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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-09-07

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

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

Friday, 7 September 2012 Issue No: 4168

CONTENTS

  • [01] Unemployment climbs to 24.4 pct in June 2012
  • [02] PM Samaras holds meeting with representatives of Northern Greece industrialists
  • [03] Meeting between party leaders possibly on Sunday evening
  • [04] PASOK leader stresses displeasure at PM's refusal to meet other coalition leaders
  • [05] SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman says Rompuy's refusal to meet with Tsipras is unacceptable
  • [06] SYRIZA, Independent Greeks support the demands of uniformed police, firefighters and coastguard
  • [07] Policemen conclude protest rally to Parliament
  • [08] Police union block riot police HQ to protest cutbacks
  • [09] DM Panayiotopoulos holds talks with Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak
  • [10] Greek FM participates in four-nation mission to Cairo
  • [11] Fuchtel holds meeting with Peloponnese Region delegation under Tatoulis
  • [12] Gov't, judges at loggerheads over pay cuts
  • [13] KKE calls for urgent action to help unemployed
  • [14] Foreign Minister Avramopoulos' interview with CNA
  • [15] Labour ministry abolishes 12 consultant positions in cost-cutting drive
  • [16] Restrictive conditions imposed on Golden Dawn party deputy lifted
  • [17] ECB says new collateral rules not applicable to Greece
  • [18] PASOK party on ECB decisions
  • [19] KKE party says big banking groups to benefit with Draghi proposal
  • [20] Financial crimes squad freezes assets of 121 suspected tax evaders
  • [21] 20 bln euros sent abroad in 2009-2011 alone
  • [22] German state secretary attends meeting at Greek Tourism Organisation
  • [23] Deputy Development minister holds meeting with BSTDB president
  • [24] International maritime labour convention ratified by parliamentary committee
  • [25] Business closures rose to 27 pct in Thessaloniki, report
  • [26] IKA-ETAM profiling system unveiled major fraud
  • [27] Tax deliquency rate in certain tourist destinations at 51.1 percent
  • [28] Car sales down 44.1 pct in August
  • [29] Greek stocks continue moving higher
  • [30] The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, National Bank, OPAP and Alpha Bank.
  • [31] Greek bond market closing report
  • [32] ADEX closing report
  • [33] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [34] Armata 2012: Re-enactment of Naval Battle of Spetses
  • [35] Two migrant traffickers, 17 illegal migrants arrested in Evros
  • [36] Elderly man found dead in Athens
  • [37] Rainy on Friday
  • [38] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Unemployment climbs to 24.4 pct in June 2012

    Greek unemployment climbed to 24.4 percent in June from 23.5 percent in the preceding month of May and 17.2 percent in the corresponding month in 2011, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) announced on Thursday.

    The number of employed amounted to 3,766,415 persons. The number of unemployed amounted to 1,216,410 while the number of inactive to 3,372,097.

    The number of employed decreased by 358,340 persons compared with June 2011 (a 8.7% rate of decrease) and by 34,337 persons compared with May 2012 (a 0.9% rate of decrease).

    Unemployed increased by 358,334 persons (a 41.8% rate of increase) compared with June 2011 and by 50,666 persons compared with May 2012 (a 4.3% rate of increase).

    Inactive persons -that is, persons that neither worked neither looked for a job- increased by 20,194 persons (a 0.6% rate of increase) compared with June 2011 and by 5,251 persons compared with May 2012 (a 0.16% rate of increase).

    [02] PM Samaras holds meeting with representatives of Northern Greece industrialists

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met at the Maximos Mansion on Thursday with the representatives of the Federation on Northern Greece Industrialists, in the presence of the ministers of Macedonia and Thrace and of Development.

    The meeting was also held in light of the prime minister's presence at the inauguration of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Saturday, while the businessmen delivered a memorandum containing their positions and proposals on the handling of the crisis and the economy's recovery.

    According to the Federation's president, Greek businesses and citizens have reached a marginal point, while the industrialists stressed that "the exit from the crisis passes from the tangible support of the economy's private sector".

