|Sunday, 18 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-05-31
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 31 May 2013 Issue No: 4373
 President Papoulias visits Cosco premises, calls collaboration 'an example of success'The example of China-based Cosco's operation in Greece is a good example of a successful invest-ment collaboration, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said during a visit to the company's Piraeus Container Terminal (SEP) premises on Thursday.
Papoulias was accompanied to the main port by Shipping and the Aegean Minister Costis Moussouroulis, and was met by SEP deputy director Angelos Karakostas, managing director Captain Fu Cheng Qiu and Chinese Ambassador to Greece Du Qiwen.
"Your visit to Cosco will give a very important mes-sage to many businesses abroad to come to Greece,
and this is a message we shall convey to the Chinese government," the ambassador said, while Captain Fu Cheng Qiu expressed his appreciation of the visit and added that collaborations not based on trust and honesty do not succeed.
Papoulias was given a tour of the container premises, especially the five new Super-Post Panamax, the largest modern container cranes, recently installed at the port of Piraeus; the works at terminal III, which is expected to be fully operational by July 1 and providing hundreds of jobs at the port, as Karakostas said; and SEP's control room.
"I see all of you are young here," Papoulias told the control room staff, adding that "when conditions are right, employees can be more productive."
In statements following the tour, the president said that the nearly 1,000 employees at the SEP "have good working conditions and are satisfied with their jobs, creating an example of investment collaboration that is very useful to Greeks and investors who want to come to the country, especially Chinese tourists coming to Greece by the thousands."
Moussouroulis said that with its investment in the new cranes, Cosco "verified the strategic position the port of Piraeus holds in the global sea transport system."
 PM calls on young people to stand by citizens in needPrime Minister Antonis Samaras on Thursday afternoon called on young people to stand by citizens in need, characterising the current period as a time of offering. Samaras was addressing an event of the New Democracy party-affiliated youth group ONNED on the occasion of the group's new president Takis Ioannidis assuming his duties.
The event was attended by almost all former ONNED presidents, as well as ministers, MPs and a large number of people. The premier stressed in his address that "we live in a day of vindication, as we see a river of hope in a conflicting environment." He called on young people to hold the flag and the country up high, stressing that young people were the priority for all of the government's work.
Ioannidis said ONNED must become a radical and fighting organisation, stressing that the youth's congress must be focus on principles and positions. He called on Samaras to continue his fight for change and reform, pointing out that young people will always be at the prime minister's side.
 ND has taken strong stance against neo-Nazis, PM says in response to poet's concernsDeputies of New Democracy, the main party of the ruling coalition, on Thursday tabled a proposal that will improve and update the existing anti-racism laws with a condemnation of neo-Nazism, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a letter to poet Nanos Valaoritis on the same day.
The poet had addressed a personal appeal to the premier the day before expressing his concern over increasing racist and xenophobic violence and the rise of extreme-right party Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi), and calling on the government to do something about it.
"ND and I personally have gave castigated the presence and stance of Golden Dawn publicly throughout the pre-election campaign period of 2012 - in May and June - in the most unequivocal way, and as nobody else has done," Samaras said in his reply, advising that the political world and people should unite against neo-Nazis rather than "let the threat of neo-Nazis divide us."
Greece is the only country in Europe that has to deal with massive illegal immigration, and that has laid the ground for the appearance of neo-Nazis, "an issue that must be dealt with by speaking about it openly instead of villifying those who dare mention it publicly," added the premier.
 ND calls on coalition partners to support its anti-racism add-on proposal in ParliamentMain party New Democracy responded to criticism by its junior coalition partners PASOK and Democratic Left (DIM.AR) over the anti-racism draft law by calling on them to support its tabled addition to the existing laws as a proposal that "unites democratic society and does not contain constitutional problems".
ND tabled the addition in Parliament on Thursday, the same day its partners tabled the original draft, which a government review committee had judged "unconstitutional" and ND had called unnecessary, as the present laws were termed "adequate".
"Dealing with neo-Nazis requires a sense of responsibility and decisiveness, not party games to impress," ND said, calling the extent of the controversy surrounding the issue "wrong".
