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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-07-12

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

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

Thursday, 12 July 2012 Issue No: 4119


  • [01] Target of renegotiating discussed at party leaders' meeting at Maximos Mansion
  • [02] FinMin to convene ministerial meeting on Thursday
  • [03] SYRIZA criticises parties supporting government
  • [04] Tsipras: Battle should have been waged at Summit
  • [05] Foreign minister meets visiting Finnish European Affairs minister
  • [06] Development minister holds talks with Finnish minister, foreign ambassadors on investment projects
  • [07] Labour minister rules out further reduction of minimum wage
  • [08] KKE party on employment conditions
  • [09] Public Order minister holds contacts with EU officials in Brussels
  • [10] Immigration issue and implementation of 'Social Protection Shield' Interior ministry priorities
  • [11] Education minister holds courtesy meetings
  • [12] Independent Greeks demand resignation of PM's aide over links to Siemens
  • [13] KKE party leader opposes Greek Sugar Industry privatisation
  • [14] No privatisation of public enterprises must go ahead, SYRIZA deputy says
  • [15] President Papoulias receives Cyprus' ambassador
  • [16] SI meeting in Thessaloniki on Thursday
  • [17] Financial prosecutor presses for further investigation of Papandreou involvement in CDS trade on Greek debt
  • [18] Regional Policy Commissioner Hahn satisfied with absorption rate of NSRF funds
  • [19] Greece ready for two privatisations in 2012
  • [20] SEV seeks to promote sustainable growth
  • [21] Hellenic Steel to close down its Aspropyrgos unit
  • [22] Zakynthos hotels expect very unpredictable tourist season
  • [23] New value for used mass transport tickets as 'alternative currency'
  • [24] Greek stocks remain under strong selling pressure
  • [25] Greek bond market closing report
  • [26] ADEX closing report
  • [27] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [28] French national falls to death
  • [29] Father and son charged with drug dealing
  • [30] Foreign national arrested, used 10-year-old son to deliver drugs
  • [31] Major forest fire at Sofiko in Corinth
  • [32] Wildfire cuts off Lianokladi-Domokos rail connection in Fthiotida
  • [33] Record cocaine haul seized in Thessaloniki
  • [34] Farmer charged with arson in Corinth
  • [35] European Youth Card offers affordable vacations in Greece
  • [36] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] Target of renegotiating discussed at party leaders' meeting at Maximos Mansion

    The meeting between Prime Minister Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the leaders of the parties that are supporting his government, namely PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis, on Wednesday evening, focused on the common target of renegotiating of the terms of the loan contract.

    A new meeting was decided for next week.

    "The briefing of the prime minister and the two party leaders by the Finance minister on the results of the Eurogroup focused on the basic initiatives and preconditions necessary for the common target of renegotiating to be achieved," Government Spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said in a statement after Wednesday's meeting.

    "In parallel, the government's political will to proceed with determination on the axes of the programme convergence was underlined. After the briefing the actions that must be taken on the Greek side for the economic programme of Greece to go ahead or return to orbit were discussed. The prime minister called for a new meeting to take place next week, in the middle of next week, for these actions to be specialised even more," the spokesman added.

    Conclulding, Kedikoglou said that "it was a meeting in a very good climate, where the determination of the government to proceed on the axes of the programme convergence was underlined. The common target of renegiotiating will be achieved".

    [02] FinMin to convene ministerial meeting on Thursday

    The government will go ahead with a planning on the targeted curbing of state expenditures in the coming years and in this framework Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras will convene an extensive ministerial meeting on Thursday.

    According to the updated memorandum, the government's interventions in the expenditures sector must lead to the saving of 11.7 billion euros over the 2013-2014 two-year period. The specific interventions will be included in the new Medium-Term Framework which is expected to be ready in September. In parallel, the government is preparing itself for equivalent measures, that the troika will propose, as well as for additional interventions this year in the event that the representatives of the creditors insist on the full coverage of the budget's deviations.

