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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-06-15

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

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

Friday, 15 June 2012 Issue No: 4096

CONTENTS

  • [01] Unemployment skyrockets to 22.6pct in Q1
  • [02] ND leader says if Greece leaves euro disaster that will take place not repairable
  • [03] SYRIZA leader terms elections referendum for memorandum
  • [04] Venizelos praises Hollande interview, repeats call for 'national responsibility' government
  • [05] Venizelos: Security of major importance to citizen
  • [06] Venizelos addresses Piraeus Chamber
  • [07] Ind. Greeks leader insists on outright rejection of bailout austerity terms
  • [08] KKE leader Papariga calls for strong party in Parliament
  • [09] PM Pikrammenos to chair cabinet meeting at noon on Friday
  • [10] Caretaker PM addresses letter of appreciation to Science magazine
  • [11] DIMAR leader briefed on election preparations
  • [12] First 'safe' estimate of election result at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, Singular Logic says
  • [13] Turkish minister: Ankara won't sign UN Convention on Law of the Sea
  • [14] Greek small/medium-sized industries report losses in 2011
  • [15] 'Grexit' would lead to 'uncharted waters', bank report
  • [16] Greek Banks Union president addresses annual general assembly
  • [17] Emporiki Bank transfers equity participations in the Balkans to Credit Agricole
  • [18] Rose farming in Kozani's Voio region shows promising prospects
  • [19] Offshore wind farm NE of Limnos
  • [20] Business Briefs
  • [21] Stocks soar 10.12 pct on Thurs.
  • [22] Greek bond market closing report
  • [23] ADEX closing report
  • [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [25] Austrian newspapers urge readers to vacation in Greece
  • [26] Pharmacies to close in mourning for slain colleague
  • [27] Man arrested in Kosovo for murder of elderly woman in Argostoli, Kefallonia
  • [28] Young British tourist found dead on the island of Corfu
  • [29] Albanian, 30, found dead of gunshot wound in his home
  • [30] Young man found dead with two knife wounds in Xylokastro region
  • [31] Police dismantle ring of robbers and extortionists
  • [32] Protocol of cooperation signed by Greek, Russian universities
  • [33] European Music Day events at Athens' Megaron
  • [34] Cargo ship rudderless near Kea
  • [35] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Unemployment skyrockets to 22.6pct in Q1

    Greek unemployment shot to 22.6 percent in the first quarter of the year, with the unemployed persons exceeding 1.1 million, according top a Labour Force Survey released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Thursday.

    ELSTAT said that in the 1st Quarter of 2012 the number of employed amounted to 3,837,950 persons while the number of unemployed amounted to 1,120,097. The unemployment rate was 22.6% compared with 20.7% in the previous quarter, and 15.9% in the corresponding quarter of 2011

    The number of employed persons decreased by 2.4% compared with the previous quarter, and by 10.7% compared with the 1st Quarter of 2011. The number of unemployed persons increased by 9.2% compared with the previous quarter and by 57.3% compared with the 1st Quarter of 2011.

    The unemployment rate for females (26.5%) is considerably higher than the unemployment rate for males (19.7%).

    By observing the unemployment rate for different age groups, we notice that the highest unemployment rate is recorded among young people in the age group of 15-24 years (52.7%). For young females, the unemployment rate is 60.4%, ELSTAT said.

    As regards the educational attainment level, the unemployment rate is higher among persons who have not attended school (34.3%), for those who did not completed primary education (33.1%) and those who have completed lower secondary education (25.2%). The lowest unemployment rates are observed among persons who have completed post-graduate studies or have doctorate (12.0%), and among those who have completed university (15.7%).

    A total of 46.8% of those looking for job as employees are looking exclusively for a full time job, while 45.6% are looking for full time job, but, if needed, would accept to work part time. 7.5% are looking for a part time job or they do not care if they found a full or a part time job.

    Also, 5.7% of the unemployed persons did not accept a job offer, during the 1st Quarter of 2012, because of various reasons. The main reasons reported were: a) the location of the job was not suitable (30.0%), b) the wage was not satisfactory (24.6%), c) the working hours were not convenient (17.0%).

    The percentage of the "new" unemployed, that is the percentage of persons who entered for the first time labour market, is 23.8%. We should note that the percentage of the "long term" unemployed, that is the percentage of persons that have been looking for a job for more than 1 year (irrespectively of being "new" or "old" unemployed), is 56.5%.

