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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-06-27

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

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

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 Issue No: 4106

CONTENTS

  • [01] Yannis Stournaras to be Greece's new finance minister
  • [02] Independent Greeks party criticises Stournaras appointment
  • [03] American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce welcomes Stournaras appointment
  • [04] Deputy shipping minister Vernicos resigns
  • [05] Vernicos statement regarding his resignation
  • [06] PM Samaras holds telephone conversations with foreign leaders in light of EU summit
  • [07] PASOK leader meets President Papoulias ahead of EU summit
  • [08] Venizelos: I will accept PM's choice for FinMin
  • [09] President Papoulias to leave for Brussels on Wednesday
  • [10] FM Avramopoulos visits President Papoulias
  • [11] Papoulias briefed on issues to be discussed at EU Summit
  • [12] German gov't on Merkel -Samaras phone contact
  • [13] Gov't 'trapped' in bailout policies, SYRIZA announcement says
  • [14] FM meets Turkish counterpart Davutoglu in Istanbul
  • [15] PM's approval mandatory for ministers' trips
  • [16] KKE on the rising tensions in the Middle East
  • [17] U.S. ambassador holds Independence Day celebration
  • [18] Rapanos discharged from hospital
  • [19] Barroso urges EU solidarity with Greece, measures to boost growth
  • [20] Memorandums will not help Greece exit the crisis, according to Greek enterprises federation president
  • [21] Recession to reach 6.7 pct in 2nd quarter 2012, KEPE forecasts
  • [22] Adverse prediction for summer season tourism to Greece
  • [23] Survey shows sharp fall in tourism revenue, bookings in 2012
  • [24] Labour Minister: The economic situation is dire
  • [25] Labour ministry moved to new building to save costs
  • [26] Roughly 115,000 employees saw their incomes reduced 23 pct in just over 3 months
  • [27] MLS announces first Greek smartphone
  • [28] Stocks rise on Tuesday following sharp drop
  • [29] ADEX closing report
  • [30] Luxembourg's premier awards medal to expatriate Greek journalist
  • [31] Tourist arrested for trespassing at ancient Olympia archaeological site
  • [32] Gym teacher accused of possessing child porn jailed
  • [33] Police dismantle migrant smuggling ring
  • [34] 24-year old jumps off ferry, found safe
  • [35] Man arrested for beating migrant in Patras
  • [36] Novice monk arrested for weapons possession
  • [37] Opium trafficking arrests in central Athens
  • [38] Car falls into irrigation ditch, female driver dead
  • [39] Cloudy on Wednesday
  • [40] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Yannis Stournaras to be Greece's new finance minister

    The general director of the Foundation of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) Yannis Stournaras will be Greece's new finance minister, the prime minister's press office announced on Tuesday.

    A meeting between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the leaders of the two junior parties in the coalition government, PASOK President Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis. with the participation of new Finance Minister-designate Yannis Stournaras, was concluded at the premier's residence in the Athens suburb of Kifisia on Tuesday evening.

    Stournaras, who was present at the beginning of the meeting, asked on leaving whether he is optimistic over the outcome of the negotiations on the extension of the economic programme's implementation said "I must speak with our partners first."

    In statements earlier on Tuesday at the launch of a book by journalist Yiannis Papadoyiannis, Prof. Stournaras had expressed conviction that Greece was capable of emerging from the crisis, pointing out that roughly two billion euro had returned to the country's banking system since the June 17 elections.

    "There is a wall of established attitudes that does not want to hear that Greece has possibilities," he said.

    Born in Athens in 1956, Stournaras studied economics at Athens university and then a master's degree and doctorate in economics from Oxford University in the UK. He is an economist and has been teaching macroeconomics and economic policy at Athens University since 1989.

    Apart from his position at IOBE, his academic and professional interests are focused on macroeconomic theory, economic politics, international economics, public finances, monetary policy, bank finances, evaluation of investments, the repercussions of economic and monetary policy on the economy, the banking system and money and capital markets, the repercussions of financial system flaws on the real economy and energy economics.

