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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-10-23

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

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

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 Issue No: 4205

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't spokesman: Biggest adversary is time
  • [02] Government-Troika negotiations on thorny labor issues in final stretch
  • [03] Coalition government party leaders to meet on Tuesday
  • [04] Democratic Left MP leaves party, goes independent
  • [05] SYRIZA leader Tsipras tours NE town of Serres
  • [06] Foreign minister to visit Canada on Oct. 30
  • [07] Venizelos to address Brookings Institution event next week
  • [08] Greek, French air force units hold joint exercise
  • [09] Justice minister treated for post-op complication
  • [10] Aegean Airlines agree to buy OA for 72 mln euros
  • [11] Draft law on full privatisation of public utilities debated
  • [12] Government meeting focuses on single property tax
  • [13] Tourism minister on visit to Berlin
  • [14] Current accounts balance posts 66.5pct decline in January-August period
  • [15] Finmin withdraws article on privatisation of public real estate
  • [16] Greek fiscal deficit falls to 9.4% of GDP in 2011, Eurostat
  • [17] Minoan Lines to inaugurate new Adriatic route in Dec.
  • [18] Bank workers' union calls strike for Wed.
  • [19] Business Briefs
  • [20] Stocks jump to new 13-month highs
  • [21] Greek bond market closing report
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [24] Numismatic museum exhibition 'Fire and Coin - Archaelogy and Fire'
  • [25] Int'l con'f focuses on Bulgarian periodicals published in Thessaloniki between 1869-1913
  • [26] Arrests during protest against gold mine
  • [27] Event for UN Day on Fri.
  • [28] Rainy on Tuesday
  • [29] The Monday edition of Athens dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Gov't spokesman: Biggest adversary is time

    Greece's biggest adversary now is time, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on private television on Monday, noting that the prime minister himself had said in Brussels (after the recent EU summit) that we now have a definitive date, November 16, on which the country's cash reserves will be depleted. Consequently, he said, we have to resolve all the other matters by then.

    Kedikoglou pointed out that the Eurogroup meeting is on November 12 "and the deadlines are pressing", while he also opined that a deal was near at hand on the labor issues.

    "First of all, this tranche is not like the others. This is crucial money, because it comes at a very decisive phase of the Greek programme. This time, the money we will get is much more than what we are sacrificing. Europe is taking decisions that will alter its form. Decisions that we deem are in a positive direction, and we had said that Greece must remain in the game now that Europe is changing," Kedikoglou said, adding: "

    Imagine , now that these decisions are being taken, if Greece had been ostracized, as some quarters perhaps desired. It is a painful effort, a very great national effort, but also, we are serving a pressing national need".

    [02] Government-Troika negotiations on thorny labor issues in final stretch

    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 the thorny issue of changes to the labor regime are nearing agreement, it arises from labor minister Yannis Vroutsis' statements on Sunday afternoon as he left a meeting of the government's economic staff with prime minister Antonis Samaras.

    Vroutsis appeared optimistic on the final outcome of the deliberations, although he avoided reference to details or to the content of the ministry's electronic correspondence with the Troika.

    According to labor ministry sources, the Greek side appears to have 'saved' the three-year salary maturities until the completion of the Medium-Term programme. The Troika maintains that the three-year maturities were abolished with the signing of the second Memorandum, which calls for replacement of the national collective labor agreement with a 'minimum salary'. The ministry bases its position on the Cabinet Act of February 22 which provides for a reduction of the minimum wage by 22 percent and by 25 percent for young people under 25 years of age "until completion of the fiscal adjustment programme".

    The same Act also stipulates that salary maturity benefits, and benefits for children, university studies and hazardous work will be maintained after the expiry of the collective labor agreements, while all other benefits are abolished.

    The negotiations on severance pay also seem to be on a good path, the sources said. The labor ministry is making every effort so that the changes made will not affect old workers and workers with low or medium incomes. The reduction in severance pay would affect the newcomers to the job market and would be corresponding to the European average, but not smaller than the current 12 salaries given as severance pay for 16 years of employment under the same employer.

    On settlement of the working days issue and the establishment of a six-day week in specific branches, the Troika is seeking that this is done via individual agreements between employee and employer, while the Greek side wants this to be d9one through the collective negotiations and their ratification by corporate agreement.