    Participants in Thursday's meeting will include, apart fromn Stournaras, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, Defence Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos, Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis and Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis.

    [03] SYRIZA criticises parties supporting government

    The Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) sharply criticised the tripartite government on the occasion of the meeting, between the three party leaders supporting the government, that "is taking place in the shadow of the new measures of 3 billion that the government must decide immediately".

    A relevant announcement by SYRIZA speaks of a repetition of the same setting where the "extortions" on the non-payment of the tranches "are succeeded every time by new memorandum measures, that derail the economy and harm society".

    The announcement added that "SYRIZA-EKM will not stop struggling for the reversal of the memorandum policy of austerity, for a new national strategy, based on the axes of growth, the strengthening of employment, the redistribution of wealth, social justice, the reconstruction of the public sector and the defending of public utilities for the benefit of the citizens".

    [04] Tsipras: Battle should have been waged at Summit

    Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said that "we would have waged the battle at the EU summit, there where the government was absent. The Eurogroup would have been a detail", speaking on state NET television channel on Wednesday morning.

    Tsipras charged that the opportunity for Greece to gain something from the negotiation "set up by an Italian banker prime minister and a right-wing Spanish prime minister" was "lost" at the latest Summit.

    "When Italy and Spain put a veto forward, it is incomprehensive that Greece, which has been brought to its knees over the last 2 1/2 years, did not say one word," Tsipras said, and accused the government of lacking patriotic responsibility. In Greece, he said, the governments surrendered and never negotiated. He added that "today we have a new finance minister who goes to the Eurogroup and says just what Schauble (German finance minister) what he wants to hear, that we ask nothing".

    [05] Foreign minister meets visiting Finnish European Affairs minister

    Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday met visiting Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb, one of the ministers attached to Finland's foreign ministry.

    During their meeting, they underlined the need for coordinated and collective action by European Union member-states so that Europe can weather the crisis as a whole.

    The meeting was held in a very cordial climate, with the two ministers discussing Greek-Finnish bilateral relations and reaffirming the strong, traditional ties of friendship linking the two countries, as well as noting the need to avoid divisions damaging to the common effort.

    [06] Development minister holds talks with Finnish minister, foreign ambassadors on investment projects

    Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Wednesday held a series of meetings with foreign officials, including two ambassadors and Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb.

    During the meeting, Stubb expressed support for Greece and the reforms that were underway, stressing that Greece was not alone in the crisis and that "we are all together in the same boat".

    Hatzidakis' meeting with Dutch Ambassador in Athens Kees Van Rij focused on a proposed investment by a Dutch logistics firm on the island of Crete worth 300-500 million euro, which has applied for inclusion in fast-track investment procedures, as well as technical expertise being provided by Dutch experts in promoting exports, completing Greece's land register, taxation administration and controlling spending.

    His meeting with Spanish Ambassador in Athens Alfonso Lucini centred on renewable energy investments and jointly funded projects in this sector, with the Spanish side calling for regular payments of RES producers for the power they generate for the system and also a formula for making progress with road building projects. On the last issue, the minister said that a negotiator will soon be appointed to hold talks with concessionaires.

    Referring to the meetings, Hatzidakis stressed that the government was determined to relay the message that Greece was investment friendly, thus attracting much-needed job creating investments.

    [07] Labour minister rules out further reduction of minimum wage

    Labour, Social Insurance and Welfare Minister Yiannis Vroutsis on Wednesday ruled out any further reduction of the minimum wage in the private sector, following a meeting with the leadership of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), the country's largest umbrella trade union group representing the private sector. His meeting with GSEE wrapped up a round of meetings with the social partners, including employer unions.

    Commenting on a demand made by the union of artisans and light manufacturers but also merchants for restoring the minimum wage to 701 or 751 euro per month, Vroutsis said this would be a matter for more general negotiations with the EU-IMF troika representing Greece's creditors, to be raised at a time the government judged opportune.

