|Friday, 19 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-09-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 6 September 2012 Issue No: 4167
 PGS to carry out seismic tests in Ionian, southern CreteGreece will launch a tender of oil and gas explorations in the Ionian Sea and southern Crete, based on results of seismic tests which will be carried out by Norwegian company Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS), Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Evangelos Livieratos announced on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters during a news conference presenting the results of a tender for geological tests, Livieratos said studies would begin immediately after the signing of a contract, approximately in the next two weeks.
The studies will be carried out on an area of 225,000 square kilometers, in a maritime zone between 100-400 km from the coasts of western Greece and southern Crete. The studies are expected to be completed by the end of the year, while an assessment was expected to be ready by the summer of 2013.
The studies will not burden the state, which expects to benefit by around 12-13 million euros from the sale of data to oil exploration firms. The costs of such seismic studies or tests is estimated at around 15 million euros.
 PASOK leader contacts PM, seeks coalition leaders' meetingPASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, head of the second-largest party in the three-party coalition backing the government, has contacted Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on the telephone to request a meeting of the coalition's leaders and an official briefing on meetings held by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras in Berlin, sources told AMNA on Wednesday.
The third coalition member Democratic Left (DIMAR) has also requested a meeting of the party leaders backing the government and a briefing on the finance minister's talks with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble, as well as a discussion on the issues ahead of finalising spending cuts of 11.5 billion euro demanded of Greece, according to an earlier AMNA report citing reliable sources.
 DIMAR requests coalition gov't party leaders joint meetingThe smallest member of the three-party coalition backing the government, the left-wing Democratic Left (DIMAR) party, has requested a joint meeting of the three coalition leaders, according to reliable AMNA sources. DIMAR requested the meeting between prime minister Antonis Samaras (New Democracy), Evangelos Venizelos (PASOK) and Fotis Kouvelis (DIMAR) in order to discuss all the issues ahead of the finalisation of the 11.5-billion-euro spending cuts package and to be briefed on what Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras discussed with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble.
 DIMAR: gov't cohesion must be preserved at all costsDemocratic Left (DIMAR) party spokesman Andreas Papadopoulos, in statements to Vima radio station on Wednesday, said that the typical majority of DIMAR MPs will rise to the occasion and back painful measures passed by the government, understanding that the situation is crucial. DIMAR is one of the three parties in the coalition supporting the government.
He stressed that the decisions that will keep Greece in the euro must be carried out at all costs and that there was no alternative path - apart from the rocky road of default and the country's return to the drachma.
"Such a development, for us, would be catastrophic," Papadopoulos said but at the same time ruled out the imposition of party discipline when it came to the vote.
He noted that DIMAR will make efforts "to save whatever possible", especially for those on very low salaries and pensions, and possibly some details in relation to special salary scales.
"From that point on, however, the government must at all costs retain its cohesion. Any other development would be a disaster," he emphasised.
Meanwhile, DIMAR MP Odysseas Voudouris on Wednesday repeated his refusal to back any 'horizontal' cuts introduced by the government, also in statements to 'Vima'.
"I am stating, in the most categoric way, that I am consistent with our promises. I am saying that I support, with all my strength, the policy agreement. The policy agreement [between the coalition parties] expressly states that there will be no horizontal cuts," Voudouris underlined.
He insisted that the 11.5-billion-euro in budget-balancing measures demanded by Greece's creditors must be sought from other sources, citing an estimated 60-70 billion euro swallowed up by Greece's informal economy, the estimated 20 billion euro spent on bureaucracy and corruption, another 30-40 billion lost through tax evasion and several billions on waste.
 SYRIZA spokesman: Extension will lead us nowhereMain opposition SYRIZA party spokesman Panos Skourletis on Wednesday said "an extension, when all other parametres of applied policy remain the same, will lead us nowhere. It will result in an extension of the recession and the prolongation of our end."
 Independent Greeks party terms PM's meetings with foreign dignitaries a 'show'The Independent Greeks party on Wednesday termed Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's meetings with foreign dignitaries at the Maximos Mansion a "show" and claimed that Samaras "is seeking a lifejacket" in these meetings.
The party's spokesman Christos Zois said in a statement that "while the painful measures have been finalised and have the approval of Mr. (German Finance Minister Wolfgang) Schaeuble, Mr. Samaras, in order to convince his deputies and to save the government's cohesion, is seeking a lifejacket in meetings and statements by foreign visitors-interlocutors of his who come to Athens exactly for this purpose".
