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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-07-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Thursday, 11 July 2013 Issue No: 4403

CONTENTS

  • [01] SYRIZA leader tells congress 'party ready to govern'
  • [02] Gov't spokesman on Tsipras congress speech
  • [03] SYN's self-dissolution marks a new beginning, SYRIZA leader Tsipras declares at party congress
  • [04] PM Samaras meets with gov't vice-president Venizelos, finance and interior ministers
  • [05] No new measures to be taken in 2013, finmin assures
  • [06] Admin reform minister expounds on policy and targets
  • [07] Eurozone ready to further help Greece, Eurogroup chief says
  • [08] EC Commissioner's spokesman: No change in financing of Greece
  • [09] DM Avramopoulos says 'no cuts in armed forces' wages, pensions'
  • [10] Hellenic Defence Systems will not be shutdown, Yennimata assures
  • [11] Greek Public Television on the air
  • [12] EDT will start broadcasting its programme in the next few hours
  • [13] ERT's journalists strongly condemn EDT signal
  • [14] SYRIZA blasts government for 'piratical' public TV signal
  • [15] KKE condemns gov't for public broadcasting move
  • [16] Health Minister: We will not shut down EOPYY
  • [17] Tourism Minister Kefaloyianni's meets officials in Poland
  • [18] Education minister meets with teachers union as scuffle breaks out in ministry courtyard
  • [19] Lavrio port authority building inaugurated
  • [20] New Postal Savings Bank employees on strike on Friday
  • [21] Protest action by municipal employees and educators against omnibus bill
  • [22] GSEE, ADEDY call general strike on July 16
  • [23] KKE secretary general pays first visit as party leader to President Papoulias
  • [24] New internet platform unveiled by Athens mayor
  • [25] Event held for outgoing Greek ambassador to Bulgaria
  • [26] Dep. Dev't Minister pays visit to Patriarch Theodore at Kypseli church
  • [27] Former Dep.Minister and MP Grigoris Solomos dies
  • [28] Greek budget deficit down significantly in H1
  • [29] Greek exports up 4.5 pct in May
  • [30] Greek CEOs more optimistic over economic developments, ICAP
  • [31] ICAP survey shows sharp reduction of employment
  • [32] Industrial production down 4.6 pct in May
  • [33] HFSF unveils cooperation framework with systemic banks
  • [34] Visitors and revenues in museums, archaeological sites up
  • [35] Greece needs bold correctional moves before it is too late, Daskalopoulos says
  • [36] Deadline in tender to sell Hellenic Sugar Industry given new extension
  • [37] Jumbo Group says sales up 1.6 pct
  • [38] Greek stocks end 2.24 pct lower
  • [39] Greek bond market closing report
  • [40] ADEX closing report
  • [41] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [42] Summer vacations, an unattainable dream for most Greeks
  • [43] Truck driver loses his life in ferryboat garage crash
  • [44] Supermarket customer injured during armed robbery
  • [45] Submarine 'touches' ancient dock; no injuries or damages reported
  • [46] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] SYRIZA leader tells congress 'party ready to govern'

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday evening declared his party's "readiness and faith in taking the responsibility of overturning the mamorandums' tyranny and the old-fashioned party corruption... to govern the country at the most difficult moment of its modern history and restore democracy, national independence and the Greek people's dignity."

    "For a year now, after the May 2012 general elections, which overthrew the political setting, a spectre is haunting Greece: the spectre of SYRIZA and the Left, which manages to unite our people in a broad front of victory and overturn," Tsipras said at the start of his speech.

    "All the aged forces of the country, all the aged forces of the old world that goes out, heve united in a holy alliance to chase this spectre. The parties of yesterday, which are responsible for the country and the people's plight and which have led the economy to disaster, the far-rightists of Mr. (Prime Minister Antonis) Samaras, the opportunists of Mr. (Government Vice-President Evangelos) Venizelos, the neo-nazis of the Golden Dawn, the barons of the Media and of vested interests, the tax evaders of the various lists and untaxed deposits... all have united in order to fight us," the main opposition leader added.

    Expressing certainty that "the need for a big political change in the country is maturing," Tsipras invited all forces of the left, voters of other parties, even from coalition ruling New Democracy (ND) and PASOK parties, to unite forces so that "a government of the left puts an end to the memorandums and reconstruct the country."

    Criticising the New Democracy party, the SYRIZA leader charged that the ruling party "is turning more and more to far right views". The Samaras leadership "knows very well that the stability of his government depends on the full obedience to the country's craditors and the memorandums and therefore it will be accompanied by authoritarian rule, anti-constitutional practices and suffocating restriction of democracy."

    Against the "black front which is emerging, we must shape a leading programme for the defence of political democracy and of economic, social and individual rights," he noted.

    Tsipras also criticised the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) of adopting an "anti-scientific and ahistorical approach" as regards the necessity of overturning the "memorandums' cruelty".

