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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-05-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 Issue No: 4370


  • [01] Coalition government party leaders disagree on antiracism bill
  • [02] FinMin says unemployment, growth issues discussed at party leaders' meeting
  • [03] PM Samaras meets with fuel companies association
  • [04] Parliament president: Crisis taught cooperation to Greeks
  • [05] SYRIZA leader outlines party's proposals on mass media
  • [06] SYRIZA-EKM tables question on police targeting photojournalists
  • [07] Minister releases annual state expenses on civil servant wages and pensions
  • [08] Deputy Development minister holds meeting with China's deputy FinMin
  • [09] Hundreds of B2B meetings between Greek and Russian entrepreneurs in Moscow
  • [10] Tourism minister calls on Chinese to visit Greece
  • [11] Greece and Turkey cooperation on tourism, commerce strong
  • [12] Travel balance records a surplus in March
  • [13] Piraeus port launches second sea cruise passenger terminal
  • [14] Thousands of tourism enterprises eligible for interest free or low interest loans
  • [15] Intralot reports improved Q1 results
  • [16] Sfakianakis Group completes debt arrangement deal
  • [17] Barilla Hellas says net profits 6.6 pct up in 2012
  • [18] Scandinavians prefer Crete
  • [19] Greek household electricity prices up 15 pct, Eurostat
  • [20] Greek stocks end five-day decline, rise slightly on Monday
  • [21] Greek bond market closing report
  • [22] ADEX closing report
  • [23] Art exhibit reveals Serbia's close links with Byzantium, Mt Athos
  • [24] Convicted child molester arrested in Athens for sexually assaulting young girls
  • [25] Court sentences three women over Skouries gold mine
  • [26] Cave diver found dead
  • [27] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [28] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Coalition government party leaders disagree on antiracism bill

    "The government does not intend to table the draft bill on antiracism in parliament," government sources said on Monday evening after a meeting of the three political leaders of the coalition government, namely Prime Minister and New Democracy president Antonis Samaras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party leader Fotis Kouvelis.

    "There has been no agreement," between the three on the draft bill, the same sources added, but clarified that discussion on other issues on agenda was productive.

    A date for a new meeting was not set, while the source reassured that there has not been a confidence issue toward minister of Justice Antonis Roupakiotis.

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, speaking after the meeting said no political agreement was reached on the draft bill on antiracism because, as he said "New Democracy must also be convinced that we are not making a technical and legal discussion, but a discussion that is deeply political, historic and of values."

    Venizelos said that there were two solutions, with the first one being "the one that we clearly prefer", and this was for "the draft bill to be tabled in Parliament, to be discussed and through discussion be improved, be ratified by the largest majority possible."

    Venizelos added that if the government does not ultimately agree to the bill being tabled in parliament, then "the solution is PASOK's draft bill proposal, which I am certain that DIM.AR and other parties also accept as a basis for discussion." He expressed hope that the ND deputies would vote for this draft bill proposal.

    "Discussion will always be open for improvements" to avoid any misunderstandings, Venizelos said.

    The PASOK leader said in more general tone that "there is a problem" and that "the government must come to an understanding". He requested in this framework that the govern-ment partners "agree again on the programme, organizational and operational platform."

    The draft bill on antiracism should be tabled in Parliament as the clauses it introduces are not stipulated in existing legislation, Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party leader Fotis Kouvelis said on his part, stressing that procedures are available in Parliament to make certain improvements, amendments and corrections to the antiracism bill.

    He expressed absolute disagreement with the opinion of the law-preparing Committee on the bill in question and termed it "unacceptable" since it regards the bill as unconstitutional, after having in the past evaluated certain clauses of the same bill as being constitutional, during a similar procedure.

    Asked whether the two other party leaders agreed with the antiracism bill being tabled in Parliament, Kouvelis said that this question should be addressed to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos.

    He further insisted on observing the procedure for a debate in Parliament of the Justice ministry's proposal.

