In a break with protocol, the two made joint statements after the meeting. Samaras once again repeated that the economic crisis in Greece was not exclusively a Greek problem but one affecting all of Europe, since it would have repercussions for other European countries. He said that ND wanted Greece to remain in the eurozone but underlined the need for a policy to boost growth in the country.

    Monti referred to Europe's desire that Greece remain in the euro and stressed that Italy had great hopes for the outcome of the Greek elections on June 17. He stressed the need for these elections to bring a result that made Greece "governable" and able to continue dialogue with the country's EU partners on the necessary reforms that need to be carried out, with growth as the ultimate aim.

    [04] Tsipras: Greece needs government that can represent it with dignity in Europe

    Greece needs a government that can represent it worthily and with dignity in Europe, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday, after a meeting with several labour federations and trade unions, while he also lashed out against New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, calling them the "physical perpetrators and moral instigators and accomplices in the tragedy of the Greek people".

    Tsipras said that Greece needs a leadership capable of going abroad and not saying what the foreign leaders are prepared to hear, but what the Greek people want to be said, a leadership that puts 'red lines', drafts strategy, demands the rights of the Greek people, "which only a government of the Left can do".

    He said that up until May 6 everyone was saying that the Memorandum-related laws must be implemented and that there could be no negotiation, "but those laws did not come to save the country and the economy, only the interests of the Greek businessmen".

    Tsipras said that the PASOK leader appeared, in Brussels on Wednesday, to be begging in a low voice for a statement of punishment of the Greek people and the country while Samaras, on the other hand, "in the warm embrace" of the European People's Party (EPP), including German chancellor Angela Merkel, appeared to feel comfortable amidst those whom -- up until he became the rearguard and hostage of the extreme neo-liberals and Dora Bakoyannis -- he had considered opponents.

    The SYRIZA leader opined that following the upset of the inconclusive May 6 elections, which 'froze' the Memorandum measures of privatisations and others, the final victory will come in the repeat elections on June 17, which he said will complete the great success of the Greek people and society.

    [05] European 'change of climate' proved a delusion, Papariga says

    Claims of a "change of climate" in Europe that would allow renegotiation of the bailout terms had been revealed as a "delusion" being spread by the other political parties, apart from the Communist Party of Greece, KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga said on Thursday.

    Speaking at a press conference on the results of the EU summit on Wednesday, she said the willingness of the two mainstream parties and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) to abolish the laws passed under the terms of the bailout memorandums had been proved during Wednesday's meeting of the PPC technicians union, where a proposal by the Communist faction to reject a collective agreement calling for a reduction of wages by 32 percent and abolishing tenure had failed to pass.

    "The first reaction of the other factions was to not discuss the proposal but finally, when a vote was imposed, it was rejected by one vote," Papariga said, noting that the votes against the proposal were those of SYRIZA and PASKE members.

    She said KKE had not expected the laws implementing the bailout terms to be abolished in Parliament, stressing that workers must "abolish them in practice".

    According to Papariga, the initial condition for any 'renegotiation' of bailout terms would be that the Greek side honoured all the commitments and any renegotiation, if it took place, would be with "new terms that massacre the people".

    She noted that wages would be compressed even further downward throughout Europe and not just Greece, since the EU's competitiveness was being compared with that of India, China and Brazil where wages "are lower than the lowest European level".

    [06] Kouvelis: Greece must have gov't after June 17 elections

    Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis on Thursday referred to a positive activity in Europe that Greece must take advantage of, regarding the outcome of the EU Summit, and underlined the need for the country to have a government the day after the 17 June elections.

    Kouvelis said that the outcome of the EU Summit indicated that a change in the political climate in Europe exists, adding that his party will proceed with responsibility and will take advantage of the good will and support for Greece and its development, and also to disengage the country from the heinous conditions of the Memorandum and the loan contract, adding that the possibility exists for alliances that will enable Greece to acquire a government with a progressive policy.

    "DIMAR, with responsibility to the country and the society, will do whatever possible in order for a progressive policy to be implemented," concluded Kouvelis.