"It is a mistake to belittle what exists, as Greece has been a pioneer among many countries in terms of anti-racism legislation," ND noted. "It is a greater mistake to divide the Greek people instead of legislating in a unified way against neo-Nazis. It is obvious that the proposals tabled divide even those who supported them. The greatest mistake is isolating neo-Nazis, giving them further pretexts," it concluded.
 'Holocaust and genocide denial' part of new ND proposal on anti-racismThe main New Democracy party's addition to existing anti-racism laws, although four articles long, introduces sentences for genocide and Holocaust denial, the Internet use for racist or hate-inciting dissemination and high fines for crimes.
Tabled in Parliament Thursday, the proposal "makes the existing 1979 law and the Criminal Code provisions stricter" in order to "unify democratic society, instead of dividing it," ND said in a statement giving details.
The first two articles extend the 1979 law, which is currently in effect.
Article 1 calls for jail sentences of 3 months to 3 years and fine of 5,000 euros minimum to 20,000 maximum for "anyone inciting or causing violence and hate against others based on race, skin colour, religon, genetic origin and their national or ethnic origins." It also includes racism or hate propaganda disseminated through the Internet.
The amending second article introduces the same fines as those above for anyone "approving or belittling the seriousness of Nazi crimes, the Jewish Holocaust, and other genocides recognised by the Greek Parliament and Greek or international courts by irreversible decision." This includes the Armenian and Pontic genocides recognised by Greek Parliament. It introduces fines ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 euros, and disqualifies legal entities - political parties included - from any state funding if their legal representatives have been irreversibly sentenced for violation of denial or belittling of the above events.
The state, legal entities of public law state entities - such as the Greek Orthodox Church - and international organisations of public law are exempted from this, according to Article 3.
The fourth article upgrades the seriousness of racism, which is currently considered "aggravating circumstance" to the crime being tried. The proposal obliges the court to examine whether the act was specifically motivated by hatred based on race, colour, religion, genealogical origin, national or ethnic origin of the victim, which would be a crime in itself.
The new proposal does not refer to "hate due to different sexual orientation", which is still considered an "aggravating circumstance".
 ND should support anti-racism bill, PASOK spokespersonIt is hoped that New Democracy will understand its mistake and support the anti-racism bill tabled in Parliament, PASOK spokesperson Fofi Gennimata said on Thursday.
PASOK and Democratic Left (DIM.AR), the ruling coalition's junior partners, went ahead Thursday with the tabling of a bill the government had seen as unnecessary, as the existing legal framework had been termed by it as "adequate".
"Let us hope that ND has begun to understand - following the reaction - that it is a great and institutional mistake not to promote the anti-racism bill," Gennimata said.
"We hope it understands soon that in facing neo-Nazism and xenophobia, additions are not enough," she said, referring to the main party's tabling of additions to the current law on Thursday.
 SYRIZA blasts government on anti-racism draft bill; KKE's stanceThe draft bill on anti-racism which the government tabled in parliament on Thursday has drawn criticism by the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) accusing the government of "communication distraction of an amateur nature."
The main opposition party stressed in a statement that the government was "incapable of explaining - even to its minor coalition partners of PASOK and DIMAR -why it recently withdrew the draft bill only to include in it the agenda and positions of the extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party, and thus exposing the country internationally."
As far as the PASOK and DIMAR parties are concerned, SYRIZA charges them of "being hostage of the memorandum," and this reveals they are do not intend to doubt the coalition government's cohesion, in this way acknowledging their own "strategic impasse".
On its part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in a statement, issued also on Thursday, the stance of the other political parties "on the so-called anti-racism bill only serves petty partisan and electoral interests, not the real need to deal with racism and the organised expression of such ideologies, mainly done in Greece by the Golden Dawn."
 PASOK, DIM.AR anti-racism draft bill tabled in parliamentPASOK and the Democratic Left (DIM.AR), the two junior partners in the coalition government, on Thursday tabled in Parliament an anti-racism draft bill to be discussed in the plenary session.