    Also discussed during the meeting was the hot issue of unemployment among young people, and Kouvelis stressed that emphasis was placed on promoting socially beneficial work. Lastly, he stressed that the issue of the government's coordination was raised with persistence and the need to boost growth for a development shock in the country.

    In a related development, sources said after the meeting that the prime minister also briefed in detail the two party leaders on his recent trip to China.

    [02] FinMin says unemployment, growth issues discussed at party leaders' meeting

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, speaking on his departure from the Maximos Mansion on Monday evening following the meeting between the party leaders supporting the government, said that a discussion was held on unemployment and growth issues.

    "The party leaders' concern on the combatting of unemployment is known," he said.

    Asked about the possibility of a decrease in VAT for food services, he said "we shall discuss it with the (EC-ECB-IMF) troika" and that "scenarios will be submitted" while it is an issue that will be discussed at the interparty meeting on Tuesday.

    [03] PM Samaras meets with fuel companies association

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday evening had an unscheduled meeting with the board of the Hellenic Petroleum Marketing Companies Association (SEEPE) at an event organized in central Athens.

    Industry representatives raised with Samaras the issue of payment of special fuel tax in advance, which they complained sucked up market liquidity and could lead to further closures of marketing companies and fuel stations.

    SEEPE president Yiannis Psychoyios said that a meeting between the association and Finance minister Yannis Stournaras was arranged at the initiative of PM Samaras, to take place on June 3, to discuss a request by the sector's companies for a 20-day credit period against letters of guarantee.

    Companies also require intensified inspections by the Fuel Handling and Storage Control Teams (KEDAK), which the Association proposes to finance; in addition, they want more beneficiaries to be eligible for heating allowance as of next winter season.

    [04] Parliament president: Crisis taught cooperation to Greeks

    OTTAWA, Canada (ANA/MPA-I.Frangouli)

    The Greek community of Ottawa warmly welcomed Greek parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis who arrived in the Canadian capital late Sunday.

    Meimarakis addressing the Greek community referred to the reversal of the negative climate for Greece noting that the crisis taught cooperation to Greek people. He also said that he has confidence in the coalition government and to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras who is, as he said, leading the country on the right course.

    During his visit, Meimarakis will have a series of meetings with the parliamentary authority of Canada.

    Existing anti-racism legal framework is adequate, law drafting committee rules; unconstitutional and vague certain justice ministry-sponsored clauses

    The Central Law Drafting Committee (KE.N.E) on Monday ruled that the existing legal framework (Law No 927/1979) against racism and xenophobia is adequate and characterized as vague and unconstitutional certain of the clauses incorporated in the anti-racism draft bill sponsored by Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis.

    According to the ruling, Law No 927/1979 provides an adequate legal framework, noting that "in principle, the absolute ban on any form of expression of racist and xenophobic ideas in itself is not constitutionally tolerable".

    KE.N.E also ruled that certain clauses in the draft bill need further clarification and certain notions will have to be more specified.

    Also, KE.N.E underlined the need for "special attention in case of imposing sanctions" on legal entities or associations of individuals.

    [05] SYRIZA leader outlines party's proposals on mass media

    A series of proposals to create an entirely new basis for the operation of the country's mass media were presented on Monday evening by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras.

    Speaking during a party event on mass media, Tsipras said that SYRIZA's ambition was to put "an end to this rotten system, an end to vested interests."

    One of the first measures to be taken if SYRIZA came to power would be a whole new system of licensing to mass media, which would exclude private companies having debts to pension funds and employees, as well as those which did not adhere to the statutory labour and professional rights and those which did not adhere to the journalistic code of ethics.

    [06] SYRIZA-EKM tables question on police targeting photojournalists

    A question concerning the protection of press photographers from unauthorised use of authority by police was tabled by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras and 24 MPs on Monday, addressed to the minister of public order.