    [03] Coalition government party leaders to meet on Tuesday

    Prime minister Antonis Samaras will brief the leaders of the two junior parties supporting his coalition government, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, on the outcome of the recent EU summit and progress in the government's negotiations with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'Troika' of Greece's international lenders, at a meeting on Tuesday at 15:00 in the parliament building.

    [04] Democratic Left MP leaves party, goes independent

    Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party MP Yiannis Miheloyiannakis on Monday sent letters to DIM.AR president Fotis Kouvelis and Parliament President Vaggelis Meimarakis, announcing his intention to leave DIM.AR's Parliamentary group and become an independent MP.

    DIM.AR is the smaller of the three parties supporting Greece's coalition government.

    [05] SYRIZA leader Tsipras tours NE town of Serres

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday visited the Hellenic Sugar Industry (EBZ) plant in Serres, northern Greece.

    As regards to a pending 31.5-billion-euro bailout tranche to Greece, he said the money from the loan tranche will be used exclusively to "support banks and bankers".

    Addressing the MPs who will be called to vote on new austerity measures expected to be tabled by the government in the next few days, he said they should cast their vote based on their conscience, while he again called for a peaceful nationwide uprising to block any new measures.

    Later in the afternoon, Tsipras will meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at a nearby monastery, before addressing a party rally in Serres.

    [06] Foreign minister to visit Canada on Oct. 30

    Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos is to carry out a visit to Canada on October 30, accompanied by Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis and a group of investors. During the visit, he is scheduled to hold talks with his Canadian counterpart John Baird and attend an economic forum on potential Greek investments for Canadian firms.

    [07] Venizelos to address Brookings Institution event next week

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos will go to Washington on Thursday, at the invitation of the Brookings Institution, a DC-based public policy think tank.

    Venizelos will address a Brookings Institution event on October 29 titled "The debt crisis in the Eurozone, the case of

    Greece and the role of the US", while he will also hold talks with US government officials.

    Venizelos will also take the opportunity to see his daughter, who is studying at Georgetown University.

    [08] Greek, French air force units hold joint exercise

    Units of the Hellenic and French air forces held advanced joint air defense exercises near Kalamata, extreme SW Greece, last week.

    The exercises, completed last Friday, included the participation of T-2E aircraft from the Kalamata-based 362nd advanced training squadron and Alpha Jet aircraft from France's 3/13 Auvergne training squadron.

    [09] Justice minister treated for post-op complication

    Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis on Sunday underwent surgery to be treated for post-operative hygroma that was diagnosed during a routine CT scan, it was announced on Monday. His condition was termed as stable and he remains hospitalised.

    Financial News

    [10] Aegean Airlines agree to buy OA for 72 mln euros

    Aegean Airlines on Monday announced that it has agreed to buy rival Olympic Air from Marfin Investment Group (MIG) for 72 million euros, a bid aimed at strengthening its position amid an economic crisis.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Olympic Air will become a subsidiary of Greek-listed Aegean Airlines. The two companies will maintain their brand names and logos and their flight programme, fleet and staff.

    All administration services will be intergraded to achieve the necessary scale economies and to maximizing both fleet and network to better service passengers in Greece and abroad. The deal is pending approval by competition authorities, while the deal will not affect Aegean Airlines' current shareholder base.

    Theodore Vassilakis, chairman of Aegean Airlines, commenting on the deal stated:

    "Aegean and Olympic Air have invested 2.0 billion US dollars to renew their fleet, in organising and innovative services, ensuring an excellent level of services acknowledged each year with significant international awards. At the same time, the contribute with 270 million euros in taxes and duties to the state. The lack, however, of a size capable to compete in European and global level and an intense crisis lead to losses and shrinking. The threat that our strategic industry of tourism to be fully dependent from international carriers is clear, with significant long-term losses for the state and to employment. The deal significant economic synergies will allow us to offer improve network coverage and more competitive prices to consumers. We hope that all Greeks will support this difficult, ambitious and absolutely necessary effort".

