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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-08-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 29 August 2012 Issue No: 4160


  • [01] PM briefs President on talks in Berlin, Paris
  • [02] PM briefed on finance ministry coordination, deadlines
  • [03] SYRIZA accuses gov't of leading country to bankruptcy
  • [04] No specific deadline for troika assessment: Commission spokesman
  • [05] PM to hold meeting with KEDE board on Wed.
  • [06] Government spokesman: First privatisation in autumn
  • [07] Cabinet to convene on Friday
  • [08] Tsipras, FinMin clash in parliament over Siemens settlement
  • [09] Venizelos: National framework at Wednesday's coalition partners' meeting
  • [10] PASOK delegation at SI con'f
  • [11] PASOK responds to gov't spokesman statement on fraudulent pensions' problem
  • [12] Independent Greeks leader meets with French 'Arise the Republic' leader Dupont-Aignan
  • [13] KKE calls on people to meet new measures with general strike
  • [14] KKE on legal telephone wiretaps
  • [15] Dendias on illegal migration problem
  • [16] Ag minister receives Turkish ambassador
  • [17] Parliament security staff reduced by almost one-third
  • [18] Thessaloniki mayor unveils events marking centennial of city's liberation
  • [19] Bank lending to private sector shrank further in July
  • [20] DEPA, DESFA top priorities in privatsation programme
  • [21] Credit Agricole CEO: Sale of Emporiki should be ' first major success' in domestic bank sector
  • [22] Hirings in public sector for Q3 2012
  • [23] Flexopack reports higher H1 results
  • [24] Penalties imposed on 2 more businesses employing illegals
  • [25] Changes in suburban rail routes due to power cables theft
  • [26] Stocks end significantly lower
  • [27] Greek bond market closing report
  • [28] ADEX closing report
  • [29] Unique exhibition on ancient Olympia in Berlin
  • [30] Armed robbers flee in stolen school bus
  • [31] Makeshift explosive device on bank ATM
  • [32] Rhodes in state of emergency due to wildfire
  • [33] Fire on Mt. Pelion
  • [34] Wildfire in Neos Voutzas
  • [35] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies

  • [01] PM briefs President on talks in Berlin, Paris

    Prime minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday briefed President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on his recent talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and French president Francois Hollande in Paris.

    Samaras told waiting reporters afterwards that "we are waging a battle to distance the risk of the country's exit from the euro".

    "The battle is being waged to strengthen the country's negotiating position, in order to bring that which we three political leaders supporting the government have promised: growth," Samaras added.

    The premier further said that "the drachma lobby has lost a decisive round", adding that "we still have a lot of work ahead of us".

    Earlier, on his arrival at the Presidential Mansion, Samaras told the President that "the ship has started to turn, this means less bulk and easier work, we must run and we are running", to which Papoulias responded: "I smell a scent of Berlin. Interesting trip."

    [02] PM briefed on finance ministry coordination, deadlines

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras discussed coordination and timetables of pending decisions during a meeting on Tuesday evening with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras.

    Replying to a question upon leaving the Maximos Mansion, Stournaras said the government has finalised a package of cutbacks, although he declined comment on the prospect of wage reduction for so-called special salary scales.

    [03] SYRIZA accuses gov't of leading country to bankruptcy

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Tuesday responded to an earlier statement by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, which chaged that "the drachma lobby has lost a decisive round", by underlining that the prime minister "and others like him in Greece and Europe are those who form the bankruptcy lobby. Their policy is undermining Greek society and demolishes the EU."

    SYRIZA spokesman Panos Skourletis stressed that "no matter how much the prime minister tries to justify, his policy's recession and anti-social nature he cannot hide the fact that it is responsible for leading the country to bankruptcy and undermining its participation in the eurozone."

    Earlier, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras referred to the grave economic situation of the local governments, stressing after a meeting with Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) representatives that the country's municipalities are on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of the repeated cuts in their budgets.

    Tsipras said "the country is sinking and unless we change course and direction we will be faced with unprecedented social tension very soon."

    He added that "if the government has decided to proceed with cessation of payments it should come out and say it and not pass the problem on to mayors and municipalities."