The draft bill was signed by 27 PASOK MPs, with the exception of MP Ahmet Haciosman, and by 14 DIM.AR MPs.
It consists of nine articles and suggests the replacement of Law No 927/1979 with the introduction of an updated and improved legislation aspiring to handle more effectively serious instances of racist and xenophobic behaviours.
PASOK and DIM.AR decided to table the draft bill after a disagreement with coalition partner New Democracy (ND), the largest of the three parties in the coalition government, over the anti-racism bill that was sponsored by Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis.
 DIM.AR calls on main coalition party to vote for anti-racism billNew Democracy (ND), the main party of the ruling coalition, has moved from a "we do not need a new anti-racism law" stance to that of "additions", charged its coalition partner, Democratic Left (DIM.AR), on Thursday, after ND announced it had tabled in Parliament an addition to the existing anti-racism law instead of a bill a review committee had rejected.
The junior members of the ruling coalition, PASOK and DIM.AR, went ahead and tabled on Thursday the anti-racism law a government legal committee had termed unconstitutional. ND said its proposal, tabled the same day, would augment the existing legal framework against racism and xenophobia, as the existing legal framework was "adequate".
"The additions that ND tabled to 1979's law on racism violence verify that the draft law on 'fighting expressions of racism and xenophobia' were and continue to be necessary and imperative," DIM.AR said, calling on ND and all non-extreme parties in Parliament to vote for the bill it had tabled jointly with PASOK.
Separate anti-racism bills introduced by coalition government partners highlight impasses, SYRIZA-EKM says
A main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) statement on Thursday noted that the anti-racism bill tabled in parliament by PASOK and DIM.AR, the two junior partners in the coalition government, and the provisions drafted by New Democracy (ND), the largest of the three parties in the coalition government, to be introduced separately and annexed to existing legislation "do not hide the contradictions and the government impasses but, on the contrary, they bring them to the forefront".
According to SYRIZA-EKM, ND is engaging in "amateurish publicity stunts", noting that "the adoption by ND of the ultra-right Chryssi Avgi agenda and positions, that expose the country internationally, cannot be hidden behind additions to the existing legal framework, which ND was forced to make and are inadequate to stop the increase in racist violence".
"PASOK and DIM.AR are memorandum hostages and declare to every direction that they do not intend to question the government cohesion admitting, this way, that they are in strategic dead end," the SYRIZA-EKM statement underlined.
 Anti-racism law 'an important step but up to the state', commissioner spokespersonEuropean Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom believes the adoption by Greece of a law fighting racism and xenophobia would be "an important step" towards applying a related European framework decision, according to the commissioner's spokesperson Michele Cercone.
The spokesperson clarified that the commissioner never intervened in the substance or the processes Greece will follow and has asserted that it is up to the Greek authorities to take a stance on the issue.
 Jewish organization calls for anti-racism legislationThe Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) on Thursday called on "all democratic forces in the country to overcome their differences and pass legislation that will display zero tolerance to racist violence, xenophobia, antisemitism and Holocaust denial".
A KIS statement underlined that "now, more than ever before in our country's post-war history, it is imperative to combat extreme practices and ideologies".
Proper education is necessary to prevent the society of the future from adopting ideologies that wrote the darkest and most horrible pages in the European history when innocent people, among them 6 million Jews, perished, according to the KIS statement.
 FM Avramopoulos holds meeting with Palestinian counterpartForeign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos reiterated Israel's right for security and the Palestinians' right to establish a state, following his meeting with Riyad al-Maliki, Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, in Ramallah on Thursday.
Avramopoulos reminded of the strong ties of friendship and solidarity between the two peoples which, as he said, remain steadfast, adding that Greece was a reliable friend of the Pallestinian people in words and deeds.
The Greek minister said that "the fulfillment of the fair and legitimate pursuit of the Palestinian people to create a country continues to constitute an imperative need and a moral obligation of the international community which must promote the peace process".
Referring to Greece's stance, Avramopoulos said that Greece appreciates in particular the initiative of the US Secretary of State John Kerry on the building of trust and providing a new impetus to the peace process and it is self-evident, as he said, that Greece is prepared to provide its services and facilitate the peace process in whatever way.