    The question was tabled in response to a written complaint publicised in newspapers and the Internet on May 17, 2013 according to which an Associated Press photojournalist was taken to police headquarters in Thessaloniki by motorcycle police unit for allegedly taking pictures of a homeless man sleeping in downtown Aristotelous Square without asking for his permission.

    According to SYRIZA-EKM this is not an isolated incident, and quoted another incident in Athens reported by media trade unions.

    [07] Minister releases annual state expenses on civil servant wages and pensions

    Data about the number of civil section pensioners and the amounts paid by the state in pensions for the last eight years were sent to Parliament by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras on Monday.

    In his letter, in response to a question by New Democracy (ND) MP Evangelos Basiakos, the number of retired civil servants in Greece in 2005 was 367,687 and the amount paid in pensions was 4.2 billion euros.

    Since 2009, slightly over 43,000 civil servants have retired - the totals numbered 406,271 in 2009 and 449,341 in April 2013), while the amount paid in pensions dropped from 6.58 billion euros in 2009 to 6.56 billion euros in 2012 (1.95 billion euros have been paid by the state as of April this year).

    The document also included the amounts paid by the state budget for civil servant salaries and additional benefits in the period 2005-2012 .

    Specifically, the salaries paid to civil servants per year amounted to 13.9 billion euros in 2005; 14.6 billion euros (in 2006), 15.5 billion (2007), 16.6 billion (2008), 18.5 billion (2009), 16.4 billion (2010), 15.1 billion (2011) and 13.7 billion euro in 2012 (the figures for 2012 are preliminary).

    The document adds that the issuing office had no data on the number of civil servants being paid salaries or pensions, or the amounts paid out to the wider public sector.

    Financial News

    [08] Deputy Development minister holds meeting with China's deputy FinMin

    China's interest in investments in Greece was reconfirmed during a meeting held on Monday between Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis and the Vice Finance Minister of the People's Republic of China Li Yong.

    According to reports, interest by Chinese investors remains strong and is focused primarily on infrastructure, railways, ports and airports.

    Apart from the fact that Greece continues to be part of Beijing's investment plans, discussion focused on the Greek position supporting a proposal for Li Yong to assume duties of Director General?of the?United Nations Industrial Development?Organization (UNIDO).

    It is the second time that a discussion takes place with Mitarakis on the specific issue.

    Li Yong is oversees 18 investment funds in China.

    [09] Hundreds of B2B meetings between Greek and Russian entrepreneurs in Moscow

    The strong interest in further boosting bilateral trade relations between Greece and Russia is highlighted by business meetings held in Moscow in the context of the Go International initiative underway.

    The two-day Go International mission to Moscow was launched on Monday with the participation of tens of Greek export companies. It is the fourth business mission organised by Eurobank in the framework of the programme, in collaboration with the Greek International Business Association, the Panhellenic Association of Exporters, the Crete Exporters Association and other export-sector bodies, under the aegis of the foreign ministry.

    Some 2,000 B2B meetings with 250 Russian firms have been scheduled during the visit, while a 'Real Estate Workshop' organised in collaboration with Invest in Greece will also take place, allowing Greek companies to make brief presentations of current real estate investment opportunities in Greece.

    The internet portal Exportgate set up by Eurobank in collaboration with exporters and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) with the support of the development ministry will also be unveiled. A partnership with Google is already underway in a bid to promote the portal in Greece and especially in foreign markets, such as Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Russia.

    Greek International Business Association (SEVE) Chairman Dimitris Lakassas noted that the majority of the Russian firms that have expressed interest represent the food and beverages sector, while a strong interest is expressed in the sector's of tourism and real estate.

    Most of the participating Greek firms (40 pct) represent the food and beverages sector, 8 pct high technology, 7 pct constructions, 5 pct real estate and 4.5 pct cosmetics. Other sectors are tourism, church supplies and ecclesiastical accessories, services, chemicals and plastics, energy, pharmaceuticals and packaging.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas will attend a forum on Tuesday representing the Greek government.

