|Thursday, 22 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-04-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 18 April 2013 Issue No: 4338
 PM Samaras helps save 1,000 jobs at Elefsina shipyardsAn initiative to save 1,000 jobs in the Elefsina shipyards has been undertaken by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, as it was announced on Wednesday during a meeting between the Government Secretary General Takis Baltakos and employees representatives.
An amendment, that was passed in Parliament on Wednesday, allows the continued operation of the shipyards, with workers giving assurances that efforts will be made by all to make the shipyards a growth driver in the country. At the same time, they thanked the premier for his initiative that allowed a solution to a chronic problem.
Baltakos wished, for symbolic reasons as he said, that the first of three missile boats being built at the shipyards be delivered even a day earlier than scheduled.
 DM presents draft agreement on Elefsina ShipyardsDefence Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos presented a draft agreement between the Defence ministry and the Elefsina Shipyards, achieved following an initiative by the prime minister and negotiations by all the jointly responsible ministries and agencies, during the discussion on an amendment that was submitted on the issue by deputies of the New Democracy party, PASOK, the Democratic Left and the Independent Greeks party.
The minister said that the following points are achieved by the draft agreement:
The Elefsina Shipyards will not close and will operate immediately.
The 1,000 employees will continue working as normal, they will not lose their jobs.
The Greek Navy missile boats are to be delivered on a new timetable. Management has been committed to deliver the ships on specific dates, with the missile boat Ritso being the first of the three.
There will be no increase in value, in spite of what the management is asking for.
A draft agreement was signed for payment of employees and delivery of the missile boats on a timetable of payments and works.
An amendment of the contract will also be signed soon without an increase in value; the contract amendment will be tabled in Parliament.
 Prime Minister Samaras receives Mount Athos Holy Exarchate representativesPrime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday met at Maximos Mansion, government headquarters, with representatives of the Holy Exarchate of Mount Athos who briefed him on the problems faced by the monastic community.
Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Tsiaras commented that the government pays attention to the problems of the monastic community and announced that major events will be held to mark the 100th anniversary of the annexation of Mount Athos to Greece.
 PASOK-ND delegations discuss action against unemploymentDelegations from the New Democracy and PASOK parties - the first- and second-ranking parties in Greece's coalition government, respectively - met on Wednesday to discuss PASOK's proposal for action to stop rising unemployment.
PASOK afterward announced that the delegation had presented the party's proposal in detail, saying its goal was to provide work for sections of the population at risk of absolute poverty. The proposed programme aims to preserve 500,000 jobs and provide employment to 200,000 jobless.
The two sides "ascertained shared views with respect to the priority of the unemployment problem as a foremost issue for everyone, as well as in the directions for tackling this with immediate and effective measures by the government, the announcement added, saying that both parties will take "all necessary initiatives".
 ND accuses SYRIZA of sending out conflicting messages on memorandum lawsNew Democracy (ND) party, the leading partner in the coalition government, on Wednesday commented on a statement made earlier by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) parliamentary spokesman Panagiotis Lafazanis, asking: "who is SYRIZA's leader after all, (Alexis) Tsipras or Lafazanis?"
According to ND, Tsipras' position regarding the memorandum was not backed by his party's parliamentary spokesman.
"Less than 24 hours after Tsipras expressed a new stance as regards the memorandum - which, by the way, he won't rip up but suspend - Lafazanis comes to remind him (Tsipras) that they have spoken about abolishing it (the memorandum)," ND noted.
In statements earlier on Wednesday on the private television channel SKAI, Lafazanis had said that "the memorandums and their enabling laws will be cancelled, abolished and thrown in the garbage," adding that "there is no such thing as a suspension".
Commenting on statements made by Tsipras in his address at the Economist conference, Lafazanis added that "the memorandums were introduced with laws that were passed overnight in an arbitrary fashion. No one had read these laws because they were vast volumes with a mass of details. We are still studying the content of the memorandums and their enabling laws".
Lafazanis noted that "this is not a new position. It is an annulment, an abolition of the memorandums and their enabling laws. It is a position we all advocate. It is in SYRIZA's agenda. It is our line, the fundamental term of a new governance".
 PASOK party criticises SYRIZA leadership over memorandumPASOK party spokeswoman Fofi Yennimata on Wednesday sharply criticised statements by the head of the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras and the party's deputies and Parliamentary representatives Dimitris Papadimoulis and Panayiotis Lafazanis on "the suspension or abolition of the memorandum".