    [07] Eco-Greens, Social Agreement party hold talks

    Delegations of the Ecologists-Greens party and the Social Agreement party led by Louka Katseli met at the EcoGreens headquarters on Koumoundourou Square on Thursday.

    After the meeting, the head of the EcoGreens election campaign Ioanna Kontouli noted that the EcoGreens had voted to run independently in the upcoming elections on June 17, in the hopes of winning the additional 0.07 percent that would have earned them entry into Parliament, but that this did not preclude them from seeking "broad dialogue with the political forces that want to release the country from the vice imposed by the policies of previous governments". She announced that, in this framework, the EcoGreens were calling all forces to a public debate on the party's proposals.

    "The day after the repeat elections, there must not be a repetition of the same scenario that we saw in the previous elections. And in this framework, the Ecologists Greens have positions, proposals and a role."

    [08] ALDE leader Verhofstadt receives head of small liberal political party

    "Dimiourgia Xana" (Recreate Greece) leader Thanos Tzimeros had a series of contacts with EU officials ahead of the extraordinary summit meeting on economic growth held in Brussels of Wednesday.

    The meetings focused on the search for a new agreement with the EU allowing Greece to overcome the economic crisis soon and safeguard its presence in the eurozone.

    Tzimeros met with president of the European Parliament's Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group Guy Verhofstadt, who had invited him to Brussels, as well as with European Commissioner Maria Damanaki.

    [09] Support for Greece by Obama government

    NEW YORK (AMNA/P. Panagiotou)

    The United States supports Greece's stay in the eurozone and the implementation of the country's commitments, according to a White House official, who stressed that "we must respect the Greek people, when they take their decision."

    Ben Roads, alternate national security adviser for strategic communication, stressed during a press conference on Thursday on the outcome of the G8 and NATO summits the need for Greece's stay in the eurozone, underlining in parallel that the Obama government recognises the "great sacrifices" of the Greek people.

    Replying to a question on whether there is concern over the result of the elections, Roads said that "first of all, ultimately, it is up to the Greek people to decide what they want to do. So it is their decision as to which leaders they will select and whether they see their future in the eurozone or not. And for this, we respect the fact that this will ultimately be a sovereign decision that will be taken by the Greeks, and they must decide to do what is in their interest."

    [10] SYRIZA on Tsipras' visit to Paris, Berlin

    The leadership of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Thursday said a recent visit to Paris and Berlin by party leader Alexis Tsipras underlined the conclusion that "everybody admits Greece's collapse will bring the eurozone's dissolution", while the leftist coalition also decried that journalistic ethics were intentionally violated in the way the Tsipras visit was covered by Greek media.

    Speaking to reporters, SYRIZA spokesman Vassilis Moulopoulos, a former senior newspaper editor, reiterated his party pledge to "dismantle the network of interwoven interests, because we want healthy information and mass media".

    As regards Tsipras' visit and contacts in Paris and Berlin, SYRIZA's conclusion is that everyone wants a solution that will be acceptable by Greece, according to Moulopoulos.

    Most of Tsipras' interlocutors in France and Germany maintained that Greece must implement existing agreements before any discussion for changes is held, a position with which SYRIZA disagrees.

    Referring to the way Tsipras' trip was covered, Moulopoulos said journalistic ethics were violated, stressing that there was no French media report alleging that President Francois Hollande was annoyed by Tsipras' novel "Hollandreou" comment. He underlined that only the Greek media characterised it as an "impropriety".

    Meanwhile, SYRIZA MP Dimitris Papadimoulis on Thursday responded to New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras' statements, namely, that SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is destroying the alliances forged by Greece over generations.

    Speaking to a private radio, Papadimoulis stressed that the May 6 election result has made it clear that the memorandum recipe brought explosive recession, unemployment and unequal treatment, underlining that "numbers do not add up any more".

    He stressed that the outcome reached by the participants in Wednesday's informal summit was that "we want to help Greece have economic growth and stay in the eurozone but, on the other hand, the Greeks will have to meet their obligations. The funny thing is that the memorandum kills economic growth and this becomes more and more obvious".

    Another party spokesman, Panos Skourletis, commented on the highly critical comments against SYRIZA's economic programme (1,300 euro minimum salary, overturning pay cuts) made by the co-president of the European Parliament's Greens-European Free Alliance group, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who amongst others, referred to "nonsense" and a "crazy" idea.

