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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-09-04

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

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

Tuesday, 4 September 2012 Issue No: 4165

CONTENTS

  • [01] Kedikoglou: budget cuts to be finalised by next week
  • [02] Foreign ministry spokesman on statement attributed to Turkish PM
  • [03] SYRIZA leader Tsipras on creation of big democratic party of the left
  • [04] PASOK party leader Venizelos addresses 38th anniversary event
  • [05] PASOK founding anniversary a new start, former PM says
  • [06] Former PASOK minister testifies on Roumeliotis allegations
  • [07] Health minister's meeting with pharmacists fails to end problems for EOPYY
  • [08] KKE calls for state financial assistance to nat'l healthcare fund
  • [09] Deputy administrative reform minister meets with Estonian envoy
  • [10] Number of small-claims courts to be cut in half
  • [11] Assault/robbery case against MP Kasidiaris to Parliament
  • [12] Ecumenical Patriarch wraps up visit to Rethymno
  • [13] Attica Region governor urges action to bar unauthorised entry into Fylis landfill
  • [14] Recapitalization plan aimed to strengthen banking system
  • [15] State debts to private sector rise to 6.67 bln euros in July 2012
  • [16] Deputy energy minister, Israeli ambassador discuss energy issues
  • [17] Gov't: Receipt card use steadily growing
  • [18] Gov't eyes average wage cuts of 17.5% for university profs
  • [19] Greek PMI rises to 42.1 points in Aug.
  • [20] Rhodes tourism season termed as 'stable'
  • [21] Positive prospects for increase in tourist wave to Greece from Russia
  • [22] Spike in number of visas issued to Turkish citizens cited
  • [23] Stocks begin week on a weak note
  • [24] Greek bond market closing report
  • [25] ADEX closing report
  • [26] Foreign Exchange rates Tuesday
  • [27] Stavros Niarchos Foundation to give 10 million euro to help children hit by crisis
  • [28] Extra trains after midnight for Red Hot Chili Peppers fans
  • [29] Benaki Museum to cut down opening hours due to crisis
  • [30] Advance booking for Bob Wilson' s 'Odyssey' launched on Sept. 12
  • [31] Thessaloniki Port Authority transfers two vessels to navy
  • [32] 151 kilos of cannabis seized, dealers arrested
  • [33] Wildfires in northern Evia and in Marmari
  • [34] Wildfire in Mani, extreme SE Greece
  • [35] Fair on Tuesday
  • [36] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] Kedikoglou: budget cuts to be finalised by next week

    The cost-cutting measures that will be taken to meet Greece's commitments to its EU-IMF creditors will be finalised by the beginning of next week, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on Monday, during statements given on the air to the local radio station Alpha 989.

    "We are trying to find the fairest possible solution at a very difficult time for decisions that no one wanted to take but which are necessary and these will be the last," he said.

    Kedikoglou said that the measures will be accompanied by policies for growth and that the 11.5 billion euro in cost-cutting measures demanded by Greece's creditors "are the sum that must be saved in order for us to begin to regain our economic independence" by bringing state spending in line with revenues and stop creating further debt.

    He also clarified that a major part of the next tranche of bailout loans amounting to 31.5 billion euro, in addition to the sums spent on recapitalising Greek banks, will go toward paying off public-sector debt.

    "What we want is for the recapitalisation of banks to lead to greater liquidity, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Because, what you have heard the prime minister say repeatedly, both in his meetings with the German chancellor and the French president, are two words - growth and liquidity. There must be liquidity at once in order for growth to follow."

    [02] Foreign ministry spokesman on statement attributed to Turkish PM

    Greek Foreign Ministry Spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras, commenting on the use of the term "Turkish minority" in Greece, in a statement attributed to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, underlined on Monday that "consistency towards conventional texts and mutual respect are basic ingredients for the building of confidence".

    Delavekouras said "the prime minister of Turkey rightly refers to Greek citizens. Citizens who are living harmoniously incorporated in our European democracy, in a state of equality before the law, equality of rights and the absolute respect of their rights" pointing out, however, that "the prime minister of Turkey also refers to a 'Turkish minority', something that does not exist in the international conventions, that he himself is invoking".