"Mr. Tsipras is applying himself lately with great ardour to chance games," Yennimata said, adding that "a few days ago he appeared ready to gamble the country in a game of dice in the name of negotiating" and that today "he is implementing the theory of the suspension of the memorandum".
 SYRIZA denounces 'systematic effort to distort its views'The main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party denounced in an unofficial document on Wednesday what it called "a systematic effort to distort the views of the main opposition party and the citizens to be misinformed".
SYRIZA's reaction was prompted by strong government criticism of party leader Alexis Tsipras for his address at the Economist's conference on Tuesday.
SYRIZA speaks of the "known forging sources of ND (the New Democracy party), assisted by PASOK's press office that 'discovered' in Tsipras's address at the Economist's conference a backdown from SYRIZA's positions on the memorandum's abolition and the renegotiating of the loan contracts."
SYRIZA added that it "is yet another episode in the known serial of the systematic effort to distort the views of the main opposition party and the citizens to be misinformed."
SYRIZA denounced that "they focus on a single word while they are overlooking the general spirit of the address and the specific policy positions set out in it".
 DIM.AR asks FinMin to reactivate working group for single property taxThe Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party, a junior member in Greece's coalition government, on Wednesday asked Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras to reactivate a working group in charge of preparing legislation for unifying Greek real estate taxation into a single property tax.
The request was made by DIM.AR's head of economic and social policy Dimitris Hatzisokratis in a letter sent to Stournaras, who said that this was an immediate priority following the completion of talks with the troika of Greece's creditors and the agreement reached by the political party leaders supporting the government.
 Independent Greeks leader meets breakaway MPs from LAOS partyThe head of the right-wing Indepedent Greeks party Panos Kammenos on Wednesday had a meeting with representatives of the "Patriotic Centre", which includes several breakaway MPs from the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party. The two sides decided on joint participation in the Independent Greeks founding conference, where final decisions on the manner and form of cooperation between the two parties will be made.
The Patriotic Centre party was represented, among others, by former MPs of the LAOS party Alekos Chrysanthakopoulos, Asterios Rondoulis and Urania Papandreou.
In a statement to the ANA-MPA, Chrysanthakopoulos said that the cooperation between the two parties was "only the beginning" and that the two sides were working to coordinate the "forces of the patriotic axis, a great democratic patriotic faction," whose shared goals will be to restore national sovereignty and throw out the "local and foreign troikas".
 KKE: Samaras-Tsipras confrontation hides those truly responsibleThe confrontation between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and main opposition SYRIZA-EKM leader Alexis Tsipras at the Economist Conference served only to conceal those "truly guilty for the Greek people's path toward destitution, the ruling class and the EU thieves' alliance," the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in an announcement on Wednesday.
"The scams of 'Community solidarity' proposed by the government and the 'new Marshall plan' proposed by SYRIZA for the countries of the south, for 'suspension of the memorandum' and 'negotiation of loan agreements' are children of the same dead-end path of growth, the capitalist crisis, the EU, the uneven development of member-states, the anti-working class policies that sacrifice people's needs on the altar of competitiveness," the announcement said.
It urged people to adopt the "one hopeful path, the path of pulling away from the EU, the unilateral write-off of debt, abolition of the memorandums and loan obligations and the socialisation of monopolies, taking into their own hands the wealth they create".
 Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee delegation in GermanyBERLIN (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)
Strengthening Parliamentary diplomacy and the direct briefing of German deputies, who are called on often to vote on issues concerning Greece directly, was the main purpose of the mission of a delegation of the Greek Parliament's Standing National Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee in Berlin, that was concluded on Wednesday.
Committee president Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, vice president Dimitris Saltouros, secretary Maria Yiannakaki and the members Constantine Tasoulas and Vassilis Hatzilambrou held meetings with German State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office Emily Haber, the Chairman of the German Bundestag's Committee on Foreign Affairs Ruprecht Polenz, the general director of the Chancellery's Department 2, responsible for Foreign Policy, Security Policy and Development Policy Christoph Heusgen and the alternate secretary general and head of the European and International Cooperation Department of the "Konrad Adenauer" Foundation Gerhard Wahlers.
The Greek delegation expressed scepticism to its German interlocutors regarding the prospects of the programme being implemented in Greece with the outstanding points, as Varvitsiotis said, being unemployment and the prolonged recession and their side-effects for society. The issues raised included the issue of Greek claims for war reparations, for which the Committee's president ascertained a relative distancing from the recent statements by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, although the German officials made it clear that they consider the issue closed.