    The Federation requested from the government the immediate implementation of all those measures that will increase liquidity immediately and will improve competitiveness in the market, with the aim of the existing jobs being saved and society and businesses to breathe.

    As regards issues concerning Northern Greece, the Federation's board requested from the prime minister the strengthening of the Innovation Zone and pointed out to him the risk of de-investing that is at the gates.

    According to reports, Samaras showed understanding for their demands and stressed that the government's main target is the restoration of Greece's reliability abroad, since only in this way will the path also open for a series of actions that will boost growth and liquidity and entrepreneurship.

    [03] Meeting between party leaders possibly on Sunday evening

    Efforts are being made late Thursday for the meeting between the leaders of the three parties supporting the government, to ultimately take place on Sunday evening.

    Associates of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras communicated with PASOK and the Democratic Left parties for the meeting to be finalised. The meeting would be taking place after the meeting that Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras will be having with the troika on Sunday afternoon.

    A request had preceded by both PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis for the meeting on the measures, to take place, with the Maximos Mansion initially considering a meeting after the prime minister's contacts with Mario Draghi of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt on Tuesday as well.

    [04] PASOK leader stresses displeasure at PM's refusal to meet other coalition leaders

    Regular meetings of the three party leaders in the coalition government are essential, PASOK president Evangelos Venizelos stressed in statements to the radio station 'Real FM' on Thursday, criticising Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for refusing his request for a party leaders' meeting.

    "Should the Parliamentary majority not be kept informed on the government's actions? Governments in a parliamentary system exist because they are supported by Parliament's confidence," he pointed out, noting that this Parliamentary majority was currently made up of three political parties.

    Questioned about his party's criticism of the government's actions, Venizelos replied that the role of the two smaller parties in the coalition government, both his own PASOK and the Democratic Left (DIMAR), could not be that of a silent bystander that simply watched a single-party government follow the mistaken practices of the past.

    He also repeated his arguments in support of extending the repayment period for the Greek programme, given the depth of the recession in Greece, saying that spreading the measures over four years will give the economy a chance to breathe, reduce the recession and thus increase GDP and revenues.

    Venizelos was also sharply critical of a proposal made by Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras for a Parliamentary probe into the actions of past governments that led to the bailouts for Greece and the imposition of austerity programmes.

    [05] SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman says Rompuy's refusal to meet with Tsipras is unacceptable

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary spokesman Panagiotis Lafazanis on Thursday criticised European Council President Herman Van Rompuy for refusing a meeting with SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, despite the latter's formal request, stated that his stance on the issue was "unacceptable and not democratic".

    Speaking to an Athens-based private radio, he said that "criminal responsibilities" are likely referring to the outcome of a parliamentary investigation on the events leading to Greece signing the EU-IMF memorandum that has been requested by SYRIZA.

    [06] SYRIZA, Independent Greeks support the demands of uniformed police, firefighters and coastguard

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Thursday underlined the importance of unity between workers in all sectors.

    After meeting with the presiding boards of the security forces' trade union federations he expressed support for the mobilizations announced by the uniformed police, firefighters and coastguards.

    Tsipras stated that they were under an unprecedented attack and that the new austerity measures implemented by the government atthe orders of the troika were leading Greek workers to destitution. He said that the goal is to turn Greece into a "banana republic", a country with living standards lower than ever before in the past 30 years that can be compared only to countries in SE Asia.

    Tsipras stated characteristically that a 540-euro monthly salary is unacceptable for police officers who risk their lives patrolling the streets day and night.

    He lashed out at Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras saying that he is acting like an accountant and does not realize the gravity of his choices. He said that the members of the domestic troika try to pin the blame on each other and hide behind their finger, adding that social rage will be so fierce that no one will be able to hide from it.

    Referring to the intervention of MAT riot police officers in demonstrations, he said that popular reactions will be massive and there shouldn't be any forces assigned with the task of getting them under control.

    Meanwhile, opposition Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos announced that he will request a roll call vote on "the exhausting measures imposed on the uniformed police, firefighters and coastguards and the entire package of anti-popular measures introduced by the memorandum that are destroying the country."