    [03] SYRIZA leader Tsipras on creation of big democratic party of the left

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group president Alexis Tsipras, addressing an event of the "Neos Agonistis" political group in the Piraeus suburb of Nikea on Monday evening, presented his plan for the creation of "a big democratic party of the left that will rule the country", while at the same time launching an ideological attack on the PASOK party, based on the same slogans that it adopted with its September 3, 1974, Founding Proclamation.

    Tsipras clarified from the beginning that SYRIZA is not the new PASOK "as the media of the vested interests are claiming", nor does it want to become a new PASOK, nor appropriate a proclamation of principles "that was not a narration of our left", although, as he said, the September 3 Proclamation drew from the ideological, programming and struggling deposit of the historic left.

    Tsipras further said that the presence at the event of "Neos Agonistis" of a group of cadres coming from PASOK "has the significance of the strong commitment for the creation of the big democratic party of the left that will rule the country to stop the looting of our people and because we are united by our strong commitment to the programming and politcal unity of all the democratic, progressive and leftist forces".

    [04] PASOK party leader Venizelos addresses 38th anniversary event

    PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos addressed an event on Monday evening on the 38th anniversary of the party's founding, stressing that his aim is to also be able to reassure the Greek people himself that "this is really the last tough and painful package of measures that must be internally balanced and fair".

    He stressed that he wishes to reassure the Greek people that "this package of fiscal measures is accompanied by two counterbalancing packages of growth and social measures that can stop recession and lead the Greek economy to positive growth rates even as of 2014".

    Venizelos said that PASOK calls for and proposes as a negotiating framework "a package of internal initiatives that must not be delayed not even for a minute, as well as a package of immediate moves that our partners must do, in the framework of the existing loan contract, without the notorious additional financing, so that the liquidity levels will change and mainly the communication impressions that are unfair and undermine the Greek effort".

    He noted, however, that before these minimum and fundamental things are secured "neither can we present a complete policy in Parliament, nor reassure the Greek people that this is really the last package of painful measures and that the return to positive growth rates is coming in a visible time".

    Venizelos also said that he is aware that all that he is saying today is subject to the judgement of difficult decisions "that we are being called on to take in the coming days", while terming "strange" for as long as PASOK shouldered the weight of managing the crisis alone for criticism to be exercised by "leftists and rightists of all trends and of course our current partners" and now "there to be criticism from the 'right'" because, among otheer things, "we consider it our obligation to tell the Greek people the truth".

    Lastly, he said that "instead of some acting as belated propagandists of European legality, let them be more aware of our proposals on the national strategy and the axes of this phase of negotiating".

    [05] PASOK founding anniversary a new start, former PM says

    Former prime minister George Papandreou on Monday referred to the 38th anniversary of the founding of socialist PASOK by his father, underlining that "now is not a time for festive celebrations", indirectly referring to the crushing debt and economic crisis plaguing the country since late 2009.

    In a statement to an Athens newspaper, he said PASOK' s founding anniversary "can be a new starting point, which can reaffirm our dedication to the principles and values of our party and our faith in the powers of the Greek nation and the country' s potential."

    Papandreou said the same goals that led to PASOK' s founding in 1974 by his father, Andreas.

    [06] Former PASOK minister testifies on Roumeliotis allegations

    Former PASOK minister Louka Katseli on Monday provided testimony in a high-profile investigation into allegations by Greece's one-time representative to the IMF, Panagiotis Roumeliotis, who last month charged that the IMF-tailored economic programme commenced by the previous Papandreou government was "condemned" from the start.

    Katseli, a long-time PASOK cadre and former minister who subsequently left the party to form her own out-of-Parliament political movement, was the first witness in the investigation following Roumeliotis' allegations.

    She reportedly remained in the relevant prosecutors' office for three hours and subsequently stated that "my testimony had two parts: The first referred to Mr. Roumeliotis' statements regarding a briefing for (the then) prime minister and finance minister on the IMF's positions, and particularly those of (then IMF chief) Dominique Strauss-Kahn".

    "I told the prosecutor that I did not participate in the meeting and I do not know anything about those contacts. The second part (of the testimony) referred to the management of the crisis, and I reiterated my position, which I have stated in public, namely, that the systemic debt crisis in Greece and competitiveness crisis cannot be solved with policies of violent austerity and extreme fiscal adjustment; this necessitates a coordinated policy with the European Central Bank to restructure the debt and to reduce lending costs..."