 Justice ministry sg visits President PapouliasJustice ministry secretary general George Sourlas on Wednesday visited President Karolos Papoulias and briefed him on the completion of the national plan "Diaphania", on the combatting of corruption and the effort being made for the country to exit from the deadlock, as well as on the preparation of a national plan of action on human rights "to enable us to respond to the demands of international organisations and protect our country's prestige".
President Papoulias, according to a Justice ministry announcement, termed the issues of cracking down on corruption and protecting human rights a national duty of immediate priority and called for all to join forces in this direction.
 Parliament passes bill on reestablishment of merchant marine ministryMost of the 63 articles of the draft bill on reinstating the Merchant Marine Ministry were passed on Wednesday evening by the Parliament's plenum, after more than 50 amendments tabled by the government and deputies were processed.
Shipping Minister Costas Mousouroulis eventually rejected the so-called 'Kefalogianni' amendment providing for the operation of "back-up boats" on schedules to the islands during strikes by seamen.
Modifications were made to the controversial article 19 which was the focus of strong criticism by the opposition and coalition government partners, as it put into question collective employment contracts of the junior ship crews.
 Civil servants' umbrella federation ADEDY accuses government of "social state demolition"Hundreds of public sector employees on Wednesday took part in a protest march in downtown Athens, from Klathmonos Square to the administrative reform ministry building, heeding a call by the civil servants' umbrella federation ADEDY for a three-hour work stoppage from noon until the end of the morning shift.
The protesters expressed opposition to imminent layoffs in the public sector.
ADEDY president Kostas Tsikrikas accused the government of "entirely adopting the catastrophic policies advocated by the country's troika of lenders, which lead to a demolition of the social state and services".
Referring to the issue of civil servants found guilty of corruption charges, he said that "they should have been fired yesterday, but this did not happen and it is the government's responsibility".
He also expressed opposition to a measure for the suspension of civil servants suspected of corruption, noting that "it violates the right to be regarded innocent until found guilty, as well as Greek and European legislation."
He announced that ADEDY will continue its mobilizations in cooperation with the private sector trade union federations and with the workers' unions in the countries of southern Europe and called on civil servants to participate in a nationwide strike called by General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) on May 1st.
 Opinion poll: SYRIZA marginal lead over ND, Samaras most suitable for PMMain opposition SYRIZA was leading over New Democracy (ND) by 0.2 percentage points, according to an opinion poll conducted by Marc for the private ALPHA television station.
According to the poll results, SYRIZA was leading with 22.3 percent, followed by ND with 22.1 percent, ultra-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) with 9.7 percent, Independent Greeks with 5.9 percent, PASOK with 5.4 percent ,the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 5.1 percent, Democratic Left (DIMAR) with 4.4 percent while 6 percent of the respondents expressed support for other parties and the blank and invalid votes and abstention was at 10.7 percent and the unspecified vote at 8.4 percent.
To a question of who would be most suitable for prime minister, current Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (and ND leader) was preferred by 46.6 percent of the respondents, followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with 31.8 percent, while 21.6 percent did not answer.
The geographic coverage of the opinion poll was nationwide and was conducted between 11 and 13 April 2013.
 PASOK spokesperson on the "Lagarde list" investigationPASOK party spokesperson Fofi Gennimata, a junior partner in the coalition government, on Wednesday said that the populism and lack of virtue of opposition Independent Greeks (AN.EL) party are highlighted by its decision to side with ultra-right Chryssi Avgi in demanding that former prime minister George Papandreou be forcibly brought before the preliminary examination committee.
Gennimata made the comment referring to the stance adopted by the two political parties in the parliamentary preliminary examination committee investigating the so-called "Lagarde list" case.
According to Gennimata, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) leader Alexis Tsipras "should be proud of his new allies".
 Democratic Left calls for urgent closure of unofficial dumpsThe Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party, the smallest party supporting Greece's coalition government, on Wednesday called for the urgent closure of all unofficial and unmonitored dumps in Greece. The party's announcement was prompted by the letter sent to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras by European Commissioner Johannes Hahn on the issue.
DIM.AR urged the creation of new landfill sites and said this would require a reduction of the bureaucratic processes involved, on the one hand, and for local authorities to fully assume responsibility for implementing current planning with emphasis on prevention, sorting at source and recycling, even during the transitional phase before the planned infrastructure was completed.
