|Wednesday, 21 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-10-16
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 16 October 2012 Issue No: 4200
 PM Samaras optimistic on receiving the next tranche of the loan soonPrime Minister Antonis Samaras appeared optimistic on Monday evening that Greece will be receiving the next tranche of the loan soon.
Addressing a conference entitled "Greece: Investment Forum - Moving Forward", hosted by the International Herald Tribune and the Athens daily "Kathimerini", Samaras stressed that the loan's tranche is essential for Greece to recapitalise its banks, to strengthen the liquidity of the economy and to enable the state to cover its debts to the private sector.
The next tranche is crucial because it will certify that Greece can stand upright and that the danger of an exit from the euro is moving away, the prime minister said, adding that, provided the "drachma phobia" disappears and liquidity is strengthened, the climate in the economy will change in its entirety. Samaras also said that despite the measures, that will be the last, the Greek economy can take the turn in the next year and enter the beginning of recovery.
The prime minister said it is positive that for the first time there is wider consensus and stressed that difficulties exist, however we have made progress and the worse is over.
"For the first time in Greece there is a strong popular consensus that supports the big, necessary structural changes. For the first time the money that will go into the Greek economy will be more than additional austerity. For the first time our partners, all the more, more and more of them, all the more categorically bet on Greece's success. They do not take its failure for granted, as was the case until today," Samaras noted.
He also said that he is facing the crisis in Greece as a challenge for success, "breaking the cliches and fatalism".
Samaras referred to the five challenges to which the country is being called on to face:
"-First challenge: All of us must realise the unused wealth and the unexploited comparative advantages that Greece has.
-Second challenge: We must regain Greece's reliability internationally again.
-Third challenge: We must strengthen competitiveness.
-Fourth challenge: We must place absolute priority on maintaining our social cohesion.
-Fifth challenge: Every move from now onwards must fuel hope and neutralise whatever detonates extremism and populism."
"Greece's growth rennaissance will become an example internationally with competitiveness and social cohesion," the prime minister concluded.
 Government-Troika negotiations to continue past Oct. 18 EU SummitThe negotiations between the government and the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'Troika' of Greece's international lenders will continue past the October 18 EU Summit, as no final agreement on the new package of austerity measures is expected to be reached by that date.
Finance minister Yannis Stournaras, who on Monday briefed prime minister Antonis Samaras on the ongoing marathon deliberations, said after the meeting that the talks were at a "satisfactory level", adding that the workload is immense and a lot of work is necessary.
Sources told AMNA that everything will be decided at an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting to be convened in early November, and that Athens hopes that outstanding tranche of the EU-IMF bailout loan will be disbursed by mid-November.
Samaras will brief the leaders of the two junior parties of his coalition government on Tuesday, before his departure Wednesday for the European People's Party summit in Bucharest, while on Thursday he heads to Brussels for the EU Summit.
 Administrative Reform minister holds meeting with troika headsA meeting between EU-IMF troika officials and Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis was held on Monday evening, after which the Greek minister told reporters that the discussion was going on and that he believed it would be concluded in a positive manner.
According to Administrative Reform ministry officials, the troika is insisting on its position to know precisely the number of civil servants who will leave in 2012, the service from which they will leave, as well as the fiscal benefit per employee.
They also place great importance on the symbolism of the specific intervention and insist on the "general cleanup" of the population in the public sector, asking for its extension to the "reservoirs" of perjuror employees, the "absentees", mainly in the sector of education, as well as the provenly incompetent.
Later in the evening, the troika heads were meeting the Finance ministry's leadership.
 Troika demand for public-sector layoffs stumbling block for bailout talks, sources sayThe demand for a "clear political message" that the government is prepared to shed public-sector jobs proved a stumbling block for talks between the Greek government and the EU-IMF troika on austerity cuts that will allow disbursement of the next tranche of bailout loans, sources in the administrative reform ministry said on Monday.
The issue was raised by troika negotiators during a meeting on Sunday, even though during an earlier meeting on Friday they seemed to broadly agree with the ministry's plan for reforming Greece's public administration and downsizing its public sector through a combination of retirements, mergers, an evaluation of ministry structures and staff to shed 'unfit' staff and suspension of staff in organisations that close.
