|Monday, 23 October 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-05-24
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 24 May 2013 Issue No: 4367
 PM Samaras: 'We will follow the example of Ireland'Greece is turning a new page, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Thursday said after meeting with his Irish counterpart Enda Kenny in Maximos Mansion, government headquarters in Athens.
The Irish prime minister conveyed the solidarity of the Irish people and noted that Prime Minister Samaras has changed Greece's image abroad during the past year.
In statements made after the meeting, Samaras highlighted the efforts with the Irish prime minister "for a more balanced policy in the EU that combines fiscal and recovery measures. At first, we were the only ones to talk about it, but now we are not alone. We both represent countries that are on a convergence programme, with different terms and causes, but both our peoples are suffering."
Ireland could serve as an example to Greece, he said:
"Two years after the crisis and following waves of reforms Ireland has entered a recovery course and is very close to returning to the international markets.
A very successful EU presidency will be completed soon, and Greece will take over six months after the Irish EU presidency is over. We have the same goals for the EU presidency, to create jobs, particularly for the young. We will continue this agenda."
The Greek premier stressed the need on extroversion and competitiveness to help the economy recover, and cited the EU country again as an example "when it [Ireland] was in a serious crisis it was competi-tiveness and extroversion that led it out of the crisis. The choice of competitiveness and extroversion is made by our government as well. We will follow Ireland's example in the low taxation choice as well."
He said that among the issues discussed were the banking union that will be a credibility test for the EU, the creation of jobs, tax evasion and the utilization of Europe's energy resources.
Referring to extroversion, he said that his recent visit to China was part of a plan to "put Greece on the world map, create new jobs and claim a new international role for Greece."
The jobs would also be created through investments and privatisations and he said Greece was turning into a business-friendly country by fighting red tape and bureacracy.
Samaras also said the government will fight for lowering the VAT in food services, from the current 23 pct to a 15 pct and then 13 pct, an issue he said there is disagreement on with the troika of lenders (EU, ECB and IMF). "The low tax rates helped Ireland in its efforts. I repeat that I want a single tax rate of 15 pct. We will implement this system, as soon as our finances allow and after our goals are met," he said, further noting that "the VAT rate increase on food catering services from 11 pct to 23 pct created less revenues than anticipated by the troika...a return to 13 pct will bring more revenues and improve the psychology" created by the economy and high unemployment.
"Things are going well but we shouldn't be overly optimistic. Rather, we should be reliable and avoid big words," he concluded.
On his part, Enda Kenny stated that he met Samaras several years ago in the European People's Party (EPP), noting that the Greek prime minister was always "the voice of reason and progress" and that he understands the hardships of the Greek people and the opportunities that exist.
"He has changed how foreigners view Greece. They see the stability in the country and the political system. Before the Irish EU Presidency, I had said that I wanted to come here and express my respect to his efforts and work and convey the solidarity of the Irish people," he stressed.
The Irish prime minister said that he briefed Samaras on the Irish EU presidency priorities - the digital market, the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, the European budget, the EU-US trade agreement, the banking union and youth unemployment. He noted there are roughly 6 billion euros in community funds aimed at combating unemployment through quality programmes.
Referring to the problems his government had with the troika, he said that there was a lot of tension, with commitments that had to be made and new proposals had to be presented. When a country has a memorandum "somebody should be able to negotiate and meet the commitments undertaken," he underlined.
Both leaders made a special note of the large diaspora of the two countries; how to call on its assistance was the focus of a luncheon hosted in honour of the Irish prime minister at the Museum of the Acropolis.
 Irish workers' reality differs from 'Irish miracle' talk, KKE chargesThe praises of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to the Irish government "cannot hide the raw reality experienced by the workers in Ireland, where anti-popular measures continue unabated," the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) charged on Thursday.