    His papers have been published in a number of academic journals and he was a Research Fellow and Lecturer at St. Catherine's College, Oxford University from 1981 until 1985. He returned to Greece in 1986 and worked as a special advisor of the finance ministry until 1989 on issues concerning public enterprises and revenue policy. From 1989 until 1994 he was a special consultant of the Bank of Greece on monetary policy and often represented the central bank at EU central bank governor meetings.

    From 1994 until 2000 he chaired the finance ministry's Financial Experts Council, where he participated in the planning of macroeconomic and structural policy (especially the convergence programmes) and often represented the finance ministry at the EU Economic and Monetary Committee, where he participated in the negotiations for Greece's joining EMU and was in charge of annual consultation with international financial organisations such as the IMF, OECD and others.

    He has also served as vice-president of the Public Gas Corporation (1994-1997) and was on the board of the Organisation for the Management of Public Debt from 1998-2000.

    From July 2000 until March 2004 he was head of Emporiki Bank, during which time the bank was restructured and entered into an alliance with Credit Agricole.

    From 2005 until 2008 he was on the board of the KAPPA stock brokerage and is now general manager of IOBE. His first government post was as development, competitiveness and shipping minister in the caretaker government of Panagiotis Pikrammenos on May 17 2012.

    According to sources at the PASOK party, Stournaras was proposed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos had agreed.

    [02] Independent Greeks party criticises Stournaras appointment

    The Independent Greeks party on Tuesday criticised the appointment of Yiannis Stournaras as finance minister, calling him a "representative of the banking system".

    Party spokesman Terens Quick pointed out that under the government of Costas Simitis, Stournaras had been in charge of talks with the IMF and replaced another representative of the banks Vassilis Rapanos at the finance ministry.

    "Both are personal choices of the pro-bailout prime minister Antonis Samaras and both have in their resume their participation in the scandalous era when Greece joined the euro of swaps," he added, saying that the choice confirmed that the coalition government led by Samaras was a 'hostage' of the banks and carried out their orders.

    [03] American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce welcomes Stournaras appointment

    The Greek-American Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday praised the choice of Yiannis Stournaras as Greece's new finance minister, noting that he had in-depth knowledge of the Greek economy and was widely respected abroad.

    "Yiannis Stournaras is the key initiator and planner of the new growth model of the country, the only one capable of making Greece competitive once more and opening the way to an exit from the crisis and toward growth. Completing the national negotiating team with the new finance minister creates real hopes that Greece can regain its lost credibility worldwide," the chamber's announcement said.

    [04] Deputy shipping minister Vernicos resigns

    Deputy Shipping & Aegean Minister George Vernicos on Tuesday offered his resignation to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras following earlier media reports and a statement issued by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) alleging his participation in an offshore company. Such an event would be incompatible with his duties as a minister based on legislation passed in 2010. His resignation was accepted and, according to the government, there will be no replacement for the post.

    The main opposition SYRIZA party on Tuesday demanded explanations from the government and the Deputy Shipping & Aegean Minister George Vernicos concerning his role in offshore companies, citing incompatibility with his political office in the event that he does.

    SYRIZA underlined that Vernicos' struggle against the Greek junta and in defence of democracy are deeply appreciated adding, however, that Law No. 3849/2010 article 6 clearly forbids the participation of government ministers and political figures in general, in offshore companies, providing for heavy sentences and fines in case of violations.

    SYRIZA underlined that ministerial decision No. 3122.1/4566/24886 has approved the opening of an office or a branch of the Marshall Islands-based Vernicos Offshore Group S.A. in Greece and stressed that in case the deputy minister has any relation with the company, direct or indirect, it would be an obstacle to his becoming a government minister.

    [05] Vernicos statement regarding his resignation

    In a televised statement following his resignation on Tuesday, outgoing deputy shipping minister George Vernicos said that he had been unaware that his involvement in an offshore company automatically barred him from becoming a minister.

    "If on taking over my duties some legal service of the state or the political council of the president of the Republic had pointed out to me the legal problems that exist I would have known that a problem might arise and would have informed the prime minister and the leaders of the parties that entrusted me and support the government," he told reporters.

    Such a mechanism did not exist and for this reason he had accepted the invitation to become deputy shipping minister "and contribute to an area that I know and love and not, obviously, for any other reason," Vernicos added.

    According to Vernicos, who has interests in shipping, he was informed of the problems that exist through an announcement issued by the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party earlier the same day requesting confirmation that he did not participate in an offshore company.