    [04] No specific deadline for troika assessment: Commission spokesman

    BRUSSELS (AMNA / M. Aroni)

    The spokesman for European Monetary and Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn stressed here on Tuesday that there is no specific deadline for the completion of the review of the second programme for Greece by the troika.

    Simon O'Connor repeated that the troika will return to Athens in early September to begin the concluding phase of the first review of the second program for Greece.

    He said that the process is expected to take a few weeks and there is no specific deadline for its completion, adding that "after the troika assessment report is ready it will be taken into account by the Eurogroup before drawing its conclusions."

    He stressed that "we are focusing on the substance. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the next few weeks."

    [05] PM to hold meeting with KEDE board on Wed.

    The board of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities (KEDE) will meet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at noon on Wednesday.

    The meeting takes place at KEDE's request in order to brief the prime minister on what the union calls the serious financial problems facing municipalities..

    Final decisions on the further stance of local governments will be taken on Thursday at a special conference convened by KEDE.

    [06] Government spokesman: First privatisation in autumn

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Tuesday said that the new tax system will be ready by October, and that the first privatisation will take place in the autumn, speaking to private TV station MEGA.

    [07] Cabinet to convene on Friday

    The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will convene on Friday 31 August at 12 noon.

    [08] Tsipras, FinMin clash in parliament over Siemens settlement

    Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and finance minister Yannis Stournaras clashed in parliament on Monday night over the out-of-court settlement between the state and Siemens, with both sides launching heavy accusations.

    Tsipras charged that the compromise agreement with Siemens was "the biggest cover-up and most symbolic -- with respect to inter-party collusion -- scandal in the post-dictatorship period", during a parliamentary discussion of a SYRIZA question on the Siemens kickbacks scandal and the out-of-court settlement, while Stournaras accused Tsipras of "Goebbelian methods".

    Tsipras pledged that when SYRIZA takes over the government it will nullify the agreement and assign the assessment of the damage caused to the Greek state to a third-party assessor and will seek in court the relevant indemnities.

    He also attacked prime minister Antonis Samaras and asked for Samaras to take an official position on press reports alleging that his legal advisor Ioannis Karacostas was on the payroll of German-based telecoms giant Siemens during the period that the main protagonist in the scandal, Mihalis Christoforakos, was CEO of the local subsidiary Siemens Hellas.

    "Logically, Samaras was legally advised for the settlement (compromise agreement) by his legal advisor, Ioannis Karacostas who, as it has been revealed, was receiving remittances from the well-known Siemens slush fund in the same way that (Tassos) Mantelis (former PASOK minister accused of accepting bribes and money laundering in the Siemens affair), (Thodoros)Tsoukatos (top aide to former premier Costas Simitis), (George) Skarpelis (former Hellenic Telecoms OTE board member, a suspect in the scandal regarding lucrative contracts awarded by OTE to Siemens) and the fugitive from justice (Christos) Karavelas (a former Siemens executive who fled the country before he was due to testify as a suspect in the Siemens bribery and money-laundering investigation) were. Was the prime minister aware that his legal advisor was being paid from the Siemens slush funds and what his role was in the compromise? And know that he knows, will Mr. Samaras cover for him?" Tsipras questioned.

    He said that the Siemens scandal revealed that the parties and political figures alternating in the government in the post-dictatorship (New Democracy and PASOK) were both 'recipients' of the kickback money, while the compromise proved the saying "don't bite the hand that feeds you".

    Tsipras charged that "there is no doubt that the country was bankrupted by an inter-party gang of colluders which, after eating up the public wealth is leading the country to destruction, because it does not have the courage to make demands on behalf of the Greek people", commenting on Samaras' stance during his recent meeting in Berlin with German chancellor Angela Merkel, adding that Samaras avoided referring to the re-negotiation or of even saying that "the new harsh austerity measures will aggravate the recession and the impasse".

    He said that what the government was presenting today as "profit" from the compromise with Siemens were 'peanuts' compared with the losses suffered by the Greek state.

    "There is no justification and no programme agreement among the three governmental partners. The pre-electoral announcements and pledges are hanging in mid-air. The only thing there is is the complicity in the cover-up and the crime," Tsipras charged.

