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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-01-10

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

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

Thursday, 10 January 2013 Issue No: 4266

CONTENTS

  • [01] Samaras at Development Minister's presentation of actions for 2013
  • [02] Greece presents ambitious development policy program
  • [03] Hellenic American Chamber on development measures
  • [04] PM Samaras meeting with Finmin Stournaras on economic policy
  • [05] PASOK leader bashes SYRIZA, outlines points Greece needs to move on for exit from crisis
  • [06] SYRIZA on corruption and vested interests
  • [07] UN envoy confers with FM, PM on FYROM name issue
  • [08] PM Samaras to hold consecutive meetings with international personalities on Thursday
  • [09] KKE party on Lagarde list case
  • [10] SYRIZA president to visit Berlin between January 12-15
  • [11] SYRIZA leader to speak at Brooking Institute
  • [12] 'Villa Amalia' sparks intense political confrontation
  • [13] Administrative reform bill passes parliament
  • [14] G. Papandreou strikes back to 'neo-Nazi and far-right elements'
  • [15] Visas to Greece issued in Russia up 30 pct in 2012
  • [16] IIF chief sees Greece's return to markets 'sooner than predicted'
  • [17] Greece to begin talks with individual bondholders
  • [18] Exports up 3.4pct in November 2012
  • [19] Greek industrial production down 2.9 pct in Nov
  • [20] Athens development programme gets under way
  • [21] Business Briefs
  • [22] Greek stocks extend rally for seventh session
  • [23] Greek bond market closing report
  • [24] ADEX closing report
  • [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [26] Gavras in Athens for Greek premiere of new film 'Capital'
  • [27] Doctors on strike on January 17
  • [28] Lawyers to abstain from duties on Friday
  • [29] Athens Metro schedules back to normal on Thursday
  • [30] Migrant smugglers and 13 illegals arrested in Evros
  • [31] Man arrested by counterterrorism squad
  • [32] Earth tremor south of Crete
  • [33] Cloudy on Thursday
  • [34] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Samaras at Development Minister's presentation of actions for 2013

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was present at Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis statements on Wednesday unveiling the Ministry's actions for 2013.

    "My presence here indicates the primary importance placed by the government on the economy's recovery," stated Samaras, who also underlined a "better climate which we are experiencing in our meetings abroad", adding that everyone acknowledges the need to deal with the unprecedented recession and the unemployment, especially that among youth.

    "Our wager is to take advantage of the climate and the major structural changes in order to attract investments. This will be achieved with specific 'time/target timetables', not with wishes and public relations, but with specific steps. Investments require liquidity, which will come from the banks' recapitalization, the return of deposits from abroad, and from initiatives such as the National Fund for Business and Development (ETEAN) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) programmes," Samaras continued.

    Concluding, the premier said that "changes have been already made but they are continuing in order for the economy to become more competitive. The State will contribute to the exploitation of the state property and the privatizations".

    [02] Greece presents ambitious development policy program

    The first signs of economic recovery will be visible by the end of 2013, Greek Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said on Wednesday.

    Presenting the ministry's policy for the current year, Hatzidakis said the ministry in the first quarter of 2013 will complete all privatizations, market deregulations and all procedures related with the ministry.

    Under the ministry's planning, the government aims to build a sea cruise port in the Piraeus region, merging Invest in Greece with Export Promotion Organization, transferring all employees of Economic and Commercial Affairs from the Foreign Affairs ministry to the Development ministry and implementing a plan to open commercial shops on Sundays. Also, accelerating procedures to promoting large investment projects through Fast Track and setting up a Special Licensing Agency.

    The Greek minister said a plan to boost liquidity in the economy will be made in five steps:

    1- Implementing an agreement with European Investment Bank, offering another 400 million euros to small and medium-sized enterprises and launching a program offering guarantees to imports and exports, worth 1.5 billion euros.