    "Shipping firms established in Greece have the form of offshore companies and this is expressly foreseen by Greek law. Anyone, therefore, that has business activity in shipping is barred from at some time becoming a member of government," he pointed out.

    Vernicos said that he decided to resign so as not to create problems for the government, adding that he would always remain an active citizen, businessman and member of the civil society.

    Commenting on his decision, Shipping Minister Kostis Mousouroulis said that his resignation had been accepted and that he had taken a political decision that did credit to himself and his history.

    "I am certain that he will continue to support the efforts of the newly formed shipping ministry," the minister added.

    [06] PM Samaras holds telephone conversations with foreign leaders in light of EU summit

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday held telephone conversations with European leaders in light of the EU summit.

    The prime minister talked with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Luxembourg Prime Minister and Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker and European People's Party president Wilfried Martens.

    [07] PASOK leader meets President Papoulias ahead of EU summit

    President of Republic Karolos Papoulias received PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos at the presidential mansion on Tuesday, ahead of the president's trip to Brussels where he will represent Greece at the EU summit.

    "Our message must be absolutely clear: Greece has chosen its European course and prospects, Greek citizens have chosen that the country stays in the euro and fights to once again become self-supporting, institutionally equal, competitive, to finally exit the crisis and the memorandum," Venizelos said in statements afterward.

    Venizelos noted that all the European leaders will expect the president to convey the country's position after the elections and he stressed that this message must be that Greece respects its institutional relation with its partners and will carry out unilateral actions or repudiations of the bailout agreements but seek an organised revision of their terms, as provided for within the agreements and by European processes.

    He said that the Greek side must draw its arguments from the items on the summit's agenda, such as the Compact for Growth and Jobs.

    "The problem in Greece is a vicious circle of recession and unemployment, which must be ended because it prevents us from achieving the fiscal targets we have set and must attain," he added.

    [08] Venizelos: I will accept PM's choice for FinMin

    President of Republic Karolos Papoulias received on Tuesday PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos at the presidential mansion.

    After the meeting Venizelos said that "Greece must send the message that it has chosen the European course and prospect", adding that he discussed with the President his experiences and positions ahead of the EU Summit in Brussels.

    To a press query on the name of the new Finance Minister, Venizelos said that it will be Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' choice and that he is ready to accept any person that will fulfill the necessary conditions.

    [09] President Papoulias to leave for Brussels on Wednesday

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will leave for Brussels at 17:00 on Wednesday to participate in the EU summit on Thursday and Friday as the head of the Greek delegation.

    In the morning President Papoulias will have another working meeting at the Presidential Mansion with caretaker Finance Minister George Zanias, Development and Infrastructures Minister Kostis Hadzidakis and Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras.

    A working meeting has been scheduled immediately afterwards with Democratic Left president Fotis Kouvelis.

    [10] FM Avramopoulos visits President Papoulias

    Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, speaking after his meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias at the Presidential Mansion, stressed the readiness of the Greek delegation, under the head of state, to go to Brussels for the European Union's summit.

    After confirming his participation in the Greek delegation in Brussels, Avramopoulos said "all are well organised now" and assessed that "the outcome of the mission will be positive."

    Asked about his recent visit to Istanbul and his meetings with the Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, Avramopoulos said that both meetings took place on the sidelines of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation conference.

    He said that the meeting with Davutoglu was informal but very friendly and took place in a very positive environment with the aim of warming up relations. "From September onwards, we shall assume a series of initiatives that will open new paths of cooperation between the two countries," he said.

    [11] Papoulias briefed on issues to be discussed at EU Summit

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was briefed on Tuesday on the issues that will be discussed at the EU Summit by caretaker Finance Minister Giorgos Zannias, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras.

    Papoulias will represent Greece at the EU Summit on 28 and 29 June given that prime minister Antonis Samaras underwent eye surgery on Sunday and must remain bedridden for a week.

    [12] German gov't on Merkel -Samaras phone contact

    BERLIN (AMNA/F. Karaviti)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras earlier on Tuesday.

    According to a statement to AMNA by a German government spokesman, Merkel wished Samaras a speedy recovery. According to the same source, "the communication constitutes a continuation of the regular contact" between the Chancellor and the Greek prime minister.