    Referring to SYRIZA's evolution to a unified party, Tsipras said that its "mature transformation into a massive, democratic party is not our exclusive internal affair, but it constitutes a major need of the popular strata."

    [02] Gov't spokesman on Tsipras congress speech

    Government Spokesman Simos Kedikoglou reacting to Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras's speech at the first congress of the main opposition party, made the following statement:

    "After the soviets in the factories, Mr. Tsipras declares that he wants to see 'SYRIZA's spectre' haunting the Athens' 'Commune'... He wants to demolish everything in order to be in power. We hope the Greek people listen to his speech.

    [03] SYN's self-dissolution marks a new beginning, SYRIZA leader Tsipras declares at party congress

    Wrapping up his address before the last Synaspismos (SYN) congress, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday noted that "in the morning we close the Synaspismos chapter and in the afternoon we will turn a new page," considering that a vote will take place in a few hours to decide the party's self-dissolution and incorporation into SYRIZA-EKM.

    Tsipras' speech was emotionally charged while referring to SYN's establishment, an initiative by Harilaos Florakis and Leonidas Kirkos, both leading figures of the Left. A special reference was made to former SYN leader Nikos Konstantopoulos considering that the process for the establishment of SYRIZA had started during his term in office and to the contribution of the late Mihalis Papagiannakis, a leading SYN cadre.

    Tsipras underlined that the SYN congress marks a new beginning, noting that SYRIZA "can rule the country, salvage society from the memorandum storm, defend the workers and restore democracy and popular sovereignty".

    He noted that "SYN played a leading role in the creation of SYRIZA, the most successful experiment of leftist unity across Europe," adding his party has "the social momentum sought after for years to put in motion the major overthrow of the corrupt political system".

    [04] PM Samaras meets with gov't vice-president Venizelos, finance and interior ministers

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met on Wednesday with government vice-president and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras to discuss the omnibus draft bill tabled in parliament a day earlier and the prerequisites decided by the Eurogroup on Monday for the disbursement of loan tranches.

    Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis, who was also present in the meeting, left soon after they discussed the issue of municipal employee transfers and the trade union reactions.

    The finance minister briefed Samaras and Venizelos on the Eurogroup meeting.

    In comments he made afterwards, Stournaras referred to the loan tranche and clarified that the European Commission had recommended the disbursement of a larger tranche but certain countries objected saying that this causes difficulties to their national parliaments, noting that this issue will be considered after October. "Therefore, it was a positive development considering the political difficulties we had in the past month," Stournaras added.

    As regards the VAT reduction for the restaurant and catering sector, he said that it has been put on the table and the outcome will be known in the next 10 days, adding that if approved the measure will be effective as of August 1st.

    Responding to a relevant question, he said that there is no troika report, noting that any such references probably concern previous reports.

    [05] No new measures to be taken in 2013, finmin assures

    In a short comment on SKAI television channel on Wednesday evening, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras reassured that no further austerity measures were to be taken by the government during 2013. ???

    As far as next year is concerned, Stournaras said that "it is very likely" that no new austerity measures would have to be taken in 2014.

    But he added "I do not know" whether further measures would be necessary in 2015-2016.

    [06] Admin reform minister expounds on policy and targets

    Should the necessary reforms in the public sector had been made three years ago, when the country signed its first rescue loan agreement, or even ten years ago, today the country would neither have to deal with 1.5 million of unemployed nor poverty-level pensions, Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told reporters in an informal briefing on Wednesday. He added that things would be different today should the political system had not invested in the so called client state.

    Referring to the vision of the new political leadership of his ministry, Mitsotakis said that the goal was to create a public sector that would be proud of its work and would be in a position to effectively serve citizens.

    In this context, he noted, there were two objectives: observance of rescue loan agreement commitments and implementation of medium and long term targets.

    As far as negotiations between the ministry and the troika of Greece's international lenders are concerned, Mitsotakis said that owing to the fact that the ministry did not have prepared a pool of employees to be included in the mobility scheme, more public sector layoffs were requested. But the request was not accepted, he stressed.

    He explained that because in very little time there should be a list of employees to be included in the mobility scheme, the ministry had to resort to the two major areas of the Ministry of Education and the local administration.

    Both deputy minister Evi Christophilopoulou and Mitsotakis underlined that the mobility scheme was a major project which they were determined to carry out by observing meritocracy, sufficiency and speed.

    [07] Eurozone ready to further help Greece, Eurogroup chief says

    The Eurozone is willing to offer further assistance to Greece and will decide on how in the spring of 2014, before the current aid programme is officially over, Eurogroup president Jeroen?Dijsselbloem told French newspaper Le Figaro in a Wednesday interview, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports.

    "The case of Greece is very difficult, it will require time," he explained.