The same sources said that troika officials are insisting on being told when and how many employees will be dismissed, even though they admit that the fiscal benefits from such a move will be minimal and might actually hamper efforts for public-sector reform and restructuring.
Citing the fiasco of the 'labour reserve' measure attempted by the previous government, they question the ministry's commitment to removing excess staff and demanded specific numbers and deadlines. Their demand was not accepted by Public Administration Minister Antonis Manitakis, who wants the process of restructuring and reform to be carried out first so that there is a clear picture of how many staff will be needed for the efficient functioning of the state and how many must be removed.
According to the ministry's figures, the target of 150,000 staff departures from the public sector by 2015 can easily be achieved through its present plan, while state structures and positions of responsibility will be reduced by half.
Despite the deadlock, both Manitakis and his aides have repeatedly stressed that there is no question of the minister resigning.
 Gov't spokesman: Tough negotiation with TroikaThere is a tough negotiation underway with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'Troika' of Greece's international lenders, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on private television on Monday, adding that even the most distrusting are now convinced that a tough effort is being made in this process.
Speaking on private Mega television station, Kedikoglou said that the matter of the deficit has been dealt with, and now the issue at hand is dealing with the debt.
"The matter of the deficit has been dealt with. The matter of the debt is the problem now, on which one sees a different approach between the IMF and the EC-ECB. That is where things must converge. And as the prime minister himself said yesterday (Sunday) in his (newspaper) interview, our assessment is that this matter will be resolved by the EU Summit (October 18)," Kedikoglou said, and did not rule out a meeting on Tuesday of the leaders of the three parties supporting the coalition government.
He said that the major issue at this time is disbursement of the tranche in order for the economy to start moving and so that there will be liquidity, adding that "the most important message that the disbursement of the next tranche will send, beyond ensuring liquidity, is that it will once and for all clarify the issue of a Greek exit from the euro".
On the layoffs sought by the Troika in the public sector, Kedikoglou said that the Greek side "has proposed the measure of suspension, which fiscally has a greater benefit, especially in the initial stages", and intimated that the layoffs in the public sector will begin with those derelicting their duties or unable to carry them out.
He further opined that the MPs of the coalition government parties will not create problems in the parliamentary vote of the new austerity measures, noting that the leaders and deputies of the two junior coalition parties -- PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR) -- and the New Democracy (ND) deputies have proven that the place the national need above party or any other interests.
 Venizelos: PASOK backing for gov't solidPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Monday referred to a critical phase in negotiations with the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" representatives, speaking in Athens at a business conference.
He added that PASOK, the ruling party during the 2009-2011 period, solidly and substantively backs the current Samaras coalition government, and that his party's choice is for the current government to complete its four-year term.
Venizelos, a former top minister and most recently the finance minister, said structural changes in labour relations as well as pension reforms are very significant, noting however, that focusing again on labour relations and the cost of labour shows a "persistence" that "does not see the true problems of competitiveness."
Along those lines, he underlined that Greece is not a Third World country, but a member of the EU, "therefore, the European acquis applies and competitiveness will not be achieved outside the European specifications, and outside the collective autonomy of social partners," he said.
Venizelos spoke at a conference entitled "Greece: Investment Forum - Moving Forward", hosted by the International Herald Tribune and the Athens daily "Kathimerini".
 PASOK, DHMAR parties on labour relationsPASOK party spokeswoman Fofi Yennimata, replying to a relevant question, indicated on Monday that PASOK disagrees with the changes in labour relations that the troika (EU-ECB-IMF) is promoting and stressed that "the working people need protection" and that "the limits of Greek society have been exhausted".
She added that in PASOK "we are determined to wage battle and not permit a labour jungle".
Yennimata also noted that "PASOK has repeatedly stressed that labour relations must return to the level determined by the European EU law" and that "the representatives of the troika must realise that the Greek people have made a great effort".
Referring to the same issue of labour relations, senior officials of the Democratic Left (DHMAR) party express categorical disagreement with the changes in labour relations being promoted by the troika that "lead to starvation salaries and the abolition of labour rights".
The Democratic Left party's position remains that the agreement on cutback measures must be combined with a political commitment by the EU's leadership that the solution to the "Greek problem" will be included in an overall solution for the crisis at European level.
