|Saturday, 17 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-06-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 4 June 2013 Issue No: 4376
 President Papoulias receives visiting Russian Patriarch KirillPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received visiting Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at the Presidential Mansion in Athens on Monday and conferred upon him the Grand Cross of the Order of Honour.
Kirill expressed appreciation for the welcome he received in Greece and said that "Greeks and Russians are brother peoples with the Christian Orthodox faith as a common element and foundation between them, a foundation that is unshakeable and allows us to handle problems together".
President Papoulias spoke about the parallel lives of the two peoples and referred to the help offered by Russia in the liberation struggles fought by Greece, noting that bilateral relations between the two are strong at all levels. He also underlined that it is important for the two Churches to join forces to handle common problems.
Papoulias also referred to the rise of religious tourism, noting that this summer Greece expects large numbers of tourists, while Patriarch Kirill in comments after his decoration underlined the old spiritual and religious ties linking the peoples of Greece and Russia.
Later the patriarch met briefly with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras before attending a formal luncheon given in his honour by the Foreign Ministry. He will be departing for Thessaloniki and the Mt. Athos monastic community in northern Greece later in the afternoon.
 Visiting Moscow patriarch and Athens archbishop meet at Petraki MonasteryPatriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece discussed the collaboration of the two churches, especially on religious tourism and the exchange of holy relics, at their meeting at the Holy Synod's hall at the Petraki Monastery in Athens on Monday.
Archbishop Ieronymos presented the visiting prelate with the medal of the Apostle Paul, the highest decoration of the Greek Orthodox Church.
"Our responsibility is great under these circumstances, during which financial difficulty tries human relations and sharpens modern lack of communication," Ieronymos said, and paid tribute to the role of the Russian Orthodox Church throughout history, by educating, edifying and spreading a message of hope and love to the world.
Kirill thanked the archbishop for the medal, which "serves as proof of our close and friendly relations between our Churches", and expressed appreciation for being in the land where Apostle Paul made his landmark speech and from where church leaders and apostles began their apostolic work. "This is where the sacred relics of our compatriot the Venerable Ioannis the Russian are treasured," he added.
"Our Churches always experienced the needs of our people, formulating the identity, culture and traditions of our people and relying on these foundations at times of difficult historical upheavals; this difficult era is not an exception," the patriarch said.
The patriarch is expected to meet separately with the president of the Republic and the prime minister before departing for Thessaloniki, on his way to the Mt. Athos monastic community in northern Greece.
 PM meets EU taxation commissionerPrime Minister Antonis Samaras held a meeting at the Maximos Mansion on Monday afternoon with EU Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud Commissioner Algirdas Semeta, in the presence of the government's economic staff.
According to Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, the Greek side raised during the meeting the issue of the decrease of VAT in food services. The Lithuanian commissioner reserved to reply.
The government is expected to raise the specific issue with the EC-ECB-IMF troika which is arriving in Athens on Tuesday. The Greek government intends to propose that the measure be validated, even in a pilot fashion, during the summer period as of July 1.
 Deputy FM holds meeting with EU's SemetaA meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas and visiting European Union Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud Commissioner Algirdas Semeta, was concluded in a positive climate on Monday evening.
Speaking to ANA-MPA immediately after the meeting, Semeta said he had a very good and useful discussion with Kourkoulas regarding the issues of his portfolio, such as taxation and the combatting of tax evasion, while stressing that their discussions focused on the priorities that the Greek presidency of the EU in the first half of 2014 will be having in these sectors, as well as cooperation on the preparation of the Greek presidency in these sectors.
Referring to the meeting's content, the deputy Foreign minister stressed that the very important issues pertaining to Semeta's jurisdiction were discussed, and which are expected to mature during the Greek presidency at the European Council in the first half of 2014.
 Tsipras presents 'dignified living map' at Drapetsona rallyMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, addressing an open rally in the Piraeus district of Drapetsona on Monday evening, outlined party's plan to handle poverty, that includes immediate actions, and that he named "dignified living map".
Tsipras focused his address on handling poverty in as much as "poverty is the greatest violence", while stressing that "we are determined to strike this violence, we are determined to save the people from unhappiness and hunger and we shall not consider any extortion in front of this target".
Referring to government policy and to the prime minister personally for his positions regarding the country's exit from the crisis, Tsipras said "I do not know whether the prime minister, from where he lives, has difficulty in observing the signs of desperation".