    The unemployment rate is higher for persons of foreign nationality (30.5%) compared with those of Greek nationality (21.8%). On the contrary, the percentage of the economically active persons with foreign nationality is much higher than the corresponding percentage for persons of Greek nationality (71.7% compared to 51.7%).

    The geographical areas (NUTS II regions) with the highest unemployment rate are West Macedonia (28.5%) and Central Macedonia (24.7%). The lowest unemployment rates are observed in South Aegean (13.9%) and Ionian Islands (15.9%).

    During the 1st Quarter of 2012, 81,036 persons who were unemployed one year ago found a job. During the same period, 33,120 persons who were inactive one year ago, got into employment. On the contrary, 222,861 persons who were working one year ago, during the 1st Quarter of 2012 are unemployed and 93,997 persons, who were working, are now inactive. In addition, 123,968 persons who were inactive one year ago, during the 1st Quarter of 2012 entered labour market and are searching for a job.

    If we examine changes in employment by different sector of economic activity, we see that compared to the 1st Quarter of 2011 there was a decrease in employment in all sectors. In the primary sector the decrease was 5.8%, in the secondary 15.1% and the tertiary sector 7.2%. Chart 2 presents the proportional percentage of employed persons by major branches of economic activity in the 1st Quarter of 2012, ELSTAT continued.

    The percentage of part time employment amounts to 7.2% of the total of the employed. The percentage of part timers who choose to work part time because they cannot find a full time job is 59.7%, while 8.3% choose a part time job for other personal or family reasons, 5.6% because they are looking after children or incapacitated adults and 26,4% for other reasons.

    The percentage of employees is estimated at 63.2% of the total of the employed persons (Chart 3) and is by far lower than the mean percentage of employees in the European Union which is 80%.

    [02] ND leader says if Greece leaves euro disaster that will take place not repairable

    New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, addressing an event with the participation of young people at the "Ioannis Vellidis" convention centre in Thessaloniki on Thursday, accused Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras of "playing with Greece."

    Samaras added that he ascertained also that there is a minority of countries in the European Union which is waiting for the opportunity to show Greece the exit from the euro, but added that the majority of countries wants Greece in the euro.

    The ND leader also warned that if Greece leaves the euro then the disaster that will take place will not be repairable, saying that there is no way after six months for it to return to the euro and that "if we exit from the euro, if we clash with the partners, everything will be blown into the air."

    [03] SYRIZA leader terms elections referendum for memorandum

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) president Alexis Tsipras, addressing a rally in Omonia Square in downtown Athens on Thursday evening, extended an invitation of "patriotic and democratic unity" to the Greek people, regardless of the vote on May 6 and with the criterion of their own interest, of their children and of the country.

    Tsipras committed himself that a new era "will begin on Monday, the era of major changes and of major reforms and the bankrupt memorandum will become finally a thing of the past." Also criticising the New Democracy (ND) and PASOK parties, he stressed that the Greek people "are leaving behind the two parties that made the lie their flag to extort the Greek people and steal votes."

    The SYRIZA leader further said "terrorise the terrorists" and also accused the two parties that "corruption is their womb, vested interests their womb, disaster their womb" and that they "looted Greece."

    Addressing profiteers, Tsipras said "we are sending a clear message to profiteers everywhere, on Monday, don't bet your money on Greece's exit from the eurozone because you shall lose it."

    Tsipras termed Sunday's elections a referendum for the memorandum, with one and only dilemma "memorandum or SYRIZA."

    [04] Venizelos praises Hollande interview, repeats call for 'national responsibility' government

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday praised statements by French President Francois Hollande during an exclusive interview with a Greek reporter the previous day, saying the French president as a European philhellene and socialist leader had "spoken discreetly to the Greek people, saying simple and self-evident things".

    He noted that many people had sped to "interpret" his statements in line with their own positions and stressed that "we must get serious, think responsibly and nothing is simpler and more responsible than for all forces that truly believe in remaining in the euro to cooperate".

    "Instead of this, I see old-party practices on the one hand and dangerous contradictions and arrogance on the other; on the one hand we are saying that the euro is not a 'fetish', and that we can thus be rid of it, and on the other that Greece must pass through polarisation, in other words to a government with New Democracy or SYRIZA at its core," he added.

