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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-09-27

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

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

Thursday, 27 September 2012 Issue No: 4184

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM meets with US counterpart Clinton in NY
  • [02] Eurozone survival entails supporting Greece, U.S. State Dept official reports
  • [03] FM meets with Cyprus President on sidelines of UN meeting
  • [04] Foreign minister holds round of meetings on sidelines of UN General Assembly
  • [05] Unions hold 24-hour general strike, rallies
  • [06] Two major protest rallies in Thessaloniki
  • [07] KKE, Independent Greeks MPs walk out of parliament in support of striking workers
  • [08] Interior minister refers to efforts for country's exit from crisis
  • [09] SYRIZA leader to visit Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg from Thursday
  • [10] SYRIZA calls for ample light to be shed on all corruption cases
  • [11] Meeting between FinMin and PASOK party leader ends
  • [12] KKE party on new measures
  • [13] Turkish patrol boat fails to exit territorial waters, collides with Greek vessel
  • [14] PASOK party delegation holds meeting with Development minister
  • [15] Papandreou addresses Socialist International's presidium conference
  • [16] Alt. FinMin on military, Security Corps' pensions
  • [17] Hemp fiber to be exempted from drug laws
  • [18] Moody's says Greek economy to shrink 7.0% this year
  • [19] Gov't eyes privatisation of Hellenic Vehicle Industry
  • [20] Democratic Left representative briefed by FinMin on measures package
  • [21] Federation of Hellenic Enterprises says unable to cut prices
  • [22] Stocks end moderately higher
  • [23] Greek bond market closing
  • [24] ADEX closing report
  • [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [26] Five Thessaloniki museums to host Louvre exhibits, artworks
  • [27] Venezuelan ambassador proposes cultural cooperation with Volos
  • [28] More than 250 grenades counted in Serres cache
  • [29] Samos police arrest 26 for illegally entering Greece
  • [30] Train wagon being converted into hotel
  • [31] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] FM meets with US counterpart Clinton in NY

    Greek foreign minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met Tuesday night (US time) with his US counterpart, secretary of state Hillary Clinton, on the sidelines of the 67th UN General Assembly, for talks that encompassed the entire range of matters of mutual interest in what Avramopoulos called a "substantive, frank and cordial discussion".

    Avramopoulos said the discussion touched on the economic crisis and its social repercussions, as well as the risk entailed to the European structure and the global economy. He said he outlined Greece's positions and policy that will lead to the country's exit from the crisis and will convince every one of Greece's credibility and seriousness.

    "It is a policy that, in turn, also has social repercussions, since it has to do with great sacrifices on the part of the Greek people, which Mrs. Clinton acknowledged and pointed out at the beginning of our discussion," Avramopoulos told reporters later.

    He said they also discussed regional matters, such as Greece's relations with its neighboring countries and the changes taking place in the wider region of the eastern Mediterranean, as well as the so-called Arab Spring and the situation in Syria, on which similarities of views were ascertained regarding the policy that should be adopted to overcome the crisis in Syria and open the road for the democratization of the region and the formation of a climate of security and cooperation.

    Avramopoulos said he had the opportunity to present the central, strategic role that Greece plays on the Mediterranean region and its consistency "to our common principles that bring us close together in the context of international organizations".

    Avramopoulos further said that he and Clinton "renewed our mutual desire to meet again soon, for a new review of the situation and to discuss a series of initiatives that bring our two countries closer.

    "Greece and the US are strategic partners for many decades now and we have brought our relations to the best possible level. We must therefore deepen our relations even further, to the benefit of both countries, as well as our joint participation in the Atlantic alliance and in other international fora," the Greek foreign minister said.

    [02] Eurozone survival entails supporting Greece, U.S. State Dept official reports

    NEW YORK (AMNA - P. Panagiotou)

    Reporting on a meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Senior Administration Official of the U.S. state department on Tuesday said that Clinton had expressed "our understanding and appreciation for the great sacrifices that the Greek people are making in the reforms that have been deemed necessary to keep Greece in the Eurozone and to turn around its economy".

    The meeting with Clinton took place late on Tuesday night in New York, on the sidelines of the 67th UN General Assembly.

    "We know how difficult those reforms are, but it's a core American interest to see the Eurozone not just survive but thrive, and that entails also supporting Greece," the same official noted.

