|Thursday, 16 August 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-06-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 19 June 2012 Issue No: 4099
 Discussions on forming a government to continue Tuesday, ND's Samaras saysNew Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras's contacts with other political party leaders, within the framework of the exploratory mandate he has received to form a government, ended on Monday evening with a meeting with Democratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis. Samaras told reporters that he had a "constructive meeting" with Kouvelis for the formation of a government. He added that discussions will continue on Tuesday.
Samaras had met, earlier Monday, with SYRIZA leader Alexis Samaras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Independent Greeks party president Panos Kammenos.
On his part, Kouvelis said the country must acquire a government of a "progressive character on the basis of specific programme commitments." Kouvelis reiterated his party's proposals on the exercising of a policy that will keep the country in the eurzone and for a gradual disengagement from terms of the memorandum, such as the reduction of minimum salaries and, as well as the extension of the time for the programme's implementation.
"We will not give a blank authorisation to anyone," Kouvelis said, adding that all will depend on the content of the programme agreement that will be achieved.
Lastly, referring to the persons that will compose the "government of a progressive character" as he reiterated, he spoke of the need for there to be "coincidence and consensus."
 Samaras: Country needs gov't immediately, effort continuesThe country needs to acquire a government immediately, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, whose party came first in Sunday's general election, said on Monday after meeting with the leader of the second-placed SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, in his first meeting in the context of an exploratory mandate to form a government he received earlier in the day from the President of the Republic.
"I am continuing the effort," added Samaras, who is due to meet with Evangelos Venizelos, leader of third-placed PASOK, at 6:00 in the afternoon, followed by Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos an hour later.
"We are adhering to the agreement, Greece has consistency, continuity and dignity," he said, adding that a breather and hope will be given to millions of Greeks from an economic recovery.
Samaras said a government of national salvation must be set up with as many parties as possible.
 SYRIZA's Tsipras after meeting Samaras: We'll remain in oppositionRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, in statements after meeting New Democracy president Antonis Samaras on Monday, made it clear that he does not intend to join a coalition government led by ND, but instead his second-place party remain an "active and responsible" main opposition.
He also made it clear, at the end of his statements, that his party will not accept an exploratory mandate to try and form a government, if he is contacted by the president of the republic at the end of the day, but will respect the voters' desires and their choice for a pro-bailout Greek government.
Tsipras essentially put pressure on the other parties, especially ND, PASOK and the Democratic Left (Dem. Ar.), to form a coalition that would enable democracy to work and urged all forces to respond to their role under the institutions.
He appealed to all sides to avoid "communications games" and proceed with the constitutional procedures, noting that the possibility to immediately form a government already existed. He also called on ND leader Antonis Samaras to make use of the significant possibilities for renegotiation afforded by the popular mandate rejecting the austerity policies and expressed concern over the fact that ND's president had made no reference to renegotiating the terms of the bailout during his statements on Sunday night, referring only honouring Greece's signature and the country's commitments.
Tsipras urged Samaras to go to the European leaders' summit on June 28 with the "bar raised high", indicating that SYRIZA was prepared to help in promoting Greece's positions in the framework of negotiations. He noted that the two parties might be opponents in the sense of having opposing strategies but SYRIZA would not be an obstacle to a policy of renegotiation and did not intend to "give away" the great potential arising from the election results.
He also stressed that SYRIZA intended to fully meet its institutional role as an active and responsible main opposition and that he had conveyed to Samaras that a policy of further cuts to wages and pensions would be "catastrophic" for the country.
Replying to questions concerning whether he could assist in negotiations for the reform measures, Tsipras said that it was up to Samaras to exploit the potential given by the election result but added that there would "constant communication".
During the talks with Samaras, Tsipras said that also raised the issue of the violence perpetrated against members of his party by "forces represented in Parliament" - a reference to the Golden Dawn party and an attack by one of its MPs on SYRIZA MP Rena Dourou on live television. SYRIZA's leader stressed that his party would be opposed to "every effort that diminishes democracy" and stressed the need for all political forces to cooperation in this direction.