The Parliamentary Group of the Independent Greeks party will convene on Friday September 7 under the chairmanship of the party's president Panos Kammenos. The meeting will be held at 11 in the morning.
 KKE leader: Crisis has not yet reached 'rock bottom'Communist Party (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga, in statements on Wednesday, said "the economic crisis will reach rock bottom, but it is not yet there, neither in Greece nor in the eurozone -- and even if (the economy) partly recovers , people will live in condition of the '50 and '60s".
The KKE leader said that neither the government nor main opposition SYRIZA will choose a drachma return, adding that if Greece is expelled from the eurozone it will be the outcome of developments in the eurozone and in EU.
 Commission declines comment on press reports of 'troika non paper' to labour ministryBRUSSELS (AMNA / V. Demiris)
The European Commission on Wednesday declined to confirm Greece-based press reports claiming that the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" sent an unsigned e-mail, referred to as a "non paper" in the first article, to the Greek labour ministry, calling for a radical revision of labour relations in the country.
Simon O'Connor, a Commission spokesman, told reporters that a reform process was currently underway in Greece and merely noted that significant progress has been made in the sustainability of public finances, boosting economic competitiveness and creating a more dynamic laboUr market.
He also stressed that benefits for employment would maximise when the Greek economy returns to growth rates.
He added that the troika's mission to Greece will last several weeks, although he said it was impossible to determine this period.
 Herman Van Rompuy will not meet SYRIZA leader Tsipras in AthensBRUSSELS (AMNA/V. Demiris)
European Council president Herman Van Rompuy will not meet with the president of the Parliamentary Group of SYRIZA (the Radical Left Coalition) Alexis Tsipras, during his visit to Athens on Friday September 7, 2012.
The statement was m?de in Brussels on Wednesday, in reply to a relevant question by AMNA, by Carla Valtorta, the representative of Van Rompuy.
 PM Samaras holds talks with Germany's FuchtelGreek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras received on Wednesday Germany's Federal Parliamentary State Secretary to the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry Hans-Joachim Fuchtel.
Replying to a question after the meeting at the Maximos Mansion, Fuchtel said that Greek coitizens should be convinced that the path that Greece is walking on now is the only one for its salvation.
The question related to the mobilisation of trade unionists of the Security Forces opposite the main entrance of the Maximos Mansion, where representatives of the federations of police, port officials and firemen hoisted a banner that read : "In the commodity of the security of the citizen there is no room for discounts and cutbacks". The trade unionists reached the location at the time when the meeting between the prime minister and Fuchtel was under way.
"I am a democrat I respect the protest manifestations of all, however all must be convinced that the path that Greece is walking on now is the only one for its salvation," Fuchtel said, adding that "I realise the reactions. And in my country there are protests when measures are taken, however it is important that the citizens (of Greece) are convinced that the measures being taken are the best".
On his part, Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, who was present at the meeting, as well as Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni, said that with Fuchtel they had a good cooperation on issues mainly concerning the transfer of know-how to the public sector.
 DM Panayiotopoulos terms meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu 'constructive'Defence cooperation between Greece and Israel and issues of wider interest as well as the hydrocarbons issue were raised at the meeting between Greek National Defence Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, on Wednesday.
Panayiotopoulos, who is carrying out an official visit to Israel, termed in a statement the meeting with the Israeli prime minister "constructive and very useful".
"We are prepared to promote even more the good defence cooperation relations, among other things in the sector of cooperation in the production of armaments material, in joint military programmes, in joint military exercises and in other sectors," the Greek minister said.
The visit, according to the Defence minister, is part of the framework for the creation of a permanent and stable environment of security, good neighbourliness, peaceful coexistence and cooperation in the international and regional environment, "for the great national effort that the Greek people are making in this very difficult period to yield results".
"I am here in Israel to promote by order of the prime minister, Antonis Samaras,this policy, the policy of security for our country," Panayiotopoulos added..
On Thursday, the Defence minister will be meeting the alternate prime minister and Defence minister of Israel, Ehud Barak.
 FM Avramopoulos to represent Greece at UN General Assembly's 67th ConferenceNEW YORK (AMNA/P. Panagiotou)
Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will represent Greece at the sessions of the 67th Conference of the UN General Assembly, whose official beginning will take place on Tuesday September 25, with addresses by the international organisation's Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama. On the previous day, September 24, the UN will hold a "High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law".
