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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-08-10

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

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

Friday, 10 August 2012 Issue No: 4144

CONTENTS

  • [01] Unemployment climbs to 23.1pct in May from 16,8pct in May 2011
  • [02] Samaras- to pay express visit to TIF, no econ policy address
  • [03] PM Samaras discusses illegal migration problem with citizen protection minister
  • [04] Amnesty International says "Greece must halt mass police crackdown on irregular migrants"
  • [05] Defense minister receives Russian envoy
  • [06] Ministerial committee approves solid waste management project in Achaia, southern Greece
  • [07] Alpha Bank says S&P's forecasts unfounded and groundless
  • [08] Finance ministry requests resignation of LARCO president
  • [09] Exports up 3.3pct, imports down 18.2pct in May
  • [10] Industrial Production Index up 0.3oct in June yr/yr
  • [11] Building activity slumps in May
  • [12] Greek stocks end 0.13 pct up
  • [13] ADEX closing report
  • [14] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [15] Ouranoupolis evacuated as Mt Athos fire rages
  • [16] Arson suspect arrested in Megalopolis wildfire
  • [17] Simplified visa issuance pilot programme gives promising results
  • [18] Giorgos Lazaridis passes away at 85
  • [19] Injured Caretta caretta loggerhead sea turtle Louisa returned to natural environment
  • [20] Illegal migrant arrested after collecting package with heroin
  • [21] Temperatures to cool off slightly on Friday
  • [22] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Unemployment climbs to 23.1pct in May from 16,8pct in May 2011

    Greek unemployment climbed to 23.1 percent in May from 22.6 percent in the preceding month of April and 16.8 percent in the corresponding month in 2011, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) announced on Thursday.

    In a report on the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate report, said that the unemployment rate in May 2012 was 23.1% compared to 16.8% in May 2011 and 22.6% in April 2012.

    The number of employed amounted to 3,816,912 persons. The number of unemployed amounted to 1,147,372 while the number of inactive to 3,361,131.

    The number of employed decreased by 320,540 persons compared with May 2011 (a 7.7% rate of decrease) and by 593 persons compared with April 2012 (a 0.02% rate of decrease).

    Unemployed increased by 311,041 persons (a 37.2% rate of increase) compared with May 2011 and by 34,141 persons compared with April 2012 (a 3.1% rate of increase).

    Inactive persons -that is, persons that neither worked neither looked for a job- increased by 11,170 persons (a 0.3% rate of increase) compared with May 2011 and decreased by 306 persons compared with April 2012 (a 0.01% rate of decrease).

    [02] Samaras- to pay express visit to TIF, no econ policy address

    Prime minister Antonis Samaras will pay an express visit to Thessaloniki for the inauguration of the annual Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Saturday, 8 September, but will not deliver the customary economic policy address given that a few days later, on September 14, the eurogroup is to meet to evaluate the Troika report on Greece, sources told AMNA on Thursday.

    The sources said that, in a break from the costly week-long visits accompanied by large delegations of previous years, the prime minister will arrive in Thessaloniki on the morning of September 8 with a handful or ministers, meet with the three TIF-related agencies that are due to be merged -- TIF, Helexpo and the Exports Promotion Organization (HEPO) -- and return to Athens on the same day.

    As such, the premier will not deliver the customary address on economic policy for the following year and subsequent press conference on the following Monday, as the eurogroup is to convene on September 14 to evaluate the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Troika inspectors' report on Greece following their recent visit to Athens and talks with the Greek government.

    [03] PM Samaras discusses illegal migration problem with citizen protection minister

    The problem of illegal migration dominated in a meeting on Thursday between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias.

    Exiting the Maximos Mansion government headquarters, Dendias stated that he briefed the prime minister on the efforts made to combat illegal migration and deal with the problem in downtown Athens in the wake of police raids carried out as part of the Xenios Zeus sweep operation.

    "I received directions on how to continue from now on," the minister added.

    [04] Amnesty International says "Greece must halt mass police crackdown on irregular migrants"

    "The Greek authorities must halt a mass police crackdown on 'irregular migrants' and allow for effective access to asylum-seeking procedures to those in need of international protection," Amnesty International said following reports that more than 7,500 foreign nationals have been arrested in Athens since last Thursday.

    In a statement issued on Wednesday, Amnesty International underlined that according Greek police, around 2,000 of those rounded up were found with no papers and were placed in administrative detention.

    People are being held in overcrowded conditions at the Attika Aliens Police Directorate or at other police stations in Athens and others have been transferred to police academies in Northern Greece which are being used as detention facilities, Amnesty International stressed.

    "While Greece has the right to control migration, it does not have the right to treat people in the street like criminals purely because of the colour of their skin," said Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme.