    He advised voters not to be sucked into what he called a 'false' dilemma but vote so as to allow the creation of a government of national responsibility that will keep Greece in the euro.

    Referring to his own meeting with Hollande in Paris, Venizelos said that he had conveyed to the Greek people the impression that he came away with, concerning the importance of the change in France and the support given by the European socialists, the chance to use the new European balances and the significance of the new situation.

    "I had said then that the Europeans are ready to listen to use with the support of the socialists, to contribute to a review of the loan agreement, provided that we respect the European negotiation framework," he added.

    [05] Venizelos: Security of major importance to citizen

    The problem of security, both social and political, is of major importance to the citizen, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said after a visit to the Attica Police Headquarters (GADA) late Thursday morning, adding that his part wants a people united with social cohesion in order to overcome the crisis.

    During a meeting with Attica police chief Ioannis Loucas, Venizelos stressed that the crisis will not be solved with police measures but with political and social measures, adding that this was why PASOK insisted on a government of national co-responsibility in order that a climate of clash will not be created.

    On downtown Athens, Venizelos said that Greece is the victim of a lack of an integrated European policy on illegal immigration, noting however that big steps are already being made towards dealing with the issue, with respect for the safety of the citizen and the European rules.

    Earlier, speaking live on private SKAI television station, Venizelos said that if PASOK comes out second in Sunday's repeat parliamentary elections it will participate in a coalition government, replying to a relevant question. He said he presumed that the same holds true for New Democracy (ND).

    [06] Venizelos addresses Piraeus Chamber

    The people hold the key to the developments in their hands, and it is their duty to give a response to fear and the lack of governance in Sunday's repeat parliamentary elections, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said on Thursday, addressing the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    He warned that if the political forces did not act in the direction of a government of co-responsibility, there was a risk that the country will find itself in a political impasse on Monday.

    Venizelos criticised the other parties of not having submitted integrated platforms, and warned that "the two duelers who are deliberately feeding the artificial polarization" cannot form a government, referring to New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, and that the country will be led to irreversible situations if the country is governed by either.

    In that framework, Venizelos said, the only solution is a government of national co-responsibility, which the country and continuation of its European prospect need.

    Replying to questions, Venizelos said that support of the small and medium size enterprises will emerge from the liquidity that will come from implementation of the positive conditions of the loan agreement.

    [07] Ind. Greeks leader insists on outright rejection of bailout austerity terms

    The Independent Greeks are not prepared to discuss any "renegotiation" of the austerity conditions outlined in the bailout 'Memorandum' but only its outright rejection,party leader Panos Kammenos underlined during an all-media press conference held in Zappion on Thursday.

    Kammenos ruled out any cooperation with the leaders of the two mainstream parties, New Democracy's Antonis Samaras and PASOK's Evangelos Venizelos, saying they were essentially "one and the same". He did not, however, rule out cooperation with the other parties opposed to the bailout austerity measures, including left-wing Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), provided that certain criteria were met.

    Concerning SYRIZA, he noted that it had backed down on several issues and expressed hope that it SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras would not insist "on the extremist views of component members, such as that on national issues and Thrace". He expressed complete disagreement with SYRIZA's view on the taxation of ship owners, noting that if this happened they would simply switch national flag and many jobs in the country would be lost.

    Kammenos set two conditions in order to cooperate in the formation of a coalition government: immediate rejection of the bailout and immediate submission and implementation of the nation's counter-proposal for exiting the crisis. He specified that if sufficient MPs from other parties were found that agreed with these two prerequisites, then he would work with them in order to form a government.

    "There is no second plan outside the euro. We paid for the euro, it wasn't given to us," Kammenos stressed. He also claimed that, even if Greece's creditors stopped funding the country, there would be enough money to pay for pensions and salaries.

    According to the Independent Greeks leader, rejection of the Memorandum would not result in Greece's ejection from the euro and noted that Greece was acting as a 'detonator' in the crisis, which was rapidly becoming a humanitarian crisis. He also rejected the dilemma 'euro or drachma' and said this did not exist, and underlined that there was no mechanism to kick Greece out of the euro area without its consent. At the same time, he did not rule out the departure of other, strong eurozone members from the common currency.

