|Friday, 15 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-11-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 9 November 2012 Issue No: 4217
 No recognition for changes to 1967 border, FM assures Palestinian counterpartForeign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Thursday met his Palestinian Authority counterpart Riyad al-Maliki, assuring him that Greece will not recognise any change to the 1967 borders in Israel and Palestine unless there is a prior agreement on both sides. The Palestinian authority foreign minister is currently visiting Athens.
The Palestinian minister thanked Greece warmly and underlined that the Palestinian people will not accept fewer rights than those won by the peoples of the Arab Spring.
Avramopoulos noted Greece's unchanged position in favour of an independent and viable Palestinian state that will coexist alongside Israel in conditions of security and peace. He underlined his concern over the "extended stagnation" of the Middle East peace process and especially stressed that a solution to the Palestinian issue will act as a catalyst in a period of instability and uncertainty, opening the way for understanding and cooperation throughout the region.
The minister stressed that the Palestinian issue was among the top priorities of Greek and European foreign policy and emphasised the "firm ties" between Palestine and its "traditional friend" Greece.
Referring to the Palestinian Authority's bid for non-member status at the United Nations, al Maliki said that this was submitted in order to "restore justice and revive the peace process". He expressed confidence that Greece will "stand at the side" of the Palestinian Authority and thanked Avramopoulos for his warm reception in Athens.
 PM: "Decisive, optimistic step towards recovery'Parliament's approval of a Memorandum-mandated 13.5 billion euro austerity package in the first hours of Thursday is a "major, decisive and optimistic step towards recovery," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said after a stormy parliament plenary session, in which the single-article omnibus bill was passed with a slim majority of 153 votes in the 300-member House.
Samaras said that the passing of the omnibus bill on "Approval of the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy Framework 2013-2016 - Urgent Measures for Application of Law 4046/2012 and the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy Framework 2013-2016", was a prerequisite "so that we may find jobs for our children, for the prospect to exist for all the Greeks to see better days", adding that the next step is the approval of the 2013 budget (on Sunday), opining that "this will go well, too".
The premier at the same time said that attention now, after Monday (Eurogroup meeting) will focus on the sole goal of development "which can happen only with a lot of hard work, coordinated action, with investments -- a major factor -- with denationalizations, which are necessary, a positive necessity for Greece, and in general with moves that will give internally, a change of psychology and outside the message the Greece has changed page".
 Decision on Greece at upcoming Eurogroup unlikely, Schaueble saysBERLIN (AMNA - F. Karaviti)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Thursday said that decisions concerning Greece were unlikely to arise at next week's Eurogroup meeting, while speaking at a conference in Hamburg.
The Eurozone was now on the right path and had regained a little of the markets' confidence but the storm had not yet passed, the minister said.
 Meeting for the implementation of labour ministry measuresLabour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis will chair a meeting with governors of social insurance funds and senior ministry officials at 10:00 a.m. on Friday in order to coordinate government action for the implementation of fiscal commitments undertaken by the ministry of labour.
The meeting will be attended by the president and CEO of the Computer Centre of Social Security Services (IDIKA S.A.), the finance ministry General Secretary of Information Systems and the all social insurance funds' governors.
 Seven MPs expelled from PASOK, ND parliamentary groups for refusing to vote for austerity package in parliamentSeven MPs -- six from PASOK and one from New Democracy (ND) -- were expelled from the parliamentary groups of the two parties of the three-party coalition government after they refused to abide by the party line and vote in favour of the omnibus bill of 13.5 billion euros in austerity measures in the roll-call parliamentary vote on Wednesday night.
Prime Minister and ND leader Antonis Samaras ousted Kozani MP George Kasapidis, who cast a blank vote by simply declaring his presence during the roll-call vote, from the ND parliamentary group.
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos expelled MP Costas Skandalidis, who was absent from the vote; Angela Gerekou, Markos Bolaris and Yiannis Koutsoukos, who simply declared their presence; and Theodoros Parastatidis and Michalis Kassis, who voted against the austerity package.