The party stressed that comprehensive waste management, implementation of European guidelines for prioritising management and meeting quantitative targets for recycling would not only help protect the environment but also create viable jobs.
 ND new press officerNew Democracy (ND) MP for Ioannina Anna Michelle Asimakopoulou has been appointed by Prime Minister and ND leader Antonis Samaras as the party's press officer.
 Tenth anniversary of Treaty of Athens signature for accession of 10 new member states to EUTuesday marked the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Athens in the Greek capital, with which ten European countries joined the European Union during the Greek presidency of the EU, in the largest, single expansion of the union since its 1951 founding Treaty of Paris.
The ambassadors to Greece of those ten countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia, issued a joint statement marking the anniversary of the historic Treaty of Athens.
 10 years since the signature of the Treaty of AthensTen years ago, on 16 April 2003, the Treaty of Accession to the European Union of ten European countries - the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia - was signed in Athens. This historical event took place during the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union and is enshrined forever as one of the most important documents of the reunited Europe. Later, on 1 May 2004, all our countries became fully-fledged members of the reunified European family comprising 25 Member States at that time. It was the largest single expansion since the Paris Treaty of 1951, the forerunner of the EU, in terms of population, number of states and territory. Moreover, it was the symbolic completion of the vital strategic goal of all the acceding member states to finally put an end to the post World War II period by returning to the common space of freedom and stability, democracy and prosperity. The signature of the Treaty of Athens opened a new era for the acceding countries, for their citizens and ultimately for the whole of Europe.
Ten years after the signature, as members of the European Union, we all can state that it was the right decision. This was the overwhelming choice by the people. It was not only based on the perspective of future benefits of the common economic area, or the single market offering free movement of capital, goods and people; it was also founded on the understanding of inevitable internal structural reforms that had been carried out along the integration path towards the European Union.
The 2004 EU enlargement would not have been feasible without the strong and sincere support of all EU Member States. The prospects of EU membership acted as a catalyst and the main driving force for positive changes of the social climate, economic growth, better living standards, higher incomes, more jobs and more development. However, among the most important aspects of this change was the hope to share and enjoy those European values that our societies had missed for so long. Our citizens, the real players in establishing the foundation for societies, made it possible for all ten new EU Member States to have a successful journey. Today, they continue to serve as an example and motivation for those candidates who wish to join the EU in the future.
As an inseparable part of the EU, we contribute to strengthening the European project, to keeping its values alive and to spreading them in our neighbourhood in the East and the South. Moreover, all ten Members actively participate in the shaping of European policies, and seek to make the EU more competitive and technologically and innovatively more advanced. They contribute to making the Union better prepared for future challenges in the current globalised world as an active player in dynamic international affairs. Above all, the main task to be addressed is to ensure that the EU continues to be a reliable and safe place to live in. If necessary, all member states have to offer solidarity based on the genuine efforts of all of us to show the necessary responsibility for the benefit of the whole EU.
Looking back at those events ten years ago, one is struck how appropriately the Greek EU Presidency chose the venue for the solemn act of signature by heads of states, prime ministers and foreign ministers from all the EU member states. It took place in the Stoa of Attalos, at the Ancient Agora of Athens, in the cradle of democracy that the Athenian philosophers developed in Ancient Greece. Democracy still prevails as the best form of government, offering guarantees for free and open societies and nations.
As such, the Treaty of Accession to the European Union in Athens of these ten European countries remains a symbol of the heritage of democracy being extended from the very place where it was born.
Hana `ev ?kov?, Ambassador of the Czech Republic
Andres Talvik, Ambassador of Estonia
Joseph Joseph, Ambassador of Cyprus
Ivars Pundurs, Ambassador of Latvia
Alfonsas Eidintas, Ambassador of Lithuania
Eszter S?ndorfi, Ambassador of Hungary
Walter Balzan, Ambassador of Malta
Maciej Krych, Ambassador of Poland
Robert Basej, Ambassador of Slovenia
Peter Michalko, Ambassador of Slovakia
 First 'corruption prosecutors' appointedProsecutors Eleni Raikou and Argyris Dimopoulos have been appointed "corruption prosecutors" for Athens and Thessaloniki, respectively, by a Supreme Court Judicial Council.
Raikou had set up the Economic Crime Squad even before the specific department was established by SDOE.
 Decision on deportation of Syrians suspendedThe Public Order ministry decided on Wednesday, in cooperation with the Interior ministry, to suspend the decision on the return of Syrian citizens to Syria, due to the state of war prevailing in the Middle East country.