Finally, he predicted that his party would soon be vindicated by developments and stressed the need not to drag out the process of exploratory mandates but to immediately form a government "otherwise we will all be judged by the people".
 Samaras: 'We have agreed with Venizelos over need for nat'l salvation gov't'New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras' contacts with rival political party leaders, within the framework of the exploratory mandate he has received to form a government, were in progress on Monday afternoon.
After meeting with PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos, Samaras stated that "with Mr. Venizelos we have agreed that a national salvation government will have to be formed within the framework of the exploratory mandate I have received from the president of the republic. We will have more contacts. I have realised that Mr. Kammenos does not wish to cooperate. He does not realise the gravity of the situation and invokes any pretence that one could imagine."
 PASOK leader insists on 4-party meeting to form coalition gov'tNew Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos failed to reach any firm agreement on forming a coalition government, during their meeting on Monday afternoon, with PASOK's leader shying away from the prospect of joining a government with the second-place Radical Leftist Coalition (SYRIZA) as a vocal opposition.
In statements after meeting Samaras, who holds the exploratory mandate to form a government, Venizelos insisted on his proposal for a meeting of ND, PASOK, anti-bailout SYRIZA and the sixth-placed Democratic Left (Dem.Ar) chaired by the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias in order to negotiate the formation of a 'shared responsibility' government.
Venizelos called for the conclusion of the process to form a government on Tuesday, following this meeting, while slamming statements made by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras -- who called on the pro-bailout parties to form a government without him -- as "politically and democratically provocative".
He accused Tsipras of choosing to remain in the opposition in order to wait for the failure of the government that will be formed or in order to cause its wearing down, saying his stance was politically and nationally unacceptable.
Venizelos said that the electorate had voted for the cooperation and rallying of the political forces and that it was now primarily important to ensure the broadest possible political cooperation. It is the national duty of the opposition, also, that the country achieve the best possible result, he added.
PASOK's leader said that a message of unity must be broadcast within the country and a message of seriousness, dignity and serious negotiating positions abroad. He stressed that such issues were much more significant than who would be prime minister or the composition of the government and that, for this reason, answers must be given to these before there is progress on the rest.
 Independent Greeks party leader says no common ground found in meeting with ND leaderThe meeting between New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras and Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos, that took place in Parliament on Monday evening, in the framework of the exploratory mandate received by the ND leader for the formation of a government, failed to produce results.
Kammenos said in a statement that it was ascertained that there was no common ground, adding that he called for the formation of a paramount government without Samaras at its head, something that the ND leader did not accept, as well as the denunciation of the memorandum or its renegotiating with specific terms.
 Final election results with 100 percent of the vote countedThe final results of the June 17 elections with 100 percent of the vote counted were announced by the interior ministry on Monday.
Of the 9,952,080 registered voters, 62.47 percent or 6,216,948 cast their vote on Sunday with an abstention of 37.53 percent. The valid votes came to 99.01 percent and the blank/spoiled votes came to 0.98 percent.
