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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-07-17

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

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

Tuesday, 17 July 2012 Issue No: 4123

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM urges drastic changes to State, Public Administration
  • [02] PM and defence minister discuss 'equivalent measures' for avoiding further pay cuts to military
  • [03] Greek FinMin meets German minister of state
  • [04] Dep. foreign minister receives German counterpart, discusses 'common future' in eurozone
  • [05] 'Bloated' public sector must be trimmed down, interior minister stresses
  • [06] SYRIZA renews attack on gov't over privatisations, austerity
  • [07] PASOK leader proposes new medium-term programme for Greece
  • [08] Ind. Greeks party on ATEbank
  • [09] KKE warns against privatisation of ATEbank, state cooperatives
  • [10] Government spokesman says AMNA should not be privatized
  • [11] Gov't not to cut electricity for non-payment of surtax, gov't spokesman says
  • [12] Dem. Left leader briefed on public order ministry activities, priorities
  • [13] Meeting between labor minister, striking Hellenic Steel worker to resume Tuesday
  • [14] SYRIZA-EKM will support some KKE proposals tabled in Parliament, party spokesman says
  • [15] Parliament president in Cyprus this week, in first visit abroad since assumption of the post
  • [16] Ind. Greeks party slams Papandreou speech at Symi Symposium
  • [17] Greek inflation up to 1.0 pct in June, Eurostat
  • [18] IMF sees higher Greek fiscal deficit in 2012
  • [19] Registered unemployment up 0.8 pct in May
  • [20] Greece clears environmental survey for Greek-Bulgarian gas pipeline
  • [21] Greek merchant shipping fleet capacity up in May
  • [22] Greek enterprises register more than 4,500 new product barcodes in H1
  • [23] Intralot signs supply contract with ODDSET in Germany
  • [24] Greek stocks end slightly lower
  • [25] Greek bond market closing report
  • [26] ADEX closing report
  • [27] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [28] Four dead in road accident on Egnatia Odos highway were FYROM nationals
  • [29] Two fires reported in Corinthia; Corinth-Patras highway closed
  • [30] Transfer of convicted terrorist Savvas Xiros to hospital delayed
  • [31] Would-be fugitive gives himself up, defeated by heat
  • [32] Young boy run over by tourist coach, pronounced critical
  • [33] Armed robbery targets bank on Spetses
  • [34] Police uproot, burn huge cannabis plantation
  • [35] Athens metro reminds cyclists to stick to rules when using trains
  • [36] British envoy hosts event for Greek Olympic team
  • [37] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] PM urges drastic changes to State, Public Administration

    Prime minister Antonis Samaras called for drastic changes to the State and Public Administration, instructing his ministers to drastically reduce bureaucracy and pointless, time consuming procedures and ensure transparency and meritocracy, in a letter to Cabinet members on Monday.

    In the letter, Samaras stresses the need for rationalization of cost and upgrading of services provided and called for coordinated cooperation among the Cabinet members.

    "One of the fundamental changes our government must introduce is reform of the State and Public Administration. Our chief aspiration is the creation of an efficient and functional administration that is rid of its chronic problems and which will contribute to the country's growth and be close to the citizen, a Public Administration worthy of an EU member-state," Samaras said in his letter.

    He noted that the Administrative Reform and eGovernance ministry, in collaboration with the European Commission Task Force on Greece "and the precious contribution of our own personnel", would in the next few days begin an evaluation of the structures of the ministries and the agencies they oversee, aimed at their restructure.

    "Thus, we will pinpoint and neutralize the weaknesses and dysfunctions in the Public Administration. The result of the evaluation will be the restructure of the services through the merger of abolition of inactive units and services, with the aim being the rationalization of the operation of the ministries and the curtailment of unnecessary expenditures," he wrote.

    [02] PM and defence minister discuss 'equivalent measures' for avoiding further pay cuts to military

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos held a meeting on Monday to discuss issues affecting the defence ministry and particularly that of finding "equivalent measures" to cut costs without further salary cuts to the military.

    According to defence ministry sources, Panagiotopoulos noted that military personnel had already had a 37 percent reduction in their salaries and he advised against further cuts to their income via changes to the so-called 'special payrolls'. The same sources appeared confident that cost cutting measures amounting to 160 million euro - 40 million euro in the current year and 120 million euro in 2013 - will finally be found to avoid a further round of pay cuts.