    Tsipras further called the request for extension of Greece's fiscal adjustment period as "catastrophic for the Greek economy, rope for us to hang ourselves", and opined that "the privatisation of everything, sale of the islands and the special economic zones of the uninsured workers" was behind the "development" put forward by Samaras.

    "There can be no development with the Memorandum. In a country with its natural wealth and labor rights looted, there can be no growth, he warned.

    Responding, finance minister Yannis Stournaras said that the premier's legal advisor Ioannis Karakostas had not been paid by the Siemens slush funds but "normally" and "for the provision of legal counsel (to Siemens) on a case that did not have to do with Greece", drawing the retort from Tsipras that the press reports were founded on a document in the still-outstanding case file on Siemens and was an official translation by the foreign ministry's translations service.

    Stournaras disputed the credibility of the estimate parliamentary fact-finding committee on the Siemens scandal of 2 billion euros in losses to the Greek state as being "asymmetrical" in relation to the overall indemnities paid by Siemens worldwide, which he said do not exceed 1.7 billion euros, also noting that the compromise did not include the penal aspect of the case, which was in the hands of the Greek justice system.

    Stournaras further noted that, when he took office, he had found the text of the compromise agreement "ready and on my desk" from his predecessors, and ratified by the majority of parliament. "The out-of-court settlement reached closes in a beneficial way for the Greeks," he opined.

    "I am not dirty...The file of the compromise was simply on my desk and we must sometime clear up the outstanding issues of the past," he said adding: "Of course I consulted with the state's legal advisor. He told me to sign the out-of-court settlement, based on the authorisation I had received from parliament. The political leadership of the finance ministry does not have the authority to discuss the elements of the Siemens case or to seek blame. That is the job of justice and parliament, which set up a fact-finding commission. What the minister was authorized to do was...exclusively to sign the text of the agreement that parliament had approved."

    Tsipras, in reply, told Stournaras that "we did not say you are dirty, we said that you undertook to do the dirty work".

    As for Karacostas, Stournaras accused Tsipras of Goebbelian methods, noting that Karacostas had nothing to do with the compromise. Karacostas, he explained, had provided legal counsel to the mother company Siemens on a case that had nothing to do with Greece, and was paid normally, not from the slush funds, receiving some 15,000 euros. "He had no involvement, and the characterisations you attributed to him are unfair," the finance minister told Tsipras".

    [09] Venizelos: National framework at Wednesday's coalition partners' meeting

    "It is our duty to honor and safeguard the sacrifices of the people and our own historic efforts," PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos told his party's parliamentary group on Tuesday, adding that this was the 'national framework' with which he would go to Wednesday's meeting of the three governmental coalition parties' leaders with prime minister and New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis.

    "I am not going (to the meeting) to discuss a package of measures or individual aspects such as the special payrolls and the reserve labour, but the national strategy. This is what we must and will do, this is what the country and the circumstances demand," Venizelos said.

    He said that the party's "trials and tribulations unfortunately have not ended, because they have not ended for our country", adding that PASOK is waiting for the proposals of the country's economic staff to take a stand on them, based on four principles: The new package of measures cannot be across-the-board and must have a domestically just character, given that "we cannot allow the permanent dissolution of the middle class; the measures must be combined with tangible measures to clamp down on tax evasion; the fiscal measures must be combined with tangible measures to protect the vulnerable population groups; and these measures must lead to the visible end-goal of fiscal adjustment, positive growth rates and finally a viable debt.

    "We want to safeguard the legitimacy of the governmental majority, to make clear the internal justice of the measures," Venizelos said, adding that it will not just look on as others take the decisions.

    Venizelos further said that the country will in no instance be plunged into a government crisis or new period of internal political uncertainty and inertia, adding that this did not mean, however, that Samaras can operate as the prime minister of a single-party government that brings its partners before faits accomplis, explaining that the country will be governed as per the people's wishes: collectively, with co-determination of the governmental policy.

    The PASOK leader further said that he supported and will continue to support Samaras actively at international level "because I know what negotiation means and how Europe operates", welcoming the recent round of international "very important" contacts by Samaras, but said that these should have taken place earlier, albeit by remote conference -- due to the prime minister's health (due to eye surgery) -- in order for the momentum of the June general elections to be maintained and taken advantage of.