    Speaking to public-run NET radio, Skourletis criticised domestic banks, stressing that they are interfering with the election campaign. "We have evidence suggesting that news on the likelihood of a Greek exit from the eurozone, in case SYRIZA wins (in the elections), is systematically leaked by their boards (managements). They are panicking their clients; they say that SYRIZA will take their (bank customers') houses ...This is a methodical war with political ulterior motives, that originates from a specific economic centre, that of the banks."

    A SYRIZA claim a day earlier of dangermongering was categorically denied by Athens-based Eurobank.

    [11] ND attacks SYRIZA position on illegal migration

    In the wake of anti-migrant riots in Patras spurred by the death of a local man knifed by Afghan illegal immigrants, the New Democracy party on Thursday attacked the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party over its positions on illegal migration.

    ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis noted that the violent incidents were incited by extremist groups, such as the "far-right Golden Dawn and groups of Leftists", and stressed that such extremists that took the law into their own hands did not provide solutions to the problems and by inciting lawlessness, violence and chaos created greater dangers.

    "Equally dangerous are all those that - with SYRIZA in the forefront - want Greece to be unguarded against illegal migrants," Mihelakis continued.

    "SYRIZA cannot, at a time when illegal migration is turning into an asymmetrical threat, to promise 'expansion of the definition of asylum and its rapid provision' or, in other words, mass legalisation. It is odd for them to speak of a demilitarisation of the coast guard. And it is at least provocative, in a country with more than one million unemployed, to promise that it will hand out unemployment benefits 'gradually to 80 percent of the last wage in the first two years' to 1.5 million illegal migrants 'until they find a job'," Mihelakis said.

    Such positions proved, once again, that SYRIZA was "irresponsible and dangerous on issues concerning the safety of citizens as well," the spokesman added.

    [12] Clash between PASOK, SEV over collective labour contracts

    PASOK spokeswoman Fofi Yennimata on Thursday lashed out at Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV) president Dimitris Daskalopoulos in response to the leaks made a day earlier to the media by "SEV sources" as regards the fate of the collective labour contracts putting the blame on the preceding government.

    Yennimata told reporters that PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos spoke on the phone with Daskalopoulos on Wednesday night and expressed his displeasure over the "leaks". She claimed that Daskalopoulos "very calmly" admitted that he had issued the statement himself presenting it as a statement issued by "SEV sources".

    She underlined that this is not the first time Daskalopoulos has openly interfered in purely political matters and said that the "SEV sources", namely, its president, are provocative.

    Yennimata stressed that the bailout agreement and the relevant law do not say anywhere that the reduction of wages in the private sector is mandatory, adding that employers are free to accept a measure allowing labour contracts to remain in effect after expiration.

    [13] Venizelos to address political event on Fri., tour Peloponnese on Sat.

    PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos will begin his election rallies with an address at the Ilion municipal hall in west Athens on Friday afternoon, followed by a tour of the prefectures of Corinth and Argolida on Saturday.

    On Friday and before his address in Ilion, the PASOK leader will hold consecutive meetings at the party's headquarters with the president of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the Euro-Parliament, Hannes Swoboda.

    On Sunday, Venizelos will be giving a press conference.

    [14] Athens Archbishop Ieronymos meets Putin during visit to Russia

    MOSCOW (AMNA/Th. Avgerinos)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on Thursday, with Moscow Patriarch Kirill attending.

    Patriarch Kirill and Archbishop Ieronymos had earlier held a joint service at the Church of the Resurrection at the Kremlin, along with metropolitans in the Greek delegation that accompanied Ieronymos to Moscow on an official visit that began on Wednesday afternoon.

    President Putin thanked Archbishop Ieronymos for coming to Russia on the name day of the Moscow Patriarch, reminding that the joint culture of Greece and Russia lies precisely in the sermon of the Orthodox enlighteners Kirill and Methodius.