Both PASOK and Democratic Left parties participate in the Antonis Samaras coalition government.
 KKE on gov't, troika negotiationsThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) reiterated Monday its call on Greek citizens for an "all-workers' mobilisation and a popular alliance to tackle and overthrow the capital's and EU's dictatorship."
Rejecting the Greek government's negotiations with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' of Greece's international lenders on a new 13.5 billion euro austerity package over the next two years (2013-2014), the KKE's press office in an announcement added: "In the modern labour inferno of poverty and dispair, working people and popular strata must answer in an offensive manner, by rejecting all measures and memoranda imposed on them for the benefit of capitalist profiteering and Greece's stay in EU."
The announcement was prompted by the on-going talks between the government and the troika regarding the labour relations chapter.
 SYRIZA leader: We'll be destroyed if we leave eurozone"The country's exit from the eurozone is not SYRIZA's intention or goal," main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras reiterated on Monday, speaking to a private Athens TV station.
He characterised Greece's possible exit from the common currency as a "nice tale with an interesting dragon", adding: "It is not possible for Greece to leave the eurozone because we will be destroyed. What we say is that a country can't leave the eurozone. Why can't we understand what first-year college students understand. The question is whether the euro will remain as a currency, not whether Greece will remain in the eurozone".
Regarding the Memorandum, Tsipras asked: "The Memorandum? What Memorandum? The Memorandum will not exist in a SYRIZA government. The Memorandum will be abolished".
He estimated that the coalition government will collapse, saying that "the three-party coalition that is collapsing will collapse, and then the country's future will be managed by healthy forces".
Tsipras said he is ready to negotiate with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "I am ready to sit at the same negotiations table even with my worst enemy. I will make no statements of repentance. When I sit opposite of Merkel she will know that I wasn't on the Siemens (slush funds) lists."
Turning to other issues, he described the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party as a fascist organisation, adding that it is political forces' duty to recognise the reasons that lead to "this Nazi organisation".
"Hitler rose to power because for three years a programme was followed similar to the one we have here. We must learn the lessons (history)," he underlined.
 Merkel rules out 'uncontrolled developments' from Greek euro exitBERLIN (AMNA - F. Karaviti)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday ruled out the prospect of an uncontrolled Greek exit from the euro, of the kind that might plunge the global economy into a "state of shock".
Speaking after a meeting with Panama President Ricardo Martinelli, who had earlier announced Panama's wish to adopt the euro as an official currency alongside the U.S. dollar, Merkel told reporters that "there will absolutely not be such uncontrolled developments".
At the same time, she warned that Greece still must continue austerity reforms and that decisions will hinge on the EU-IMF troika's report on its progress.
"We want Greece to remain in the eurozone but the work on that is not complete and there is still a lot that must be done in the coming days and next few weeks," she told reporters, repeating that the final decisions will only be taken after the troika's report, when European leaders will be in a position to "draw conclusions".
Earlier, the chancellor's spokesman Steffen Seibert had stressed that Athens must continue with tough austerity reforms but ruled out any further 'haircut' of Greek debt, saying that the German government was not "prepared to discuss" such an option.
 PASOK's Left Initiative group calls party to leave from coalition gov'tThe 'Left Initiative' faction of PASOK party requested on Sunday PASOK's withdrawal from the coalition government and condemnation of the 'memorandum policies' which it says lead to ?mass poverty' and the devastation of the Greek society, at a nationwide high officials' meeting.
The head of the group Yiorgos Panagiotakopoulos stressed at the meeting: "We believe that the seeking of capital within the framework of the orders of our 'lenders-blackmailers' will lead the country into a state of mass poverty and to total dependence on the big banking capital and the total sell-out of the state property.
The Left Initiative will reconsider its stance in relevance with PASOK and the party's leadership.
 Avramopoulos outlines proposal for EU-Arab ties at EU General Affairs councilBRUSSELS (AMNA - V. Demiris)
Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday attended the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting in Luxembourg, where outlined a Greek proposal for improving Europe's relations with the Arab world, as well as presented Athens' view on Syria and the Middle East peace process.