The parties participating, in order of election to Parliament were New Democracy (ND), Radical Leftist Coalition (SYRIZA), Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), Independent Greeks (Ind.Grks), Golden Dawn (Gdn Dawn), Democratic Left (Dem. Ar.), Communist Party of Greece (KKE). The parties not elected to Parliament, again in descending order were Drassi-Recreate Greece! (Rec.Gr!), Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), Ecologists-Greens (EcoGreens), Movement I won't Pay (WON'T PAY), Anticapitalist Leftist Cooperation for Overthrow (ANTARSYA), Koinonia, Union of the Centre (Un.Centre), Pirate Party (Pirate P), Panathinaikos Movement (PAN. KI), KKE (ml) - ML KKE (KKE (ML)), National Hope (NAT HOPE), Liberals Party (Liberal P), independent candidates (Indpts), KEAN, Independent Renewalists (AN. AN)
The results for the parties were as follows:
June 2012 May 2012 Party Percent Votes Seats Percent Votes Seats ND 29.66% 1,825,644 129 18.85% 1,192,051 108 SYRIZA 26.89% 1,655,079 71 16.78% 1,061,282 52 PASOK 12.28% 755,851 33 13.18% 833,527 41 Ind.Grks 7.51% 462,459 20 10.61% 670,957 33 Gdn Dawn 6.92% 425,981 18 6.97% 441,018 21 Dem.Ar 6.26% 385,085 17 6.11% 386,263 19 KKE 4.50% 277,176 12 8.48% 536,072 26 Rec.Gr! 1.59% 98,065 LAOS 1.58% 97,100 2.90% 183,467 EcoGreens 0.88% 54,421 2.93% 185,410 WON'T PAY 0.39% 23,734 0.88% 55,675 ANTARSYA 0.33% 20,390 1.19% 75,428 KOINONIA 0.29% 17,771 0.45% 28,511 Un.Centre 0.28% 17,192 0.61% 38,376 Pirate P 0.23% 14,169 0.51% 32,484 PAN. KI 0.20% 12,439 31 KKE (ML) 0.12% 7,648 0.25% 16,033 NAT HOPE 0.07% 4,303 Liberal p 615 0.06% 3,614 Indpts 416 0.05% 3,089 KEAN 80 339 AN.AN. 1 299
 State Deputies electedNew Democracy (ND) elected 4 Deputies of State, The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) elected 3, and PASOK, the Independent Greeks, the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn), the Democratic Left (DIMAR) parties and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) all elected on State MP each in Sunday's repeat general elections.
The State Deputies are elected proportionally in accordance with the political parties' percentages in the elections on the basis of a list of State MP candidates for each party.
Thus, from the ND State Deputies ticket, elected are Dora Bakoyannis (former ND minister and leader of the Democratic Alliance party, which has suspended its operation and collaborated with ND in Sunday's elections), Haralambos Athanassiou, Chryssanthos Lazaridis and Yiannis Michelakis (currently party press spokesman).
Elected from SYRIZA are Manolis Glezos (veteran Left and national resistance figure), Theano Fotiou and Dimitris Tsoukalas.
From PASOK, Olympics weightlifting medalist Pyrros Dimas is elected, from the Independent Greeks party press officer Terence Quick is elected, from Chryssi Avghi Christos Pappas is elected, from DIMAR Spyros Lykoudis is elected and from the KKE Thanassis Pafilis is elected.
At the last minute, PASOK party spokesperson Fofi Gennimata was left out of parliament, being the second Deputy of State candidate with PASOK, which finally elected only one state MP.
 SYRIZA press spokesman: We'll be a responsible oppositionA spokesman for leftist SYRIZA, which based on Sunday's election results, will be the main opposition party after coming second, on Monday underlined that "a responsible opposition for us is an opposition that is consistent towards its commitments and the people that voted for it (party)."
SYRIZA cadre Panos Skourletis, speaking on public television, said that even the slightest steps towards certain social categories, will obviously have the support of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA).
"We will be responsible, and with being in solidarity with all those who are being hurt, and at the same time, combative in order to change certain things," he added.
 DIMAR leader: Red line the immediate start of renegotiation of the MemorandumDemocratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis said that apart from Greece remaining in the eurozone, a red line for DIMAR's participation in a coalition government is the immediate start of negotiations on the gradual disengagement from the memorandum, speaking Monday to private radio station RealFM.
Kouvelis noted that on Sunday he did not hear New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras speaking of a renegotiation and underlined that everything must be put on the table, including the name of the prime minister and of all the ministers. However, he said that it goes without saying that Mr. Samaras should be the prime minister, adding that the names of the ministers should be discussed.
 Chryssi Avghi entitled to Parliament presidency representationChryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn), the controversial ultra-nationalist party that sprang onto the main political scene following the May 6 election, is entitled to representation in Parliament's presidency. According to Article VI of the Constitution the first, second and third Parliament vice-presidents, as well as two deans (deans of the House) and four secretaries, are derived from the party that comes in first in the preceding election (New Democracy).