    "On such a day it is even more evident how deep are the spiritual roots that unite us. I am certain that you will like it in Russia, I am pleased to see you," Putin said welcoming the primate of the Church of Greece, who is on an official visit to the Russian Church. The relevant reference was also published in the Kremlin's official website HYPERLINK "http://subscriber.amna.gr/anaweb/attachment/www.kremlin.ru"www.kremlin.ru.

    The Archbishop, after referring to Patriarch Kirill's name day, congratulated Putin for his recent re-election and inauguration, stressing that he feels the need to say that it is a pleasure for him and his entourage "that such a great personality for Russia, such as you, came to power."

    According to the Kremlin's official tape transcript the Archbishop continued saying that "as you said our peoples are linked with a long history of many centuries and these relations are lost in the depth of history, even before Christianity in Russia, in the era of the colonies by ancient Greeks on the territory of your country, however even more so we are united by the Orthodox faith. We would like today in particular to stress this, so that there shall be great bonds between our Orthodox peoples because in our era in particular the support of the one for the other is needed more than ever and for this reason we believe that you can also help us and for this reason we hope for your support."

    In an address to Archbishop Ieronymos, Patriarch Kirill referred to the symbolic timing of his visit, which coincided with the days when Russians celebrate the start of the Cyrillic script and, in an indirect reference to the economic crisis in Greece, stressed that the Greek and Russian peoples always found a support in faith during historically difficult times.

    "I do not doubt that through those authentic values to which our peoples owe their existence we will overcome the current difficulties that are caused by the economic crisis and the spiritual crisis that lies beneath this," he said.

    In his reply, Archbishop Ieronymos praised Patriarch Kirill as the leader of the large and influential Russian Orthodox Church.

    The Church of Greece delegation is due to hold official talks with the Moscow Patriarch on Friday and will visit St. Petersburg until Sunday.

    Financial News

    [15] President Papoulias and BoG governor discuss growth prospects and situation in banks

    The state of Greek banks and growth issues were the focus of the meeting held on Thursday between President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos, who visited him at the Presidential Mansion.

    "Many things are being heard about the banks," President Papoulias said and Provopoulos replied "in a period of great uncertainty it is important for 18 billion euros to be provided for the banks. It is positive that we had statements by European leaders for growth initiatives to be undertaken. Growth, however, passes through the country itself."

    Provopoulos added that what is necessary for growth to go ahead is a speedup of privatisations, the combatting of bureaucracy and corruption, the closure of utilities living from the citizens' resources and the utilisation of the ESPA funds, amounting to about 15 billion that are "stagnating" in Brussels.

    As regards the outflow of deposits, Provopoulos said that it concerns the outflow of resources from the real economy and must be reversed to be provided for the real economy. Growth is the combination of all these and we must deal with these and not with various other things, as we are doing lately, Provopoulos concluded.

    [16] Finance ministry considering extension for submission of tax statements

    The Finance ministry is considering an extension for the submission of tax statements for legal entities and private individuals, as well as for outstanding debts to the state.

    The time limit for legal entities and for inclusion in the arrangement for outstanding debts expires at the end of the month, while the submission of statements by private individuals on June 15.

    The ministry is considering an extension being given to these time limits to facilitate the taxpayers, as well as for delays that have been caused due to the election period to be handled.

    [17] Loans to shipping down, shipbroker reports

    The volume of loans to shipping has shrunk significantly in the first trimester of 2012, reaching a five-year low of 5.9 billion dollars, according to figures released on Thursday by the shipbroker G. Moundreas.

    This represents a 60 percent reduction relative to the previous year and is accompanied in a reduction in the number of orders for newbuilds, which amounted to just 51 new orders for a total capacity of 1.8 million DWT in April, down 30 percent from March.

    Over the four-month period, there were 277 orders for new ships with a total capacity of 12 million DWT, reflecting a 55 percent drop from the same period in 2011 when there were orders for 622 new ships.

    Ship owners said the drop in orders for newbuilds was not only due to a lack of liquidity but also a 'wait-and-see' attitude triggered by a combination of negative developments and problems faced by shipyards expected to drive down prices by up to 15 percent.

    They also consider that prices for used ships have reached their limit and are not likely to fall significantly in the future.

