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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-06-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 8 June 2012 Issue No: 4090


  • [01] Third phase of investment law attracts 270 plans worth 1.1 bln euros
  • [02] Arrest of ultra-right Chryssi Avghi party spokesman ordered after punching KKE candidate MP on live TV programme
  • [03] Gov't condemns Chryssi Avghi spokesman's attack on live television
  • [04] Caretaker PM states solidarity to KKE leader on Kassidiaris' assault
  • [05] Acting parliament president condemns attack on MPs, says such 'fascistoid attitude' must vanish
  • [06] Interior minister on Chryssi Avghi attack: 'nothing can disrupt smooth course to elections'
  • [07] ND leader Samaras on Kassidiaris' assault
  • [08] SYRIZA: Chryssi Avghi spokesman's attack showed 'true face of this criminal gang'
  • [09] Venizelos comments on Kassidiaris attack, stresses need to protect institutions
  • [10] PASOK on Kassidiaris incident
  • [11] KKE leader: People who voted for Chryssi Avghi should reconsider
  • [12] DIM.AR condemns attack by Chryssi Avgi spokesman
  • [13] Former PM Papandreou on use of force
  • [14] Chryssi Avgi says party will have no contacts with media
  • [15] PASOK's Venizelos calls for gov't of shared responsibility
  • [16] KKE's Papariga outlines party's foreign policy positions
  • [17] Independent Greeks leader presents party's proposals for retired officers
  • [18] Eurogroup president hopes Greek people will choose path of euro
  • [19] Athens Archbishop Ieronymos briefs PM Pikrammenos on his recent visit to Church of Russia
  • [20] Caretaker minister on natural resources, econ growth
  • [21] Unemployment shoots to record 21.9pct in March, up 6.2pct from March 2011
  • [22] "Posidonia 2012" ends with record number of visitors
  • [23] New three-year Collective Labour Agreement for PPC employees signed on Thursday evening
  • [24] Greek economic sentiment index eased in May
  • [25] IKA reports improved revenues in May
  • [26] Attica Pharmacists' Association to open bank account to collect donations for prescription drugs
  • [27] Car sales drop 46.9 pct in May
  • [28] Business Briefs
  • [29] Stocks end strongly higher
  • [30] Greek bond market closing report
  • [31] ADEX closing report
  • [32] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [33] A final farewell to the Athens News Agency's Andreas Christodoulides
  • [34] Robber shot dead in high-profile crime
  • [35] DIMAR on shooting of migrant, alleged burglar by local
  • [36] Restoration approved for Delphi Ancient Theater
  • [37] Stolen Rubens masterpiece presented to Belgian ambassador
  • [38] Documentary on voyage of Argonauts to be filmed in Volos from Friday
  • [39] 15-year-old abducted in Halkida liberated
  • [40] Police uncover 682 'dummy' blind people drawing benefits on Zakynthos
  • [41] Taxi driver arrested with 89.5 kg of unprocessed cannabis
  • [42] Mobilisations in western Achaia four years after big earthquake
  • [43] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Third phase of investment law attracts 270 plans worth 1.1 bln euros

    The government -- meaning the one expected to be formed after the June 17 election -- will announce within six months the results of investment plans worth 1.1 billion euros, ones submitted in the framework of a third phase of an investment law, caretaker Development, Competitiveness & Shipping Minister Ioannis Stournaras said on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters, Stournaras said "it is a very positive development that during this difficult economic situation prevailing in Greece, a total of 270 investors submitted investment plans worth 1.1 billion euros which envisage the creation of 1,140 new job positions. The Development ministry is continuing its daily fight towards restoring confidence among investors and the economy".

    During the first phase (April 2011) a total of 145 investments plans worth 725 million euros had been submitted, while during the second phase (October 2011) a total of 179 investment plans worth 854 million euros had been submitted.

    The minister said that the 270 investment plans submitted in the third phase of the program require state subsidies worth 363 million euros. These investment plans envisage 151 plans in the manufacturing sector (worth 831.8 mln euros), 59 plans in the primary sector (worth 43.6 mln euros), 28 plans in the tourism sector (worth 115 mln euros) and 32 plans in the services sector (worth 100.2 million euros).

    [02] Arrest of ultra-right Chryssi Avghi party spokesman ordered after punching KKE candidate MP on live TV programme

    An Athens prosecutor on Thursday morning ordered the arrest of ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) candidate MP and party press spokesman Elias Kassidiaris, after he attacked high-profile Communist Party of Greece (KKE) candidate MP Liana Kanelli and punched her in the head several times during a live programme on private Antenna television station.

    Kanelli, a former journalist, is a long-standing MP for the KKE in the Greek parliament, which was recently dissolved after only two days in order to pave the way for repeat general elections on June 17.

    Chryssi Avghi elected MPs to the now dissolved parliament for the first time in the May 6 inconclusive general elections, among them Kassidiaris.