    [13] Gov't 'trapped' in bailout policies, SYRIZA announcement says

    The government remains 'trapped' within the bailout policies and cannot play a leading role with other countries in creating a new reality in Europe, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party announced on Tuesday, commenting on the latest developments in Europe.

    The bailouts requested by Spain and Cyprus from the European support mechanism proved the crisis was the result of austerity policies, SYRIZA said.

    The need for a 'refoundation' of Europe and an overall change in the Eurozone's architecture was now clear, the party added, stressing the need for a plan to convert the individual public debt of the eurozone countries into a common European debt and the creation of a redistributed European budget.

    "At the same time, the need for a change in the role of the European Central Bank is becoming ever more imperative, with direct lending to states, but also of the European Investment Bank to support employment and growth. At the same time, initiatives are required in order to deal with the banking crisis in Europe jointly and for the public control of banks, so there is a possibility of another policy that benefits society," a SYRIZA announcement said.

    [14] FM meets Turkish counterpart Davutoglu in Istanbul

    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met on Tuesday with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul, on the sidelines of the Organisation of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) congress.

    It was agreed at the meeting of the two officials that Davutoglu will visit Athens in September in order to prepare the interministerial meeting that will be held later in Ankara.

    After the one-hour meeting, Avramopoulos said that they had a friendly discussion. "We discussed several issues without going into details but reaffirmed our common will to proceed as soon as possible with the further enhancement of the relations of good neighborhood, understanding and cooperation", said Avramopoulos and noted that "everything is indicating that in September we will have our first official meeting in Athens".

    Greece's top diplomat noted the both sides seek the creation of a climate of stability, security and cooperation in the region, and asked by reporters if the incident of the downing of a Turkish aircraft by the Syrian military was discussed, Avramopoulos replied that "we did not have an agenda, it was a friendly meeting, and we did not discuss such matters".

    Besides, he added, the EU position on the issue that has arisen with Syria "is crystal clear".

    [15] PM's approval mandatory for ministers' trips

    The Prime Minister's approval will be necessary for a minister or other member of the government to travel internally and abroad, according to a letter sent by the government's secretary general Panagiotis Baltakos to all ministers, alternate ministers and deputy ministers.

    According to the letter, this requirement is foreseen in Article 44 of Presidential Decree 63/2005, which stipulates that the government's secretariat general must be informed in advance of the intentions of any government member to travel domestically or abroad for any reason.

    Secretariat officials told AMNA that the implementation of this specific law aims at the prime minister's having a full picture of what is going on in the ministries.

    [16] KKE on the rising tensions in the Middle East

    Communist party KKE on Tuesday referred to "the escalating tension in the Middle East."

    A statement issued by KKE underlined that tension in the region "has climaxed with the violation of Syria's airspace by a Turkish aircraft that was downed," adding that "Turkey's move to seek NATO backing and the imperialist threats for the invasion of Syria and Iran, form a very dangerous situation that could lead to a new imperialist war in the region."

    [17] U.S. ambassador holds Independence Day celebration

    U.S. ambassador to Athens Daniel Bennett Smith once again confirmed explicit and steadfast support by U.S. President Barack Obama in the difficult times being experienced by Greece, during the celebration of the 236th anniversary of United States Independence Day held at the ambassador's residence on Tuesday evening in the presence of hundreds of guests.

    People present at the event included Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, Defence Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos and former prime minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos.

    The ambassador said Greece and the United States have a longstanding friendship. In their struggle for independence the U.S. obtained from ancient Greek tradition and democracy the principles contained in the first American constitution.

    Referring to the present, he said Greece is facing a difficult period. "The past years were not easy for the Greek people, but history has shown that this people have endurances and emerge stronger with hard work."

    [18] Rapanos discharged from hospital

    Vassilis Rapanos was discharged on Tuesday at noon from the private hospital where he was being treated since last Friday.

    Rapanos was designated to take over the ministry of finance, but on Monday he announced that he won't assume the post citing health reasons for his decision.

    Responding to a question by reporters on whether his resignation was indeed dictated by health reasons and not because he did not approve of the associates appointed to serve next to him, he stated that everything he had to say was set out in the written statement he addressed to the prime minister on Monday.

