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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-08-08

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

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

Wednesday, 8 August 2012 Issue No: 4142

CONTENTS

  • [01] Foreign Minister Avramopoulos holds talks with Italian counterpart Terzi
  • [02] Venizelos, Kouvelis object to the labour reserve measure
  • [03] Opposition parties on three leaders' meeting
  • [04] Peres decorated with Gold Medal of Parliament
  • [05] Israeli President Peres visits the Acropolis Museum in Athens
  • [06] Finance minister rules out layoffs in public sector
  • [07] Development minister meets with British ambassador to Athens
  • [08] Greek stocks end 1.95 pct higher
  • [09] ADEX closing report
  • [10] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [11] Greece in grips of heatwave, temperatures hit 42C in Athens
  • [12] Works by Thessaloniki artists on display in St Petersburg
  • [13] Man wanted on internation warrant for homicide arrested at Athens airport
  • [14] Foreign national arrested at Atthens Airport for cocaine smuggling
  • [15] New fire in Larissa, Olympos wildfire still blazing
  • [16] Wildfire burns dried grass on the island of Kythera, southern Greece
  • [17] Wildfire on the island of Oinousses
  • [18] Two local people injured in wildfire near Megalopoli, southern Greece; fireman with respiratory problems
  • [19] Black market warehouse raided in Athens
  • [20] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Foreign Minister Avramopoulos holds talks with Italian counterpart Terzi

    ROME (AMNA / Th. Andreadis-Syggelakis)

    Visiting Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met here on Tuesday with his Italian counterpart Giulio Terzi and discussed developments in the European economic crisis, bilateral issues - with an emphasis on the sector of energy - the situation in Syria and the EU course of the Western Balkan states.

    "Italians and Greeks, we have managed to survive because we are optimists. We were always able to overcome crises and tough times. We will proceed with structural reforms. We should change our system and make our economy more competitive," Avramopoulos stated responding to a question by AMNA. "The support of the people is very important and that's exactly what we seek now in Greece," he added.

    "The drawing up of the European plan should continue; we are certain that the results can be positive. All necessary efforts need to be made to implement the measures decided by the European Council in June. I believe that we are on the right track and we should avoid any diversion," the Italian foreign minister stressed.

    He underlined that Italy expresses its strong support and solidarity to the Greek government, adding that "the course it follows can become more decisive in line with the plans of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras."

    "The European family is faced with the toughest economic crisis in its history. We have to do everything in our power to reverse this catastrophic course," Avramopoulos said, underlining that relations between the European partners should be characterized "by mutual responsibility to correct past mistakes and by solidarity."

    On the energy sector, Avramopoulos said that the political framework has been set up as regards the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), designed to carry natural gas to the European market directly from the Caspian Sea, adding that "in this way, energy security in Europe is strengthened."

    On his part, the Italian foreign minister spoke about a "strategic cooperation through the creation of a very important infrastructure," adding that it "constitutes top priority in bilateral relations with Greece and in the relations with Albania".

    They discussed the importance of natural gas deposits discovered in eastern Mediterranean that create new cooperation potential considering that "the European Union can use new alternative energy sources," Avramopoulos underlined.

    The two foreign ministers shared the same viewpoint as regards the European course of the Western Balkan states and stressed that they will continue to observe the changes brought about by the so-called "Arab Spring". As regards developments in Syria, the Italian minister stressed that "they threaten stability in the greater region and the civil war has taken up the dimensions of a massacre".

    [02] Venizelos, Kouvelis object to the labour reserve measure

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Tuesday referred to the labour reserve issue in comments he made after the meeting of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras with the political party leaders backing the government. The meeting was held at Maximos Mansion government headquarters in the presence of government ministers.

    Responding to a question by a reporter on the labour reserve issue, Kedikoglou stated that "everything is on the table. We are seeking the best solutions."

    Exiting the Maximos Mansion, Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras responded to a similar question stressing that "everything is being considered. We need to come up with 11.5 billion euros and we will."

    The government spokesman announced that the prime minister will visit the ministry of finance at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday to be briefed on all issues, adding that the latest developments in the shipbuilding sector were also discussed in detail during the meeting.