    A decision to sell Olympic Air to Aegean Airlines is part of MIG's strategy to focus on its core activities, Efthimios Bouloutas, MIG's chief executive said in a statement. He stressed that the deal will ensure the future use of Olympic Air's brand name.

    [11] Draft law on full privatisation of public utilities debated

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Monday briefed a relevant Parliamentary committee on the full privatisation of several public utilities (DEKOs).

    He rejected a proposal tabled by a PASOK MP, who recommended that each public utility company up for sale be examined separately, saying this it would be a "huge mistake" and that "clauses blocking the privatisation process should not be introduced".

    Stournaras reminded that privatisations are a condition for the approval of a 31.5-billion-euro loan tranche expected by the Greek government, underlining that "if we don't get the money, people will starve".

    The clause on the full privatisation of public utility companies was approved by MPs of New Democracy (ND) and PASOK, and was rejected by MPs from other political parties, including those of the Democratic Left (DIM.AR), one of the political parties backing the current Samaras government.

    [12] Government meeting focuses on single property tax

    Deputy Finance Minister George Mavraganis on Monday had a meeting at the finance ministry with representatives of the parties supporting the government in order to discuss various alternatives for a single property tax that will replace the various taxes currently imposed on real estate from 2013.

    Among the proposals is a tax with a coefficient starting at 0.1 percent and reaching 2 percent for real estate of significant value. There are also suggestions to impose a tax on the entire tax-office assessed value of a property without a tax-free allowance, which will also apply to any farming land owned by a tax payer. As yet, according to ministry sources, no final decisions have been made.

    [13] Tourism minister on visit to Berlin

    BERLIN (AMNA/F. Karaviti)

    Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni, who is on a two-day visit to Berlin for contacts with government officials and tourism agents in an effort to promote the Greek tourism product and to restore Greece's image abroad, stressed that the target of the Greek Tourism ministry is for Greece to become one of the first five tourist destinations for Germans.

    Referring in particular to the issue of the "euro clause", that has been raised by the German tour operators with Greek hoteliers, Kefaloyianni explained to the German Finance ministry that "this is not the usual transaction practice" and that in any case "Greece and the Greek people are making a very great effort for Greece to remain in the eurozone and for Greece to be able to recover economically and enter a growth orbit again".

    The minister also highlighted the issue of employees in the Tourism sector and, as she said, she stressed the interest of the Greek side in the transfer of know-how regarding the preparation and training of staff, as well as in the proposal made by the German side on Greeks to be able to work in Germany during the winter months.

    [14] Current accounts balance posts 66.5pct decline in January-August period

    Greece's current accounts deficit posted a significant decline of 66.5 percent in the 8-month period January to August, falling to 4.6 billion euro from 13.7 billion euro in the same period in 2011, the country's central Bank of Greece (BOG) said on Monday, adding that the current account balance posted a surplus in August this year, for the second consecutive month, while the Greek economy's financing needs from abroad fell to 3 billion euro from 12.5 billion euro in the same period last year, while for the second consecutive month, in August, the Greek economy did not require financing from abroad as the capital inflows exceeded outflows and obligations by 2 billion euro, a sum that corresponds to the surplus in the balance of current account and capital transfers.

    The BoG, in a report, said:

    "In August 2012, the current account balance showed, for the second consecutive month (since May 2010), a surplus, of ? 1.6 billion, compared with a deficit of ? 102.8 million in August 2011.

    The trade deficit narrowed by ? 671 million, as a result of a ? 222 million decrease in the trade deficit excluding oil and ships, as well as declines of ? 330 million and ? 119 million in net payments for purchases of ships and in the net oil import bill, respectively. The trade deficit excluding oil and ships shrank due to the considerably reduced import bill (down by ? 269 million or 13.0%), whereas export receipts recorded a small fall by ? 48 million or 4.0%.

    The surplus of the services balance expanded by ? 164 million as a result of a rise in net travel receipts, which more than offset a decline in net receipts from "other" services and transport services. In more detail, compared with August 2011, travel spending in Greece by non-residents grew by 2.9%, while travel spending abroad by residents fell by 44.2%; as a result, net receipts rose by ? 220 million. In the same month, non-residents' arrivals decreased by 2.5%, according to data from the Bank of Greece's border survey. Gross transport receipts (chiefly from merchant shipping) fell by 6.6%, but the corresponding payments fell as well -- by 12.7%; as a result, net receipts decreased by ? 7 million only.