The meeting was dominated by events in Syria, especially the issue of getting humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees and internally displaced people. Avramopoulos underlined the need to de-escalate tension and promote a political solution in the area, one that will allow the Syrian people authentic expression concerning their fate.
During a discussion on the peace process in the Middle East, Avramopoulos stressed the importance of resuming direct talks and noted that the continuing lack of progress was fuelling disappointment. He also spoke about the need to ensure the viability of a solution of two states.
In terms of improving Europe's relations with the Arab world, the Greek foreign minister called for enhanced institutional cooperation between the European Union and the Arab League, by establishing regular political contact and sectoral cooperation by joint committees.
 Communist Party condemns plan to extend food shelf life beyond 'best before' dateThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Monday strongly condemned recently unveiled government plans to extend the shelf life of food stuffs for up to three months after the 'best before' expiration date, saying it was paving the way for "dietary bombs" that were dangerous to health, especially for the poor and unemployed that would mostly resort to such discounted foodstuffs.
"This is a diseased concept in keeping with the current state of decay that the capitalist system, that operates with profit as its goal. They are legalising food from the rubbish and using it for the benefit of supermarkets and food industries who gain doubly, since they will even benefit instead of having to carry the cost of removing and destroying their unsold products," KKE's announcement said.
 Council of State gives 'green light' to 12-month detention before deportationThe Council of State on Monday gave the all-clear to a draft presidential decree that extends the period for which an illegal migrant can be detained in custody before deportation to a maximum of 12 months. The draft presidential decree amends a 2010 presidential decree on political asylum applications and was presented to the court for evaluation.
The decree stipulates that the period of detention can be extended only by a 'justified decision' of the appropriate authorities and that, during the period of detention, asylum applications of the individuals involved must be given priority handling. Deportation can only be carried out once the processing of asylum applications is complete.
Originally, the maximum period of detention pending deportation was two months. This was subsequently increased to three months and most recently to six months. Once passed, the new presidential decree will double this period to 12 months. The new extension was given due to long delays in gathering documents for processing asylum applications from other countries, as well as delays caused by the applicants' refusal to cooperate with Greek authorities.
 Turkish ministry alters EU progress report referring to 'Ecumenical' PatriarchISTANBUL (AMNA)
This year's EU progress report for Turkey makes special reference to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, specifically noting -- on page 24 -- that "Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew celebrated in August, for the third time after almost nine decades the Divine Liturgy of the Dormition of Theotokos at the Sumela Monastery in the Black Sea province of Trabzon..."
However, the Turkish-language translation of the same report, released by Turkey's ministry of European affairs, substitutes "Ecumenical" with the phrase "rum ortodoks Patrii", in other works, the "Greek Orthodox Patriarch".
The alteration in the EU progress report appears to continue an official Turkish state policy of not recognising the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the "Primus inter pares" of Christian Orthodox Patriarchates in the Christian world.
 Turkish corvette in Greek territorial watersA Turkish corvette headed for the eastern Mediterranean sailed between the islands of Evia, Andros, Kea and Kythnos, then headed northwest and south of Crete, the national defence general staff (GEETHA) said on Monday.
GEETHA said that the Turkish corvette "Bafra" set off from Izmir port in Turkey on Saturday, and at 7:00 that same evening entered Greek territorial waters between Evros and Andros, sailed between Kea and Kythnos, and exited Greek waters at 10:00 Saturday night southwest of Kythnos.
The corvette then sailed in international waters west of Milos, northwest of Crete and south of Crete and, heading eastwards, exited the limits of the Athens FIR in the early hours of Monday, heading towards the eastern Mediterranean.
 Athens mayor says he'll run for re-election in 2014Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis on Monday announced that he will be again a candidate for mayor in 2014, speaking to the municipal radio station 98.4.
Kaminis said it is his "duty" to again be a candidate, because "I have not completed my mission'.
He also announced the municipality's intention to undertake an initiative to cooperate with the government in order to create a "front", as he said, comprised of "democratic forces" against the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party.
Referring to incidents allegedly provoked by the extremist party against Third World foreign nationals, Kaminis said "the rule of law cannot remain idle on this issue".
 Car of Greek military attache in Berlin firebombedBERLIN (AMNA)
A vehicle used by the Greek military attache in Berlin was firebombed early Monday morning, according to reports.