    [10] Tourism minister calls on Chinese to visit Greece

    Crete regional governor Stavros Arnaoutakis, addressing the conference "Crete meets China" on Monday, appealed to Chinese businessmen to invest in Crete. The Cretan regional service organised the conference at the Tae Kwon Do building on sidelines of the Cretan products exhibition.

    Arnaoutakis said Crete remains one of the safest destinations. He also said tourism constitutes a privileged sector of investments in Crete, given the island's geographical position and the high-level hotel potential. The regional governor stressed that for Crete tourism is the main pylon of the local economy.

    In her address, Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni also called on the Chinese to visit Greece. She said that relations between Greece and China have now entered a new framework, especially following the prime minister's official visit to Beijing and Shanghai.

    The president of the Federation of Greek Tourist Enterprises Andreas Andreadis stressed that if there is a professional handling of the Chinese market, there is a prospectof 2.5 million tourists coming to Greece from China in the next decade.

    Referring to the programme for unemployed to work in tourism, Andreadis said that Monday was the expiry date for applications, which so far total to 50,000 for 10,000 positions.

    [11] Greece and Turkey cooperation on tourism, commerce strong

    Greek investments in Turkey exceed 6.5 billion dollars, according to Charalambos Kounalakis, Commercial Attache to the Greek Embassy in Ankara, who also said that the number of Turkish tourists to Greece has increased 100 pct over the first two months of this year, with one million expected to visit throughout the year.

    At an event in Thessaloniki, where he presented data related to the two countries, Kounalakis said that in 2012 the numbers of Turkish nationals visiting Greece rose by 57.6 pct over the previous year - 62,226 came in 2011 and 98,062 in 2012.

    Turkish tourists prefer destinations of historical and cultural importance that include the option of shopping and entertainment; some also travel for religious reasons, he said. Besides Thessaloniki, Kavala, Xanthi and Alexandroupoli in the north, they prefer the islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Kos, Mytilini, Chios, Samos and Crete.

    Greece and Turkey have been strengthening cooperation in tourism through a Joint Tourism Committee, which is also planning to target the Chinese, Japanese, US and Indian markets, Kounalakis said.

    Turkish investments in Greece are limited to about 8 companies (banking, furniture, marinas, clothing, paper), involving a total of about 70 million euros, with 17 million of these being invested by Ziraat bank, which has opened branches in Athens, Komotini, Xanthi and the island of Rhodes.

    In addition, Greek exports to Turkey - mostly petroleum-based products, plastics and cotton - increased by 38 pct in 2012 (from 2011) to reach 2.6 billion euros, while imports from Turkey over the same period fell by 9.73 pct, to 1.02 billion euros. In terms of petroleum-based products, Turkey is Greece's top customer; excluding this sector, it is the sixth.

    [12] Travel balance records a surplus in March

    Greece's travel balance of payments recorded a surplus of 14 million euros in March, down by 2.0 million euros compared with the same month in 2012, reflecting a 14 pct decline in travel proceeds to 137 million euros and a 14.1 pct decline in travel payments to 123 million euros, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.

    The central bank, in a report, said average spending per travel fell by 14.5 pct while tourist arrivals grew by 0.5 pct in the same month. The report also said that the travel balance of payments in the January-March period recorded a surplus of 66 million euros, from a deficit of 7.0 million euros in the same period last year, reflecting a 21.3 pct decline in travel payments and a 3.7 pct fall in travel proceeds. In the three-month period, tourist arrivals were up 4.6 pct.

    Travel proceeds fell by 14 pct in March, compared with the same month last year, reflecting a 24.7 pct decline in revenue from EU-27 and an 1.8 pct decline in revenue from other countries. In the January-March period, travel proceeds fell by 3.7 pct, reflecting a 20.8 pct decline in revenue from EU-27 and an increase of 18.8 pct from other countries. Travel proceeds from Germany fell 21.5 pct to 38 million euros, from France they fell 15.9 pct and from the UK they dropped 40.5 pct. Revenue from Russia soared by 79.5 pct to 12 million euros, while proceeds from the US fell 34.6 pct to 21 million euros.