    The income account deficit shrank by ? 496 million, almost exclusively on account of lower net interest, dividend and profit payments, which, in turn, mainly reflect a ? 464 million decline in net interest payments on Greek government bonds held by non-residents following the PSI.

    Finally, the current transfers balance showed a surplus of ? 203 million, compared with a deficit of ? 170 million in August 2011, chiefly as a result of net general government transfer receipts (mainly from the EU), compared with net transfer payments in August 2011. (It should be recalled that gross current transfers from the EU mainly include receipts from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF), as well as receipts from the European Social Fund, while current transfers to the EU include Greece's contributions (payments) to the Community Budget.)

    In the January-August 2012 period, the current account deficit contracted by ? 9.1 billion or 66.5% year-on-year, to ? 4.6 billion. This development primarily reflects a substantial decline of ? 4.6 billion in the trade deficit, a ? 3.3 billion decrease in the income account deficit, as well as increases of ? 665 million and ? 448 million in the surpluses of the services balance and the current transfers balance, respectively.

    In more detail, the trade deficit decreased as a result of a ? 2.6 billion (or 29.8%) decline in the trade deficit excluding oil and ships and a ? 1.85 billion fall in net payments for purchases of ships, whereas the net oil import bill decreased by ? 190 million or 2.5%. Receipts from exports of goods excluding oil and ships rose by 4.6%, while the corresponding import bill decreased at a much faster (almost triple) pace (by 12.8%).

    The increase observed in the surplus of the services balance in the first eight months of 2012 is primarily due to higher net transport receipts and, secondarily, lower net payments for "other" services and higher net travel receipts. In more detail, travel spending in Greece by non-residents fell by 3.4% year-on-year and non-residents' arrivals declined at an average annual rate of 5.9% (according to data from the Bank of Greece's border survey). At the same time, travel spending abroad by residents fell by 19.8%; as a result, net receipts rose by ? 65 million. In the same period, gross transport receipts (chiefly from merchant shipping) decreased (by 1.7%), but the corresponding payments fell even more (by 13.4%); as a result, net receipts rose by ? 508 million.

    The income account deficit fell by ? 3.3 billion year-on-year, mainly owing to a drastic decline in net interest payments on Greek government bonds held by non-residents following the PSI, and deferred interest payments on loans under the support mechanism through the ECB owing to an interest rate adjustment, as already mentioned in the June 2012 press release.

    Finally, the current transfers balance showed a surplus of ? 1.3 billion, up by ? 448 million year-on-year. This development is chiefly due to a ? 290 million rise in general government net transfer receipts (mainly from the EU) and a ? 158 million fall in the net transfer payments of the sectors other than general government (mainly emigrants' remittances).

    Capital transfers balance

    In August 2012, the capital transfers balance showed a surplus of ? 372 million, compared with ? 580 million in August 2011, reflecting a fall in net EU capital transfers to general government. (Capital transfers from the EU mainly include receipts from the Structural Funds - except for the European Social Fund - and the Cohesion Fund under the Community Support Framework.)

    In the January-August 2012 period, the capital transfers balance showed a surplus of ? 1.6 billion, compared with ? 1.1 billion in the corresponding period of 2011. This increase stems exclusively from a rise in net EU capital transfers to general government.

    The overall transfers balance (current transfers plus capital transfers) recorded a surplus of ? 2.9 billion in the period under review, up by ? 894 million year-on-year, reflecting the above-mentioned positive development in EU capital transfers.

    Combined current account and capital transfers balance

    In August 2012, the combined current account and capital transfers balance (corresponding to the economy's external financing requirements) showed, for the second consecutive month (since August 2011), a surplus, which came to ? 2 billion, compared with ? 477 million in August 2011. In the January-August 2012 period, this balance showed a deficit of ? 3 billion, compared with ? 12.5 billion in the corresponding period of 2011 (down by 76.1%), i.e. it fell at a faster pace than the current account deficit.