 DIMAR annoyed with MPs decision not to follow party's line in omnibus voteDemocratic Left (DIMAR) party criticized its MPs' Odysseas Voudouris' and Paris Moutsinas' decisions to vote against the omnibus bill which includes a large number of austerity measures and changes in the labour regime, during the roll call vote late Wednesday in parliament.
High-profile DIMAR cadres told AMNA that a serious political and moral issue has arisen following their decision not to follow the party's line in the vote, which was in disdain of the party's collective decisions
The DIMAR central committee had decided on Monday that its parliamentarians would cast a blank vote, with the MPs simply stating themselves 'present' in Wednesday's roll-call vote.
 PASOK MP becomes independentPASOK MP Mimis Androulakis on Thursday revealed his intention to declare himself an Independent and leave the PASOK parliamentary group, speaking on a private radio station programme.
Androulakis on Wednesday voted in favour of the omnibus bill with the new package of austerity measures, but added that PASOK is in a crisis -- of which he does not feel he is a part of -- and in a state of decomposition, and accused high profile PASOK cadres who have held ministerial positions for three decades but are hiding behind the new MPs.
The role Androulakis chooses for himself is that of a catalyst among main opposition SYRIZA, PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR), aiming at a reconstitution of the wider Left sphere.
 PASOK's Maniatis replies to letter from LoverdosA reply to a letter sent earlier on Thursday by PASOK senior cadre Andreas Loverdos, in which the former minister called for an extraodinary meeting of PASOK's Parliamentary group, was finally sent by PASOK Parliamentary group secretary Yiannis Maniatis rather than party leader Evangelos Venizelos.
Maniatis, after welcoming Loverdos's decision "to return to the collective procedures and actions of the Parliamentary group", pointed out that the MP and former minister should present his proposals at the party's regularly scheduled meetings leading up to a conference on PASOK's charter.
"The Parliamentary group of the current Parliament session operates in an absolutely collective and democratic way and decides on all issues that concern Parliament and the government. Collectively, there was a decision with an overwhelming majority on the way that PASOK will participate in the government. A supreme decision of this Parliamentary Group was that which determined our stance during yesterday's catalytic vote. This collective and democratic operation of the Parliamentary group has continued throughout the period in which you do not participate in its processes. We now have before us the discussion of tbe budget that begins today," the letter pointed out.
Loverdos had addressed his letter to Venizelos, asking for an immediate convening of the party's parliamentary group in order to assess the party's course in the four months since the last general elections and to take decisions on the necessary changes that must be carried out "at all levels", without clarifying whether he also means at leadership level.
Explaining his absence from party organs until today, Loverdos said that he disagreed strongly with the strategy adopted Venizelos but, after his proposals were rejected, resolved to support the implementation of Venizelos' decisions, staying away so that his disagreements would not give rise to constant clashes. Loverdos was among the MPs that voted in favour of the austerity cuts on Wednesday night.
The letter was sent against a background of great upheaval within the junior coalition member, following the expulsion of six MPs that broke ranks and voted against the party line during the crucial midnight vote on the omnibus bill. This finally squeaked through Parliament with a slim majority of 153 votes but the coalition's majority was further whittled down on Thursday, when MP Mimis Androulakis, who had also voted in favour, announced that he intended to quit PASOK's ranks.
Speaking earlier to an Athens-based private radio, Loverdos underlined that the months to follow after the country receives the bailout package tranche "will usher in political developments," noting that the letter he had addressed to PASOK leader Venizelos was not given to publicity by him.
He stressed that the Eurogroup meeting and the country's financing are prerequisites for any developments within PASOK. He said that "mobility is being observed in all political parties," and expressed the view that "no one should dare make any move" before the aid tranche is disbursed because it would have been "nationally and politically unacceptable".