    A meeting between the social partners to discuss the new national collective labour agreement will be held next Tuesday, following an initiative by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), which has also invited associations of the tourist trade and department stores to attend.

    GSEE said that it would attend the negotiations but only with four of the social partners that sign the national collective labour agreement. It also clarified that it will ask employers to repeat the agreement made in February, reversing basic wage reductions and protecting the 13th and 14th salaries, as well as keeping residual duration of collective agreements in force for the terms of individual contracts.

    The trade union group asked that the government respect the result of these negotiations and noted that the labour market had been dismantled and was now dominated by unpaid and uninsured workers in informal employment.

    [08] KKE party on employment conditions

    A statement by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee's press office on the meeting between Employment Minister Yiannis Vroutsis and the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) stresses that "the minister of the coalition government with the majority of GSEE provoke the working people. The salaries are being savagely slaughtered with the implementation of the business and individual contracts, with the extension of the flexible labour relations that the coalition government supports and the majority of GSEE plays a leading role in their implementation".

    "The coalition government and GSEE are referring everything to the social dialogue, aiming at the consolidation of the impoverishment of the working people with the seal of consensus. The Employment minister's reference on solutions through the renegotiating of the memorandum is a fraud," the statement added.

    It also said the working people must organise themselves in their workplace, their sector, "to halt the barbarism and counterattack for their own authority."

    [09] Public Order minister holds contacts with EU officials in Brussels

    BRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Spinthourakis)

    Public Order and Citizen's Protection Minister Nikos Dendias held a series of contacts with European Union officials here on Wednesday and participated in a conference on asylum and border protection issues organised by New Democracy (ND) party Eurodeputy George Papanikolaou.

    Dendias met among others Commissioner EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem and the heads of the Europarliamentary groups of the European People's Party Joseph Daul and the European Socialists Hannes Swoboda.

    Speaking after his meetings with the European officials, Dendias stressed that "the huge issue preoccupying the country is illegal immigration and of course its consequences on the quality of life of the Greek citizen and the Greek economy".

    The event on the theme of "European Asylum Policy and Borders: The case of Greece", organised by Papanikolaou, also focused on the intense problems facing the country due to illegal immigration, while the Citizen's Protection minister, Greek and foreign Eurodeputies and European officials exchanged views and ideas on the threats for social cohesion brought about by the strong immigration waves in Greece.

    [10] Immigration issue and implementation of 'Social Protection Shield' Interior ministry priorities

    The change in the immigration law so as to be harmonised with the strictest framework valid in the EU, the revision of the legal framework for nationality and the changes in the Local Administration Code, according to the recommendations of the Union of Regions and the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece, are the three legislative priorities of the Interior ministry's new leadership which, as it was stressed, will take place following consultations with the three parties participating in the government.

    The other important priority of the ministry constitutes the implementation of the Social Protection Shield for the serious problems of the groups of citizens harmed by the recession to be handled.

    Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis and Alternate Interior Minister Haralambos. Athanasiou, in a meeting with reporters, stressed that the intention is for the immigration law to become stricter.

    [11] Education minister holds courtesy meetings

    Education Minister Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos on Wednesday met with Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa.

    The Patriarch wished success to the recently sworn-in minister of education who in turn congratulated him for the spiritual, social and philanthropic work performed by the patriarchate.

    He also had a courtesy meeting with German Education and Research Minister Thomas Rachel, attended by German Embassy adviser Albert Graf and Konrad-Adenauer Foundation Athens Office director Susanna Vogt.

    The minister later received a delegation of main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MPs responsible for education issues.

    [12] Independent Greeks demand resignation of PM's aide over links to Siemens

    The Independent Greeks party on Wednesday demanded the resignation of the prime minister's aide on legal issues Ioannis Karakostas because of his past collaboration with the local Siemens subsidiary, a company behind a major kickbacks scandal in Greece.