    He said the meeting was an opportunity for Clinton to hear about the budgetary cuts and tax increases and structural changes Greece is making from Avramopoulos, adding that "we were impressed with the seriousness of the effort".

    He also noted that it was useful for Clinton to hear about the important reforms that Greece has undertaken, and for Foreign Minister Avramopoulos to hear how strongly the United States supports what Greece is doing.

    [03] FM meets with Cyprus President on sidelines of UN meeting

    New York (AMNA)

    Greek foreign minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met on Tuesday in New York, on the sidelines of the 67th UN General Assembly, with Cyprus president Demetris Christofias who expressed appreciation for the fact that "despite the problems Greece is facing, the Cyprus issue is a priority of the Greek government".

    Christofias also said Greece and Cyprus are coordinating their efforts through various contacts, adding that Avramopoulos has always taken a clear-cut position on Cyprus.

    "We are waging the battle united, and want to believe that we will succeed in the end and overcome the difficulties," Avramopoulos said, with Christofias pointing out that "our two governments are in a difficult position, as are our two peoples with the various economic issues.

    "We will wage the battle on behalf of the Greeks and the Cypriots -- of all the Cypriots -- in order to stem this attack we are under. It is exhausting. Naturally, the Cypriot people will also make sacrifices. The Greek people are doing nothing else these days. I wish the Greek government strength to hold tight so that at the end of the day the countdown will come," the Cypriot president said.

    Avramopoulos said that the UN General Assembly was a great opportunity, through bilateral contacts, for Greece and Cyprus to present their national issues, and also to discuss with friends from all over the world the development of this difficult, for the entire planet, economic crisis, of which Greece and Cyprus are victims.

    He stressed that Cyprus has a special place in Greece's planning, strategy and heart, despite the problems that have accumulated recently, adding the joint effort to finally reach a solution to the problem that has been ongoing for 35 years.

    Avramopoulos further said that the fact that the Cyprus issue was at a difficult moment right now is due to the "unwillingness of the Turkish Cypriot side, and by extension Turkey, for a solution to be found".

    Just as Greece and Cyprus are waging, united, the battle against an ever-deepening and spreading economic crisis, the two countries were also on the front line of the battle for resolution of the Cyprus issue, united as brothers," Avramopoulos added.

    [04] Foreign minister holds round of meetings on sidelines of UN General Assembly

    NEW YORK (AMNA - P. Panagiotou)

    Greece's geostrategic importance, above and beyond the country's current economic woes, was a theme that Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos took pains to emphasise during talks with foreign officials on the sidelines of the 67th UN General Assembly, Greek diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

    Avramopoulos especially stressed that the international community can count on Greece to play a stable role in the surrounding region, contributing to security and peace.

    The minister's meetings in New York included one with Azerbaijan's foreign minister Elmar Mammadyarov that also covered energy issues, such as current pipeline projects, during which Avramopoulos accepted an invitation to visit Baku.

    In talks with his Libyan counterpart Ashour bin Khayal, Avramopoulos discussed developments in the region and in Libya, as well as outstanding sums owed by Libya to hospitals and hotels in Greece that sheltered or treated Libyan nationals during the recent period of upheaval in the country. According to the Libyan minister, his country wishes to settle these debts as soon as possible. They also exchanged views on issues of bilateral cooperation, the prospects for investment and for talks to delineate the maritime zones between the two countries.

    The Greek minister attended a dinner given by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for the heads of the national delegations and took part in a meeting of EU foreign ministers with the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton that focused mainly on formulating a common policy regarding Libya.

    Finally, Avramopoulos devoted part of his visit to New York to meeting representatives of expatriate organisations at Greece's General Consulate, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister for expatriate affairs Constantine Tsiaras.

    On Wednesday, he is due to visit America Archbishop Demetrios and then hold another round of meetings with other foreign ministers attending the UN general assembly.

    [05] Unions hold 24-hour general strike, rallies

    Tens of thousands of protestors shouting "enough is enough" took part in the rally and march organised in central Athens on Wednesday by Greece's two largest umbrella trade union groups representing private and public-sector workers, the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' union federation ADEDY.