    Both political party leaders backing the government, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DEM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, strongly objected to the implementation of the labour reserve measure.

    Commenting after the meeting, Venizelos stated that "our experience with the labour reserve measure was negative," adding that it was an involuntary situation and not the Greek government's wish.

    He said that he had pledged during the election campaign that there will be no layoffs in the public sector, stressing that this pledge still stands.

    Referring to the labour reserve measure, Kouvelis stated that he is categorically against it characterizing it as a fiasco.

    He said that "the measure will create no economic benefit for the country and lead more of our fellow citizens to unemployment", adding that "to the extent it was implemented, the labour reserve measure was proven to be a fiasco. I cannot agree with a fiasco," he stressed.

    [03] Opposition parties on three leaders' meeting

    A main opposition SYRIZA party spokesman, commenting on the meetings, Monday and Tuesday, of the leaders of the three parties backing the Antonis Samaras government, siad "the show titled 'renegotiation, release disingagement' has officially ended, even before it starts."

    On its part, the Independent Greeks party charged in a statement that "the storm of economic measures has been decided nad they simply looking for a way to serve them."

    [04] Peres decorated with Gold Medal of Parliament

    Visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres was on decorated with the Gold Medal of the Hellenic Parliament on Tuesday for his contribution to the global community and peace.

    Earlier Peres, who is on a state visit to Greece at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    Presenting the medal, parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis said it was an historic day for the Greek parliament due to the 'honorable presence' of Peres, 'a man who has contributed to peace in a region that has been sorely tried".

    "Our peoples wish to live in peace and democracy," Meimarakis said, noting that "cooperation among the countries is not incidental but a strategic choice for peace in the region, exploitation of the mineral wealth they have and cooperation in the sectors of energy, tourism and culture".

    Peres, in turn, expressed his pleasure at being in the 'cradle of democracy', noting that he had been an MP for 48 years.

    "The parliaments are strong spirits that give air to the soul," he said, and referred to Pericles, who is depicted on the medal, "without whom we would not know how to speak, particularly in parliament, but we tend to forget this, usually".

    "Greece does not only have a glorious past, but also a great future", as well as "a significant and prominent history imbued by a spirit of solidarity," Peres continued.

    On the economic crisis in Greece, the Israeli president said that "we must not be too saddened" because people always have abilities to overcome crises, and "the future ahead can bring the two peoples to new paths, particularly that of science".

    "Our countries may be small, but they can become big, both in spirit and in science, for the building of a promising future in a world with such large changes to the point that it will be unrecognizable in 10 years," he continued.

    "What I want to say is that our two peoples will be able to proceed to substantial achievements," Peres said.

    The Israeli President afterwards visited the New Acropolis Museum, where culture minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos hosted a luncheon in his honor.

    [05] Israeli President Peres visits the Acropolis Museum in Athens

    Visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday was offered a guided tour of the Acropolis Museum in Athens by Education Minister Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos and museum president Dimitris Pantermalis.

    The visit lasted 50 minutes, almost twice the time initially scheduled.

    President Peres expressed his admiration for the Greek culture and education, stressing that "they keep Greece standing."

    The tour was followed by a luncheon at the Acropolis Museum restaurant attended by the minister of education and the museum president, as well as, by Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos, Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni and Alternate Culture Minister Costas Tzavelas.

    Financial News

    [06] Finance minister rules out layoffs in public sector

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday ruled out the option of layoffs in the public sector in comments he made after meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Responding to questions on information that has come to light suggesting that layoffs and the labour reserve measure will be implemented in the public sector, Stournaras said that the option of layoffs is not being considered adding, however, that the labour reserve measure will be examined "because the numbers do not add up easily. 11.5 billion euros is a large number and we are not quite there yet; we are 3.5-4 billion euros short."

    He added that the negotiations with the EC/ECB/IMF troika will continue until the end of August.

    Referring to his meeting with President Papoulias, he said that he made it clear that "there is hope" for the country and the economy.

    Stournaras said that the president asked to be briefed on the economic developments and the talks underway with the troika.

