|Saturday, 24 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-08-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 7 August 2012 Issue No: 4141
 Greek, Israeli Presidents look to intensified contacts in investments, energy, tourism, shippping and commerceThe intensification of contacts between Greece and Israel, with emphasis on the sectors of investments, energy, tourism, shipping, agricultural development, the environment and commerce as agreed on Monday during a meeting between President Karolos Papoulias and visiting Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres, who arrived in Athens earlier in the day on a state visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart.
The two Presidents inspected an Honour Guard in the official welcome for Peres in the morning, then went into a private meeting, and were afterwards joined by the Greek and Israeli delegations for talks.
Papoulias told reporters, in joint statements with Peres, that the InterGovernmental Cooperation Council will be convened as soon as possible, and will contribute to further strengthening the close relations between the two countries.
Papoulias briefed Peres on the economic crisis Greece is facing, noting that to a great degree it is the manifestation of a systemic crisis of the euro and adding that without a common economic governance and steps towards political unification, the European monetary union was heading to an impasse.
The Greek president further briefed his Israeli counterpart on the Greek national issues, and mainly the Cyprus issue, stressing that its solution will contribute to stability in the wider region, adding that he looks forward to Israel's support.
"Greece condemns terrorism, from wherever it emanates, and supports the finding of a viable and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue that will be based on the creation of an independent Palestinian state that will coexist peacefully with Israel," Papoulias continued, adding that "for Greece, the security of Israel is an essential and mandatory aspect of the solution".
Peres, in turn, said that the two countries belong to the same spiritual family but also the same geographical space, and now a "scientific dimension and a political process" has been added to the relations between Greece and Israel.
"We are Mediterraneans, and we want peace in the Mediterranean," Peres said, adding that the desire was for the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians to end and a solution to be found for the two peoples, and for terrorism and poverty to stop.
Terrorism puts everyone at risk without discrimination, Peres said, adding: "We saw this yesterday when a group of terrorists attacked a group of Egyptians. Fifteen were killed. We intervened to stop it. I want, first of all, to express my condolences to the families of those who were lost, because peace and security is demanded on our side and on the side of the Egyptians".
Peres further referred to the economic significance of tourist, both for Greece and for Egypt, noting that a noble goal is "to want a world full of tourists, not terrorists".
"We can cooperate politically, scientifically and in the economy," Peres said, adding: "Greece, both in the past and now, has exceptional brains, exceptional scientists, and I believe that much can be done in cooperation between your and our researchers so that we will all benefit from it".
On the economic crisis, Peres said that it is "a European crisis", noting that "there is at this time a passage from the old to the new world".
"The bridge between the old and new world is scientific. Our two countries can work together. We can overcome the crisis and bring something positive to everyone. The crisis is the beginning for something new. It is tough for the people, but it is good for the future. Greece has the courage to follow the difficult path for overcoming it, and I believe it will succeed," the Israeli president continued.
Peres said that Greece is greatly esteemed by Israel, and the field is open an "we will proceed".
"We will do it," the visiting dignitary concluded.
 President Papoulias on the dynamic improvement of relations with IsraelRepublic President Karolos Papoulias on Monday stressed during the meeting with visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres that "the dynamic development of bilateral relations focuses on the improvement of the lives of our peoples and does not turn against anybody else."
President Papoulias underlined that the Israeli president's visit to Athens is a "proof of the warm and good relations between Greece and Israel that show dynamic improvement in many sectors of mutual interest." He expressed satisfaction for the participation of Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Orit Noked in the delegation accompanying the Israeli president, stressing that the "Greek land has great potential and Israel's rural technology can help us increase agricultural production fivefold even tenfold." He also stressed that the progress made in desalination technology could have a liberating effect on the Greek islands.
On his part, President Peres thanked Papoulias for the warm reception and underlined that "we do not have common enemies anymore but we are faced with common risks," referring to the recent gunmen attack in the Sinai region where 15 Egyptian policemen were killed.
He stressed that "whether we want it or not, we and Egypt are faced with the major risk of terrorism. I would say that Iran is now the basis of terrorism and that's why we see the core of terrorism in the Iranian leadership. Aside from peace between us and Egypt there should be cooperation for security in the region."
President Peres underlined that "we are here to write a new chapter in our bilateral relations that will be based on the policy of peace, scientific progress, cultural exchanges and economic growth."
Referring to the economic crisis in Greece, he said that when he was prime minister, inflation in his country had reached 400 pct, stressing that he had to give the same battle and impose very tough measures. "When there is a crisis everybody believes that the end of the world is coming. However, what is approaching is the end of the crisis and not the end of the world," he said.