    Estimates of the size of the rally and march varied greatly between organisers and police, with the former talking of numbers exceeding 100,000 and the latter estimating them closer to 30,000.

    The march went as far as Syntagma Square, where a delegation from the trade unions presented a resolution outlining the demands of Wednesday's nationwide general strike to Parliament.

    Participation rates in the 24-hour strike was also high according to GSEE, which said they exceeded 80 percent overall and in some cases was as high as 100 percent, such as in refineries, transport and shipyards. They reported an 80 percent participation in banks, 85 percent in mining and metals, 90 percent in construction and ports.

    In an address at the start of the rally, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA-EKM) leader Alexis Tsipras stressed that since the government was unable to defend even the most basic interests of Greek society and was the one co-signing and tolerating the barbaric measures that led society to "holocaust", it was now society that had to speak.

    He said that the mobilisation should act as "landmark" in the struggle against both the domestic and imported 'troikas' and ended by saying that "Greece cannot be converted into an endless social graveyard".

    Democratic Left (DIMAR) MP Yiannis Miheloyiannakis, from one of the three parties supporting the coalition government, also accused the government to "dictatorially" lumping all the measures into a single article.

    In statements to AMNA, ADEDY president Kostas Tsikrikas called the measures "painful and intolerable" and stressed that they virtually demolished the welfare and social state. He said that Greece's trade unions will coordinate their action with those of Europe, especially of the European south, where people were being stricken by austerity and driven to economic destitution.

    Similarly to protest marches organised by trade unions in the past, this one also did not end without incident. As the last of the marchers approached Syntagma Square around 2:10 p.m. a group of youths attacked a platoon of MAT riot police stationed outside the hotel Grande Bretagne, prompting police to retaliate with tear gas and flash-bang grenades.

    The violence then spread throughout Syntagma Square and the surrounding streets, with protestors setting fire to a promotional kiosk in the middle of the square near the entrance to the metro station. A flare thrown by a protestor also set fire to a palm tree within the National Gardens.

    More than 100 people were taken into custody and at least 20 placed under arrest during the incidents, while eight police officers were injured.

    Calm was restored to the city centre after a couple of hours, except for a pocket of protestors that retreated to Valtetsiou Street, where the atmosphere remained tense as they continued to throw stones at police.

    Protest rallies and marches were also held in other Greek towns and cities, including several large rallies in Thessaloniki in the north, sizeable but peaceful rallies in the port city of Patras, in the cities of Hania and Iraklio on the island of Crete, in the city of Ioannina in northwest Greece and on the island of Samos and elsewhere. In Tripolis, members of the KKE-affiliated trade union group PAME occupied the offices of Peloponnese Regional Authority head Petros Tatoulis after the end of a rally and march.

    Throughout the country, striking workers were joined by shop owners, who closed their shops for the duration of the morning until 3:00 p.m. in many areas around Greece.

    [06] Two major protest rallies in Thessaloniki

    Two major demonstrations took place in Thessaloniki on Wednesday in the context of a 24-hour nationwide strike called by Greece's two largest umbrella labor federations GSEE and ADEDY, representing the private and public sector respectively.

    The first demonstration was organized by the Union of Civil Servants' Organizations (EDOTH) and the Thessaloniki Labor Center (EKTH), and was later joined by the demonstration organized by the Initiative of Unions of Kamara.

    Demonstrating pensioners held up nooses from which effigies of pensioners were hanging, carrying banners reading "Another 'rich' pensioner has killed himself", "How many more pensioners must commit suicide for you to stop", and "We did not steal, we worked".

    The protestors marched to the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, where they posted a resolution with their demands, in the absence of minister Theodoros Karaoglou.

    A second demonstration was organized by the Communist Part of Greece (KKE) affiliated PAME labor organization.

    Slogans against the coalition government and the Troika were changed at both demonstrations, while shopowners and professionals closed their shops and businesses for several hours, also in a show of protest against the austerity measures.

    Bus drivers held work stoppages from the beginning of the morning shift until 9:00 a.m. and from 8:00 p.m. to the end of the shift, thus running bus services throughout the day to facilitate protestors to take part in the demonstrations.

    [07] KKE, Independent Greeks MPs walk out of parliament in support of striking workers

    The parliamentary groups of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Independent Greeks walked out of parliament on Wednesday in a show of support for the working people, who are holding a general 24-hour strike in protest of severe austerity measures.