    In view of the sharp rise of racially motivated attacks against foreign nationals in the past year, Amnesty International said it is concerned that such a massive and discriminatory operation will fuel further attacks and xenophobia. "Such arrests may put at risk of deportation individuals who are in need of international protection but are unable to apply for asylum," Tigani stated.

    According to Amnesty International, asylum-seekers in Greece often face serious obstructions when attempting to access asylum procedures. The vast majority try to apply for asylum at the Attika Alien's Police Directorate at Petrou Ralli in Athens. Only a small number of applications are registered by the authorities each week. Long queues of asylum-seekers wait in appalling conditions for two to three days outside the Directorate to lodge asylum applications each Saturday morning.

    The organization's statement stressed that an Amnesty International delegation witnessed the poor conditions in immigration detention centres in Athens during a recent visit to the country last week.

    The delegates visited six detention facilities in Athens including Petrou Ralli. While the wings visited at Petrou Ralli were clean at the time of the visit, the facility was in need of repairs. In two other facilities, those of New and Old Elliniko, conditions were inhuman and degrading, Amnesty International stressed.

    [05] Defense minister receives Russian envoy

    National Defense Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos received on Thursday the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Greece Vladimir Chkhikvishvili.

    According to a ministry announcement, talks focused on relations between the two countries as well as on problems of the wider region.

    Financial News

    [06] Ministerial committee approves solid waste management project in Achaia, southern Greece

    Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport & Networks Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Thursday announced the approval of a 60-million-euro integrated solid waste management project in the prefecture of Achaia, southern Greece, with a capacity of roughly 150,000 tons.

    The contractor will be selected through international tender and will undertake the study, financing, construction, maintenance and operation of the infrastructure.

    The announcement was made after the meeting of a ministerial committee comprising Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras, Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, Environment Minister Evangelos Livieratos, Alternate Environment Minister Stavros Kalafatis and Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis.

    The committee convened to discuss the construction of five solid waste management units in the Region of Western Macedonia in the northwest, as well as, in Peloponnese, Ilia, Serres, and Aetoloakarnania.

    [07] Alpha Bank says S&P's forecasts unfounded and groundless

    Alpha Bank on Thursday termed as unfounded and groundless recent forecasts and analyses, among them Standard & Poor's Ratings Services which has lowered its outlook on Greece's long-term credit rating, saying it is likely that the country will experience a shortfall in its 2012 budget.

    In response to S&P's forecasts, Alpha Bank stressed that the satisfactory execution of the 2012 state budget in the first half of 2012 - which was made possible in extremely adverse economic and political circumstances for the country and in a period of major GDP decline - confirms the forecasts for zero or surplus general government primary balance in 2012 considering that the fiscal measures enacted will be implemented in the second half of 2012.

    [08] Finance ministry requests resignation of LARCO president

    The ministry of finance on Thursday requested the resignation of general mining and metallurgical company LARCO president and CEO Anastassios Barakos for failing to implement the laws providing for wage cuts in the greater public sector.

    The ministry of finance announced that the need to implement the relevant laws was also underlined in a decision by the company shareholders adopted in their 2012 general assembly meeting.

    [09] Exports up 3.3pct, imports down 18.2pct in May

    Exports rose by 3.3 percent and imports dropped by 18.2 percent in June against the same month last year, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Thursday.

    ELSTAT, in a report, said that the total value of imports-arrivals, excluding oil products, in June 2012 amounted to 2479.0 million euros against 3030.9 million euros in June 2011, recording a drop of 18.2%.

    The total value of imports-arrivals, excluding oil products, for the 12-month time period of July 2011 - June 2012 decreased by 10.6% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of July 2010 - June 2011.

    The total value of exports-dispatches, excluding oil products, in June 2012 amounted to 1418.7 million euros against 1373.0 million euros in June 2011, recording an increase of 3.3%.

    The total value of exports-dispatches, excluding oil products, for the 12-month time period of July 2011 - June 2012 increased by 6.3% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of July 2010 - June 2011.

    [10] Industrial Production Index up 0.3oct in June yr/yr

    Industrial production in Greece rose by a marginal 0.3 percent in June against the same month in 2011, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Thursday.

    ELSTAT, in a report, said that the Production Index in Industry (IPI) in June 2012 compared with June 2011 recorded an increase of 0.3%. In June 2011, the annual rate of change of the IPI was -13.3%.

    In the 6-month period from January 2012 to June 2012, the average rate of change of the IPI was -4.8%. In June 2011, the corresponding average rate of change of the IPI was -8.2%.

    [11] Building activity slumps in May

    Building activity in Greece slumped in May, according to provisional figures released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority on Thursday.

    According to provisional data, in May 2012 the total Building Activity (private-public), in the whole country-which is calculated on the basis of the number of issued in the whole country -amounted to 2,410. This figure corresponds to 505.8 thousand m2 of surface and 1,815.1 thousand m3 of volume, reflecting respectively a 31.2 % decrease in the number of building permits, a 5.8 % decrease in surface and a 7.4 % decrease in volume, compared to the month of 2011.

