|Friday, 22 June 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-07-10
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 10 July 2012 Issue No: 4117
 FM, development minister meet with foreign ambassadorsForeign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday received the ambassadors of China and Australia, during separate meetings.
The meeting with Chinese ambassador Du Qiwen focused on bilateral cooperation, with an emphasis on the major potential in the sectors of economy, commerce, investments and tourism.
On his part, the Chinese envoy conveyed an invitation to Avramopoulos to visit Beijing and stressed that Greece is one of China's strategic partners in the European Union.
The important role played by the Greek-Australian community in the strengthening of friendly ties and bilateral cooperation in a number of sectors such as, economy and investments, was underlined in the meeting of Avramopoulos with Australian Ambassador Jenny Bloomfield.
They also discussed developments concerning the economic crisis in Europe and the importance of a new international image for Greece.
New investments prospects dominated the meeting Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructures, Transport and Networks Minister Costis Hatzidaks had on Monday with the ambassadors of Germany and China, Wolfgang Dold and Du Qiwen, respectively.
Hatzidakis briefed them on the ministry priorities based on the government policy platform. The German ambassador voiced support towards efforts at leading the country out of the crisis. He also expressed interest in broader bilateral cooperation.
On his part, the Chinese ambassador noted that Greek exports to China have increased 225 pct in the first quarter of the year, whereas, tourist flow from China to Greece increased by 60 pct in 2011. They also discussed a long-standing proposal for a direct flight between Beijing and Athens.
 FinMin Stournaras holds talks with Eurogroup president, French FinMinGreek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras held meetings on Monday with Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker and French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, before the beginning of a Eurozone Finance ministers council meeting in Brussels.
According to Greek Finance ministry sources, Stournaras briefed Juncker and Moscovici on developments in the Greek economy, while the French Finance minister left open the possibility of visiting Greece in the near future.
 FinMin Stournaras receives letter from German counterpartGerman Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble addressed a letter to Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Monday in which he congratulates him for his appointment at the Finance ministry, wishes him "all the best in the task he has before him" and expresses his support for the effort he is undertaking.
According to an announcement by the Greek Finance ministry, Schaeuble notes to his Greek counterpart that the present situation in the European Union in general and in the eurozone in particular require joint efforts to safeguard stability. Also, that Greece has a considerable role to play in these developments and has already taken a considerable step with the speedy formation of the coalition government.
According to the Finance ministry, Schaeuble says that "the issues before us are important", pointing out to Stournaras "you can be sure that you have my support in this effort. I am anxious for us to have a constructive cooperation".
 PM meets BoG governorPrime Minister Antonis Samaras received Bank of Greece (BoG) governor George Provopoulos on Monday at the Maximos mansion. No statements were made after the meeting.
 Gov't spokesman: Renegotiation of Memorandum hinges on attainment of agreed targetsThe success in the effort for renegotiation of the Memorandum will be determined by the attainment of the agreed targets, which will give Athens the ability to seek adjustments, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said Monday morning on private SKAI television.
Asked whether the government will be called on for cutbacks in the so-called special salary scales that affect judges, uniformed officers, university professors and doctors, Kedikoglou said that the government was making every effort so that there will be no more sacrifices by the people, and expressed hope that success in the privatisations and the structural changes will serve as a counterweight for maintaining the special salary scales, especially for the uniformed officers.
He also said that the drafting is near complete of the bill for attracting foreign investments to Greece, while the new taxation bill will have a "developmental prospect".
The "best possible formula" is being sought so as to achieve an extension of the payment of the taxes, Kedikoglou said, adding that one's installments cannot be larger than one's monthly income.
 Foreign minister briefs PM on foreign policy issuesForeign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday had a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in order to brief him on foreign policy issues, including major issues for Greece.
"The ministry will undertake a series of initiatives to restore the country's damaged prestige abroad," Avramopoulos said in statements to reporters after the meeting.
The prime minister had earlier chaired a meeting with Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou and the premier's aides Costas Bouras and Giorgos Mouroutis in order to discuss the resignation of deputy labour minister Nikos Nikolopoulos just one day after the government received Parliament's vote of confidence.
Commenting on the resignation, which Nikolopoulos said was prompted by his disagreement over delays in renegotiation terms of the bailout agreement, Avramopoulos said it was "without importance".