The Foreign Minister of Serbia, Vuk Jeremic, has been elected president of the General Assembly's 67th Conference. Issues expected to dominate the discussions will include Iran's nuclear programme, the situation in Syria, civil conflicts, human rights violations and the economic crisis.
Avramopoulos will address the UN's General Assembly on the evening of Thursday September 27, referring to issues of Greek and international interest. The Foreign minister will be having meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly with foreign leaders and counterparts, while in parallel he will be having contacts with economic officials of the U.S. He is also expected to hold meetings with Archbishop Dimitrios, members of the Greek American community and officials of the Jewish lobby.
The Republic of Cyprus will be represented at this year's UN General Assembly by President Demetris Christofias, who will be making an address on the first day of the General Assembly's sessions, shortly after the address by the American president.
 FM in Cairo on ThursdayForeign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Thursday will travel to Cairo together with his counterparts from Malta, Cyprus and Italy, an initiative to reportedly send a message of solidarity and support to the people of Egypt on their democratic course.
In a statement, foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras, referring to Avramopoulos' visit, noted that "the EU must show that it is present at this juncture in this specific region, especially given Egypt's significance to stability and balance in the Middle East".
 FM spokesman on Syria conflictForeign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Wednesday, in reference to developments in Syria, said they confirm the "worst scenarios" and that Athens is closely watching the situation. He also called the Syria conflict a civil war with tragic consequences for the Syrian people.
Delavekouras referred to Syria's historic role in the "balance" of the region and underlined that an urgent agreement between rival sides must be reached.
He also noted that "no thought of a military intervention in Syria exists" and that the support and presence of the international community must focus on the effort for a political dialogue on the designation of the country's course, adding that a viable solution will evolve through a political procedure, which will open under two conditions: a change in leadership and an immediate cease of fire.
Finally, referring to the issue of refugees pouring out of the strife-plagued country, Delavekouras said approximately 200,000 refugees have taken shelter in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, whereas Greece is carefully monitoring the development.
 Foreign ministry on press articles concerning Muslim minority schoolsForeign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Wednesday criticised a press report claiming that the Muslims of Thrace were being generously subsidised to enroll their children in minority schools, claiming it was part of an effort by "extremist circles to ghettoise Greek citizens of Muslim descent".
"We must move ahead together, united, in order to overcome the crisis and not allow extremist circles to marginalise parts of Greek society," he stressed.
 Meeting held at Finance ministry on health sector problemsAn extensive interministerial session focusing on the financing of the health system and the state's debts and lasting for about three hours was concluded at the Finance ministry on Wednesday evening.
Speaking afterwards, Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos said "we are working to find the best solutions for citizens to continue to enjoy the health services and for us to meet the outstanding obligations to pharmacists, doctors and suppliers".
Aloso according to Lykourentzos, there shall be specific results that shall be announced in specific timetables.
 All pending issues settled in two months, alternate health minister saysAlternate Health Minister Marios Salmas on Wednesday said all pending issues, i.e. outstanding payments to providers, with which the ministry of health is faced will be settled in two months.
Addressing a Parliament's standing committee on social affairs, he said "we are asking for a truce and a grace period," adding that "the ministry of health intends to meet all its obligations."
He clarified that redeeming the social insurance beneficiaries who had to pay with their own money for the medicines they needed is the top priority, followed by the number two priority, namely, to settle any outstanding issues with the health system providers.
Salmas stressed that a major effort is being made to come up with the necessary resources before the end of the year, adding that "we are trying to implement spending cuts without cutting the services offered."
Salmas said the timetable for the repayment of pharmacists, doctors and medical suppliers will be defined after an inter-ministerial meeting to take place later in the day.
 Justice ministry sends new evidence on illegal fuel trade to financial prosecutorJustice ministry general secretary Georgios Sourlas on Wednesday sent additional evidence to financial crimes prosecutor Grigoris Peponis relating to recent reports on illegal fuel trading appearing in the media on Monday and Tuesday.
In a statement, Sourlas noted that the latest revelations and reports acted to confirm earlier suspicions of extensive adulteration of fuel in the armed forces and the illegal fuel trade, whose cost to the Greek state exceed three billion euro a year.