    "People are being asked to choose whether we will be subject to British law or outside it," Kammenos said, and noted that Samaras was now saying the opposite of what he had said a year ago.

    "The one who was blackmailed and shifted position was Samaras and he is using the same means to threaten the people today," Kammenos asserted, promising that there would be a full review of all scandal cases from 1974 until the present day and jail time for anyone found to have robbed the Greek people.

    Finally, he attacked the governor of the Bank of Greece for refusing to turn over the Black Rock report in spite of an earlier promise to do so.

    [08] KKE leader Papariga calls for strong party in Parliament

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing a rally in Thessaloniki on Thursday evening, called for a "strong KKE" and a "counterattack" by the popular movement aimed at "disengagement" from all the "imperialist" organisations and for "popular power."

    Papariga added that "a strong KKE in Parliament and among the people" can spoil "the plans of the industrialists, the exploiters and their parties."

    The KKE leader further said that "the real dilemma is:A counterattack by the popular movement, or the impoverishment of the working people?", adding that "there is not even one antimonopoly, antieuropean union, anticapitalist measure in the programmes of New Democracy (ND) and SYRIZA."

    [09] PM Pikrammenos to chair cabinet meeting at noon on Friday

    Cartetaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos will chair a cabinet meeting at the Maximos Mansion at 13:00 on Friday for a briefing in light of the June 17 elections, as well as on the course of the government's work.

    At 19:00 on the same day, Pikrammenos will be meeting former prime minister Lucas Papademos at the Maximos Mansion.

    [10] Caretaker PM addresses letter of appreciation to Science magazine

    Caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos on Thursday addressed a letter to Science magazine publisher Bruce Albert, thanking him for publishing a letter entitled "Support for Greece", which was signed by several distinguished scientists.

    Pikrammenos expressed his appreciation to the signatories and stressed that they pay homage to Greece's contribution to the European civilization, pointing out that they underline that Greece's institutions and human resources in the scientific and technological fields must be supported to ensure economic growth.

    The caretaker prime minister stressed that "we embrace the proposals suggesting the utilization of resources from the EU structural funds to promote innovative Greek programmes and strengthen cooperation between major European research and technology centers and Greek scientific teams that excel in their fields. Therefore, we intend to submit a relevant proposal to the responsible EU bodies."

    "In this difficult period for Greece, proposals such as these, presented by Nobel Prize laureates, incorporate the quality necessary in order to create future prospects for Greek scientists and students faced with rising unemployment," Pikrammenos stressed.

    [11] DIMAR leader briefed on election preparations

    Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis was briefed on Thursday by caretaker Interior minister Antonis Manitakis on preparations for Sunday's repeat parliamentary elections.

    Manitakis assured Kouvelis that the preparation was progressing on schedule and that all the ministry services, as well as those of the municipalities and peripheries, were working full-time n preparation of the June 17 elections.

    Earlier, Kouvelis visited the Attica Police Headquarters (GADA), where he stressed the need for support of the Greek Police (ELAS), in a period of deep economic crisis in which crime was running rampant.

    He said there were problems such as ensuring the necessary material and technical infrastructure, while he also stressed the need for a restructure of ELAS,

    "ELAS must be supported. The protection of life and safety of the citizen...must be ensured in every way," Kouvelis said

    [12] First 'safe' estimate of election result at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, Singular Logic says

    The first "safe" estimate of the result of Sunday's repeat general elections is expected to be released at around 9:30 on Sunday night, according the IT firm Singular Logic, which has been assigned the job of collecting and transmitting the results of voting throughout the country.

    Singular Logic representatives said during a briefing Thursday at the Interior Ministry the uniqueness of Sunday's elections -- in which citizens will vote for a party and not for specific candidates, since the party tickets comprise lists of candidates in order of preference -- the candidates that are elected will be known as soon as there are collective results. Due to the particularities of the electoral system, they added, some seats will be 'changing hands' until 3-4 in the morning of Monday.

    A total of 21 parties and coalitions and 58 independent candidates will be vying for seats in the 300-member unicameral parliament with 4,873 candidates, compared with 31 parties and coalitions and 52 independent candidates with a total of 6,500 candidates that ran in the inconclusive general elections on May 6.