The car, which sported diplomatic plates, was parked in a garage under the building where the Hellenic Army colonel resides. It was completely destroyed in the attack.
Three camping gas cannisters were found at the scene.
 Alternate FinMin: Economy has regained 70pct of lost competitivenessThere are some first positive indications resulting from the government of national responsibility that leave room for optimism for an exit from the crisis, alternate finance minister Christos Staikouras told a conference organized by the International Herald Tribune (IHT) in Athens on Monday, adding that the Greek economy has regained 70 percent of the competitiveness it had lost after its accession to the eurozone.
Staikouras noted a recent qualitative improvement in Greece's "credibility chapter" and a satisfactory execution of the budget despite the very large recession.
The alternate minister further noted positive developments such as the gradual return of deposits to Greece, the acceleration in the programme for exploitation of the state properties through a series of tenders that are fully underway, and in the efforts for the creation of strong banking organizations that are underway.
He also stressed that the Greek economy has regained 70 percent of the competitiveness it had lose after its accession to the eurozone.
Staikouras spoke of the immense sacrifices made by the Greek people in the period 2010-2012, which have accumulatively reached 49 billion euros, or 22 percent of GDP, something unprecedented in any eurozone country.
The alternate minister also said that the situation with Greece's cash reserves was "marginal", adding that the pressure would increase until the disbursement of the outstanding tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan, noting that, conditionally, the tranche of 31.5 billion euros should be have been released in the second quarter of 2012, and there was immediate need for disbursement of the tranches.
On the tax evasion observed in recent years, Staikouras said it is an extensive phenomenon characterized by a peculiar resilience in Greece.
Greece is at a difficult crossroads, in an effort for changes to the state and the economy, Staikouras said, adding that the country needs "time and breathing space" in this effort.
 Just 19mln of 13bln euros in overdue debts of major debtors have been collectedThe finance ministry has managed to receive payment of just 19 million euros from the infamous list of major debtors to the state, from a total of 13 billion euros in overdue debts, a document from deputy finance minister George Mavraganis that was submitted to parliament said, in response to a question tabled by New Democracy (ND) deputy Yiannis Michelakis.
According to the document concerning 1,500 debtors with debts of 5 million euro each, on which cases the ministry inspection services focused by priority, 459 case files were opened representing a total of 13,095,089,165.90 euros in overdue bets. Of these, 134 cases concern seizures by third parties, 143 cases are in the process of bankruptcy and 14 cases are in the process of special liquidation.
Out of the total of 13 billion euros in overdue debts, just 19,062,985.11 euros have been collected, while a sum of 29.5 million euros was written off, concerning fines of the bookkeeping code on which court decisions have been issued and loans guaranteed by the Greek state while the collection of 283,000 euros has been suspended.
The above 1,500 cases were assigned to 21 auditors of the finance ministry's operational collection unit, and the results concern the period of May 1 to August 31, 2012.
Michelakis had noted in his question that the perception prevailed in public opinion that a list with the 1,740 major debtors to the state that was submitted in parliament last year by the then finance minister had been released for public relations reasons and that legal proceedings were not launched against the big businessmen who owed immense sums to the state.
Mavraganis also said in the document that cross-checks are being made to ascertain whether included among the 1,500 major debtors are physical entities, administrative legal entities and members of their families, who are included in the file of remittances transferred abroad, or in the file of interest accrued on deposits abroad, and whether they are owners of real estate in the UK.
 Govt presents cutbacks and savings in health sectorHealth Minister Andreas Lykourentzos on Monday presented a list of cutbacks and savings worth 950 million euros in the country's health system for 2013 to the troika's officials during a three-hour meeting. Ministry officials told reporters, after the meeting, that the list included:
-150-200 million euros from prescription drugs
-300 million euros from a new price list of pharmaceutical products
-100 million from boosting sales of generics
-150 million euros from changes in prescription of pharmaceuticals and
-200 million euros in changes in healthcare services.
 Greek economy to shrink by 6.6% this year, IOBE reportThe Greek economy will shrink by 6.6 pct this year, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) announced on Monday. In its quarterly report on the country's economic outlook, IOBE slightly cut its forecasts for the country's Gross Domestic Product from a previous estimate of a decline of 6.9 pct.