He also pointed to statements on the issue made by former premier Lucas Papademos and said it was worth investigating whether measures proposed by Papademos at the time to stop tax evasion in the fuel trade had finally been implemented.
 Fuchtel, Stylianidis discuss cooperation on local government levelInterior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis on Wednesday had a working meeting with Germany's Federal Parliamentary State Secretary to the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, appointed as Germany's representative for boosting Greek-German cooperation on a local government level.
Stylianidis referred to such cooperation between local authorities in Greece and Germany as "mutually beneficial" and said that traditional ties of friendship between the two peoples helped establish "a relationship of mutual respect and esteem between the two states".
"It is a common goal to develop a strategic cooperation that aims at the exchange of knowhow and to mutual support, with the aim of accelerating the Eurozone's exit from the crisis," he added.
The minister noted that cooperation between the two governments and its extension to a local government level activated local communities in both countries, reinforcing the principle of European solidarity in practice and contributing to the success of the major effort underway.
Stylianidis has been appointed as Greece's equivalent to Fuchtel in issues related to bilateral cooperation on local government level. During the meeting, he presented a series of main areas that Greece believes the exchange of knowhow must focus on.
Among these are ways of improving efficiency in running local authorities, renewable energy sources, environmental and waste management issues, use of new technologies in administration, alternative forms of tourism and others.
The meeting between Fuchtel and Stylianidis was followed by a meeting between working teams from the Greek and German ministries.
 German federal Deputy Labour Minister to visit CorfuGerman federal Deputy Labour Minister Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, appointed to promote Greek-German local administration cooperation, will head a German delegation scheduled to visit the Ionian Sea island of Corfu on Sept. 7, it was announced on Wednesday.
According to the Ionian Sea Regional Government, the contacts will focus on the likelihood of cooperation with Germany's Vorpommern Rugen Region, as a follow up to an earlier meeting held on July 11.
 SACEUR Adm. James Stavridis wraps up formal visit to GreeceSupreme Allied Commander of Europe (SACEUR) US Adm. James Stavridis wrapped up a two-day formal visit to Greece on Wednesday.
Accompanied by Greek Chief of National Defence General Staff (GEETHA) Gen. Michael Kostarakos, he visited the 3rd Army Corps/NDC-GR, the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operation Training Center (NMIOTC) in Souda Bay, Crete, the NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI) and the Souda Bay Naval Station.
 Probe into Roumeliotis IMF statements sent to chief high court prosecutorA judicial investigation linked directly to statements by Greece's former representative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Panagiotis Roumeliotis, was delivered on Wednesday by financial crimes prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis to Supreme Court chief prosecutor Ioannis Tendes, a first step for the probe and related indictment to be conveyed to Parliament.
The investigation would be handed to Parliament's jurisdiction given that the involvement of individuals enjoying MP asylum status is reported or suspected.
The high-ranked judicial official will appoint another Supreme Court prosecutor to decide whether the indictment will be sent to Parliament, something that is more-or-less certain.
 SYRIZA proposal on Factfinding Committee on recourse to IMF tabled in ParliamentA proposal by the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party on the creation of a Factfinding Committee in Parliament that will probe the political and possibly the penal responsibilities on Greece's recourse to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Greece's subjection to the status of the memorandums and of supervision, a conclusion that according to SYRIZA had been decided in advance, was ultimately tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.
SYRIZA's proposal says, among other things, that the Greek people, "who are being sacrificed over the past three years in the name of fiscal restructuring, are entitled if nothing else to know in every detail who and to what degree bears the responsibility for the dramatic state in which society and the country are in".
 PASOK party on SYRIZA memorandum factfinding committee proposalThe PASOK party criticised the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on the occasion of Wednesday's proposal by the party of Alexis Tsipras on the creation of a factfinding committee "on the recourse of Greece to the IMF and the subjection of Greece to the status of the memorandums and of supervision".
The announcement says, among other things, that "SYRIZA is refusing to realise that its political argumentation, based on demagoguery, levelling, populism and conspiracy talk, was rejected by the Greek people in the double elections of May and of June".
In addition, it said that SYRIZA "shows a lack of respect towards Parliament and the laws of the state that the Greek Parliament ratifies, as is anticipated by the constitution and each government must implement".