Criticising Samaras' comments during the one-day visit of Irish prime minister Enda Kenny, the KKE said, "It is not the first time a Greek prime minister expresses his admiration for Ireland. The same happened a few years ago, with the promotion of the Irish 'miracle' of high development rates, which not only did not bring popular happiness, but led to a deep capitalist crisis, anti-popular measures and memorandums."
 If necessary, we will give more time to Greece, Dijsselbloem saidEurogroup Chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem in an interview with Athens newspaper "TA NEA" left open the likelihood of a new "haircut" for the Greek debt.
In an interview published in Thursday's issue ahead of his visit to Athens, he said that it has been agreed that additional measures will be taken if Greece meets all its commitments but still the financial situation and the size of the debt are not improved as satisfactory as anticipated.
Dijsselbloem said that it will be examined if the programme is as effective as expected in terms of structural reforms, economic recovery and debt deescalation. He added that it has not been determined what measures will be needed or won't be needed, noting that by the summer of 2014 the programme's progress will be reexamined, as well as, what it needs to be done to deescalate the debt.
 Troika mission expected to Athens June 4, for two weeksNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
The technical teams of the troika of lenders to Greece - European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - will arrive in Athens on June 4 for two weeks, according to IMF spokesman Gerry Rice on Thursday.
In his regular weekly briefing in the IMF's Washington, DC offices, Rice said that Poul Thomsen would continue to head the mission.
The IMF board will meet on May 31 to discuss the completion of the most recent, or third, review of the Greek economy and the next disbursement (of 1.8 billion euros) is expected to take place shortly after, Rice said.
The IMF spokesman also said that although Greece had made progress in reducing its fiscal debt and improving its competitiveness, it needed to continue its infrastructural reforms and deal with tax evasion.
He said that the IMF review showed that further debt relief will be needed to meet the programme's targets, but did not envision any new OSI (official sector investments) at this time.
 Party leaders to hold meeting on MondayThe leaders of parties supporting the government will hold a meeting at the Maximos Mansion, at 18:00 on Monday.
An overall review of current political issues is expected to take place during the meeting, that will be held in the framework of regular contacts between Prime Minister and New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras, PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party leader Fotis Kouvelis.
Meanwhile, the issue of the anti-racist bill was discussed by Kouvelis with Samaras, with whom he communicated by phone. According to an announcement by DIM.AR, Kouvelis requested from the prime minister the holding of a meeting between the party leaders on this issue. The announcement added that "the prime minister responded positively and on Monday afternoon a meeting will be held between the party leaders".
 DM Panayiotopoulos in RussiaMOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos)
Defence Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos met Thursday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on the sidelines of the Conference on Europen Security, held in Moscow with emphasis on the promotion of dialogue regarding disagreements between Moscow and Washington on the antimissile shield under construction in Europe.
The two ministers made a review of bilateral defence-technical relations between Greece and Russia and they likely agreed on the speeding up of the settlement of technical issues regarding the maintaining and securing of spare parts for the Russian systems in the Greek armed forces.
The Russian minister provided a briefing on who from his staff can solve speedily issues arising with the Greek side so that there will be no bureaucratic delays in maintaining the anti-aircraft systems of TOR, OSAAK and S-300, the Zubr air-cushion landing craft and the Cornet guided anti-tank shells.
Panayiotopoulos invited Shoigu to visit Greece.
The Defence minister also delivered to his Russian counterpart a personal letter from Greek President Karolos Papoulias addressed to President Vladimir Putin, with which he is invited to visit Greece whenever his programme permits this.
The two ministers also discussed the situation in the Middle East and in Syria in particular, over which Shoigu reiterated Russian concern over the large concentration of armed extremists in the region.
On the part of Russia, no issue was raised of anti-missile defence or of naval facilities in Greece, nor was there any discussion on the old contract on the purchase of Russian armoured personnal carriers, an issue believed to have been definitely "frozen".
On the sidelines of the conference, Panayiotopoulos held brief talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his counterparts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, France and Serbia, as well as with the chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff.