    Financial News

    [19] Barroso urges EU solidarity with Greece, measures to boost growth

    BRUSSELS (AMNA - V. Demiris)

    Speaking at the European Policy Centre in Brussels on Tuesday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso stressed that European members states must show solidarity and look for ways to help Greece boost growth so it can stay in the euro, while also stressing that Greece should respect its commitments.

    He also repeated calls for steps to create a banking union, noting that this could be done quickly and without changing EU treaties. He said that the EU Commission could have detailed proposals for a banking union by the end of the year, while noting that some countries were not ready to accept a eurobond.

    Asked why he had not carried out an official visit to Greece in a long time, Barroso referred to "communication problems" that often arose between member-states and Brussels that were often due to "mistaken European messages".

    He said that public opinion in member-states often heard the views of political leaders from the "far left, the centre and far right" that adopted an "irresponsible stance" and cast all the blame for bad news concerning their country on Brussels.

    [20] Memorandums will not help Greece exit the crisis, according to Greek enterprises federation president

    Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV) president Dimitris Daskalopoulos on Tuesday stressed in Brussels that "the way things are now, Greece will not be able to exit the crisis no matter how many long memorandums it will have to implement," adding that "the rest of Europe will not be unaffected or have the luxury to remain indifferent in case Greece collapses."

    Speaking in a press conference of the employer organization BusinessEurope, Daskalopoulos stressed that Greece's efforts can be successful only within the framework of a European response to the euro crisis.

    He stated that "the Greek crisis or any other national crisis will not be overcome for as long as the cost of money for companies and the cost of repaying public debt, as well as, interest rates that reflect risk continue to be determined by geographic factors".

    Daskalopoulos also criticized the troika (EC, ECB, IMF) saying that it adopted short-sighted policies underlining, however, that "our partners did what they did with the best of intentions in mind".

    Addressing a BusinessEurope conference earlier, he stressed that Greece is called to show in a tangible manner its determination to change by speeding up the structural reforms, while handling the negative impact of austerity and recession on the economy and society.

    He added that substantive progress is necessary for the creation of an entrepreneurship-friendly environment, stressing that a coordinated effort is needed to activate the mechanisms of investments. He pointed out that determination will have to be displayed to curb state interventionism and reduce the size of the public sector, adding that the recapitalisation of the banks is a top priority and will have to be implemented as soon as possible.

    Later in the afternoon, Daskalopoulos was to meet with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn.

    [21] Recession to reach 6.7 pct in 2nd quarter 2012, KEPE forecasts

    A study conducted by the centre of planning and economic research KEPE made public on Tuesday sees recession in the second quarter of 2012 at 6.87 pct, compared with the first quarter's 6.54 pct, while in the third quarter (July, August, September) it will skyrocket to 9.14 pct.

    Recession in 2012 is expected to be 6.7 pct, much higher than the roughly 5 pct anticipated by the government.

    The KEPE study underlined that quarterly forecasts should be assessed with caution considering that the official quarterly data provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT) are temporary. KEPE's forecasts are the result of a dynamic factor model.

    [22] Adverse prediction for summer season tourism to Greece

    The forecasts for Greek tourism in 2012 are adverse, according to a GfK Travel Insights research study. The research is based on the tourist arrivals in the first four months of 2012 and the competition with neighouring countries, particularly Turkey and North African countries, which appear to have overcome the social turbulences that they were facing in 2011.

    According to the study, for the summer season -- which is the high season for Greece -- arrivals from the two of the most important tourist markets, Germany and The Netherlands, post a substantial decline.

    Specifically 135,000 fewer German tourists intend to visit Greece in comparison with 2011, while the number for Dutch tourist is estimated at 37,000 fewer than in 2011.

    One of the most important factors for the decline is the negative publicity of Greece in international media regarding the economic conditions in the country and the uncertainty on whether the country will remain in the eurozone, as well as international media speculations that Greeks have an anti-German attitude.

    [23] Survey shows sharp fall in tourism revenue, bookings in 2012

    The tourism sector experienced a continued decline in the first five months of 2012, according to a survey carried out by the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts for the Hotel Chamber of Greece that was unveiled on Tuesday. This showed that the sector's indicators declined further in April and May relative to the first quarter of the year.