IOBE said the unemployment rate will continue rising this year to 24.2 pct of the workforce, up from a 23.6-pct estimate made in the previous quarterly report. Nevertheless, the Institute stressed that the country could be in a position to service its debt by the end of the decade without any further assistance from its creditors.
 Development minister addresses International Herald Tribune conferenceDevelopment and Competitiveness Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, addressing the International Herald Tribune's conference on Monday on the theme of "Attracting Foreign Investments: An absolute priority", stressed that "the agreement with the troika can secure the basic preconditions on when and how Greece will exit from the crisis and will return to the path of recovery. However, the precondition for us to reach an agreement with the troika is the regaining of the country's credibility".
The minister includes, in the measures that with Europe's support will lead to the "final change of ground" for Greece, also the creation of a Greek Investments Fund that could obtain capital from the structural EU funds, development banks, international development organisations and consquently from private investors. He added that it will function with private economy criteria and private management.
Hatzidakis further said that a Committee has already been created to submit proposals on the creation of the Fund. Participating in it are the Development ministry, the French Economy ministry, the European Commission, the EU's Task Force and development agencies.
As regards what Greece must do, the minister reiterated that the target is for all the necessary reforms to be carried out for competitiveness to be regained and stressed that "we are waging a battle with the obstacles of an old model that determined supposedly that you can have investments without investors and growth without competitiveness. This model has collapsed finally through its contradictions".
 Deputy Energy minister addresses International Herald Tribune conferenceDeputy Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Asimakis Papageorgiou, addressing the International Herald Tribune's conference on Monday afternoon, announced a new regulatory framework for the energy market in the first half of 2013 and a second package of measures for the renewable energy sources in the coming days.
"It is a pity for one to see a country that could be a protagonist in the productive use of renewable energy sources, exploiting the advantages it has in such an anarchistic way. Meaning without the suitable supportive and institutional framework that will benefit the investor, but will not harm the ordinary Greek citizen, consumer, taxpayer. We are all experiencing the consequences of this situation today, through deficits that swelled rapidly and threatened the energy market with collapse," he said.
He added that following the measures taken in August (the gradual decrease of the guaranteed prices for energy purchase from photovoltaics among them), new decisions will be submitted in Parliament in the coming days aiming at decreasing and ultimately eliminating the deficit of the Electric Energy Market Functionary, while at the same time, as the deputy minister said, investments in the sector remain viable and attractive.
 SYRIZA leader Tsipras visits dairy products industryMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group leader Alexis Tsipras visited the "Dodoni" dairy products industry on Monday, whose share majority was sold recently by ATE to a group of Russian-French-British interests.
"They are selling 'Dodoni' because they feel hatred for whatever form of healthy cooperativeness and cooperative entrepreneurship," the SYRIZA leader claimed.
Tsipras added that "they do not want a positive model of cooperativeness to exist in the country because their aim is to loot all the productive forces for the benefit of specific interests."
He further said that "it is a great scandal for them to give this industry for crumbs, while at the same time they are not taxing big capital, those who took their money out of the country and the big channel owners who have gagged you."
Speaking after a meeting with employees, Tsipras pointed out that in the case of "Dodoni" it is a model cooperative business that kept an entire region standing in difficult times and succeeded in giving the possibility of work to thousands of producers.
 Registered unemployment up 11.12% in Sept, yr/yrThe number of registered unemployment totaled 772,579 persons in September 2012, of which 320,245 are men (41.45 pct of total) and 452,334 women (58.55 pct) of total, a report by the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) said on Monday.
The report said that the number of registered unemployment was down 1.84 pct from August, but up 11.12 pct from the same month last year.
Long-term unemployment rose 0.99 pct in September from August and by 23.06 pct from September 2011, while central Greece recorded the biggest percentage increase amongst the country's regions (3.44 pct).
The number of registered unemployed who declared they were not seeking jobs in September totaled 119,009 -- of which 37,029 were registered for a period of more than 12 months and 81,980 were registered unemployed for less than 12 months.