    [03] Greek FinMin meets German minister of state

    Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras held a meeting Monday with visiting German Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Michael Link.

    Ministry sources said that Germany does not view positively a possible extension of the Greek adjustement program if the credibility of this year's Greek budget is not restored.

    "Germany will help if we prove credible this year," the sources noted.

    [04] Dep. foreign minister receives German counterpart, discusses 'common future' in eurozone

    The future of the EU and the eurozone, as well as Greece and Germany's "common future" within them, were the main theme of talks held in Athens on Monday between visiting German Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Michael Link and Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas. Link was also received by Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis.

    Noting that Link was one of the first foreign officials to visit Greece after the elections, Kourkoulas stressed that much time had been lost in the handling of the Greek crisis but that the coalition government's pledge to carry out reforms had been "positively received".

    According to Link, the gradual implementation of reforms was necessary in order to regain the trust of markets and restore the country's international prestige. He noted that his talks in Athens had examined "on an equal basis, the common successful future of both countries in the eurozone".

    The German official said that the EU-IMF troika's evaluation of the progress made by Greece in carrying out reforms was "expected with interest" and also emphasised the importance of an outstanding issue raised on Monday by Germany's Constitutional Court, which deferred a decision on whether the European Stabilisation Mechanism was compatible with Germany's Constitution until September.

    [05] 'Bloated' public sector must be trimmed down, interior minister stresses

    Greece's bloated state sector had to be trimmed down, Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis stressed on Monday while speaking on the private radio station 'Real FM'.

    "We must decide whether we are with the old skeleton of administration or whether we are with the living society that is suffering," he underlined.

    Questioned about pledges to renegotiate the terms of bailout agreements for Greece, Stylianidis stressed that if the government was successful in achieving 'equivalent' cost-cutting measures and making progress with privatisations, it would increase the probability of such renegotiation being successful.

    "The effort begins by making others want to talk with us," he added.

    [06] SYRIZA renews attack on gov't over privatisations, austerity

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Monday renewed its attack on the coalition government over privatisations and a raft of further austerity measures that have been announced, stressing that the pre-election promises to renegotiate the terms of bailout loans and avoid cuts to wages, pensions and benefits had been "sordid lies designed to grab the people's vote".

    SYRIZA stressed that the government was deciding a 'Memorandum' package of new measures amounting to dozens of billions of euros, adding the selling off of public wealth to the looting of incomes and demolition of the social state.

    "It is clear that the aim of the government's memorandum policies are not to tackle public debt and to exit the crisis but to serve the interests of creditors and capital," the party said in an announcement.

    SYRIZA repeated its opposition to privatisations as a remedy for the debt crisis, saying these would simply complement wages cuts and mass redundancies under a logic of demolishing and shrinking the social state and selling off all public assets to private individuals.

    "The repercussions of such a policy on the social whole and the country will be catastrophic and uncountable, as is proved by the case of the private banks both in Greece and internationally," it added.

    [07] PASOK leader proposes new medium-term programme for Greece

    PASOK Leader Evangelos Venizelos on Monday proposed the adoption of a new medium-term programme for Greece's fiscal adjustement that will cover the period from July 2012 to the end of 2016.

    Addressing the inaugural meeting of the party's new political secretariat, Venizelos noted that "without this updated medium-term programme, which will take into consideration the new macroeconomic situation and particularly the deep recession, neither the 2012 budget will close nor the 2013 budget will be prepared and be tabled as a bill by the first Monday of October, as it is prescribed by the Constitution."

    Venizelos, whose party is one of the three parties supporting the government, said the government must complete its four-year term in office.

    [08] Ind. Greeks party on ATEbank

    An Independent Greeks party spokesman on Monday asked for "full transparency" concerning the government's plans to privatise ATEbank (Agricultural Bank).

    "The Independent Greeks demand full transparency in the plan, timely briefing before any decision and substantiated solutions that will protect the country and its citizens," spokesman Constantine Yiovanopoulos said.

    [09] KKE warns against privatisation of ATEbank, state cooperatives

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) warned on Monday that the privatisation of ATEbank(Agricultural Bank), combined with the sale/give-away of the state cooperative companies EBZ (sugar), SEKAP (tobacco) and Dodoni (dairy) would have tragic consequences as it would increase unemployment and downgrade and further doom the farming sector and the farmers.