    The biggest reduction in tourist arrivals was in the islands of the northern Aegean (roughly 50 percent) and the Peloponnese (40 percent) but the reduction was smaller for hotels on Crete (10 percent).

    The survey stressed that the political uncertainty, especially after the May 6 elections affected the year's overall results, which will see the tourism revenues decline because there is not enough time for the climate to improve.

    The hotel chamber said that bookings fell by at least 10 percent in 2012 and revenue by 15-20 percent, with hotels in Athens hardest hit. The sharp fall in domestic tourism was another major factor, they added.

    Advance bookings for the summer months (June-September) also fell by 32.5 percent relative to 2011, mainly due to the greatly reduced number of Greeks planning holidays.

    Foreign tourists have also been affected by negative press speculating Greece's exit from the euro, with the greatest fall in advance bookings in the Pelopponese, central Greece, Attica and the Cyclades islands. The reduction in these areas is around 40 percent, while northern Greece and Thessaly show reductions of 25 percent, Crete 20 percent and the Dodecanese islands 15 percent.

    [24] Labour Minister: The economic situation is dire

    Labour Minister Yannis Vroutsis on Tuesday appealed to employers and employees to pay their contributions to the state, speaking to private radio station RealFM.

    Vroutsis called the state of the economy "dire" and noted that "if investments do not arrive then there will be no growth and the situation will be very difficult".

    Referring to the problem with medicines Vroutsis, who is participating in an interministerial committee on the issue, estimated that "the pharmaceutical expenses have derailed" adding that "we need high quality technocratic support".

    [25] Labour ministry moved to new building to save costs

    Labour ministry services will be moving to a new building to save costs, the labour minister Yiannis Vroutsis announced on Tuesday. The ministry will leave the current site on 40 Pireos Street to occupy premises on 29 Stadiou Street that also house the General Secretariat for Social Insurance.

    According to Vroutsis, the move will lead to savings of 400,000 euro per year on rents and also achieve economies of scale by reducing bureaucracy and operating costs, while at the same time achieving the goal of uniting ministry services.

    The ministry as set up a Relocation Committee that will be in charge of establishing the spaces and necessary infrastructure for relocating the ministry's services, under Deputy Minister Nikos Nikolopoulos.

    [26] Roughly 115,000 employees saw their incomes reduced 23 pct in just over 3 months

    Wage reductions implemented through company and individual labour contracts signed in the past 3.5 months by 6.5 pct of the country's manpower have resulted to income reductions of more than 23 pct, Labour Inspectors General Secretary Mihalis Halaris on Tuesday stressed.

    Speaking on an Athens-based private radio station, he said that the figures concern the first five months of the year and roughly 115,000 employees, adding that the remaining 94 pct of the manpower had reductions of 14 pct in the period 2009-2011. He also said that in certain cases reductions are larger than 30 pct.

    Halaris revealed that 120,000-150,000 companies have not paid their staff for the past 3-4 months, corresponding to roughly 300,000-500,000 employees.

    Referring to the troika (EC, ECB, IMF), he strongly criticized its recommendations and proposals.

    [27] MLS announces first Greek smartphone

    The Greek IT firm MLS on Tuesday announced the development of the first Greek 'smartphone', the MLS iQTalkTM. The Greek smartphone uses an Android operating system that also 'understands' and 'talks' Greek.

    The device combines voice-recognition technologies (Talk) with artificial intelligence (iQ) technologies that MLS had started to develop several years ago. A detailed presentation of the MLS iQTalk will be carried out when it is officially launched on the Greek market in the next few days.

    MLS CEO Ioannis Kamatakis stressed the company's excitement and pride at having development the first Greek mobile phone, which he said incorporated "extremely interesting innovations".

    "Our effort was that all Greeks that acquire it will enjoy an entirely new level of communication with the iQTalk and at a reasonable price," he added.

    [28] Stocks rise on Tuesday following sharp drop

    Stocks regained some lost ground on the Athens bourse on Tuesday following large scale losses the previous day but failed to break through the 600-point barrier in a session marked by nervous, edgy trade. The mood was boosted following the announcement that Yiannis Stournaras would take over as Greece's new finance minister.