    2- Absorbing 3.89 billion euros from community funds and continuing negotiations for a new financing agreement with the European Union for the period 2014-2020 in order to avoid a 40 pct cut in community funds.

    3- Launching this month of a low-interest rate loan program for investments and working capital worth 680 million euros, with a 50 pct interest rate subsidy.

    4- Using an investment law to boost liquidity in the market with payments up to 620 million euros.

    5- Setting up an Hellenic Investment Fund.

    The ministry also plans to accelerate procedures to complete public works in 11 steps:

    1- Reaching an agreement with banks by the end of February to restart big road projects by April.

    2- Completing Athens metro expansion projects by July.

    3- Accelerating construction of a metro rail system in Thessaloniki.

    4- Extending the tram network from Neo Faliro to Piraeus.

    5- Completing a railway line to Ikonio port this month and launching a tender for building a cargo railway line to Thriasio.

    6- Implementing port works in Igoumenitsa and Lavrio.

    7- Tendering road projects worth 243 million euros.

    8- Promoting an international tender to build a new airport in Heraclion, Crete.

    9- Tendering school building projects worth 167 million euros.

    10- Promoting waste management projects worth 2.0 billion euros in cooperation with the private sector.

    11- Building a sea cruise port in the Piraeus region through a public/private sector partnership.

    The Development ministry also plans to present by the end of June measures to help reduce business start-up costs by 50 pct and simplifying licensing procedures to set up and operating business parks. Promoting measures to boost export activity, revising a public procurement framework and promoting privatizations of TrainOSE and ROSCO.

    [03] Hellenic American Chamber on development measures

    Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce president Yiannos Grammatidis expressed his satisfaction over the announcement by Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis regarding the merger between the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board and Invest in Greece and the operational accession of the Foreign ministry's financial advisors to the Development ministry.

    Grammatidis said among other things that "we hail the government's decision as a big and substantive step in the direction of growth. At last, the case of the management of the state's development actions is being faced in a systematic and rational way. The merger between the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) and Invest in Greece and the operational accession of the Foreign ministry's financial advisors to the Development ministry creates a big firepower in the country's struggle for extroversion and the attraction of investments".

    [04] PM Samaras meeting with Finmin Stournaras on economic policy

    "There is no room for delays. Things have progressed so well and we don't want anything to go wrong accidentally," a top government official told reporters on Wednesday after the end of a two-and-a-half-hour meeting between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

    The meeting, partly attended by Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis and Minster of State Dimitris Stamatis, focused on a review of the government economic policy and the prerequisite actions, as well as legislative initiatives in view of the forthcoming January Eurogroup meeting and an International Monetary Fund assembly.

    The official added that implementation of the prerequisite actions envisaged in Greece's bailout loan contract - such as the new tax bill and the appointment of a Revenue general secretary - should go ahead in rapid pace.

    [05] PASOK leader bashes SYRIZA, outlines points Greece needs to move on for exit from crisis

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos lashed out at main opposition SYRIZA on Wednesday, addressing his party's Congress Central Organization Committee (KOES) secretariat.

    He also referred to the four axes that the country needs to move on, beginning in 2013, which he called a turning point and the year of a primary surplus, halt of recession, boosting of confidence, the real economy, privatizations, new foreign investments and the restructure of the banking system to the benefit of households and entrepreneurship.

    He warned that some sides wanted to keep the country mired in their misery, adding that SYRIZA, by its very nature, had invested in the "death of the country", but lost twice.

    Now, Venizelos continued, SYRIZA has decided to play all its cards, with a political attack based on institutional barbarity with two axes: SYRIZA's enthusiastic return to the so-called anti-systemic attitude and on the Lagarde list, which it wanted to turn into a lever against PASOK, Venizelos himself and former prime minister George Papandreou.

    He called SYRIZA's motion for setting up a parliamentary probe committee over the Lagarde list a politically, ethically and legally despicable text.