 PM sends condolences for loss of lives in Russian flash floodsPrime minister Antonis Samaras sent messages of support to Russian President Vladimir Putin and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev over the flash flooding in southern Russia that claimed more than 100 lives.
"With great sorrow I learnt of the tragic events in the region of Krasnodar, southern Russia, where floods caused the loss of so many human lives and major material damage. On behalf of the Greek government and Greek people, I would like to express my condolences to the families of the victims. All we Greeks share their grief, as also the drama of the thousands of sufferers of the friendly Russian people," Samaras said in his message.
 Parliament president expresses condolences and support of Greek Parliament to Russian peopleGreek Parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis expressed on Monday his profound sorrow as well as his condolences and those of the members of the Greek Parliament to the Russian people in messages of support he sent to his Russian counterparts on the deadly floods that struck the country.
Meimarakis assured at the same time the president of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Sergey Naryshkin, and the president of the Senate of the Russian Federation, Valentina Matviyenko, of the undivided support of the Greek Parliament.
"The Greek people are watching with special sensitivity the tragic consequences of the disaster and is experiencing the drama of the friendly Russian people," he said, among other things, in his letters and wishes a speedy recovery of the floodstricken and the reconstruction of the destroyed regions.
 PM appoints legal and economic advisorsPrime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday appointed Prof. Ioannis Karakostas, a professor at the Athens University School of Law, to be his advisor on legal issues and Macedonia University economics professor Ioannis Mourmouras, a former deputy finance minister, to be his advisor on economic affairs.
 Deputy labor minister resignsDeputy labor minister Nikos Nikolopoulos has tendered his resignation from the government, it was made known on Monday.
"The only reason for my resignation is my personal belief that the issue of renegotiation with the Troika and the correction of significant distortions in the labour, pension, social security and welfare issues should have been emphatically placed on the discussions table from the start," Nikolopoulos said inter alia in an announcement.
 Nikos Panagiotopoulos appointed new deputy labour minister; reactionsNew Democracy (ND) MP Nikos Panagiotopoulos was appointed as the new deputy labour Minister after a decision by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, it was announced on Monday.
Panagiotopoulos, who takes over the post after the unexpected resignation earlier in the day of Nikos Nikolopoulos, had been elected Parliament dean on June 29.
Born in Kavala on Aug. 18, 1965 he studied law at the University of Athens and received a postgraduate degree in economics and international relations at a university in Pennsylvania.
He was elected in parliament for the first time in September 2007.
Commenting on Nikolopoulos' resignation, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou stressed that "it appears that not everybody can handle difficulties".
He added that "there is no logical explanation," stressing that "only yesterday he (Nikolopoulos) had given a vote of confidence to the government."
A statement issued by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) underlined that Nikolopoulos' stance should be followed by all government members that respect their election campaign pledges, adding that it constitutes yet another proof that renegotiation was abandoned on election day.
Independent Greeks spokesman Christos Zois characterized Nikolopoulos' resignation as "incomprehensive" considering that it took place after the government received a vote of confidence.
He called on Nikolopoulos to give explanations on what exactly the troika has demanded from the labour ministry leadership that was accepted by the government leading to his resignation.
 EU-IMF troika team meets top Council of State justicesAfter talks with a team from the EU-IMF troika mission in Athens on Monday, Council of State justice Constantine Menoudakos said the visiting troika officials appeared satisifed with the rates at which provisional remedies that were stalling contracts for major public works and procurements were being processed by courts.
He made the statements after a meeting between troika experts and a CoS committee that included Menoudakos and other CoS vice-presidents and justices.
The meeting focused on the performance rates of the supreme administrative court in cases concerning provisional remedies and suspensions relating to public tenders and contracts for major public works and procurements. Menoudakos stressed that the rates at which such cases were being tried was "very good", with cases generally going before a court within a month of being filed with the CoS. He noted that a large number of such cases had been decentralised and transferred to administrative appeals courts.
According to Menoudakos, 541 rulings on requests for provisional remedies were issued in 2010, 269 in 2011 and 82 so far in the current year.
The troika mission also requested information on any problems relating to dysfunction in drawing up public contracts for major public works, procurements, investments, environmental studies for major projects and others, with judges asked their opinion on how procedures for proclaiming tenders and concluding contracts might be simplified.
Concerning taxation cases, Menoudakos noted that the number of cases filed by private individuals had declined significantly whereas the number of tax cases pursued by the state via the courts had increased, leading to a greater strain on courts and hampering the speedy administration of justice and the collection of large sums.