Tsipras presented statistics on poverty in Greece, which, as he said, are terrifying, since the country lost in three years almost a quarter of its GDP. "2.5 million people in Greece are living in poverty, 800,000 people belong to families in which no one works any more, one out of two young people is unemployed and nine out of 10 patients are unable to buy pharmaceuticals," he said.
Lastly, Tsipras assured that SYRIZA wants and can handle poverty and social ruin.
Commenting on the main opposition leader's statements, Government Spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said that Tsipras insisted on "the populist and disastrous policies of the slogan 'Money exists'."
"Fortunately enough the people have a memory and they can judge," he added.
 SYRIZA condemns the use of extreme force against demonstrators in TurkeyMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Monday condemned "the heavy-handed Turkish police tactics" and expressed support to demonstrators, announcing that it will participate in the solidarity rally scheduled for later in the day in Athens.
SYRIZA noted that the Turkish economic model, "dubbed an 'economic miracle', has shown its real face."
"The rights of women, workers, the youth, the Kurds, are being violated on a daily basis," it said, "in combination with an economic model, according to which economic growth is dictated by strong economic interests, destroys the environment and tears down social cohesion, and when it is challenged shows its authoritarian face," its statement said.
 KKE holds march in support of protests in TurkeyThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and its affiliated youth group KNE held a protest march in central Athens on Monday evening in support and solidarity to the Turkish people and the Communist party of Turkey.
A request by a delegation to express to the Turkish Embassy its protest over the repression of massive demonstrations in Turkey against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was rejected by the embassy.
 Solidarity rally for Turkish peopleA solidarity rally for the Turkish protesters was held in central Athens' Vas. Sohias Ave. on Monday afternoon.
Protesters attempted to head for the Turkish embassy, located at the intersection of Vassileos Georgiou B' and Rigillis streets, but were stopped by police.
They held banners with slogans in Greek such as "Solidarity to the people of Turkey", "Greeks and Turks, workers united" and shouted slogans in the Turkish language, calling on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to resign. They also requested to post a resolution, but police did not allow them.
 FM to address American Jewish Committee's annual meeting in WashingtonNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Visiting Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos was expected to address the American Jewish Committee's annual meeting on Monday evening, in Washington. He was due to refer to efforts to strengthen Greece-Israel strategic cooperation.
During his brief stay in Washington, Avramopoulos has had the opportunity to meet with the director of the city's National Gallery.
He is also scheduled to meet with members of the International Coordinating Committee "Justice for Cyprus" (PSEKA), as wel as with the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH).
The two bodies will hold their 29th annual conference in Washington, from Tuesday to Thursday, during which more than a hundred participants, representatives of Diaspora organizations will have meetings with officials of the State Department and the White House as well as several MPs and Senators aimed at promoting national affairs of Hellenism.
Avramopoulos after the event will depart for London, where he will pay a working visit (June 4-5), invited by his British counterpart William Hague for talks on bilateral, European and international affairs.
 PASOK party leader addresses ISTAME eventPASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos addressed an event organised by ISTAME (Andreas Papandreou Institute for Strategic and Development Studies) on Monday evening on the theme "Technological Lyceum, labour market and new growth model" at the "Yiannis Kranidiotis" amphitheatre at the Foreign ministry.
"Yes, we are exiting from the crisis, there is a prospect, things are not easy, but they shall be better, safer," he said.
Venizelos underlined Greece's "double target of obtaining its institutional equality in Europe and becoming safe both in monetary and growth matters and at the same time it must be protected from the vibrations of the European and international crisis that has not ended."
 KKE issues call for action to 'say no to capitalist recovery'The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) is calling on the general population to share experiences and opinions to help reconstruct the popular movement in Greece, party secretary general Dimitris Koutsoubas said on Monday.
At a press conference, Koutsoubas said that everyone who recognises the necessity of breaking away from the European Union could join the common action, as it was necessary to break with monopolies and end their rule.
Criticising the government's privatisation programme, he said "these declared investments will not really solve the problem of unemployment, even if they create some jobs, a drop in the ocean," and gave as example the Greek textile industry whose production had moved to Bulgaria, resulting in 25 pct of Greek clothes being manufactured there, and Cosco container terminal owner at Piraeus that "created 1,500 jobs but at the same time was responsible for the loss of 30,000 jobs."
Koutsoubas criticised main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) for promoting recovery, "but what it calls recovery is capitalist recovery" and said that "that kind of recovery...if we stay in the eurozone will be anti-popular."
Asked what a popular rule could be based on, the KKE leader said that "Greece has massive and rich-producing resources, a production base and mostly great human resources material with scientific knowledge that could move the country ahead."