"We must do everything possible for the solution of the two countries to become feasible. It is the only solution that corresponds to the fair demands of both peoples: Israel's right for security and the Palestinians' right to establish a state," he said.
On his part, al-Maliki welcomed the Greek minister and referred to the historically friendly relations between the two peoples and reiterated his thanks to Greece for its decision to vote in favour of the upgrading of the Palestinian Authority to a member-state of the UN on November 29, 2012.
Referring to his meeting with Avramopoulos, the Palestinian Foreign minister spoke of a sincere and friendly discussion during which they stressed the mutual desire to further strengthen bilateral relations, as well as the steps that must be followed in the future.
After his meeting with al-Maliki, Avramopoulos was received by President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.
 PM to meet Eurogroup president at noon on FridayPrime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet Eurogroup President and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem at the Maximos Mansion at 13:00 on Friday.
Developments in the European Union and the course of the Greek economy will be discussed during the meeting.
A luncheon will follow the meeting, to which PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party leader Fotis Kouvelis have been invited, although it was doubtful whether the latter will be participating due to a personal engagement.
 Golden Dawn MP's gun goes off, reportedly; DIM.AR respondsA gun carried by Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) deputy Antonis Gregos went off during check-in at the airport, according to preliminary reports Thursday.
Gregos was about to board the airplane for the northern city of Thessaloniki, his constituency, when the gun went off. He was requested to hand it over and remove the ammunition, per flight regulations.
No injuries were reported.
Responding to the reports, Democratic Left (DIM.AR) junior coalition member said, "No day goes by that Golden Dawn deputies do not provoke with their extremist behaviour and their overall stance," and called on the state to check the gun licences of deputies, "as many of them are involved in legal cases".
 Licenses for deputies' weapons to be re-examinedBy order of Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias to the Greek Police Headquarters, licences for weapons provided for deputies will be re-examined on a zero basis, it was announced on Thursday.
 Tsipras in Spain on ThursdayMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras was due to depart for Spain on Thursday 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 party leaders, with the president of the Spanish parliament and with former president of the European parliament Josep Borrell Fontelles
He will also hold talks with social movements and he will speak at the meeting of left economists entitled "Which is the Europe we want".
On Saturday, Tsipras will participate in a demonstration in Madrid under the slogan "United against the troika".
 Independent Greeks party leader meets Greek Defence Systems unionsIndependent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos met on Thursday with the unions of employees at the Greek Defence Systems.
"The games with national defence and the country's security are dangerous for the national independence and the territorial integrity of our country," Kammenos said.
The employees briefed Kammenos "on the delay in overdue wages", as well as "for the delaying on the part of the Finance ministry to appoint a new administration at the company".
The Independent Greeks leader criticised the Finance ministry for not appointing a new administration at the comany which, as he said, if it is done will contribute to the factory's smooth operation and secure jobs.
 New structure of Armed Forces approvedThe Government Foreign Affairs and Defence Council (KYSEA) unanimously approved the Armed Forces' new structure, as well as a series of subprogrammes concerning spare parts and technical support for existing weapons systems during its two-hour session on Thursday chaired by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Speaking after the meeting, Defence Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos said the Armed Forces' restructuring is aimed at the Armed Forces becoming stronger, more flexible, with specific scale savings to increase their preventive capacity further and to respond immediately to the mission assigned to them by the Greek people.
He added that with the new forces structure, combat units are strengthened and the administration structures that do not serve operational needs are reduced. Military bureaucracy is reduced, he said.
According to assessments, the implementation of the new forces structure will be completed in two years, following a transitional stage lasting for a few months.
Panayiotopoulos thanked all who worked to complete this task. He also thanked the thousands of men and women of the Armed Forces who, despite the difficulties and cutbacks, remain faithful to their oath, reiterating that the Greek state being aware of their great contribution will give what is due as soon as the first signs of recovery appear.
Ther Armed Forces' military leadership participated in the meeting.