    Financial account balance

    In August 2012, non-residents' direct investment in Greece showed a net outflow (decline) of ? 192 million, which, it should be noted, was primarily attributable to negative reinvested earnings (i.e. losses instead of profits on the balance sheets of corporate direct investors in Greece). Residents' direct investment abroad recorded a net outflow (increase) of ? 35 million, without any remarkable transaction.

    As regards portfolio investment, a net outflow of ? 3.5 billion was recorded, reflecting mainly a decline of ? 3.7 billion in non-residents' holdings of Greek bonds and Treasury bills. There was also an outflow due to increases of ? 39 million and ? 20 million in residents' holdings of foreign financial derivatives and foreign shares, respectively. These developments were partly offset by a ? 234 million inflow as a result of a decline in residents' investment in foreign bonds and Treasury bills.

    Under "other" investment, a net inflow of ? 2.3 billion was recorded, which is mainly attributable to a net increase of ? 1.7 billion in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (inflow) and a net decline (inflow) of ? 699 million in resident credit institutions' and institutional investors' deposit and repo holdings abroad. These developments were partly offset by a ? 108 million decrease (outflow) in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents, as well as by a ? 26 million rise in loans granted to non-residents (outflow).

    In the January-August 2012 period, direct investment showed a net inflow of ? 2.1 billion (compared with a net outflow of ? 1.7 billion in the corresponding period of 2011). Specifically, non-residents' direct investment in Greece showed a net inflow of ? 1.9 billion, while residents' direct investment abroad showed a net inflow of ? 200 million (disinvestment).

    A net outflow of ? 76.0 billion was observed under portfolio investment (compared with a net outflow of ? 13.3 billion in the corresponding period of 2011). In more detail, an outflow of funds was recorded, on the one hand due to a ? 39.6 billion increase in resident institutional investors' holdings of foreign bond and Treasury bills (including EFSF bonds) and, on the other hand, a ? 35.3 billion decrease in non-residents' holdings of Greek bonds and Treasury bills. An outflow of funds was recorded also on account of increases of ? 718 million and ? 250 million in residents' holdings of foreign financial derivatives and foreign shares, respectively. Finally, a ? 143 million outflow was observed due to a decline in non-residents' investment in shares of Greek firms.

    Under "other" investment, a net inflow of ? 78.4 billion was recorded (compared with a net inflow of ? 28.4 billion in the corresponding period of 2011). This is chiefly attributable to a ? 76.0 billion increase (inflow) in the net outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents and to a ? 12.8 billion decline in resident credit institutions' and institutional investors' deposit and repo holdings abroad (inflow). In more detail, net general government borrowing came to ? 75.1 billion and reflects gross public sector borrowing of ? 75.6 billion from the EFSF and the IMF. These developments were partly offset by a ? 10.2 billion decline in non-residents' holdings of deposits and repos in Greece (outflow).

    At end-August 2012, Greece' s reserve assets stood at ? 5.5 billion. (It should be recalled that, since Greece joined the euro area in January 2001, reserve assets, as defined by the European Central Bank, include only monetary gold, the "reserve position" with the IMF, "Special Drawing Rights", and Bank of Greece claims in foreign currency on residents of non-euro area countries. Excluded are euro-denominated claims on non-euro area residents, claims (in foreign currency and in euro) on euro area residents, and the Bank of Greece share in the capital and reserves of the ECB.)"

    [15] Finmin withdraws article on privatisation of public real estate

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Monday withdrew articles of a draft bill on privatisations that transferred ownership of all real estate used by organisations and state enterprises in the broader public sector to the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF). The draft bill has been tabled in Parliament and is now before the Economic Affairs Committee.

    The bill would have given HRADF control of all buildings and property used or destined to be used to house state services, those owned by public-sector legal entities, public utilities and public bodies. The specific article had drawn strong criticism from the academic community and universities, since it also transferred all university properties to the HRADF, which is charged with exploiting and privatisation of state-owned assets, without anything in exchange.

    In addition to withdrawing the specific article, Stournaras also announced another 29 modifications to the contents of the draft bill.

    [16] Greek fiscal deficit falls to 9.4% of GDP in 2011, Eurostat

    BRUSSELS (AMNA)

    Greece's fiscal deficit fell to 9.4 pct of Gross Domestic Product in 2011, while its public debt soared to 170.6 pct of GDP, Eurostat announced on Monday.