    Incoming tourism totaled 362,000 in March, up 0.5 pct from the same month last year. Arrivals from Germany grew 6.5 pct, from France they were down 22.1 pct and from the UK they fell by 32.3 pct. Arrivals from Russia grew by 104.4 pct and from the US dropped 33.3 pct. In the three-month period from January to March, incoming tourism grew 4.6 pct to a total of 1,023,000 travellers. Arrivals from Germany rose 4.0 pct, and fell from France by 5.6 pct and from the UK by 36.8 pct. Arrivals from Russia grew 71.2 pct while they fell from the US by 7.0 pct.

    [13] Piraeus port launches second sea cruise passenger terminal

    "The sea cruise is just like an orchestra: the client will leave after hearing the slightest false sound," Costis Mousouroulis, Shipping and Aegean Minister said on Monday, during the inauguration ceremony of a new second international sea cruise passenger terminal in Piraeus.

    Addressing the ceremony, the Greek minister said that the sea cruise industry was rapidly developing despite a global economic slowdown and noted that sea cruise operators were choosing Greece after rating the country's services on credibility, quality, cost and speed.

    Mousouroulis said international competition was intensifying adding that the country had a competitive advantage offering more natural beauty and cultural reserve. He noted that a new legislation envisaging the reform of the country's port system was creating the necessary preconditions to achieve the goals for the development of sea cruise.

    Piraeus Port Organization's chairman and chief executive George Anomeritis said the port was a hub because of its large number of vessel positions and the large number of sea cruise passengers. Homeporting passengers grew 22.05 pct in the first quarter of 2013 to 8,120, from 6,653 in the same period last year, while transit passengers rose 24.94 pct to 88,948 in the first three months of the year, from 71,194 in 2012.

    The new, international, second passenger terminal in Piraeus port, covers an area of 5,600 sq.m. and can service up to 25,000 passengers per day. The port authority plans to launch a third terminal station for sea cruise passengers by the end of the year.

    Piraeus port is the largest passenger port in Europe and the largest in vessel positions in the Mediterranean. The new terminal will be named Themistocles, after the ancient Athenian general.

    [14] Thousands of tourism enterprises eligible for interest free or low interest loans

    Roughly 5,500 tourism sector enterprises will be eligible for loans between 10,000 euros and 30,000 euros in the context of the 80-million-euro "Island Entrepreneurship" Programme to be launched in the first week of June, National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) General Secretary Giorgos Giannoussis on Monday announced.

    The loans will be granted for investments and as working capital and will be 70 pct subsidized. They will have an interest rate of 2.8 pct and will be paid off in four years. For enterprises operating on islands with a population of less than 3,100, the loans will be interest free.

    [15] Intralot reports improved Q1 results

    Intralot Group on Monday said its consolidated turnover rose 2.5 pct in the first quarter of 2013 to 355.8 million euros. EBITDA jumped 32.1 pct to 55.1 million euros, while pre-tax earnings rose 39.7 pct to 21.2 million euros. Afater tax and minorities earnings rose by 17.4 pct to 4.8 million euros, while operating cash flow grew by 23.9 pct to 18.9 million euros in the January-March period.

    Parent turnover, however, fell 30.4 pct to 28.4 million euros, EBITDA rose 46.3 pct to 12.4 million euros and after tax earnings soared 101.8 pct to 9.1 million euros in the first three months of the year.

    Constantinos Antonopoulos, Intralot's chief executive, commenting on the results said Intralot was working to refinance its convertible bond loan, maturing at the end of 2013.

    [16] Sfakianakis Group completes debt arrangement deal

    Sfakianakis AEBE on Monday announced it has reached an agreement with creditor banks over the terms of an arrangement of a syndicated loan of its subsidiary company Panergon SA worth 34 million euros.