 Greek EU funds' absorption rate up to 56.7 pctGreece's EU funds' absorption rate rose to 56.7 pct in early April 2013, up from 49.2 pct of the community average, according to figures released by the European Commission, ranking the country eighth among the EU-27 despite the fact that Greece was experiencing financing problems, a Development ministry statement said on Thursday.
The statement noted that the ministry took a series of measures aimed at simplifying procedures and accelerating absorption rate of EU funds in the period October 2012-May 2013. These measures focused on an automatic annulment of credits for project failing to move forward and a re-distribution of funds to other more active projects, offering advance payments to construction groups and simplifying procedures for absorbing community funds.
More analytically, the ministry abolished a 60 pct requirement of necessary signatures for the management of credits in a Public Investment Programe, promoting co-funding of projects by municipal water and sewerage enterprises, introducing a central control of all financial support offered to enterprises, abolishing unnecessary red tape, putting regional authorities as sole responsible for the spending of a Public Investment Programe in their regions and a redistribution of credits through more easier procedures.
Co-funded projects worth more than 15 million euros will be included in a fast-track process.
 Greek economic sentiment index rises to five-year high, Commission reportGreece's economic sentiment index rose to its highest level in the last five years in May, the European Commission said on Thursday.
The EU's executive arm said in a report said that the economic sentiment index also grew also in Spain and Portugal in May.
In the eurozone, the economic sentiment index rose 0.8 points to 89.4 points, exceeding market forecasts and allowing a small hope for an economic recovery later this year.
The index rose in the five largest economies in the eurozone - Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Holland - with all sectors recording improvements except for the construction sector.
 Greece climbs in IMD world competitiveness rankings reportGreece climbed four positions to the 54th place in the World Competitiveness Rankings report, compiled by IMD among 60 countries, reflecting the implementation of an economic reform programe, focusing on privatizations, reducing the public sector and improving the country's image abroad.
The IMD, in a report released by the Federation of Northern Greece Industries (SBBE) on Thursday, said that Greece recorded significant improvement in business efficiency (up nine places to 47th), although the country fell to the 59th place, from 58th last year, the worst ranking since 1999.
The rankings are based on a synthesis of a country's performance in four main categories: economic performance, government efficiency (56th from 58th in 2012), business efficiency and infrastructure (35th in 2013 from 34th in 2012).
Greece ranks sixth among the 60 countries included in the survey based on the skills of its workforce and 10th on tourism revenues, while the country ranked 19th on exports and fifth measured on the skills and efficiency of its engineers. On the other hand, Greece ranked at the bottom in GDP per capita growth, 59th in attracting foreign direct investments and general government debt. It was 58th in youth unemployment.
IMD said the Greek economy faced five main challenges to improving its competitiveness this year: rapid implementation of structural reforms to cut public sector spending, boosting liquidity/competitiveness of enterprises, restructuring a tax system, reducing bureaucracy and combating corruption in the public sector.
IMD said the US, Switzerland and Hong Kong were the most competitive countries in the world this year.
 Stournaras - Dijsselbloem to meet FridayFinance Minister Yannis Stournaras is scheduled to meet with Eurogroup president and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, it was announced by the ministry of finance on Thursday.
 PASOK leader says SME's 'backbone' of economyPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos met on Thursday with the presidium of the General Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants of Greece (GSEBEE), terming small and medium-sized enterprises "the backbone" of the Greek economy.
According to a PASOK press release, the meeting focused on "all problems faced by small and medium-sized enterprises and which constitute the daily agony of the Greek market regarding the resistance of small enterprise [to the crisis] and the safeguarding of existing jobs."
"Small enterprises were and will be, in the new growth model as well, the backbone of the Greek economy, the sector where entrepreneurship, innovation and cooperation can really flourish, safeguarding existing jobs and creating new ones," Venizelos said after the meeting, adding that the state's obligation was to eliminate all bureaucratic obstacles and establish suitable and far-sighted taxation and social security systems.
 National Defence minister meets with union reps at shipyardsNational Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos held a working meeting with the employees union at the privately owned Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas on Thursday by to discuss the contracts for Navy submarines and employment issues.