    [18] Halkidiki Green Olive receives PDO registration

    The "Halkidiki Green Olive" brand name, referring to the variety of green olives produced in the region of Halkidiki, northern Greece, was registered in the EU as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product thus acquiring a high added value, it was announced on Thursday. The EU quality schemes identify products and foodstuffs farmed and produced to exacting specifications.

    The PDO identification process for the green olives produced in Halkidiki was temporarily delayed following objections raised by producers in Belgium and Canada in an effort to protect their own interests.

    [19] '100% Made in Italy' Festival opening on Friday

    Italian industrial products, from cars to coffee, combined with an exhibition of companies of the floriculture sector will be bringing to Athens a scent of Italy for three days, from Friday until Sunday. It is the "100% Made in Italy" Festival that will be held at the "Technopolis" ("Constantine Kavafis" hall, building D7).

    The event, that is being organised by the Greek-Italian Chamber of Commerce of Athens and is under the auspices of the Italian Embassy in Athens, will be inaugurated by the ambassador, Claudio Gleder.

    [20] Direct Athens-Prague flight by Aegean

    The new direct flight between Athens and Prague commenced on Thursday by Aegean Airlines.

    An Airbus A320 will depart from Athens International Airport (AIA) every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 09:20 a.m. and land in Prague at 11:00 a.m. (local time). The return flight will leave from Prague at 11:40 a.m. (local time).

    [21] Stocks dive 4.53 pct to hover at 502.52 points

    Stocks remained under heavy pressure on Thursday, with continuing speculation concerning Greece's possible exit from the euro leading to aggressive sales and at times driving the market index below 500 points. The composite index of the market dived 4.53 pct to end at 502.52 points at the end of trading, with turnover rising slightly to 36.703 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 5.29 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.41 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 1.98 pct. All sectors moved downward, with the biggest losses for Oil & Gas (-10.38 pct) and Construction (-8.56 pct), Commerce (-5.68 pct), and Banks (-5.56 pct). All blue chip stocks ended lower, with Hellenic Petroleum (-10.52 pct), Cyprus Popular Bank (-10.31 pct), Motor Oil (-10.12 pct) and Titan (-9.65 pct) the top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 96 to 37 with another 26 issues unchanged.

    Lambrakis Press (24.29 pct), AEGEK (18.84 pct), Spider (18.42 pct) and Euroholdings (17.54 pct) were top gainers, while Logismos (-28.13 pct), Boutaris (-20.00 pct) and 3A (19.97 pct) and AXON Holdings (-11.19 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -3.00%

    Commercial: -5.68%

    Construction: -8.56%

    Oil & Gas: -10.38%

    Personal & Household: -1.44%

    Raw Materials: -2.96%

    Travel & Leisure: -4.58%

    Technology: -0.10%

    Telecoms: -4.86%

    Banks: -5.56%

    Food & Beverages: -2.45%

    Health: -0.64%

    Utilities: -2.92%

    Chemicals: -4.64%

    Financial Services: -3.37%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.79

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 1.47

    HBC Coca Cola: 12.20

    Hellenic Petroleum: 4.34

    National Bank of Greece: 1.21

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.51

    OPAP: 3.80

    OTE: 1.37

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.21

    Titan: 11.70

    [22] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened significantly to 29.01 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 28.41 pct on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 30.46 pct and the German Bund 1.39 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. the 12-month rate was 1.25 pct, the nine-month rate eased to 1.10 pct, the six-month rate was 0.96 pct, the three-month 0.68 pct and the one-month rate was 0.39 pct.

    [23] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.88 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover remaining a low 6.698 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,556 contracts worth 3.317 million euros, with 19,525 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 27,577 contracts worth 3.381 million euros, with investment interest focusing on OTE's contracts (7,794), followed by National Bank (6,500), Alpha Bank (5,708), Cyprus Bank (3,317), PPC (1,079), OPAP (945), Piraeus Bank (544) and MIG (475).

    [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.274

    Pound sterling 0.812

    Danish kroner 7.542

    Swedish kroner 9.110

    Japanese yen 101.25

    Swiss franc 1.219

    Norwegian kroner 7.649

    Canadian dollar 1.307

    Australian dollar 1.303

    General News

    [25] Initiative to re-establish Jewish studies seat at Thessaloniki univ.