 FM to visit Israel, Palestinian authorityForeign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will pay a two-day official visit to Israel and to the Palestinian authority on 29-30 May.
Avramopoulos will be received by Israeli president Shimon Peres and will hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Thursday, Avramopoulos will meet with the president of the Palestinian authority Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah as well as with Foreign Minister Riad Malki.
 PASOK attends founding of Progressive Alliance groupBERLIN (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)
PASOK cannot be absent from groups and initiatives like the Progressive Alliance, which held its inaugural conference in Leipzig on Wednesday, said party leader Evangelos Venizelos.
Taking place on the sidelines of celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the German Socialdemocrat Party, the founding of Progressive Alliance "has international influence and can play a role, even if small, in Greek events," Venizelos said.
Venizelos also raised the issue of equality among member-states in EU decision-making, while adding that the fact the coalition government had completed a year in power "provided a good opportunity to evaluate individuals" involved in it.
In an interview with the Greek service of the German public radio Deutsche Welle, Venizelos said that "we are obliged to participate in all the international groupings and networks, because we must influence the correlations" and rejects the idea that the Alliance would compete with the Socialist International.
He said the issue is that the socialist movement is experiencing a deep crisis worldwide that in Europe began with the Maastricht Treaty, when priority was given to economic and monetary unification, pushing the goal of employment the sense of a social Europe to the sidelines.
 Tsipras in Spain next weekMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras will visit Spain next week in an attempt to promote the establishment of a common front between countries of the European South against austerity policies.
Tsipras is expected to meet with Spanish Left party leaders and officials and social agencies.
Party sources disclosed Thursday that the main opposition leader "is expressing concerns over the quality of democracy prevailing not only in Greece but in many countries of Europe." While in Madrid, Tsipras is "expected to express publicly his concerns, as both Greece and Spain have suffered from dictatorships through periods of political instability," the sources noted.
The same sources also said that the SYRIZA leader considers as "a major issue the need to mobilise broader political, social forces and intellectuals for the protection and reinforcement of Democracy, along with the need to tackle the consequences of the economic crisis."
 Greece has adequate anti-racist legal framework, alternate interior minister saidAlternate Interior Minister Haralambos Athanassiou underlined that Greece has an adequate legal framework against racial discrimination noting that the country was a pioneer in this area and it is not the government's fault if enacted clauses are not being implemented.
Addressing the parliamentary Special Permanent Committee on Equality, Youth & Human Rights late on Wednesday night in the context of a discussion on the report prepared by Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, he said that 90 pct of the clauses in the new anti-racist draft bill, sponsored by the justice ministry, are already legislated and only minor interventions are needed.
 Parliament president 'will personally kick out' any deputy attempting to enter Parliament with a gunDeputies not observing the new measures about arms-bearing will not be allowed in Parliament, parliamentary president Evangelos Meimarakis announced Thursday.
Following a tightening of rules after an incident last week involving the walkout of extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) from a session on Wednesday, Meimarakis issued directions that involve restricting access to Parliament through doors with metal detectors and deputies checking their arms at the entrance.
In a briefing for the press, Meimarakis said, "I have given specific directions to the police that any deputy not observing controls when the special machine buzzes will be forbidden from entering Parliament."
If a deputy tries to enter without turning his or her gun in, Meimarakis said, "I tell deputies not to dare enter Parliament, because I will come down myself to the door and kick him out. I will yell at him, giving his name to publicity as well."
 Foreign minister sends condolences for British soldier killed in WoolwichForeign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos expressed his "abhorrence" over Wednesday's attack of a British soldier in a suburb of London, calling it "a barbaric terrorist attack". The minister expressed his solidarity with the government and people of the United Kingdom and his condolences to the victim's family.
The soldier was rammed by a car and stabbed to death by two men, with one being reported as shouting "Allah is great" in Arabic, before they were shot by police; they remain under guard in hospital.