    In an announcement, the KKE said the government's plan to 'break up' ATE into a ''good" and "bad" division and sell the "healthy" division meant the immediate threat of loss of the properties mortgaged with the bank or destruction for hundreds of thousand small and medium size farmers and cooperative organisations due to mass foreclosures.

    "There will be a chain reaction of repercussions, increasing unemployment and affecting agricultural production, and the entire food chain and processing chain," the KKE announcement said, adding that "there will be dismissals and new, worse, labour conditions for those left in order for the private concerns to reduce their salary costs and ensure their profitability".

    The KKE said that these developments are not a matter of good or bad negotiation, and urged the bank and cooperatives' employees and the poor and middle-size farmers and people to wage a coordinated battle in order to avert the worse.

    [10] Government spokesman says AMNA should not be privatized

    Greece's national news agency, AMNA, should not be privatized, deputy minister of state and government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on state NET television on Monday morning, adding also that the state television/radio broadcaster ERT needs to acquire a developmental role.

    "The country's national news agency cannot be privatized," Kedikoglou said in reply to a question on relevant speculation, adding that especially now and in the coming 2-3 years it is essential to provide a correct image of Greece abroad.

    As for ERT, he said that beyond news and entertainment, it also needs to acquire a developmental role.

    He noted that ERT has the ability transmit up to five satellite programmes, and his recommendation to the prime minister is that one such programme should promote the export of Greek products, one should promote investments, and one should be an English language programme promoting tourism and culture, noting that EU funds existed for such programmes.

    [11] Gov't not to cut electricity for non-payment of surtax, gov't spokesman says

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou stressed in statements to the radio station VIMA on Monday that the Public Power Corporation (PPC) will not cut off power to those unable to pay a property surtax attached to their electricity bill.

    "The position [expressed by Democratic Left (Dem.Ar) leader Fotis Kouvelis] was unequivocal. In these difficult times we cannot leave a part of our society unprotected, however small it may be," he underlined, referring to statements by the leader of one of the junior parties supporting the coalition government.

    Concerning privatisations and how the government will deal with the objections of trade unionists affiliated to the New Democracy party that leads the coalition government, Kedikoglou was adamant that it would not tolerate the narrow interests of an small group superseding those of the country as a whole, especially when the leaders and parties participating in the government had put their the interests of the country above their own interests and those of their parties.

    The government's position on this issue was strongly criticised by the Independent Greeks party, however, who was especially scathing about Dem.Ar's role as a "anti-memorandum component" and accused the governing 'troika' of hypocrisy.

    "They will not cut power to households and families, if the well-known 'head-tax' is not paid. Instead, exhausting their "pro-popular-social" arsenal, they will implement seizures and foreclosures, starting with salaries, pensions, rents, deposits and property assets," Ind. Greeks spokesman Christos Zois said.

    [12] Dem. Left leader briefed on public order ministry activities, priorities

    Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias on Monday briefed Democratic Left (Dem.Ar) party leader Fotis Kouvelis, head of one of the junior parties supporting the coalition government, on issues concerning his ministry and the way these were being handled.

    These included strategies for handling fires during the summer and the help that Greece can enlist from other countries, such as Spain, as well as policies for crime.

    In statements after the meeting, Kouvelis said he broadly agreed with the ministry's priorities and actions and spoke out against "self-appointed protectors" of citizens and foreign nationals originating outside the recognised institutions.

    Referring to the activities of Greece's national intelligence service (EYP), he noted that there were many negative aspects to these but that the issue had not been discussed during his meeting with Dendias on Monday.

    [13] Meeting between labor minister, striking Hellenic Steel worker to resume Tuesday

    Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis had a critical meeting on Monday with striking workers of the Hellenic Steel Industry (Elliniki Halyvourgia) of Aspropyrgos, who have been on strike for nine months.

    The minister is acting as mediator between the workers and the industry's management, but his madiation produced no results on Monday's meeting. The mediation will resume on Tuesday, as Vroutsis is determined to do everything for a solution to be found.

    The employees' union is demanding the re-hiring of 120 laid-off workers in order to end the strike, a demand that the steel industry's administration rejects.