    Asked whether there was a briefing by Roumeliotis for top government members at the time, Katseli said there were several private meetings with Roumeliotis and other economists on what can be done. "However, there was no official position from the IMF on a different course of action."

    Katseli was the first witness in the probe, coming after statements to the same prosecutors by Roumeliotis himself. Former PASOK minister Gerassimos Arsenis, Katseli's husband, as well as another top former PASOK minister, Vasso Papandreou, along with two of the Papandreou government top economic advisers, Giorgos Zannias and Petros Christodoulou, have also been called to provide statements.

    [07] Health minister's meeting with pharmacists fails to end problems for EOPYY

    A meeting between pharmacists and Alternate Health Minister Marios Salmas on Monday failed to break a deadlock between the two sides concerning overdue debts racked up by Greece's new national state healthcare services system EOPYY.

    After the meeting, pharmacists said the minister had failed to give satisfactory replies on when they will be paid by EOPYY.

    "We were not given specific dates of payment of all we are owed for May and June. We will continue our mobilisations actively," the head of their national association said.

    Pharmacists in Attica are due to meet late on Monday afternoon and decide for how long to extend their current moratorium on supplying drugs to EOPYY patients on credit.

    Sources said the health ministry asked pharmacists to settle for a payment window of 90 days after filling prescriptions, instead of the current 45, but did not offer equivalent measures for the entire supply chain, leaving retail pharmacies bereft of ready cash to pay wholesalers.

    Salmas said the government was making efforts to find a final solution that will end the inconvenience for patients, confirming plans to extend the credit period for pharmacists from the supply chain to 90 days. If the market failed to regulate itself, he added, the government would intervene more actively and take steps to end the supply problems faced by pharmacists by setting up a mechanism within EOPYY to intervene in distribution.

    In the meantime, problems are continuing for the roughly nine million people insured by EOPYY as they are unable to buy medication or visit doctors with EOPYY contracts unless they pay up front. Pharmacists stopped supplying drugs on credit since Saturday and doctors began a strike on Monday.

    The Athens Medical Association (ISA) has sought a meeting with Salmas and EOPYY governor Gerassimos Voudouris concerning the health insurance provider's problems. Strike action is also being planned by hospital doctors from Wednesday.

    [08] KKE calls for state financial assistance to nat'l healthcare fund

    Communist Party (KKE) on Monday said that people' s equal access to free and advanced healthcare is at statek, regardless of whether they have a job or not and regardless of the labour relations they enjoy.

    Referring to the National Organisation for Health Care (EOPYY) relations with affiliated doctors and pharmacists, KKE said "the issue is not the fair demands of doctors and pharmacists but whether we are entering a time when access to available healthcare services will depend on the financial situation of the individual in need."

    KKE underlined that the problem will be solved only through state financial assistance to EOPYY and if the pledges made are kept.

    [09] Deputy administrative reform minister meets with Estonian envoy

    Issues concerning e-governance dominated a meeting on Monday between Deputy Administrative Reform & e-Governance Minister Manoussos Voloudakis and Estonian ambassador to Greece Andres Talvik.

    Estonia is considered as an international pioneer in e-governance and an exporter of relevant know-how.

    [10] Number of small-claims courts to be cut in half

    The number of small-claims courts nationwide will be cut in half from 301 to 150, according to a draft presidential decree on the merger of inactive small-slaims courts, tabled at the Council of State (CoS) by Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis, it was announced on Monday.

    The main criterion for the merger is the small number of rulings issued by the courts in question. In addition, the mergers are expected to result in annual spending cuts of roughly one million euros.

    [11] Assault/robbery case against MP Kasidiaris to Parliament

    A case file concerning charges of assisting in assault and robbery brought against Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) MP Ilias Kasidiaris was sent to the Greek Parliament on Monday, so a decision might be taken on whether to lift his Parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

    Kasidiaris is accused of being involved in the assault and robbery of a university professor that took place in 2007, on the Athens Polytechnic campus.

    The MP was due to stand trial on Monday for helping five unidentified assailants that attacked the professor and used the MP's car to get away. He faced charges of assisting in robbery, unprovoked grievous bodily harm, illegal weapons possession and weapons use.

    He had applied to have Parliamentary immunity lifted, since Parliament is also empowered to decide whether MPs should stand trial for offences committed in periods prior to their election to Parliament.