    [08] Interior minister refers to efforts for country's exit from crisis

    Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, referred in an address in Brussels on Wednesday to the efforts made by the Greek government to exit from the crisis.

    He was speaking in the framework of an event also attended by former European Parliament president, Eurodeputy, president of the Konrad Adenauer Institute and close associate of German Chancelor Angela Merkel, Dr. Hans-Gert Poettering.

    The event's theme was "Strategies for a viable growth in the European South: the Greece model", while the various addresses were followed by 320 senior EU and European Parliament officials.

    "Our government and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras implemented policies in a brief period of time that reduce the state, simplify procedures and activate the Social Economy of the Market, something that is also beginning to be reflected in August's statistical indexes, since for the first time after years there is a decrease in public expenditures, an increase in revenues and a decrease in the deficit," Stylianidis said.

    [09] SYRIZA leader to visit Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg from Thursday

    The head of the main opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA-EKM) party Alexis Tsipras is to depart on Thursday for a three-day tour with stops in Brussels, Berlin and Hamburg.

    A party announcement said that Tsipras is due to speak with the presidency of the European United Left at the European Parliament on Thursday and has accepted an invitation to meet European Parliament President Martin Schulz later the same afternoon, with joint statements scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

    On Friday he will travel to Berlin and meet with the leadership of the German party Die Linke - Gregor Gysi, Wolfgang Gehrcke and Diether Dehm - at 6:00 p.m.

    Tsipras is then invited to speak at a conference on Saturday organised by the Zeit-Stiftung foundation, as main speaker on the topic "The future of Greece - the future of Europe".

    Finally, he will deliver a speech in the centre of Hamburg at 2:30 p.m. for the Die Linke "Umfairteilen" campaign for a fair redistribution of wealth.

    [10] SYRIZA calls for ample light to be shed on all corruption cases

    The Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said in an announcement on Wednesday that "it is necessary that ample light must be shed immediately on all the cases that have been publicised and concern cases of corruption and of black money", adding that "the effort to reveal and clarify such cases, either they concern political figures or non-political, must be continuous and not fragmental".

    "We are opposed to a selective handling of names, whatever exists must be publicised, as in any case Greek society in its entirety demands. All, whose names have been involved in this case, must facilitate its probing," the announcement further said.

    [11] Meeting between FinMin and PASOK party leader ends

    The meeting between PASOK party president Evangelos Venizelos and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras was concluded on Wednesday evening.

    At the end of the meeting, that lasted for about two hours, Stournaras left PASOK's headquarters without making any statement.

    [12] KKE party on new measures

    An announcement by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on the new measures the government is considering and the meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF head Christine Lagarde said that "at the time that the coalition government with the (EC/ECB/IMF) troika are finalising the new antipopular slaughterhouse in the name of the previous supposed salvatory haircut, the EU and the IMF are quarrelling about who will benefit from the possible new haircut, while they are unanimous on the biggest crushing of the people."

    "The country's participation in the EU and the capitalist growth path is being proved as being an endless labyrinth for the people with many minotaurs".

    [13] Turkish patrol boat fails to exit territorial waters, collides with Greek vessel

    A Turkish coast guard vessel collided with a Greek harbour corps vessel in the sea region northeast of the eastern Aegean isle of Farmakonissi at dawn on Wednesday, authorities announced. No injuries were reported by either side and the vessels departed from the site.

    According to reports, the harbour corps called on the Turkish patrol boat's skipper to exit Greek territorial waters in the region. The same reports stated that that the Turkish skipper failed to leave and merely began to maneuvers, resulting in the collision.

    The foreign ministry was briefed over the incident and subsequently made a demarche e towards the Turkish side, while the issue is expected to be raised by Shipping and Aegean Minister Costis Mousouroulis during a scheduled meeting at the ministry on Thursday with the Turkish ambassador to Greece.

    The incident was also discussed during a meeting at the ministry in the presence of Frontex officials, who are also headquartered in Piraeus.

    Farmakonissi is a small but populated isle that lies on a sea route favoured by migrant smugglers operating from the opposite Turkish coast.