    The management is demanding the immediate reopening of the plant before agreeing to any negotiation, citing a recent Athens First Instance Court ruling that declared the strike illegal.

    The management further informed the labor minister last week that it intends to submit an application to the ministry for mass dismissals and suspension of activity of the Aspropyrgos plant.

    [14] SYRIZA-EKM will support some KKE proposals tabled in Parliament, party spokesman says

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) party spokesman Panagiotis Skourletis indicated during a radio interview on Monday that his party was prepared to support sections of draft legislation tabled by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) that concerned laws for the implementation of specific measures on which they agree.

    Skourletis noted that SYRIZA-EKM had also tabled an equivalent proposed bill on issues concerning the minimum wage and the residual duration of collective bargaining agreements.

    At the same time, he clarified that SYRIZA does not agree with KKE's overall positions on issues concerning the crisis because the Communist party had linked the solution to the current economic crisis to issues that "lie outside our strategic orientation, such as that of withdrawal from the European Union".

    In consequence, he added, SYRIZA-EKM would consider KKE's draft bill and wholeheartedly support those points on which the two parties had shared views.

    Asked to comment on the discussion now underway for ways to achieve spending cuts amounting to another 11.5 billion euro, as demanded by the EU-IMF troika, Skourletis noted that this was the exact same formula that had been followed for the last two years, both before and after the elections.

    He noted that the troika came, 'x-rayed' the Greek economy and declared that it was not satisfied but stressed that its dissatisfaction with Greece's performance was inevitable because the country was being set up to fail.

    "There is no chance that this policy will lead to achieving targets. Society is literally becoming bankrupt and I sincerely tremble at the prospect that will be the end result of this formula," SYRIZA's spokesman said.

    [15] Parliament president in Cyprus this week, in first visit abroad since assumption of the post

    Parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis will be in Nicosia from Wednesday to Friday, in his first visit abroad since his assumption of the post.

    Meimarakis will have meetings with the entire political and state leadership of the Republic of Cyprus, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

    While in the Cypriot capital, Meimarakis will also attend memorial events marking the 38 years since the Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of the island republic.

    [16] Ind. Greeks party slams Papandreou speech at Symi Symposium

    Reacting to a speech delivered by former premier George Papandreou at the 14th Symi Symposium on Monday, the Independent Greeks party was scathingly critical of the former prime minister and repeated the party's demand for a Parliamentary investigation into the causes of the debt crisis in Greece.

    Ind. Greeks party spokesman Christos Zois accused Papandreou of seeking to blame others for the current tragic state of the country that his actions had led to.

    "Papandreou was the one that slandered Greeks abroad and tampered with the figures given to the European Union," Zois stressed, also referring to Papandreou's contacts with the former International Monetary Fund (IMF) director Dominique Strauss-Kahn concerning Greece's economic affairs before his election and noting that he had been the one to receive "praise and prizes from the various 'elite' abroad".

    Addressing the Symi Symposium, the former premier and PASOK party leader had blamed markets and Greece's political elite for preventing the completion of reforms to extricate the country from the crisis.

    "The markets did not give us time, combined with the fact that the country's political elite, often in intertwined relations with vested interests, did not allow the reform plan for the country to be completed, so it could escape the economic impasse," Papandreou claimed during the conference held on the Aegean island of Samos.

    Financial News

    [17] Greek inflation up to 1.0 pct in June, Eurostat

    BRUSSELS (AMNA/V.Demiris)

    Greek inflation rose slightly to 1.0 pct in June from 0.9 pct in May, but remained the lowest in the Eurozone and the second lowest in the EU after Sweden (0.9 pct), Eurostat said on Monday. In a report published here, the EU executive's statistics service said average inflation in the Eurozone was 2.4 pct in June, unchanged from May, while in the EU, it rose to 2.6 pct in June from 2.5 pct in May.

    Malta (4.4 pct), Estonia (4.4 pct), Slovakia (3.7 pct) and Italy (3.6 pct) recorded the highest inflation rates in the Eurozone in June. Energy (9.9 pct), tobacco/alcohol (4.1 pct), transportation (4.8 pct), housing (4.6 pct), food (2.8 pct), healthcare (2.0 pct) were the main contributors to the increase in the consumer price inflation in the European Union in June.