The decision concerns Syrians "who enter our country illegally or are arrested for staying illegally, as well as those against whom a decision for deportation/return has been issued and are being held" .
"The order is already being implemented since last week, when all Syrians who were being held because they had been arrested for living illegally in our country, were released after a confirmation of their identity took place first," said the Public Oder ministry's representative for immigration issues, during a press conference organised by the UN's High Commission for Refugees, on developments in the crisis in the region of Syria, as well as the state of Syrian refugees in Greece.
 Statement by British Ambassador Kittmer on Thatcher"Baroness?Thatcher transformed the way of making economic policy in Britain. She put an end to the post-war view on what the role of the state is on the economy. She set a new equilibrium in state-private relations. She let non-profitable businesses to close down but encouraged the establishment of new sectors and new businesses. At the same time, she opened the privatisation procedures for state companies - especially utilities. She wanted to free Britons' entrepreneurship," British Ambassador to Greece John Kittmer, told ANA-MPA on Wednesday commenting on the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
"Her vision for Britain was that on an open nation, freely developing business activity and trade. She was the first who saw that Europe needed to be competitive to survive. In my opinion, these are the main points of her legacy, and together with many more I would like to pay my respect and express my sympathy to her family and friends," Ambassador Kittmer said.
 Student elections continuing, minor incident at NTUAA minor incident erupted Wednesday noontime at the building of the National Technical University of Athens, on Patision St., when a group of young men reportedly invaded the building where the student elections are being held.
The invaders broke tables with electoral material of the student factions and tore posters. Eventually they were pushed out by students.
In other respects, and university and technical college student elections throughout the country continued without major problems.
According to students from central institutions in Athens, turnout till noon was sluggish, but higher numbers of voters were expected later in the afternoon. The ballots will close at sunset.
The heads of the factions felt optimistic about turnout, expressing hope that abstinence will be less than last year.
 ONNED comment on student electionsA statement was issued late Wednesday evening by Andreas Papamimikos, president of the New Democracy party-affiliated youth group ONNED, commenting on the high turnout in the university and technical college students elections, held throughout the country on the same day.
"People who still talk about a generation without vision and values, for a generation away from politics, today got a resounding answer...as more than 100,000 young people at universities and technical colleges participated in the most meaningful political process, giving even higher rates in the
DAP-NDFK group and rewarding the political strategy we have been following in recent years," Papamimikos said.
?"Our proposal for an evaluation-associated funding to tertiary institutions, as well as our insistence on the essential study upgrade, the final implementation of the Law on Asylum and our idea for the creation of university police, gained the confidence of students," he added.
"Today, the young people of our generation stated clearly that they are choosing reforms and creative changes, away from populism and misery."
 Two bids in tender to sell 33 pct of OPAPTwo bids were submitted for the purchase of a 33 pct equity stake in OPAP SA, Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund said on Wednesday. The Fund, in a statement, said that the two bidders are Emma Delta and Third Point.
Emma Delta Ltd is a fund management by Emma Delta Management Ltd, owned by Jiri Smejc (66.7 pct) and Melissanidis Group (33.3 pct).
Third Point, is one of the biggest US investment funds, with a portfolio of around 10 billion US dollars, which has invested in Greek bonds and earned around 500 million US dollars from its investment.
Other companies, such as Fosun (China), BC Partners, TPG and Intralot had initially expressed interest in the tender, but did not submit a financial offer.
Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, in its next meeting, will assess the bids and will decide on the winner of the tender.
 No decision by Cosco on acquiring OLP's majority packageThe government's sole choice to tap the country's major ports is the sale of shares under guarantees, which would lead to growth and securing of jobs, Cosco's commercial director Tasos Vamvakidis told ANA-MPA on Wednesday.
Referring to reports speaking of interest by Cosco to acquire the majority package of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), he said that so far there is no such decision by the company which, as he clarified, will wait for the government's official proposals on the model for utilizing ports.
Cosco's commercial director stressed that the port of Piraeus constitutes an entry gateway for southeastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa since infrastructures and the legislative framework have been completed allowing it to play this role.
 Troika proposing commercial businesses to operate 10 Sundays a yearThe heads of the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika of Greece's international lenders is proposing that commercial businesses be able to operate 10 Sundays a year, while the Development ministry will table a proposal in Parliament with which it will demand for a small size merchant to be allowed to keep his business open all 52 Sundays if he so wishes, ministry sources revealed on Wednesday.