    Noting that as finance minister he had taken initiatives for clamping down on tax evasion, he called on SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to respond to the question on why Tsipras had voted against the lifting of the confidentiality of bank accounts, which was crucial for the fight against tax evasion and which was voted on separately from the Memorandum.

    On the three-party coalition partner, of which PASOK is a junior member, he said it was not a New Democracy (ND) government but a "government of cooperation of three parties, which is checked by the parliamentary majority in which we participate and the policy of which we jointly forge".

    PASOK, Venizelos said, wants a full four-year government and outlined four points on which the country's policy must be based in order to exit the crisis.

    The first point was the formulation of a National Restructure Plan, the second was the national taxation system, the third was an amendment of the Constitution, and fourth was a national strategy, noting that the first move in the context of the fourth point should be submitting to the UN the coordinates of the external boundaries of the Greek continental shelf.

    Venizelos further welcomed as very important the Athens visit on Wednesday of the UN secretary general's personal envoy on the FYROM name issue Matthew Nimetz, noting that he had asked the prime minister and foreign minister that the parliamentary parties be fully briefed on the discussions with Nimetz.

    Before the meeting, Venizelos had a one-hour meeting with Papandreou, during which sources said they discussed the political developments, the Lagarde list issue and the next PASOK Congress.

    [06] SYRIZA on corruption and vested interests

    The main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), in an announcement on Wednesday, stressed that "the government's target is the covering up of corruption and of vested interests" and added that the Lagarde list case "merely constitutes the tip of the iceberg in the overall framework of asylum for the powerful and their protection by their political friends."

    Replying to PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, SYRIZA points out that "instead of Mr. Venizelos using vulgar language against SYRIZA-EKM throwing the ball into the stands nervously, he is called on to reply specifically on his personal responsibilities regarding the managing of the list. The longstanding operation to cover up the scandals against public interest and Greek society will come to an end".

    [07] UN envoy confers with FM, PM on FYROM name issue

    The UN secretary general's personal envoy on the FYROM name issue Matthew Nimetz is conveying ideas and proposals for achieving a mutually acceptable solution in his visits to Athens on Wednesday and Skopje on Thursday, the envoy himself said on Wednesday after a meeting with foreign minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and a brief discussion with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who paid a surprise visit to the ministry as Nimetz's meeting with Avramopoulos was taking place.

    Nimetz expressed pleasure over his brief discussion with Samaras, and underlined the frankness of the Greek stance.

    He said the prospect of intensification of the talks was being examined, adding that a Greek proposal for the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation "is on the table" and was a "substantial contribution".

    To a question on the appropriateness of the conjuncture, given the political crisis in Skopje, he opined that there is never an ideal conjuncture, and that is why "the time must be used productively".

    He also expressed optimism, noting that otherwise he would not be doing this job.

    A foreign ministry announcement later said that Avramopoulos met with Nimetz, "who is carrying out a visit to Athens and Skopje within the framework of the UN negotiation process for the resolution of the name issue," adding that Samaras also met briefly with Nimetz at the Foreign Ministry.

    "Foreign Minister Avramopoulos stressed Greece's support for Mr. Nimetz's mandate and efforts to achieve progress on the name issue, briefing his collocutor in depth on the Greek proposal for the signing by the two sides of a memorandum of understanding aimed at imparting momentum to the negotiation process under the UN and setting out the framework and parameters for the solution," the ministry announcement said.

    Avramopoulos "also reiterated Greece's firm commitment and political will to achieve progress, based on the conviction that the achievement of a solution will lead to a deepening of Greek-FYROM bilateral relations, strengthen regional stability, and lend momentum to FYROM's European and Euroatlantic perspective", the announcement added.

    "During the meeting, the two sides carried out a review of the talks so far and looked at the prospects for the negotiation process based on the thoughts and ideas drawn up by Mr. Nimetz. In this context, Foreign Minister Avramopoulos expressed the Greek side's readiness to participate actively and constructively in the next steps in the process," the Ministry said.