Meanwhile, MP Angela Gerekou, who was expelled from PASOK after refusing to give a positive vote to the omnibus bill of 13.5 billion euros in austerity measures in the roll-call parliamentary vote on Wednesday night, she said that she reached the decision because the government-sponsored measures were a direct challenge to its policy platform.
Gerekou called on the government to "reset its priorities and display the necessary boldness in order to regain credibility." Referring to PASOK, she said that "it should assume a more decisive and substantive role in the shaping and implementation of the government policy," noting that she will "support any government effort that could give hope to the people."
 PASOK cadre urges Venizelos to return to 'course of progress'PASOK Political Secretariat member and head of the party's Left Initiative group Giorgos Panagiotakopoulos on Thursday said in an announcement that the only way out is the re-establishment of PASOK on the country's progressive map, PASOK's distancing itself from any participation in the neoliberal policies and active acknowledgement of its wrong political choices.
Panagiotakopoulos set out five conditions in order the Movement (PASOK-Panhellenic Socialist Movement) to return to the road of progress' and called on PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos to consider the criticality of the moment.
Moreover he put the blame on PASOK's former leading groups "that played from 2009 on, resulting in the country's devastation and PASOK's collapse".
 PASOK leader meets with Cohn-BenditThe situation in the country, developments at government and European level and future steps in the process of negotiating were discussed at a meeting of PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos with a group of Eurodeputies of the Greens/EFA, headed by Daniel Cohn-Bendit.
The meeting, according to a PASOK announcement, was also attended by the group's co-president Rebecca Harms, vice president Reinhard Butikofer, secretary general Voula Tsetsi and Eurodeputy Nikos Chrysogelos of the Greek party of Ecologists Greens.
Earlier, Venizelos had a meeting with the head of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM), Benjamin Abtan.
 Communist Party calls for mass reaction to measuresThe Greek people should rally together to overturn the "barbaric measures" voted in Parliament in the early hours of Thursday, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in an announcement on Thursday.
"The passing of the new devastating measures in Parliament must make workers and young people more determined to fight decisively and consciously in order to prevent the application of the measures, to protect the jobless and the lower income families, and to overturn all barbaric measures and memorandums," a press release said.
The party called for a "powerful and effective popular intervention" that includes the jobless, women, unions and large organisations.
"The attempts of the system to crash the people through blackmail or by trapping it in its machinery through a (Radical Left Coalition) Syriza government must fail," the party said, criticising the main opposition party.
The working and popular classes are still strong and could play a decisive role in "bringing the people to govern, releasing the country from the European Union and the chains of monopolies, and cancelling the debt unilaterally," it added.
 DM Panayiotopoulos discusses illegal immigration with Citizen's Protection ministerDefence Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos on Thursday discussed the issue of the handling of illegal immigration with Citizen's Protection Minister Nikos Dendias. Issues of common interest for the two ministries were also discussed during the meeting. It is reminded that the intention of the Citizen's Protection ministry is to transform into illegal immigrants' detention centres the camps that will close by decision of the Defence ministry.
 Former minister's wife in 'Lagarde list'Former PASOK minister Yannos Papantoniou's wife's name is among the names in the 'Lagarde list' according to a document from Financial Crimes prosecutor Grigoris Peponis sent to the parliamentary committee responsible for checking the 'statements of means'.
According to an announcement by the parliamentary committee, following a unanimous decision of the committee, an order was given to certified accountants to submit a report immediately. After submission of the report, the Committee will then notify the persons involved and will ask for explanations from them within a 20-day period, as specified by law.
 President of Serbia on three-day visitPresident of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic will meet with political leaders on Friday, at the start of an official three-day visit to Greece.
The Serbian president's schedule includes a meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, to be followed by a working dinner attended by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Nikolic's schedule also includes meetings with Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis, Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos and business leaders, and visits at the Foreign ministry and the Acropolis Museum. He is also expected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the presence of Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos.