A meeting between Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and the head of the Task Force Horst Reichenbach showed that the possibility exists for the Greek Development Fund to have been created by the end of the year. The fund will provide a breakthrough to the problem of liquidity for small and medium-size enterprises.
According to Development ministry sources, it appears that the arrangement on the operation of shops on Sundays will be decided in Parliament. Reports from the Development ministry reveal that the proposal which will be forwarded provides the possibility for small commercial shops to operate optionally on all 52 Sundays a year. But because the three-party government does not have the same position on the issue it appears that the final decision will be taken in Parliament.
 Agricultural Development minister holds meeting with Greenpeace delegationActions being promoted by the Agricultural Development ministry on the one hand for the viable management of fisheries and on the other for the development of aquacultures were outlined to a delegation of Greenpeace's Greek Office by minister Athanassios Tsaftaris during their meeting on Wednesday.
According to what Tsaftaris said, the ministry has gone ahead with the implementation of the Collection Programme of Fishery Data, that had not been impemented since 2007, the enactment of local and time bans on fisihing and the creation and monitoring of artificial reefs.
 Greek stocks end 1.10 pct higherGreek stocks ended significantly higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, boosted by strong buying interest in bank shares and selected blue chip stocks, such as OTE. The composite index of the market rose 1.10 pct to end at 923.67 points, off the day's highs of 927.35 points. Turnover remained a low 54.852 million euros.
The Big Cap index rose 1.44 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 2.07 pct higher. National Bank (11.76 pct), Eurobank (11.54 pct), MIG (9.49 pct) and Hellenic Exchanges (8.13 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while OPAP (5.44 pct), Coca Cola Hellenic (1.06 pct) and PPC (0.15 pct) suffered losses.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Industrial Products/Services: 3,463.89 +1.37%
Commerce: 1,930.50 +1.09%
Constructions: 1,959.45 +1.49%
Oil/Gas: 3,022.66 +1.71%
Personal products: 3,663.22 +4.15%
Raw Materials: 2,354.23 +3.56%
Travel: 1,208.82 -4.64%
Technology: 701.25 +0.89%
Telecoms: 1,624.02 +4.24%
Banks: 118.59 +5.85%
Food/Beverage: 6,972.09 -1.00%
Health: 267.03 +1.19%
Utilities: 2,504.93 +0.39%
Financial Services: 1,182.63 +8.67%
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 102 to 36 with another 29 issues unchanged. Pairis (29.73 pct), G.E.Demetriou (24 pct) and Lavipharm (17.22 pct) were top gainers, while Attica Holdings (20 pct), Spider (20 pct0 and Nafpaktos Spin Mills (9.79 pct) were top losers.
National Bank, Piraeus Bank, Alpha Bank and OTE were the most heavily traded stocks of the day, while OTE (17.6 million euros), OPAP (5.508 million) and Coca Cola Hellenic (5.304 million euros) recorded the biggest values of transaction.
The market's capitalization rose to 35.230 billion euros.
Blue chip stocks ended as follows:
ALPHA BANK: 0.75
COCA COLA: 18.60
HELLENIC PETROLEUM: 8.30
NATIONAL BANK: 0.55
MOTOR OIL: 8.34
PIRAEUS BANK: 0.19
MARFIN INVESTMENT GROUP: 0.30
PIRAEUS PORT: 19.05
HELLENIC EXCHANGES: 4.92
TERNA ENERGY: 3.42
EUROBANK PROPERTIES: 5.75
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.21 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 12.522 million euros.
Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,409 contracts worth 6.628 million euros, with 32,445 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 43,507 contracts worth 5.894 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (15,800), followed by Alpha Bank (6,780), Piraeus Bank (8,887), Eurobank (2,895), MIG (1,142), OTE (2,719), PPC (1,282), OPAP (1,035), Mytilineos (616), Intralot (401), GEK (530), Ellaktor (200) and Terna Energy (319).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.332
Pound sterling 0.874
Danish kroner 7.568
Swedish kroner 8.599
Japanese yen 130.54
Swiss franc 1.233
Norwegian kroner 7.668
Canadian dollar 1.367
Australian dollar 1.288
 Journalist Mirella Georgiadou dies aged 87NEW YORK (ANA/MPA - P. Panagiotou)
Journalist Maria-Mirella Georgiadou, who had served as the ANA-MPA's correspondent in New York for 25 years, died in a Manhattan hospital on Tuesday night, after a heart attack.