 Tsohatzopoulos' attorney wants former prime minister Simitis to testify in courtFormer defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, on trial for money-laundering and taking kickbacks for armaments' procurements programmes while in office, on Thursday asked through his attorney that former prime minister Costas Simitis be called to the stand to testify in court.
Based on the arguments used by Tsohatzopoulos' defence, the former prime minister was aware of the needs that existed at the time in terms of armaments programmes and the funds necessary for their implementation because of his position.
 Opening of King Abdullah International Center of Interreligious and Intercultural DialogueIn a press release on Thursday the Saudi Arabia ambassador to Greece expressed his country's strong condemnation of all expressions of hatred and racism, and Saudi Arabia's continuous commitment to promote tolerance and dialogue among the followers of all religions, in accordance with the many initiatives made by H.M King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, which resulted in the opening of the King Abdullah International Center of Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna.
The Ambassador expressed his conviction that the people of Greece, with their glorious heritage and historic civilization, will not allow racist groups to flourish and will not tolerate any acts of hatred and racism directed at Muslims or any other religious or ethnic group in Greece. He also expressed his hope and confidence that the Hellenic Authorities will take all necessary steps to protect the safety and human rights of all residents in Greece, regardless of their religious convictions or ethnic identities.
 Turkish planes infringe on Athens FIRFour Turkish aircraft entered the Athens FIR off in the southeastern Aegean early on Thursday morning, according to the Hellenic National Defence Staff, and were intercepted by Greek aircraft.
Two of them, Phantom aircraft with photographing capabilities, flew at 8,000 feet over the southeastern island of Agathonissi at 8:43 a.m., and joined by two F-16s that had entered the Athens FIR slightly earlier south of Samos. All four exited Athens FIR at 9:23 a.m. east of Rhodes.
According to reports, it is the first time after 14 months that Turkish aircraft flew over a Greek island. On April 16, four Turkish aircraft flew in pairs over the Fournoi islands at 1,000 and 3,000 feet.
 Benefits from economic adjustment go beyond credibility, competitiveness, BoG governorGreece withstood the crisis which became a landmark for the country's society, George Provopoulos, governor of the Bank of Greece said on Thursday, while addressing a seminar organized by the central bank with the participation of European Central Bank's vice-president Vitor Constancio.
The Greek central banker noted that a recent progress in economic restructuring reflected, mainly, the determination of the government to implement an adjustment programme after making it clear that the country's future was within the Eurozone. He added that the benefits from an economic adjustment programme expanded beyond an improving credibility and economic competitiveness which is achieved through a reduction in macro-economic imbalances.
Provopoulos said that since June 2012 share prices have doubled, the yield spread have fallen by 25 pct, bank deposits were up by 12 pct and the dependence of Greek banks from Eurosystem's funding operations has been reduced by almost 35 pct. He reiterated his forecast that the Greek economy will recover in 2014 and said that the word 'Grexit' has been recently replaced by the word 'Grecovery'.
Vitor Constancio said that structural reforms were an one-way road even for countries with surpluses in payment balances. He said he supported a quick banking union and said that ECB was preparing to respond to its new duties.
 Development minister says Greece does not give up in crisisDevelopment Minister Costis Hatzidakis said on Thursday Greece "does not give up in the crisis. It hopes, struggles, innovates, wins."
He was addressing an awards ceremony for the winners of the ccompetition "i-bank Innovation&Terchnology" organised by the National Bank for the third consecutive year, promoting 10 proposals that received money prizes totalling 49,000 euros.
The competition is held in cooperation with seven Greek universities and Thursday's event was attended, apart from Hatzidakis, by Education Minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos, university professors and National Bank officials.
On his part, the Education minister referred to the institution established by the National Bank for the support of the Greek origin of innovative ideas and stressed the need, through the initiative undertaken by the National Bank for the promotion and absorption of innovation in Greece.
National Bank President George Zanias underlined that the competition i-bank is an initiative that has special reference to the country's future since it concerns the strengthening and promotion of young people and innovation and of new technologies that constitute the basis for the future growth of the country and the prosperity of its citizens.