    Kammenos met with sector representatives and expressed support for their demands, stressing that the political parties backing the government based their election campaigns on lies and that each MP should assume their share of responsibility.

    [07] Policemen conclude protest rally to Parliament

    Policemen staged a rally to Parliament on Thursday evening to protest cutbacks in special salary scales that are being promoted.

    Since early in the afternoon, policemen, firemen and port employees from all over Greece held banners with slogans on the defence of the rights of the security forces.

    Representatives of the political leadership and of opposition parties and the entire Parliamentary groups of the Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) parties were by the protesters' side.

    [08] Police union block riot police HQ to protest cutbacks

    Police employee union members on Thursday morning blocked the entrance of the riot police headquarters in the Goudi district of east Athens. The protest was part of unions' reactions against the government's plan to slash special payrolls in the wider public sector, which would affect police officers.

    Several riot police units were to leave for Thessaloniki in the morning, ahead of the opening of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), a more-or-less annual "venue" for protests, demonstrations and labour union demands over the past several decades.

    Police unionist Christos Fotopoulos said they will remain at the spot throughout the day.

    [09] DM Panayiotopoulos holds talks with Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak

    Greek National Defence Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos met on Thursday with the Alternate Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Israel Ehud Barak at the Defence ministry, on the second day of his official visit to Israel.

    According to a Greek defence ministry press release, the meeting of the two ministers focused on issues pertaining to the duties of the two ministries as well as wider issues of the region of mutual interest to Greece and Israel.

    After the official welcoming and the honours bestowed by a guard of honour, Panayiotopoulos held a private meeting with Barak.

    Welcoming Panayiotopoulos, Barak said "we are expecting to deepen and strengthen the excellent relations between the two Defence ministries and between our peoples."

    "Mr. minister, I welcome you sincerely here in Israel and I wish you a constructive visit, hoping it will constitute the first of a series of visits that will take place both here and in Athens. Welcome," Barak also said.

    After the meeting, Panayiotyopoulos made the following statement:

    "I wish to thank the Alternate Prime Minister of the state of Israel and Defence Minister Mr. Ehud Barak for the very fruitful, very substantive and very useful cooperation we had with him and with his associates.

    Our talks covered defence issues as well as wider issues of the region, of mutual interest of Greece and of Israel and hydrocarbons issues.

    The promotion of the Defence cooperation of the two countries is now a fact. We are preparing the committees of experts and of service officials to enable us to proceed with cooperation in the sector of the Defence industry as well. The intergovernmental meeting will also take place very soon, government to government, headed by the two prime ministers, where of course the results of cooperation in our sector and in other sectors will appear".

    [10] Greek FM participates in four-nation mission to Cairo

    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Thursday participated in a four-member mission of foreign ministers to Cairo. The other three countries represented were Italy, Cyprus and Malta. The aim of the mission was to send a message of solidarity and support to the people of Egypt on their democratic course.

    According to a Greek foreign ministry announcement, Avramopoulos made the following statement at the end of the meeting:

    "As you all know, the four of us represent governments of very close countries. We are neighbouring countries, we have had long lasting relations throughout the centuries. This is an initiative undertaken by all of us to come here, with a common voice, and express our support, our solidarity, and our encouragement to the leadership of this great nation. As it was said before, we had a very fruitful and constructive discussion with the President of the Republic of Egypt. Mr. Morsy was very open to us, spoke with a clear voice and we did the same; and tomorrow (Friday), under the Cypriot Presidency, the European family will gather in Paphos in Cyprus; we have one more opportunity to get together. It is an informal meeting on all of these issues that preoccupy our nations, Europe and the Middle East.

    "I am not going to repeat what my colleagues said before. One thing is sure, Egypt is going to play a very important role on whatever lies in the future in order to re-establish peace, stability and cooperation in the region. The European Union is here, with a common voice, and we are all determined to provide Egypt with our support, in order for it to proceed with all these deep democratic reforms, strengthen its social unity and, of course, pave the way for more deep relations with the great European family. So, in this spirit we are here today, to extend a message of solidarity and friendship. At the same time, we talked substantially on all of these major issues as is the Palestinian issue, the Syrian issue, and tomorrow in Paphos, we are going to stress and extend our common message. Here we are today, and we shall be back in order to give a follow-up to what we discussed, believing that by taking these initiatives, we really contribute to what is the dream of all nations in our region: peace, cooperation, friendship, and stability."