    [08] PM Samaras to hold consecutive meetings with international personalities on Thursday

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will be having consecutive meetings with international personalities at the Maximos Mansion on Thursday.

    At 10:00 he will meet the Secretary General of the European People's Party Antonio Lopez-Isturiz.

    At 11:00, the International President of Unilever Paul Polman and the company's Europe president Jan Zijderveld.

    At 12:00, with the vice president and Economy and Sustainable Growth minister of Belgium Steven Vanackere.

    At 17:00 the prime minister will meet with the president of the Dutch Christian Democrat party (CDA) Sybrand van Haersma Buma.

    [09] KKE party on Lagarde list case

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga, referring on Wednesday to the Lagarde list case, said that next week KKE's Parliamentarty Group will state its position on who specifically should be included in the investigating commitee's probe, while stressing that "we are facing the issue separately and we are not making a common intervention with other Parliamentary groups".

    She further said that "KKE has already with an announcement by its Parliamentary Group declared that surely the investigating committee must examine the penal responsibilities of Mr. (former finance minister George) Papaconstantinou and of Mr. (PASOK leader and former finance minister Evangelos) Venizelos, because both as Finance ministers had a direct relation and have respsonsibilities, in our opinion, that may not be identical with each other, but have serious responsibilities for what happened with the 'Lagarde list'" and added that "we believe however that it cannot be limited to these two names only, the responsibilities of (former prime minister) George Papandreou and of (former prime minister) Lucas Papademos must be examined, who primarily and with the first glance have political responsibilities, as prime ministers and since for them the issue of tax evasion was a top priority, they must reply on their part how did they check the investigation of the specific list or which other lists as well had been brought to the attention of the Greek governments. In this sense the party's Parliamentary Group will state its position more specifically next week".

    Papariga also clarified that KKE is not making a common intervention with other parties.

    [10] SYRIZA president to visit Berlin between January 12-15

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) president Alexis Tsipras will be making a four-day visit to Berlin between January 12-15.

    According to the visit's programme, Tsipras will participate on Saturday in the sessions of the conference of the European Left Party's Executive Committee, while on Monday he will he holding consecutive meetings with the Parliamentary Group of the SDP, the Greens and the Liberals (German Parliament). On Sunday Tsipras will attend an event in memory of German marxist Rosa Luxemburg, have meetings with the president of the Left Eurogroup Gabi Zimmer, the president of the Left Party of Sweden Jonas Sjosted and then he will speak in a public event on: "Against the domination of the bank system: Peace for the peoples".

    The visit will be concluded with a meeting between Tsipras and the Parliamentary Group of the Left party Die Linke.

    [11] SYRIZA leader to speak at Brooking Institute

    Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras will speak on January 22 at the Brooking Institute in New York, according to the American Institute's announcement released on Wednesday.

    Tsipras' address will focus on the future economic challenges, Greece's prospects and the policies Europe and Greece should follow to deal with the economic crisis.

    [12] 'Villa Amalia' sparks intense political confrontation

    Following a successful police operation on Wednesday morning to remove a large number of squatters occupying a central Athens building known as "Villa Amalia," Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias told reporters that the government "will not allow the forces of anarchy and chaos to upset the country's course to recovery." He added the government will not tolerate the idea of squatting.

    Dendias described as even more serious another occupation, of the Democratic Left (DIMAR) party offices, on Ag. Konstantinou St., on Wednesday morning, as DIMAR is a parliamentary party and member of the current coalition government. The occupation ended after a police operation. More than 140 persons in total were taken to police headquarters.

    Main opposition Radical Left SYRIZA party issued a statement in which it condemned the DIMAR offices occupation, but charged that the government was attempting to disorientate citizens attention from other major issues.