 Greek Investment Forum in New YorkAttracting new foreign investments in Greece will be the focus of the 2nd Greek Investment Forum to take place in New York on June 5-6.
The forum, "Greece: Seizing the Opportunities", hosted by the Athens Stock Exchange and the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, will offer an opportunity to international investors to meet with representatives of some of the country's leading companies.
 OPAP S.A. announces net profits of 38.9 million euros in Q1The OPAP S.A. betting company announced net profits for the first quarter of the year totalling 38.9 million euros, compared to 131.9 million euros in the corresponding period in 2012, a decrease of 70.5 percent.
Sales totalled 869.3 million euros as against 1,065.2 million euros, in the corresponding period of 2012 (a decrease of 18.4 percent), as a result of the difficult economic conditions, the fewer days of operation of agencies and the taxation of the profits of players.
The profits before interest, taxes and depreciation (EBITDA) amounted to 57.6 million euros as against 184.4 million euros (a decrease of 68.8 percent) due to the taxation of net revenues by 30 percent as of January 1, 2013.
The board maintains the target of net profit-making unchanged for the year, at 116 million euros, as was presented in the company's operational plan.
 Piraeus Port reports improved Q1 resultsPiraeus Port Organization (OLP) on Thursday said its pre-tax profits totaled 347,383 euros in the first quarter of 2013, up from 185,379 euros in the corresponding period last year, while net after-tax profits jumped to 1,133,514 euros from 521,964 in 2012.
Turnover eased 2.38 pct and operating expenses fell by 7.0 pct in the January-March period. The organization said its net position was 160.8 million euros at the end of March, up from 155.5 million euros a year earlier. OLP president George Anomeritis, commenting on the results said: "Despite the fact that the winter season is not the most important period of our activity, results are positive," adding that proceeds from sea cruise grew 69.97 pct in the winter season.
 Attica Bank reports higher Q1 lossesAttica Bank Group on Thursday reported an after tax loss of 18.7 million euros in the first quarter of 2013, after losses of 5.6 million euros in the corresponding period last year.
Pre-tax losses rose to 25.9 million euros in the January-March period, from 24.2 million euros last year, while assets totaled 3.8 billion euros.
The non-performing loans/loan ratio was 21.6 pct at the end of March, while provisions over bad debt totaled 12.1 million euros in the first three months of the year, up from 10.8 pct in 2012, an increase of around 12 pct. Accumulated provisions totaled 373.9 million euros, up 3.3 million euros.
Ioannis Gamvrilis, the bank's chairman, commenting on the results said Attica Bank's goal remained the preservation of its healthy figures which combined with a share capital increase plan, currently underway, will create the necessary conditions to support and offer liquidity in the real economy.
 Olympia Road reports improved 2012 resultsOlympia Road Operating, the operating company of the national road linking Elefsis with Korinth, Patra, Pyrgos and Tsakona, on Thursday said its revenue rose 1.3 pct to 21.30 million euros last year from 21.02 million euros in 2011 and pre-tax profits of 5.2 million euros, up 15.5 pct from 2011. Net profits, after taxes, grew 19.9 pct to 3.41 million euros.
 AstraZeneca reports 1.69 million euros loss in 2012AstraZeneca on Thursday reported pre-tax losses of 1.67 million euros in 2012, after pre-tax earnings of 8.49 million euros in 2011 from its operations in Greece.
The fourth largest company in the Greek pharmaceuticals market, said its revenue fell to 184.92 million euros last year, from 203.88 million euros in 2011 and 220.53 million euros in 2010, for a decline of 9.3 pct, reflecting a decline in sales volume and pharmaceutical prices.
AstraZeneca said its net results was a loss of 1.69 million euros last year and noted that its market share was 5.6 pct last year.
 Fiscal spending down 9.9 pct in Q1Fiscal spending fell short by 9.9 pct compared with budget targets in the first quarter of 2013, the Finance Ministry said on Thursday.