The number of unemployed people receiving jobless benefits fell by 7.87 pct in September from August to 185,870. The report showed that 63.75 pct of registered unemployed people belonged to the 30-54 age group, 26.43 pct were under the age of 30, and 9.83 pct were over 55 years old.
The vast majority of unemployed people are Greek citizens, with EU citizens accounting for 1.55 pct and third country nationals 5.72 pct.
New hirings totaled 87,577 in September, up 54.24 pct from August and up 4.53 pct from September 2011, while dismissals totaled 58,562, up 59.03 pct from August but down 10.56 pct from September 2011.
 Credit crunch conditions persistGreek markets continued suffering from a credit crunch, with the value of bounced checks and unpaid bills surpassing 1.25 billion euros in the January-September period this year, from 1.83 billion euros in the same period last year, for a decline of 46 pct, official figures showed on Monday.
The value of bounced checks totaled 1.098 billion euros in the nine-month period, while the value of unpaid bills totaled 149 million euros. In September, the value of bounced checks totaled 78.3 million euros, down 36.28 pct from the same month in 2011, while the value of unpaid bills totaled 13.264 million euros, down 27 pct from last year.
 Greek 10-year bond yield falls to 7-month lowsGreek 10-year benchmark bond yields fell to 17.73 pct in the London market on Monday, to their lowest level since March after a restructuring of the country's debt.
The yield on the benchmark bond maturing in February 2023 fell by 32 basis points, according to a Bloomberg report.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's comment that Greece will not go bankrupt further strengthened a positive climate for the country in international markets.
 Morning work stoppage in Athens Metro, ISAP trains on TuesdayAthens Metro and ISAP electric railway trains will circulate from 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, due to a 'warning' work-stoppage by train drivers from the beginning of the morning shift to that hour, in demand of mainly institutional demands.
The fixed rail drivers are protesting the recent increase in incidents of attacks against STA.SY (the state-run company that manages rail-based transport) personnel, which have resulted in the hospitalization of two employees.
The train drivers accuse the STA.SY S.A. administration of delaying tactics in and indifference to the taking of measures to protect the employees and in the materialization of its commitments, contained in their Collective Labor Agreement, for the security of the railways.
 Business Briefs-- The Federation of Societe Anonymes and Limited companies, representing more than 700 such companies with the largest turnover in the country, on Monday warned that all major enterprises will leave Greece if the prevailing economic instability is prolonged.
 Stocks end 1.23 pct higherStocks ended higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with investors focusing on the marathon-long negotiations between the Greek government and the EC-ECB-IMF troika over a new package of austerity measures. Bank shares came at the focus of buying attention in the market. The composite index rose 1.23 pct to end at 834.99 points, off the day's highs of 841.16 points. Turnover was a low 57.019 million euros.
The Big Cap index jumped 1.86 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 0.46 pct. The Banks (5.19 pct), Raw Materials (2.61 pct) and Financial Services (2.27 pct) sectors scored gains, while Constructions (3.67 pct) and Industrial Products (1.49 pct) were top losers. Piraeus Bank (6.79 pct), Eurobank (5.98 pct), Alpha Bank (5.95 pct) and National Bank (5.19 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Titan (4.84 pct), Viohalco (1.71 pct) and Metka (1.52 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 75 to 60 with another 22 issues unchanged. Logismos (29.31 pct), Forthnet (14.91 pct) and Mihaniki (12.28 pct) were top gainers, while Alpha Real Estate (19.47 pct), Euromedica (17.59 pct) and NEL (16.49 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.18%
Personal & Household: +1.24%
Raw Materials: +2.61%
Travel & Leisure: -0.39%
Food & Beverages: +1.49%
Financial Services: +2.27%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Bank of Piraeus, OTE and HBC Coca Cola.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.96
Public Power Corp (PPC): 4.12
HBC Coca Cola: 17.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.96
National Bank of Greece: 2.23
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 1.24
Bank of Piraeus: 0.52
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 16.13 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 17.58 pct -the lowest level since a Greek debt restructuring in March- and the German Bund yielding 1.45 pct. Turnover was 11.0 million euros, of which 7.0 million were buy orders and the remaining 4.0 million euros were sell orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.65 pct, the six-month rate was 0.41 pct, the three-month rate was 0.21 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.54 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 13.740 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,162 contracts worth 6.347 million euros, with 29,651 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 35,247 contracts worth 7.393 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (13,316), followed by Alpha Bank (7,156), Cyprus Bank (1,200), MIG (972), OTE (1,421), PPC (1,145), OPAP (973), Piraeus Bank (6,825), Intralot (345), Eurobank (447) and Coca Cola Hellenic (478).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.316
Pound sterling 0.819
Danish kroner 7.571
Swedish kroner 8.789
Japanese yen 103.63
Swiss franc 1.227
Norwegian kroner 7.521
Canadian dollar 1.287
Australian dollar 1.285
 Continuing economic crisis and uncertain future increase depression ratesScientists are underlining that the continuing economic crisis, combined with the uncertain future and generalised insecurity is increasing depression rates in the Greek population dramatically and is threatening their bodily health.