    He added that Greece's fiscal consolidation programme was gradually achieving progress and "Eurogroup anticipates that it will approve the third tranche of loans soon."

    As the Greek programme typically concludes at the end of 2014, and Athens will no longer be under a regime of financial aid from its current international lenders (EC, EC, IMF), it may not be able to borrow from financial markets, given its very high debt and high interest rates.

    "We shall decide in April what we should do next. We are ready to further assist Greece," Dijsselbloem said.

    [08] EC Commissioner's spokesman: No change in financing of Greece

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Oli Rehn's spokesman Simon O'Connor reiterated on Wednesday a former Eurogroup decision according to which if Greece presents a primary surplus at the end of 2013 then the eurozone could examine the possibility of additional measures to further safeguard the debt's sustainability.

    Specifically, replying to a press question on the sustainability of the Greek programme and the possibility of an additional financing, O'Connor noted that the European Committee's responsibility is to promote the implementation of the Greek fiscal programme, noting that its financing issues have been clarified by the Eurogroup's decision on November 27.

    However, he said, "we are not there yet and I can't read the crystal ball to see what will happen in the future".

    [09] DM Avramopoulos says 'no cuts in armed forces' wages, pensions'

    National Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday assured that there will be no more cuts in wages and pensions received by members of the armed forces, based on an agreement reached between the troika of the country's creditors and the government.

    Speaking in the margins of a luncheon he hosted for journalists at the Armed Forces Officers' Club, Avramopoulos referred to the relevant negotiations, noting that they were tough and that the political personnel retirement rate guarantees that no additional interventions are necessary.

    Responding to persistent questions by journalists, he announced that the Hellenic Defence Systems S.A. (EAS) will not be shutdown.

    [10] Hellenic Defence Systems will not be shutdown, Yennimata assures

    Alternate Defence Minister Fofi Yennimata on Wednesday assured that the Hellenic Defence Systems S.A. (EAS) will not be shutdown but the company will undergo an in depth restructuring while in operation.

    "The Hellenic Defence Systems will not be shutdown," Yennimata said in a statement, adding that "the government's intention and the committment by Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and by me as well, is to go ahead with an in depth restructuring of the EAS while in operation, something that will provide for further development."

    "The existence and development of the Greek defence industry constitutes a national necessity and is being treated in this spirit," Yennimata concluded.

    [11] Greek Public Television on the air

    The "Greek Public Television" channel (EDT) is transmitting a signal on former ERT frequencies as of Wednesday morning. At present, TV screens are only showing a sign with the name of the channel.

    "The dialogue with the former public broadcaster ERT employees remains open but we must implement the Supreme Court's decision", said Deputy Minister for Public Radio and Television Pantelis Kapsis, speaking on Wednesday to private TV Mega and referring to a court decision that said the country could not remain without public television.

    Kapsis said this was a transitional stage, with the new public television programme coming soon.

    He added that the signal is being broadcast from a studio, and that programmes from ERT's archives will be screened shortly; he also said job openings for staff would be posted shortly in order for a normal programme to start.

    Government's spokesman Simos Kedikoglou also spoke of a "transitional programme" when speaking on Wednesday to private TV Ant1.

    Meanwhile, in an announcement on Tuesday evening, former ERT journalists condemned every "attempt to illegally transmit anything outside ERT's main or regional facilities".

    [12] EDT will start broadcasting its programme in the next few hours

    The programme of the transitional channel called Greek Public Television (EDT) that began transmitting its logo on the shutdown ERT public broadcaster frequencies on Wednesday morning is expected to be on air within the next few hours, sources said.

    Earlier, Deputy Minister for Public Radio and Television Pantelis Kapsis had said that initially the programme will include feature films and documentaries, while the latest news headlines will be viewed in a ticker at the bottom of the television screen.

    [13] ERT's journalists strongly condemn EDT signal

    Former public broadcaster ERT journalists called the signal transmitted by the Greek Public Television (EDT) as of Wednesday morning on ERT frequencies "a piratical monstrosity".

    In their announcement they noted that "the last mask has fallen from government's authoritarian face" and charged Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' government with follwoing "the illegal way" instead of an alternative way. "After they violated the constituition by attempting to close down ERT, today they became 'cheap pirates' by illegally presenting in the public frequencies the EDT monstrosity".

    "They believe that ERT is dead and they rushed to loot its body and distributed transmission, frequencies and material as well as ERT-owned Radiotileorassi magazine," they charged, adding, "They thought that ERT is unable to react and they rushed to cheapen the history and the memories of decades". The EDT, they said further, is "a bad name, an illegal monstrosity in perfect cooperation with Digea, owned by the private TV owners".

    The government is "addicted to repeated mistakes", they charged, and said that "ERT - not EDT - is still here; the viewers and listeners, the Greek society that supports our struggle is here" and pledged to continue their struggle against EDT.