    During a heated discussion on the morning TV programme, Kassidiaris also emptied a bottle of water on SYRIZA cadre Rena Dourou, after she said that Chryssi Avghi will turn Greece back 500 years.

    Kanelli reacted to the dousing, and Kassidiaris slapped her once and punched her twice in the head, despite attempts by the TV programme host and other panelists to stop him.

    After the incident, Athens chief prosecutor Eleni Raikou ordered the arrest of Kassidiaris, who in the meantime left the television station.

    Political party representatives called into the station and condemned Kassidiaris' action as "cowardly".

    A prosecutor's office announcement later clarified that the arrest warrant for Kassidiaris is for the attack against Kanelli, for attempted grievous bodily harm, an offence that is prosecuted ex officio.

    That is not the case with the dousing of Dourou, which offence falls under the category of unprovoked abuse, which is prosecuted only after a law suit is filed by the victim.

    The announcement further clarified that Kassidiaris is currently not an MP since parliament has been dissolved ahead of the elections.

    This means that Kassidiaris does not have parliamentary immunity.

    [03] Gov't condemns Chryssi Avghi spokesman's attack on live television

    Caretaker Government spokesman Dimitris Tsiodras on Thursday sternly condemned the physical attack by Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party spokesman and Parliamentary candidate Elias Kassidiaris against Communist Party candidate Liana Kanelli and SYRIZA cadre Rena Dourou during a live TV programme earlier in the morning.

    "This attack is an attack against every democratic citizen," said Tsiodras in a statement, adding that "it is a vested right of our political culture that the elections campaign is held in a climate of democratic dialogue. God forbid that political differences are solved with violence. The least that every democratic citizen expects from the Chryssi Avghi party, which Mr. Kassidiaris belongs to, is that it unequivocally condemn this action".

    Concluding, the statement he noted that the case in the hands of justice.

    Meanwhile, caretaker prime minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos telephoned SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras after being informed of the incident.

    Tsipras was visiting the National Center for Public Administration at the time, and interrupted his itinerary briefly to take the incoming call from the prime minister's office.

    The prime minister also contacted Chryssi Avghi General Secretary Nikos Mihaloliakos and sternly condemned the incident, stressing that the pre-election campaign must be carried out in a strictly legal framework.

    Tsiodras did not report Mihaloliakos' reply, saying that it was up to the party's leader to do so, and said there was no news concerning the arrest of Kassidiaris.

    Concerning the prime minister's visit to the Citizen Protection ministry on Thursday, Tsiodras said the visit had been scheduled beforehand so that the government might be briefed on issues relating to fighting crime and preparations for the elections and had only accidentally coincided with the incident in the morning.

    Asked whether Chryssi Avghi might be outlawed and forbidden from running the election, Tsiodras said that the candidates for the elections have already been approved by the Supreme Court and that no party could be outlawed. Similarly, he said that barring Chryssi Avghi from the television coverage allocated to the party by the National Broadcasting Council "would not help in this framework of democratic dialogue" and that the state had rules outlining "how far things can go".

    Finally, he said that citizens had the opportunity to express their will at the ballot box in any way they chose.

    [04] Caretaker PM states solidarity to KKE leader on Kassidiaris' assault

    Caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos on Thursday called on the phone Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga and expressed his solidarity, and also condemned ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party spokesman Elias Kassidiaris' assault against KKE former and candidate MP Liana Kanelli during a TV live show earlier Thursday.

    [05] Acting parliament president condemns attack on MPs, says such 'fascistoid attitude' must vanish

    "Violence has no place in Democracy," acting parliament president Vyron Polydoras said on Thursday, reacting to an attack earlier in the day against Communisty Party of Greece

    (KKE) and SYRIZA candidate MPs Liana Kanelli and Rena Dourou, respectively, by ultra-right Chryssi Avghi party spokesman during a live television programme.

    He also warned that this was a "fascistoid attitude that must vanish permanently".

    "The vulgar attitude of Chryssi Avghi former and candidate MP Elias Kassidiaris againt two ladies, also former and candidate MPs, Rena Dourou (SYRIZA) and Liana Kanelli (KKE) this morning in the Antenna television a direct insult to the social and parliamentary ethics and institutions and compromises the country internationally," said Polydoras, who is acting president of the recently-dissolved parliament ahead of the June 17 repeat general elections.

    "Vioence has no place in democracy. It is not a way of dialogue, nor a means of political comportment. It is the system of a fascistoid rational that must eclipse permanently and irrevocabley," Polydoras continued, adding that "the State and Society must be vigilant and act accordingly to safeguard our political culture and social peace."

    [06] Interior minister on Chryssi Avghi attack: 'nothing can disrupt smooth course to elections'

    "Nothing can disrupt Greece's smooth course toward elections," Interior Minister Antonis Manitakis said on Thursday, in comments on the early morning attack by Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) spokesman and Parliamentary candidate Elias Kasidiaris against the candidates of two left-wing parties on live television.

    Describing the incident as "unacceptable and unprecedented," Manitakis said that it had been condemned by all other political forces in the country and the Greek people.