The fourth vice-president, in that order, as well as one dean and one secretary hail from the second party (SYRIZA). The fifth vice-president and a secretary's position belong to the third party (PASOK), in terms of votes in the general election. Moreover, the sixth vice-president comes from the fourth party (Independent Greeks) and, lastly, the seventh vice-presidency is handed to the fifth party, which in this case would be Chryssi Avghi.
According to Parliament's procedural rules, voting for deputies wishing to serve on the Parliament presidium is held by secret ballot.
 KKE party says June 17 election result negative for peopleThe Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) Central Committee convened on Monday for an initial assessment of the election result and postelection developments and stressed that "the election result of June 17 2012 is negative for the people who have received decisive blows from the consequences of the economic capitalist crisis in Greece."
The Central Committee's final assessment will be completed after opinions and indications are collected from the party's organisations and the KNE youth wing and after meetings are held with party supporters and voters.
KKE also "hails all those who withstood the pressures and the extortions and rallied to the call for the effort for its weakening to be tackled," while it "appreciates and hails the heroic action of the party's members and of KNE during this difficult election confrontation."
 Caretaker government tenders resignationCaretaker prime minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos at noon Monday tendered his government's resignation to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias after completing its mission, which was to lead the country smoothly to repeat general elections.
The caretaker government will remain in office until the new government is sworn in.
Earlier, outgoing parliament president Vyron Polydoras presented Papoulias with the official results of Sunday's repeat general elections, which were presented to him by caretaker Interior Minister Antonis Manitakis.
 German Chancellor on Greek election resultsBERLIN (AMNA / F. Karaviti)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes that the election results in Greece are "good news for the Eurozone and the euro," according to a statement made here on Monday by her spokesman, Georg Streiter.
Speaking during a regular press briefing, he repeated that Merkel spoke by phone with New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Sunday night, where she "expressed hope that a stable government will be formed soon," highlighting her certainty that "Athens will meet its European obligations".
 Italian PM Monti holds telephone conversations with Samaras and Venizelos"Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti communicated by telephone, from Mexico, with prime minister-designate, Antonis Samaras and with the president of PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos, to encourage him to participate in a national joint responsibility government," according to the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.
 Austrian FM on Samaras efforts to form gov'tVIENNA (AMNA / D. Dimitrakoudis)
Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger underlined here on Monday that New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras is a serious politician and expects him to form a pro-European government soon.
The leader of the People's Party (OVP) that participates in a coalition government with the Social Democrats (SPO) stated that he cannot image any changes in the reform terms for Greece adding, however, that there is room for negotiation as far as their short-term implementation is concerned.
He pointed out that the likelihood of a failure in the negotiations to form a government in Greece would be catastrophic and appeared certain that Samaras is now more aware of his share of responsibility, adding that the stance he had adopted in the past was greatly responsible for Greece's present state.
He said the IMF should remain in the programme for Greece and be persuaded to accept an extension in the Greek public debt repayment time, and added that he rejects the Euro-bond option.
He repeated his proposal for a Development Fund in support of SMEs that will help overcoming stagnation in Greece and convince the Greek people that they have a future.
The Austrian foreign minister said that the resources for the Development Fund will come from the EU structural and regional funds and not from the EU community budget.
 EuroParliament president welcomes election result, says EU support for 'fine-tuning' reform strategy an optionBRUSSELS (AMNA - M. Aroni)
European Parliament President Martin Schulz on Monday welcomed the results of the elections in Greece and expressed hope that a government will soon be formed that would be able to "break the political deadlock" and begin work on necessary reforms to Greece's economy and public finances.
"The results show a broad and clear support in favour of Greece staying in the euro zone," he noted, saluting the efforts of the Greek people to overcome the crisis.
"They have made great sacrifices. I hope the burden of the reforms will be spread more equally to achieve greater social justice," he added, noting that the Greek people deserved a stable and prosperous future.
Schulz also congratulated Antonis Samaras and the New Democracy party for winning the elections and encouraged the Greek political forces to form a responsible coalition government in the coming days.