    [14] SYRIZA blasts government for 'piratical' public TV signal

    The transmission of a television signal "without permission and under questionable circumstances proves that the government applies the law any way it suits it," main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) spokesman Panos Skourletis said on Wednesday.

    In a statement, Skourletis said that SYRIZA demands that the former public broadcaster ERT be reinstituted and that the ministerial decision used to shut it down be revoked.

    Calling the newly-transmitting logo of a transitional broadcaster the replacing ERT signal "piracy" and "the apex of illegality committed by the government for weeks now," he expressed the certainty that "the government's plans to devalue and shrink public radio and television and to completely control news will have to face the greatest segment of Greek society that demands a respect of democracy and the right to pluralistic newscasts."

    [15] KKE condemns gov't for public broadcasting move

    The Communist Party of Greece (ERT) condemned the government's unacceptable move to broadcast the programme of the so-called transitional public television through private studios" on Wednesday, calling in an announcement for the reopening of former public broadcaster ERT "without any layoffs and by simultaneous safeguarding of all workers' rights."

    [16] Health Minister: We will not shut down EOPYY

    The National Health Organisation (EOPYY) will not be shut down or be built anew, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis stated on Wednesday during his weekly press briefing and denied speculations that foreign managers will be appointed to the organisation.

    Georgiadis also said "the control has been lost in EOPYY and it cannot continue operating as it is today," noting that citizens should not be worried because "we will not allow EOPPY to collapse, we will neither close it nor build it from anew. All changes will take place while it is in operation".

    [17] Tourism Minister Kefaloyianni's meets officials in Poland

    The activation of a tourism cooperation agreement between Greece and Poland, recently ratified in the Greek parliament and bilateral cooperation issues dominated the agenda at the meetings Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni had with Polish Sport and Tourism Minister Joanna Mucha and Deputy Tourism Minister Katarzyna Sobierajska, held in the context of Republic President Karolos Papoulias' official visit to Poland on July 8-9.

    The agreement provides for the participation of the Greek and Polish national tourism organizations in tourism exhibitions and for tourism students and experts exchange programmes.

    Kefalogianni accepted an invitation by her counterpart to visit Poland before the end of the year.

    During her visit to Poland, Kegalogianni also met with Greek and Polish businessmen, focusing on the prospects of tourism sector investments in Greece.

    She also gave television and magazine interviews, underlining that Greece is a safe and hospitable destination that offers many alternative tourism options.

    [18] Education minister meets with teachers union as scuffle breaks out in ministry courtyard

    A meeting between Education Minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos and a delegation of the public high school teachers union (OLME) was marked by a brief scuffle between some teachers who tried to enter the ministry's courtyard and riot police that held them back on Wednesday.

    The tension was resolved and teachers left after the meeting, which was called by Arvanitopoulos to discuss the abolition of specialisations and the mobility of teachers, following the changes to be introduced in staff transfers or gradual layoffs under the terms for the fulfilment of Greece's obligations to its lenders.

    [19] Lavrio port authority building inaugurated

    Shipping and Aegean Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis inaugurated on Wednesday the new headquarters of Lavrio Port Authority, located at the passenger station for new-technology vessels.

    The building is entirely controlled electronically, and gives the port authority the ability to use an electronic laser system to accurately check a vessel's speed, the condition of the waters and give orders for its safe docking in case of strong winds.

    It is reminded that in front of the passengers station two special piers (finger piers) have been constructed to facilitate passengers of ferry boats. The passenger station includes ticket offices and bars and offers easy access to people with disabilities with escalators and elevators.

    [20] New Postal Savings Bank employees on strike on Friday

    A 24-hour nationwide strike has been called by employees with the new Postal Savings Bank (TT) for Friday, to protest against the sale of the credit institution.

    In an announcement issued on Wednesday, TT employees stressed that after having witnessed what they called an unfair and painful break-up of the bank into a "good" and a "bad" one, "we are now witnessing a coup de grace, through a blurred sale process."

    They added it was shameful to see a "non-systemic" bank being used to rescue "systemic" banks.

    The New TT must remain independent and retain a distinct role in the country's banking system, the announcement added.

    [21] Protest action by municipal employees and educators against omnibus bill

    Local government employees unions have decided to continue their industrial action on Thursday and Friday to protest against staff suspensions and layoffs stipulated in the government's omnibus bill tabled in parliament.

    The Executive Committee of the Panhellenic Local Government Employee Federation POE-OTA decided on Wednesday to call a work stoppage for Thursday starting at 12:00 to the end of the shift. A protest rally will be held at 12:30 at central Klafthmonos Square.

    A work stoppage on Friday will start at 11:30 until the end of the shift. Employees have been urged to participate in a protest rally at Karaiskaki Square to be followed by a march to the parliament.

    During the weekend, local government employees will abstain from duties.