    Private Building Activity, in the whole country, summed to 2,403 building permits, corresponding to 499.4 thousand m2 of surface and 1,790.0 thousand m3 of volume. In comparison with the same month of 2011, there is a 31.1 % decrease in the number of building permits, a 6.1 % decrease in surface and a 7.9 % decrease in volume.

    Public Building Activity in the whole country in May 2012 amounted to 7 building permits, corresponding to 6.3 thousand m2 of surface and 25.1 thousand m3 of volume. The Public Building Activity accounted for the 1.4 % of the total building volume in May 2012.

    In the last twelve months, from June 2011 until May 2012, the total Building Activity (private-public) in the whole country, calculated on the basis of the number of issued building permits, amounted to 34,300. This figure corresponds to 5,944.9 thousand m2 of surface and 22,774.6 thousand m3 of volume, reflecting a 18.8% decrease in the number of building permits, 28.3 % decrease in surface and a 24.8 % decrease in volume, compared with the corresponding period of June 2010 until May 2011.

    In the same period from June 2011 until May 2012, Private Building Activity in the whole country recorded an 18.9% decrease in the number of issued building permits, a 28.2% decrease in surface and a 25.1 % decrease in volume, compared with the respective period from June 2010 until May 2011. For the same period, the Public Building Activity accounted for the 3.6 % of the total building volume.

    During the period January- May 2012, the total Building Activity (private-public) in the whole country recorded an 11.3 % decrease in the number of building permits, a 6.5 % decrease in surface and a 4.9 % decrease in volume, compared with the same period of the year 2011.

    During the same period, January- May 2012, Private Building Activity in the whole country recorded an 11.7% decrease in the number of issued building permits, a 9.2 % decrease in surface and an 8.1 % decrease in volume, in comparison with the same period of January- May 2011.

    [12] Greek stocks end 0.13 pct up

    Greek stocks ended slightly up in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with the composite index of the market ending at 612.29 points registering an increase of 0.13 pct . Turnover was 20.118 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 0.09 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 0.44 pct. Commercial (+2.95 pct), Construction (+1.84 pct) and Oil (+1.71 pct) were top gainers while Utilities (-2.20 pct) and Banks (-1.92 pct) suffered the heaviest losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 57 to 48 with another 19 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +1.27%

    Commercial: +2.95%

    Construction: +1.84%

    Oil & Gas: +1.71%

    Personal & Household: +1.60%

    Raw Materials: +0.66%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.21%

    Technology: -0.31%

    Telecoms: Unchanged

    Banks: -1.92%

    Food & Beverages: -0.56%

    Health: -0.57%

    Utilities: -2.20%

    Financial Services: -0.64%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.26

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 2.35

    HBC Coca Cola: 13.90

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.78

    National Bank of Greece: 1.30

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.66

    OPAP: 5.20

    OTE: 2.08

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.21

    Titan: 12.92

    [13] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.15 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover falling to a low 3.277 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 881 contracts worth 972,237 euros, with 22,738 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,247 contracts worth 2.305 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,888), followed by Alpha Bank (3,948), OTE (2,710), PPC (740), Bank of Cyprus (653), OPAP (525) and Mytilineos (304).

    [14] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.248

    Pound sterling 0.798

    Danish kroner 7.554

    Swedish kroner 8.390

    Japanese yen 97.98

    Swiss franc 1.219

    Norwegian kroner 7.404

    Canadian dollar 1.241

    Australian dollar 1.181

    General News

    [15] Ouranoupolis evacuated as Mt Athos fire rages

    The village of Ouranoupolis was evacuated Thursday and the wider Mt. Athos region was put on alert as a wildfire that broke out early Wednesday afternoon in the Monoxelitis area near the Athos monastery of Hilandarion.

    Although Ouranoupolis was not at direct risk for the time being, many homes and hotels were evacuated for precautionary reasons while children, elderly people and people with respiratory problems were also evacuated from the village due to thick smoke.

    The wildfire broke out early in the afternoon Wednesday on farmland and spread to a nearby forest in Monoxelitis near the monastery Hilandarion in the all-male monastic community of Mt. Athos in the Halkidiki peninsula.

    Ouranoupolis is situated on the coastline at the beginning of the northwestern part of the Athos leg of the Halkidiki peninsula, and is the last settlement before the border with the Athos monastic community.

    A strong team of firefighters battled the blaze throughout the night, and several water-bombing aircraft resumed operation at first light of day.

    [16] Arson suspect arrested in Megalopolis wildfire

    A 45-year-old local man was arrested on Thursday for arson in the major fire that broke out at noon Tuesday in the Anemodouri region of Megalopolis, Arcadia prefecture, and will appear before a Tripolis prosecutor on Friday on charges of arson due to negligence.