    "At a time that households do not have to pay for heating and dozens of businesses are shutting down and millions of jobless are crashed in society's margins," it is ridiculous for the government to use the Villa Amalia, abandoned for the past 22 years, "as a number one issue," the statement said.

    Commenting on SYRIZA's announcement, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said it was inconceivable for the main opposition party to offer support to acts of violence and anarchy.

    "At last, SYRIZA should clarify whether the party covers up the so-called 'koukouloforoi' (masked anarchists). A hypocritical condemnation of the DIMAR offices occupation is just not enough, as violence is never symbolic," the spokesman stressed.

    The New Democracy party press office later in the afternoon issued an announcement in which it said that "it is now clear that SYRIZA uses all its energy to establish its position in one of two extremes, either by supporting of and participating in illegal acts by its political comrades."

    "SYRIZA's people and leader Alexis Tsipras should realise that... the days they could burn down Athens and citizens' properties are over," ND said.

    In response, SYRIZA said in another statement that the "row of lies" continues. "The struggles to defend democracy will win over fear," it stressed.

    [13] Administrative reform bill passes parliament

    A draft bill by the Ministry of Administrative Reform on merging and closing down public organizations and agencies was passed by majority in parliament on Wednesday evening.

    Some PASOK and DIMAR deputies voted against the bill, which resulted in Article 8 not passing parliament. The specific article stipulated the closure of the National Center for Social Research and its incorporation into the National Research Institute.

    [14] G. Papandreou strikes back to 'neo-Nazi and far-right elements'

    Former prime minister George Papandreou denounced his being targeted by "neo-Nazi and far-right elements" which demand that he also be included in a parliamentary initial inquiry for involvement in the 'Lagarde list' case.

    In a statement issued on Wednesday, Papandreou stressed "whatever they may do, I will be here. I will always be standing up to demagogy, populism and violence that divide the Greek people...I will never stop fighting for my principles and values, Democracy and social justice to the public benefit."

    [15] Visas to Greece issued in Russia up 30 pct in 2012

    MOSCOW (AMNA/Th.Avgerinos)

    The number of visas issued to Russian tourists visiting Greece in 2012 increased by almost 30 pct, to 581,984, compare to a year earlier, according to Greece's Consul in Moscow, Yiannis Plotas.

    In addition, "multiple visas, issued for special categories of citizens making frequent trips to Greece and countries of the Schengen area also increased by as much as 90 pct," Plotas said.

    Based on initial reservations and data from cooperating tour operators, the Consul estimated that tourism from Russia to Greece in the current year will be up some 20 pct.

    A similar positive trend is recorded in tourist numbers from the Ukraine to Greece, as the visas to Greece issued by the Greek Consulate in Kiev jumped by more than 104 pct in 2012, compared to 2011.

    Especially Kiev has set an all-time record in December 2012, with visas issued to Greece skyrocketing a massive 784.49 pct (to 5,590 from 632), which just shows the increased Ukrainian and Russian interest to visit Greece also during the Christmas period.

    Financial News

    [16] IIF chief sees Greece's return to markets 'sooner than predicted'

    IIF managing director Charles Dallara anticipates that Greece will return to the money markets sooner than predicted, provided that the country further consolidates its credibility and the eurozone and International Monetary Fund (IMF) manifest their solidarity.

    In an interview with TA NEA newspaper appearing on Wednesday, Dallara anticipated the investors will return to Greece in 2013, and indeed "not only for financial investments but also for investments in the real economy.

    For that reason, progress must be achieved immediately in the privations, he said. As for the tax reform, Dallara underlined that it is of "vital importance for the attraction of investments", as is the "strict implementation of the fiscal commitments".

    Dallara, whose term ends on February 1 after 20 years at the helm of the IIF, called the decision taken by then French President Nicolas Sarkozi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Deauville in October 2010 to involve the private sector in the Greek bailout a "huge mistake" that "let to immense pressures of the state debt markets".