Among other things, he said he was not against anti-racism legislation "where needed" and condemned the Turkish armed forces' attacks against the Communist Party of Turkey, expressing KKE's solidarity with it and with the people of Turkey. In terms of the uneasiness in the area and Turkey's plans, the KKE has proposed to the government that it shut down the Souda, Crete, base and bring back all Greek military personnel from Syria, Koutsoubas said.
 Two firebomb attacks in Athens; couple slightly injured; reactionsPolitical parties condemned the two Monday morning firebomb attacks that targeted the office of the justice ministry's general secretary for transparency, a state environmental agency and the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) in Athens.
Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) condemned the attacks and wished quick recovery to a woman doctor who sustained burn injuries.
PASOK, a junior partner in the coalition government, noted that "it is our duty to put an end to violence and terrorism," wishing "quick recovery to the injured doctor."
The attacks were condemned by the Democratic Left (DIM.AR), also a coalition government junior partner. A party delegation visited the injured doctor Eleni Plessa, who is a member of the party's health sector, and her husband, also a doctor. Both are being treated in Evangelismos Hospital for light injuries sustained after a gas canister bomb exploded at 8:05 a.m. outside the couple's apartment door on Michalakopoulou 27, in the Athens Hilton area. They were on the same floor that houses the offices of the Justice Ministry's Transparency and Human Rights Secretary General Georgios Sourlas. A fire caused was put out by the fire brigade and caused slight damages.
Opposition Independent Greeks (AN.EL) party also condemned the attacks.
The government, through spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, condemned both bombings at Michalakopoulou and those at the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry building and the IOBE building.
"A renewed attempt to introduce violence into public life will be condemned by everyone in the political world," Kedikoglou said.
 Justice minister condemns arson attacksJustice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis on Monday strongly condemned "the 'blind' arson attacks at the office of the Justice ministry's Transparency and Human Rights secretary general George Sourlas, as well as at the buildings of IOVE and ESPA."
The minister expressed his sympathy to the two injured citizens who sustained minor burns in one of the blasts and wished them a speedy recovery.
Roupakiotis stressed that "the obligation of the entire political world is to deal decisively with similar actions as they even put in danger the life of citizens and society's smooth functioning."
 KKE party condemns attacks with gas cannistersThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Monday, stressed that "the KKE condemns the attacks with gas cannisters at the office of Transparency sg George Sourlas and at the offices of IOVE and ESPA, that led to the wounding of two people. These actions objectively are utilised by those who are pursuing the tougher implementation of the 'law and order' doctrine and the suppression of the popular movement".
KKE added that "the government has an obligation to probe and reveal who are hiding behind such attacks, as well as of others in the past that remain unsolved".
 Tourism minister meets with Archbishop Demetrios of AmericaNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
"Greece has left the worst behind it, and even though it still has a long way to go, is always a welcoming place," visiting Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni told ANA-MPA, after a meeting she had on Monday with Archbishop Demetrios of America.
Her discussion with the Archbishop focused primarily on mobilising the Greek-American community to support Greek tourism.
Kefaloyianni stressed that Greece's efforts to enhance tourism would get a significant boost by the Greek Diaspora.
Archbishop Demetrios called on Greek-Americans to visit Greece and find ways to step on Greek soil. "Greece has the sea, sun, sky... it has the treasure of archaeological sites that do not exist elsewhere in such form and in such abundance".
 Mitarakis meets Romanian deputy FM CiampaDeputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis met on Monday with visiting Romanian Deputy Foreign Minister George Ciampa with talks focusing on future joint initiatives in the EU.
Issues regarding a further improvement of economic and trade relations between the two countries were also discussed.
 ND deputy refuses to comply to security measures in ParliamentMain coalition party New Democracy deputy Sophia Voultepsi became the first deputy to reportedly refuse to comply with the new stricter regulations of Parliament security when she refused to hand over her handbag for inspection on Monday.
Asked by the police guard to comply to the measures in effect, she responded, "They should stop being in effect."
Following newly issued instructions, the policeman will file a report to Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis.
The new regulations came after an incident involving the walkout of extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party last month and questions about whether deputies, all of whom have the right to carry arms, may bring the arms into Parliament with them. Meimarakis, who is currently on an official visit to Canada, had said all guns will have to be left at the entrance and pledged that he would personally intervene if a deputy refuses to comply.
 Antioch Patriarch appeals for release of abducted Metropolitans in SyriaISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)
New Antioch Patriarch Ioannis appealed from the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the international community for the release of two abducted Metropolitans in Syria.