    Acts of violence of every kind and form were dealt with exclusively by the state with determination, within the framework of democratic legality, he added.

    "In these crucial times that the country is going through, we have an obligation to prove worthy of our democratic and Parliamentary tradition and once again show all sides that Greece is and remains the cradle of democracy," he emphasised.

    [07] ND leader Samaras on Kassidiaris' assault

    New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, who is currently in a campaign tour in the northwestern Greek city of Veria, on Thursday condemned ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) spokesman Elias Kassidiaris' assault against Communist Party of Greece (KKE) former and candidate MP Liana Kanelli and SYRIZA former and candidate MP Rena Dourou during a live TV live programme earlier Thursday.

    "Violence and provocation are phenomena of deep decadence," said Samaras, adding: "We condemn them and we must isolate them and, chiefly, we must not allow them to divide the Greek people, particularly at a time when our country needs us united in the face of this deep crisis we are going through."

    [08] SYRIZA: Chryssi Avghi spokesman's attack showed 'true face of this criminal gang'

    "Chryssi Avghi party spokesman Elias Kassidiaris' attack today (Thursday) against (SYRIZA former and candidate MP) Lena Dourou and (KKE former and candidate MP) Liana Kanelli on Thursday showed to the public what was widely known: the true face of this criminal gang," stated a SYRIZA announcement on Thursday.

    "We remind that a series of trials are pending against cadres of this gang, and have been repeatedly postponed, giving them asylum to continue their criminal activity," the announcement said, adding that "on our part we state that we will not participate in any public debate that also includes a representative Chryssi Avghi and we will put this matter to the interparty committee".

    [09] Venizelos comments on Kassidiaris attack, stresses need to protect institutions

    "We have to protect the institutions, social cohesion and our national unity," PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos stressed on Thursday, commenting on a physical attack against two left-wing party candidates - the Communist Party's Liana Kanelli and SYRIZA's Rena Dourou - by Chryssi Avghi party spokesman and candidate MP Elias Kassidiaris on live television earlier the same day. Venizelos made the statement during a meeting with federations of teachers in tertiary education.

    Venizelos also referred to a previous attack on a former MP and PASOK's candidate for Serres Stathis Koutmeridis at the hands of Chryssi Avghi members.

    Concerning his meeting, PASOK's leader said it concerned the future of the Greek academic and research community but also the major issue concerning the country.

    "We launched a dialogue on issues concerning higher education and research centres," he reported.

    Venizelos also said the country was head for a "national impasse" and stressed the need for a "national strategy that will unite all the forces in society".

    "The economic problem has been converted to a social problem, the social problem has become a political one and the political problems is tending to become an institutional problem, a problem for democracy," he said.

    During a political discussion between political party representatives during an early-morning live breakfast show, Kassidiaris first threw a glass of water over SYRIZA's Dourou and when Kanelli attempted to restrain him, struck her three times across the face before he was stopped by the other panellists and technicians.

    [10] PASOK on Kassidiaris incident

    PASOK spokesperson Fofi Gennimata on Thursday in an announcement referring to ultra-right Chryssi Avghi party spokesman Elias Kassidiaris' attack against Communist Party

    (KKE) former MP Liana Kanelli and SYRIZA cadre Rena Dourou warned that "whoever hatches the snake's egg is playing with the country and democracy".

    "This young 'gentleman', the spokesman of Chryssi Avghi, proved today that he is a representative of a group of neo-nazis that apart from being ultra right are also cowards and bullies," she said.

    "We call on the political, cultural and journalistic world to condemn the incident and we express our solidarity to Ms Kanelli and Ms Dourou. We call on the people who voted for Chryssi Avghi (in the inconclusive May 6 elections) to seriously re-think it. We state that under no condition will a PASOK representative participate in a debate in which a Chryssi Avghi representative will also be present," Gennimata added.

    [11] KKE leader: People who voted for Chryssi Avghi should reconsider

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said Thursday that the incident earlier in the day of an assault by ultra-right Chryssi Avghi party spokesman against KKE former and candidate MP Liana Kanelli "must be turned into a 'Chryssi Avghi out of parliament'," adding that the people have a weapon in their hands that they must use, meaning the upcoming repeat elections.

    Papariga called on the people who voted for Chryssi Avghi in the inconclusive May 6 general elections -- which put Chryssi Avghi in parliament for the first time -- to reconsider their vote, especially the young people.

    [12] DIM.AR condemns attack by Chryssi Avgi spokesman

    "The snake has hatched from its egg," Democratic Left (DIM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis on Thursday stressed, condemning the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) spokesman Elias Kassidiaris' assault against Communist Party (KKE) MP Liana Kanelli.

    Kouvelis stressed that society has to isolate this ideology that is being transformed into a criminal act.

    He said that all political powers should build a wall against those who insult democracy and the country's parliamentary operation.

    [13] Former PM Papandreou on use of force

    Former prime minister George Papandreou, in a statement on Thursday, said that "those who believe or cultivate the logic that the end justifies the means, that the use of force or even tolerance for the use of force is justified for political reasons, lead to the infringement of basic democratic values, lead political life to its fascistisation."