    Dallara further ascertained a change in the rationale of the Greek politicians.

    [17] Greece to begin talks with individual bondholders

    Greece's Finance ministry is setting up a commission to examine the possibilities to compensate individual bond holders from losses suffered after a Greek state bond haircut last year.

    Ministry sources said that Finance Alternate Minister Christos Staikouras was expected to meet with representatives of individual bondholders on Friday. The two sides met for the first time in December 20 to discuss the issue. Ministry sources said that an idea was to examine offering tax breaks to bondholders, but noted that any solution should be approved by the European Commission.

    [18] Exports up 3.4pct in November 2012

    Greek exports rose by 3.4 percent in November 2012, while imports of products and services fell further, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said, in flash estimates on Wednesday.

    ELSTAT, in a report, said that the total value of imports-arrivals, excluding oil products, in November 2012 amounted to 2440.0 million euros against 2651.9 million euros in November 2011, recording a drop of 8.0%.

    The total value of exports-dispatches, excluding oil products, for the 12-month time period of December 2011 - November 2012 increased by 7.7% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of December 2010 - November 2011.

    The total value of imports-arrivals, excluding oil products, for the 12-month time period of December 2011 - November 2012 decreased by 7.7% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of December 2010 - November 2011.

    The total value of exports-dispatches, excluding oil products, in November 2012 amounted to 1559.5 million euros against 1508.8 million euros in November 2011, recording an increase of 3.4%.

    [19] Greek industrial production down 2.9 pct in Nov

    Greek industrial production fell by 2.9 pct in November 2012, compared with the same month in 2011, after a 7.4 pct decline recorded in November 2011, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development to an 1.8 pct decline in mining production, a 0.2 pct increase in manufacturing production (reflecting a 53.1 pct jump in oil products and coal production and a 19.7 pct rise in machinery production while the food (-6.5 pct), beverage (-6.5 pct), tobacco (-21.1 pct), textiles (-7.8 pct), clothing (-3.6 pct), footwear (-25.9 pct) and furniture (-15.4 pct) sectors continued shrinking. The electricity production index fell by 13 pct in November while water production was up 0.6 pct.

    The average industrial production index in the January-November period fell 3.5 pct compared with the same period in 2011.

    [20] Athens development programme gets under way

    The Athens Municipality is pulling off an ambitious Development Programme, which will initially include 15 projects valued at ? 35.5 million, as announced jointly on Wednesday by Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis and head of Attica prefecture Giannis Sgouros.

    Kaminis spoke of a new starting point for Athens that will comprise of a number of vital development and infrastructure projects, including garbage collection and management, construction of a swage system where needed, construction of two bioclimatic kindergartens in Athens' inner neighbourhoods of Kypseli and Keramikos, redevelopment of St. George square, Kypseli, and many more.

    Sgouros said that remaining funds available by ESPA (National Strategic Reference Framework - NSRF) amount to some ? 300 million, and contracts are expected to be signed within 2013 for related projects. The head of the Attica prefecture called on mayors to present mature designs available so that projects may be included in funding schemes.

    Referring to over than 500 vacant neoclassic buildings in Athens, Sgouros stressed that these are a "bad image" for the capital and they should be refurbished or demolished.

    [21] Business Briefs

    -- Greek authorities on Wednesday said an international tender to sell 33 pct of OPAP was entering its second phase, after the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund approved the initial plan of the sale contract.

    -- The Greek capital market authority on Wednesday suspended trading in the shares of Hatzioannou ABEE for 24 hours after the company filed for bankruptcy protection measures.

    [22] Greek stocks extend rally for seventh session

    Greek stocks continued moving higher for the seventh consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange, although the pace of advance slowed markedly as the market "digested" strong profits recorded in the previous six sessions which pushed the composite index 8.78 pct higher. The index rose 0.35 pct on Wednesday to end at 983.91 points, after losing as much as 2.03 pct early in the session. Turnover remained an improved 72.552 million euros.