It has been assessed that in Greece 25 percent of men and 33 percent of women (about 850,000 Greeks and 1.1 million Greek women) are suffering from mild to serious depression.
According to experts, the economic crisis currently constitutes the main cause of the increase in depression cases at world level. It is assessed that the disease affects 350 million people and according to the results of a worldwide probe on mental health carried out recently in 17 countries - about 1 in 20 people mentioned having a depression case in the past year.
The disease can affect people from all walks of life and in certain serious cases it can lead to suicide, experts say. Every year and all over the world about one million lives are lost due to suicides, that means about 3,000 deaths on a daily basis.
According to the World Health Organisation, by the year 2020 depression will be the second important reason for inability to work and by 2030 the first, unless drastic measures are taken to combat it.
The announcements were made by Haralambos Papageorgiou, Professor of Psychiatry at the Athens University, during a press conference in light of the 18th National Conference of Internal Pathology, which will be held in Athens on October 18-20.
 Prisoner escaped while waiting to stand trial at EvelpidonA 30-year-old Georgian national who had managed to escape from the custody of police officers that had accompanied him to the Athens 'Evelpidon' court complex at around 4:00 p.m. on Monday, was ultimately arrested later in the evening in the Athens region of Kallithea.
The Georgian national was waiting to stand trial in a police court for 'insulting behaviour' and resisting arrest.
The prisoner, who was waiting at building 12, managed to slip away during a moment of inattention by the officers in charge of him and soon afterwards had left the court compound and disappeared.
 Justice minister undergoes surgeryJustice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis, who was taken to a hospital early Monday due to a persistent migraine, will undergo surgery at the Attiko Hospital in the afternoon.
Roupakiotis underwent surgery to treat a small cranial hematoma, and is reported in good condition.
 One dead in court shooting incidentOne man was killed and another seriously injured in a shooting at the Evelpidon court complex in Athens on Monday morning.
According to reports, both victims -- identified as Roma -- were due to stand trial for the murder of another man in their neighbourhood when the mother of the murder victim opened fire with a handgun.
The incident occured on the first floor of court building 9, where the investigating magistrates' offices are housed.
Police managed to subdue the woman, who had smuggled the weapon past security and a metal detector at the entrance of the complex, wrapped in a towel.
Other reports said the shooting was due to a "vendetta" between gypsy families.
A scuffle ensured, during which a second man was injured by a knife.
 Foreign national found murderedA 24 year-old Albanian national was found murdered in the town of Yannitsa, northern Greece on Sunday.
According to police the man had been stabbed in the chest and the abdomen.
The body was found by an animal breeder off the rural road Palaifytou-Paliou Mylopotamou.
 Cloudy on TuesdayCloudy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 3-7 beauforte. Temperatures between 13C and 31C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with variable 3-4 beauforte winds and temperatures between 18C and 31C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 15C and 28C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe government's ongoing negotiations with the EC, ECB, IMF troika and the latter's insistence on layoffs and cuts in layoff compensations, mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Troika demands layoffs and cuts in labour remuneration".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "To whom the Troika shows the exit door from the public sector".
ESTIA: "Real estate tax on wrong properties".
ETHNOS: "They want everything in labour regime and layoffs".
IMERISSIA: "IM-EU' secret report - All the upsets in banks and labour relations".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Feverish negotiations for labour relations and layoffs".
TA NEA: "Five small 'Siemens' scandals".
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