    Papandreou added that "the challenge we have before us is for us to face the crisis with pride and with the calm force of democracy. Democracy that constitutes the foundation of values that unite us, instead of separating us."

    [14] Chryssi Avgi says party will have no contacts with media

    The ultra-nationalist Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party on Thursday responded to the political uproar caused after its spokesman Elias Kassidiaris punched, live on TV, Communist Party (KKE) MP Liana Kanelli earlier in the day.

    Chryssi Avgi issued a response stressing that it will impose an "embargo" on "all television channels and newspapers".

    "Before the mass media shut us out, we will shut them out first," a Chryssi Avgi statement posted on its website read, adding that "this way our exclusion will be made clear and the dirty game they play against us will be fully exposed."

    As regards the violent incident that took place during a television talk-show on Thursday morning, Chryssi Avgi fully covered its spokesman and launched an attack indiscriminately on all journalists and the Greek justice that has filed charges against him.

    The statement underlined that "Liana Kanelli assaulted him first, without being provoked, by hitting him on his face with a pack of documents. It is clearly captured on tape. However, this fact was missed by everybody, including the servants of justice who filed charges only against the Chryssi Avgi spokesman."

    [15] PASOK's Venizelos calls for gov't of shared responsibility

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday stressed that "to have solutions that can be implemented, the country will have to be viable. We have to overcome the risk of political dead end".

    In the meeting he had with the board members of the Association of the Regions of Greece (ENPE), he underlined that "the only viable government solution is an ecumenical government with the participation of all political powers that will share the responsibility, not opting for the safe solution of simply being in the opposition."

    [16] KKE's Papariga outlines party's foreign policy positions

    Communist Party (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Thursday said "it is not a utopia for the people to decide to show their strength and demand the shutting down of US military installations, the abolition of nuclear weapons that can be found in the possession of Israel as well, the return of the Greek forces and our country's abstention from new imperialist wars under preparation."

    Speaking in a press conference to unveil the KKE foreign policy positions, Papariga underlined that the country should not be dragged into "imperialist wars" that are being prepared against Syria and Iran, as she claimed, and stressed that Greek sovereign rights in the Aegean should be protected, while the plans for its division and exploitation of its natural resources by multinational companies should be blocked.

    Papariga stated that minority issues should not be used by NATO and the EU against other peoples, and also against Greece, stressing that a new version of the "dangerous Annan plan on Cyprus should be blocked".

    The KKE general secretary stated that "developments in Greece cannot be examined separately from global events; particularly, regional events where serious and dangerous developments are unfolding."

    Papariga accused New Democracy (ND), PASOK, Independent Greeks and Democratic Left (DIM.AR) of being misleading when they maintain that "NATO and the EU can guarantee peace and security for the Greek people." She also said that equally misleading are the positions expressed by the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) when it refers to "a future replacement of NATO and the EU military structures".

    As regards the Greek-Turkish relations, Papariga stated that claims focusing on the Aegean and its natural resources put peace at risk, stressing that the Greek sovereign rights must be protected.

    Referring to the Cyprus issue, she said KKE supports "a united, independent Cyprus in a federal bi-zonal and bi-communal solution, with a single sovereignty and international identity, without foreign installations and troops, foreign guarantors and protectors."

    "KKE is in favour of the delineation of the territorial waters by Greece and Albania, supports the rights of the Greek minority in Albania and the Albanian immigrants in Greece, does not recognize the Kosovo protectorate, supports the position that the name 'Macedonia' or its derivatives should be used only as a geographic qualifier while, at the same time, putting an end to irredentist propaganda through mutual recognition of the inviolability of the borders, territorial integrity and sovereignty of both countries."

    Referring to the Middle East issue, she stressed that KKE supports the struggle of the Palestinian people and condemns the pressures exerted on the Palestinian Authority for new compromises, demands the withdrawal of the Israeli army from all occupied Arab territories and calls for the immediate release of all Lebanese and Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel.

    KKE also called for the withdrawal of the Israeli army and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Syria and Lebanon and is opposed to the military agreement between Greece and Israel.

    [17] Independent Greeks leader presents party's proposals for retired officers

    Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos presented his party's proposals for retired officers of the Armed Forces and Security Forces in an event held at a downtown Athens hotel on Thursday evening.

    Kammenos emphasised the need for the proclamation of the Exclusive Economic Zone and the exploitation of the country's mineral wealth to enable the heavy debt to be tackled.

    He also said that the Greek citizen's feeling of security must be protected which, as he said, is being lost in border regions and the centre of Athens and for this reason the reorganising of the Greek Police is necessary and the reorganising of the Harbour Corps and its inclusion in the Shipping ministry.

    [18] Eurogroup president hopes Greek people will choose path of euro

    BRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Spinthourakis)

    Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his hope here on Thursday that on June 17 the Hellenic Republic will choose the path of remaining in the eurozone and that the Greek people will give this direction with their vote.