    The EU executive's statistics agency, in an update report said that Eurozone's fiscal deficit fell to 6.2 pct of GDP in 2010 and 4.1 pct in 2011, while in the EU-27 the deficit eased to 6.5 pct and 4.4 pct, respectively.

    Eurostat said Eurozone's public debt rose to 87.3 pct of GDP in 2011, from 85.4 pct in 2010, while in the EU-27, the public debt rose to 82.5 pct from 80 pct, respectively. Luxembourg recorded the lowest fiscal deficit (0.3 pct of GDP), followed by Finland (0.6 pct) and Germany (0.8 pct), while Hungary (4.3 pct), Estonia (1.1 pct) and Sweden (0.4 pct) were the only states to record fiscal surpluses. Greece and Spain (9.4 pct) recorded the second highest fiscal deficit after Ireland (13.4 pct).

    Greece posted the highest public debt (170.6 pct), followed by Italy (120.7 pct) and Portugal (108.1 pct).

    Meanwhile, income tax revenues accounted for 24.5 pct of the general government's total revenues in the second quarter of 2012, from 19.5 pct in the same period last year, reflecting higher tax burdens, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said.

    Primary spending rose to 90.8 pct of the general government's total spending in the second quarter, from 86 pct last year, while social spending fell to 44.3 pct this year from 44.5 pct in 2011 and capital spending eased to 9.2 pct of total spending from 14 pct over the same periods, respectively.

    The statistics service also said the general government's deficit fell to 9.4 pct of GDP in 2011, from 10.7 pct in 2010. The general government's spending accounted for 51.8 pct of GDP in 2011, from 51.5 pct in 2010, while revenues rose to 42.3 pct of GDP in 2011, from 40.6 pct in 2010.

    [17] Minoan Lines to inaugurate new Adriatic route in Dec.

    Minoan Lines will inaugurate a new sea route linking Trieste and Ancona with Igoumenitsa and Patras, as of December.

    According to an announcement, Greek coastal shipper Minoan, a member of the Grimaldi group, aims to strengthen its position in the sector by improving the sea links between Greece and northern Italy.

    The new route will be served by the large ferryboats operating on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Ancona line, namely, the Cruise Europa and Cruise Olympia, as well as by the new Europa Link.

    [18] Bank workers' union calls strike for Wed.

    The union representing bank employees (OTOE) on Monday called a 24-hour strike in the banking sector for Wednesday, on the occasion of the tabling of an amendment in Parliament transferring bank employees' health funds to the newly formed National Organisation for the Provision of Health Services (EOPYY).

    [19] Business Briefs

    -- Most Greek enterprises are seeking new ways to overcome the ongoing recession, to develop and improve positions in the market in anticipation to a return to growth in the country.

    -- Plaisio Computers on Monday said its after-tax profits totaled 5.0 million euros in the January-September period, up 19.6 pct compared with the corresponding period in 2011.

    -- Building materials' prices rose by 0.4 pct in September this year despite the fact that building activity remained idle, official data showed on Monday.

    [20] Stocks jump to new 13-month highs

    Stocks ended at new 13-month highs at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, as investors discounted a positive outcome in negotiations between the Greek government and the EC-ECB-IMF troika over a new package of austerity measures, which will pave the way for the release of the next tranche of a bailout package (31 billion euros).

    The composite index jumped 2.86 pct to end at 894.01 points, off the day's highs of 910.99 points. Turnover also soared to 134.285 million euros.

    The Big Cap index ended 3.61 pct higher and the Mid Cap index rose 2.13 pct. The Health (9.66 pct), Banks (6.85 pct), Travel (5.75 pct) and Utilities (4.43 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Constructions (0.73 pct) and Telecoms (0.26 pct) suffered losses.