    Following a statement issued by Karakostas in which he denied the party's claims and asserted that he had stopped his cooperation with the company after the main protagonist in the scandal Mihalis Christoforakos was placed in charge, Independent Greeks spokseman Christos Zois replied with a statement saying that it was "self-evident that [Prime Minister Antonis Samaras] must deal with the issue of moral and political order concerning Karakostas".

    Zois criticised a statement in support of Karakostas made by government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou and noted that the web page of Karakostas' law firm clearly indicated that he had been the legal advisor of both Siemens Hellas and the German company Thyssen from 1990 until 2011.

    The party also compared the Karakostas case with that of an aide of former prime minister George Papandreou, who had also provided legal advice to Siemens, and noted that New Democracy had then demanded her resignation on these grounds.

    Zois also called for the abolition of an article included in law 4077/2012 "through which the MPs of PASOK and ND jointly, a few days before Parliament was dissolved, handed hundreds of millions of euros to Siemens".

    [13] KKE party leader opposes Greek Sugar Industry privatisation

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, in a statement after meeting on Wednesday with the union of seasonal employees at the Greek Sugar Industry, expressed her opposition to a planned privatisation of the company.

    "The government is selling the sugar factories, meaning is leading them to closure, since the competitors, possibly Poles, will export to Greece, with all the consequences, their own sugar."

    Papariga added that "our position is clear: All together, all of Greece must stand up and prevent the privatisations and indeed of enterprises of strategic importance, enterprises that are related to food supply and the possibility for our country to have self-sufficiency and not make imports and at the same time for the poor farmer and the 1,000 seasonal and 300 permanent employees at the Greek Sugar Industry to work".

    [14] No privatisation of public enterprises must go ahead, SYRIZA deputy says

    The position of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) "for no privatisation of public enterprises to go ahead" was stressed by the party's deputy Iro Dioti in a meeting with employee representatives of the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE).

    Dioti expressed the "absolute disagreement of SYRIZA/EKM with all the scenarios of a sellout" of the Organisation and pointed out that "when the government speaks of 'restructuring', it implies the dissolution of already healthy public enterprises".

    [15] President Papoulias receives Cyprus' ambassador

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received Cypriot Ambassador in Athens Joseph Joseph at the Presidential Mansion on Wednesday.

    President Papoulias congratulated him on the assumption of the EU Presidency by Cyprus and wished success in the tough work that lies ahead for Nicosia in the next six months.

    The president also expressed hope that negotiations will be activated for a fair and viable solution to the Cyprus issue.

    [16] SI meeting in Thessaloniki on Thursday

    A Socialist International meeting with the participation of socialist party leaders from Southeastern Europe will be held in Thessaloniki on Thursday. The meeting, chaired by SI president George Papandreou, will focus on the preparation of the SI political positions in the region ahead of the SI Congress in August in South Africa.

    Moreover, issues regarding the economic crisis in Europe, the Balkans, the course of the Western Balkans' European prospect as well as the political landscape in the wider region will also be discussed at the meeting.

    [17] Financial prosecutor presses for further investigation of Papandreou involvement in CDS trade on Greek debt

    Financial crimes prosecutor Grigoris Peponis on Wednesday called for additional investigation into the possible involvement of Andreas Papandreou, the brother of former Greek premier George Papandreou, in transactions involving credit default swaps (CDS) on Greek debt by the Hellenic Postbank at a time when Papandreou was prime minister. In requesting further investigation of the case, Peponis essentially contradicted the view expressed by the first-instance court prosecutor in charge of the case Aris Koreas.

    After an investigation into the affair lasting several months, Koreas came to the conclusion that there was no evidence to substantiate reports that the premier's brother had been involved in the affair and that the case should be filed as it would not stand up in court.