    [11] Fuchtel holds meeting with Peloponnese Region delegation under Tatoulis

    Germany's representative for grass-roots bilateral cooperation with Greece, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, on Thursday continued a round of meetings with Greek local authority officials by participating in a round-table discussion with a delegation from the Peloponnese Regional Authority in the city of Tripoli, led by the head of the regional authority Petros Tatoulis.

    [12] Gov't, judges at loggerheads over pay cuts

    Following the breakdown of talks with the government over planned cuts to their pay, Greek judges and public prosecutors will hold a meeting at 3:00 p.m. on Friday to decide what they will do next, not ruling out the possibility of an outright strike even though this is forbidden by the Constitution.

    A meeting with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Thursday ended in a deadlock, with the minister claiming he was unable to identify alternative measures to replace a new round of pay cuts for judges that will amount to 22-23 percent of their gross pay on average.

    Justices claim that they have already been subjected to pay cuts of 40 percent and object to the planned salary cuts as contrary to the Constitution. They are determined to respond dynamically and one of the proposals to be discussed at their meeting on Friday is that of a five-day warning strike.

    Representatives of judges will also be meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Friday with Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis while they have also asked for meetings with PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

    Meanwhile, all 71 public prosecutors in Athens have agreed to a form of 'work-to-rule' strike and will refuse to take work home outside office hours.

    [13] KKE calls for urgent action to help unemployed

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in a statement released on Thursday, called for urgent measures for the relief of the unemployed and their families along the lines of a draft law in recently tabled in Parliament.

    "The problem of unemployment cannot be tackled without radical changes and reversals. None of the parties that consider the capital path of growth and the EU as a one-way road can deal with unemployment, therefore the only medicine they use is to share it out to ever more workers, crippling worker rights," the statement said.

    [14] Foreign Minister Avramopoulos' interview with CNA

    NICOSIA (AMNA / A. Viketos)

    Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos expressed certainty that Greece will win the battle and remain part of Europe's hard core "proving wrong all those who do everything in their power to undermine the country's efforts and make it return to the drachma."

    In an interview with Cyprus News Agency (CNA) on the occasion of his participation in the EU Informal Foreign Ministers' (GYMNICH) meeting on Friday and Saturday, Avramopoulos stressed that Greece will let no opportunity be wasted, adding that the scientific research for fuel reserves in the Ionian Sea and south of the island of Crete, as well as exploitation of confirmed deposits in mainland Greece, are advancing rapidly.

    He said that relations between Greece, Cyprus and Israel have very positive prospects, adding that their further reinforcement will have a positive impact on regional issues.

    Avramopoulos expressed certainty that the Cypriot EU Presidency will complete its mission successfully and "show to the world the tragic mistake made by Turkey, namely, to insult the leading European institution and let another opportunity for progress in the Cyprus problem and its relations with the EU, pass unused."

    As regards developments in SE Mediterranean, Avramopoulos said that the EU should be present in the developments and realize that its contribution is a clear investment in its own stability and economic growth.

    [15] Labour ministry abolishes 12 consultant positions in cost-cutting drive

    Labour, Social Insurance and Welfare Minister Yiannis Vroutsis on Thursday announced that the positions of 12 special scientific consultants at the ministry had been scrapped as part of a cost-cutting drive, saving the ministry up to 400,000 euro a year.

    [16] Restrictive conditions imposed on Golden Dawn party deputy lifted

    Ther Athens Council of Appeals Court Judges on Thursday decided the lifting of the restrictive conditions that had beern imposed on the deputy and spokesman of the Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party Ilias Kasidiaris for involvement in an attack on a postgraduate student at the Polytechnioupolis in the Athens district of Zografou in 2007.

    The council accepted the deputy's request for the restrictive conditions of the ban on leaving the country and the compulsory appearance at a police station once a month, that had been imposed on him, to be lifted.