"We call on all once again and the international community to act for their immediate release" and stressed the need "for the peaceful solving of the crisis in Syria, through dialogue," he said.
"Fanaticism has reached a point where Christian and moslem spiritual leaders are becoming targets of abduction and violence, like the case of the two Metropolitans from Aleppo, Pavlos and Ioannis," Patriarch Ioannis noted.
Patriarch Ioannis is on an official visit to the Phanar, the first following his election.
 Interior minister proposes creating 'mixed' universitiesNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)
Greece's Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, who is currently on a visit here, was the keynote speaker in Monday evening's event hosted by private University Frederick on "The role of universities and employment prospects in times of economic crisis."
The Greek minister referred extensively to the creation of what he called mixed university, an idea which he said "could transform Greece."
Stylianidis proposed the mixed university as a smart proposal to save time until certain Greek constitution articles on education be amended to permit operation of fully private universities in Greece.
The advantages of such mixed tertiary education institutions would be that some of the existing universities could be assessed and then have a stake of 49% sold to entrepreneurs or foundations wishing to invest and be involved in education.
This, Stylianidis said, would help attract investment funds into Greece, in turn helping to create new jobs and attract Greek and foreign academics and scientists from abroad.
While in Nicosia, Stylianidis was received by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, before meeting with his counterpart Sokratis Hasikos.
 Public high school teachers criticise teaching transfersOLME, the union representing public high school teachers, on Monday accused the Ministry of Education of "arbitrary planning", referring to the planned redistribution of teaching personnel in schools nationwide.
The teachers' union board underlined that "people are not numbers and schools need teachers in order to operate," and warned that in the coming academic year, "September will be a hot month."
The union charged the ministry with trying to "fabricate teacher redundancies arbitrarily" and claimed that the implementation of the specific policy is a prelude of the abolition of thousands of teaching jobs nationwide while it prepares the ground for mandatory transfers of thousands of teachers by 2015.
 Public sector reform a top priority, Bank of Greece governor saysBank of Greece's governor George Provopoulos on Monday expressed his confidence that things were going better for the country but noted that much still have to be done.
"There has been big progress. Just remember where we were 10 months ago. In this period, several things have been made. Of course, the list of things to be done is still long," Provopoulos said while briefing President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias in a visit to the President's office.
Provopoulos said top priority was reforming the civil sector. "We must create a civil sector modern, efficient and friendly to citizens and to business activity," the central banker said. He added that everyone has to work systematically to bring economic growth faster. He sounded optimistic over developments in the banking sector, saying that the three large banks will manage to cover a 10 pct of private participation in their share capital increase plans. He said that the bank recapitalization plan was expected to be completed in the next few weeks.
 Four new Metro stations ready in July, Dev't Minister tells chamberFour new stations expanding the Metro to the old Elliniko airport area will be ready within July, Development and Infrastructure Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said, outlining progress in infrastructural projects on Monday.
Speaking at a one-day meeting on transport infrastructure at the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE), Hatzidakis said that the European Commission's final approval for continuing the funding of major roadways in Greece is expected shortly. The agreement will need ratification by Parliament.
Hatzidakis also said that two out of four worksites on the four major road projects in Greece were already set up and the remaining were expected to be set up shortly while the second half of 2012 over 40 important works worth half a million euros, were put to tender or contracted for. Another 20, worth 2 billion euros, will be put out to tender or contracts will be issued within the first half of this year. These works include the expansions of the Metro and the tram towards Piraeus.
TEE president Christos Spirtzis pointed out that the government must negotiate with the troika of lenders to exempt the programme of privatisations from the memorandum provisions, in order to free production from its subjection to middlemen and the banking system.
 Shipping & Aegean Minister Mousouroulis' interviewShipping & Aegean Minister Costis Mousouroulis in an interview with ANA-MPA Web TV on Monday referred to the problems faced by the shipping sector, the efforts made for seaport investments, cruise ship tourism, and water supply to waterless islands.
Referring to the water supply problem recorded on a number of islands, he said that an effort is being made to restart long-abandoned desalination plants while, at the same time, allowing the Athens Water Supply and Sewage Company (EYDAP) to undertake water supply projects on the country's islands through the management of water resources and by acting as a technical adviser.
The water supply of the islands is funded by the General Secretariat for the Aegean & Island Policy. The amount allocated for this purpose is 4.7 million euros compared to 8 million euros in previous years.
As regards the shipping sector, Mousouroulis said that it can play an important role in the country's economy, adding that efforts are being made to boost the shipbuilding sector.