    A group statement said the agreement completed an arrangement of the group's debt, covering syndicated and bilateral bond loans worth 281.9 million euros, or 96 pct of total debt. The repayment period has been transfered to 2017, while the interest rate of the debt has been significantly reduced, a development which will help Sfakianakis Group to return to positive results to soonest possible.

    [17] Barilla Hellas says net profits 6.6 pct up in 2012

    Barilla Hellas, Greece's largest pasta industry a member of Barilla Group, on Monday said its pre-tax profits totaled 3.45 million euros in 2012, while net profits totaled 2.58 million euros.

    Income fell to 73.82 million euros last year, from 74.90 million euros in 2011, a decline of 1.5 pct, gross profit margin fell to 38.1 pct from 39.5 pct and gross earnings fell 4.9 pct to 28.15 million euros. EBITDA eased 0.5 pct to 5.69 million euros and pre-tax and interest earnings eased 3.7 pct to 3.16 million euros.

    Barilla Hellas said its pre-tax earnings totaled 3.45 million euros in 2012, up 0.9 pct from the previous year, while net profits grew by 6.6 pct to 2.58 million euros.

    George Spiliopoulos, Barilla Hellas chief executive, talking to ANA-MPA said the company raised its export volume and maintained its leading position in the GReek market by absorbing part of higher production costs and offering products at lower prices. Exports grew to other European markets and to China.

    [18] Scandinavians prefer Crete

    The city of Hania, Crete island is the most popular summer destination for Scandinavian tourists, according to data presented by "TUI Nordic" tour operator group at an event held in a Hania hotel.

    The specific tour operator has over 120,000 arrivals in Hania airport. According to TUI Nordic, the reasons the Scandinavians prefer Greece and particularly the island of Crete are the high quality of the hotels and the accommodation, the hospitality, the education and the people.

    In the first quarter of 2013, the arrivals from Scandinavian countries at Hania airport posted a 22 percent increase in comparison with the same period in 2012.

    [19] Greek household electricity prices up 15 pct, Eurostat

    Household electricity prices rose by 15 pct in Greece in the 12-month period between the second half of 2011 and the second half of 2012, while the country enjoyed one of the lowest household gas prices in the European Union, Eurostat said on Monday.

    In a report released, the EU executive's statistical office said that in the EU27, household electricity prices rose by 6.6% between the second half of 2011 and the second half of 2012, after an increase of 6.3% between the second half of 2010 and 2011. Household gas prices increased by 10.3% in the EU27 between the second half of 2011 and 2012, after a rise of 12.6% between the second half of 2010 and 2011.

    Eurostat said that between the second half of 2011 and the second half of 2012, the highest increases in household electricity prices in national currency were registered in Cyprus (+21%), Greece (+15%), Italy (+11%), Ireland and Portugal (both +10%), Bulgaria, Spain and Poland (all +9%). Decreases were observed in Sweden (-5%), Hungary (-2%) and Finland (-1%), while prices remained stable in Denmark and Malta. When expressed in purchasing power standards, the lowest household electricity prices were found in Finland (12.7 PPS per 100 kWh), France (13.0), Luxembourg (14.0) and Sweden (15.5), and the highest in Cyprus (32.9), Germany and Poland (both 25.9), Portugal (25.7) and Hungary (25.5).

    Between the second half of 2011 and the second half of 2012, the highest increases in household gas prices in national currency were observed in Latvia (+21%), Estonia (+19%) and Bulgaria (+18%), and the only decrease in Slovenia (-8%). Prices in Belgium, Denmark and Slovakia remained stable or nearly stable.

    Expressed in euro, average household gas prices in the second half of 2012 were lowest in Romania (2.7 euro per 100 kWh), Slovakia (5.1) and Estonia (5.2), and highest in Sweden (12.7), Denmark (10.8) and Greece (10.2). The average gas price in the EU27 was 7.2 euro per 100 kWh. When adjusted for purchasing power, the lowest household gas prices were recorded in Luxembourg (4.9 PPS per 100 kWh), the United Kingdom (5.3), Romania (5.5), France (6.1) and Ireland (6.2), and the highest in Bulgaria (12.3), Greece (11.3), Portugal (10.6), Hungary (10.4), Spain and Lithuania (both 10.0).