    [13] Turkish minister: Ankara won't sign UN Convention on Law of the Sea

    STRASBURG (AMNA / N. Roussis)

    Turkey's Minister for European Affairs Egemen Bagis reiterated here on Thursday that "Ankara does not sign the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea because of problems with Greece as regards the Aegean islands."

    The influential Turkish minister was a formal guest at the 69th Meeting of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, held here this week.

    Bagis made the statement in response to a relevant question, adding: "Turkey will not sign such a convention until it becomes a full member of the European Union."

    Earlier, Greek MEP Giorgos Koumoutsakos, a former foreign ministry spokesman in Athens, pointed out to Bagis that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a European acquis, considering that all EU-members and EU candidate members -- except Turkey -- are contractual parties.

    The reply of the Turkish government minister drew negative comments of several MEP members of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, who underlined that the response shows that "an EU candidate state accepts the International Law, international conventions and the European acquis only if they serve its interests and aspirations, therefore, raising a serious issue as regards Turkey's relations with Greece and the EU."

    Financial News

    [14] Greek small/medium-sized industries report losses in 2011

    Greek small and medium-sized industries reported accumulated losses surpassing 500 million euros in 2011, despite the fact that several large units showed strong resistance to adverse economic conditions prevailing in the country and reported strong operating results, according to an AMNA analysis.

    An analysis of the results published by 1,292 enterprises with sales exceeding 3.0 million euros in 2011, the percentage of loss-making industries was 48.3 pct of total small and medium-sized industries in the country in 2011.

    The sector reported losses for the third consecutive year, a development combined with a further weakening of their capital stability and higher concentration in the industry. The number of industrial enterprises with sales exceeding 3.0 million euros fell by 22 pct last year compared with 2010. Accumulated sales, however, rose 9.0 pct last year, although excluding oil producing companies, this increase was cut to 2.4 pct reflecting higher base metal prices.

    Gross earnings fell to 14.5 pct in 2011 from 17.1 pct in the previous year, while EBITDA eased to 5.5 pct from 6.8 pct over the same periods, respectively and pre-tax and interest earnings fell to 2.1 pct from 3.2, respectively.

    Gross earnings by the 1,292 enterprises in the survey fell by 8.0 pct to 6.68 billion euros, EBITDA fell by 12 pct to 2.54 billion and pre-tax and interest earnings dropped 27 pct to 970 million euros.

    Net results showed a loss of 540 million euros in 2011 from a loss of 550 million euros in 2010.

    [15] 'Grexit' would lead to 'uncharted waters', bank report

    A Greek exit from the euro currency union would lead the country to "uncharted waters", a report by Athens-based Eurobank said on Thursday.

    In a report, the Greek bank said remaining in the Eurozone was to the benefit of the country and the Eurozone itself.

    "Uncertainty over Greece's ability to remain in the Eurozone rekindled following the strengthening of political forces which oppose the implementation of a memorandum. We believe that remaining in the currency union was to the benefit of the country and the Eurozone itself, while an exit from the union would lead the country to uncharted waters," the report said.

    "A return to a national currency would not solve the Greek economy's structural problems, which needs painful structural reforms in an adverse economic environment. On the other hand, a Greek exit from the euro would not resolve Eurozone's debt problems, as the Eurozone needs an integrated institutional framework of economic governance," the bank's analysts stated in the report.

    The report noted that the greatest danger for the global economy at present was a Greek exit from the euro and a failure by European leaders to avert a deterioration of the crisis.

    [16] Greek Banks Union president addresses annual general assembly

    Hellenic Bank Association (EET) president Vassilis Rapanos, addressing the EET's annual regular general assembly on Thursday, emphasised the role of banks in the current period of the economic crisis being experienced by Greece and critcism being sustained by the banking system.

    "In all this whirlpool the banking system tried and is trying, with sobriety and without complaints, to help the suffering economy and silently but steadfastly to support the national effort for the tackling of the economic crisis. The problems are many and we know them. We are experiencing them from within. The banking system is from its own nature a sensitive recipient of international upheavals and local concerns. It is facing daily challenges with calmness and sobriety. We deeply believe that Greece has the possibilities to exit from the crisis and in this effort the banking system can play a catalytical role," Rapanos said.