    Peponis, by contrast, told his superiors last December that the case had reached a 'legal dead end' that demanded further investigation and requested that Koreas track the entire course of the CDSs traded by the Hellenic Postbank in the autumn of 2009.

    Based on the financial prosecutor's orders, Koreas will have to apply for the assistance of authorities in Switzerland, where the investment firm involved is based, and determine a number of issues, including the precise job title and position occupied by the premier's brother in the firm between 2009-2010 and his degree of involvement in taking investment decisions. He will also have to ascertain whether the firm bought CDSs on Greek debt, whether the Hellenic Postbank sold CDS to the firm in question and whether there is any hint of insider trading in these transactions.

    Collecting the evidence demanded by Peponis will require a specialised team of financial auditors to assess and evaluate the evidence and decide on any further course of the case.

    The second part of Koreas' investigation concerned complaints of an organised speculative attack against Greece, a general complaint filed by a lawyer and economist in 2010 against all responsible parties.

    Financial News

    [18] Regional Policy Commissioner Hahn satisfied with absorption rate of NSRF funds

    BRUSSELS (AMNA / M. Aroni)

    European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn expressed satisfaction referring to the absorption rate of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds for the period 2007-2013, while speaking to AMNA on Wednesday, ahead of his visit to Athens on July 12-14 to be briefed by the government on the implementation course of projects financed by Structural Funds.

    This will be the commissioner's seventh visit to Greece in the past 12 months. He will meet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, Development and Infrastructure Minister Costis Hatzidaki, Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, Environment Minister Grigoris Tsaltas, and Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis. The meetings will focus on NSRF priority projects and the acceleration of the absorption of the relevant funds.

    Despite the delays in the implementation of the projects observed by the European Commission in the past four months as a result of the two parliamentary elections, Commissioner Hahn for the first time expressed satisfaction for the absorption rate of the community funds in Greece (41 pct compared with the European average of 37.5 pct).

    "For the first time Greece met the goals set," he stated, clarifying that this is due to the fact that EU funding increased to 95 pct (compared with 75 pct) and because the memorandum includes specific goals as regards the absorption of community funds in order to continue the financing. The absorption goals for 2010 and 2011 were 3.2 billion euros and 3.5 billion euros respectively and were largely met, according to Commissioner Hahn while the absorption rate for 2012 is 3.7 billion euros.

    He underlined that the speedier preparation and implementation of the projects is the biggest challenge for the Greek government, adding that the investment and business environment will have to be improved to attract investments that will boost economic growth and create new jobs.

    He reminded that the European Commission last November had approved 181 priority projects with a budget of 11.5 billion euros, adding that 95 pct will be co-financed by the Structural Funds. Fifteen projects with a budget of 250 million euros have already been completed while more than 100 projects are within the timetable set.

    The commissioner stated that the European Commission approved two major highway construction projects last June. The first of the projects concerns the construction of a highway in Peloponnese, southern Greece, with an estimated budget of 296 million euros (252 million euros from the Structural Funds) that will create roughly 6,000 job positions. The second project with a budget of 232.43 million euros (180.9 million euros will come from the European Regional Development Fund) concerns the construction of a major trunk road to connect the Aktio area with the Western North-South Axis in Greece.

    [19] Greece ready for two privatisations in 2012

    A lack of adequate time narrows the scope for state privatisations this year to no more than two privatizations, the state lottery and the IBC building, which are considered to be the most mature privatisations.

    This was the result of a meeting between Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and the State Private Property Development Fund chief executive Constantinos Mitropoulos. The meeting agreed that the main bulk of the government's privatisation program would be transferred to 2013, when the government will have to complete a total of 23 privatisations.

    [20] SEV seeks to promote sustainable growth

    Highlighting the importance of energy efficiency, the need to re-examine the country' s energy mix and waste management will be the priorities of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises' (SEV) new board for sustainable growth, Eleftherios Vidalis, who was re-elected president of the board said on Wednesday.