    For Monday, the eve of a vote in parliament on the omnibus bill, POE-OTA has called a protest rally in Syntagma Square, which may be combined with a concert and a likely overnight stay in the square, just outside the parliament building.

    In addition, the federation called on employees to participate in a general 24-hour strike called for Tuesday by the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the civil servants union ADEDY.?

    During the industrial action, garbage collection will depend on separate decisions by local associations. The association of Nikaia-Rendis local council employees has already decided not to work. However, in the Athens local council, garbage will be collected from at least central points.

    The union representing public high school teachers, OLME, is also planning industrial action to protest against transfers and suspension of educators.

    To start with, the union's board decided on Wednesday to participate in Thursday's protest rally by ADEDY at 12:00 at Klaphthmonos Square. Another rally is being prepared for Tuesday or Wednesday next week in central Athens to coincide with discussion of the omnibus bill in parliament.

    [22] GSEE, ADEDY call general strike on July 16

    The two major labour unions, GSEE of the private sector and ADEDY of the public sector, on Wednesday jointly declared a 24-hr general strike on Tuesday, 16 July, to protest the government's omnibus bill for layoffs in the public sector.

    GSEE's announcement said that a rally will be also held at Klafthomonos Square, in downtown Athens at 11:30 a.m. the same day.

    On Thursday (July 11), GSEE will participate in a protest rally organised by the Hellenic Association of Steelworkers together with Greek Defence Systems, Hellenic Aerospace Industry and Hellenic Vehicles Industry unions and with workers in Skaramangas shipyards, at 12:30 p.m. at Klafthmonos Square.

    KKE calls for mass participation in PAME labour organization rallies on Thursday

    Opposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Wednesday issued a call to workers, youth and every Greek to participate in large numbers in KKE-affiliated PAME labour organization protest rallies scheduled for Thursday in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities across the countryas well as in Tuesday's 24-hour strike.

    According to KKE, mass participation is necessary "to give a loud response to the anti-popular policy" and "create a wall of resistance against the 'steamroller-approach' measures promoted by the government, the European Union and the IMF through the omnibus draft bill tabled in parliament".

    "The attack launched is not just targeting certain workers, it targets the people as a whole," KKE noted, adding that "the workers, poor farmers, self-employed, youth and women should unite for a popular counterattack aimed at ending this policy".

    [23] KKE secretary general pays first visit as party leader to President Papoulias

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoumbas expressed the party's disagreement with the government's measures and its deep concern over the warring state in the general geographic area, during a meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday.

    Koutsoumbas said the party requested the particular meeting, his first as party leader, "to brief the president on KKE's positions around major problems faced by the Greek people and Greece, and we also informed him of the decisions of the party's 19th congress related to the future and the exit from the crisis."

    Papoulias expressed interest in the existence of a communist party in Turkey and described his recent visit to Auschwitz, while on an official visit to Poland, saying he was impressed by the number of young people paying tribute at the site to victims of the Nazis. He said that nobody from his village survived the Nazi occupation of Greece, while one of the officers responsible for the transfer of people to Auschwitz was Kurt Waldheim, later UN secretary general.

    [24] New internet platform unveiled by Athens mayor

    An internet platform, "Syn Athina" (www.synathina.gr), was presented on Wednesday evening by Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis at the town hall, as a communication tool designed to be used by citizen groups whose actions are aimed at improving the quality of life in Athens.

    Kaminis, who described the platform as "a pioneer initiative" which should expand throughout the country, said that it will carry posts from all kinds of citizen groups, either unorganised or organised, such as non-governmental organisations and groups spontaneously formed in neighbourhoods with the aim to give the city a face-lift, get involved in cleaning up or planting activities or even just dancing tango.

    The mayor said the new umbrella platform provides a forum for expression and information to such groups, bringing people together, providing them with assistance, coordination and know-how.

    [25] Event held for outgoing Greek ambassador to Bulgaria

    SOFIA (ANA-MPA/M.Borisov)

    Members of the government and political entities as well as enterpreneurs and top Bulgarian intellectuals and members of the diplomatic corps in Sofia attended outgoing Greek ambassador Thrasyvoulos Stamatopoulos' farewell reception at a central Sofia hotel on Tuesday night.

    The outgoing Greek ambassador was recently decorated by Bulgaria's president Rosen Plevneliev with the higest honour of Bulgaria, Stara Planina, for this contribution in the development of Greek-Bulgarian relations.

    Ambassador Stamatopoulos has been appointed assistant to NATO's secretary general responsible for political issues and political security and will assume his duties in the autumn.

    [26] Dep. Dev't Minister pays visit to Patriarch Theodore at Kypseli church

    Deputy Development and Competitiveness Minister Notis Mitarakis visited Partriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa at the Ano Kypseli, Athens, Church of Sts Athanasius, Nicholas and Photius, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Alexandria Patriarchate, and discussed the crisis in Egypt. The minister expressed his support for the Greek community in Egypt and the hope for the situation to become more stable soon.