 SYRIZA-EKM launches campaign to register new party membersThe Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) party on Monday launched a campaign to register new party members that will be the first step toward the party's evolution into a uniform political entity as opposed to a coalition of independent parties, SYRIZA Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras announced in a press conference.
He said a major milestone in the course toward becoming a single party will be the national conference that will take place in the autumn and a founding congress in the spring.
"We are not now embarking on our course toward the people but from a new starting point we are continuing with the people on our common course, the course of popular emancipation in order to avert social destruction, take over the governance of the country and bring the people to power with SYRIZA-EKM as the institutional and political subject of the people in power," he said.
He clarified that the unification of SYRIZA-EKM would have a clear leftist, progressive identity but also express those that wish to "redefine their political consciousness on the basis of their social interests and not their party 'origins'.
Tsipras said that the new party will be a "large democratic party of the Left" but underlined that it "neither can nor aspires to be the EDA of 1958 or PASOK of 1981".
SYRIZA's leader also underlined that the new party's horizon was not the Memorandum but a 21st century socialism, while at the same time it was the only anti-bailout force with prospects of prevailing over the "bloc of the memorandum of extreme neo-liberalism" and coming to power.
Asked whether the unification will include a change in name, Tsipras said that SYRIZA was a "strong brand name" and there was no reason why it should be absent from the unified formation's name. He also announced the formation of an organisational committee coordinated by Sofia Sakorafa for the unification process.
During the press conference, Tsipras strongly criticised the coalition government, especially over privatisations policy and the greatly different positions it had presented before and after the elections, such as the conversion of renegotiation of bailout terms promised before the elections to an "even stricter implementation" of the memorandum once the government came to power. He stressed that, sooner or later, the governing coalition would pay for 'betraying' the people's mandate.
Asked about SYRIZA's 'warnings' to the government on the issue of privatisations, Tsipras stressed that the party was not threatening anyone but simply stating the self-evident - that public property belonged to everyone and that a passing and marginal majority did not have the right to decide the future of the coming generations.
In reply to questions about whether SYRIZA was opposed to any sort of privatisation in principle, Tsipras indicated that there were differences in the model employed in Norway, where public wealth was utilised in ways that gave a return to citizens, and privatisation along the lines of Margaret Thatcher. He criticised the government model, saying it involved selling off public wealth "for a song".
 Abolition of Greek nationality law tabled separately in bills by Independent Greeks, Chryssi AvghiTwo draft laws for abolition of the so-called Ragoussis Law on acquiring Greek nationality were tabled in parliament separately by the Independent Greeks party and the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party.
The draft law by the Independent Greeks was tabled after midnight Sunday upon completion of the vote of confidence following the coalition government's policy statement, and had been a campaign pledge by party leader Panos Kammenos.
Chryssi Avghi MPs, in turn, said that the Council of State has ruled as unconstitutional the provisions for Greek nationality.
 Minimum of 120 cases annually for administrative courts, CoS rulesAdministrative Court of Appeals judges should be assigned a minimum of 120 cases annually, the Council of State (CoS) - the country's highest administrative court - ruled on Monday.
The CoS approved the rules of operation for the country's administrative courts as dictated by Law No. 4055/2012 and referred to the long delays, in certain instances exceeding five years, in the issuing of rulings by the country's administrative courts (courts of appeal and first instance courts).
The fact that roughly 440,000 cases are still pending in administrative courts was also underlined in Parliament by Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis.
 IOBE: Greek economy to shrink by 6.9% in 2012Greece's Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) on Monday issued more pessimistic forecasts over the country's economic outlook this year.
IOBE, in its quarterly report on the Greek economy, predicted that the economy would shrink by 6.9 pct in 2012, from a 5.0 pct initial forecast, while unemployment is projected to rise to 23.6 pct this year. The Institute said economic recession in the country would total around 7.5 pct in the second quarter of the year, 8.0 pct in the third quarter and some improvement in the fourth quarter. The inflation rate is projected to be around 1.5 pct this year.
IOBE said that new government will have four challenges ahead: implementing a short-term interventions program for the first 100 days, setting preconditions of reviewing the current economic policy mixture, drafting a new national strategy for the Greek economy's new development and social model and cooperating with other willing EU member-states to improving economic policy in the Eurozone.