On Saturday, Nikolic will visit the Allied cemetery in Thessaloniki and visit the Chilandari monastery on the Mt. Athos peninsula.
He will wrap up his visit on Sunday with a visit to the islet of Vido, off Corfu, to attend a service at the cemetery of Serb soldiers who ended up in the area after escaping the Austro-German army in 1915. He will also tour the Serb museum in Corfu Town that contains war memorabilia.
 Human rights a priority, representative to UN saysNEW YORK (AMNA - P. Panagiotou)
The promotion and implementation of human rights and fundamental liberties throughout the world constitutes an issue of priority and is of paramount importance for Greece, its permanent representative to the UN, ambassador Anastasis Mitsialis, stressed on Thursday.
Addressing the General Assembly's Third Committee general discussion on human rights, Mitsialis expressed Greece's support of the work of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the special rapporteurs, saying that human rights constitute the quintessence of human dignity and form the foundation of human coexistence.
He also referred to the economic crisis affecting many regions of the world which threatened human rights by increasing inequalities and creating social exclusion.
Lastly, Mitsialis stressed the importance of regional and global cooperation in fighting effectively human rights transgressions and said if Greece is elected a member of the UN Council of Human Rights it will work to strengthen cooperation with all member-states.
 Government lifts civil mobilisation order for seamenThe government on Thursday lifted a two-year civil mobilisation order for ferry boats and seamen, following a recommendation made by Shipping and Aegean Minister Kostis Mousouroulis to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
"Greece is turning onto a new page," Mousouroulis said after announcing the premier's the decision, adding that the reasons for the measure first imposed by the government of George Papandreou two years earlier had ceased to exist. The measure was imposed after a protracted seamen's strike threatened to deprive residents on Greece's numerous islands of vital supplies, such as food, fuel and medication.
The decision was contested by the seamen's union PNO at the time but upheld as constitutional by the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, due to the "serious disruption of the social life of the country and the possible serious risk to public health".
 Unemployment shoots to 25.4pct in AugustUnemployment in Greece jumped to 25.4 percent in August from 18.4 percent in the same month last year, and 24.8 percent in July, with the number of unemployed shooting to more than 1.267 million, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Thursday.
Also, unemployment among youth up to 24 years of age shot to 58 percent, up 13 percentage points from 45 percent in August last year, while unemployment among women shot to 29.0 percent from 22.1 percent in August 2011. Unemployment among men also rose to 22.7 percent from 15.7 percent in August last year
ELSTAT, in a report, said that the unemployment rate in August 2012 was 25.4% compared to 18.4% in August 2011 and 24.8% in July 2012. The number of employed amounted to 3,726,663 persons. The number of unemployed amounted to 1,267,595 while the number of inactive to 3,375,297 persons.
The number of employed decreased by 327,658 persons compared with August 2011 (an 8.1% rate of decrease) and by 36,597 persons compared with July 2012 (a 1.0% rate of decrease).
Unemployed increased by 351,666 persons (a 38.4% rate of increase) compared with August 2011 and by 23,442 persons compared with July 2012 (a 1.9% rate of increase).
Inactive persons -that is, persons that neither worked neither looked for a job- increased by 14,003 persons (a 0.4% rate of increase) compared with August 2011 and by 9,554 persons compared with July 2012 (a 0.3% rate of increase).
Unemployment appears to be increasing without bounds, given the rise in August which is a peak tourism month that traditionally posts a seasonal increase in jobs.
In just five years (2008-2012), a total of 896,457 people lost their jobs while, according to economy experts, parliament's passing Wednesday of a harsh package of new austerity measures and upsets in the labor regime will further aggravate the situation.
Age-wise, the hardest hit was the 15-24 age bracket that shot to 58 percent from 45 percent in August 2011, followed by the 25-34 age group with 32.9 percent (25.9 percent in August 2011), the 35-44 age bracket with 21.5 percent (15.1 percent), the 45-54 age group with 18.3 percent (12.9 percent), the 55-64 age bracket with 14.5 percent (8.3 percent) and the 65-74 age group which remained steady at 5.6 percent.