    The blaze, burning for the third consecutive day, has caused widespread destruction to forest land and olive groves as well as farmhouses and homes of non-permanent residents, while three people were injured -- two locals with severe burns and a fireman, who has been hospitalised with respiratory problems.

    Firefighters were worried Thursday over a new front that broke out at the Megalopolis village of Rapsommati and was heading towards the village of Mallota, although the other fronts were receding.

    [17] Simplified visa issuance pilot programme gives promising results

    The pilot programme for limited duration tourist visits from Turkey to the Aegean islands of Rhodes, Kos, Samos, Chios and Lesvos through simplified visa issuance procedures available to third country citizens, has been successful based on foreign ministry figures, it was announced on Thursday.

    A total of 2,224 visas were issued in the first 60 days of the programme's implementation which was launched on June 7 and will end on Sept. 30.

    Leading destinations were the islands of Rhodes and Lesvos. As regards the tourists that took advantage of the initiative, the top places are occupied by Turks, Russians an Ukrainians.

    [18] Giorgos Lazaridis passes away at 85

    Playwright, journalist, director, theater and cinema producer Giorgos Lazaridis died in the early morning hours on Thursday at the age of 85.

    Lazaridis was born in 1927 and his career as a writer was launched in 1948. He was a prolific writer while his theatrical, film and television productions are more than 500.

    He served as president of the Playwright Society and chaired the organization for the protection of playwright intellectual property.

    His funeral will be held on Saturday at the Halandri cemetery in Athens.

    [19] Injured Caretta caretta loggerhead sea turtle Louisa returned to natural environment

    A female Caretta caretta loggerhead sea turtle that was found seriously injured two months ago in the Adelianou sea region on the island of Crete was returned on Thursday to her natural environment.

    The 24-kilo sea turtle, which was given the name 'Louisa' by the volunteers at the Archelon sea turtle protection society, had been found with bite wounds in the neck and flipper, water in the lungs, other injuries by employees of a nearby hotel, who immediately alerted Archelon, and Louisa was subsequently transferred to Archelon's sea turtle rescue center in Glyfada, near Athens, for care by specialists.

    Louisa was released back into the waters of the Cretan gulf on Thursday morning.

    The Caretta caretta loggerhead turtle is the only one of the three species of marine turtles in the Mediterranean to reproduce in Greece.

    Although Laganas Bay, on the Ionian Sea island of Zakynthos, is the most important nesting sites for the Loggerhead in Greece, the Cretan coast east of Retyhmno is also a well-known nesting area for the loggerheads.

    The Caretta caretta is classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

    [20] Illegal migrant arrested after collecting package with heroin

    A 35-year-old Nigerian was arrested in the district of Vari in Athens after picking up a package with 312 grams of heroin that arrived from India by mail, it was announced on Thursday.

    The man was arrested on Tuesday morning when he picked up the package that contained women's clothing with the heroin being hidden in the garments' lining. According to police, the suspect, who is in Greece illegally, used a fake identity to collect the package.

    Weather forecast

    [21] Temperatures to cool off slightly on Friday

    A drop in temperatures is forecast throughout Greece on Friday, starting from north to south, with winds reaching velocities of 6 beaufort locally and rainfall in several parts of the country.

    Athens will by lightly overcast, with small chance of light showers in the north of Athens prefecture in the afternoon and north-northeasterly winds of 4-6 beaufort and temperatures ranging from 24C to 35C.

    Thessaloniki will be overcast, with brief showers or storms, variable winds of 3-5 beaufort velocity and temperatures of 22-33C.

    [22] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The measures being mulled by the government to cut state spending by 11.5 billion euro in the next two years, including retirement ages, return of reserve labor, and cuts in welfare benefits and one-off retirement benefit, and a meeting of the government's economic staff on Wednesday that was also attended by prime minister Antonis Samaras mostly dominated the headlines in Athens dailies on Thursday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "13 'millionaire' civil servants".

    AVGHI: "Recession warning bell sounds in Paris".

    AVRIANI: "Samaras intervention to 'close' the new package of measures in the next few days".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Reserve labor and pension cuts 'locked in'."

    ELLADA: "Not a single working person in 424,000 families".

    ESTIA: "Danger of exit from the eurozone".

    ESTIA: "Reductions to low pensions, too".

    IMERISSIA: "Harsh message from Standard & Poor's -Threatens new downgrade of Greece".

    KATHIMERINI: "Minimum pension with 20 years of work".

    LOGOS: "Which civil servants are at risk of being laid off".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Painful cuts to find 4 billion euros".

    NIKI: "Earn 'hot' money with time deposits".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Steady and permanent work is the right of all workers".

    TA NEA: "Reserve labor for 15,000 civil servants".

    VRADYNI: "Knife to low pensions, too".

    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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