    [18] IMF sees higher Greek fiscal deficit in 2012

    Greece's primary fiscal deficit (which does not include capital spending) could be higher by 0.5 - 1.0 pct of the country's GDP compared with initial budget targets, unless there are further changes in economic policy, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday.

    In its update fiscal monitor report, the IMF said the Greek primary deficit would tend towards 1.5 pct - 2.0 pct of GDP instead of 1.0 pct envisaged in a second lending agreement. The IMF said the situation in the Greece remained unstable and noted that a worsening macro-economic environment and an uneven implementation of reforms have burdened public revenue this year, while funding limitations lead to lower spending. The Fund underlined that a fiscal consolidation process is underway in the other three Eurozone states which were receiving support programs, but noted that a recent deterioration of political and economic climate in Greece could use as a warning for any "adjustment fatigue" which could threatened the implementation of the program.

    The IMF said the Greek general government's debt would total 162.6 pct of GDP this year and 171 pct of GDP in 2013, up 9.4 pct and 10 pct, respectively, compared with April's estimates. The fiscal deficit is expected to reach 7.0 pct this year and 2.7 pct of GDP in 2013, up 0.2 pct and 1.9 pct, respectively.

    [19] Registered unemployment up 0.8 pct in May

    The number of registered unemployed rose by 0.80 pct, or 6,186 persons, in May totaling 782,493, of which 329,198 were men (42.07 pct) and 453,295 women (57.93 pct), official figures showed on Monday.

    The Workforce Employment Organization (OAED), in a monthly report, said that the Attica region (2.8 pct) recorded the highest percentage increase in registered unemployment in May from April, while the figures were 13.87 pct up compared with June 2011. The Peloponnese recorded the second highest growth in June, 1.61 pct from May.

    OAED said the 30-54 age group accounted for 63.11 pct of registered unemployment, followed by the below-30 age group (27.27 pct) and above-55 (9.64 pct). Greek citizens accounted for 92.31 pct of registered unemployment in June, third country citizens were 6.10 pct and EU citizens 1.59 pct.

    The total number of unemployed people receiving unemployment benefit was 187,678, down 13.47 pct from May.

    [20] Greece clears environmental survey for Greek-Bulgarian gas pipeline

    Greece's Environment, Energy and Climate Change ministry on Monday gave a green light for the construction of a natural gas pipeline by approving the environmental survey of the project.

    The 180-km pipeline will link the Greek city of Komotini with the Bulgarian city of Stara Zagora and will have a transportation capability of 3.0 billion cubic metres of gas annually, with an option of rising 5.0 billion. A metric station will be built in Komotini.

    The project will be build by Interconnector Greece Bulgaria (ICGB) company, comprising of IGI Poseidon (a joint venture by DEPA and Italy's Edison) and Bulgarian Energy Holding.

    Construction of the Greek-Bulgarian pipeline is considered of strategic importance for the country and the wider region as will enable gas supplies to Bulgaria and Romania from third sources beyond Russia's Gazprom which is currently the main supplier of the Balkans.

    The ministry report said that construction of the pipeline will have limited environmental consequences in the region, short-term and reversible.

    [21] Greek merchant shipping fleet capacity up in May

    Greece's merchant shipping fleet fell by 3.3 pct in May totaling 1,989 vessels, compared with the same month last year, after a decline of 3.2 pct recorded in May 2011, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.

    The statistics service, in a monthly report, said that total capacity of the Greek merchant shipping fleet totaled 44,052,891 gross tons, up 2.5 pct from May 2011.

    [22] Greek enterprises register more than 4,500 new product barcodes in H1

    Greek enterprises circulated more than 4,500 new products in the first half of 2012, a report by GS1 Hellas SA -520 Barcode Hellas said on Monday. The report said that products using the 520 prefix - indicating a Greek product - totaled more than 4,500 in the January-June period, with food/beverage accounting for 45 pct of the total, followed by cosmetics (18 pct). The vast number of new barcodes was created in Attica, followed by the Peloponese and South Aegean. The company said that more than 13,500 barcodes using the 520 prefix have been registered, paving new horizons for exports of Greek products.

    [23] Intralot signs supply contract with ODDSET in Germany

    Intralot on Monday announced the signing of a contract with Scientific Games International (SGI) to take over the management of sports betting services in Germany. The two companies signed a contract with ODS ODDSET Deutschland Sportwetten GmbH (ODDSET) after winning an international tender.