Two deputies of main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), the Defence Ministry's special secretary and the head of the Greek state's negotiation team.
 German Deputy Labour Minister Fuchtel heads business mission to the island of ThassosGermany's special envoy for Greece, Deputy Labour Minister Hans Joachim Fuchtel will arrive on the north Aegean island of Thassos on Thursday evening heading a 24-member business mission, accompanied by the ministry director and the mayor of the city of Reutlingen.
The German delegation will have a working meeting with the mayor of Thassos and on Friday it will depart for Thessaloniki.
The meeting will focus on issues concerning the sectors of tourism, renewable energy sources, waste management, the excellent quality locally produced olive oil and the local olive variety.
The local business community will be represented in the meeting by the president of the Chamber of Kavala.
Thassos Mayor Costas Hatziemmanuil told ANA-MPA that the visit is made at the initiative of the German deputy labour minister and noted that it could open new business horizons for the region.
 German interest in Amyntaio mineral water, winesThe natural mineral water "Xino Nero" and the locally produced world-famous wines, specifically the EAS Amyntaion sparkling wine, in the region of Amynteo, in Florina prefecture, northwest Greece, have attracted the interest of German businessmen who wish to import them to Germany.
The issue was discussed in the contacts Germany's special envoy for Greece, Deputy Labour Minister Hans Joachim Fuchtel had in the town of Amynteo, accompanied by a large business delegation that visited the "Xino Nero" mineral water bottling facilities and the local wineries, including EAS Amyntaion.
Alternative tourism issues were also discussed considering that local wineries can exchange know-how with wineries in the region of the German town of Zeitz. Winery facilities in both regions are open to visitors.
The likelihood of the twinning of the two regions was also discussed, as in addition to the wineries they have open-pit lignite mines in common.
 Fisheries areas in Evia and Chios receive EU sustainable dev't fundingOver 9 million euros will be allocated to fund alternative tourism initiatives and enterprises active in the sectors of tourism, fisheries and marine environment in the regions of Evia and Chios, through the EU's Local Programmes of Sustainable Development for Fisheries Areas (LEADER).
Evia and Chios will be funded with 4,690,000 euros and 4,600,000 euros respectively, following the signing on Thursday of the relevant programmes by Agriculture and Foods Minister Athanassios Tsaftaris, who announced that similar programmes will be approved soon for the island of Samos.
Tsaftaris underlined that a number of actions will be implemented to boost the fisheries sector and its already great contribution to the Greek economy.
Referring to aquaculture, he said that special zones will be defined first in the region of Pieria in the north, followed by Aetoloakarnania and Evia in central Greece. He announced that a modern legal framework for the sector is in the works by the ministry of agriculture.
 Eurobank Properties says profits stable in Q1Eurobank Properties on Thursdsay said its net profits totaled 9.21 million euros in the first quarter of 2013, down from 9.98 million euros in the same period last year.
Leasing revenue fell 11 pct to 9.52 million euros, while interest revenue dropped 15 pct to 2.06 million euros and financial expenses fell by 41 pct to 600,000 euros.
The company said its cash reserves totaled 160 million euros at the end of March, while its loan debt fell to 73 million euros. Eurobank Properties said its internal value grew to 638 million euros, while its shares are trading in the Athens Stock Exchange at a discount of around 38 pct.
 Russian investors increasingly interested in Greek house marketRussian investors showed significant and increasing interest for the Greek house market during a series of meeting between Greek real estate developers and Russian large real estate companies in Moscow in the framework of a Go International business delegation organized by Eurobank in cooperation with Greek export agencies and the Greek Foreign Affairs ministry.
Dimitris Andritsos, Eurobank Property Services chief executive, said that a decision by the Greek government to offer residence permit to foreign investors -and their family members- who invest more than 250,000 in Greek real estate property, combined with a gradual change of the country's impage in international markets and an increasing trend of Russian tourists to Greece -expected to reach one million this year- are offering a unique opportunity to attract Russian investments in the Greek real estate market.