    [27] Former Dep.Minister and MP Grigoris Solomos dies

    Former PASOK deputy and former Deputy Health Minister Grigoris Solomos died on Wednesday at the age of 84.

    Solomos had been hospitalised in an Athens hospital.

    He was born in the village of Koumari, Aegio in 1929 and studied medicine at Athens University. During the German occupation of Greece he was a member of the resistance.

    Solomos was thrice-elected MP for the Achaia prefecture under PASOK and was appointed Deputy Health and Social Insurance Minister.

    His funeral will be held in Patras on Thursday.

    Financial News

    [28] Greek budget deficit down significantly in H1

    Greece's state budget deficit shrank to 4.997 billion euros in the first half of 2013, down from a shortfall of 12.477 billion euros in the corresponding period in 2012 and down from a budget target for a deficit of 7.194 billion, the Finance ministry said on Wednesday.

    The ministry report said that the primary deficit fell to 1.516 billion euros in the January-June period, down significantly compared with a primary deficit of 3.316 billion euros last year and a budget target for a primary shortfall of 3.877 billion euros.

    Net revenues totaled 22.567 billion euros, down by 856 million euros or 3.7 pct compared with a budget target of 23.423 billion euros. Net regular budget revenues fell 4.2 pct compared with a budget target to 20.837 billion euros, reflecting a 34 pct decline in income tax proceeds (due to an extension of a deadline for income tax statements), a 52.1 pct drop in direct tax proceeds, an 11.7 pct decline in VAT proceeds and an 18.9 pct decline in all special consumption tax proceeds. Non-regular revenues fell by 65.1 pct in the first half.

    On the other hand, property tax proceeds surpassed budget targets by 15.6 pct, other consumption tax proceeds surpassed targets by 168.5 pct.

    State budget spending totaled 27.564 billion euros in the first six months of the year, down compared with a budget target of 30.617 billion. Regular budget spending totaled 25.792 billion euros, down by 1.975 billion euros compared with targets, and lower by 23.3 pct compared with the same period last year. This decline reflected an 11.5 pct fall in primary spending and a 62 pct drop in interest spending.

    Meanwhile, the Bank of Greece in a report released on Wednesday said that the state budget cash deficit widened to 8.7 billion euros in the January-June period, from 6.4 billion euros last year. Burdet revenue fell to 20.2 billion euros, from 21.9 billion euros in 2012, while spending rose to 28.6 billion euros form 27.9 billion euros last year. Primary deficit also widened to 4.7 billion euros in the first six months of 2013 from 2.3 billion euros in 2012.

    [29] Greek exports up 4.5 pct in May

    Greek exports grew by 4.5 pct in May this year with the value of export-deliveries totalling 2.414 billion euros, from 2.310 billion euros in May 2012, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service, in a report on the country's merchandise trade, said that the value of import-arrivals fell 5.1 pct in May to 3.848 billion euros, from 4.054 billion euros in May last year.

    [30] Greek CEOs more optimistic over economic developments, ICAP

    Greek CEOs are optimistic over the course of the economy, with 48 pct of chief executive officers saying that economic situation will improve in the next year, a quarterly survey by ICAP Group showed on Wednesday.

    The survey, conducted on a sample of 2,340 chief executives/managing directors of the largest Greek enterprises in the period Jun 19-July 4, 2013, showed that the composite CEO General Index rose to 136 points in the second quarter of 2013.

    The survey noted that a rising trend of the index reflected a continuous improvement of economic climate among company leaders, a development with a very significant impact on economic stabilization and the creation of positive growth expectations in the medium- and long-term horizon. The results of the survey showed an improvement of the climate in all sizes of enterprises, with the CEO Current Status Index rising more rapidly.

    The percentage of CEOs saying the economic situation improved from last year rose to 37 pct, from 16 pct in the previous quarter, while the percentage of CEOs saying the economic situation of the country will improve next year rose to 48 pct from 42 pct in the previous quarter.

    [31] ICAP survey shows sharp reduction of employment

    Employment rate in Greece records a sharp reduction, according to the findings of an ICAP Group survey unveiled on Wednesday, noting that the unemployed-employed ratio is roughly 38 pct (1st quarter 2013) namely, for every 8 people holding a job there are 3 people who are unemployed.

    According to the survey, the accumulative GDP reduction by 20 pct in the period 2008-2012 was accompanied by an equal change in the employment rate (-19 pct between the 4th quarter of 2008 and 2012).

    The existence of higher education unemployed and the prolonged recession appear to turn unemployment into a structural and "fixed" characteristic of the Greek economy.