    Kasidiaris, who is now covered by regulations on the immunity of deputies and permission is required by Parliament for him to stand trial, has requested with an application by him the lifting of his Parliamentary immunity. Consequently, the relative file of proceedings has been forwarded to Parliament that will decide on whether or not his Parliamentarty immunity will be lifted.

    Financial News

    [17] ECB says new collateral rules not applicable to Greece

    A European Central Bank's decision, taken by the governing council on 18 July 2012, saying that the central bank will not accept as collateral bonds issued or guaranteed by the government to offer liquidity to Greek banks, is still applicable, the ECB said on Thursday.

    In a statement, the European Central Bank stressed that its governing council decided on additional measures to preserve collateral availability for counterparties in order to maintain their access to the Eurosystem's liquidity-providing operations. More analytically, the council has decided to suspend the application of the minimum credit rating threshold in the collateral eligibility requirements for the purposes of the Eurosystem's credit operations in the case of marketable debt instruments issued or guaranteed by the central government, and credit claims granted to or guaranteed by the central government, of countries that are eligible for Outright Monetary Transactions or are under an EU-IMF programme and comply with the attached conditionality as assessed by the Governing Council.

    The suspension applies to all outstanding and new assets of the type described above.

    The Governing Council of the ECB has also decided that marketable debt instruments denominated in currencies other than the euro, namely the US dollar, the pound sterling and the Japanese yen, and issued and held in the euro area, are eligible to be used as collateral in Eurosystem credit operations until further notice. This measure reintroduces a similar decision that was applicable between October 2008 and December 2010, with appropriate valuation markdowns.

    [18] PASOK party on ECB decisions

    The PASOK party, in an announcement on Thursday, termed the decisions taken by the European Central Bank regarding interventions in the bonds market, "very important for the defence of the eurozone's member-states against the profiteering pressures of the market."

    "Even late, such interventions can break the vicious circle. They must, however, also be supported by the necessary institutional measures," the announcement said.

    It is noted in the announcement that as far as Greece is concerned two elements are crucial: The prediction that the decision concerns also the member-states that are now outside the market, because this facilitates their exit to the market after the end of the stabilisation programme, as well as the prediction that the ECB will not have a status of privileged creditor.

    [19] KKE party says big banking groups to benefit with Draghi proposal

    The Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) Central Committee press office commented negatively, in an announcement on Thursday, on a proposal by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi for the bank to launch a new and potentially unlimited bond-buying programme "to lower struggling euro zone countries' borrowing costs and draw a line under the debt crisis".

    "The proposal by Draghi constitutes yet another temporary compromise in the framework of the aggravated conflicts in the EU. To the extent that it will be implemented, those who will benefit are the big banking groups which will get rid of insecure bonds of the overindebted countries, while for the peoples it will signal an escalation of the antipopular attack, since it necessitates the strict observance of the antipopular commitments of each country towards the apparatuses of the EU," the KKE announcement noted.

    [20] Financial crimes squad freezes assets of 121 suspected tax evaders

    The Greek financial crimes squad SDOE on Thursday announced that it had frozen the bank accounts and other assets of 121 individuals and companies under investigation for tax evasion.

    SDOE has also confiscated a number of luxury properties and shares at the Athens and New York stock exchanges, as well as investments in insurance companies, as the proceeds of tax evasion.

    A finance ministry announcement said the action was taken after recent SDOE investigations uncovered cases of extensive tax evasion involving fake invoices, failure to issue invoices and failure to pay VAT. After gaining access to the bank accounts of those involved, authorities found tens of millions of euro and foreign exchange that were frozen against the State's claims. Several more bank accounts of those under investigation are still due to be opened.

    In a comment on the issue, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras stressed that SDOE had been given specific instructions to freeze the assets of those found cheating the state of taxes and, by extension, placing the burden of fiscal consolidation on the shoulders of wage earners and pensioners. He also emphasised that there would be no more tolerance for those evading taxes, no matter how high their position.