"I am particularly pleased with New Democracy's declaration that they will broadly stick to commitments Greece has made to the European Union," he said, adding that the new Greek government will be able to count on the "constructive cooperation" of European institutions in possible fine-tuning of its reform strategy and economic targets.
"If Greece sticks to its commitments, the EU can examine what could be done further to solve the crisis," he said.
 Martens, Verhofstadt on election resultsBRUSSELS (AMNA / M. Aroni)
European People's Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens expressed his full support to New Democracy (ND) and the efforts made by its leader Antonis Samaras to form a "pro-European coalition government" in a statement issued here on Monday.
Martens expressed the hope that "the pro-European parties will put their ideological differences aside and participate in a viable government that will guarantee Greece's presence in the Eurozone," while offering assurances that EPP will back the efforts made by the government that will be formed by Samaras to overcome the difficulties.
In conclusion, he pointed out that the participating leaders in the June 28 EPP Summit meeting will have the opportunity to discuss with Samaras "joint efforts for a way out of the crisis".
President of the European Parliament's Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group Guy Verhofstadt stated that the "Greeks have chosen Europe and now Europe should make a step toward Greece".
He stressed that "Europe should adjust the memorandum that until now was based on wage cuts and tax increases," adding that Greece needs radical reforms.
Verhofstadt stated that privatisations should continue and the revenues raised should be channelled to the Development Fund to break the vicious circle of recession, improve the fluidity of the economy and boost economic growth.
He pointed out that Greece should simplify its taxation system and reduce taxation indices instead of raising them.
He added that Structural Funds' resources should be utilized and the European Commission Task Force for Greece will have to identify the right investment plans.
"Today, we owe it to Greece, we should not make the same mistakes but give the country a future prospect," he said, adding that Greece cannot exit the crisis on its own unless the EU itself changes. "We urgently need a unified banking system and a reliable fiscal union," he said characteristically.
 Cyprus President Christofias holds telephone conversations with Greek party leadersNICOSIA (AMNA/A. Viketos)
The aftermath of the elections in Greece, as well as the problems resulting for Cyprus, due to the Cypriot banks' great exposure to Greek bonds, were the focus of telephone conversations between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and party leaders in Greece. In a written statement by government spokesman, Stefanos Stefanou, it is mentioned that President Christofias communicated by telephone with the presidents of New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos and the Democratic Left, Fotis Kouvelis, as well as with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga.
 FTD on its recommendations to Greek voters regarding Tsipras and SYRIZABERLIN (AMNA - F. Karaviti)
The editorial team of the German-based Financial Times Deutschland on Monday defended their decision to make recommendations on how Greece's electorate should vote - in an article warning them against putting their faith in SYRIZA's 'populist' leader Alexis Tsipras - two days before the country went to the polls.
In Monday's issue of the FTD, they said it was their obligation to include not just news but also opinion concerning what they consider right and wrong.
"An open and transparent expression of opinion is more productive and honest than an indirect expression of sympathy, a policy followed by the other newspapers," the paper's leadership added.
They noted that the recommendation on how to vote in the elections should not be dealt with as an expression of faith in any specific party but concerned only the specific elections.
Noting that they usually confined such opinions to German elections, FTD said that they decided to make an exception in the case of the Greek elections due to their great significance for both the future of Greece but also of Germany and other Europeans.
"Their outcome could have plunged the European continent into an existential crisis and destoryed the social and material prosperity achieved over decades. For this reason, the election recommendation of the paper was nothing more and nothing less than a transparent expression of opinion on shaping public opinion," FTD said.
The paper's Monday issue also covered some of the reactions to Friday's article in Athens, both by the other parties and by the press.
 Foreign ministry spokesman condemns bloodshed in SyriaForeign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delaverkours on Monday condemned the bloodshed in Syria also on the occasion of the death of Marinet Sehuaro, of Greek origin, in Aleppo.
""Last night Marinet Sehuaro, of Greek origin, lost her life near Aleppo. She had been born in Syria and was the widow of a Greek Orthodox priest. The deceased lost her life from shooting, while she was returning from a wedding ceremony with her family. We expreess warm condolences to her family as well as to the Aleppo Metropolis, that she served all her life," Delavekouras said.