    [32] Industrial production down 4.6 pct in May

    Industrial production fell by 4.6 pct in May this year, with manufacturing production easing by 1.8 pct in the month, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that the industrial production composite index fell 4.6 pct in May compared with the same month last year, after a 3.0 pct decline recorded in May 2012.

    The statistics service attributed this development to a 19.6 pct decline in the mining production index, an 1.8 pct fall in manufacturing production (food production -9.5 pct, tobacco -17.6 pct, wood production -38 pct, metal products -20 pct, furniture -24.6 pct, textiles -17.2 pct, clothing -6.0 pct), a 10.3 pct decline in electricity production and a 1.2 pct fall in water production.

    The industrial production composite index was down 2.8 pct on average in the January-May 2013 period, after a decline of 6.1 pct recorded in the same period last year.

    [33] HFSF unveils cooperation framework with systemic banks

    Hellenic Financial Stability Fund on Wednesday unveiled the framework of cooperation with the country's four systemic banks (National Bank, Alpha Bank, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank) which have received capital injection from the fund.

    The framework of cooperation varies between the banks in which the Fund has full voting rights (private sector participation of less than 10 pct) and those banks in which the Fund has limited voting rights (private sector participation of more than 10 pct).

    The framework regulates relations between banks and the Fund, along with issues such as corporate governance, drafting and approving of restructuring plans and changes in voting rights. The Fund also monitors the implementation of restructuring plans and all risks taken by the bank.

    Banks' managements will be responsible for setting - independently - their commercial strategy and policy, according to a restructuring plan.

    [34] Visitors and revenues in museums, archaeological sites up

    The number of visitors to museums throughout Greece increased by 13.2 percent in March 2013 as well as in revenues by 14.4 percent, compared with the same month in 2012, the Independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Wednesday. In the first three months of 2013 the number of visitors to museums increased by 19 percent and in revenues by 10.6 percent compared with the correspondent period in 2012.

    Visitors in the archaeological sites around the country rose by 38.8 percent in March 2013 and revenues rose 48.2 percent in comparison with March 2012. In the first three months of 2013 the number of visitors in archaeological sites rose by 38.7 percent and revenues rose 44.4 percent in comparison with the same period in 2012.

    [35] Greece needs bold correctional moves before it is too late, Daskalopoulos says

    Greece needs bold correctional moves otherwise it will face the same dead-ends in October, "and then it will be too late," Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB) said on Wednesday.

    Commenting on the content of an omnibus bill tabled in Parliament by the government on Tuesday, Daskalopoulos said "the room we have to implement these actions is very slim," adding "it was clear that the recipe does not bring the desired results".

    "The omnibus bill tabled to Parliament serves one goal: the disbursement of one more instalment of a loan. A permanently distorted fiscal management prohibits any fiscal benefit. Its reforming value, focusing on taxation, is one-dimensional and with shortcomings. The government can, even in the last minute, complete this unique and big reform effort with the introduction of the Income Tax Code, safeguarding its smooth implementation and adding a growth dimension totally missing. The job for a modern tax framework is still ahead of us. Until now we have not managed to slowdown recession. To prevent the risk of a permanent unemployment. To avoid a widespread downgrading of the country's productive powers. It is clear that the recipe does not offer the desired results," Daskalopoulos said.

    [36] Deadline in tender to sell Hellenic Sugar Industry given new extension

    An international tender to sell ATEbank's equity stake in Hellenic Sugar Industry was given another extension of its deadline until Friday, 1 November 2013, ATEbank's special administrator announced on Wednesday.

    In a statement, the administrator said the extension of the deadline aimed at achieving the best possible solution in the sale process. In this framework, the special administrator can call any candidate (new or old) to submit a binding offer.

    Eurobank Equities is acting as advisor to the sale.

    [37] Jumbo Group says sales up 1.6 pct

    Jumbo Group on Wednesday said its sales totalled 502.2 million euros in the financial year which ended on June 30, 2013 - from 494.3 million euros the previous year - an increase of 1.60 pct.

    Jumbo said its turnover from domestic activities fell slightly; in Cyprus its turnover fell 1.14 pct while in Bulgaria sales grew strongly.

    In the July 2012-June 2013 period, the group launched four new stores - three in Greece and one in Bulgaria - raising its network to 62 units, of which 51 are in Greece, 3 in Cyprus and 8 in Bulgaria. Jumbo also launched an e-shop site in Greece.

    The group plans to continue its expansion programe in existing markets and in Romania.

    [38] Greek stocks end 2.24 pct lower

    Greek stocks remained under strong pressure in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday pushing the composite index near its 2013 lows. Bank shares were at the focus of selling pressure. The composite index of the market fell 2.24 pct to end at 819.54 points, off the day's lows of 810.12 points. Turnover was a thin 42.67 million euros.