    He added that it was absolutely necessary that the contacts be continuous and that the contacts with European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi and International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde be made quickly, and welcomed "every positive parameter" of the statements by German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande and eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker (with whom Samaras recently met), calling their references that the new measures should not hurt the low incomes as a "very crucial element of the discussions with the troika for the itemization of the measures".

    [10] PASOK delegation at SI con'f

    The three-day proceedings of the 14th congress of the Socialist International (SI) open on Thursday in Cape Town, focusing on the election of a new president, a position held by former Greek prime minister George Papandreou, who will run for re-election.

    South Africa President Jacob Zuma and Papandreou will be the keynote speakers.

    PASOK will be represented by a delegation comprising, among others, Parliamentary group Secretary Yannis Maniatis and PASOK's head of foreign relations, Panos Beglitis.

    [11] PASOK responds to gov't spokesman statement on fraudulent pensions' problem

    PASOK spokesperson Fofi Gennimata on Tuesday underlined that government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou "either ignored or intentionally concealed reality, undermining the sacrifices made by the Greek people in the past two years."

    Gennimata, the spokeswoman of one of the three political parties backing the Samaras government, made the statement in response to the government spokesman's position that "the problem of fraudulent pensions was solved by the (current) government in just two months."

    Gennimata stressed that the government spokesman "has an obligation to acknowledge the major work that was done in the specific area during the past two years (a reference to the previous Papandreou government)."

    [12] Independent Greeks leader meets with French 'Arise the Republic' leader Dupont-Aignan

    Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos met in Athens on Tuesday with visiting French 'Arise the Republic' party leader Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, with whom he discussed the political and economic situation in Greece, as well as banking policy, which they said was leading the citizens of Europe, and especially the European south, to destitution, a Democratic Greeks announcement said.

    The announcement said that the two party leaders made special mention of the effort of the 'economic lobbies' to downgrade every sense of the 'state-nation' and to demolish the democratic institutions.

    The two leaders decided to meet again soon in order to create a new front "for the Europe of the peoples, prosperity and hope", the announcement concluded.

    [13] KKE calls on people to meet new measures with general strike

    The Communist Party (KKE) on Tuesday called on the people to "welcome" any package of new measures with a general strike and to stop acting in a fatalistic way.

    KKE general secretary Aleka Papariga stressed that the people should escalate their struggle through major strike mobilisations. "Each sector should fight for its own rights and, at the same time, support the general mobilizations," she said.

    Papariga said the people should react to the new package of measures, stressing that "they should not hide inside their houses in disappointment and with a sense of fatalism, because that's what the government wants."

    [14] KKE on legal telephone wiretaps

    The Communist Party (KKE) press office in a statement on Tuesday said that "when the report by the so-called Communication Confidentiality Safeguarding Authority (ADAE) records that the legal monitoring by the police and the National Intelligence Agency (EYP) exceed 50,000 over the past year, it is obvious that the monitoring and recording of telephone conversations and the internet is a generalised phenomenon".

    [15] Dendias on illegal migration problem

    Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias on Tuesday stressed the need for urgent action to deal with the illegal immigration issue plaguing in the country, which he called a "matter of Greek society's very existence", while speaking before a relevant Parliament committee.

    The committee on Tuesday held a hearing on a draft bill ratifying a relevant legislative act related to the operation of migrant detention centres around the country.

    Most local government, chamber and institutional officials who spoke before the committee criticised the prospect of such centres opening in their areas, even in rural or border regions.

    Meanwhile, speaking to a local radio station the same day, Dendias said an ongoing and high-profile police crackdown on the presence of illegal migrants in the country will continue and be extended throughout Greece, while a first assessment of the operation take place in early 2013.

    Additionally, the minister said that funding available by the European Union, of up to 80 percent, with talks pending to increase European funding to 95 percent.

    As regards the detention centres and reactions by local officials and residents in Corinth last week, he said "they (detention centres) do not constitute a danger for local societies; they are indirectly a source of revenue ... I think that the situation in Corinth is much better today than what it was before the detention centre was established.

    "... my role is not to argue with local societies and its representatives, but to convince them that this is the only way for us to proceed."