 KKE on SYRIZA proposal for memorandum Factfinding CommitteeThe Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) Parliamentary Group, in an announcement on Wednesday, stressed that proposals like the one by SYRIZA (the Radical Left Coalition) on the creation of a Parliamentary Factfinding Committee for the memorandum "cloud the main problem, meaning that, it is a crisis of the capitalist mode of production, that no management version can prevent and manage it for the benefit of the people".
The announcement also said that "the KKE's draft law proposal on the abolition of the memorandums, the loan contracts and the implementing laws is a contribution to the development of the struggles of the people for the barbaric measures not to pass and for the reversal of this policy - and the stance of each party is judged there. The Parliamentary Group of KKE will state its position analytically in Parliament, after studying all the evidence".
Criminal investigation ordered in ATEbank
Financial Attorney Grigoris Peponis on Wednesday ordered a criminal investigation in ATEbank following comments made by Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos over "structural problems and failure" that brought the bank to a dire situation.
The central banker, addressing the Parliament's Economic Affairs Commission a month ago, had referred to actions such as purchases of derivatives and other "toxic" investment products which gradually led the bank to a very bad financial condition. Provopoulos had noted that ATEbank's recent problems were not just the result of a haircut in bond holdings, but to chronic structural problems, saying that ATEbank's profits in the period 1997-2010 totaled just 190 million euros, despite receiving capital injections totaling 4.0 billion euros.
 Government, banks discuss restructuring of private sector loansThe government plans to present by the end of September an integrated plan to help overindebted households and enterprises.
The issue was discussed during a meeting on Wednesday between the political leadership of the developmentministry with representatives of the Hellenic Bank Association.
The meeting's participants agreed to continue contacts with all interested parties.
Ministry sources told AMNA that the meeting focused on the situation of so-called "bad loans", with Greek bankers underlining that the sector has already begun restructuring loans.
The same sources did not exclude a new legislative intervention on the issue, if the EC-ECB-IMF troika approved such a move in order to avoid any additional burdens on a bank recapitalisation plan.
The ministry also examined a plan for domestic banks to take a more active role in the evaluation of investment plans.
 Dep. Energy minister meets with Azeri ambassadorDeputy Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Makis Papageorgiou on Wednesday received Azerbaijan's ambassador to Greece Rahman Mustafayev.
The meeting focused on heightened interest in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project, which will carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea region to Europe. A discussion was held on bilateral energy related relations, their continuity and further enhancement.
The consortium developing the Shah Deniz offshore gas field is expected to announce soon which of the available pipeline options has been selected for the implementation of the project. In the running are the TAP (Turkey-Greece-Albania-Italy) pipeline and the Nabucco pipeline (Turkey-Bulgaria-Eastern Balkans).
 Greek minister for shipping wraps up visit to NicosiaNICOSIA (AMNA - A. Viketos)
Greek Shipping and Aegean Minister Constantine Mousouroulis on Wednesday met Cyprus House of Representatives Speaker Yiannakis Omirou and exchanged views on the Cypriot and Greek economies. No statements were made after the meeting.
A Cyprus Parliament statement said that Omirou and Mousouroulis agreed that an exit from the crisis will require measures to enhance growth and stressed the contribution of shipping to this effort. Mousouroulis also briefed Omirou on his ministry's goals in terms of boosting shipping activity and exploiting this major sector in Greece.
Omirou also referred to the current standstill in efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem, which he blamed on the inflexible and provocative stance adopted by Turkey. He stressed that the Cyprus issue was a problem of violation of international laws by Turkey, which refused to recognise the Cyprus Republic and continued to dispute Cyprus' rights to its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Mousouroulis repeated Greece's steadfast support for an end to the Turkish occupation in northern Cyprus and for finding a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue.
The Greek minister wrapped up his visit to Cyprus by meeting the head of the European Commission's Representation Georgios Markopouliotis.
 Development minister receives Ukrainian ambassadorDevelopment, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport & Networks Minister Costis Hadzidakis on Wednesday received Ukrainian ambassador to Greece, Volodymyr Shkurov, at the ministry.
The two men discussed bilateral economic relations, additional efforts to boost trade and investment cooperation, as well as priorities of the economic agenda between Ukraine and Greece, according to a press release issued by the Ukrainian embassy in Athens.
 TURSAB: 500,000 Turkish tourists in Greece for 2012The prospect of greater tourism cooperation between Greece and Turkey dominated talks on Wednesday between Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni meeting and a delegation representing the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (Tursab) along with officials of its Greek equivalent, HATTA.