    The Large Cap index fell 2.02 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 5.43 pct lower. Folli Follie (0.63 pct) was the only blue chip stock to end higher, while Metka (5.28 pct), National Bank (5.09 pct), Alpha Bank (4.93 pct), Ellaktor (4.17 pct) and Piraeus Bank (4.10 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. All sectors ended lower with Banks (5.48 pct), Raw Materials (4.06 pct) and Technology (3.05 pct) suffering heavily.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 100 to 23 with another 22 issues unchanged. Alsinco (14.29 pct), Medicon (12.71 pct) and Elgeka (11.50 pct) were top gainers, while Attica Bank (29.82 pct), AAA (19.86 pct) and Forthnet (19.73 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -2.85%

    Commercial: +0.58%

    Construction: -2.96%

    Oil & Gas: -1.15%

    Personal & Household: -1.33%

    Raw Materials: -4.06%

    Travel & Leisure: -2.63%

    Technology: -3.05%

    Telecoms: Unchanged

    Banks: -5.48%

    Food & Beverages: -1.02%

    Health: -2.89%

    Utilities: -2.46%

    Financial Services: -1.74%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, National Bank, Eurobank, Attica Bank and OPAP.

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.405

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.40

    HBC Coca Cola: 19.31

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.94

    National Bank of Greece: 2.61

    Eurobank Properties : 7.00

    OPAP: 6.06

    OTE: 5.90

    Piraeus Bank: 0.865

    Titan: 12.50

    [39] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 9.36 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 9.03 pct on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.01 pct and the German Bund 1.65 pct. Turnover was a thin 8.0 million euros, of which 5.0 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 3.0 million euros were buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to 0.51 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.42 pct, the six-month rate was 0.33 pct, the three-month rate eased to 0.21 pct and the one-month rate was 0.12 pct.

    [40] ADEX closing report

    The July contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.44 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover shrinking to 11.822 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,648 contracts worth 7.942 million euros, with 52,425 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 19,124 contracts worth 3.880 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Eurobank's contracts (7,110), followed by National Bank (3,500), Alpha Bank (1,523), Piraeus Bank (1,387), MIG (527), OTE (1,741), PPC (922), GEK (464), Ellaktor (286), Mytilineos (244), Hellenic Exchanges (324) and Viohalco 9113).

    [41] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.300

    Pound sterling 0.873

    Danish kroner 7.570

    Swedish kroner 8.806

    Japanese yen 130.37

    Swiss franc 1.262

    Norwegian kroner 7.972

    Canadian dollar 1.367

    Australian dollar 1.414

    General News

    [42] Summer vacations, an unattainable dream for most Greeks

    Most Greeks (73 pct) can only dream about having summer vacations this year, while for many vacation time will be considerably reduced, according to a nationwide survey made public on Wednesday. The survey results were based on telephone interviews conducted by INKA consumer institute on July 1-8 on a random sample of 545 households.

    According to the survey, 73 pct of the Greeks, compared with 69 pct last year, will not have summer vacations due to financial reasons (70 pct), professional and income instability (20 pct), professional obligations and other reasons (10 pct).

    [43] Truck driver loses his life in ferryboat garage crash

    A 48-year-old driver of a truck parked in the garage of the Sorrento ferryboat was fatally injured when another truck crashed into his while he was standing outside.

    The Sorrento had left Igoumenitsa for Brindisi, Italy, but had to return to port after the accident.

    The 68-year-old driver of the truck that moved and the ship's first mate were arrested.

    [44] Supermarket customer injured during armed robbery

    A supermarket customer was shot and injured during an armed robbery on Wednesday evening in the Athens neighbourhood of Agios Panteleimonas, while trying to stop the store's robber.

    The armed robber managed to escape and fled with an unknown amount of money.

    The injured customer was taken to Red Cross hospital, while police are investigating the incident.

    [45] Submarine 'touches' ancient dock; no injuries or damages reported

    The Proteus submarine, which brushed against an ancient underwater dock on Wednesday as it tried to maneuver around ships in the Gulf of Souda, Crete, is returning to the Souda naval yard for inspection.

    According to General Marine Staff no crew member was injured, there is no safety issue, and no damage was detected on the submarine.

    [46] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: Government gave civil servants' names that will be laid off to the troika.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Administration Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' cynical confession.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Report-slap: Dismantle the National Health System (EOPYY).

    ELLADA AVRIO: Sweeping draft law for civil servants and tax payers.

    ESTIA: Athens discredited in the tourism season.

    ETHNOS: Reversal for 10,000 teachers.

    IMERISSIA: 12,500 civil servants' mass exodus.

    KATHIMERINI: Layoffs test the government.

    LOGOS: We are sinking in recession.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Urgent 'package' with new burdens for all.

    RIZOSPASTIS: Omnibus bill-guillotine for labour rights.

    TA NEA: Who, how, when they leave - Mobility, transfers and layoffs in public sector.

    VRADYNI: Public sector: Crystal Night.

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