    The composite index of the market rose 1.59 pct to end at 575.83 points, fluctuating 21 points during the session between 556.57 points to a maximum of 577.18 points. Turnover was relatively low at 46.038 million euros.

    The Big Cap index gained 1.62 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.26 pct higher and the sector indices with the highest gains were Raw Materials (4.83 pct), Public Utilities (4.83 pct) and Construction (3.61 pct). The greatest losses were in Travel (-0.42 pct), Commerce (-0.43 pct) and Foods (-0.05 pct).

    The highest gains among blue chip stocks were for Alpha Bank (10.78 pct), PPC (7.36 pct), and Eurobank ( 7.07 pct). The greatest losses among blue chips were for Cyprus Popular Bank (-7.41 pct), Cyprus Bank (-2.68 pct), and NBG (-2.36 pct).

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 70 to 55 with another 20 issues unchanged. Neorio (20.00 pct), Hellenic Fish Farms (19.44 pct) and AXON Holdings (18.89 pct) were top gainers, while SIDMA (-16.92 pct), Lavipharm (-16.48 pct) and Hellenic Sugar Industry (-16.05 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +1.23%

    Commercial: -0.43%

    Construction: +3.61%

    Oil & Gas: +3.95%

    Personal & Household: +6.62%

    Raw Materials: +4.83%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.42%

    Technology: +1.31%

    Telecoms: +3.35%

    Banks: +0.99%

    Food & Beverages: -0.05%

    Health: +0.18%

    Utilities: +4.83%

    Financial Services: +3.33%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.13

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 1.75

    HBC Coca Cola: 13.50

    Hellenic Petroleum: 4.43

    National Bank of Greece: 1.24

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.62

    OPAP: 4.51

    OTE: 1.85

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.24

    Titan: 12.80

    [29] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at its fair price in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with a turnover of 11.874 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,124 contracts worth 4.275 million euros, with 19,453 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 61,769 worth 7.599 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (24,603), followed by Alpha Bank (23,052), OTE (3,521), Bank of Cyprus (2,873), OPAP (2,109), Cyprus Popular Bank (1,161) and Intralot (1,012).

    General News

    [30] Luxembourg's premier awards medal to expatriate Greek journalist

    Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday awarded veteran Greek journalist Costas Kalfelis the medal of the Chevalier dans l'Ordre grand-ducal de la Couronne de Ch?ne for his work in journalism over the past 60 years. The Greek journalist was chosen among 24 personalities in Europe that stood out for their exceptional performance or virtue in their chosen area of endeavour.

    Kalfelis is still a regular contributor to the newspapers "Le Jeudi" and "Tageblatt" and Luxembourg correspondent for the Greek local papers "Taxydromos" in Volos and "Kirikas" in Patras, as well as having a long involvement in political, diplomatic and cultural events at European Union decision-making centres.

    An opponent of the 1967-1974 military junta in Greece, who was arrested and tortured for his resistance to the regime, Kalfelis escaped and settled in Europe 42 years ago, living the last 20 years in Luxembourg.

    [31] Tourist arrested for trespassing at ancient Olympia archaeological site

    A 61-year-old tourist from Australia was arrested at dawn on Tuesday inside the archaeological site of ancient Olympia for trespassing.

    According to reports, the tourist entered the site at 6 a.m. in order to take photos of the sunrise in the site. The morning shift guard spotted the tourist while checking the area and the lights. Afterwards the guard called the police, who arrived immediately and arrested the tourist.

    The Australian woman will be sent before a prosecutor.

    According to authorities, there is no night shift guard at the significant archaeological site and protection measures are "minor".

    However, within the next days seasonal guards will reportedly be hired for the protection of the ancient Olympia archaeological site.

    Roughly 65 small votive offerings made of bronze were stolen in the early morning armed robbery at the Archaeological Museum of ancient Olympia in February 2012.

    [32] Gym teacher accused of possessing child porn jailed

    A 46-year-old physical education teacher coaching a children's basketball team in east Thessaloniki was sent to jail on Tuesday, after he was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. Authorities also found a video showing an underage former player on his team engaged in sexual activities.