    Addressing a general assembly of the board, Vidalis said Greece has an extremely important ecological, environmental and cultural reserve which must be exploited, along with attracting competitive investments, exploiting innovation and boosting employment through promoting sustainable growth as a catalyst to overcome the current crisis. Vidalis said the board will also take advantage of a McKinsey report to cut emissions and to strengthen dialogue with the state.

    [21] Hellenic Steel to close down its Aspropyrgos unit

    Hellenic Steel plans to close down its production unit in Aspropyrgos and lay off its workers, company officials told AMNA on Wednesday.

    The officials said that Hellenic Steel was awaiting from the government to implement court decisions adding that the company has exhausted its patience while at the same time they tried to reassure that such a development would not affect the company's wider operations and activities.

    Workers in the Hellenic Steel' s production unit in Aspropyrgos are on strike for the past nine months with all efforts of mediation failing so far. An Athens Court has ruled in June that the strike was illegal.

    [22] Zakynthos hotels expect very unpredictable tourist season

    This year's tourist season is very unpredictable for the island of Zakynthos despite signs of improvement apparent in June's arrivals figures, Christina Tetradi, president of the Laganas Hotel Association told AMNA on Wednesday.

    Tetradi said that the island's hotels could end 2012 with losses up to 30 pct as domestic tourism was plummeting, despite a significant price reduction. Average tourist arrivals in Zakynthos airport were down 1.5 pct in June, with arrivals from the UK down 4.05 pct, from Germany down 20.38 pct, Austria -13.75 pct and Holland -11.91 pct. On the other hand, arrivals from Russia were up 51.69 pct, from Romania up 70.75 pct, from Hungary up 18.72 pct and from Poland up 18.15 pct.

    [23] New value for used mass transport tickets as 'alternative currency'

    Used mass transport tickets acquire a new value through an innovative idea, the "Money Back" system, being transformed into a new "alternative currency" for goods and services in stores participating in the scheme.

    The idea, which has a European patent, belongs to Giorgos Vergakis and is being implemented in Greece by the Sales Promotion Center, a company providing integrated and specialised sales promotion and marketing services.

    The Money Back system, under the slogan "Do not throw it away it has a value", allows the public using urban transport (metro, bus, tram, Proastiakos train, electric railway) as well as travelers using ferryboats, airplanes, and trains in Greece and abroad to get discounts from participating stores simply by displaying their used tickets.

    The discount is calculated based on a cashing scale that depends on the total value of the goods purchased. For example, the 5 to 1 cashing scale means that for every 5 euros of purchases consumers will have 1 euro discount if they have the amount of 1 euro in the form of used tickets.

    In a press conference in Athens on Wednesday, Giorgos Vergakis explained that the "Money Back" system has social dimensions and a positive impact on the environment, traffic, ecology, quality of life and participation, urging people to use mass transport means while, at the same time, boosting the local market.

    The "Money Back" initiative was first launched four years ago in Iraklion on the island of Crete as a pilot project but soon spread across Greece.

    [24] Greek stocks remain under strong selling pressure

    Greek stocks remained under strong selling pressure for the second consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, pushing the composite index of the market closer to the 600-mark level. News of a delay in implementing a government privatisation program had a negative effect on the market. The index fell 2.56 pct to end at 605.75 points, off the day's lows of 602.93 points. Turnover was a low 22.804 million euros. Analysts said a correction of the market down to 580 points would not change the market's trend.