    Under the agreement, Intralot will supply the new generation of its famous betting platform, fully supporting ground and wireless operations. ODDSET, a subsidiary of German lotteries, was founded with the aim to modernize and develop existing sport betting services in Germany through its agent network of Deutsche Lotto und Toto Block Lotteries, totaling 23,000 sales points around the country.

    [24] Greek stocks end slightly lower

    Greek stocks ended lower in the first trading session of the week in the Athens Stock Exchange as investors took profits on bank shares after an initial 6.0 pct surge of the index. Buying activity focused on banks after news that Piraeus Bank confirmed its interest in ATEbank. The composite index of the market fell 0.29 pct to end at 619.97 points, after rising as much as 2.21 pct during the session. Turnover, however, remained a low 25.02 million euros.

    The Big Cap index eased 0.84 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.46 pct higher. The Technology (1.89 pct), Health (0.75 pct) and Personal Products (0.63 pct) sectors scored gains, while Commerce (3.76 pct), Industrial Products (3.20 pct) and Telecoms (2.99 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Piraeus Bank (5.61 pct), Cyprus Popular Bank (3.75 pct) and Ellaktor (3.39 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Viohalco (6.04 pct), MIG (4.35 pct) and Folli Follie (3.97 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 71 to 53 with another 25 issues unchanged. Lamda Development (28.91 pct), Teletypos (20 pct) and Varvaresos (20 pct) were top gainers, while Attica Holdings (19.64 pct), Epilektor (10.85 pct) and Galaxidi (10 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -3.20%

    Commercial: -3.76%

    Construction: -1.27%

    Oil & Gas: +0.57%

    Personal & Household: +0.63%

    Raw Materials: -1.12%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.64%

    Technology: +1.89%

    Telecoms: -2.99%

    Banks: -0.42%

    Food & Beverages: +0.42%

    Health: +0.75%

    Utilities: +0.50%

    Financial Services: -0.33%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 01/11/12

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 01/02/54

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.32

    Hellenic Petroleum: 01/05/48

    National Bank of Greece: 01/01/23

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.65

    OPAP: 01/04/85

    OTE: 01/02/27

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.23

    Titan: 13.14

    [25] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 23.79 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 23.93 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 25 pct and the German Bund 1.21 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate eased to 1.04 pct, the six-month rate was 0.76 pct, the three-month rate fell to 0.47 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.18 pct.

    [26] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.23 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 8.054 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,716 contracts worth 4.245 million euros, with 23,475 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 29,877 contracts worth 3.809 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (7,357), followed by National Bank (5,588), OTE (2,396), PPC (2,624), OPAP (939), Piraeus Bank (4,238), Cyprus Bank (2,060), Cyprus Popular Bank (2,001), Hellenic Postbank (680) and Eurobank (1,122).

    [27] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. Dollar 1236

    Pound sterling 796

    Danish kroner 7551

    Swedish kroner 8747

    Japanese yen 97.69

    Swiss franc 1219

    Norwegian kroner 7564

    Canadian dollar 1255

    Australian dollar 1211

    General News

    [28] Four dead in road accident on Egnatia Odos highway were FYROM nationals

    The four people killed in a road accident on the Kavala-Thessaloniki section of Egnatia Odos highway on Sunday evening were members of two families from FYROM that were returning home from a wedding in Turkey, it was made known on Monday.

    Four people were killed, one of them a small child, and five more (including three minors) were injured in a road accident on the Kavala-Thessaloniki section of the Egnatia Odos highway on Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. The crash occurred after the Ofrynio junction when the driver of a mini-van they were in, with Bulgarian licence plates, lost control of the vehicle, which veered off course and overturned.

    According to Thessaloniki traffic police, there were nine people on board the mini-van when it overturned while the initial evidence showed that the accident occurred because the 46-year-old driver fell asleep.

    It was made known on Monday morning that the victims, including a six-year-old girl, were members of two families from FYROM that were returning home in the van after attending a wedding in Turkey.

    The five injured people, among them three minors, were taken to Kavala hospital where they are reported to be in good condition.