    "So far, the banks are helpers for households and businesses that are suffering harshly from the crisis, with hundreds of thousands, over 800,000 arrangements and they are trying with the limited means at their disposal to help the viable businesses to stay alive. Despite the deep recession that the country has been experiencing over the past three years, the decrease in the credit expansion is very small compared to the decrease in economic activity. In addition, the banks supported and are supporting the effort of the Hellenic State for the funding of its financial needs," he added.

    [17] Emporiki Bank transfers equity participations in the Balkans to Credit Agricole

    Emporiki Bank on Thursday announced it has transfered its equity participations in Emporiki Bank Romania, Emporiki Bank Bulgaria and Emporiki Bank Albania to Credit Agricole Group, its parent company.

    In a statement, Emporiki bank said the internal transfer was the final step of a process started in 2009 aimed at strengthening the relations between Credit Agricole and Emporiki Bank's subsidiaries, in line with Credit Agricole's international business model. The statement also underlined that the transfer will improve capital management in these subsidiaries and allow Emporiki Bank to further renationalize its corporate structure, strengthening efforts to deal more efficiently current challenges.

    [18] Rose farming in Kozani's Voio region shows promising prospects

    Rose-based products, like rose oil, rose water and rose petal spoon sweets, constantly gain ground in domestic and foreign markets creating favourable prospects for local producers in the Kozani prefecture region of Voio, in northwest Greece.

    Importers from France and Cyprus have expressed strong interest. However, the increased demand is hard to be met because the local farm cooperative, active in the specific sector, was established only recently and therefore, production is still limited.

    Rose farming was launched in the region in 2005 and the results observed after the four-year period necessary for the plants to reach flowering size are very encouraging, according to representatives of the Voio Farm Cooperative for Aromatic Plants and Produce, who plan to increase production and organize an up-to-date processing facility for all stages of production. They also announced that a rose-based cosmetics line is scheduled to be in the stores after February 2013.

    This year's rose crop was larger than 6.5 tons and produced half a liter of double stilled rose oil, 1,600 liters of double distilled rose water and rose petal spoon sweets, the demand for which is high due to its nutritional value.

    Rose oil is the essential oil extracted from rose petals and the most widely used in perfumery. Rose water is the hydrosol portion of the distillate of rose petals. It is a by-product of the production of rose oil and is used to flavour food and as a component in some cosmetic and medical preparations.

    [19] Offshore wind farm NE of Limnos

    The application, filed by City Electric S.A. (a 100 pct subsidiary of RF Energy S.A.) for the construction of a 498.15 MW offshore wind farm northeast of the eastern Aegean island of Limnos, won the approval of the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE), it was announced on Thursday.

    The 2-billion-euro offshore wind farm, comprising 81 wind turbines (6.15 MW each), will be the first of its kind in Greece and the third in size worldwide.

    The project will be linked to the national energy grid and play an important role in meeting the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) national goals by 2020.

    The offshore wind farm, soon to be under construction, will have the capacity to produce 1,692.3 GWh of "green" electric power annually and supply with electricity roughly 500,000 households, namely, a city the size of Thessaloniki. Its operation will contribute to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by roughly 1.7 tons annually.

    [20] Business Briefs

    -- Greece's production index in the construction sector fell 9.2 pct in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the same period last year, after a 39.8 pct decline recorded in the first quarter of 2011, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.

    [21] Stocks soar 10.12 pct on Thurs.

    Stocks soared at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday as investors bet on the formation of a pro-European government after the June 17 general elections in the country, amid reports of secret polls.

    The Greek market ignored a negative trend in other European markets on worries over an escalation of a European debt crisis which was hitting Spain and Italy. Bank shares led the rally with the bank index rising 23.39 pct. The composite index of the market jumped 10.12 pct to end at 550.10 points, while turnover improved spectacularly to 81.495 million euros. The market's capitalization rose by 1.9 billion euros to 22.240 billion euros.

    All blue chip stocks ended higher with Alpha Bank (29.75 pct), Ellaktor (27.49 pct), National Bank (25.96 pct), Piraeus Bank (25.12 pct) and Eurobank (24.55 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day. The Big Cap index jumped 12.55 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 12.20 pct higher.