    [21] 20 bln euros sent abroad in 2009-2011 alone

    The Financial Crime Squad (SDOE) on Thursday announced that it has a list with the names of 54,000 Greek citizens that allegedly transferred more than 100,000 euros each to banks abroad during the period 2009-2011.

    According to the data, the total amount of cash "exported" from the country is approximately 20 billion euros during that period alone.

    SDOE will analyse the data in order to detect money that was "laundered" or not declared to local tax authorities.

    According to government sources, the government aims to post substantial results in terms of combating tax evasion as well as in privatisations, which will 'counter-balance' huge reactions over the new austerity package worth 11.5 billion euros.

    [22] German state secretary attends meeting at Greek Tourism Organisation

    Ways of promoting cooperation between Greece and Germany in tourism and on a local authority level dominated a meeting held at the Greek Tourism Organisation, chaired by Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni and attended by Germany's representative for bilateral cooperation issues, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Hans-Joachim Fuchtel. The meeting was held on Wednesday.

    In statements afterward, Kefaloyianni referred to the potential for developing tourism on a local level, through tourism synergy that could be developed that could highlight the special features and comparative advantages of each area. She also underlined the great variety of the Greek tourism product and said the meeting had focused mainly on surveys of tourist satisfaction that could act as a tool for improving the tourism product.

    [23] Deputy Development minister holds meeting with BSTDB president

    Deputy Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructures, Transport and Networks Minister Notis Mitarakis on Thursday discussed issues concerning the relation between the Thessaloniki based Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) with Greece, with the bank's president and managing director Andrey Kondakov.

    In parallel, Mitarakis, who is also the alternate governor at BSTDB's Council of Governors, reassures that he will attend the annual Assembly of the Administrative Council that will take place in Halkidiki on September 19-20.

    [24] International maritime labour convention ratified by parliamentary committee

    The International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 was ratified by majority vote in the Greek Parliament's Standing Committee on Production and Trade on Thursday.

    The ratification was approved by all political parties, apart from ultra-right Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) MPs who voted "present" and Communist Party (KKE) MPs who gave a positive vote in the first reading.

    The ILO's Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world's millions of seafarers. The Convention aims to achieve decent work conditions for seafarers and secure economic interests in fair competition for quality shipowners. The new labour standard consolidates and updates international labour standards related to the Maritime sector adopted over the years.

    [25] Business closures rose to 27 pct in Thessaloniki, report

    Around three in 10 commercial enterprises located in the Thessaloniki city center have closed down, hit by a deep economic recession in the country, a report by the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE) said on Thursday.

    The report showed that 27 pct of enterprises located in the city's commercial center have closed down (1,399 in a total of 5,197 enterprises), up 19 pct in the same period last year. The report stressed that Thessaloniki's commercial center was drastically transforming itself, covering smaller area.

    The report also showed a dramatic increase in business closures in the city of Kozani, northern Greece, over the last six months, with business closures totaling 24.4 pct in all commercial streets in August, up from 19.9 pct in March. In Edessa, business closures rose slightly to 22.1 pct, while in Veria, business closures rose to 18 pct from 15.3 pct six months ago.

    [26] IKA-ETAM profiling system unveiled major fraud

    The profiling system activated a year ago has played a major role in the discovery of a major fraud involving falsified personnel information statements submitted to the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA-ETAM), the country's largest social insurance fund, its management stressed on Thursday.

    The announcement came in response to media reports alleging "holes" in the software used by IKA-ETAM.

    A total of 600,000 work days have been cancelled, corresponding to contributions of roughly 14 million euros that were never paid, IKA-ETAM's management stressed.

    [27] Tax deliquency rate in certain tourist destinations at 51.1 percent

    The tax delinquency rate in tourist destinations between Aug. 31 and Sept. 3 was 51.1 percent, according to the finance ministry.

    In 462 checks of restaurants and lodgings in general, the financial crimes squad recorded 1,069 violations.

    The highest tax delinquency rate was recorded on Crete and the lowest in northern Greece.

    [28] Car sales down 44.1 pct in August

    Car sales continued falling at an increasing rate in August, hit by a plunge in domestic demand with market analysts expecting a further decline in car sales as a new package of austerity measures was expected to further shrink citizens' available income.