    Juncker said at the same time that the crisis in Spain is not linked nor affects the Greek issue.

    [19] Athens Archbishop Ieronymos briefs PM Pikrammenos on his recent visit to Church of Russia

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, accompanied by the metropolitans of Elassona Vassilios and Corfu Nektarios, visited on Thursday caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos, and briefed him on his recent visit to the Church of Russia.

    The meeting lasted for about an hour and the Archbishop referred in particular to the meeting he had in Russia with President Vladimir Putin.

    The Archbishop had also visited the President of the Republic at noon whom he briefed on the content of the talks he held in Moscow.

    Financial News

    [20] Caretaker minister on natural resources, econ growth

    Caretaker Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Grigoris Tsaltas on Thursday underlined that "Greece's greatest comparative advantage is its natural resources and probably its biggest chance to draw up a new developmental course".

    Addressing a conference hosted by the National Technical University (NTUA) in Athens to mark the World Environment Day, Tsaltas referred to the key-role the academic community can play in the effort "to shape a new model of environmental behaviour for young scientists who in turn can lead the way to a sustainable developmental policy."

    A former rector at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Tsaltas referred to the debate currently underway between the state and members of the academic community focusing on innovation production.

    [21] Unemployment shoots to record 21.9pct in March, up 6.2pct from March 2011

    Unemployment in Greece skyrocketed to a record 21.9 percent in March 2012, posting a 6.2 percent increase against March 2011 and a 0.5 percent increase against the preceding month of February 2012, according to figures released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Thursday.

    ELSTAT, in a seasonally adjusted report, said that the unemployment rate in March 2012 was 21.9% compared to 15.7% in March 2010 and 21.4% in February 2012. The number of employed amounted to 3,843,905 persons.

    The number of unemployed amounted to 1,075,081 while the number of inactive to 3,372,144.

    The number of employed decreased by 342,134 persons compared with March 2011 (an 8.2% rate of decrease) and by 24,996 persons compared with February 2012 (a 0.6% rate of decrease).

    Unemployed increased by 294,706 persons (a 37.8% rate of increase) compared with March 2011 and by 21,625 persons compared with February 2012 (a 2.1% rate of increase).

    Inactive persons -that is, persons that neither worked neither looked for a job- increased by 38,751 persons (a 1.2% rate of increase) compared with March 2011 and by 5,350 persons compared with February 2012 (a 0.2% rate of increase).

    [22] "Posidonia 2012" ends with record number of visitors

    The international shipping exhibition "Posidonia 2012" will end on Friday after breaking all records in terms of number of visitors, estimated to be roughly 20,000, it was announced on Thursday.

    In one day alone, on June 6, roughly 5,200 people visited the 60,000 square meters of the Metropolitan Expo in Spata, greater Athens, recording a 20 pct increase, according to figures provided by its organizers.

    The high quality of the event was praised by the participating 1,870 exhibitors representing 87 countries.

    [23] New three-year Collective Labour Agreement for PPC employees signed on Thursday evening

    The new three-year Collective Labour Agreement of Public Power Corporation (DEH) employees was signed on Thursday evening by the corporation's president and managing director and the president and secretary general of the union representing PPC employees (GENOP-DEH).

    The contract anticipates, according to reports, changes in the status of judgements, transfers and disciplinary control of employees, the rationalisation of bonuses following new negotiations that will follow as well as the possibility of the returning of salary decreases, provided that the validity of the medium-term fiscal strategy framework expires.

    [24] Greek economic sentiment index eased in May

    Greece's economic sentiment index eased slightly in May to 76 points, from 77.3 points in April when the index rose on pre-election hopes, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Thursday.

    The Institute, in its monthly report, said that business expectations in the manufacturing and construction sectors fell significantly, while expectations in the services and retail sectors rose slightly in May. Consumer confidence showed signs of improvement.

    More analytically, in the manufacturing sector business expectations over short-term production developments fell significantly, while expectations over current orders and demand remained unchanged.

    In the services sector, business expectations for current activity and demand for the next quarter deteriorated in May, while expectations over current demand showed signs of recovery.

    In the retail sector, expectations over current sales improved, with estimates over inventories remaining unchanged in the month. In the construction sector, business expectations over the current works program remained negative, while expectations over employment in the sector worsened further.

    Greek households remained very pessimistic over their finances and the country's economic situations, while saving intention fell to new historic lows in May and pessimistic forecasts over unemployment showed signs of recovery.

    The economic sentiment index fell both in the EU and the Eurozone in May.

    [25] IKA reports improved revenues in May

    Greece's Social Insurance Fund (IKA) on Thursday said receipts from current and overdue social insurance contributions grew 13.04 pct in May, compared with April, although they were down 7.6 pct compared with the corresponding month last year.

    IKA, in a statement, attributed this positive development to the results of intensified inspections and the inclusion of 100,000 enterprises in an overdue debt rescheduling program.