    [14] PASOK party delegation holds meeting with Development minister

    A delegation of the PASOK party held a meeting with the leadership of the Development and Competitiveness ministry and was briefed on the course of the implementation of major projects.

    According to an announcement by PASOK, the delegation stressed to minister Kostis Hatzidakis the need for efforts to be speeded up so that all the managing problems delaying the development of major projects to be resolved.

    [15] Papandreou addresses Socialist International's presidium conference

    Socialist International (SI) President and former Greek prime minister George Papandreou, addressed on Wednesday the opening session of the conference of the newly-elected presidium of the organisation, that takes place at the UN's headquarters every year on the occasion of the General Assembly.

    Papandreou noted that "progress at eurozone level is very slow, maintaining a climate of uncertainty for the future".

    "There is a big gap between on the one hand the conceptions of certain progressive governments that are trying to take into consideration the social dimension of the crisis and, on the other hand, the conservative majority that is continuing to follow the priorities of those who are responsible for the situation," Papandreou added.

    "These progressive governments need our solidarity more than ever in the effort to survive in a very difficult environment, where the economic and media networks are extremely aggressive," he also underlined.

    [16] Alt. FinMin on military, Security Corps' pensions

    The state will exhaust all the fiscal margins for the smallest possible repercussions to pensions received by retired military officers and Security Corps' pensioners, a document from alternate finance minister Christos Staikouras tabled in parliament on Wednesday said, in reply to a question by ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) MP Polyvios Zissimopoulos regarding the prospect of new cuts to Armed Forces retirees' pensions.

    Staikouras said that the state was making "every possible effort so that the economic measures that are deemed necessary for the country's exit from its exceptionally adverse fiscal situation will have the smallest possible consequences for the pensioners receiving low or medium size pensions".

    [17] Hemp fiber to be exempted from drug laws

    The new draft law on narcotics provides for the exemption of hemp fiber (sativa L) products, justice, transparency and human rights minister Antonis Roupakiotis informed parliament in a document submitted on Wednesday, in reply to a question tabled by several Democratic Left (DIMAR) MPs asking why Greek justice refused to differentiate between Indian cannabis and 'fiber cannabis' (hemp), unlike the other EU countries.

    Financial News

    [18] Moody's says Greek economy to shrink 7.0% this year

    Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday said its maintained a negative outlook for the collateral of Greek residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). The credit agency rating firm, in a report said it expected the Greek economy to remain in recession this year, with GDP contracting by a further 7.0 pct, which will be the country's fifth consecutive year of economic recession. Moody's expects that wages will fall further and unemployment will rise to 22.8 pct in 2012 from 17.7 pct in 2011. Falling wages and rising unemployment will deteriorate household finances and increase delinquencies further, the report said.

    The agency said that the performance of Greek RMBS continued to weaken in the three-month period from June to August 2012, as rising unemployment drove up delinquencies and defaults in Greek RMBS market. Moody's said the index of cumulative defaults increased to 1.32 pct in August, from 0.86 pct in August last year. The 90-plus day delinquencies trend increased to 4.03 pct in August, up from 2.20 pct in August last year.

    [19] Gov't eyes privatisation of Hellenic Vehicle Industry

    The government aims to privatise the Hellenic Vehicle Industry (ELVO) through an open tender for the state's equity participation. The state is seeking a private investor to take over the company's management, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said Wednesday.

    In a report to Parliament, Stournaras said the privatisation of Hellenic Vehicle Industry aimed at strengthening the company with international know-how, greater export activity and acquiring access to new markets along with becoming more competitive through the use of new technologies.

    The FinMin noted that another aim was to cut the dependence of the company from public financing and its evolution into a specialised hub of maintenance and production of vehicles in the wider region, maintaining job positions and a medium-to longterm sustainability. Stournaras said the privatisation of ELVO was a legal obligation and a commitment of the country, while presented data showing that the company's turnover was steadily shrinking despite operating cost restructuring measures.

    Turnover totaled 22.1 million euros in 2010, while operating losses totaled 18.2 million euros, pre-tax losses were 21.3 million euros its workforce fell to 493 workers in 2010 from 640 in 2008.