The deceased was 87 and was born in Athens, where she lived most of her life until her accreditation as a correspondent in the United States.
Georgiadou began her long journalistic career from the newspaper "Estia" in 1962. She then worked for "Messimvrini" and "Kathimerini" of Eleni Vlachou and then for the newspapers "Vradyni" and "Apogevmatini", while she had also worked at OTE's (the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation) press office.
Her long service at the ANA-MPA (from 1977 until 2002) had been acknowledged and appreciated by personalities of the political and cultural world of Greece.
Georgiadou's funeral will be taking place on Friday in New York.
 More than 20 foreign workers wounded by shots in Nea ManoladaMore than 20 foreign workers were wounded by shots in Nea Manolada, in the Ilia prefecture in the Peloponnese, shortly after 6 on Wednesday evening.
According to reports, about 200 foreign workers in strawberry cultivations carried out a protest in the region to demand six months of pay. A clash followed with three Greeks who, according to police, are representatives of the employer.
One of them started firing against them, resulting in about 20 people being wounded. All the wounded people have been taken to health centres in the region and to the hospital in the city of Amaliada. According to reports, the police have arrested the owner of the arable region and are continuing investigations to locate the three Greeks.
 Panel discussion on the role and responsibility of the media in the economic crisisThe role and responsibility of the mass media during the present economic crisis were the topic of a panel discussion held in the Thessaloniki City Hall on Wednesday with postgraduate students from Greek, German and French universities attending.
German journalist Christiane Schlotzer, a correspondent of the newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung in Istanbul who also covers
Greece, spoke about a media "war" in Germany and Greece. She said that media in both countries reproduce "stereotypes" and "cliches," breeding animosity between Greece and Germany. She pointed out that Franco-German relations forged after the war between them had ended, were the best model for rapprochement in Europe.
Schlotzer criticized the behavior of German newspapers that use "catchy headlines", like "Greece goes bankrupt", to sell more copies. Speaking from her own experience, she said that each time she tried to convince her editors-in-chief not to do that and to overcome prejudices and stereotypes.
On Germany's attitude in the EU, she said that the country appears to be claiming its share of European geopolitical responsibility.
Regarding German Chancellor Angela Merkel, she said that Merkel was "hounded by populism", particularly after the establishment of the "alternative political party" which is in favour of a return to the German mark. Schlotzer pointedout that if this new party wins 5 pct of the vote in the elections, it would be depriving it from Merkel's party.
Greek journalist Tassos Telloglou said that he was disappointed with the German magazine "Der Spiegel" and had decided to stop reading it after 38 years because what its portrayal of the situation in Greece had nothing to do with the reality he experienced in the country on a daily basis.
As an example, he pointed to a report in the latest issue of the magazine, which claimed that 80 pct of the Greeks do not pay their electricity bills. Telloglou said that this does not reflect reality and stressed that similar remarks had been made in a discussion concerning the role of the media held in Athens three-and-a-half-years ago. He said that the problems are related with a crisis in the mass media sector (accusing the Greek mass media of being introvert) and with the vast amount of information posted on the internet. He also noted that "stereotypes are being revived, reminiscent of Europe fifty years ago".
The panel discussion was held at the initiative of the Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe and the Franco-German Youth Office with the support of the foreign ministries of Germany and France.
 Scarecrows become exhibitsScarecrows were once the guards of nature, and people built them to protect their cultivations. However, today they are out of a job given that pesticides now deter the reptiles and the birds.
Now, the scarecrows are preparing for a new career, that of exhibit in a permanent exhibition in the northern Greek city of Katerini.
The scarecrows, which were once placed in fruit and vegetable gardens and at the borders between farming plots for the purpose of repelling whatever flying or crawling invader that posed a threat to the crops, are now an unknown figure to the children.
The Voluntary Action Team of Pieria prefecture decided to cooperate with primary school and kindergarten teachers of the area in order to rescue this tradition of the agricultural life in Greece.
Thirty schools have already accepted the invitation and the volunteers will instruct the teachers on how to build a scarecrow. Each school will use its imagination to make its own scarecrow, and all the scarecrows together will be put on display in a permanent exhibition in the premises of the Tobacco Station of Katerini, while the best scarecrow will be awarded.
 Manhunt on for escaped inmate from Kassandra Farm PrisonA manhunt is in progress in the greater Halkidiki region in northern Greece for the arrest of an inmate who escaped from the Kassandra Farm Prison, it was announced on Wednesday.