Delavekouras stressed that once again "we condemn unequivocally the bloodshed in Syria and stress the need for the protection of the Syrian people, including the minorities, that are living in the country and are threatened by the continuing use of force against noncombatants."
 Defence minister expresses satisfaction over assistance by Italy and Croatia in extinguishing wildfiresDefence Minister Frangoulis Frangos on Monday expressed his satisfaction over the immediate response by Italy and Croatia, that assisted with personnel and aerial means, and in very adverse conditions, to the extinguishing of the wildfires in the Corinthia prefecture.
He also congratulated the flying and technical staff of firefighting aircraft for their perfomance in extinguishing wildfires in Attica-Corinthia and Kythnos.
 Greek business community calls for strong gov'tSunday's general elections results brought a sigh of relief to the country's business community, which underlined that "businesspeople and the society demand the formation of a cooperation government with a pro-European orientation".
Constantinos Mihalos, president of the Central Union of Chambers, commenting on the election result, said it offered the country's pro-European political parties the opportunity to form a strong government -a unique opportunity for the country to move ahead in this extremely difficult period and noted that political parties should not leave this opportunity go wasted.
Vasilis Korkidis, president of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce, said the election result clearly showed Greek people's choice in favour of a strong, multi-party government.
"We as representatives of the business world want the urgent formation of a government and forget about the word elections at least until Europarliament elections in 2014. Today, Greeks can loudly say Goodmorning Europe and Europe must say Goodmorning Greece".
Eleftherios Kourtralis, president of the Textile Federation of Greek Industries, said it was imperative to form a strong government, comprising of politicians and technocrats which will urgently implement all necessary reforms.
"The difficult part begins now," the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises stated in a statement.
Commenting on the election result, the Federation said Greece must now negotiate its future after exhausting citizens' tolerance and its partners margins. The Federation said it was prepared to play a very active role in an effort towards the nations recovery.
 Ag sector to18 billion euros in 2014-2020Caretaker Agricultural Development & Foods Minister Napoleon Maravegias on Monday stressed in the EU Agriculture Ministers Council in Luxembourg that agricultural development funds will have to be dissociated from the member states' success in meeting their macroeconomic fiscal targets to avoid results other than integration and cohesion.
The council meeting focused on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
In the margins of the council, Maravegias met with Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos and with fellow ministers from other olive oil producing countries focusing on likely solutions to the problems of the olive oil production sector. Maravegias underlined the need to take immediate measures aimed at the recovery of the olive oil prices and the absorbance of reserves.
Maravegias stated that "the 2014-2020 CAP is translated into funds of roughly 18 billion euros for the next seven years that will have to be utilized in the best possible way to benefit the Greek farm sector in this crucial period."
 Greek merchant marine fleet down in AprilGreece's merchant marine fleet fell by 3.1 pct in April this year, compared with the corresponding month in 2011, totaling 2,001 vessels, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a monthly report, said that total capacity of the Greek merchant marine fleet totaled 44,061,430 dwt in April, up 2.4 pct from the same month last year.
 Business Briefs-- S&B Industrial Minerals SA on Monday announced the successful issuing and full coverage of a common bond loan worth 110 million euros. The Greek-listed company said the money from the loan will be used to refinance part of the group's debt.
-- Vikos, a Greek water-bottling company, on Monday reported higher sales and profits in 2011. The company, based in Ioannina, in the NW Epirus province, reported a turnover of 73.55 million euros last year, from 69.01 million euros in 2010, for an increase of 6.6 pct despite a decline in the domestic consumption of bottled water.
-- Greek yoghurt exports to the United States will soar to 2.0 billion US dollars this year from 35.4 million dollars five years ago, as US consumers seem to appreciate more Greek yoghurt, a report by the Greek embassy in San Francisco said on Monday.