    He also announced that the first such detention centre in Amygdaleza, north of Athens proper, will be enlarged, with a capacity to host 800 people by the end of September.

    [16] Ag minister receives Turkish ambassador

    Agricultural Development & Food Minister Athanassios Tsaftaris on Tuesday received Turkish ambassador to Greece Kerim Uras at the ministry.

    The meeting was held within the framework of preparation of a meeting by a joint Greece-Turkey economic committee in Turkey in the autumn. The Greek minister will also participate in the session and will also meet with his Turkish counterpart.

    Tsaftaris and Amb. Uras discussed efforts to strengthen bilateral relations in the farm sector, either by boosting trade cooperation and exports or via investment in various sectors.

    Lastly, a lengthy discussion took place on fisheries issues and the sustainable management of the fishing stocks in the Aegean.

    [17] Parliament security staff reduced by almost one-third

    Following consultations between Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis and the Parliament's head of security on Tuesday, a decision was reached to reduce the 360-officer security detail by 130 officers. Those police officers who will no longer serve in the parliament's security but will return to regular police duties.

    Additionally, 75 special police guards who have been appointed as administrative staff to Parliament will serve under the Parliament's head of security.

    The decision is expected to result in spending cuts of roughly 10 million euros.

    [18] Thessaloniki mayor unveils events marking centennial of city's liberation

    Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris on Tuesday unveiled the programme of events to be held within the framework of four-month-long celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the city's liberation.

    The events will be launched on Friday, Aug. 31 with an open air concert by the Thessaloniki State Orchestra in Aristotelous Square.

    Major archaeological exhibitions, featuring exhibits from the Louvre Museum, will be hosted in the city's five museums as part of the scheduled events, while two international conferences will take place with the participation of historians, sociologists and economists.

    The International Symposium of Thessaloniki will be held on Sept. 28-30, while a three-day conference entitled "Thessaloniki: A City in Transition, 1912-2012" will open in the second half of October.

    Financial News

    [19] Bank lending to private sector shrank further in July

    The annual growth rate of total credit to the domestic private sector decreased to -4.8 percent in July 2012 from -4.3 percent in the previous month, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday. the central bank, in a monthly report, said that the net flow of total credit to the domestic private sector was negative amounting to 1.429 billion euros in July, from a positive net flow of 13 million euros in July 2011.

    The net flow of credit to enterprises in July 2012 was negative, amounting to 937 million euros (July 2011: positive net flow of 564 million euros) and the annual growth rate of credit decreased to -5.3 percent from -4.1 percent in the previous month. In particular, the annual growth rate of credit to non-financial enterprises decreased to -5.1 percent from -3.9 percent in the previous month and the annual growth rate of credit to insurance corporations and other financial intermediaries also decreased to -7.4 percent in July 2012, from -6.7 percent in June 2012.

    The net flow of credit to sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships was negative amounting to 33 million euros (July 2011: negative net flow of 53 million) and the annual rate of change of credit was less negative than in the previous month (July 2012: -5.3 percent, June 2012: -5.4 percent).

    In July 2012, the net flow of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions was negative, amounting to 459 million euros (July 2011: negative net flow of 497 million). As a result, the annual growth rate of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions stood at -4.3 percent in July 2012 from -4.4 percent in June 2012, the central bank said.

    [20] DEPA, DESFA top priorities in privatsation programme

    The privatisations of DEPA and DESFA are top priorities and will proceed immediately after a new management officially takes over at the Fund for the Development of Private Property of the State, fund officials told reporters after a meeting with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday.

    "We begin in September. We will have developments, going a long way by the end of the year," the official said. The Fund expects that the privatization of the two energy companies will significantly contribute to public revenues and lowering public debt, but at the same time offer a sign of the government's will to rapidly implement a privatization program. The officials said the privatisation of IBC (the former international broadcast centre building during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games) was expected to be completed shortly.

    The meeting with Stournaras also focused on preparing a list of privatisations, including public sector property, preparation of all necessary legislative action to facilitate privatisations.

    [21] Credit Agricole CEO: Sale of Emporiki should be ' first major success' in domestic bank sector

    Credit Agricole on Tuesday said the sale of its Greek subsidiary, Emporiki Bank, should be a "first major success" in a restructuring effort of the domestic banking sector.