Referring to island policy issues, he stressed that all seaports have been registered by the responsible general secretariat, noting that the board members of the newly established Regulatory Authority for Seaports will be announced soon.
As regards the cruise ship tourism, the minister said that there should be new destinations. He underlined that important steps have been made in the sector using as an example the new international cruise ship terminal inaugurated at the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) able to service up to 25,000 passengers.
 Deputy Development minister sees first signs of economic recoveryThe first signs of Greece's economic recovery are starting to be visible, deputy Development minister Notis Mitarakis told the audience of an event in Thessaloniki on Monday evening. "In recent months, we no longer talk about the crisis itself, but about ways to exit it," he said.
Speaking during the "How to finance investment" event, organized by the Alumni of American Universities' and the think tank New Wave - New Vision, Mitarakis referred to progress in the government's privatisation efforts and the ongoing recapitalisation of banks.
He outlined that according to latest data, May hirings were 55,000 more than layoffs, while deposits of up to 19 billion euros were repatriated, adding to positive signs.
"However, there is no time for celebration, but for work," Mitarakis said, stressing that growth in Greece will come through private investment.
 Greek state overdue debt to private sector down 11 pct in Jan-MayGreek state's overdue debt to the private sector eased to 7.5 billion euros in April, from 8.2 billion euros in December 2012, a decline of 11 pct, Finance Alternate Minister Christos Staikouras said on Monday.
The Greek minister, in a statement, said that outstanding tax returns fell to 278 million euros in April, from 724 million in December, a decline of 62 pct and noted that the finance ministry has completed the funding of debt return demands worth 4.2 billion euros in the first five months of the year.
Staikouras said the ministry has met around 80 pct of ministries' demands, while another 1.1 billion euros was currently pending completion. Debt payments totaled 700 million euros in May, while the money to reach the real economy in the first five months of 2013 totaled 2.9 billion euros.
Staikours said that goal was for the state to meet its debt obligations and boost liquidity in the real economy, along with an effort not to create a new generation of overdue debt to the private sector.
 Greek economic sentiment index up sharply in MayGreek economic sentiment index jumped to 93.8 points in May from 89.2 in April, to its highest level since September 2008, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Monday.
In its monthly survey, IOBE said that this recovery was based on an improvement in all business indices and in consumer confidence, but noted that this spectacular development mainly reflected less pessimism, rather than higher optimism, in the country.
Increased tourist bookings, the activation of community funds, the prospect of privatisations, a return in bank deposits, an expected completion of a bank recapitalisation process and a positive change in comments made about Greece on an international level, all contributed to May's improved sentiment.
IOBE however noted that the country remained in an environment of deep recession hitting incomes, fuelling unemployment and shrinking domestic demand, with the majority of citizens and enterprises continuing expressing negative expectations over economic developments. The report stressed its was clear that more favourable conditions were gradually prevailing in the country, with direct impact on business climate and consumers.
Business expectations in the manufacturing sector remained unchanged over short-term developments in production and inventories, while expectations over current levels of orders and demand were less negative.
Business expectations in the services sector gained ground over current activity and short-term prospects of sales.
In the retail sector, expectations over current and short-term sales prospects improved, while negative expectations over inventories grew further in May.
In the construction sector, forecasts over current works were significanly less negative, although employment prospects deteriorated further.
Greece's consumer confidence index improved in May, with Greek households' expectations over their finances and the country's economic prospects improving markedly, while saving prospects for the next 12 months recovered.
Economic sentiment recovered slightly in May both in the Eurozone and the EU-27.
 New hirings in Jan-May jump to highest level since 2008New hirings in the private sector jumped to the highest level since 2008 in the first five months of 2013, the Labor ministry said on Monday.
A ministry report said that according to data collected by "Ergani" -an electronic system offering real time data over labor flows in the country- the country's labor balance showed a total of 76,193 new job positions created in the first five months of the year, up sharply compared with 9,129 in the corresponding period n 2012. This figure is the highest recorded in that period since 2008.
New hirings totaled 368,852 in the January-May period, up 21 pct from the same period last year, while dismissals totaled 292,659 in the same period.
Wage employment in the private sector grew in May, with 55,729 new job positions created in the month. New hirings totaled 124,295, while dismissals totaled 68,562. This figures is up 33.27 pct compared with May 2012. Most new hirings were recorded in the tourism sector, while Attica (27,107 hirings), Southern Aegean (25,300), Crete (20,597), Central Macedonia (16,221) and Ionian Islands (11,866) recorded the highest new hiring figures among the country's regions.