 Stocks welcome election result with 3.64 pct jumpStocks ended significantly higher - but off their day's highs -- at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, as the market welcomed the results of Sunday's general elections in the country, which paved the way for the formation of a strong pro-European government.
However, worries over an expanding debt crisis in the Eurozone - currently hitting Spain and Italy - led to the return of sellers in the market. The composite index rose 3.64 pct to end at 580.67 points off the day's highs of 600.76 points. Turnover grew to 102.010 million euros.
The Big Cap index jumped 4.29 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 5.49 pct higher. The Food (0.91 pct) was the only sector to end lower, while Telecoms (11.38 pct), Travel (10.93 pct), Utilities (6.46 pct) and Banks (6.21 pct) were top gainers.
Eurobank (14.71 pct), OPAP (11.79 pct), OTE (11.38 pct) and National Bank (11.11 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Cyprus Popular Bank (5.0 pct), Cyprus Bank (3.46 pct) and Coca-Cola 3E (0.93 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 111 to 35 with another 14 issues unchanged. Intertek (25.93 pct), Altec (20 pct) and 3A (19.84 pct) were top gainers, while NEL (20 pct), HOL (19.84 pct) and Sciens (16.37 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +4.37%
Personal & Household: +0.15%
Raw Materials: +3.17%
Travel & Leisure: +10.93%
Food & Beverages: -0.91%
Financial Services: +1.67%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OTE and OPAP.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.42
Public Power Corp (PPC): 2.07
HBC Coca Cola: 12.79
Hellenic Petroleum: 4.34
National Bank of Greece: 1.50
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.80
Bank of Piraeus: 0.30
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank significantly to 24.71 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 26.23 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 26.12 pct and the German Bund 1.44 pct. Turnover in the market totaled 2.0 million euros, all buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.22 pct, the six-month rate 0.93 pct, the three-month rate was 0.66 pct and the one-month rate 0.38 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.65 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover at 23.505 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,331 contracts worth 11.637 million euros, with 21,474 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 83,756 contracts worth 11.868 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (26,916), followed by Alpha Bank (25,027), Cyprus Bank (6,659), OTE (7,635), PPC (1,941), OPAP (2,601), Piraeus Bank (2,864), Cyprus Popular Bank (6,145), Hellenic Postbank (1,165) and MIG (548).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.280
Pound sterling 0.818
Danish kroner 7.543
Swedish kroner 8.973
Japanese yen 101.25
Swiss franc 1.219
Norwegian kroner 7.638
Canadian dollar 1.313
Australian dollar 1.270
 University students call for donations to participate in Iraq excavationsA group of undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University of Athens have decided to launch an online fundraiser to cover their transportation expenses in Iraq, within the framework of a Greek archaeological mission in what was ancient Mesopotamia, asking the public to place contributions in the address http://www.indiegogo.com/p/115719
Students resorted to this solution considering less funding excavations and financial resources.
The fundraiser will end on Sun. Aug. 26, with a goal being 6,000 euros, the amount necessary for air fare.
The university excavations are conducted in cooperation with academic institutions in Greece and abroad and focus on three locations, Tell Nader, within the limits of Erbil, the most significant city in the Kurdish region of north Iraq; Tell Baqrta, 28km southwest of the Erbil, and at ancient Erbil site.
The second excavation phase in Tell Nader, one of the most ancient locations in northeast Mesopotamia, one populated from 7,000 B.C. until 1,000 A.D., will be underway in September 2012.
Excavations in Erbil focus on the location of the site of the Battle of Gaugamela, which took place in 331 B.C. between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia.
 Manhunt in Corinth prefecture for armed robbers after death of elderly manA manhunt was launched in Pyrgos, Corinth prefecture, on Monday to track down four armed robbers who fatally injured an 82-year-old man during a robbery at the octogenarian's home in the early morning hours.
The four men stormed into the home of the man, his 92-year-old wife and the couple's 61-year-old daughter, hit the elderly man with the hilt of a shotgun they found in the house, fatally wounding him, and also lightly injuring his wife.
The robbers looted the home of jewelry and fled in the family's car.