    Jean Paul Chifflet, Credit Agricole's chief executive, in an interview in the French financial newspaper "Les Echos", said the French group has received three binding offers by Greek banks, and stressed that Credit Agricole has not yet decided on the best bid, as negotiations are complex, and include several agencies, such as the Bank of Greece, Greek regulators, the National Bank of France, the European Central Bank, the Greek Financial Stability Fund and other European services, such as the European Competition Commission.

    "All interested parties share the objective of finding a positive solution to this complex issue. This positive solution will prove the ability of Greece and Europe to move forward. In my view, the case of Emporiki Bank should be the first major success in an effort to restructure the Greek financial sector," Chifflet said.

    Earlier, responding to analysts' questions, Chifflet said that reaching an agreement for the sale of Emporiki Bank was a matter of a few weeks, while he underlined that the French group was willing to maintain a small equity share in the new group.

    [22] Hirings in public sector for Q3 2012

    The administrative reform ministry announced through its official website the scheduled hirings in the public sector for the third quarter of 2012. Specifically, the ministry anticipates 2,058 hirings inlcuding: defence ministry, 1,170; 580 at the public order ministry; 225 at education and culture ministry and 76 at the jurists college.

    [23] Flexopack reports higher H1 results

    Flexopack on Tuesday said consolidated turnover totaled 26.642 million euros in the first half of 2012, down from 24.184 million euros in 2011, while parent turnover rose to 26.609 million euros, up from 24.025 million euros last year, increases of 10.16 pct and 10.76 pct, respectively.

    Consolidated EBITDA, however, fell by 11.02 pct to 3.551 million euros, and parent EBITDA fell by 12.13 pct to 3.505 million euros in the January-June period. Pre-tax earnings fell 19.65 pct to 2.045 pct (consolidated) and by 21.28 pct (parent) to 2.024 million euros.

    After tax earnings totaled 1.627 million euros in the first six months of the year, down 20.28 pct from 2011 (consolidated), while after-tax and minorities earnings fell 20.28 pct to 1.627 million euros.

    Flexopack said exports to around 40 foreign countries accounted for 74.29 pct of its consolidated turnover in the first half of 2012.

    [24] Penalties imposed on 2 more businesses employing illegals

    Two businesses on the Ionian island of Lefkada, which reportedly employed illegal immigrants, have been ordered closed for five days, following a decision by the employment ministry.

    The violations were ascertained during checks carried out by employment inspectors (SEPE).

    [25] Changes in suburban rail routes due to power cables theft

    TRAINOSE amended the suburban railway's (Proastiako) route schedule until further notice due to the extensive theft of power cables on Sunday, between the stations of Kinetta and Aghii Theodori.

    Specifically, the routes from Kiato to the Athens airport and back, will depart every two hours, as the trains move along a single line at the location where the problem exists.

    The local routes along the Airport-Ano Liosia section and back will be carried out as normal every 20 minutes.

    [26] Stocks end significantly lower

    Stocks came under strong selling pressure in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with bank shares particularly hit. The composite index of the market fell 2.27 pct to end at 631.41 points, with turnover remaining a low 22.159 million euros.

    The Big Cap index dropped 2.59 pct and the Mid Cap index fell 1.79 pct. The Personal Products (1.40 pct) and Health (0.16 pct) sectors were the only ones to end higher, while Banks (4.51 pct), Utilities (4.19 pct) and Raw Materials (3.93 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Cyprus Popular Bank (5.41 pct), Jumbo (2.08 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (0.53 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Cyprus Bank (6.99 pct), Alpha Bank (5.04 pct) and National Bank (4.90 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 83 to 36 with another 19 issues unchanged. Kyriakoulis (29.78 pct), Athina (19.5 pct) and Axon Holdings (12.5 pct) were top gainers, while Sprider Stores (17.5 pct), Euromedica (13.52 pct) and Aegek (11.67 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -2.60%