Kefalogianni pledged that her ministry will study every issue brought up by the two tourism sector associations.
The Turkish side noted that easier access to Schengen visas for several Greek isles (a successful pilot programme instituted by Greece this summer) have substantially aided in tourist arrivals from the neighbouring country, while adding, that relevant visa-issuing procedures must become even more efficient at the Greek consulates in Izmir and the small harbour town of Bozburun.
According to Tursab president Basaran Ulusoy, an estimated 11 million Turkish tourists take holidays inside and outside Turkey every year, 500,000 of which vacation in Greece.
 Porto Carras eyes seasonal operation, instead of full yearThe management of Sithonia Hotel and Casino on Porto Carras in Halkidiki prefecture is examining the possibility of downsizing to a six-month operation of its resort.
According to an announcement to the Athens Stock Exchange, the decision is related to dropping hotel revenues over the last three years.
The company submitted a request to the tourism ministry, asking for the seasonal operation.
 Greek judges, civil engineers take appeal to Euro Court over salary cutsGreek judges and civil engineers on Wednesday took recourse to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming violation of fundamental rights of the citizens due to the first Memorandum signed by the then government with EC-ECB-IMF creditors.
The Athens Bar Association and the Technical Chamber of Greece filed a motion in Strasbourg following an irrevocable Council of State (CoS) ruling that found the first Memorandum, which opened the way for cuts in salaries, pensions and benefits in the wider public sector, legal and constitutional.
The CoS is Greece's highest administrative court.
 Stocks jump 3.57 pctStocks ended at new four-month highs at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, supported by strong buying interest for all share categories, while turnover also rose significantly.
Analysts said market sentiment has improved following positive comments vis-a-vis Greece made by several high-ranking European officials, combined with optimism that the ECB will announce strong action in bond markets on Thursday.
The composite index of the market jumped 3.57 pct to end at 675.07 points, while turnover jumped to 53.535 million euros.
The Big Cap index soared 4.44 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 3.51 pct higher. The Food sector (1.14 pct) was the only one to end lower, while Commerce (10.28 pct), Utilities (7.96 pct), Health (7.34 pct), Personal Products (7.17 pct) and Banks (6.30 pct) were top gainers. Cyprus Popular Bank (12.5 pct), Folli Follie (10.44 pct), PPC (8.92 pct) and MIG (7.81 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Coca Cola 3E (1.16 pct) and Ellaktor (0.76 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 97 to 38 with another 17 issues unchanged. Sprider Stores (18.92 pct), Forthnet (17.5 pct) and NEL (16.67 pct) were top gainers, while Varagis (19.76 pct), Sciens (19.1 pct) and Spider (15.79 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +5.55%
Personal & Household: +7.17%
Raw Materials: +5.46%
Travel & Leisure: +6.50%
Food & Beverages: -1.14%
Financial Services: +4.73%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, OPAP, National Bank and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1,45
Public Power Corp (PPC): 2,93
HBC Coca Cola: 14,48
Hellenic Petroleum: 5,99
National Bank of Greece: 1,46
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0,74
Bank of Piraeus: 0,26
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose slightly to 20.52 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 20.46 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 21.96 pct and the German Bund 1.44 pct. Turnover was a total 3.0 million euros, of which 2.0 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 1.0 million one buy order.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to 0.78 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.52 pct, the three-month rate fell to 0.26 pct and the one-month rate was 0.12 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.21 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover rising to 12.407 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,031 contracts worth 4.873 million euros, with 23,371 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 38,701 contracts worth 7.534 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (11,903), followed by Alpha Bank (10,394), OTE (4,794), PPC (2,370), OPAP (2,481), Piraeus Bank (2,018), Cyprus Popular Bank (391), Mytilineos (247), GEK (374), Eurobank (165), Ellaktor (168) and Intralot (341).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference 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 8,57
Japanese yen 100,15
Swiss franc 1,22
Norwegian kroner 7,42
Canadian dollar 1,26
Australian dollar 1,25
 Police release first results of crackdown on illegal immigrationResults of a police crackdown on illegal migration and the presence of illegal migrants, particularly in central Athens, were released by Greek Police (EL.AS) on Wednesday, a month after a high-profile operation was launched.