He concluded that bilateral relations will benefit both peoples and underlined the importance of scientific cooperation.
 President Papoulias addresses formal dinner in honor of visiting Israeli presidentHellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias on Monday referred to the new momentum in bilateral relations in all sectors - the energy sector in particular - while addressing a formal dinner hosted in honor of visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres.
President Papoulias referred to the economic crisis experienced by Greece, stressing that it is a systemic crisis of the eurozone and at the same time resented "the thoughtless statements made by our partners" that "undermine the eurozone and favour international speculators". He also referred to the Cyprus issue, the Middle East issue, Syria, and the major issue of terrorism stressing that Greece has "zero tolerance".
He said that bilateral relations have been upgraded in recent years and "could function as a factor of stability in the greater Eastern Mediterranean region."
Papoulias expressed satisfaction about the rising tourist flow from Israel and the significant prospects for cooperation in the sectors of investments (particularly within the framework of the privatizations programme), energy, agricultural development and high technology, stressing the important role of the intergovernmental ministerial council of cooperation.
"The convergence of interests in Eastern Mediterranean allow for the establishment of a strategic relation - with the Republic of Cyprus being an integral part - considering that the discovery of significant underwater natural gas deposits and the transport of Israeli and Cypriot natural gas to Europe via Greece change the geoeconomic and geopolitical framework in the greater region," he said.
He referred to the Cyprus issue, pointing out that Greece seeks "a viable, functional and European solution to the Cyprus problem," and that "Ankara has an obligation to recognize the Republic of Cyprus which, as an EU member-state, participates in the decisions for the European prospect of Turkey."
Referring to the economic crisis Greece is faced with, Papoulias stressed that Greece has to implement a "credible policy that will lead it out of the crisis". He underlined that the crisis in the eurozone is being presented as the result of bad fiscal management but its main cause is systemic in nature. "Those who cannot see that, lead the eurozone to a dead end. The longer it takes to find a solution, the higher it will cost," he added.
President Papoulias expressed concern for the ongoing bloodshed in Syria and stated that the "problem is political and demands a political solution by the Syrian people".
On the Palestinian problem, he stated that "a viable solution is a solution of two states. Israel within secure borders that will coexist peacefully with the independent Palestinian state and enjoy normalized relations with all its neighbours. Greece believes that direct negotiations between the two sides can make such a solution feasible."
In response, President Peres referred to the close bilateral relations, the strong feelings the Israeli people have for Greece and the further improvement of bilateral political and economic relations.
He spoke about "serious security obstacles" faced by his country and stressed that "Israel is ready to pay the cost of peace," pointing at Tehran as the "main threat to the existence of our country." He added that "it threatens the entire world as well" and "supports the horrible massacre of the Syrian people directly and through Hezbollah."
The Israeli president stated that "Israel is the only country in the world that fights for its existence and at the same time has peace as a priority."
President Peres said that "today, the main threat to our country's existence is also a threat to the entire world. It comes from Tehran" and accused it of "openly using sanguinary acts of terrorism" and "developing nuclear weapons even though nobody threatens its existence."
 PM meets with visiting Israeli PresidentPrime minister Antonis Samaras had meeting and working lunch on Sunday with visiting Israeli president Shimon Peres, which was also attended by foreign minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and defence minister Panos Panayiotopoulos.
No statements were made afterwards.
 Israeli president holds meetings with SYRIZA, PASOK leadersVisiting Israeli President Shimon Peres met separately on Monday afternoon with main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.
Tsipras made no statements after his one hour long meeting with Peres.
Venizelos told reporters that his talks with the Israeli president focused on bilateral issues, the situation in the region and mainly international developments.
"Mr. Peres understands very well that the recycling of the world economic crisis can only be tackled through great institutional and political changes. Through a system of global governance, economic and political," the PASOK leader added.
 Israeli President arrives on state visit, warm greeting by PapouliasIsraeli President Shimon Peres arrived in Athens on Monday morning for a state visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias.
On Wednesday he will go to the island of Hydra with Papoulias, before departing for Israel on Thursday morning.
Peres was greeted shortly after his arrival by Papoulias at the Presidential Mansion in an official ceremony also attended by prime minister Antonis Samaras, during which the two Presidents inspected an Honour Guard before going in to a private meeting, after which they will being joined by the Greek and Israeli delegations for a broader discussion.
"Your presence here underlines the desire of our two peoples for cooperation in many sectors," Papoulias said as he welcomed Peres to the Presidential Mansion.