    All sector indices moved up, with Banks (23.9 pct), Telecoms (17.83 pct) and Utilities (12.75 pct) scoring the biggest gains. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 116 to 25 with another 21 issues unchanged. Alpha Bank (29.75 pct), Hellenic Postbank (28.03 pct) and Ellaktor (27.49 pct) were to gainers, while Nikas (11.64 pct), Allatini Ceramics (11.95 pct) and VIS (10 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +8.20%

    Commercial: +9.46%

    Construction: +6.10%

    Oil & Gas: +2.62%

    Personal & Household: +0.66%

    Raw Materials: +7.69%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.81%

    Technology: +8.33%

    Telecoms: +17.83%

    Banks: +23.39%

    Food & Beverages: +10.90%

    Health: +9.29%

    Utilities: +12.75%

    Financial Services: +10.96%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Alpha Bank and OTE.

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.23

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 1.63

    HBC Coca Cola: 13.80

    Hellenic Petroleum: 4.16

    National Bank of Greece: 1.31

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.62

    OPAP: 3.60

    OTE: 1.52

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.27

    Titan: 13.61

    [22] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased to 27.5 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 28.98 pct and the German Bund 1.48 pct. Turnover in the market totaled 2.0 million euros, one buy order.

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

    [23] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover rising significantly to 45.624 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 20,360 contracts worth 20.179 million euros, with 25,522 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 225,427 contracts worth 25.445 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (71,500), followed by Cyprus Bank (18,972), MIG (5,416), OTE (29,642), PPC (4,053), OPAP (4,234), Piraeus Bank (6,541), Hellenic Exchanges (1,047), Alpha Bank (42,071), Cyprus Popular Bank (3,315), Mytilineos (1,714), ATEbank (1,960), GEK (29,419) and Ellaktor (1,110).

    [24] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.273

    Pound sterling 0.821

    Danish kroner 7.542

    Swedish kroner 8.969

    Japanese yen 101.0

    Swiss franc 1.218

    Norwegian kroner 7.619

    Canadian dollar 1.307

    Australian dollar 1.281

    General News

    [25] Austrian newspapers urge readers to vacation in Greece

    VIENNA (AMNA / D. Dimitrakoudis)

    The mass circulation Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung, with an article published in Thursday's issue,urges readers to spend their summer vacations in Greece, highlighting what it cited as a relevant stance by the country's consumer information organization.

    The article underlined that tourists who choose Greece as their destination can enjoy "very good vacations" despite the fact that the country is making negative headlines.

    Oesterreich, an equally well-read newspaper, underlined in an article that Greece is the cheapest tourism destination this year, with vacation cost down 35 pct compared with last year. The newspaper also cited positive comments made by Austrians on their recent vacations.

    Austria is a major market for Greece's tourism product with an average of roughly 500,000 tourists visiting the country annually.

    [26] Pharmacies to close in mourning for slain colleague

    Pharmacies in Piraeus will remain closed throughout the day on Friday, and those in Attica will close for six hours between noon and 6:00 p.m., to honour the memory of their slain colleague Spyros Poukamisas, who was shot dead by robbers in the district of Rendi on Wednesday. The public will be served by emergency duty pharmacies.

    An announcement by the Attica Pharmacists' Association stressed that the entire sector mourned the loss of their colleague and that this "proves the demolition of our society and its surrender to the mercy of unfettered crime".

    Demanding a restoration of order, the association stressed "that these conditions of life are unprecedented for Greek reality and it causes anxiety and terror that human life no longer has any value".

    Poukamisas was attacked by two unidentified men that tried to rob him near his pharmacy in Rendi on Wednesday. When he resisted, one of the men shot him three times at point blank range and the two robbers then escaped in a nearby car.

    [27] Man arrested in Kosovo for murder of elderly woman in Argostoli, Kefallonia

    Authorities in Pristina, Kosovo on Thursday announced the arrest of an Albanian national wanted as a suspect in the murder of an 82-year-old woman in the Greek town of Argostoli on the island of Kefallonia in May 2010. The 24-year-old Albanian suspect was initially taken into custody by local police for drug trading and subsequently found to have an outstanding European arrest warrant issued against him in connection with the Argostoli robbery and murder.

    The murder case was cracked by the Argostoli police, who found that two 24-year-old Albanians, the man caught in Pristina and an accomplice, had entered the home of the elderly woman on May 1, 2010 in order to rob her. The two men had bound and gagged her, choked her to death using a plastic bag and then removed jewellery and money from the house.