The ministry, in a report said that spending by most government agencies was down between 1-67.4 pct in the January-March period, while spending surpassed budget targets by 31 pct in the Finance Ministry, 65.7 pct in the Justice Ministry and by 156.6 pct in regional authorities.
Finance Alternate Minister Christos Staikouras, commenting on the figures, said the report was part of new fiscal rules and practices which envisage reporting of budget figures on a quarterly basis to ensure timely information and transparency in budget execution.
 New 5-euro bills causing problems at ticket-issuing machinesA problem caused by machines rejecting the new 5-euro bills at subway and railroad stations will be resolved by mid-June, Transport Secretary General Nikos Stathopoulos said on Thursday.
The software needs to be replaced so that machines at Metro lines 2 and 3, the tram, and the suburban (proastiakos) railroad can accept the new bills. Passengers will need to use other denominations or get their tickets from the ticket offices.
Altogether, nearly 200 machines issuing tickets will need to be replaced for the Metro and 100 at the tram stops. They will cost 21,300 and 11,000 euros, respectively, the management said.
 Greek stocks end 3.91 pct lowerGreek stocks remained under pressure for the fourth consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, hit by a negative climate prevailing in intenational markets in the aftermath of comments made by US Federal Reserve governor over a possible gradual exit from monetary easing policies as early as June.
National Bank came at the focus of selling activity ahead of a three-day suspension of trading -beginning on Friday- ahead of a reverse split plan. Its share price fell 13.46 pct.
The composite index dropped 3.91 pct to end at 1,038.39 points, for a loss of 9.91 pct so far this week, erasing the biggest part of last week's gains (11.43 pct). Turnover eased to 132.924 million euros.
The Big Cap index dropped 4.32 pct and the Mid Cap index fell 2.18 pct. Eurobank (4.78 pct) was the only blue chip stock to end higher, while National bank (13.46 pct), Metka (9.77 pct), Piraeus Bank (8.31 pct), Motor Oil (6.25 pct) and Frigoglass (6.25 pct) were top losers.
All sector indices suffered losses, with Banks (8.64 pct), Industrial Products (6.71 pct), Personal Products (4.69 pct) and Food (4.65 pct) leading the way.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 107 to 43 with another 27 issues unchanged. Ilyda (29.55 pct), Pasal (19.67 pct) and Motodynamic (18.48 pct) were top gainers, while Mathios (30 pct), Douros (19.64 pct) and Alfa Grissin (19.19 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -4.17%
Personal & Household: -4.69%
Raw Materials: -3.94%
Travel & Leisure: -2.03%
Food & Beverages: -4.65%
Financial Services: -3.64%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Bank of Piraeus, OTE and PPC.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.55
Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.80
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.74
National Bank of Greece: 0.90
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.46
Bank of Piraeus: 0.32
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was stable at 6.76 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, unchanged from 6.77 pct on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 8.19 pct and the German Bund 1.38 pct. Turnover was 9.0 million euros, of which 7.0 million were sell orders and the remaining 2.0 million euros were buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.47 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.38 pct, the six-month rate was 0.29 pct, the three-month rate was 0.20 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 2.08 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover rising to 22.804 million euros.
Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,061 contracts worth 18.357 million euros, with 38,033 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 13,402 contracts worth 4.447 million euors, with investment interest focusing on Eurobank's contracts (4,659), followed by MIG (1,645), OTE (1,769), PPC (1,840), OPAP (303), Mytilineos (436), Hellenic Petroleum (204), Sidenor (736), GEK (455), Ellaktor (305), Intralot (379) and Hellenic Exchanges (159).
 Foreign Exchange rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.308
Pound sterling 0.867
Danish kroner 7.565
Swedish kroner 8.723
Japanese yen 133.04
Swiss franc 1.267
Norwegian kroner 7.647
Canadian dollar 1.353
Australian dollar 1.350
 Greek NGO presents missing children statistics at Zappeion eventA child goes missing every day in Greece, with 97 so far not recovered and an additional 23 abducted and still missing, the Greek police said at an event by nonprofit Smile of the Child (Chamogelo tou Paidiou) on Thursday.