    Cyprus Popular Bank (28.89 pct), Cyprus Bank (16.62 pct), MIG (7.48 pct) and OPAP (7.22 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Titan (1.77 pct) and OTE (0.26 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 118 to 51 with another 13 issues unchanged. Cyprus Popular Bank (28.89 pct), ANEK (28.89 pct) and Pasal (27.07 pct) were top gainers, while Logismos (26.67 pct), PC Systetms (20 pct) and Teletypos (19.76 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +3.52%

    Commercial: +3.08%

    Construction -0.73%

    Oil & Gas: +0.89%

    Personal & Household: +1.38%

    Raw Materials: +2.66%

    Travel & Leisure: +5.75%

    Technology: +2.06%

    Telecoms: -0.26%

    Banks: +6.85%

    Food & Beverages: +0.84%

    Health: +9.66%

    Utilities: +4.43%

    Financial Services: +6.31%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 2.29

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 4.60

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.16

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.86

    National Bank of Greece: 2.42

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 1.33

    OPAP: 4.90

    OTE: 3.85

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.63

    Titan: 15.58

    [21] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 14.75 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 15.36 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 16.37 pct and the German Bund 1.62 pct. Turnover was an improved 22 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.64 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.40 pct, the three-month rate was 0.20 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.

    [22] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 25.429 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6.164 contracts worth 10.452 million euros, with 31,284 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 109,092 contracts worth 14.977 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Cyprus Bank's contracts (27,045), followed by National Bank (17,654), Cyprus Popular Bank (20,527), Alpha Bank (11,926), MIG (1,959), OTE (2,396), PPC (1,996), OPAP (4,928), Piraeus Bank (15,994), Eurobank (1,084), Intralot (814) and Mytilineos (617).

    [23] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.325

    Pound sterling 0.826

    Danish kroner 7.570

    Swedish kroner 8.721

    Japanese yen 105.83

    Swiss franc 1.227

    Norwegian kroner 7.497

    Canadian dollar 1.318

    Australian dollar 1.284

    General News

    [24] Numismatic museum exhibition 'Fire and Coin - Archaelogy and Fire'

    A period exhibition on "Fire and Currency - Archaeology and Fire" is running at the National Numismatic Museum of Athens through January 10, 2013, focusing on the dual nature of fire, which on the one hand inspires and creates and on the other hand causes awe and destruction,

    Organized by the Museum in Collaboration with Ephoria of Underwater Antiquities, the exhibition features works on loan from the Archaeological Museums of Argos and Thebes and from the numismatic collections of the Bank of Greece (BoG) and Alpha Bank, and is taking place in the context of the nationwide action Environment and Culture 2012 "Glowing Fire Stories".

    The exhibition is organized in two parts. The first part, titled "Fire and Currency", displays coins and medals depicting fire and its related symbols, such as lightning bolts. torches, ritual fires, altars, volcanoes, a rare depiction on coin of the Lighthouse (Pharos) of Alexandria (one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was a tower built between 280 to 247 BC on the island of Pharos at Alexandria, Egypt for the purpose of guiding mariners into the port of Alexandria with the light shed by fire), as well as mythical gods such as Hephaestus and mythological figures such as Talos, the giant that protected Crete.

    Also on display is the medal of the first Modern Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896, depicting a sacred phoenix, the mythical bird that is reborn from its ashes, a golden hyperpyron (meaning super-refined, cleansed by fire) minted by the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos in 1092 in an effort to drastically rehaul the economy of the Byzantine Empire.

    The second part of the exhibition is titled "Archaeology and Fire", and displays sections or full collections of four numismatic "treasures" that suffered immense damage from fire. These are coins which in eras of war, raids, disease and natural disasters were hoarded away in secret hiding-places to protect them and be retrieved at a later time. These include the treasure of the Athens Acropolis, which was destroyed by fire set by the Persians in 480 BC to the Acropolis monuments, two hoards from Delos, which were burned in 88 BC when the troops of Mithridates VI of Pontos attacked the island, and the proto-Byzantine treasure of Chios, which was hoarded for protection on a merchant ship but was later burned in an Arab raid in the 7th century.

    The display also includes finds from submarine archaeological exploration by the Ephoria of Underwater Antiquities of shipwrecks, submerged settlements and ports that are related to fire.

    [25] Int'l con'f focuses on Bulgarian periodicals published in Thessaloniki between 1869-1913

    The presence of a Bulgarian press in Thessaloniki from 1891 until mid 1913 was notable and comparable to other ethnic communities in the metropolis, with roughly 25 Bulgarian-language newspapers and magazines published during that period.