Yiannis Vroutsis, Labor, Social Insurance and Welfare Minister, commenting on the figures said they were "another positive signal in the field of employment", adding that "this encouraging development will not allow us to be complacent. Instead, we are closely monitoring trends and intensify our efforts to deal with unemployment, the most painful dimension of the crisis".
 Alpha Bank successfully completes share capital increase planAlpha Bank on Monday announced the successful completion of a share capital increase plan worth 457.1 million euros through a rights issue and of an additional 92.9 million euros through a private placement to institutional and other private investors.
Alpha Bank becomes the first Greek bank to achieve a minimum required private sector participation in its share capital increase plan, raising more than 10 pct of its total recapitalisation needs (4.571 billion euros). The coverage of its option rights increase was fully guaranteed by a consortium of international financial firms.
"We are very satisfied, as Alpha Bank becomes the first bank to achieve the necessary participation of the private sector during a recapitalisation process of the Greek banking system," the bank's chairman, Yiannis Costopoulos, said.
The recapitalization, he added, "is a vote of confidence to the prospects of the Greek banking system and to the Greek economy in general, creating the necessary conditions for the return of the country to international markets. The process attracted strong interest from international investors who made new investments through our capital increase scheme in this significant period for the country. With the completion of the capital boost, Alpha Bank maintains its private character and remains a benchmark in the domestic banking system."
The rights issue was oversubscibed by 165 pct. For each new share, every private investor will receive a warrant embodying a rights issue of at least 7.31 new shares owned by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund.
 Eurobank most active securities firm in MayEurobank Securities was the most active securities firm in the Athens Stock Exchange in May, with a market share of 14.52 pct, followed by National Securities (10.15 pct), Piraeus Securities (9.78 pct), Euroxx (8.56 pct), Alpha Finance (7.91 pct), Investment Bank of Greece (5.57 pct), Axia Ventures Group (3.43 pct), Pantelakis (3.32 pct) and BETA (2.86 pct).
Eurobank Securities was also the top active securities firm in the first five months of the year, with a market share of 15.79 pct, followed by National Securities (11.45 pct), Euroxx (8.59 pct), Piraeus Securities (7.46 pct) and Investment Bank of Greece (6.54 pct).
 New website promotes Greek productsA new website, aspiring to become the gate to the world for Greek enterprises and producers, was unveiled on Monday in the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in the presence of Deputy Foreign Minister Costas Tsiaras.
Greek products, divided in four major categories (food, cosmetics, furs, marbles) are being presented in five languages,
English, Russian, Chinese, Arab and Greek, on the website www.productsgreek.com that offers the basic tools for extroversion namely, direct and reliable information on Greek enterprises and producers.
Welcoming the initiative, the deputy foreign minister said that the government's top priority is to support Greek enterprises in this crucial period for the country, underlining that entrepreneurship plays an important role in economic growth and the creation of jobs.
The new portal offers constantly updated information on roughly 10,000 enterprises, producers, organizations and chambers.
 US company launches tender offer to buy Greek state bondsA tender offer by Japonica - a US-based investment company - to buy Greek state bonds worth 2.9 billion euros is another vote of confidence to Greek state securiies and the Greek economy in general.
Japonica launched its tender offer to Greek state bond holders on Monday, with the offer ending in July 1. The purchase price of the bonds will depend on investors' participation in the tender based on the Unmodified Dutch Auction process followed by the Greek state in the past.
Japonica said its decision to buy Greek state bonds reflected the company's long-term prospect for Greece and progress made by the country so far. Japonica was founded in 1987 by Paul Kazarian, a former executive of Goldman Sachs.
 ASE suspends trading in three listed companiesThe Athens Stock Exchange on Monday announced the temporary suspending of trading in the shares of Technical Publications, Mihaniki and Balkan Real Estate after the three listed companies failed to timely publish their first quarter results.
 Greek PMI continues moving higher in MayGreece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) continued moving higher for the fourth time in the last five months reaching 45.3 points in May, from 45 in April -the highest reading in almost two months- but remained below the 50-point level.
The PMI index -compiled by Markit- showed that a slower rate of decline in production contributed to the increase of the composite index. The rate of decline in new orders received by Greek manufacturers was the slowest in the last 22 months, but remained generally significant.
The May figures showed an improvement in employment in the sector, with a decline in job positions recording the slowest rate since June 2011.
Greek enterprises continued reducing their pending works despite a decline in operating ability, a trend continuing since July 2008. Manufacturers also further reduced their inventories in May, while supply delivery times continued extending in the month reflecting lack of liquidity in the market.