The Institute said the new government must give priority to targets which are directly improving liquidity in the business sector, such as repayment of accumulated debt of 6.5 billion euros from the public sector to the private sector. Emphasis must also be given to ensure higher European Investment Bank's capital for investments in Greece and rapidly completing a banks' recapitalization process. IOBE called for an intensive fiscal effort to avoid a bigger fiscal deficit this year.
IOBE said that an efficient exploitation of the state's property assets could lower the country's public debt and at the same time become a powerful development tool with direct results.
The Institute said the programme could raise the country's GDP by 3.0 pct and add around 140,000 new jobs.
 Inflation running at 1.3pct in JuneInflation rose by 1.3 percent in June, against a 1.4 percent rise in May and a 3.3 percent rise in June 2-11, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.
ELSTAT, in a report, said that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in June 2012 compared with June 2011, increased by 1.3%. In June 2011, the annual rate of change of the CPI was 3.3%.
The CPI in June 2012 compared with May 2012 decreased by 0.3%. In June 2011, the monthly rate of change of the CPI was -0.2%.
In the twelve-month period from July 2011 to June 2012 compared with the period from July 2010 to June 2011 the annual average rate of change of the CPI was 2.2%. The corresponding annual average rate of change of the CPI in the previous year (July 2010 to June 2011), was 4.7 percent.
Also, the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in June 2012 compared with June 2011, increased by 1.0%. In June 2011, the annual rate of change of the HICP was 3.1%.
The HICP in June 2012 compared with May 2012, decreased by 0.2%. In June 2011, the monthly rate of change of the HICP was -0.2%.
In the twelve-month period from July 2011 to June 2012 compared with the period from July 2010 to June 2011, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 1.9%. The previous year, in the corresponding twelve-month period, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 4.6%.
 Interest rates on new loans significantly down in MayGreek banks' average interest rates on new deposits remained almost unchanged in May, while the corresponding rate on new loans decreased significantly in the month, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.
The central bank, in a monthly report, said that in May 2012, the average interest rate on overnight deposits from households remained almost unchanged at 0.48 percent as did the corresponding rate on deposits from non-financial corporations which stood at 0.46 percent. On the contrary, the average interest rate on deposits from households with an agreed maturity of up to 1 year, decreased by 6 basis points to 4.90 percent. However, because of the decrease in the market share of deposits with an agreed maturity, the overall average interest rate on all new deposits remained almost unchanged at 2.91 percent.
In the case of loans, the average interest rate on consumer loans without a defined maturity (a category which includes credit card debt, open account loans and debit balances on current accounts) decreased by 7 basis points in May 2012, to 15.01 percent. The average interest rate on consumer loans with a defined maturity at a floating rate or with an initial rate fixation period of up to one year also decreased by 7 basis points to 8.27 percent in May 2012, from 8.34 percent in the previous month.
The average interest rate on corporate loans without a defined maturity decreased by 9 basis points to 7.69 percent and the corresponding rate on loans to sole proprietors decreased by 3 basis points to 10.32 percent. The average interest rate on corporate loans with a defined maturity at a floating rate or with an initial rate fixation period of up to one year decreased by 5 basis points to 7.52 percent for loans up to EUR 250,000, increased by 23 basis points to 6.68 percent for loans above EUR 250,000 and up to EUR 1 million but decreased by 39 basis points to 5.84 percent for loans above EUR 1 million. Finally, the average interest rate on housing loans at a floating rate or with an initial fixation period of up to one year remained almost unchanged at 3.54 percent. As a result of the above developments, the overall average interest rate on all new loans decreased in May 2012 by 14 basis points to 6.18 percent.
In particular, in May 2012, the average interest rate on outstanding amounts of deposits from households with an agreed maturity of up to 2 years increased by 2 basis points to 4.67 percent while the corresponding rate on deposits from non-financial corporations decreased by 20 basis points to 4.49 percent. The average interest rate on outstanding amounts of loans with over five years' maturity decreased by 2 basis points to 3.47 percent for housing loans, by 23 basis to 4.98 percent for corporate loans and by 5 basis points to 6.23 percent for loans to sole proprietors.
The overall average interest rate on all deposits (including overnight deposits) decreased, partly as a result of the decrease in the market share of deposits with an agreed maturity, by 5 basis points to 2.79 percent. The corresponding rate on all loans decreased by 7 basis points to 6.13 percent.