    "He asked me if there is hope. I responded yes, there is hope," Stournaras said.

    "I told him that the German Social-Democratic party today adopted the fiscal union principle and this development makes it imperative for us to stay in the game until Europe finds a comprehensive solution to the problem of the eurozone. Therefore, we have to proceed with the necessary measures to save Greece," the finance minister stated.

    [07] Development minister meets with British ambassador to Athens

    Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport & Networks Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Tuesday met with British Ambassador to Athens David Landsman focusing on the course of British investments in Greece and UK assistance in the implementation of reforms.

    The British investments in the real estate development sector include among others, tourist projects in Cavo Sidero, near Sitia on the island of Crete, and in the region of Atalanti.

    The British ambassador voiced his country's willingness to assist Greece in the implementation of development ministry sponsored reforms by offering know-how through expert consultants.

    [08] Greek stocks end 1.95 pct higher

    Greek stocks ended significantly higher for the second consecutive session of the week in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The composite index of the market ended at 620.46 points registering an increase of 1.95 pct . Turnover was 25.164 million euros.

    The Big Cap index rose 2.48 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.75 pct higher. Utilities (+7.32 pct), Telecoms (+4.95 pct) and Banks (+4.86 pct) were top gainers, while Construction (-0.91 pct), Food (-0.78 pct) and Personal (-0.20 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 80 to 37 with another 15 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +2.23%

    Commercial: +3.88%

    Construction: -0.91%

    Oil & Gas: +2.51%

    Personal & Household: -0.20%

    Raw Materials: +1.28%

    Travel & Leisure: +3.29%

    Technology: +2.20%

    Telecoms: +4.95%

    Banks: +4.86%

    Food & Beverages: -0.78%

    Health: +0.70%

    Utilities: +7.32%

    Financial Services: +2.62%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.37

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 2.42

    HBC Coca Cola: 13.90

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.75

    National Bank of Greece: 1.36

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.71

    OPAP: 5.31

    OTE: 2.12

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.22

    Titan: 12.80

    [09] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.70 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising to 8.518 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,777 contracts worth 4.244 million euros, with 22,754 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 27,037 contracts worth 4.274 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (9,170), followed by National Bank (8,261), Bank of Cyprus (2,058), OTE (1,947), PPC (1,735), OPAP (1,473), Hellenic Postbank (806) and Piraeus Bank (360).

    [10] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.262

    Pound sterling 0.805

    Danish kroner 7.555

    Swedish kroner 8.446

    Japanese yen 99.04

    Swiss franc 1.219

    Norwegian kroner 7.467

    Canadian dollar 1.259

    Australian dollar 1.191

    General News

    [11] Greece in grips of heatwave, temperatures hit 42C in Athens

    Greece 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 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.

    Tourists in Athens defied the heat to visit the Acropolis and the capital's other archaeological sites, 'armed' with umbrellas and water bottles, while the surrounding beaches also offered a cool refuge.

    [12] Works by Thessaloniki artists on display in St Petersburg

    A total of 166 paintings and etchings by Thessaloniki artists that belong to a Municipal Art Gallery of Thessaloniki collection will be on display at the Manege Central Exhibition Hall in St Petersburg until Sept. 3, 2012.

    The exhibition entitled "Greek Art in late 19th and 20th centuries - Three generations of Thessalonian artists" will feature works that belong to the most significant collection of the Municipal Art Gallery of Thessaloniki.

    The event is held within the framework of the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Thessaloniki and the 10th anniversary of twin-city relations between Thessaloniki and St Petersburg.

    [13] Man wanted on internation warrant for homicide arrested at Athens airport

    A Brazilian national wanted on an international warrant was arrested at Athens' 'Eleftherios Venizelos' International Airport on Monday afternoon.

    The 49-year-old Brazilian was arrested as he arrived in Greece by airplane from Istanbul.

    The man is wanted by Brazil on an Interpol arrest warrant for homicide.

    [14] Foreign national arrested at Atthens Airport for cocaine smuggling

    A 25-year-old woman, a citizen of Slovakia, was arrested at Athens' 'Eleftherios Venizelos' Airport on Monday eveing for smuggling narcotic substances into Greece.