    Monday's scheduled court hearing was postponed because of lack of time while discussion of an application made by Kasidiaris to lift restrictions on his movements imposed on him in connection with the case - including a ban on him leaving the country and a requirement that he report to a police station once a month - is still pending.

    The public prosecutor in charge of the case has recommended that the appeals justices' council turn down Kasidiaris' request.

    [12] Ecumenical Patriarch wraps up visit to Rethymno

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Monday called on the faithful to be "strong and stand tall" in this difficult time for the country, referring to the economic crisis, during his visit to the deputy regional governor' s office in Rethymno, Greece.

    Bartholomew visited the Monastery of St. Irene in the western part of the island and, addressing the monks, he referred to the role and value of monasticism.

    On Tuesday morning, the Ecumenical Patriarch will visit the Metropolis of Kissamos-Selinos in the city of Hania, and at noon he will be declared honorary professor at the Technical University of Crete.

    [13] Attica Region governor urges action to bar unauthorised entry into Fylis landfill

    Attica Region governor Yiannis Sgouros on Monday called for urgent and drastic action to prevent the unauthorised entry of gypsies and illegal migrants into the landfill site at Fylis, where he stressed that the situation remained explosive and the presence of police "was largely symbolic".

    Sgouros was addressing a meeting of an Attica Prefecture local authority association, noting that he had recently sent a letter to the citizen protection minister concerning the issue and stressed that staff at the landfill were at high risk as there were strong grounds to believe that crime and illegal activity will peak.

    "In recent years, in addition to the presence of gypsies we have Pakistani illegal migrants that 'compete' with each other, creating a 'wild West' environment with pistols and shotguns. A typical example was the sad incident on April 8, 2011 that ended with five dead after clashes between gypsies and illegal migrants," he noted.

    Sgouros said that he was thinking of inviting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for a surprise visit to the Fylis landfill site one day, so that the premier could himself witness what the situation was.

    Financial News

    [14] Recapitalization plan aimed to strengthen banking system

    A recapitalization of Greek banks with 50 billion euros will contribute to strengthening the capital adequacy of banks, but this money will not be distributed to the real economy. The recapitalization plan aims mainly at strengthening the credibility of the Greek banking system and not boosting liquidity, Christos Gortsos, secretary-general of Hellenic Bank Association said on Monday, addressing a parliament' s economic commission meeting.

    Finance Deputy Minister Christos Staikouras, addressing the meeting, said that banks owed 555 million euros to the Greek state from a state guarantee programe, worth 28 billion euros, received in the 2008-2009 period and said the government was in negotiations with banks to resolving this issue. Staikouras rejected calls for a haircut of Greek households' loans, saying any debt write off in the private sector would further burden the Greek Financial Stability Fund and the Greek state. "It will create more funding demands," he said.

    Ioannis Papadakis, vice-governor in the Bank of Greece, addressing the commission, did not exclude the possibility of a new support package for the banking system and stressed that a central bank' s survey on the Greek banking system showed that Hellenic Postbank proved to be no-viable after meeting only three out of 12 supervisory criteria and only four out of 12 business criteria set in the survey.

    [15] State debts to private sector rise to 6.67 bln euros in July 2012

    The public sector's overdue debt to the private sector totaled 6.676 billion euros at the end of July, up from 6.619 billion euros in June, the finance ministry announced on Monday.

    In a monthly report on the general government' s cash figures, the ministry said that funds remained the biggest debtors with debt totaling 3.01 billion euros, followed by state hospitals (1.63 billion), government ministries/agencies (884 million), local authorities (814 million) and other legal entities (323 million euros).

    The report said that the general government' s primary deficit fell to 229.4 million euros in the January-July period, from 455 million euros in the six-month period this year, while the fiscal deficit rose to 10.608 billion euros from 9.844 billion euros over the same periods, respectively.

    [16] Deputy energy minister, Israeli ambassador discuss energy issues

    Deputy Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Makis Papageorgiou on MOnday discussed the prospects of Greek-Israeli cooperation in the energy sector with Israel's ambassador in Athens Aryeh Mekel.

    Greece and Israel are continuing regular contacts on energy issues in recent months, following the discovery of substantial natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean between Cyprus and Israel, with talks also focusing on Greece's potential role as a conduit for natural gas to Europe.