    Also a 10-million-euro cutback in spending contributed to boosting IKA's revenue.

    IKA's management said that following May's figures there was no danger of delaying pension payments to IKA pensioners.

    [26] Attica Pharmacists' Association to open bank account to collect donations for prescription drugs

    The head of the Attica Pharmacists' Association Kostas Lourantos on Thursday announced that the association intends to open a bank account where people can donate money for the purchase of expensive drugs needed by patients, after pharmacists stopped supplying them on credit to those insured by the National Organisation of Health Service Providers (EOPYY). Lourantos said the association was receiving dozens of calls a day from desperate patients at a special phone line set up to report the lack of medication.

    He said the money collected would be used to buy drugs to deal with urgent cases, based on the evaluation of an expert committee.

    Lourantos explained that the move aimed to show Greek society that pharmacists were not responsible for the lack of drugs on the market but had been forced into their mobilisation by the actions of EOPYY, which was months behind with payments.

    "We have run dry. We have no money to extend credit to EOPYY. Pharmacies are closing daily, not because they are mismanaged or have their own debts but because of the huge debts of the unreliable social insurance system," he underlined.

    Lourantos appeared unconvinced by the health minister's assurances that payment would soon be forthcoming, "even when it comes from well-intentioned people", noting that the third installment of the debts for March was now in question in spite of the promises and that no one had mentioned April or May.

    He said that 84 people had so far contacted the association to report being unable to find necessary drugs, including cancer patients, multiple sclerosis patients, people with kidney disease, heart disease and many others and that the issue was rapidly evolving into a threat on the lives of thousands of Greeks.

    [27] Car sales drop 46.9 pct in May

    Car sales continued falling significantly in May hit by a shrinking available income in the country despite sales offers and incentives promoted by car dealers. Sales fell 46.9 pct in May, compared with the same month last year, while passenger car sales dropped by 48.3 pct, after decline of 15.7 pct and 14.0 pct in May 2011, respectively, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that car registrations in the January-May period fell to 36,070 (new and used ones), down 39.5 pct compared with the same month last year, after a 43.7 pct drop recorded in the corresponding period in 2011.

    Motorcycle registrations fell by 24.2 pct in May to 13,269 units, while in the five-month period motorcycle registrations fell by 31.7 pct.

    [28] Business Briefs

    -- Papastratos, Greece's largest tobacco industry owned by Philip Morris, on Thursday reported higher revenues but larger losses in 2011. Turnover, after tax, totaled 244.90 million euros in 2011, from 222.26 million euros in the previous year, for an increase of 10.2 pct.

    -- HSBC Bank, a member of HSBC Holdings plc, on Thursday announced that it has reached an agreement to sell its securities firm HSBC Securities to a group of investors led by Nikos Pantelakis, current chief executive of HSBC Securities.

    -- Regency Casino Mont Parnes on Thursday reported lower revenues and profits in 2011, with net revenues falling to 83.3 million euros down 21.5 pct from 106.12 million euros in 2010.

    [29] Stocks end strongly higher

    Stocks ended strongly higher at the Athens Stock Exchange amid a second day of rising prices in international markets on expectations that European authorities will agree to measures towards dealing with a debt crisis and hopes of stronger global economic growth after China surprisingly cut interest rates. The composite index of the market jumped 3.09 pct to end at 492.19 points, with turnover remaining a low 46.091 million euros.

    The Big Cap index rose 3.73 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 3.50 pct higher. The Oil (1.54 pct) sector was the only one to end lower, while Raw Materials (9.39 pct), Constructions (7.59 pct), Commerce (7.29 pct) and Utilities (6.78 pct) were top losers. Mytilineos (11.19 pct), Titan (8.71 pct), PPC (7.50 pct), Folli Follie (7.14 pct) and National Bank (6.18 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks. On the other hand, Hellenic Petroleum (1.87 pct), Motor Oil (0.97 pct) and Cyprus Bank (0.43 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 87 to 34 with another 28 issues unchanged. Unibios (30 pct), Revoil (27.16 pct) and Altec (20 pct) were top gainers, while Paperpack (26.83 pct), Avenir (22.58 pct) and Varvaresos (20 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +2.48%

    Commercial: +7.29%

    Construction: +7.59%

    Oil & Gas: -1.54%

    Personal & Household: +1.30%

    Raw Materials: +9.39%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.32%

    Technology: +3.73%

    Telecoms: +4.92%

    Banks: +3.73%

    Food & Beverages: +4.14%

    Health: +4.85%

    Utilities: +6.78%

    Financial Services: +3.25%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.73

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 1.29

    HBC Coca Cola: 12.50

    Hellenic Petroleum: 4.20

    National Bank of Greece: 0.99

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.43

    OPAP: 4.14

    OTE: 1.28

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.20

    Titan: 11.98

    [30] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds continued falling in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday to 27.38 pct from 27.95 pct on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 28,76 pct and the German bund yielding 1.29 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.22 pct, the six-month rate 0.94 pct, the three-month rate 0.66 pct and the one-month rate 0.38 pct.