 George Zanias new National Bank presidentGeorge Zanias will be assuming the duties of National Bank president officially. According to an announcement, the National Bank's board elected, during its meeting on Monday, professor George Zanias as a new non-executive member and then as President of the Bank's board.
 Deputy finance minister meets heads of 36 largest tax offices, instructs them to boost revenuesDeputy Finance Minister George Mavraganis on Monday met the heads of the 36 largest tax offices in the country, instructing them to intensify inspections in order to boost public revenues.
He also advised them to send the handwritten tax statements they have received to the General Secretariat for Information Systems as soon as possible. The deadline for submitting hand-written tax statements expires on Tuesday.
 Tourism minister meets foreign ambassadors for talks on boosting tourismTourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni on Monday continued a series of meetings with foreign ambassadors in order to discuss ways of improving the image of Greek tourism and boosting last-minute bookings in a bid to offset losses in tourist traffic during the current year, as well as laying the foundations for a dynamic recovery in years to come.
Kefalogianni held talks with Israel's ambassador in Athens Aryeh Mekel on Monday, while in previous days she had meetings with German Ambassador Wolfgang Dold, UK Ambassador Dr. David Landsman, Chinese Ambassador Du Qiwen and Australian Ambassador Jenny Bloomfield.
The minister outlined the main directions of tourist policy and the priorities and targets set on a short- and long-term basis, with emphasis on thematic units that will enrich the country's tourism product, upgrade the level of service on offer and help extend the tourism season.
Special emphasis was given to boosting tourism traffic to Athens, which had fallen greatly in recent years due to factors outside the tourism sector. This was also the main focus of her meeting on Monday with Athens Mayor George Kaminis, during which they discussed the problems and joint actions that must be taken to deal with them.
 INSULEUR general assembly held on LesvosThe 19th General Assembly of the Network of the Insular Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the European Union, INSULEUR, was held in the city of Mytilene, the capital of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos on Sunday, focusing on coastal shipping and cooperation with Arab countries.
The meeting also focused on results of the SMILIES programme on very small island enterprises, as well as, on the presentation of a label project for unique island products up for EU approval. The Intelligent Energy project, the Virtual Community proposal for a virtual forum on the INSULEUR's website for businesses and CCIs and the InnoNauTICs implementation plan, were also outlined.
INSULEUR was set up in 2000, comprised of 35 European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, with the aim of improving economic and social conditions in European insular regions in their effort to cope with difficulties stemming from their insular nature.
 Stocks end slightly upStocks ended slightly higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday with buying interest focusing on shares of state-owned enterprises following the government's commitment to speed up a privatization programme. The composite index of the market rose 0.59 pct to end at 642.62 points, off the day's highs of 652.33 points. Turnover was a low 24.849 million euros. The Big Cap index rose 0.83 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.48 pct higher.
The Telecoms (6.09 pct), Utilities (4.27 pct) and Construction (2.21 pct) sectors were top gainers, while Industrial Products (1.52 pct) and Raw Materials (0.98 pct) were top losers.
PPC (6.85 pct), OTE (6.09 pct), Cyprus Bank (4.40 pct) and Titan (2.61 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Viohalco (3.54 pct), Eurobank (2.10 pct) and Mytilineos (2.04 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 72 to 60 with another 31 issues unchanged. NEL (18.42 pct), Paperpack (18.39 pct) and Mihaniki (15.45 pct) were top gainers, while Pegasus (20 pct), Neoroi (19.91 pct) and Nutriart (18.87 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.02%
Personal & Household: +0.17%
Raw Materials: -0.98%
Travel & Leisure: +0.81%
Food & Beverages: +0.02%
Financial Services: +0.54%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, PPC, OTE and National Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 01/01/18
Public Power Corp (PPC): 01/02/65
HBC Coca Cola: 15.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 01/05/32
National Bank of Greece: 01/01/37
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.70
Bank of Piraeus: 0.23
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.44 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 7.640 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,076 contracts worth 3.613 million euros, with 22,143 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 21,975 contracts worth 4.027 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (6,131), followed by National Bank (3,700), Cyprus Bank (1,939), Cyprus Popular Bank (938), Intralot (96), Piraeus Bank (657), Motor Oil (41), Hellenic Postbank (80) and ATEbank (23).