    [20] Democratic Left representative briefed by FinMin on measures package

    Cutbacks in Farmers Pension Fund (OGA) pensions and in bonuses for the disabled (AMEA) will not be included ultimately in the package of measures, while for 2013 in particular the measures, mainly from expenditures cutbacks, amount to about 7.5 billion euros. This appeared, according to reports, from the briefing of a Democratic Left party representative by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

    Officials participating in the meeting said that the overall package has changed and the expenditures-revenues ratio. Accordilng to them, instead of the 11.9 billion euros, 10.9 billion euros are being sought from the expenditures side and 3 billion euros (instead of 2 billion euros) from the increase in tax revenues.

    [21] Federation of Hellenic Enterprises says unable to cut prices

    The Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB), Greece's largest employers' union, on Wednesday said its members were unable to cut prices in the domestic market citing a number of burdens suffered by the country's productive sector in the last few months.

    In a memorandum sent to the Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks ministry, the Federation said its members have been burdened by:

    -rising energy costs, higher raw materials' prices (mostly imported), low level of basic infrastructure, a very high level of transport costs, a doubling of borrowing costs during the last 12 months, deteriorating payment terms for imported materials, a significant increase in taxes, a large delay in VAT returns and the existence of several regulatory and administrative hurdles.

    "It is obvious that these factors burden the cost and do not allow a cut in prices," the Federation said in the memorandum, adding that the energy cost accounted for 40-50 pct of production cost. In order to offset a 20 pct increase in energy costs, labor cost must be reduced by 80 pct. The Federation underlined that fundamental factors towards reducing prices were: cutting taxes, lifting of regulatory and administrative hurdles and improving the efficiency of the state. It also urged for a fundamental assessment of state subsidies distributed so far through an Investment Law. The Federation attributed pressures for internal devaluation (cutting incomes to bring down prices) to a technological shortfall in the country.

    [22] Stocks end moderately higher

    Stocks ended moderately higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, as strong buying interest for selected blue chip stocks such as OPAP, Eurobank and Coca Cola 3E helped the market to overcome its intraday volatility. The composite index rose 0.38 pct to end at 755.09 points, off the day's highs of 760.03 points. Turnover was a moderate 44.677 million euros. The Big Cap index eased 0.07 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 0.50 pct. The Travel (4.18 pct), Food (2.23 pct) and Industrial Products (1.75 pct) sectors scored gains, while Telecoms (5.05 pct), Health (4.04 pct) and Utilities (0.82 pct) suffered losses. OPAP (4.92 pct), Eurobank (3.57 pct) and Viohalco (2.54 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while OTE (5.06 pct), Piraeus Bank (3.20 pct) and Ellaktor (3.38 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 71 to 63 with another 28 issues unchanged. Logismos (30 pct), Teletypos (19.84 pct) and AAA (19.55 pct) were top gainers, while Sfakianakis (20 pct), Elbisco (18.98 pct) and Compucon (17.95 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +1.75%

    Commercial: -0.33%

    Construction: -0.45%

    Oil & Gas: +0.22%

    Personal & Household: -0.78%

    Raw Materials: +0.80%

    Travel & Leisure: +4.18%

    Technology: -0.20%

    Telecoms: -5.06%

    Banks: -0.80%

    Food & Beverages: +2.23%

    Health: -4.04%

    Utilities: -0.82%

    Financial Services: +0.03%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.64

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 3.86

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.99

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.88

    National Bank of Greece: 1.94

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 1.16

    OPAP: 4.05

    OTE: 3.00

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.36

    Titan: 14.44

    [23] Greek bond market closing

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds continued falling in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, to 18.15 pct from 18.86 pct on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 19.6 pct and the German Bund 1.45 pct. Turnover totaled 3.0 million euros, all buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.69 pct, the six-month rate 0.44 pct, the three-month rate 0.22 pct and the one-month rate 0.11 pct.

    [24] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.62 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover shrinking substantially to 9.317 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,830 contracts worth 3.883 million euros, with 29,493 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 25,083 contracts worth 5.434 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (9,337), followed by Alpha Bank (2,983), Cyprus Bank (1,302), OTE (3,524), PPC (1,197), OPAP (2,393), Piraeus Bank (1,552), Eurobank (1,198), MIG (554), Cyprus Popular Bank (155) and Sidenor (113).