    [20] Greek stocks end five-day decline, rise slightly on Monday

    Greek stocks ended moderately higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, reversing a five-day sharp fall which pushed the composite index of the market 10.19 pct lower last week. Buying activity focused on bank shares. The composite index rose 0.36 pct to end at 1,038.89 points, after rising as much as 1.66 pct during the day. Turnover was moderate 88.514 million euros.

    Alpha Bank (11.03 pct), Eurobank (10 pct), Piraeus Bank (5.03 pct) and Hellenic Exchanges (3.13 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Jumbo (4.83 pct), OPAP (3.91 pct), Metka (2.76 pct) and OTE (2.27 pct) suffered losses. The Big Cap index rose 0.32 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.38 pct lower. The Banks (3.96 pct), Utilities (2.21 pct) and Oil (2.09 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Personal Products (4.38 pct), Telecoms (2.27 pct) and Industrial Products (1.63 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 85 to 73 with another 17 issues unchanged. Nafpaktos Mills (21.76 pct), PC Systems (18.29 pct) and Hellenic Textiles (17.32 pct) were top gainers, while Akritas (29.83 pct), Pairis (28.22 pct) and Mouzakis (21.62 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -1.63%

    Commercial: +1.53%

    Construction: +0.50%

    Oil & Gas: +2.09%

    Personal & Household: -4.38%

    Raw Materials: +0.06%

    Travel & Leisure: -3.25%

    Technology: -0.57%

    Telecoms: -2.27%

    Banks: +3.96%

    Food & Beverages: +1.21%

    Health: +1.67%

    Utilities: +2.21%

    Financial Services: +1.35%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Bank of Piraeus, Alpha Bank, OPAP, OTE and PPC.

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.64

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 8.18

    Coca-Cola: 20.84

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.75

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.43

    OPAP: 7.12

    OTE: 6.90

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.29

    Titan: 13.85

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

    U.S. dollar 1.313

    Pound sterling 0.868

    Danish kroner 7.564

    Swedish kroner 8.725

    Japanese yen 132.55

    Swiss franc 1.263

    Norwegian kroner 7.661

    Canadian dollar 1.355

    Australian dollar 1.360

    [21] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds continued moving higher to 7.47 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 7.17 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 8.92 pct and the German Bund 1.45 pct. Turnover was a thin 1.0 million euros, one buy order.

    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.

    [22] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 2.34 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover at 10.045 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,823 contracts worth 6.840 million euros, with 38,003 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,861 contracts worth 3.205 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Eurobank's contracts (2,969), followed by MIG (1,585), OTE (1,216), PPC (1,083), GEK (742), OPAP (481), Mytilineos (394), Ellaktor (379), Intralot (230), Hellenic Exchanges (132) and Sidenor (106).

    General News

    [23] Art exhibit reveals Serbia's close links with Byzantium, Mt Athos

    A show containing 11th to 14th century painting and objects from Serbia - some leaving their country for the first time - inaugurated on Monday evening at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens by Alternate Education and Culture Minister Costas Tzavaras and Serbian Minister of Culture and Information Bratislav Petkovic.

    The exhibit is jointly organised by the Greek museum and the National Museum of Belgrade, currently redesigning its exhibitions.

    "The objects are important because they showcase the beginnings of the Serbian state and of the archbishopric of Serbia...proving the very close relations Serbia had with Byzantium and the West. It is therefore extremely interesting that the Greek public will be able to see these objects," Byzantine Museum director Anastasia Lazaridou said at a press conference for the show earlier on Monday.