Prison authorities found out that the inmate, a foreign national, was missing during the morning count.
Kassandra Farm Prison is an open type correctional facility for inmates that can be reasonably trusted not to try to escape.
 Two patients airlifted to Venice, Geneva, by Airforce planeA 55-year-old man and a 22-month-old girl were airlifted by an Air Force plane to Venice and Geneva on Tuesday night for medical treatment, by order of National Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos, after a request by the EKAB ambulance service.
An Airforce Gulfstream aircraft took off from the Elefsis airbase with the two patients on board, stopping first in Venice where it disembarked the man, who is suffering from respiratory deficiency, and then on to Geneva where it disembarked the toddler, who suffers from cardiac insuffi-ciency.
The patients were accompanied by teams of physicians. The expenses of the transport of the patients and physicians will be covered by the EKAB.
 Byzantine and Christian museum to acquire shopThe Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens is to finally acquire its own shop, which is to be inaugurated on Wednesday evening by Alternate Education, Religions, Culture and Sports Minister Costas Tzavaras. The shop will sell certified copies of artifacts on display in Greek state museums, original works of art and crafts, books, posters, stationary and various other souvenirs that can be purchased by visitors.
In statements to the ANA-MPA, museum curator Anastasia Lazaridou said that the opening of the shop was the culmination of an effort that dated as far back as the year 2000, since it will also sell scholarly volumes published by the Archaeological Resources and Expropriations Fund (TAPA), which is to manage the shop and its proceeds.
The new shop will cover an area of approximately 100 square metres in a basement building in the museum's forecourt, designed in accordance with modern architectural trends and in keeping with the rest of the premises of the museum. It will be open at the same hours as the museum.
 One killed, two injured in drive-by shooting in PatrasA man was killed and two others were injured in a drive-by shooting outside a nightclub at dawn Wednesday in the western port city of Patras.
The incident took place outside a nightclub when two unidentified individuals riding a motorcycle opened fire against three men who were on the pavement outside the club.
A 35-year-old man was fatally injured and the two others, aged 32 and 42, were rushed to nearby Aghios Andreas hospital with gunshot wounds.
According to hospital sources, the 32-year-old is in serious condition, while the 42-year-old suffered lighter injuries to the back and the right thigh.
Evidence collected by police so far indicates that the shooters wore dark-colored clothes and had their faces covered with white crash helmets. Police collected 23 cartridges coming from a machine gun and pistol.
Police are looking into settlement of accounts as the motive for the shootings, but have not ruled out any other possibilities.
 Woman injured by armed robbers in KateriniA female shop employee in the town of Katerini, northeast Greece, was slightly injured on Wednesday morning when armed robbers targeting a nearby jewellery shop fired a round that hit her in the leg. The two robbers had already carried out the robbery but fired warning shots when they were pursued by a passing civilian.
The robbers then got into a waiting getaway car driven by an accomplice and drove away but were apprehended a short while later when their car was spotted by police in Leptokarya. Police arrested two suspects, both Albanian nationals based in Athens who had travelled north to carry out the heist, and recovered the loot from the robbery.
 Public sector work stoppage on WednesdayA work stoppage has been called in the public sector on Wednesday from noon to the end of the morning shift, while a demonstration has also been called at 12:30 p.m. in downtown Klafthmonos Square.
The stoppage was called by the civil servants' umbrella federation ADEDY in protest over imminent layoffs of civil servants.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: "SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras: We are ready to change Greece".
DIMOKRATIA: "PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos No 2 man in the government".
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Squeezing fat from a fly".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "In the grips of fear".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The new law for illegal buildings".
ELLADA AVRIO: "Give us this day".
ESTIA: "Regular briefing by Prime Minister".
ETHNOS: "All old illegal buildings become legal with 500 euros".
IMERISSIA: "Wager for 2 billion euros from OPAP (the Greek football prognostics, numerical lottery and sports betting games operator) and DEPA (the State Natural Gas Company).
KATHIMERINI: "Low installments for tax debtors to fill the coffers".
LOGOS: "Increase in PPC rates starting on Labour Day (May 1)".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Facilitations to banks for loans to enterprises".
NIKI: "All the rescue arrangements for illegal buildings".
RIZOSPASTIS: "We intensify the front of the labourers', self-employed's and poor farmers' struggle".
VRADYNI: "The final arrangement for illegal buildings'.
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