By region, the highest unemployment was posted in Epirus-Western Macedonia at percent 28.5 percent from 19.4 percent in August 2011, followed by Thessaly-Sterea with 26.4 percent from 18.8 percent in August last year, Attica -- where two-thirds of the country's population resides -- with 25.9 percent from 18.5 percent, Macedonia Thrace with 25.8 percent from 20.0 percent, the Peloponnese-Western Greece-Ionian Islands with 23.3 percent from 16.5 percent, the Aegean islands with 20.0 percent from 17.3 percent, and Crete with 19.6 percent from 19.5 percent.
 Finance Ministry mulls new arrangement for settlement of outstanding debts to StateNew overdue debts to the State arising from the beginning of the year amounted to 10.169 billion euro in September, and the Finance Ministry is mulling the announcement of a new arrangement for the settlement of overdue debts.
Indeed, there was a huge jump in overdue debts after the end of July, which stood at 3.885 billion euro, which is attributed to difficulties faced by taxpayers in paying their income tax and other tax obligations.
According to sources, the arrangement being examined by the ministry is the ability for debtors to settle their debt to the State in up to 48 monthly installments.
In fact, installments as low as 50 euros per month are being examined, in accordance with the financial abilities of the debtors.
Use of the new arrangement will also be allowed for debtors who had taken advantage of earlier debt settlement arrangements but failed to keep up with the installments agreed at the time.
 EU court finds against Greece in two casesBRUSSELS (AMNA - V. Demiris)
In two rulings finding against Greece, the European Court of Justice on Thursday ordered the country to harmonise its laws with those of the European Union in two areas, one involving the infrastructure fees charged for railroads and the second the laws restricting shareholder voting rights in "companies of strategic national importance".
The court found that the Greek system, whereby prior permission was needed for the acquisition of voting rights representing more than 20 percent of such companies, was contrary to EU laws on the freedom to establish businesses in the EU.
Greece defined companies of strategic national importance as those with a monopoly to exploit national infrastructure networks, such as public utilities, placing decisions made by such companies under government control even when these were listed on the Athens bourse.
 Tegopoulos S.A. announces plans to reopen Eleftherotypia newspaperThe Athens-listed X.K Tegopoulos Editions S.A. publishing company on Thursday said it has set in motion proceedings for the immediate re-publication of the daily, Saturday and Sunday editions of the currently defunct Eleftherotypia newspaper in tandem with a streamlining plan that is currently in progress.
In a letter to the administration of the Athens Stock Exchange, Tegopoulos S.A. also said that it was preparing the re-opening of the publishing company's printing unit as soon as possible.
 Coca Cola Hellenic says net profits down 12 pct in Jan-SeptCoca Cola Hellenic on Thursday said its comparable net profits fell 12 pct in the January-September period to 265 million euros, from 302 million euros last year, with comparable operating earnings also falling by 12 pct to 412 million euros from 468 million euros over the same periods, respectively.
Net sales revenue rose 3.0 pct to 5.468 billion euros in the nine-month period this year, from 5.326 billion euros in 2011, while the volume of sales fell 1.0 pct. Sales volume rose 3 pct in emerging markets, while in developed markets the volume of sales fell 5.0 pct and in developing countries the volume of sales fell 2.0 pct.
Coca Cola Hellenic, in a statement, said it managed to raise or maintain its market share in the beverage market in most foreign markets with established activities (Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Czech Republic and Bulgaria). The company said comparable operating earnings fell by 56 million euros in the nine-month period, while free cash flow totaled 381 million euros in the same period. The company expects free cash flow to rise to 1.45 billion euros in the 2012-2014 period.