    The president of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki on Thursday cited what he called a "very positive" development in terms of efforts to re-establish a Jewish studies seat at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, part of a growing cooperation between higher education institutions in Greece and Israel.

    The comments, by David Saltiel, came after statements on Wednesday evening by Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, who reiterated that university authorities in Thessaloniki aim to re-establish the seat -- abolished before WWII -- an issue that has repeatedly been discussed by university officials and the Jewish community in the northern Greece metropolis.

    [26] Thessaloniki mayor receives visiting Bitola counterpart

    Cooperation in the sectors of local administration, entrepreneurship and tourism, dominated a meeting on Wednesday between Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris and a visiting municipal delegation from Bitola, in the southwest corner of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), headed byVladimir Talevski.

    Boutaris underlined that cooperation will benefit the peoples of both countries, adding that a mutually acceptable solution to the thorny "name issue" should be found. Both municipalities have submitted a proposal for INTERREG funding, aimed at stimulating cooperation between neighboring Balkan states on the local administration level.

    The Bitola delegation also included the mayor's office director, Guro Ilich, Institute and Museum National Foundation programme director Irena Ruzin, Entrepreneurship Centre director Rozita Talevska Hristova and Gauss Institute director Aleksandra Lozanovska.

    [27] 60-yr-old man, nonagenarian mother, jump of roof in double suicide

    A 60-year-old man and his 90-year-old mother jumped off the roof of the five-storey apartment building they lived in on Thursday morning, in a double suicide in downtown Athens.

    No suicide note was found by police, who are conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the double suicide, but the man, an unemployed musician, had earlier posted a message on a blog on the internet that his life has become a constant drama, noting that for 20 years he has been taking care of his nonagenarian mother, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease and other ailments, was facing financial problems, and had reached a dead end.

    The blog message also contained some verses he had written regarding the economic and social crisis.

    [28] Burglars gang arrested in Athens

    A multi-member burglars gang that had broken into several apartments and offices in wider Athens was dismantled by Attica police.

    Nine Georgians have been arrested while two more are wanted.

    The three members of the gang were arrested eight days ago during a police operation which is still underway. Six more members were arrested on Monday in Athens in three different apartments which they used as hideouts.

    According to police the gang has broken into 54 offices and apartments and a search of their hideouts revealed a large quantity of jewelry, electronic devices, a pistol, 117 grams of cannabis as well as small quantities of cocaine and heroin and two electronic precision scales.

    The suspects were sent before an Athens prosecutor.

    [29] Two foreign nationals arrested for drug dealing

    Two Albanian nationals were arrested on Wednesday in the city of Nafplio charged with drug dealing.

    Police stopped a taxi to make a spot check and found 4 kilos of hashish in the possession of the two passengers. The drugs as well as four mobile phones and 200 euros in cash were confiscated.

    The suspects will be sent before a Nafplio prosecutor.

    Weather forecast

    [30] Rainy on Friday

    Rainy weather and westerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday. Winds 3-6 beauforte. Temperatures between 11C and 28C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens with westerly 3-5 beauforte winds and temperatures between 15C and 28C. Rainy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 13C and 25C.

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

    Wednesday's informal EU Summit in Brussels and EU country members' wish to Greece to remain in the eurozone provided it fulfills its commitments and speculations of EU's contingency plans in the event of Greece's exit from the eurozone, dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Unbelievable benefits still remain in public sector!!".

    AVGHI: "Anti-labour laws being suspended".

    AVRIANI: "SYRIZA full speed ahead for self-sufficient government".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "First rift on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's wall".

    ESTIA: "Fear may save - Where the June 17 elections will be decided".

    ETHNOS: "EU leaders unsheathed their knives at the dinner".

    IMERISSIA: "'Map exercise' on Greek exit from the eurozone".

    KATHIMERINI: "EU supports Greece but also prepares plan B".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Development will be supported if the agreements are adhered to".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Strong Communist Party (KKE), now - ND and PASOK do not change - Do not trust SYRIZA".

    TA NEA: "Rendez-vous for June for the eurobond".

    VRADYNI: "GREXIT: Scenarios on Greece's exit from eurozone".

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