Greek manufacturers also drastically cut their factory prices in May, at the fastest rate in fourh months.
The PMI measures business activity in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector, while readings below 50 a shrinking sector.
 Greek stocks end moderately lowerGreek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, but managed to hold above the 1,000-point level. Trading was nervous as bank shares (Alpha Bank, National Bank and Piraeus Bank) came under heavy pressure, while other blue chip stocks attracted heavy demand (Motor Oil, OPAP and Hellenic Exchanges).
The composite index of the market fell 0.49 pct to end at 1,009.57 points, off the day's lows of 1,001.42 points. Turnover was a moderate 77.79 million euros.
The Big Cap index fell 0.84 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.25 pct higher. Motor Oil (8.25 pct), Hellenic Exchanges (7.16 pct) and OPAP (6.60 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while National Bank (12.26 pct), Piraeus Bank (9.0 pct), Eurobank Properties (6.19 pct) and Alpha Bank (6.12 pct) suffered losses. Athens Water, which replaced Eurobank in the FTSE Large Cap index fell 1.30 pct, while National Bank's right plunged 33.75 pct.
The Financial Services (5.41 pct), Oils (5.32 pct) and Travel (5.20 pct) sectors scored big gains, while Banks (9.83 pct) and Telecoms (2.06 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 72 to 70 with another 27 issues unchanged. CPI (30 pct), Sidma (19.45 pct) and Perseus (19.23 pct) were top gainers, while Pegasus (19.84 pct), Pasal (19.70 pct) and Teletypos (15.42 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +5.32%
Personal & Household: +0.03%
Raw Materials: +3.88%
Travel & Leisure: +5.20%
Food & Beverages: +0.03%
Financial Services: +5.41%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, National Bank (right), Bank of Piraeus and OPAP.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.63
Public Power Corp (PPC): 8.01
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.83
National Bank: 4.65
Bank of Piraeus: 0.18
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased to 7.74 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 9.26 pct) and the German Bund 1.52 pct. Turnover was a strong 13 million euros of which 5.0 million were buy orders and the remaining 8.0 million euros were sell orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.48 pct, the nine-month rate was 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 1.56 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 10.784 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,829 contracts worth 6.516 million euros, with 38,547 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,082 contracts worth 4.268 million euros, with investment interest focusing on MIG contracts (2,406), followed by Eurobank (1,593), OTE (1,846), PPC (1,060), OPAP (859), Hellenic Exchanges (479), Mytilineos (661), GEK (537), Intralot (254), Ellaktor (204), Sidenor (149) and Motor Oil (153).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.320
Pound sterling 0.864
Danish kroner 7.566
Swedish kroner 8.700
Japanese yen 132.33
Swiss franc 1.264
Norwegian kroner 7.711
Canadian dollar 1.365
Australian dollar 1.365
 Illegal crossings from Evros dropped considerably, EC reportBRUSSELS (AMNA / V. Demiris)
The number of illegal immigrants crossing the land borders into Greece from Evros, in the northeast of the country, has dropped considerably, according to a European Commission report on the situation in the Schengen area, it was announced on Monday.
Operation "Aspida" ("Shield") was launched in August 2012 with the deployment of 1,800 border guards to the prefecture of Evros at the Greek-Turkish land borders.
The European Commission report underlined that between July and September 2012, more than half of the illegal migrants entering the EU were traced back to Greece but the situation was improved impressively when Operation "Aspida" was initiated.
According to EC figures, the decline was considerable: from 2,000 arrests made in Evros in the first week of August, to 200 arrests in the second week of August, dropping to just 10 arrests in the last week of October.
Illegal crossings into Greece for 2012 dropped to 30 pct. Specifically in the period October-December 2012, a total of 4,035 illegal migrants were arrested in Greece in their attempt to enter the EU, most of them through the Greek sea borders.
The Commission invited Greece to continue the implementation of its Schengen action plan and reiterated its commitment to supporting the Greek efforts to manage its external borders, through the External Borders Fund and Frontex assistance.
 Over 10,000 illegal foreigners repatriated since August 2012, policeFive hundred and sixty-five illegal migrants, mostly Pakistani and Albanian nationals, were repatriated in May 2013, following court orders issued against them, while 10,118 foreign nationals who had illegally entered in Greece have been repatriated since August 2012, Greek Police said on Monday.
The foreign nationals departed from the International Athens Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos", and the cost of the process is covered by the European Fund for Repatriations.