    [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.303

    Pound sterling 0.806

    Danish kroner 7.567

    Swedish kroner 8.627

    Japanese yen 101.32

    Swiss franc 1.226

    Norwegian kroner 7.514

    Canadian dollar 1.282

    Australian dollar 1.260

    General News

    [26] Five Thessaloniki museums to host Louvre exhibits, artworks

    Art works and artifacts on display at the Louvre will be exhibited in Greece for the first time, with five museums in Thessaloniki to host the exhibits, as part of events commemorating the centenary of the northern Greece metropolis' liberation from Ottoman rule.

    The five venues -- the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the Tellogleio Art Institute, the State Museum of Contemporary Art, the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum -- are participating in the overall exhibition entitled "The Louvre in Thessaloniki".

    The initiative comes in reciprocation of the renowned Paris museum's hosting of the significant exhibition entitled "Ancient Macedonia: In the Kingdom of Alexander the Great", which was hosted at the Louvre from October 2011 to January 2012, replete with exhibits from various collections across the province of Macedonia, Greece's largest province.

    [27] Venezuelan ambassador proposes cultural cooperation with Volos

    Venezuelan ambassador to Greece Rodrigo Oswaldo Chaves Samudio proposed cooperation in the sector of culture to Volos mayor Panos Skotiniotis during a meeting on Wednesday.

    Chaves made a reference to Venezuela's history and stressed the bonds between his country and Greece, expressing the embassy's desire for cooperation with the region of Volos in the culture sector.

    Skotiniotis, in turn, briefed Chaves on the historic and cultural identity of the region and its contemporary image, stressing the comparative advantages that make it a top tourist destination.

    The Volos mayor called the Venezuelan envoy's proposal as being of "exceptional interest", and the two men discussed the possibility of participation of musicians and dance troupes from Venezuela in the international carnival events staged the Volos municipality titled "Carnival of the World".

    [28] More than 250 grenades counted in Serres cache

    More than 250 handgrenades, probably dating to the Greek civil war (1946-49) have been retrieved so far by members of the army's bomb disposal units after the cache was discovered during roadwork in the northern town of Serres.

    The rusted grenades, identified as Russian made, are being removed and destroyed at a nearby military firing range.

    [29] Samos police arrest 26 for illegally entering Greece

    Police on the island of Samos have arrested 26 foreign nationals aged between 18 and 36 years old for illegally entering the country. The group was intercepted late on Tuesday night and they all lack travel documents.

    According to a police investigation, the foreign nationals had crossed over to Samos from the Turkish coast in an inflatable boat and had alighted on the shores of the island on September 22. They will be led before a Samos first-instance court prosecutor.

    [30] Train wagon being converted into hotel

    In seeking the "ideal hotel", most people think of luxury five-star resorts or a traditional suite with a view of the sea or the mountain, instead of a hotel on tracks.

    It is almost certain that the romantic friends of the railway will discover their own ideal stay in an original, and surely different, hotel that is expected to be created at the Railway Museum in Thessaloniki.

    Specifically, a luxury Belgian train coach, dating to 1946, will be converted into a hotel, located permanently at the Thessaloniki Railway Museum in the Kordelio-Evosmos municipality. The "rail hotel" will be able to host up to 30 guests.

    At the initiative of an 83-year-old railway pensioner, and president of the "Friends of Thessaloniki Railway" society, Efthymis Kontopoulos, the coach is being repaired, with the wallpaper and cloth already changed.

    [31] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The sealing of the 13.6 bln euros package of austerity measures, speculation on a new haircut and extension and the nationwide general strike mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "First 4,500 bogus pensions discontinued!"

    AVGHI: "We strike to save ourselves".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "IMF chief Christine Lagarde paving the way for new haircut and extension".

    ESTIA: "The repeated strikes in the public sector".

    ETHNOS: "EU wants solution for everything on October 18".

    IMERISSIA: "Political solution for Greece".

    KATHIMERINI: "Prime Minister Antonis Samaras gives green light for the measures".

    LOGOS: "Two-year extension and how much it will cost us".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Extension and haircut on IMF-Europe's table".

    TA NEA: "Financial Crimes Squad's (SDOE) secrets".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "We strike on Wednesday and demonstrate with PAME (Labour organisation affiliated with Communist Party of Greece)".

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