    Car registrations fell 44.1 pct in August this year, after a 7.0 pct fall in the same month in 2011, with car sales in the January-August period totaling 55,678 units (new or used ones), down 40.7 pct from the same period last year.

    Motorcycle registrations fell 28.6 pct in August this year, after a 10.8 pct decline in August 2011. In the eight-month period, motorcycle registrations totaled 25,418 units, down 31.3 pct from 2011.

    [29] Greek stocks continue moving higher

    Greek stocks ended at new four-month highs in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday amid a positive climate in other European markets following the announcement by European Central Bank president, Mario Draghi, of an unlimited bond buying program in secondary markets. The composite index of the market rose 0.58 pct to end at 678.96 points, off the day's highs of 682.97 points. Turnover was a moderate 41.804 million euros.

    The Big Cap index eased 0.06 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 1.16 pct. The Commerce (5.24 pct), Industrial Products (2.54 pct) and Oil (1.52 pct) were top gainers, while Constructions (1.54 pct), Telecoms (1.06 pct) and Travel (1.0 pct) suffered lossed.

    Folli Follie (5.34 pct), Viohalco (2.68 pct) and MIG (1.93 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Cyprus Bank (4.35 pct), Titan (1.86 pct) and Alpha Bank (1.38 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 74 to 46 with another 25 issues unchanged. Athina (19.74 pct), Sato (18.92 pct), Marak Electronics (16.67 pct), Axon Holdings (20 pct), Compucon (19.66 pct) and Sciens Holdings (19.44 pct).

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +2.54%

    Commercial: +5.24%

    Construction: -1.54%

    Oil & Gas: +1.52%

    Personal & Household: +0.65%

    Raw Materials: +0.45%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.00%

    Technology: +0.62%

    Telecoms: -1.06%

    Banks: -0.85%

    Food & Beverages: +1.50%

    Health: +1.42%

    Utilities: +0.24%

    Financial Services: +0.47%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.43

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 2.91

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.70

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.08

    National Bank of Greece: 1.46

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.73

    OPAP: 5.87

    OTE: 2.79

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.27

    Titan: 13.19

    [31] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 20.19 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, form 20.52 pct on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 21.74 pct and the German Bund 1.55 pct. Turnover totaled 2.0 million euros, all buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued falling. The 12-month rate fell to 0.77 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.51 pct, the three-month rate was 0.26 pct and the one-month rate 0.12 pct.

    [32] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover an improved 12.361 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,848 contracts worth 5.350 million euros, with 23,371 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 49,259 contracts worth 7.011 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (16,321), followed by National Bank (13,252), Alpha Bank (8,214), Cyprus Bank (2,167), OTE (2,361), PPC (2,143), OPAP (2,438), Mytilineos (836), Intralot (155), Eurobank (241) and Ellaktor (273).

    [33] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.282

    Pound sterling 0.805

    Danish kroner 7.563

    Swedish kroner 8.630

    Japanese yen 100.85

    Swiss franc 1.223

    Norwegian kroner 7.483

    Canadian dollar 1.265

    Australian dollar 1.252

    General News

    [34] Armata 2012: Re-enactment of Naval Battle of Spetses

    The sinking of the Ottoman (Turkish) flagship in the Spetses Naval Battle on September 8, 1822 will be re-enacted in the Spetsian harbor on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 8, in the annual "Armata" anniversary celebration, combined with the celebration of the feast of the island's Panaghia Armata (the Virgin Mary of the Armata).

    Spetses is one of eight European cities participating in the European Network of Historical Reconstructions (re-enactments). In each of the participating cities -- Brussels (Belgium), Dublin and Cork (Ireland), Bailen (Spain), Slavkov (the Czech Republic), Tewkesbury (Britain), and Hydra and Spetses (Greece) -- the reproductions are considered historic events.

    The Battle of Spetses was fought on the night of September 8, 1822, during the Greek War of Independence, and is re-enacted on the same day each year on Spetses.