    [17] Gov't: Receipt card use steadily growing

    More than 180,000 enterprises in Greece currently accept a receipt card issued by the finance ministry, while a total of 58,582 such cards have been activated as of Aug. 7, according to data released by the ministry on Monday.

    A report, submitted to Parliament by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, said Greek consumers had made a total of 235,982 transactions using these cards os of Aug. 7. The minister, in the report, said financial institutions that expressed an interest in participating in the system of ordering and issuing receipt cards, acted as sponsors, offering free issuing and delivery of these cards to taxpayers.

    [18] Gov't eyes average wage cuts of 17.5% for university profs

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Monday announced to representatives of university professors that average wage cuts to be implemented in the sector will be 17.5 pct, depending on wage scale.

    According to the representatives, the wage cuts decided will return incomes to 1995 levels, calling for smaller cuts to ensure that incomes will not be lower than 2001 levels.

    Sector mobilisations are likely to take place during the college examination period later in the month.

    [19] Greek PMI rises to 42.1 points in Aug.

    Greece' s Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rebounded to 42.1 points in August to a three-month high, although it remained below the zero-change level of 50 points for a total of 36 consecutive months.

    Production and new orders in the manufacturing sector continued falling rapidly in August, hit by disappointing conditions in the domestic credit market and a weakening demand. A fall in sales reflected lower demand both in the domestic and foreign markets, with sales abroad falling for the 12th consecutive month and with the highest rate since 2009.

    Greek manufacturers cut their workforce, while pending works fell for the 15th consecutive month in August. Manufacturers said that raw material prices  such as plastics and wheat- rose in August, compared with July, while efforts intensified to lowering the level of inventories.

    The PMI index measures business activity in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector, while readings below 50 a shrinking sector.

    [20] Rhodes tourism season termed as 'stable'

    Tourist arrivals in Rhodes were stable, recorded at around last year' s levels in August, a development with positive impact on the island' s economy, official figures showed on Monday.

    Tourist arrivals at the Diagoras airport fell 3.67 pct in August, compared with the same month last year, with officials in the tourism sector saying the figure was "good", compared with a bigger percentage drop recorded in previous months.

    Tourism entrepreneurs on the island are also banking on an extended season in September.

    Tourist arrivals travelling via charters flights totaled 344,276 visitors in August, down from 357,394 in the same month last year, reflecting lower arrivals from Germany, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, but higher arrivals from Russia, France, Norway and the UK.

    [21] Positive prospects for increase in tourist wave to Greece from Russia

    Prospects for strengthening the tourist wave to Greece from Russia appear to be positive since in 2012 tourist arrivals are expected to exceed 1,000,000, as was stressed at the Greek-Russian tourist forum that is being organised by the Greek-Russian chamber of commerce, titled "Mapping the future" and which began its sessions on Monday and will be concluded on Tuesday at a hotel in Hersonissos in Iraklio, Crete.

    According to data presented, the flow of Russian tourists to Greece in the past years developed with the following rates: in 2009 275,000 arrived, in 2010 400,000, in 2011 740,000 and this year they are expected to reach 1,000,000.

    Greek-Russian Chamber of Commerce president Christos Dimas referred to the close relations between the two countries and to prospects in the tourism sector, stressing that this is also being proved by the great participation of leading Russian tour operators in the conference.

    Russian Ambassador Vladimir Chkhikvishvili said that Greece's revenues from Russian tourists amount to 700 million dollars on an annual basis. He called on the Greeks to visit his country, he referred to the visa issue and spoke of the issuing of passport visas of multiple entries of a three-year duration.

    Tourism ministry secretary general Tassos Liaskos said that the Russian market is opening to Greece continuously, based on relations already existing between the two countries. He added that the ministry will place emphasis on there being a feeling of security for Greece.

    [22] Spike in number of visas issued to Turkish citizens cited

    The number of tourists issued a visa to visit Greece from Turkey has increased by 20 percent in the past year, according at figures publicised by the Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation. Additionally, the fact that a visa is no longer required for visits by Turkish pupils and students to the country contributed to an increase in school excursions to Greece, the organisation stressed.

    Thessaloniki is linked to the neighbouring country with direct flights, rail and the new Egnatia motorway, a closed highway connecting the breadth of northern Greece, from the border with Turkey to the Ionian Sea.

    [23] Stocks begin week on a weak note

    Stocks were weak during the first trading session of the week at the Athens Stock Exchange, with investors sidelined, awaiting approval of a new package of austerity measures by the government, the arrival of the "troika" representatives and developments in the banking sector.