 Journalists in Greece join Europe-wide strike on Nov. 14The Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Unions (POESY) on Thursday called on its members to take part in a European-wide labour mobilisations on November 14 with a nationwide three-hour work stoppage (12:00-15:00). Journalists will also join a protest rally at 13:00 on November 14 organized in Athens by the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and civil servants union federation ADEDY.
"Trade unions and society join forces to protest with the rest of Europe against the neo-liberal policies that have turned an entire continent into a continent of unemployment and poverty. The struggle with all European workers for dignified life continues on a national and European level," a POESY statement noted.
 Taxisnet down for maintenanceTAXISnet, the income tax online services site, will be inaccessible to the public from Friday (4p.m.) to Sunday (12:00 midnight) for maintenance, the General Secretariat of Information Systems said Thursday.
 Building activity down 28.8 pct in AugustBuilding activity (volume) dropped 28.8 pct in August this year, for a decline of 23 pct in the first eight months of 2012, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday. The statistics service, in a monthly report, said that a 48.1 pct plunge in building permits in August was evidence of a further worsening of activity in the sector. The statistics service said that building permits fell by 27.6 pct in the January-August period this year compared with same period in 2011.
 Business Briefs-- Thrace Plastics on Thursday announced the signing of a binding agreement to sell its 50 pct equity stake in Thrace Teknik -a company based in Istanbul- for 810,000 euros.
 Greek stocks end significantly lowerGreek stocks came under strong selling pressure in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, pushing the composite index of the market below the 800-mark level. Investors remained cautious despite the approval of a new austerity package in Parliament on Wednesday, citing fragile political balances and comments made by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble that it could take weeks to approve the release of the next tranche of 31.5 billion euros to Greece. The composite index fell 3.77 pct to end at 794.67 points, off the day's lows of 783.34 points. Turnover was a low 61.14 million euros.
The Big Cap index dropped 5.30 pct and the Mid Cap index fell 5.47 pct. The Personal Products (0.34 pct) and Food (0.02 pct) sectors were the only ones to end higher, while Banks (12.07 pct), Raw Materials (8.23 pct) and Financial Services (7.92 pct) suffered the biggest percentage losses of the day.
Jumbo (0.83 pct) and Coca Cola Hellenic (0.06 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to score gains, while Piraeus Bank (18.29 pct), Alpha Bank (13.20 pct) and Eurobank (12.70 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 107 to 26 with another 18 issues unchanged. Kathimerini (21.43 pct), Pegasus (19.78 pct) and Teletypos (19.67 pct) were among top gainers while Perseus (19.05 pct), Eurobrokers (18.75 pct) and Piraeus Bank (18.29 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.93%
Personal & Household: +0.34%
Raw Materials: -8.23%
Travel & Leisure -3.09%
Food & Beverages: +0.02%
Financial Services: -7.92%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Bank of Piraeus, OTE and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.71
Public Power Corp (PPC): 4.08
HBC Coca Cola: 17.20
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.40
National Bank of Greece: 1.71
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.87
Bank of Piraeus: 0.40
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 16.18 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 17.54 pct and the German Bund 1.36 pct. Turnover was a thin 7.0 million euros, of which 6.0 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 1.0 million euros were buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 0.59 pct, the six-month rate was 0.37 pct, the three-month rate eased to 0.19 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.10 pct.
The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 16.18 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 17.54 pct and the German Bund 1.36 pct. Turnover was a thin 7.0 million euros, of which 6.0 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 1.0 million euros were buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 0.59 pct, the six-month rate was 0.37 pct, the three-month rate eased to 0.19 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.10 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.35 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover rising slightly to 20.358 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,309 contracts worth 9.248 million euros, with 31,997 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 74,415 contracts worth 11.110 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (19,162), National Bank (18,093), Alpha Bank (13,329), Cyprus Bank (9,459), MIG (970), OTE (4,241), PPC (2,233), OPAP (2,304), Cyprus Popular Bank (1,480), Mytilineos (472), Eurobank (1,022), GEK (259) and Intralot (741).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.292
Pound sterling 0.808
Danish kroner 7.571
Swedish kroner 8.638
Japanese yen 103.27
Swiss franc 1.223
Norwegian kroner 7.411
Canadian dollar 1.288
Australian dollar 1.241
 Greek Air Force marks patron saint feast dayDefence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos on Thursday attended celebrations at the Air Force Academy in Tatoi marking the feast day of the Greek Air Force patron saint Archangel Michael.