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 24.47 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 25.78 pct and the German Bund 1.31 pct. Turnover totaled 5.0 million euros, all buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to 1.10 pct, the six-month rate was down to 0.81 pct, the three-month rate eased 0.53 pct and the one-month rate fell to 0.23 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. Dollar 1247
Pound sterling 805
Danish kroner 7550
Swedish kroner 8751
Japanese yen 99.28
Swiss franc 1219
Norwegian kroner 7608
Canadian dollar 1274
Australian dollar 1226
 Strong earthquake shakes Rhodes; no damage reportedA strong earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale shook the island of Rhodes on Monday at 4:55 p.m. Though the tremor was felt strongly throughout the island, no damage was reported and there was no panic.
The epicentre of the quake was located underwater at a distance of 120 kilometres southeast of the island and at a depth of 10 kilometres within an advance rift of the Hellenic arc.
 Concert on Samos marks union with GreeceA concert marking the 100th anniversary of the union of the island of Samos with Greece will be performed on July 18 at the ancient theatre of Pythagorion, it was announced on Monday.
The Greek radio and television - ERT National Symphony Orchestra will perform two works by composer Dimitris Themelis, a native of the island, directed by conductor Andreas Pylarinos.
 Photo exhibition on occasion of 40th anniversary of Greek-Sino diplomatic tiesThe municipalities of Athens and Beijing will co-host a photo exhibition entitled "Charming Beijing" this month, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The exhibition will be on display at the Melina cultural centre, in central Athens' Thisseio district.
The event will be inaugurated on Thursday by Athens Mayor George Kaminis, the chairman of the standing committee of the Beijing People's Congress, Du Deyin, as well as the People's Republic of China's ambassador in Greece, Du Qiwen.
The exhibition will run from July 12 to July 20.
 Connie Mourtoupalas picked as new director of Nat'l Hellenic MuseumConnie Mourtoupalas has been chosen to lead the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago, a unique museum in the United States dedicated to Greek history.
Mourtoupalas, whose family emigrated to the United States in 1966, was appointed museum director after a 16-year term at the Greek embassy in Washington D.C., according to the Greek Service of Voice of America.
Assuming her duties, she underlined that her goal is to have the museum recognised in the United States and internationally as one-of-a-kind in the United States, one that records and promotes the course of the Greek immigrants and the notable contribution of the Greek-American community in US society and history while, at the same time, promoting the Hellenic culture and traditions through various programmes and exhibitions.
In her capacity as cultural attach?, Mourtoupalas collaborated with numerous cultural institutions in the United States, including the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
She also contributed to the implementation of extensive cultural exchanges between Greece and the United States. Mourtoupalas is a co-founder of the NGO American Friends of the New Acropolis Museum, a founding member of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington and the director of the Society for the Preservation of Greek Heritage.
 Regional authority bans driving, overnight stays in Peloponnese forestsPeloponnese Regional Authority chief Petros Tatoulis on Monday issued an order banning the circulation of vehicles and overnight stays by hikers and excursionists in woodlands, forests and other vulnerable wild country on Mount Taygetus until October 15, in a bid to protect the forests from the danger of fires.
Exempted from the ban is the Sparti-Kalamata national road and the roads leading to the villages on the mountain, as well as local villagers, livestock owners, members of voluntary organisations and those carrying out forestry work on the mountain.
A similar ban has been issued by the deputy regional authority head of Arcadia for the Mainalos forest, the woodlands around the city of Tripolis and the Parnonas National Forest.
 Ships collide off Kafireas Cape, crew safeThe tanker MINERVA GEORGIA which was sailing in the sea region northeast of Cape Kafireas (Cavo D'Oro) collided with the vessel "ALWAYS SUMMER" on Sunday night.
The 28 member-crew of ?MINERVA GEORGIA" and the captain of the "ALWAYS SUMMER", the only crew-member on board, are safe and no water inflow or oil slick were detected.
The tanker, which was carrying crude oil, had sailed from the Black Sea for Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The ALWAYS SUMMER had left from Lavrio port and was on its way to the island of Skyros.
Both vessels were tugged early Monday to the port of Karystos, Evia island, where they will remain to repair their damages and receive a seaworthiness certificate.
 Greek, Bulgarian police to combat looting of collected recyclable materialsJoint squads of Greek and Bulgarian police officers will undertake to combat the phenomenon of looting of recyclable materials from their dumpsters for subsequent sale to illegal junkyards and foundries, it was announced on Monday.
Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris made the announcement at a press conference, stressing that organised rings -- which police say are comprised mostly of Bulgarian Roma (gypsies) -- use rented basements as warehouses to sort out the recyclable materials they steal before selling them to illegally operating junkyards.
Deputy Mayor for Recycling and Sanitation Services Thanassis Pappas stressed that a special body of inspectors will check on stores that produce recyclable materials and impose fines in case they do not participate in recycling.
A total of 5.5 tons of paper, glass and aluminum were recycled in 2011, while five tons of recyclable materials have been collected in the first half of 2012 alone, the deputy mayor stressed.
 Young woman experiences prostitution ordeal with threat of voodooA ring of pimps obliged a young woman from Nigeria to work as a prostitute with the threat of religious beliefs (voodoo). The case was revealed by Thessaloniki police and four fellow countrymen of hers are already being sought and two Greeks who are being charged as being members of the ring.
The 23-year-old Nigerian woman's ordeal began in February 2010 when a woman from her country, aged 31, persuaded her to come to Greece. Threatening that she will exercise on her and her family voodoo, the 31ear-old convinced the young woman to work as a prostitute initially in a bar in the city of Arta and then in apartments in Athens and Thessaloniki and to give her all her gains.
Lastly, the 23-year-old found the courage to speak to a friend of hers, rid herself of the pimps and report their activities to the police.
 Eighty-six illegal migrants repatriatedEighty-six illegal migrants -- 58 Pakistanis, 20 Bangladeshi, 3 Egyptians, one Congo citizen and four Algerian nationals -- were repatriated on 7 and 8 July, following court orders issued against them.
The foreign national left from International Athens Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" with destinations Lahore, Islamabad, Dhaka, Cairo, Brussels and Algiers.
The repatriation operation of illegal migrants to their country of origin is being held within the actions against illegal migration and is covered by the European Fund for Repatriations.
 Burglars targetting rented apartments in Halkidiki arrestedTwo 19-year-old Albanians were arrested on Monday charged with burglary.
The two men were caught in a police roadblock along the Moudania-Paliouri road in Halkidiki. In their car police found one laptop, 2,000 US dollars, 2,120 euros and 4,890 Serbian dinars as well as other objects and documents.
During the investigation it was revealed that the two suspects on Sunday night had broken into two apartments in Halkidiki rented by tourists from Serbia and took the cash and the other objects.
On their possession police found burglary tools. Police are investigating the possibility of their participation in other criminal actions in the area.
 Teen, 16, alleges gang rape by four foreign nat'ls on CreteAllegations by a 16-year-old Bulgarian teen this week that she was gang raped by four foreign workers on the island of Crete led to arrests in the Perama township of Rethymno.
According to reports, the teen's mother-in-law, together with her Pakistani companion, allegedly deceived the victim and led her to a residence outside Perama, where she said she was gang raped by two Indian and two Pakistani nationals. An immediate complaint to local police led to pimping charges against the first pair.
The four foreign nationals, believed to be illegal migrants, were also arrested on charges of raping a minor.
 Heat wave throughout the weekVery hot weather and extremely high temperatures with small variations will prevail in the country in the next 6-7 days.
The National Meteorology Service (EMY) on Monday issued an extraordinary announcement informing the public that the high temperatures will reach 39C in the northern parts of the country, namely Macedonia, Epirus and Thrace, while the forecast for central Greece, the Peloponnese and Evia island is even higher and on some occasions the thermometer will reach 41C.
The islands will suffer less from the heat, however, with temperatures touching 36C, which is a nevertheless high for the region.
EMY forecasts for Athens 39C on Tuesday and on Wednesday the temperatures may will escalate to 40C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe three-party coalition government's policy statement and the vote of confidence it received dominated the headlines in Athens' newspapers on Monday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Denationalisations, investments, growth".
AVRIANI: "Spurt forwards with wave of privatisations and re-start of major works".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Terror puzzle: State, para-state, secret services and fanatic Islamists".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "First the measures, then the renegotiation".
ELLADA: "Education the first victim of the co-governance".
ESTIA: "Everything will be determined in the first two months".
ETHNOS: "Heat wave for all the special salary scales".
IMERISSIA: "Tax upsets - Everything changing on incomes, real estate".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Vote of confidence and climate of clashes".
TA NEA: "The special salary scales on the table".
VRADYNI: "Work for 80,000 unemployed".
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