    On 8 September, 1822 the Ottoman navy set sail from Monemvasia to bring supplies to the Ottoman fortress of Palamidi in Nafplion, which at the time was under siege by the ground forces of Alexander Ypsilantis and the naval forces of Laskarina Bouboulina. The plan also included attacks on the rebelling Greek islands of Spetses and Hydra en route to Nafplion.

    As it neared the islets of Trikeri and Spetsopoula, the Ottoman navy faced the naval forces of the islands of Spetses, Hydra and Psara under the command of Andreas Miaoulis, who ordered the Greek navy to sails towards the Argolic Gulf and lure the Ottoman navy away from the islands. However, in fear of putting Spetses' security at risk, most of the ships' captains ignored Miaoulis' command and instead opened a direct attack against the Ottoman navy.

    The battle between the small Greek naval force and the huge Ottoman navy was fierce. Spetsiote captain Kosmas Barbatsis heroically manoeuvred his ship next to the Ottoman flagship and burned it down. Most of the Ottoman fleet was burnt or sunk in the battle, and the remaining Ottoman ships retreated. As a result, the Ottoman navy never reached Nafplion, which was liberated by the Greek freedom fighters two-and-a-half months later, on November 30.

    The re-enactment of the sinking of the Ottoman flagship is the climax in a week of cultural and other events commemorating the Battle of Spetses and celebrating the Panaghia Armata.

    The events, which open on Monday, September 3 and conclude on Sunday, September 9, include an exhibition of traditional folk costumes from the Aegean, an exhibition of photographs by D. Papadimos titled "From Egypt to Spetses", an exhibition of paintings by Al. Tsironis and D. Tassoulis, a children's choir concert, shadow theatre, Latin dances by a local dance troupe, a rock concert by the group Soul-less, and other musical performances.

    [35] Two migrant traffickers, 17 illegal migrants arrested in Evros

    The Orestiada Police illegal migration squad on Thursday reported the arrest of two Iraqi migrant traffickers, aged 25 and 19 years old, respectively, who were caught as they were trying to ferry 17 illegal migrants over the Evros River into Greece in a plastic-hulled boat.

    The migrant traffickers were spotted as they were letting the illegal immigrants off on the Greek shore. The 19-year-old tried to resist arrest and injured one of the arresting officers with an oar. He was also found to have a knife in his possession, which was confiscated.

    Ten of the illegal migrants in the boat were Iraqi nationals, four were Syrians and three were from Iran.

    The suspects arrested were taken before an Orestiada first-instance court public prosecutor and the case assigned to the Didimotichos Border Police department.

    [36] Elderly man found dead in Athens

    The body of a 75-year-old man was found in the central Athens district of Aghios Panteleimonas early Thursday. The body was found by passersbys.

    Initially police attributed the death to natural causes, but an autopsy indicated asphyxiation.

    Police are investigating the possibility that the victim to have been strangled where he was found or that the crime took place elsewhere.

    Weather forecast

    [37] Rainy on Friday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday. Winds 3-7 beauforte. Temperatures between 17C and 31C. Slightly cloudy with possibility of local showers in Athens with northerly 3-7 beauforte winds and temperatures between 19C and 30C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 19C and 28C.

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

    The government's plan, in cooperation with banks to relieve over-indebted borrowers, the rising unemployment rate and main opposition SYRIZA's proposal for the establishment of Parliamentary fact-finding committee on the Memorandum and the reasons the Papandreou government took recourse to the IMF, mostly dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "High-ranked civil servants' rebellion".

    AVGHI: "People must learn how they tied us with Memorandum".

    AVRIANI: "Former PASOK prime minister George Papandreou takes luxurious holidays, isn't interested in his own country's misery".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Loans refinancing by paying only interest".

    ESTIA: "Simple and just taxation system".

    ETHNOS: "Scenarios over loans refinancing".

    IMERISSIA: "Hopes for solution".

    KATHIMERINI: "Obsession with impunity in public sector".

    LOGOS: "Unemployment rate will reach 34 percent within next year".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "ECB: Plan for spectacular intervention in bonds".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Struggle in order to get rid of monopolies".

    TA NEA: "Only few will receive heating oil benefit".

    VRADYNI: "Loans regulation ready by end of month".

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