    The accused was arrested last Friday during an operation code-named 'Shadow Dash' carried out by the financial crimes and electronic crimes squads. He testified before Thessaloniki authorities and was remanded in custody on Tuesday.

    He admitted to possession of the pornographic material and said he suffered from psychological problems. Concerning the video showing his former player, he said that was taken five years earlier and that he had been unaware of the player's real age.

    [33] Police dismantle migrant smuggling ring

    Authorities dismantled what was described as an organised ring of Indian and Pakistani nationals who smuggled illegal immigrants from Greece to other European Union countries over at least the last two years through Athens airport, receiving 1,000 euros from each.

    Police arrested four foreign nationals, two Indians and two Pakistanis, at the airport and the Athens district of Tavros on Monday, on charges of facilitating the exit of four illegal migrants, Indian and Pakistani nationals, to a European Union country.

    According to authorities, police found and confiscated four forged Romanian ID cards, a forged form for an asylum request, four boarding cards, 3,210 euros and nine mobile phones.

    The four suspects and the four illegal migrants were brought before a prosecutor.

    [34] 24-year old jumps off ferry, found safe

    A 24-year-old woman passenger of the ferry "KNOSSOS PALACE" fell into the sea some 6.7 nautical miles off the southern coast of Milos island as the ship was sailing for Heraklion, Crete island.

    The captain of the ship sent an SOS to the Rescue and Research Coordination center and nearby vessels, a coast guard vessel and a military helicopter arrived on the spot.

    The young woman was found safe and well an hour later and was rescued by a nearby ship.

    According to her testimony the woman fell off the ship by herself, without however explaining the reasons for her action.

    [35] Man arrested for beating migrant in Patras

    A 31-year-old man was arrested in the southwestern port city of Patras, charged with beating, together with two other persons, a migrant from Tunisia last Sunday.

    According to police the suspect and his accomplices, who are wanted, punched up the Tunisian on Sunday night, resulting in his injury.

    The suspect was sent before a local prosecutor. Police are conducting an investigation to locate the two other persons involved in the case.

    [36] Novice monk arrested for weapons possession

    A novice monk on Mount Athos was arrested on Monday and charged with illegal possession of weapons. The 39-year-old man was arrested in the parking lot of a commercial centre in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. A search in his car revealed an airgun, a shotgun, five air-gun cartridges, 125 shells and five shotgun shells as well as a pair of handcuffs.

    [37] Opium trafficking arrests in central Athens

    Opium-based drugs weighing about two kilos was found in the possession of three Afghan man who were arrested in the congested inner city Athens district of Aghios Panteleimonas at noon on Monday.

    Acting on a tip-off, police found the drugs, kicknamed "TAI", on the suspects.

    The narcotics, a knife, a precision scale and six mobile phones were found on their possession, reports state.

    [38] Car falls into irrigation ditch, female driver dead

    A 39 -year old-woman was killed on Monday afternoon when the car she was driving fell into an irrigation ditch in Pella, northwestern Greece. The incident occurred along the Yiannitsa-Profitis Ilias road.

    The woman, under conditions as yet unclear, lost control of her car, which swerved off the road and fell in the irrigation ditch.

    Weather forecast

    [39] Cloudy on Wednesday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 3-7 beauforte. Temperatures between 18C and 35C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens with northerly 4-7 beauforte winds and temperatures between 24C and 33C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 22C and 32C.

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

    The search for a Finance Minister following designate Vassilis Rapanos' decline of the post for health reasons, the complication regarding who will represent the Greek government at the EU Summit in Brussels, mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "President of Republic Karolos Papoulias instead of Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will represent Greece at the EU Summit".

    AVGHI: "European South collapses".

    AVRIANI: "A dissolution of the eurozone will bring Germany to collapse".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Complication without Rapanos!".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "University base entry grades plunge".

    ESTIA: "We have tired the Europeans".

    ETHNOS: "Reversal with Europe burning".

    IMERISSIA: "Dramatic hours in EU - Spain and Cyprus in the support mechanism".

    KATHIMERINI: "Finance Minister wanted".

    LOGOS: "Free fall in private sector salaries".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Rocky path towards EU Summit".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Action against all drugs".

    TA NEA: "Country alone in search of minister and allies".

    VRADYNI: "Banks accused of illegal practices and arbitrariness".

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