"The enhancement of the relations of the two countries is a good omen," Peres replied, adding that beyond the geographical and philosophical rapprochement, Greece and Israel could also cooperate in the field of science, which is a basis for growth in the new era.
Peres said that the Greeks are a wonderful people with a wonderful youth, and it is the young generation that can bring the development wanted by the country.
On Tuesday Peres will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Syntagma Square. He will then meet with parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis and be presented with the Gold Medal of the Hellenic Parliament.
Peres will also meet with members of the Jewish community in Athens and visit the New Acropolis Museum, where a lunch will be hosted by culture minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos.
The two Presidents leave for Hydra on Wednesday morning, accompanied by their official delegations, and return to Athens that same night.
Peres will depart Athens for Israel on Thursday morning.
 Statements by political party leaders, finance minister, after meeting with PMPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, one of the political party leaders backing the government, stated on Monday that the meeting they had with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras focused on privatizations' issues.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Venizelos stated that the programme of privatizations is not equal to a sell out, underlining that it seeks to utilize public assets and constitutes a new economic growth model.
He noted that PASOK backs and encourages the effort made by the Public Asset Development Fund, adding that Greece should send a promising message to its partners.
Venizelos also said that they discussed the illegal migration issue and stressed that the problem of downtown Athens should not be transferred to other cities.
While exiting Maximos Mansion government headquarters, Democratic Left (DEM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis commented that privatizations should be legitimate, meeting international transparency standards and at the same time, guarantee public interests, job positions and substantive investments.
He said that the leaders were generally briefed on the issue and no specific discussion was made, underlining that this week there will be no announcement with the list of companies up for privatization. Responding to a relevant question, he also said that no discussion was made on the 11.5-billion-euro package of measures.
"No discussion was made on ministry of finance related issues. A ministry report to the troika is being prepared and we will be briefed shortly," he stated.
Commenting after the meeting at Maximos Mansion, Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras stated that the political party leaders were briefed by the Public Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) on the 10 most mature projects.
He added that the prime minister has assigned the government's general secretary the preparation of a draft law that will include a total of 77 administrative acts to facilitate privatizations.
 SYRIZA on three parties leaders' meeting; Gov't responseThe main opposition SYRIZA party commented on Monday afternoon on the meeting of the leaders of the three parties backing the Antonis Samaras government, charging in a statement that "the work of the three-party government proves every day more and more tough for society, more and more dangerous for the country."
"The memorandum's triumvirate leads the country to bankruptcy and brings it even closer to the exit from the eurozone," the statement added.
Responding, Government Spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said in a written statement that the government and the three parties that support it "are struggling for a modern Greece within Europe."
"Syriza is struggling for the Greece of the drachma and of the trade unions," the spokesman added.
 FinMin meets with visiting US SenatorsFinance minister Yannis Stournaras met on Monday with a visiting delegation of US Senators that was also attended by deputy assistant secretary of the treasury department for Europe and Eurasia Christopher Smart and US ambassador in Athens Daniel Bennett-Smith.
The two sides discussed the European crisis, the developments in the Greek economy and prospects for further strengthening bilateral economic cooperation.
The Senators expressed concern over the crisis in Europe, which also affects the US.
 Independent Greeks warn government against handing over public assetsOpposition Independent Greeks party on Monday referred to the meeting of the political party leaders backing the government and chaired by Prime MinisterAntonis Samaras, underlining that "the government of the willing, absolutely in line with the troika, has decided to sweep over what's left of pensions and social state. Now, it's the turn of public organizations and enterprises to be expropriated in the name of so-called reforms".
According to the Independent Greeks party, the police sweep operation, code-named "Xenios Zeus", is nothing but a "publicity equivalent" ahead of the privatizations planned and called on premier Samaras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis "not to fool themselves into thinking that they will hand over coveted public assets to privileged buyers, as was the case of ATEbank."
"We are here to give a fight in order to stop them," the statement concluded.
 Probe into former ATEbank senior official's export of 8mln euros abroadThe finance ministry's financial crimes squad (SDOE) was ordered on Monday to investigate whether the crimes of tax evasion and illegal revenues have been committed, following a recent revelation to parliament's standing financial affairs committee by central Bank of Greece (BoG) governor George Provopoulos that a top-ranking Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATEbank) official had sent 8 million euros abroad.
The investigation was ordered by economic prosecutor Spyros Mouzakitis. The prosecutor's order does not refer to a specific name, but former ATEbank governor Th. Pantalakis told RealNews newspaper that the money was his, and that this was legal money that had been declared to the Greek authorities and taxed, adding that it was part of his family assets and completely justified. Pantalakis also told the newspaper that the movements of his bank account prove that the money was sent abroad in installments and that the purpose of the transaction was the acquisition of an asset abroad.