    The woman, who arrived in Athens from Sao Paolo, Brazil, was arrested after 1.06 kilograns of cocaine were found hidden in two stereo amplifiers.

    The woman will appear before an Athens prosecutor.

    [15] New fire in Larissa, Olympos wildfire still blazing

    A new fire broke out on Tuesday in a forested expanse in the region of Damasi, Larissa prefecture.

    A large force of 23 firemen, nine crewed fire engines and an 18-member team on foot were battling the blaze, assisted by two water-dropping aircraft.

    Meanwhile, a fire that broke out in the forest area of Mount Olympos, in central Greece, on Monday afternoon, was still blazing on Tuesday.

    The fire was burning at an altitude of 1,500 meters, and was being battled by a strong team on land and in the air.

    [16] Wildfire burns dried grass on the island of Kythera, southern Greece

    A wildfire broke out on Tuesday in the region of Chora on the island of Kythera, southern Greece, and is burning dried grass.

    Seven firemen with three fire engines assisted by two water-bombing aircraft participate in the firefighting efforts.

    [17] Wildfire on the island of Oinousses

    Wildfire broke out on Tuesday in a forestland in the region of Monastiri on the eastern Aegean island of Oinousses.

    Eight firemen operating four fire engines and nine firemen on foot participate in the firefighting efforts assisted by two water-bombing aircraft and one helicopter.

    [18] Two local people injured in wildfire near Megalopoli, southern Greece; fireman with respiratory problems

    A wildfire, that broke out on Tuesday afternoon in a forestland in the region of Megalopoli, in Arcadia prefecture, southern Greece, still burns out of control leading to the evacuation of the villages of Voutsi and Voutsaras while firefighting efforts continue.

    A fireman was rushed to Tripolis Hospital with respiratory problems. Earlier, two people, a woman and a man, were seriously injured while trying to save their property from the flames, when the fire burned its way through the village of Anemodouri destroying one house.

    The woman is treated for burns in Tripolis Hospital while the man, aged 60, has been taken to an Athens hospital with severe burns.

    A large firefighting force has been dispatched to the area. A total of 20 fire engines operated by 40 firemen from Arcadia and neighboring prefectures, as well as, 22 firemen on foot participate in the efforts to extinguish the fire assisted by 4 water-bombing aircraft and a helicopter.

    A Public Power Corporation crawler vehicle participates in the efforts to contain the blaze and local authorities appealed to private citizens who own road graders or bulldozers to assist the firefighters.

    [19] Black market warehouse raided in Athens

    A warehouse with over 1 million pairs of shoes, all knock-off brands, was discovered on Tuesday during police raids carried out as part of the Xenios Zeus sweep operation aimed at removing illegal migrants from downtown Athens.

    The 800-square-meter warehouse was located in the district of Votanikos at the corner of Agios Polikarpos and Papamakariou streets.

    The Financial Crimes Police and the Electronic Crimes Squad will hold an investigation into tax violations soon after the counterfeit brand items are registered.

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

    The acceleration of the procedures, the deliberations among the leaders of the three coalition government parties, the additional cuts in salaries and pensions and the police clamp-down on illegal migration over the weekend were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Tuesday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Engines full-speed for the privatizations".

    AVGHI: "Pogrom against pensioners and migrants".

    AVRIANI: "1,000 'blind' pensioners on Zakynthos".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Express sale of 10 'prime' assets of the public sector".

    ELLADA: "The debts to the social security funds being transferred to the Tax Bureau".

    ESTIA: "Something substantial is needed to reverse Greece's negative image".

    ETHNOS: "Return of the illegal pensions".

    IMERISSIA: "Three bids for Emporiki bank".

    KATHIMERINI: "First indications of safety on the streets of Athens".

    LOGOS: "The plans for pensions, retirement ages and social benefits".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The sale of state enterprises accelerated".

    NIKI: "Save your money - Transfer your assets to your children".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "New deterioration in the lives of the people with the privatizations".

    TA NEA: "Searching blind for bogus pensions".

    VRADYNI: "Wave of exit from public sector due to salary scale, social security cuts".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS


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