    The composite index of the market rose 0.69 pct to end at 642.37 points, off the day' s highs of 651.81 points, with turnover remaining a low 17.082 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 0.99 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 1.15 pct. The Telecoms (3.10 pct), Commerce (2.15 pct) and Personal Products (0.92 pct) sectors scored gains, while Health (5.03 pct), Food (2.54 pct) and Banks (2.24 pct) suffered losses.

    OTE (3.10 pct), Ellaktor (2.44 pct) and Folli Follie (2.10 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Cyprus Popular Bank (11.76 pct), Cyprus Bank (5.29 pct) and National Bank (2.84 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 58 to 55 with another 21 issues unchanged. NEL (17.24 pct), Sprider Stores (12.12 pct) and Spider (10.47 pct) were top gainers, while Atti-kat (18.52 pct), Sciens Holdings (18.38 pct) and Forthnet (13.73 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -0.66%

    Commercial: +2.15%

    Construction: -1.11%

    Oil & Gas: -0.58%

    Personal & Household: +0.92%

    Raw Materials: +0.72%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.30%

    Technology: -1.13%

    Telecoms: +3.10%

    Banks: -2.24%

    Food & Beverages: -2.54%

    Health: -5.03%

    Utilities: +0.27%

    Financial Services: +0.74%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1,34

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 2,66

    HBC Coca Cola: 14,48

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5,62

    National Bank of Greece: 1,37

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0,69

    OPAP: 5,54

    OTE: 2,66

    Bank of Piraeus: 0,25

    Titan: 12,99

    [24] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened slightly to 22.53 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 23.08 pct and the German Bund 1.35 pct. Turnover totaled 6.0 million euros, all buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued falling. The 12-month rate eased to 0.79 pct, the six-month rate fell to 0.53 pct, the three month rate fell to 0.27 pct and the one-month rate was 0.12 pct.

    [25] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 4.347 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 1,594 contracts worth 1.860 million euros, with 22,638 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 19,699 contracts worth 2.487 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank' s contracts (4,922), followed by Alpha Bank (2,118), Cyprus Bank (1,877), OTE (1,595), PPC (644), OPAP (1,109), Piraeus Bank (2,158), Cyprus Popular Bank (4,100), GEK (263), Ellaktor (250), Intralot (93), MIG (105) and Sidenor (62).

    [26] Foreign Exchange rates Tuesday

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

    U.S. Dollar 1,28

    Pound sterling 0,8

    Danish kroner 7,56

    Swedish kroner 8,54

    Japanese yen 99,91

    Swiss franc 1,22

    Norwegian kroner 7,41

    Canadian dollar 1,26

    Australian dollar 1,25

    General News

    [27] Stavros Niarchos Foundation to give 10 million euro to help children hit by crisis

    The Stavros Niarchos Foundation on Monday announced plans to donate 10 million euro to alleviate the plight of children and families hardest hit by the economic crisis.

    The money to be donated includes funding for day-care centres for children and babies throughout the country, amounting to 4.5 million euro, to be given in cooperation with the interior ministry. This will allow the enrolment of an additional 3,000 children in daycare and help working and unemployed mothers unable to find affordable daycare for their children.

    The foundation will also donate 5.3 million euro to the non-profit organisation "Prolipsis" in order to support a food aid and dietary training programme in schools during the coming school year. The programme was first launched in 34 state primary and secondary schools from April until June 2012 in the poorest regions of Attica and Thessaloniki and provided one free snack to 6,272 school children each day.

    This year, with the assistance of the Niarchos Foundation, the programme aims to cover the dietary needs of at least 18,000 children in state schools.

    Finally, 200,000 euro will be given to the non-profit organisation "Apostoli Anthropos" for the vaccination of Greek and immigrant children living in poverty or lacking health insurance.

    [28] Extra trains after midnight for Red Hot Chili Peppers fans

    The Athens urban rail company STA.SY has laid on extra trains from Irini station near the OAKA stadium after midnight on Tuesday, to assist the departure of fans leaving a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert taking place at OAKA in Athens on Tuesday night.