 Archbishop Ieronymos meets with health minister, deputy foreign ministerArchbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece on Monday met with Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras and discussed, among others, initiatives that could be undertaken by the Church of Greece in cooperation with the Greek State for the purpose of sending humanitarian assistance to Syria.
A separate meeting with Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos held at the Archdiocese building focused on possible joint actions.
 Former minister Verivakis dies at 77PASOK former minister Lefteris Verivakis died on Monday at the age of 77.
Verivakis took ill while on vacation at Bali, near the city of Rethymno on the south Aegean island of Crete. He died in an ambulance while being rushed to Rethymno Hospital.
According to information, he suffered a heart attack.
The deceased was originally from the city of Hania on Crete.
 Greece, Israel cooperation in agriculture sectorAgricultural Development and Foods Minister Athanassios Tsaftaris on Monday met with Israeli Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Orit Noked on the sidelines of the formal visit to Greece by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
The meeting focused on forging even closer bilateral cooperation in the sectors of water saving and management, organic farming, the production and distribution of Protected Destination of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) products, applied farm research, land improvement projects and aquiculture.
Tsaftaris underlined that both governments are very interested in further boosting agricultural development.
On her part, the Israeli minister stressed that "relations with Greece are very important for Israel particularly in the farm sector," adding that she is aware of the difficult period Greece is going through. She pointed out that "assistance in agricultural issues can be decisive in the country's efforts to solve its problems."
Tsaftaris accepted an invitation to visit Israel.
 Labour Minister Vroutsis on the fraudulent pensions' issueLabour, Social Insurance & Welfare Minister Yiannis Vroutsis on Monday confirmed that a legislative clause will be tabled in parliament in the immediate future ensuring that the problem of social insurance fraud will be settled permanently.
The minister stressed that "the issue of fraudulent pensions will be settled once and for all," adding that "the government has the political will to implement reforms in this sector and solve the existing problems."
He underlined that by the end of August he will give details on the measures that will be implemented putting an end to fraudulent pensions as of Jan. 1, 2013.
Vroutsis stated that crosschecks continue to identify individuals involved in welfare fraud in order to be led to justice.
 Greek inflation unchanged at 1.3pct in JulyGreek inflation was running at 1.3 percent in July 2012, remaining unchanged against the corresponding month in 2011, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.
ELSTAT, in a report, said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in July 2012 compared with July 2011, increased by 1.3%. In July 2011, the annual rate of change of the CPI was 2.4%.
The CPI in July 2012 compared with June 2012 decreased by 1.4%. In July 2011, the monthly rate of change of the CPI was also -1.4%.
In the twelve-month period from August 2011 to July 2012 compared with the period from August 2010 to July 2011 the annual average rate of change of the CPI was 2.1%. The corresponding annual average rate of change of the CPI in the previous year (August 2010 to July 2011), was 4.4%.
Also, the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in July 2012 compared with July 2011, increased by 0.9%. In July 2011, the annual rate of change of the HICP was 2.1%.
The HICP in July 2012 compared with June 2012, decreased by 1.4%. In July 2011, the monthly rate of change of the HICP was also -1.4%.
In the twelve-month period from August 2011 to July 2012 compared with the period from August 2010 to July 2011, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 1.8%. The previous year, in the corresponding twelve - month period, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 4.3%.
 Vehicle registrations slump 40.4pct in Jan-July 2-12New vehicle registrations fell by 40.4 percent in the 7-month period January to July this year, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said Monday.
ELSTAT, in a report, said that 50,489 vehicles, both new and used, circulated for the first time in Greece in the 7-month period, posting a decline of 40.4 percent against the corresponding period in 2011. A decline of 39.9 percent was posted in 2011 against the corresponding 7-month period in 2010.
New registrations of motorcycles (above 50cc) also declined by 31.7 in the same period.
 Greek stocks end significantly higherGreek stocks ended significantly higher in the first trading session of the week in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday. The composite index of the market ended above the 600 level, rising 1.76 pct to 608.62 points. Turnover was a low 15.624 million euros.