Andritsos said that conditions were ripe for Russian investors' interest in the Greek market to become a reality. Until now, Russian investors are investing in the house markets in regions such as Chalkidiki, Rhodes, Corfu and Crete buying property worth between 150-250,000 euros. He noted that Russian investors' interest was expanding to other regions of the country, with upgraded tourist infrastrucuture.
 Hellenic Petroleum reports negative results in Q1Hellenic Petroleum on Thursday reported losses in the first quarter of 2013 and attributed this negative results to adverse refinery conditions in the Mediterranean and to "the worst heating oil period in the last few years in Greece".
The group said losses totaled 78 million euros in the January-March period, after earnings of 71 million euros in 2012, which comparable results showed a loss of 21 million euros after earnings of 45 million. Comparable EBITDA was 38 million euros, down 49 pct from the same period last year.
Hellenic Petroleum said that according to preliminary figures, domestic consumption of heating oil fell by 37 pct, while diesel oil consumption fell by around 6.5 pct in the first quarter of 2013.
Yiannis Costopoulos, the group's chief executive, commenting on the results said that a collapse of the domestic market puts further pressure in the retail sector of the oil business, confirming the need for drastic changes in the model of operations, emphasizing on reducing operating costs.
 Olympic Brewery says sales up 80 pct in 2012Olympic Brewery on Thursday said its sales jumped 80 pct in 2012 totaling 45.02 million euros from 25.01 million euros in 2011 and 11.60 million euros in 2010. The company, known for its Fix beer brand name, said its gross profit margin was 44.1 pct in 2012 from 43.4 pct in 2011, with gross earnings rising 83 pct to 19.86 million euros.
EBITDA jumped 68.1 pct to 5.58 million euros, while pre-tax profits totaled 165,000 euros in 2012, from a pre-tax loss of 3.99 million euros in 2011. Olympic Brewery said its debt fell by 18.6 pct, while its fixed assets totaled 24 million euros.
 Delta Air Lines relaunches Athens-NYC flights for the summerDelta Air Lines will reintroduce daily direct flights between Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport and New York's JFK International Airport beginning on Sunday, June 2.
The daily direct flights, with a 298-seat Airbus A330-300 passenger plane, will continue for the duration of the summer season and will be conducted in collaboration with Delta partnersAir France-KLM.
Delta senior vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Perry Cantarutti said that the specific route is very popular among tourists and business people and said that bookings were very encouraging.
In 2012, Delta carried more than 125,000 passengers travelling between Greece and the United States, with 85 pct capacity on the average.
 Folli Follie says profits up 7.4 pct in Q1Folli Follie on Thursday reported a 37.2 pct increase in its net profits and a 7.4 pct rise in sales in the first quarter of 2013. Net profits totaled 30.3 million euros in the January-March period, up 37.2 pct compared with the same period in 2012, while sales totaled 246.3 million euros, up 7.4 pct over the same period.
EBITDA totaled 53.2 million euros up 8.4 pct, gross earnings rose 2.6 pct to 124.1 million euros and gross profit margin rose to 50.38 pct. Operating earnings rose 10 pct to 47 million euros and net profits jumped 37.2 pct to 30.3 million euros.
Sales by its jewelry-watch-accessories department rose 14.8 pct to 146.7 million euros, sales by its Travel Retail sector rose 2.1 pct to 40.9 million, euros, sales in department stores rose 3.0 pct to 30.7 million euros and sales by its wholesale/retail of clothing/footwear fell 4.9 pct to 27.2 million euros.
 Greek stocks remain under pressureGreek stocks continued moving lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with the composite index of the market suffering significant losses to end below the 1,000 level after 16 sessions. The index fell 1.37 pct to end at 994.87 points, off the day's lows of 983.03 points. Turnover rose to 96.38 million euros. The Big Cap index fell 1.48 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 3.33 pct lower. National Bank's shares rose 0.88 pct to 4.57 euros after resuming trading in the market, while its rights were trading at 1.60 euros, down 64.04 pct.
Frigoglass (2.94 pct), Alpha Bank (2.88 pct) and Intralot (2.42 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus Bank (27.45 pct), Eurobank (25.12 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (7.06 pct) and MIG (5.82 pct) suffered heavy losses.