    The Big Cap index eased 0.07 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 3.76 pct higher. The Construction (3.49 pct), Raw Materials (2.89 pct) and Health (2.73 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Food (1.72 pc) and Personal Products (1.51 pct) suffered losses.

    Ellaktor (5.56 pct), Viohalco (4.19 pct) and Piraeus Port (3.78 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus

    Bank (4.37 pct), Jumbo (2.88 pct) and Eurobank Properties (2.56 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 111 to 59 with another 27 issues unchanged. Hatzioannou (28.79 pct), Audiovisual (28.51 pct) and Teletypos (20 pct) were top gainers, while Nutriart (20 pct), Technical Pubilcations (19.78 pct) and Sprider Stores (19.23 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +2.50%

    Commercial: -0.21%

    Construction: +3.49%

    Oil & Gas: +1.02%

    Personal & Household: -1.51%

    Raw Materials: +2.89%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.95%

    Technology: +2.51%

    Telecoms: -1.05%

    Banks: -1.07%

    Food & Beverages: -1.72%

    Health: +2.73%

    Utilities: +0.76%

    Financial Services: +0.58%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.61

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.33

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.60

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.29

    National Bank of Greece: 1.38

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.70

    OPAP: 6.00

    OTE: 5.64

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.35

    Titan: 15.38

    [23] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose slightly to 9.87 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 9.75 pct on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.34 pct and the German Bund 1.47 pct. Turnover in the market totaled 7.0 million euros, all sell orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.55 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.43 pct, the six-month rate 0.32 pct, the three-month rate 0.19 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.

    [24] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 1.87 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 17.077 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,031 contracts worth 8.519 million euros, with 33,724 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 39,601 contracts, worth 8.558 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (9,097), followed by National Bank (5,917), Piraeus Bank (6,358), Cyprus Bank (999), MIG (4,455), OTE (1,979), PPC (1,382), OPAP (2,010), Eurobank (804), GEK (1,767), Mytilineos (1,312), Sidenor (358), Intralot (966) and Ellaktor (956).

    [25] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.325

    Pound sterling 0.827

    Danish kroner 7.572

    Swedish kroner 8.724

    Japanese yen 116.06

    Swiss franc 1.227

    Norwegian kroner 7.434

    Canadian dollar 1.308

    Australian dollar 1.260

    General News

    [26] Gavras in Athens for Greek premiere of new film 'Capital'

    Acclaimed Greek-born filmmaker Costa Gavras will be in Athens for the Greek premiere of his new film, the 2012 bank boardroom thriller "Capital", on January 14.

    A cynical phrase that "we gather money from the poor, which are many, and give them to the rich, which are few", by a Goldman Sacks executive, prompted Gavras to film "Capital", of which he is both director and screenwriter.

    The plot centers on the stock market world through the adventures of a 'normal' man who evolves into a ruthless banker, played by Gad Elmaleh. The theme and the public's desire to meet and discuss the 'political' cinema with him filled the hall of the Arts and Letters House in Athens on Tuesday night.

    The public defied the freezing cold to turn up for the planned event with the director, to whom they posed questions on the immense problems of our era.

    Behind the glamour of a banker, his education and cultivation, is hidden a dark side, that of businesses, Gavras said, adding that this is what he tried to find and tell in his new film, and opining that "we are living in a hard-core capitalism, which has turned us back many years, to the 19th century".

    He said that meanings have changed and that ethics have been pushed aside, noting that in France mass dismissals are being made under the title of "social planning" (plans sociaux), as if they were 'gifts' to people.

    Gavras admitted that the solution to the immense problems will not be given by a film, which was not the role of the film, or cinema, or the director. "What concerns me is resistance to the catastrophe," he said, adding that the solution will come from the people we vote for: "We must know who we chose and why we choose them. That is the problem, and chiefly a Greek problem for many years now."