The Big Cap index rose 2.35 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.98 pct higher. Telecoms (4.66 pct), Health (4.27 pct), Travel (3.69 pct), Utilities (3.37 pct) and Banks (2.92 pct) were top gainers, while Food (-0.22 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 72 to 37 with another 24 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.32%
Personal & Household: +2.30%
Raw Materials: +0.70%
Travel & Leisure: +3.69%
Food & Beverages: -0.22%
Financial Services: +2.95%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Alpha Bank, OPAP, OTE and HBC Coca Cola.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.29
Public Power Corp (PPC): 2.24
HBC Coca Cola: 14.01
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.55
National Bank of Greece: 1.29
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.69
Bank of Piraeus: 0.22
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.40 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 4.426 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,127 contracts worth 2.335 million euros, with 23,590 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,327 contracts worth 2.091 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (4,783), followed by National Bank (3,313), OTE (1,888), Bank of Cyprus (1,104), PPC (953), OPAP (715), Hellenic Postbank (669) and Cyprus Popular Bank (556).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.256
Pound sterling 0.806
Danish kroner 7.553
Swedish kroner 8.465
Japanese yen 98.44
Swiss franc 1.219
Norwegian kroner 7.505
Canadian dollar 1.257
Australian dollar 1.190
 Greece braces for another heatwaveGreece is in the grips of another heatwave this week, with temperatures expected to climb to 41C-42C on the mainland, according to the Greek Meteorological Service (EMY).
On Monday, temperatures will reach 39-40 degrees on the mainland, and 36-37 C in the Ionian, eastern Aegean and southern Crete.
On Tuesday and Wednesday temperatures will rise to 41-42C on the mainland, and 38-39C in the Ionian, eastern Aegean and southern Crete, and 37C in the Cyclades, northern Crete and the Dodecanese.
Temperatures will ease off slightly on Thursday in northern Greece, but will remain high in the rest of the country.
On Friday temperatures will cool off throughout the entire country.
Athenians headed to the surrounding beaches in droves on Sunday, taking advantage of the sunny weather and to brace for the hot week ahead.
 Mykali Naval Battle commemorated on SamosDeputy National Defence Minister Panagiotis Karabelas represented the government at the events that took place on the eastern Aegean island of Samos commemorating the 188th anniversary of the Naval Battle of Mykali where, on August 5, 1824, during the Greek War of Independence, the Greek fleet, under the command of Georgios Sahtouris, defeated the Ottoman fleet led by Hosref.
The commemorative events on Sunday included a re-enactment of the Naval Battle of Mykali and the burning of the Turkish fleet's flagship at the port of Pythagorio.
 Illegal migrants, smuggler arrested in Mani, southern GreeceA 33-year-old local man was arrested on human trafficking charges in the region of Marmari, in Mani, southern Greece, it was announced on Monday.
According to police, the suspect had led his truck packed with a total of 66 migrants, 48 from African countries and 18 Pakistanis, to a remote coast from where they were about to exit the country illegally.
Deportation procedures have been launched for 31 of the foreign nationals who were in Greece illegally.
 Businessman arrested for 3.5 million euro overdue debts to stateA 55-year-old manager of a fur and leather goods company was arrested in Thessaloniki on Monday for overdue debts to the state of some 3.5 million euros.
The man, whose company is headquartered in the Harilaou area of Thessaloniki, is said to owe 3,496,979.35 euros for the period February 2004 to 3ebruary 2012.
The businessman will appear before a Thessaloniki prosecutor.
 Two fires break out on Crete and on Mount OlympusA fire broke out on Monday afternoon in the region of Ierapetra on the island of Crete. The fire was threatening a nearby pinewood, in the region of Viannos.
A team of 30 firefighters and 13 crewed fire engines were battling the blaze.
Another fire broke out in the forest area of Mount Olympus, in central Greece, on Monday afternoon. A team of firefighters rushed to the area.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe gigantic sweep operation code-named "Xenios Zeus" in central Athens in a clamp-down on illegal migration, the Finance Ministry's new plan for gradual payment of income tax and the Troika's planned return to Athens in early September were the main front-page headlines in Athens' dailies on Monday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Dendias (public order and citizens' protection minister) is turning Athens into a metropolis once again".
AVRIANI: "Dissolution of the governmental coalition and Greek exit from the eurozone - Citigroup report".
DIMOKRATIA: "Me, George's (former prime minister) chauffeur? - Hot-blooded captain of 'Flying Dolphin' resigned when he saw the former prime minister with his wife and guards boarding his boat".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Income tax and special surtax payment in 7 installments".
ESTIA: "The Lernean Hydra of bureaucracy".
ETHNOS: "Fewer installments to the Tax Bureau - Income tax payments in 7 instead of initially planned 10 installments to fill gap in state revenues".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "The final itemization of the measures in September".
TA NEA: "Long-term sweep operation, with mass deportations".
VRADYNI: "Real estate - All the changes in taxation as of 2013".
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