    Commercial: -1.07%

    Construction: -0.49%

    Oil & Gas: Unchanged

    Personal & Household: +1.40%

    Raw Materials: -3.93%

    Travel & Leisure: - 2.14%

    Technology: -2.98%

    Telecoms: -2.64

    Banks: -4.51%

    Food & Beverages: -2.37%

    Health: +0.16%

    Utilities: -4.19%

    Financial Services: -2.70%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1,32

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 2,64

    HBC Coca Cola: 14,4

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5,71

    National Bank of Greece: 1,36

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0,69

    OPAP: 5,17

    OTE: 2,58

    Bank of Piraeus: 0,23

    Titan: 12,95

    [27] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased further to 22.14 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 23.47 pct and the German Bund yielding 1.33 pct. Turnover totaled 2.0 million euros, all sell orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate eased to 0.82 pct, the six-month rate was 0.55 pct, the three-month rate was 0.37 pct and the one-month rate fell to 0.12 pct.

    [28] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover remaining a low 6.438 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,098 contracts worth 2.403 million euros, with 22,754 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 37,656 contracts worth 4.035 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (11,335), followed by National Bank (7,054), Cyprus Popular Bank (9,822), Cyprus Bank (3,151), OTE (2,791), PPC (1,315), Piraeus Bank (954), OPAP (430), Eurobank (150), Ellaktor (100), Intralot (145) and Mytilineos (76).

    General News

    [29] Unique exhibition on ancient Olympia in Berlin

    The exhibition focusing on ancient Olympia, entitled "Mythos Olympia - Kult und Spiele", will formally open on Aug. 30 at the Martin-Gropius-Bau exhibition hall in Berlin, in the presence of Alternate Education Minister Costas Tzavaras.

    Regarded as one of the largest exhibitions on ancient Olympia ever held internationally, it will feature roughly 1,000 exhibits from major museums in Greece and other European countries, including exhibits unearthed during recent excavations, which have never been on display before.

    Within the framework of his visit, Tzavaras will meet with Deputy Ministerial Director to the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel.

    [30] Armed robbers flee in stolen school bus

    Two unidentified robbers held up a Eurobank branch in Paleo Faliro, southern Athens on Tuesday.

    The two made off with an undetermined sum in a getaway car driven by an accessory waiting for them outside the bank. The car, reported as a school bus, was later found burned at a close distance.

    [31] Makeshift explosive device on bank ATM

    A homemade explosive device planted at a bank's ATM in the west Athens' district of Ilion was set off in the early morning hours on Tuesday alarming local residents. The explosion caused extensive damage to adjacent shops and to cars parked nearby.

    [32] Rhodes in state of emergency due to wildfire

    The island of Rhodes has been declared in a state of emergency since Tuesday afternoon due to an extensive wildfire that broke out in the forested region between Agios Silas and the Petaloudes (butterflies) valley.

    The blaze erupted at 2 p.m. and according to all indications, was caused by arson. Over the past few days, unidentified persons had attempted to start a fire in the same area on at least four occasions.

    At the moment, it has been estimated that 500 acres of forestland were burned.

    [33] Fire on Mt. Pelion

    A wildfire that erupted late Monday in a forested area in Pinakates village on Mt. Pelion was still in progress on Tuesday morning. A strong team of 14 crewed fire engines with 78 firemen are currently operating in the area. No residential areas are threatened by the blaze.

    [34] Wildfire in Neos Voutzas

    A wildfire broke out on Tuesday evening in a forested area at the Neos Voutzas site in eastern Attica prefecture.

    [35] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies

    The government's plan for possible cutbacks in special payrolls, the skyrocketing of the base entry grades in university schools that provide increased prospects for job opportunities, the future of Emporiki Bank and the clash in parliament over the government's compromise agreement with SIEMENS, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    AVGHI: "There is no statute of limitations for the scandal".

    AVRIANI: "SIEMENS slush funds provoked huge confrontation in parliament".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Whatever the troika (EC, ECB, IMF) says".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Skyrocketing in schools that provide opportunities for jobs".

    ESTIA: "Political cost for the taxes".

    ETHNOS: "The cutbacks in armed forces', judges' special payrolls".

    IMERISSIA: "Extraordinary meeting of the '3' on the measures".

    KATHIMERINI: "Government in the vortex of the measures".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Measures and clashes in a hot autumn".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Struggle for studies with rights".

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