Addressing the events, Panagiotopoulos praised the Greek Air Force's contribution to national security and repeated that Greece is a key country in the international security system, noting that "this is a strong negotiating card".
Referring to the situation the country is in, he said that the markets are waging a "war" on Greece and expressed certainty that the country will be the winner.
Celebrations will continue until Nov. 11 and will be open to the general public.
 Important prehistoric site discovered in central GreeceExcavations near the villages of Vardali and Neo Monastiri in Fthiotida prefecture, central Greece, unearthed a 6.6-meter-tall hill that covers a space of roughly 4 hectares, regarded as one of the largest manmade hills in Greece.
The important and impressively preserved archaeological site of Koutroulou Magoula, where the discoveries were made, was inhabited during the Mid Neolithic Period (c. 5800-5300 BC) by a few hundred people who built carefully designed houses made of stone and sun-dried bricks, featuring floor substrate made of stone.
Some of the preserved stone walls are up to one-meter-tall which is very rare for the specific period, suggesting that the walls were made entirely of stone and not just the foundations of the houses.
The excavations brought to light many and important findings, among them, a large number of clay statuettes. Roughly 300 have been unearthed, a very impressive number, considering that the area excavated was very limited in size.
A Bronze Age arched tomb built at the top of the hill and the remains of a young female dated back to the Middle Ages (12th - 13th centuries AD) prove that the site was inhabited for many centuries.
The excavations were launched in 2001 and since 2010 have been conducted by the archaeological service in cooperation with the University of Southampton via the British School at Athens.
 Con'f on Balkan Wars, Eleftherios Venizelos in ThessalonikiThe phrase "never on our own" was the fundamental principle guiding early 20th century Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos and, at the same time, the main strategy behind the Balkan Wars and the armed conflicts that followed, according to history Prof. Evanthis Hatzivassiliou, who spoke during a conference on Wednesday in Thessaloniki.
Addressing the event, entitled "Eleftherios Venizelos and the Balkan Wars", hosted by the Hellenic Army's General Staff College (CGSC) the National Research Foundation Eleftherios Venizelos, the Athens University referred to the strategic moves made by Venizelos and his abilities as a leader, underlining that he "calculated risk", was very sharp and was characterised by realism and toughness.
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) Modern and Contemporary History Professor Yannis Mourelos referred to the historical framework of the Balkan Wars and the events leading up to WWI.
Prof. Mourelos focused on the economic conditions that characterised the specific period, noting that, ultimately, the economy rules everything.
Venizelos Foundation Director Nikos Papadakis referred to the consistency and sense of continuity in the policy followed by Venizelos from the Cretan Revolt to the Balkan Wars.
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) Law School Diplomatic History Prof. Ioannis Stefanidis focused on the issue of the eastern Aegean islands from end of the Balkan Wars until the onset of WWI.
2012 marks the centennial of the liberation of Thessaloniki during the First Balkan War.
 Archbishop's message from Serres; departs for Bulgaria late ThursdayIn a message to the Greek people after leading a mass in northern Greek city of Serres, where he inaugurated a new soup kitchen set up by the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos urged Greeks to "repent and change your thinking, because an outer change is not possible unless we change inside".
"Values cannot be lent and are not given by the International Monetary Fund. They grow inside us through struggles and sacrifices. We cannot go back, we will look forward and all together proceed and win the fight," he said.