 First Balkan June Festival brings performers and artists to Arta, IoanninaThe First Balkan June Festival will include over 70 artists and groups performing from June 7 to 9 at the Castle in the northwestern city of Arta, it was announced on Monday.
The International Centre of Balkan Music, organiser of the festival, will hold part of the events in the main western city of Ioannina (Giannena) at 9:00 p.m. on June 8, at the open-air theatre of the Society for Epirot Studies.
Hainides, the popular Greek group, will perform with Tas Plak Kumpanyasi, a Turkish-French-Greek group based in Istanbul. Tamara Mladenovic, based in Belgrade, will decorate the performing space with her paintings.
The Centre is a new, Arta-based organisation founded by ethnomusicologists and anthropologists in Greece and the Balkans to research and record the musical traditions of the Balkan peninsula. Its major goal is to preserve local tradition and field research, especially vocal songs, through a digitised Archive of Balkan Music that will be available gratis through the Internet.
 Niarchos Foundation gives $1.1 million for scholarships to Greeks at McGill UniversityThe Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) made a $1.1-million gift to McGill University to endow two fellowships for students from Greece who wish to get a masters or doctorate in any discipline at the university.
The first fellowship will be awarded in the fall of 2014, and each fellowship recipient will receive funding for up to two years of study.
SNF has offices in Athens, New York and Monaco, and funds nonprofits around the world. According to an announcement by the university, "This gift was timed in part to celebrate 70 years of relations between Greece and Canada, and continues the SNF's strong tradition of supporting and collaborating with Canadian universities. Robert Peck, Canada's Ambassador to Greece, played a crucial role in initiating the conversation about the establishment of a series of scholarships at Canadian universities, and in making them a reality."
McGill welcomes students from some 150 countries a year, including more than 20 a year from Greece. Ties are further strengthened by a vibrant McGill community in Greece consisting of nearly 500 alumni, parents and friends.
 Seven PAOK fans, arrested in 2012, released on bail in ThessalonikiSeven fans of the PAOK football club who had been held pending trial since June last year were released on bail by decision of the misdemeanours council of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Monday.
The seven were let out on a 2,000-euro bail each, banned from leaving the country, and obliged to register monthly at the police station by their reseidence and remain at the station during every sport event of Thessaloniki-based PAOK.
They were arrested in 2012 with another 27 fans during a police sweep that relied on bugs, cameras and witnesses to identify people involved in bloody attacks against fans of other football clubs, and were also found to be trading drugs. Investigations at their homes and sportsfans federations, where two of them were prominent, had resulted in the confiscation of a gun, launchers, axes, knives and other items.
Of the 34 arrested at the time, the same seven had been jailed after their testimony and the rest released on conditions.
 23 year-old suspect of Evia murder confessesA 23-year-old Pakistani national arrested over the death of a couple in Aliveri, Evia, on Sunday told police on Monday that he used to work for them as occasional gardener and had gone to the house in order to rob them.
The man fatally injured the 54 year-old woman with a cement block that he took from the garden, where she was found by police, and afterwards got into the house where the 56 year-old man was sleeping. He hit him multiple times on the neck with an iron rod and strangled him with a rope, then he locked the entrance door and took the keys with him.
Five of his accomplices waited for him outside the house and took him to a house in Nea Lampsakos, where later police located and arrested all six.
On his possession the police found four credit cards, two cellphones and 140 euros that he had taken from the victims. They also found in the house where he was arrested the clothes he wore during the crime.
The suspects were sent to Halkida prosecutor to face murder and robbery charges.
 206 kg of hashish seized at Patras portCoast guard officers located a large quantity of hashish on Monday in a truck parked at the south entrance of the port of Patras, in the northwestern Peloponnese.
The truck was transporting bottled wines and the drugs were hidden beneath the wooden floor in 190 plastic bags weighing a total of 206 kilos.
The 28-year-old Dutch driver of the truck was arrested and police are conducting an investigation to find out the origin of the hashish.
 Cloudy on TuesdayCloudy weather and westerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures between 11C and 30C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with westerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 12C and 29C. Local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 12C and 26C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceDIMOKRATIA: Guide for tax payers.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Message to the Sultan.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Uprising against the ...Sultan
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Pension at the age of 60 for 650,000 insured.
ESTIA: Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras humiliates the country.
ETHNOS: The nightmare of division over Turkey
IMERISSIA: New landscape in interest rates.
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Creative accounting with (ECB, EC, IMF) troika's seal.
TA NEA: Pensions: The huge trap of the social security system.
36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ANTONIS SKYLLAKOS