The victim succumbed to his injuries a short while later, while his wife was hospitalised in a local hospital.
The nearby Xylokastro police precinct has launched a manhunt for the perpetrators.
 Trial of woman caught switching election ballots set for June 21The trial of a woman representative of the New Democracy party that was caught attempting to switch ballots with ND ballots she had in her pockets during the sorting of votes on Sunday night has been set for June 21.
The woman was ND's party representative at the 128th polling station in Lamia and was spotted trying to switch the ballots by a SYRIZA party representative.
Detained since Sunday night, she was brought before a Lamia first-instance court prosecutor and charged with removing documents in order to alter an election result and sent to a police court.
The suspect denied the charges and requested that the court give her a continuance. Her request was accepted and the court date set for June 21. The court also decided to release her from custody.
The Fthiotida branch of SYRIZA issued an announcement claiming that the election result had been tampered with and stressing that it was "unacceptable that this event occurred at a polling station with a full election committee and in the presence of representatives of other parties".
 Search on for elderly British man missing on TilosAuthorities on the Aegean island of Tilos on Monday launched an emergency search-and-rescue operation to find a 77-year-old British man missing since last Thursday. Island authorities have enlisted the aid of the army, police and local volunteers in the search, while a Super-Puma all-weather helicopter is conducting sweeps of the island since midday.
The elderly man arrived on Tilos last Wednesday for a brief holiday and intended to stay on the island until Sunday. He had booked a room where he stayed until Thursday, which was the last time he was seen by the hotel staff. They started to suspect that something was wrong when they realised that the 77-year-old had not returned to sleep in his room on two consecutive mornings.
The hotel contacted the travel agency that had booked his room, as well as his daughter, a resident of the island of Rhodes and the Tilos Mayor Maria Kamma, who requested the assistance of a nearby military base to request his assistance. The search was launched but so far yielded no result, while the assistance of a helicopter was requested on Monday to search the more inaccessible spots on the island.
The missing man's relatives are also on the island, waiting anxiously for news from the search.
 Foreign nat'ls with forged passports intercepted at Kalamata airportA 33-year-old man from Syria and a 24-year-old Afghan woman were arrested on Monday at Kalamata airport, southern Greece, on charges of attempting to depart the country with forged passports. The two foreign nationals were in possession of two forged Turkish passports. They held tickets for a flight to Vienna.
The passports were confiscated and the suspects were sent before a Kalamata prosecutor.
 Merkel won't be in Gdansk for Euro quarter finals between Germany, GreeceBERLIN (AMNA / F. Karaviti)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a football fan, will not be in Gdansk, Poland to watch the football game between the national teams of Germany and Greece at the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, because she will be in Rome at the time of the game.
Alternate government spokesman Georg Streiter stated that the chancellor could not be in Gdansk "unless she was beamed there" because on Friday she will be in Rome as the guest of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.
"She can do a lot of things but I am not sure if she can do something like that," Streiter said jokingly.
German President Joachim Gauck will not be in Gdansk for the game either.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe results of Sunday's parliamentary elections result and the possibilities for the formation of a coalition government, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Hour of responsibility - Samaras (Antonis, New Democracy leader), Venizelos (Evangelos, PASOK leader) and Kouvelis (Fotis, Democratic Left) government".
AVGHI: "Change of era with the Left".
AVRIANI: "Alexis (Tsipras, SYRIZA leader) the winner".
DIMOKRATIA: "Oof! ND victory- Samaras' moves for the formation of a national salvation government".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Vote of hope - Last opportunity for Greece".
ESTIA: "Greeks voted to remain in the eurozone".
ETHNOS: "People's mandate for the formation of a government".
IMERISSIA: "Time of responsibility for all - Mandate for full-term government".
KATHIMERINI: "Result a breather for the country".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Ballot's message is to remain in the eurozone".
RIZOSPASTIS: "We will stand on the front line to defend the people's interests".
TA NEA: "Government immediately! Time of responsibility for parties and leaders".
VRADYNI: "Victory and mandate to Samaras to form a government of National Salvation".
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