    The Big Cap index fell 2.61 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 3.65 pct lower. The Personal Products sector (0.11 pct) was the only one to end higher, while Utilities (8.03 pct), Travel (4.73 pct), Health (4.43 pct) and Telecoms (4.0 pct) were top losers. Cyprus Popular Bank (1.27 pct) and Viohalco (0.44 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while PPC (8.33 pct), Ellaktor (5.17 pct), OPAP (4.79 pct) and Eurobank (4.60 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 93 to 40 with another 21 issues unchanged. Neorio (20 pct), Vioter (18.49 pct) and Paperpack (15.29 pct) were top gainers, while Attica Holdings (20 pct), Pegasus (20 pct) and HOL (15.9 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -1.21%

    Commercial: -2.14%

    Construction: -2.38%

    Oil & Gas: -0.79%

    Personal & Household: +0.11%

    Raw Materials: -1.85%

    Travel & Leisure: -4.73%

    Technology: -0.22%

    Telecoms: -4.00%

    Banks: -2.38%

    Food & Beverages: -2.19%

    Health: -4.43%

    Utilities: -8.03%

    Financial Services: -3.87%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 01/07/12

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 01/02/31

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.70

    Hellenic Petroleum: 01/05/17

    National Bank of Greece: 01/01/22

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.62

    OPAP: 01/04/77

    OTE: 01/02/16

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.21

    Titan: 01/12/95

    [25] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds continued shrinking to 24.05 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 24.23 pct on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 25.33 pct and the German Bund 1.28 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower following ECB's decision last week to cut its base lending rate to 0.75 pct. The 12-month rate fell to 1.08 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.79 pct, the three-month rate fell to 0.51 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.21 pct.

    [26] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 7.300 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,390 contracts worth 2.632 million euros, with 21,797 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 33,341 contracts worth 4.668 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (7,902), followed by Alpha Bank (7,616), Cyprus Bank (1,282), OTE (3,135), PPC (4,555), OPAP (1,295), Piraeus Bank (3,336), Cyprus Popular Bank (3,265), Mytilineos (237) MIG (60) and Motor Oil (36).

    [27] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. Dollar 1244

    Pound sterling 799

    Danish kroner 7547

    Swedish kroner 8666

    Japanese yen 98.6

    Swiss franc 1219

    Norwegian kroner 7586

    Canadian dollar 1268

    Australian dollar 1213

    General News

    [28] French national falls to death

    A 28-year-old French national fell to his death in Athens on Wednesday while trying to jump from roof to roof after fleeing unexpectedly from a police patrol car that was taking him to the French embassy for the provision of assistance.

    Earlier, police were alerted by residents in the suburb of Peania that the man was roaming around ringing doorbells in the area and asking for food, money and help.

    Police informed the French embassy of the incident, and agreed to transport the man there so that the Embassy would undertake to provide him with any assistance he needed.

    Police put him in a patrol car to take him to the embassy, but he jumped out of the patrol car along the way, ran into an apartment building, climbing the stairs to the roof, where he attempted to jump to the roof of another building but got caught in electricity wires and lost his hold, plunging to his death.

    Since the man was not under arrest or detained, but was simply being transported to the Embassy, he was not handcuffed nor were any measures taken to prevent him from fleeing.

    An investigation is underway into the circumstances of the instance.

    [29] Father and son charged with drug dealing

    Father and son aged 39 and 19 were arrested on Wednesday charged with drug dealing. A police search in a rented room complex in Toroni, Halkidiki owned by the 49-year-old suspect revealed ten packages containing 716.7 grams of cannabis and one packet with 0.6 grams of heroin. Moreover police found in the balcony of the 19-year-old's residence 16 plants of cannabis.

    Both suspects will be sent before a prosecutor.

    [30] Foreign national arrested, used 10-year-old son to deliver drugs

    A 32-year-old Albanian national was arrested late Tuesday night in Ioannina for drug dealing, using his 10-year-old son as a 'mule'.

    Police said the man was 'coordinating' the trafficking of narcotic substances, mainly heroin, using his young son to deliver the drugs to users.

    The boy was spotted Tuesday night near his home by police, who found small quantities of heroin on him. A subsequent search of the 32-year-old's house turned up more heroin, two cell phones and 550 euros in cash, which were confiscated.

    The man will be sent before a local prosecutor.