    [31] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.15 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday with turnover rising to 13.417 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,833 contracts worth 9.515 million euros, with 20,866 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 36,302 contracts worth 3.901 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (19,343), followed by Cyprus Bank (3,054), Alpha Bank (6,902), OTE (3,305), PPC (718), OPAP (257), Piraeus Bank (242), Titan (327), Cyprus Popular Bank (359), Mytilineos (895) and Coca Cola 3E (207).

    [32] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.278

    Pound sterling 0.820

    Danish kroner 7.545

    Swedish kroner 9.100

    Japanese yen 101.58

    Swiss franc 1.219

    Norwegian kroner 7.702

    Canadian dollar 1.308

    Australian dollar 1.280

    General News

    [33] A final farewell to the Athens News Agency's Andreas Christodoulides

    Family, friends and a host of former colleagues and fellows from the worlds of journalism and politics arrived to send off the former president and general director of the Athens News Agency (renamed AMNA) Andreas Christodoulides on Thursday, accompanying him to his final resting place at the Kesariani cemetery in east Athens.

    Hundreds of mourners, with flowers and wreaths, paid homage to the journalist who was at the helm of Greece's semi-official news agency for 17 years.

    Christodoulides was a founding member of the PASOK party. He worked against the military junta ruling Greece between 1967 and 1974 and resisted the coup attempts on Cyprus. For many former colleagues, however, the things for which he will be best remembered were his renowned modesty, courtesy, integrity and principles.

    Speakers at the service included the secretary of Cyprus' socialist EDEK party, Demetris Papadakis, who represented Cyprus House Speaker Ioannis Omirou, Antonis Karras, a veteran PASOK party cadre and AMNA staff representative Mihalis Psyllos.

    At the same time as the funeral was taking place in Athens, a memorial service was also held in his home town of Nicosia, organised by the local AMNA bureau.

    [34] Robber shot dead in high-profile crime

    A 43-year-old Albanian man was shot and killed in the early morning hours of Thursday in the suburb of Peania, east of Athens proper. The victim, alleged to be an armed robber, was shot by a 25-year-old local man following break-in into the latter's residence hours earlier.

    According to initial reports, three unknown individuals, at about 2 a.m. broke into a house in Peania, but the residents spotted them and the perpetrators fled. However, the burglars did not leave the neighborhood and attempted to break into another residence, but when the alarm went off the suspects put a knife to the throat of the owner, a woman, and demanded she turn off the alarm. Meanwhile the woman's two sons, aged 23 and 25, woke up and fought with the suspects, who escaped again.

    Later, possibly the same trio broke into a third house in the neighborhood but a resident took notice and fired a shot in the air with a shotgun. The suspects fled but the 25 year-old that had clashed earlier with the burglars left his house and saw two men running away, chased them and shot at them with a shotgun, resulting in the fatal injury of the Albanian , while the other suspect, a compatriot, was arrested by police.

    The local man, a university student studying veterinary medicine, surrendered to police.

    [35] DIMAR on shooting of migrant, alleged burglar by local

    ?The phenomena of delinquency deriving from the increased and rampant illegal immigration wave in our country demand realistic solutions which, of course, can be neither the legalisation of all the migrants nor turning several areas of Athens into a ghetto," said Democratic Left (DIMAR) party in a statement on Thursday referring to the fatal shooting of an alleged burglar from Albania in the Athens suburb of Peania. The State must give a solution to the issue of insufficient policing he added.

    "The justified insecurity of the citizens deriving from the increase of crime and the ineffectiveness of the authorities in facing it, can under no circumstances, in a democratic regime, justify or legitimise armed protection in the name of 'legal self-defence' and taking the law into one's own hands," the DIMAR statement added.

    [36] Restoration approved for Delphi Ancient Theater

    The Ancient Theatre at Delphi, one of the most important ancient theatres in the world, will undergo restoration works following a unanimous approval of a relevant study by Greece's Central Archaeological Council (KAS).

    The study, funded by the Diazoma association with 100,000 euros, seeks to secure and restore the geometry of the Koilon, the bowl-shaped seating area, as well as of the remaining terraced seats.

    Ancient Greek theaters were very large, open-air structures that took advantage of sloping hillsides for their terraced seating. Because of drama's close connection with religion, theaters were often located in or near sanctuaries. The Theater of Delphi is located in the sanctuary of the Pythian Apollo, set on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos above the northwestern corner of the renowned temple of Pythian Apollo, presenting the seated audience with a spectacular view of the sanctuary below and the valley beyond.

    It is the largest structure of the sanctuary, although classified among the average-size monuments of its kind, with a total capacity of 5,000 spectators.

    The Theater was originally built in the 4th century BC of local Parnassos limestone and was subsequently remodeled several times, while the saved part is dated to the 1st century, in the early Roman era.