    With the arrest of the man caught by police in Kosovo, both the suspects for the woman's murder are now in custody. The second suspect was arrested on December 27, 2011 in Paris by French authorities.

    [28] Young British tourist found dead on the island of Corfu

    A 19-year-old British tourist was found dead outside the apartment where he was staying in the Kavos area on the island of Corfu in the early hours of Thursday morning. The young man's body was spotted by passers-by that called the police.

    According to a police announcement, a coroner and a special forensics team have been called in to conduct an investigation and determine the cause of death. Sources at the local hospital, where the body was taken, said the young Briton had bruises on his face and that a complete autopsy will be carried out on Friday.

    An inquiry to determine the events that led to the 19-year-old's death is being carried out by the Lefkimmea police station.

    [29] Albanian, 30, found dead of gunshot wound in his home

    A 30-year-old Albanian man was found dead in his home in Loutraki in the early hours of Thursday morning, shot in the head by a fire arm. The victim was found by another Albanian national.

    A coroner and police forensic team have been called in to investigate the crime scene while an investigation by the Corinth security police is now underway.

    [30] Young man found dead with two knife wounds in Xylokastro region

    A young man was found dead at the location of Kampos in Xylokastro, in the Peloponnese, on Thursday and, according to initial reports, he has two knife wounds.

    The body is believed to belong to a South Asian and has been taken to the city of Corinth for a postmortem and autopsy, while police are conducting enquiries to solve the case.

    [31] Police dismantle ring of robbers and extortionists

    Police have arrested four members of an organised ring of Afghans who stole materials from the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) and in parallel robbed systematically and sold "protection" to Pakistani shopkeepers in Athens.

    Two Greek taxi drivers were also arrested, who are accused of complicity in the theft of OSE materials.

    The ring's activities were uncovered following investigations by police who initially arrested two Afghan nationals in Malakasa and the two taxi drivers.

    [32] Protocol of cooperation signed by Greek, Russian universities

    Democritus University of Thrace and St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance on Thursday signed a protocol of cooperation at the office of the mayor of Alexandroupolis, in northeast Greece, following the twinning of the municipalities of Alexandroupolis and St Petersburg's Sosnoviy Bor.

    The protocol of cooperation focuses on exchanges of professors and students aimed at the implementation of joint training actions and initiatives.

    [33] European Music Day events at Athens' Megaron

    The Athens Concert Hall's (Megaron) gardens will host several special events in celebration of European Music Day on June 21.

    Audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy choral music, contemporary Greek and foreign performers, jazz improvisa-tions and swing music performances.

    Last year's events were watched by a roughly 7,000 people.

    [34] Cargo ship rudderless near Kea

    The cargo ship "City of Mombay", carrying 2,757 metric tons of automobiles, was sailing rudderless 2.2 nautical miles east of the Cyclades island of Kea, due to a mechanical failure, it was announced by the coast guard on Thursday.

    All 21 crewmembers of the Singapore-flagged cargo ship are safe.

    A towboat and a patrol vessel have been dispatched to the area.

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

    French President Francois Hollande's interview on private Mega television station, the depleting state coffers and the parties' campaigns ahead of Sunday's repeat parliamentary elections were the main front-page headlines in Athens' newspapers on Thursday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "ND's government platform is clear-cut".

    AVGHI: "Ready for dialogue, with Left government - Change of climate in Europe".

    AVRIANI: "SYRIZA leader Tsipras: I will keep the country in the eurozone".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Alexis (Tsipras) 'worships' the lenders".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government for euro and renegotiation".

    ESTIA: "All of Europe is teetering".

    ETHNOS: "Hollande pledge on Greece".

    IMERISSIA: "Hollande's message support under conditions".

    KATHIMERINI: "Samaras: Renegotiation and euro".

    LOGOS: "EU loosens shackles on Greece".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The Eurozone in the rhythm of the Greek elections".

    NIKI: "How to wave up to 1,600 euros a year from grocery shopping".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The people are the center of developments with a strong KKE".

    TA NEA: "Hollande to the Greeks - Warns, pledges and supports".

    VRADYNIl: "Samaras: Vote of responsibility for strong government and renegotiation of Memorandum".

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


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