According to figures, the number of illegal migrants that sneaked into the country by crossing the Evros River -- along the Greek-Turkish frontier -- dropped 84 pct since Aug. 4, when the operation was launched in downtown Athens and along the Evros border region.
A total of 1,121 foreign nationals were arrested in the Evros region since the operation was launched, compared with 6,991 in 2011.
In the greater Athens area, a total of 16,836 foreign nationals were checked, with 2,144 arrested for not meeting the legal conditions for residency in Greece, while others were arrested for various offenses, police said.
During the operation, police conducted a total of 198 legal searches of residences and located three warehouses with millions of counterfeit brand name items inside.
Eleven individuals (foreign nationals and Greek citizens) were arrested for illegal weapons possession, drug charges, hosting illegal migrants and obstructing traffic at traffic intersections (panhandling).
Inspections in 38 brothels resulted in 79 arrests (foreign nationals and Greek citizens) on prostitution-related violations, with 40 detained foreign nationals facing deportation.
A total of 238 women (foreign nationals and Greek citizens) were arrested for street prostitution, 10 of which tested HIV positive.
Speaking to a private Athens radio on Wednesday, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said the government intends to have the "Xenios Zeus" crackdown implemented across greater Athens and in other cities nationwide.
Finally, asked about the ministry's stance toward street demonstrations and protests, he said Athens' streets should not "be left to the mercy of demonstrators."
 Malaria case reported in ThessalyA case of malaria was reported on Wednesday in central Greece. A seven-year-old girl was hospitalised in critical condition at the Larissa hospital after being transferred from nearby Trikala.
This is the first case of malaria recorded this year in the region. The girl lives in Athens and was on holiday with her grandparents in Trikala. Earlier, she had visited Laconia prefecture, extreme southern Greece, a prefecture where several malaria cases were recorded last year.
 Foreign nat'l arrested for attempted rapeA 24-year-old Syrian man was arrested on Wednesday in Rethymno, Crete, on attempted rape charges.
According to a police statement taken from a Romanian woman, 33, a suspect allegedly entered her apartment from an open balcony door and attempted to rape her.
The woman resisted and started shouting, causing a lone suspect to flee.
The foreign national was later arrested in the incident.
 Police dismantle ring robbing elderly womenPolice have dismantled a ring, which included three children aged 11, 12 and 16, that robbed elderly women in the district of Glyfada.
Police of the DIAS group arrested six people in Glyfada on Tuesday morning (the three children and another three people aged 19, 22 and 25) after robbing earlier in the same district with the use of force three elderly women of their chains and gold crosses. Investigations revealed that the perpetrators have carried out another two robberies against women lately.
The perpetrators have been brought before a prosecutor, while investigations are being carried out to ascertain whether they are involved in any other offences.
 Antiquity smuggling arrested in CorinthA 35-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday in Corinth, charged with antiquity smuggling.
Police, acting on a tip-off, raided his house and recovered seven parts of ancient columns and steles, along with numerous other artifacts.
The suspect will be sent before a local prosecutor.
 Ukrainian World Congress to hold annual meeting in GreeceThe annual grand assembly of the Ukrainian World Congress will be held at the SE Athens seaside resort of Anavyssos on Friday, Sept. 7.
The world congress is the international coordinating body of Ukrainian communities abroad, and represents the interests of more than 20 million Ukrainians.
The specific assembly marks the fifth such world congress for the Ukrainian Diaspora.
 Fair on ThursdayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday. Winds 2-7 beauforte. Temperatures between 17C and 34C. Fair in Athens with variable 3-4 beauforte winds and temperatures between 19C and 34C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 17C and 30C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe EU Summit in October, expected to focus on Greece and Spain, the dispute between doctors and pharmacists over payments with social security fund and reactions to the government's intention to cut salaries for special categories of state sector employees mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Abolition of tenure for those not hired via ASEP!"
AVGHI: "Gov't planning abolition of lowest salary".
AVRIANI: "Public debt sinks the economy".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The plan for uniform tax in real estate".
ESTIA: "Truth over labour issues".
ETHNOS: "The extension of Greek programme on Hollande -Schauble agenda".
IMERISSIA: "Optimistic message from Hollande and Schauble".
KATHIMERINI: "Hollande's window for extension".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Markets demand crucial decisions in eurozone".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party parliamentary group's important interventions for relief of working class families".
TA NEA: "Schauble's list and Hollande's life vest".
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