    The event was attended by Secretary General of Culture Lina Mendoni, Serbian Ambassador to Athens Dragan Zupanjevac and the director of the Belgrade museum, Bojana Boric Breskovic.

    "The National Museum of Belgrade has been collecting art objects since its founding in 1844," said Breskovic, "creating collections that refer to the middle ages; some very important works are included from these in the exhibition." The selected objects, she said, "will present the main trends and important highlights of the arts preserved by Serb leaders, nobles and the church."

    The exhibit will run until August 18 and consists of four sections, in four corresponding rooms, starting chronologically with the Nemanja Dynasty (1166-1371), who patronised the arts. Dynasty founder Stefan Nemanja established the state of Serbia before becoming a monk on Mt Athos, where he built the Hilandar Monastery.

    The show will include objects associated with the Serbian rulers, models of two important Serb monasteries and icons, one of which was made in a workshop of Thessaloniki, and high-grade copies of frescoes.

    [24] Convicted child molester arrested in Athens for sexually assaulting young girls

    A 40-year-old convicted sex offender was arrested in Athens shortly after attacking a young girl, police announced on Monday.

    Authorities were alerted by parents in the district of Petralona who had reported sexual assaults targeting underage girls.

    The suspect was stalking girls aged 8-14, picking his targets on their way to their homes from school. He followed them in their apartment buildings and posing as an undercover police officer he led them to a remote place in the building where they were sexually assaulted.

    A police investigation showed that in the past five years he had molested 21 young girls in different districts in Athens.

    In the decade between 1995 and 2005, he was arrested two times and was convicted and sentenced for sexual assaults targeting girls under the age of 12.

    [25] Court sentences three women over Skouries gold mine

    Three women accused of multiple misdemeanours including obstructing work on May 12 at the site of Hellas Gold in northern Greece, at the Skouries area of the Halkidiki peninsula, were pronounced guilty on Monday.

    The women - aged 25, 39 and 40 - were part of a group of locals that have been protesting the operation of the gold mine. Other charges included resistance, insults, recurring bodily harm and attempt to free a prisoner, per case.

    The 25- and 40-year-old women were sentenced to seven months each, while the third woman was sentenced to six months and ten days. The sentences carry a three-year probation period, and the court recognised as extenuating circumstance their lack of a criminal record.

    Residents of their towns had gathered outside the courts in Polygyros of Halkidiki to express support.

    On the same day, the Polygyros investigating magistrate was hearing testimony from two residents of Halkidiki who are charged with the arson assault carried out at the mine's worksite in February, while a third got a postponement for Thursday to testify. There are another 18 waiting to testify on similar charges. Two of the 20 are still in custody.

    [26] Cave diver found dead

    A 25-year-old cave diver was found dead by rescuers on Monday in the underwater Pigi Sintzi Cave in the region of Kandila, in the prefecture of Arcadia, in Peloponnese, southern Greece.

    On Sunday, he and other three cave divers went exploring the cave, one of the 30 deepest and most dangerous in the world, at a depth of 153 meters under the surface of the earth. After covering a distance of 400 meters, the victim was unable to continue for unknown reasons. The members of the exploration team failed to bring him to the surface and notified the authorities after exiting the cave.

    The Pigi Sintzi Cave is located in central Peloponnese at an altitude of 650 meters and has been explored at a depth of 153 meters making it the deepest known underwater natural cavity in Greece.

    Weather forecast

    [27] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 10C and 29C. Cloudy in Athens with southerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures between 15C and 29C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 12C and 28C.

    [28] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    DIMOKRATIA: Tax statements.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Pension at the age of 55 for 1 million insured.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New slap to social security funds.

    ELLADA AVRIO: Prime Minister Antonis Samaras 'no' to PASOK leader

    Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis

    ESTIA: Tax statements a labyrinth

    ETHNOS: Austerity frightened and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble.

    IMERISSIA: New banking landscape- Everything changes in the next 15 days.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Privatisations week for marinas and airports.

    TA NEA: Lay offs by...telecontrol.

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