    According to an announcement, the last trains leaving Irini station on line 1 on Tuesday will be the following:

    Irini-Piraeus: 23:55, 00:10, 00:25

    Irini-Omonia: 00:40

    Irini-Kifissia: 23:53, 00:04, 00:14, 00:26, 00:41 and 00:56.

    [29] Benaki Museum to cut down opening hours due to crisis

    The Benaki Museum will launch the autumn season with two new art exhibitions in September - one by Valia Semertzidis and one by Costas Koulentianos - but plans to cut down opening hours for all its buildings by one day a week in a bid to cope with the economic crisis.

    As a result, the main building on Koumbari Street will be closed from Monday until Wednesday, opening from 9:00 until midnight on Thursday, 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.

    The Pireos Street Annexe will likewise be closed from Monday until Wednesday, opening from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

    The Museum of Islamic Art on Asomaton Street will be open from Thursday until Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and the N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery will be open from Wednesday until Sunday between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

    [30] Advance booking for Bob Wilson' s 'Odyssey' launched on Sept. 12

    Advance booking for this winter' s much anticipated theatrical performance of "Odyssey" by the National Theatre of Greece directed by Bob Wilson begins on Wednesday, Sept. 12.

    The National Theatre of Greece has commissioned the renowned artist Robert Wilson to create a unique production of the Greek classic Odyssey, to be presented at the Main Stage of the National Theatre.

    Robert Wilson, the avant-garde visionary, deals with the narration of the Homeric epos illustrating it with an unparalleled way. A fascinating show of an ancient Greek masterpiece is brought to the present by one of the most ingenious and creative artists of our time with an important ensemble of Greek actors.

    "Odyssey", a co-production with Milan' s Piccolo Theatro, will open in Athens on Oct. 26, 2012 and will run until March 2013 before opening in Milan for three weeks.

    [31] Thessaloniki Port Authority transfers two vessels to navy

    The Thessaloniki Port Authority has transferred two vessels to the Hellenic Navy for a symbolic price, with the vessels to be used for auxiliary purposes, it was announced on Monday.

    The towboat "Pindos" and the firefighting craft "Votsis" were offered in recognition of the navy' s notable contribution to the country' s security and to society in general, the port authority stated.

    [32] 151 kilos of cannabis seized, dealers arrested

    Three men aged 38, 40 and 81 were charged with drug trafficking on Monday, following their arrest on Sunday afternoon. Police acting on a tip-off located the three suspects as they were driving down the Athens-Patras national highway in two cars, ordering them to pull over.

    During a search of the cars, police found and confiscated 151 kilos of cannabis, as well as a small quantity of cocaine, a 9mm gun with cartridge, 1,000 euros in cash and three mobile phones.

    The suspects will be sent before Athens prosecutor. They are believed to be members of a gang involved in smuggling large quantities of drugs from Albania into Greece, especially in Athens.

    [33] Wildfires in northern Evia and in Marmari

    An extensive wildfire broke out at 18:30 on Monday in a forested region at Farakla in the north of the island of Evia, in eastern Greece. According to firemen, residential areas are in no danger but a forest is burning.

    The wildfire in Marmari in Karystos, also in Evia, is continuing. It has left the residential area and is burning scrubland. This wildfire has receded slightly and officers hope to place it under control.

    [34] Wildfire in Mani, extreme SE Greece

    A wildfire broke out in a mountainous region at the Kotronas site of eastern Mani (SE Peloponnese at noon on Monday.

    The blaze does not residential areas and was burning shrubland. Local firefighters back by water-dropping aircraft were dispatched to the scene.

    Weather Forecast

    [35] Fair on Tuesday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 2-7 beauforte. Temperatures between 15C and 35C. Fair in Athens with northerly 3-6 beauforte winds and temperatures between 21C and 33C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 18C and 31C.

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

    Finalisation of a 11.5-billion-euro package of austerity measures and taxation of Greek citizens' untaxed deposits abroad mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "20-30 percent tax on bank deposits abroad".

    AVRIANI: "Americans predict war in Cyprus over natural gas".

    DIMOKRATIA: "2.1 billion euros in taxes every month!"

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "10-day marathon with 'prize' of 31.5 billion euros".

    ESTIA: "Greece shouldn't grumble, but create".

    ETHNOS: "Parties impose their ... 'measures'."

    IMERISSIA: "Burning reversals".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Cuts that will bring two more years of recession".

    TA NEA: "The 'golden eggs' cartel in poultry sector".

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