    [29] Two fires reported in Corinthia; Corinth-Patras highway closed

    Two serious wildfires broke out in Corinthia on Monday, one of which is threatening houses in the area and caused authorities to close off both lanes of the Corinth-Patras national highway and divert traffic to the old national road.

    The first of the two fires, which started in a rubbish dump and spread to surrounding woodland, began in Zevgolatio, Corinthia at 2:00 p.m. A force of 13 fire-engines and 26 firemen were sent to get the blaze under control while two Canadair water-bombing aircraft assisted from above.

    The second fire began at 5:00 p.m. in Kato Loutro near the town of Xylokastro for reasons as yet unknown and spread to forests in the area, where several houses are considered at risk. Traffic on the national highway was diverted.

    Eight fire engines, 16 firemen and a team of men on foot have been deployed to put out the blaze, also assisted by the two Canadair aircraft that are also fighting the fire at Zevgolatio.

    [30] Transfer of convicted terrorist Savvas Xiros to hospital delayed

    The Greek Police (ELAS) on Monday decided that convicted 'November 17' terrorist Savvas Xiros will remain at Korydallos prison in Athens and not be transferred to AXEPA Hospital in Thessaloniki, in spite of a court order for his transfer to the hospital on health grounds.

    A Piraeus Misdemeanours Court had accepted Xiros' request for a temporary five-month suspension of his sentence and ordered his transfer to the hospital for treatment on July 5. In a letter sent to the head of the Piraeus public prosecutors' office last week, however, ELAS asked that the prisoner should not be sent to the Thessaloniki hospital and suggested that Athens-based hospitals such as 'Papageorgiou' or the Ippokration Hospital be used instead.

    Acting on the police request, the head of the Piraeus Appeals Court Prosecutors recommended that the suspension of the sentence be discussed again on Thursday.

    According to legal experts, the original court order suspending Xiros' sentence for his treatment at the Thessaloniki hospital is fully in line with the law, since a prisoner requesting the suspension of his sentence on health grounds is expected to contact the appropriate doctors himself and at his own expense, choosing the hospital that he wishes to be admitted to.

    The delay was criticised by Xiros' lawyer Anny Paparousou, who noted that a fully legal court decision was not being carried out in an "unprecedented way" due to a police document, while at the same time the prosecutor's office was initiating a second process in court to examine the issues raised by ELAS".

    Xiros, who was arrested at Piraeus port in 2002 after a bomb that he was carrying exploded prematurely, suffers serious health problems as a result of the blast. These include complete loss of vision in one eye and significantly impaired vision in the other eye, serious hearing loss and an infection contracted while in prison that causes serious swelling in his legs.

    The European Court of Human Rights has accepted his plea that he has received inadequate medical care while in custody and that there has been a violation of article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights forbidding torture in his case. It has ordered the Greek state to pay Xiros 1,000 euro in moral damages.

    The victims were a 42-year-old man, his 6-year-old daughter and his 68-year-old mother, as well as the driver's 38-year-old wife.

    [31] Would-be fugitive gives himself up, defeated by heat

    Monday's searing heat and soaring temperatures, at the height of a heatwave that has swept the country, proved too much for a would-be fugitive seeking to escape arrest. After initiating a sensational police pursuit and threatening police officers at gunpoint, the man finally gave himself up because he could no longer stand the heat.

    One of two men flagged down by a DIAS motorcycle squad at a roadside spot-check in the Athens suburb of Geraka, the 30-year-old trained a shotgun on police while the driver accelerated away toward Spata. A pursuit was launched with the aid of a police helicopter and the car tracked down outside Spata but the two fugitives managed to escape by again threatening to open fire on police.

    When found again a third time, the car had been abandoned and the two men were nowhere to be seen. A short while later, however, a man came up to a television crew that was covering the chase, identified himself as one of the fugitives and asked them to call the police so that he could give himself up because he couldn't bear the heat.

    The television crew alerted the police and the 30-year-old was arrested and taken to the Attica Security police headquarters for questioning, while a search continues to locate the second man that was with him.

    Inside the car, police found printed 'anti-establishment' material, while the man now in custody is a known drug user that has also served time in prison.

    [32] Young boy run over by tourist coach, pronounced critical

    A 12-year-old boy from Georgia was pronounced to be in critical condition by doctors at the Alexandroupolis University General Hospital, where he was taken after he was run over by a tourist coach earlier on Monday outside a customs post at the Kipi border crossing in Evros, northeastern Greece.