Replying to an AMNA question about whether the new measures further wounded Greeks and the Church, the archbishop replied only that "we must now look at the cure, not the wound".
Later on Thursday, the archbishop will be declared a honorary citizen of Serres while he is due to depart for Sofia in Bulgaria late in the evening, in order to attend the funeral service of Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria on Friday.
 Public prosecutor to investigate posting of plainclothes cops' photos on InternetThe head of the Athens public prosecutors' office Panagiota Fakou on Thursday ordered a preliminary inquiry to whether privacy laws had been violated when images and video of plainclothes police officers on duty were posted on the Internet site left.gr.
The case was linked to the actions of main opposition 'Coalition of the Radical Left' (SYRIZA) MPs who demanded that the police officers show identification. According to the Greek Police, the officers involved were on duty during Tuesday's demonstration in central Athens.
The incident was condemned by Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikolaos Dendias in Parliament, who accused the SYRIZA MPs of impersonating authority, both for stopping and searching the police officers involved and for publishing images of them on the Internet.
SYRIZA members denied wrongdoing and said that they were having a "simple chat" with the officers in an attempt to prevent the 'precautionary' detention of protestors. They also pointed out that the Greek Police, on their part, publish photographs of individuals placed under arrest, including arrested prostitutes.
 Bakery owner accused of assaulting migrant employee released with conditionsGreek authorities on Thursday announced the release with conditions of a 59-year-old bakery owner on the island of Salamina, west of Athens, pending trial on charges of inflicting grave bodily harm on an Egyptian migrant worker in his employ.
The victim, who was working at the bakery owned by the defendant, was found chained to a tree and badly beaten last Sunday. He had identified his employer and other three individuals, among them the baker's son, as his assailants.
The 59-year-old has allegedly admitted his actions, claiming that he had caught his former employee stealing 12,000 euros from a cash-drawer. The other three defendants also gave themselves up to the authorities and will testify in the next few days.
In a press conference, Egyptian Ambassador to Athens Tarek Adel noted that the embassy is in close cooperation with the Greek authorities and added that the victim has the full support of the embassy.
 Transportation strike extended to FridayThe Athens Metro, electric railway and tram will extend their strike after the employees decided to hold another 24-hour strike on Friday.
Buses, trolleys, trains and the suburban railway are expected to run as normal, while taxis will also be back on the roads as of 5 a.m. Friday morning.
 Tempi valley opens Thurs. after conclusion of worksTraffic at the Tempi valley along the Athens-Thessaloniki highway will reopen on Thursday night after the completion of work and maintenance on the road, one day earlier than scheduled.
Aegeon Highway S.A. said that maintenance work will take place twice a year in order for the security in the valley to remain at the internationally accepted standards.
 Fair on FridayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday. Winds 3-8 beauforte. Temperatures between 4C and 22C. Fair in Athens with northerly 4-7 beauforte winds and temperatures between 9C and 21C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 6C and 17C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe omnibus bill with the new package of austerity measures that was passed with a slim majority of 153 votes in the 300-member parliament, the expulsion of six MPs from PASOK and one from New Democracy (ND) from their parties parliamentary groups for not observing the party line in the vote and the mass demonstrations all over the country, dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Clash inside and outside parliament".
AVGHI: "They are hanging on 153 votes and falling among the people".
DIMOKRATIA: "The night of orgies"
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Last chance, at a heavy cost".
ESTIA: "Landmark for Greece".
ETHNOS: "Thriller vote - Night of shame".
IMERISSIA: "Landmark decision".
KATHIMERINI: "153 MPs said 'yes' to the measures".
NIKI: "153 stabs in society's heart".
LOGOS: "Darkness over the county, sunrise is far away".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "With 153 'yes' votes from parliament, on to era of reversals".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Popular way out from the crisis with abolition of monopolies and exit from the EU".
TA NEA: "153 'yeses' to last chance".
VRADYNI: "The night that changed the life of all Greeks".
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