    Its 35 rows can accommodate around five thousand spectators who in ancient times enjoyed plays, poetry readings, and musical events during the various festivals that took place periodically at Delphi. The lower tiers of seats were built during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

    The audience sat in the "theatron" or "koilon" (seeing place or auditorium) on circular terraced rows of 'benches", originally wooden and afterwards replaced by stone.

    [37] Stolen Rubens masterpiece presented to Belgian ambassador

    A stolen Rubens masterpiece, entitled "The Hunt for the Caledonian Wild Boar", was handed over to Belgian ambassador Marc Van den Reeck during a special ceremony at the National Gallery on Thursday, as the painting will be returned to the Ghent Museum of Fine Arts.

    The 1618 oil sketch (28 x 52 cm) was stolen from the museum in 2001 and was recovered by Greek police in an Athens seaside suburb on Sept. 1, 2011.

    The painting depicts one of the most popular themes for the 17th century aristocracy and was bought in London in 1898 by the Belgian museum for 250,000 GBP.

    [38] Documentary on voyage of Argonauts to be filmed in Volos from Friday

    Filming of a documentary on the mythical voyage of the Argonauts, to be shown by the BBC and other major television networks throughout the world, will begin in the coastal city of Volos, eastern Greece on Friday. The documentary is being shot by an Australian film company and a copy will be given to the Volos municipality to use as tourism promotion for the area.

    The municipality said everything was ready for the four-day voyage of a replica 'Argo', the legendary ship that Jason and the Argonauts used to retrieve the Golden Fleece, in the Pagasitic Bay. The ship will embark at 9:00 with a crew of rowers from the 'Argonauts 2008' club and filming will be carried out in waters around the bay with the assistance of 55 rowers from the club.

    The film company aims to recreate the conditions that existed during the time of the mythical Jason as closely as possible and the rowers will all be wearing costumes simulating the style of that era.

    During filming, the ship will sail as far as Afissos and then spend the night at Milina. On Saturday, filming will continue on the small islands in the region, Trikeri and Agia Kyriaki, and various locations in south Pelion before returning to Volos on Monday.

    [39] 15-year-old abducted in Halkida liberated

    The 15-year-old son of a bank manager who was abducted on Thursday morning in the town of Halkida while on his way to school, in front of his schoolmates and other passers-by, was liberated late Tursday night by his abductors.

    According to eye-witnesses the boy, son of the manager of the Halkida branch of the National Bank of Greece (NBG) was on his way to school when unknown individuals stopped him at about 8:00 in the morning, put him into their car and sped off.

    The boy called by phone his parents after his liberation to come and pick him up at the site he had indicated.

    The boy is in good health while, according to the police, no ransom was paid to the abductors.

    [40] Police uncover 682 'dummy' blind people drawing benefits on Zakynthos

    A police investigation on the Ionian island of Zakynthos has so far uncovered 682 cases of 'dummy' sight-impaired that have claimed disability benefits using fake medical certificates, authorities said on Thursday. The investigation was launched last April at the orders of the Zakynthos prosecutor.

    The case dates back to 1988 and involves inspections of 1,200 case files on benefit recipients, many of whom are now dead. The investigation into the benefits scam is ongoing and the individuals in the 682 cases confirmed so far are being subjected to an expert assessment by opticians working for the Patras first-instance court. The investigation is also establishing the damage to the state sector as a result of the false claims.

    [41] Taxi driver arrested with 89.5 kg of unprocessed cannabis

    A 53-year-old taxi driver was arrested in the Athens district of Nea Smyrni on Wednesday night for the possession of 89.5 kilos of unprocessed cannabis.

    Apart from the drugs, the taxi, 1,000 euros, a precision scale and a mobile phone were also confiscated.

    [42] Mobilisations in western Achaia four years after big earthquake

    Mobilisations have been scheduled in western Achaia, in the Peloponnese, on Friday on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the disastrous earthquake that took place on June 8, 2008.

    The municipality of Western Achaia will close its services, while merchants will close their stores for two hours in protest to the state because, as they claim, their region has been abandoned.

    Agencies are calling for, among other things, their region to be included in the reconstruction programme, the granting of aid to earthquake victims to be completed and the decision on the repayment of loans for businesses that received earthquake loans to be extended and a new town hall to be built.

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

    European Commission's plan for the banking sector and the Greek Tax Bureau's foreclosures for overdue debts, mostly dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Finance Ministry's instructions for the income tax statements".

    AVGHI: "We will exit the crisis, we will remain in the eurozone".

    AVRIANI: "SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras presented a reliable government platform for the country's rescue, to the G20 ambassadors in Greece".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "International front against German Chancellor Angela Merkel".

    ESTIA: "Extreme populism prevails".

    ETHNOS: "Find a solution for the crisis right away!".

    IMERISSIA: "Banking Union in EU - Guarantee Fund for the bank deposits".

    KATHIMERINI: "Foreclosures in the battle for state revenues".

    LOGOS: "Operation 'shock and awe' against the debtors".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Immediate relief measures for the people against the tax-robbery".

    TA NEA: " Plan 'Iphigenia' - Greece led to the altar".

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

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