    The first Bulgarian language print shop in Thessaloniki was founded in 1838 by Hadzi Teodos Sinaitski but a few years later, in 1841, it was destroyed by fire.

    Addressing a international scholarly conference entitled "Thessaloniki: A City in Transition, 1912-2012", political communication & media assistant professor Vlassis Vlassidis chronicled the Bulgarian newspapers and magazines published in Thessaloniki.

    Two magazines and three handwritten newspapers were published by mid 19th century. The magazines were literary and oriented toward national self-awareness while the handwritten newspapers were published by pupils in the city's Bulgarian High School.

    Between the late 19th century and the Young Turks Movement, Bulgarian-language publications are almost non-existent in Thessaloniki and the rest urban centres in the region.

    A drastic change is being recorded after the Young Turks Movement. A total of 11 newspapers of political and social content, as well as, five literary and educational magazines, were published in the period 1908-1912. The majority of them promoted political positions and played a role in political confrontation.

    Such newspapers are Natsalo, Otetsestvo, Rodina, Istina, Pravo, Glas, Konstitytsionna Zarija, Edinstvo, Nardona Volja, Rabotnitsesko Vestnik and Rabotnik, while the magazines published are Iskra, Ytsitelsko Cznanie, Kyltyrno Edinstvo, Ytsitelski Glas, and Otzhivi na Zhtavarite.

    The large numbers of publications in the period between the Young Turks Movement and the 1912 elections is mainly due to the freedom of expression of different political tendencies. The newspapers and magazines were published not to promote rivalry with the rest ethnic communities but to increase their influence in their own community, Vlassidis stressed. With only one exception (that of the daily newspaper Pravo, which was published until the eve of the Second Balkan War) the print media were totally indifferent to people's needs for general news information, he noted.

    According to a research, no Bulgarian newspaper was published in Thessaloniki during the WWII Nazi occupation (1941-1944) and the Bulgarian radio did not broadcast in Thessaloniki like it did in Skopje.

    The international conference was hosted within the framework of events marking the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Thessaloniki from Ottoman rule.

    [26] Arrests during protest against gold mine

    Fourteen arrests were reported during Sunday's protests near the village of Skouries, in northern Halkidiki prefecture, against the operation of a gold mine and processing unit in the region.

    According to police, all of the arrested individuals, sans one, were charged with misdemeanors. The other suspect was charged with attempted assault.

    Eight police officers were reported as injured, while protesters also reported injuries from their ranks.

    One leftist SYRIZA MP, Katerina Igglezi, claimed she was also assaulted by a riot police officer.

    The protest turned violent when demonstrators attempted to change a rally's direction towards a nearby forest area, which critics of the investment claim is being destroyed to make way for the unit.

    [27] Event for UN Day on Fri.

    The Hellenic Association of the United Nations, in cooperation with the Athens branch of the University of Indianapolis, will observe UN Day and the 67th Anniversary of founding of the United Nations during an event on Friday, which will be held at the educational institution's cultural centre in central Athens.

    Weather forecast

    [28] Rainy on Tuesday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 2-7 beauforte. Temperatures between 10C and 24C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens with northerly 4-6 beauforte winds and temperatures between 16C and 22C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 11C and 22C.

    [29] The Monday edition of Athens dailies at a glance

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' instructions to his ministers to close all outstanding issues (measures) by October 29 and progress in bridging the differences between the government and the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'Troika' of Greece's international lenders over the thorny issue of upsets in the labor regime were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Re-institution of New Democracy (ND)".

    DIMOKRATIA: "5.1 billion euro missing - 31.5 billion euro tranche of EU/IMF bailout loan not sufficient to meet the country's needs".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The new plan for the taxes".

    ELLADA: "Tax amnesty for 30 billion euros".

    ESTIA: "Prospects for take-off of Greek economy".

    ETHNOS: "Auctions of debtors' seized real estate assets for debts to the state".

    IMERISSIA: "Compromise solution on labor issues".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Ultimatum to ministers to 'close' the outstanding measures".

    TA NEA: "Race against time for the loan tranche".

    VRADYNI: "Settlement of loans, with priority on mortgage loans".

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