The Food sector was the only one to move higher (1.71 pct), while Health (5.61 pct), Technology (5.48 pct) and Oil (5.43 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 106 to 50 with another 17 issues unchanged. Pairis (29.93 pct), Kanakis (16 pct) and Kordellos Bros (11.63 pct) were top gainers, while Piraeus Bank (27.45 pct), Attica Bank (25.77 pct) and Eurobank (25.12 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -5.43%
Personal & Household: -0.09%
Raw Materials: -3.28%
Travel & Leisure: -3.09%
Food & Beverages: +1.71%
Financial Services: -4.21%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Bank of Piraeus, National Bank (right) and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.61
Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.79
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.90
National Bank: 4.57
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.30
Bank of Piraeus: 0.19
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 7.46 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 7.14 pct on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 8.96 pct and the German Bund 1.50 pct. Turnover was a strong 27 million euros, of which 20 million were sell orders and the 7.0 million euros were buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month rate rose to 0.48 pct, the nine-month rate rose to 0.39 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 discount of 2.32 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover easing to 16.587 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,407 contracts worth 12.283 million euros, with 36,329 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 10,745 contracts worth 4.304 million euros, with investment interest focusing on OTE's contracts (2,180), followed by Eurobank (1,432), MIG (1,509), PPC (1,486), OPAP (561), Hellenic Exchanges (308), Mytilineos (822), Sidenor (133), GEK (1,085), Ellaktor (208), Intralot (394) and Terna Energy (251).
 Foreign Exchange rates - FridayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.313
Pound sterling 0.868
Danish kroner 7.566
Swedish kroner 8.700
Japanese yen 133.68
Swiss franc 1.267
Norwegian kroner 7.733
Canadian dollar 1.363
Australian dollar 1.369
 Mikis Theodorakis pronounced honorary member of the Academy of AthensWorld-renowned music composer Mikis Theodorakis was elected honorary member of the Academy of Athens in its May 30th plenary session.
A distinguished personality of modern Greece, Theodorakis, originally from Crete, was born on the east Aegean island of Chios in 1925 and studied music at the Athens Conservatory under Filoktitis Economidis. He was awarded a Paris Conservatoire scholarship where he studied under Olivier Messiaen and Eugene Bizot.
He is regarded as Greece's best-known living composer. He wrote and composed numerous works including the music for the films "Zorba the Greek" (1964), "Z" (1969), and "Serpico" (1973).
 Human trafficker arrestedA 54 year-old man was arrested on Thursday on Egnatia road, northern Greece, charged with human smuggling. Police found hidden in the suspect's car 5 Iraqi nationals lacking legal documents.
Police confiscated the suspect's car and three mobile phones.
The suspect will be sent before Alexandroupolis prosecutor.
 Large quantity of contraband cigarettes seizedDrugs Squad in cooperation with Piraeus Customs confiscated a large quantity of contraband cigarettes.
According to an announcement on Thursday, a search in a container from China revealed 426,000 packets of contraband cigarettes of KARELIA & EMBASSY brands.
The loss of taxes to the state is estimated at 1,427,000 euros.
 Cloudy on FridayCloudy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 10C and 29C. Fair in Athens with westerly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 18C and 28C. Possible local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 16C and 27C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: OECD deletes the 'success story'.
DIMOKRATIA: Jobs for 2,200 university degree holders for 27 months.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Free fall.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Hard landing.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Lay-offs in social security funds and municipal services.
ELLADA AVRIO: 9 of 10 enterprises on the brink of bankruptcy.
ESTIA: Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in "children's' surveillant" role.
ETHNOS: Europe wakes up from the lethargy.
IMERISSIA: Asymmetric threat.
KATHIMERINI: Bank of Greece's report warns for under the limit poverty pensions.
LOGOS: OECD sinks the country- Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras disagrees with predictions.
NAFTEMPORIKI: OECD and Bank of Greece 'see' deeper recession.
RIZOSPASTIS: "They (government) form pensions of poverty.
TA NEA: SOS over NSRF funds.
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