    [27] Doctors on strike on January 17

    The Panhellenic Medical Association on Wednesday called a nationwide strike for 17 January in protest of the ongoing cutbacks in medical expenditures that it said are leading to the downgrading of all the public health services, and the doctors to economic squalor, while also depriving the insured from access to elementary healthcare.

    Moreover, in an announcement, the Association expresses its concern over the public and the private healthcare system's endurance margins, warning of a 'danger of collapse".

    [28] Lawyers to abstain from duties on Friday

    A nationwide 24-hour abstention from duties has been called by lawyers on Friday, in protest at the new taxation draft bill, as a vote will be taken in parliament on the same day.

    The decision was taken on Wednesday by the coordinating committee of the Greece's Bar Associations, which met at the offices of the Athens Bar Association.

    The new taxation draft bill "tends to lead the self-employed to extinction, ignoring the sector's significant contribution to public projects and the current conditions prevailing in the market," a statement said. It stressed the draft bill is "socially unjust."

    [29] Athens Metro schedules back to normal on Thursday

    Athens Metro schedules for 'Line 2' (Agios Antonios - Agios Dimitrios) and 'Line 3' (Egaleo-Doukissis Plakentias-Airport) will be running normally on Thursday, as the takeover of the Metro depot came to an end on Wednesday night.

    The depot had been taken over by Metro employees' union since last Monday.

    [30] Migrant smugglers and 13 illegals arrested in Evros

    Two migrant smugglers aged 35 and 29 from Iraq were arrested on the Evros river bank, northeastern Greece, while attempting to disembark, from two dinghy boats, 13 illegal migrants (6 Iraqi, 5 Syrian and 2 Eritrean nationals) they had brought over from the opposite Turkish coast.

    Police confiscated the two dinghy boats along with 1,200 US dollars and 80 Turkish liras found in the smugglers' possession.

    [31] Man arrested by counterterrorism squad

    The counterterrorism squad on Wednesday arrested a 29-year-old man, who is being accused of participation in the "Conspiracy of the Nuclei of Fire" group.

    According to reports so far, a fingerprint of his had been found in a safehouse of the group in Ellisponton street in the central Greek city of Volos.

    The investigator issued an arrest warrant against him several days ago, by which he was arrested in a provincial city where he was detected.

    The man will be brought before a prosecutor on Thursday.

    [32] Earth tremor south of Crete

    An earth tremor measuring 3.8 points on the Richter scale occurred at 19:46 on Wednesday in the region of Ierapetra, in the Lasithi prefecture on the island of Crete.

    The tremor was felt in particular in the south of the prefectures of Lasithi and Iraklio. The earthquake's epicentre was located 376 kilometres southeast of Athens in the sea region 42 kilometres south-southwest of Ierapetra.

    Weather forecast

    [33] Cloudy on Thursday

    Cloudy weather with possible showers or sleet and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday. Winds 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures between -7C and 14C. Cloudy in Athens with southerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 2C and 11C. Cloudy with possible showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between -2C and 8C.

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

    The ongoing turmoil over the "Lagarde list?, the new taxation system and the new tax burden for salary earners and pensioners, mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    AVGHI: "The collusion's name is Antonis Samaras (prime minister)".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Vertigo in parliament over the Lagarde list".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Transferences tsunami in core public sector".

    ESTIA: "Socialists' huge blunders".

    ETHNOS: "New 'rodents' mafia in tax bureaus".

    IMERISSIA: "Who will pay 2.3 billion in additional taxes".

    KATHIMERINI: "Independent Greeks alignment with Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi)".

    LOGOS: "Financial Crimes Squad looking for the 'black' money".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Tax reversal in banks' recapitalization".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Tax relief measures for the people".

    TA NEA: "Four ballots and a ghost".

    6 DAYS: "They 'opened' the USB (memory stick) at last".

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