    [31] Major forest fire at Sofiko in Corinth

    A major forest fire broke out at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday in the Ammoni region at Sofiko in Corinth. The cause of the fire has not yet been identified and it was soon burning fiercely through woods over an extended front.

    The fire brigade has deployed 24 manned vehicles from Corinthia and neighbouring regions, assisted by teams on foot, municipal water tankers, volunteer fire-fighters, a helicopter and five Canadair water-bombing aircraft.

    So far, the fire is not threatening any inhabited areas.

    [32] Wildfire cuts off Lianokladi-Domokos rail connection in Fthiotida

    A wildfire with a 500-metre front burning through scrub near the railway line at Agios Stefanos in the Domokos region has forced authorities to stop the rail service between Lianokladi and Domokos, including trains destined for Thessaloniki.

    A Thessaloniki train with several passengers on board has already been stopped at Lianokladi station until further notice. Authorities said the rail service was interrupted as a precaution and to allow fire engines and fire-fighting aircraft to operate freely.

    Two water-bombing aircraft and 10 fire engines and crews have been deployed to put out the blaze, which has already burned through about 30 hectares of scrub. The fire-fighting effort is hampered by high winds and extremely high temperatures in the area.

    [33] Record cocaine haul seized in Thessaloniki

    Police in Thessaloniki confiscated 167.9 kilos of unadulterated cocaine that came from Latin America, one of the largest quantities of the drug ever seized in northern Greece with a street value of 15 million euros, it was announced on Wednesday.

    Four men, two Bulgarians aged 50 and 58, a 43-year-old Spanish national and a Portuguese aged 40, all members of an international drug trafficking ring, were arrested in a joint operation conducted by local police and US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents.

    The cocaine arrived last week at the Thessaloniki port in a container but its exact route from Latin America to Greece remains unclear.

    The two Bulgarians were arrested en route to Athens and in their car police found and seized 36 kilos and 393 grams of cocaine. A police search in a second vehicle parked outside a Thessaloniki hotel where the other two suspects were staying revealed 131 kilos and 584 grams of the drug.

    [34] Farmer charged with arson in Corinth

    A 39-year-old farmer was led before a prosecutor in Corinth, southern Greece, on Wednesday after being arrested a day earlier for arson in connection with the wildfire that broke out in the early morning hours of Tuesday in the region of Kalentzi and was extinguished shortly after.

    The suspect was charged with multiple counts of arson after it was established during questioning that he had set fires in the same region back in 2007 as well.

    On Friday, he will be led before an examining magistrate to testify.

    [35] European Youth Card offers affordable vacations in Greece

    Over 5 million European Youth Card holders in 37 European countries will have the opportunity to enjoy affordable vacations in Greece this summer, choosing from a long list of participating hotels and camping sites across the country.

    Most of the 9,600 members of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels have expressed interest in participating in the programme offering discounts after being notified by the education ministry general secretariat.

    More information on discounts and benefits enjoyed by the card holders can be found at www.europeanyouthcard.gr.

    [36] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The introduction of 3 billion euros additional measures within the next weeks and a regulation offering the opportunity to taxpayers to pay their tax in nine installments, mostly dominated the newspaper headlines on Wednesday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Layoffs unconstitutional!".

    AVGHI: "Salaries' restoration, now!".

    AVRIANI: "Troika puts the knife at our throat for 3 billion euros measures".

    DIMOKRATIA: "The 3 billion euros measures a Gordian knot".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Frenzy over 3 billion euros".

    ESTIA: "Gloomy predictions on unemployment".

    ETHNOS: "Troika's 3 billion euros noose around the government's neck"

    IMERISSIA: "Taxes in 9 installments".

    KATHIMERINI: "The negotiation causes friction".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Eurogroup brought 3 billion euros in additional measures".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The conclusions from the May 6 and June 17 elections".

    TA NEA: "Cold shower after the heat wave - 3 billion euros measures".

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