    The boy was rushed to the hospital by an emergency services EKAB ambulance and submitted to lengthy surgery to save his life. Hospital director Nikos Raptopoulos said the 12-year-old had suffered severe damage to vital organs and was being treated in a hospital ICU until his condition stabilised, after which he would be transferred to the childrens' ICU at Thessaloniki's Ippokratio Hospital.

    The young boy was a member of a dancing group from Georgia, returning from a tour of festivals abroad. The youngster got off the bus with other children to go through passport control and, for reasons not yet identified, was run over by a tourist coach driver who failed to see him and crushed his leg between the thigh and pelvis. According to witnesses, the accident occurred when the young boy bent down to tie his shoelaces while the driver was moving out.

    [33] Armed robbery targets bank on Spetses

    A branch of Alpha Bank on the tiny island of Spetses in the Saronic Gulf was the target of an armed robbery by three men and a women on Monday.

    The four robbers held bank staff at gunpoint as they grabbed an unspecified amount of money and then sped away on motorbikes. A manhunt was launched by police to arrest the culprits, with coast guard vessels are also participating in a search at sea.

    [34] Police uproot, burn huge cannabis plantation

    Larissa security police on Monday uprooted and burned between 4,000 and 5,000 cannabis plants on the border between Fthiotis and Karditsa prefectures, near the mountain village of Rovoliari in the town of Makrakomi.

    Acting on a tip-off, police discovered the cannabis plantation on Sunday night, and police and municipal machinery went to work at dawn Monday to uproot the plants, which were located in a difficult to access mountainous area.

    Several people have been brought in for questioning, according to sources, although no official announcement has been made yet by police.

    Sources said this is the largest cannabis plantation ever discovered and the number of plants could surpass 5,000.

    [35] Athens metro reminds cyclists to stick to rules when using trains

    The management of the Athens metro and electric railway services STA.SY SA on Monday issued a circular reminding cyclists that bring their bikes onto the metro to stick to the rules and respect other passengers in order to avoid causing problems.

    STA.SY underlined that cyclists travelling during peak hours, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 17:00 p.m. must strictly abide by a rule that bans more than two bicycles from boarding each train and only enter and exit trains using the last carriage by the last door, in order to avoid causing problems to other passengers trying to get on and off.

    Cyclists are also asked not to use escalators with the bicycles in order to avoid accidents and injuries in the case of a power cut.

    London 2012 Olympic Games

    [36] British envoy hosts event for Greek Olympic team

    The Greek Olympic and Paralympics teams will receive a "particularly warm welcome in the 2012 London Olympic Games because they originate from the country that gave girth to the Olympic Games," British Ambassador to Athens David Landsman said during an event hosted by the embassy for Greece's Olympic team on Monday.

    Speaking in Greek, Landsman wished the Greek athletes all the best, just few days before their departure for London. The Games begin on July 27.

    The Greek Olympic and Paralympics teams will receive a "particularly warm welcome in the 2012 London Olympic Games because they originate from the country that gave girth to the Olympic Games," British Ambassador to Athens David Landsman said during an event hosted by the embassy for Greece's Olympic team on Monday.

    Speaking in Greek, Landsman wished the Greek athletes all the best, just few days before their departure for London. The Games begin on July 27.

    [37] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras' meetings with ministers, the extraordinary real estate surtax collected via the PPC electricity bills and changes to the corporate tax regime were the main items in Athens' dailies on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Clash with the 'labor-fathers' (trade unions' leaders) and the Opposition".

    AVRIANI: "Gang of extortionists behind group of Reuters' correspondents".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Massacre of the benefits".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Summer holidays a victim of the Memorandum".

    ELLADA: "Turkish business interest in 12 Greek ports"

    ESTIA: "Samaras' big opportunity".

    ETHNOS: "Foreclosures for the extraordinary surtax on real estate - The special surtax to come with PPC bill in end July".

    IMERISSIA: "Plan to reduce taxes on stock dividends".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Recession and Troika bring new measures beyond the 11.5 billion euros".

    TA NEA: "The lost billions of development".

    VRADYNI: "Pensions: All the changes in IKA, DEKO (public utilities) and banks"

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