At an event at Zappeion Hall, policeman Antonis Papantonis said that 90 children had been found of 138 missing in the first four months of the year. The average of children recovered from those gone missing in 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 is 78.4 pct, he added; Attica prefecture leads the way in disappearances.
Reasons are mostly family-related, with 2.5 times more girls than boys going missing, and usually aged from 13 to 18 years old.
Despite the numbers, Smile NGO president Kostas Yiannopoulos assured parents that the problem is not as bad as it sounds: "Children disappear, but it is nothing like what rumours claim, that children are abducted, their clothes changed in malls - this is not true, people should not panic," he said. "The problem in Greece is not great. We have all gotten coordinated and mobilise to find a child. We have also helped society become more sensitive and mobilised on the issue. Whenever there is an Amber Alert, there is help," he added, referring to the publicity system activated by authorities when a child goes missing.
In comparison, global data shows that 800,000 children disappear annually in the US, 100,000 in Germany, 20,000 in Australia and 45,000 in Brazil.
The NGO works with authorities to support children's rights in Greece. It has received messages of support from New Democracy deputy Anna Karamanli and the ambassadors of the US (Daniel Bennet Smith), Belgium (Marc Van Den Reek), Canada (Robert Peck) and Serbia (Dragan Zupanjevac).
 Illegal migrants, smuggler arrested near Larissa, central GreeceTwenty seven illegal migrants, 12 Syrians, 12 Somalis and 3 Eritreans, among them 5 minors (four boys and a girl) were found hidden in a truck after a police car chase on the Athens-Thessaloniki national motorway, it was announced on Monday.
The driver of the truck managed to flee, while his co-driver, a 34-year-old Syrian was apprehended.
Police flagged down the truck for having false license plates but its driver ignored the signs and sped off. The vehicle was forced to stop near the Makrichori toll post facilities.
Both the driver and the co-driver are members of an international human trafficking ring and had picked up the illegal migrants on Sunday morning from a coast near Kavala, northeast Greece, to take them to Athens.
The illegal migrants had arrived on Greek soil on May 5 on a boat that had originated from the Turkish coasts after each paying a fee of 2,500 euros to the smugglers.
 Earthquake at sea off Lefkas islandAn earthquake registering 4.7 on the Richter scale shook Lefkas island at 5:09 p.m. on Thursday evening. The epicenter was at sea, 284 km northwest of Athens.
 Quake jolts southern CreteA light earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale was recorded at 7 a.m south of Heraklio, Crete island on Thursday.
The quake's epicentre was located 128km south of Heraklio and its depth was measured at 44km.
Earlier two lighter quakes were reported in south Crete measuring 3R and 3.1R respectively.
No damages were reported.
 Cloudy on FridayCloudy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 12C and 29C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with southerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 17C and 28C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 14C and 29C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Poor, jobless and bankrupt.
DIMOKRATIA: "Solution for illegal buildings in June.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: The mysteries of SIEMENS case, Lagarde list and former Greek Ambassador in France.
ELLADA AVRIO: Blood and hatred over Europe
ESTIA: The future of Athens' economic recovery a huge problem.
ETHNOS: The final arrangements for debts to Tax Bureau.
IMERISSIA: Debts arrangement in 100 installments
KATHIMERINI: Eurogroup head and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem to newspaper: Debt relief in 2014
LOGOS: "600,000 children in Greece live at the poverty line.
NAFTEMPORIKI: Overdue debts arrangement with exchange property declaration.
RIZOSPASTIS: "Rallies for the Collective Labour Contract on Thursday.
TA NEA: "Debts to Tax Bureau to be paid in 100 installments but after submitting full statement of assets.
VRADYNI: Antiracist bill brings rifts in the government.
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