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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-08-07

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

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

Wednesday, 7 August 2013 Issue No: 4427

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek inflation rate remains negative
  • [02] Vehicle, foot traffic ban in forests near urban areas after dark
  • [03] State issues fire warning for this week
  • [04] Interior Minister Mihelakis meets with volunteer firefighters
  • [05] No more across-the-board job cuts in municipalities, minister says
  • [06] PASOK strongly opposed to primary residence auctions, hospital mergers
  • [07] Tsipras slams austerity in Russia 24 interview; draws criticism from gov't spokesman
  • [08] SYRIZA warns "forest fires are aimed at turning Attica into real estate"
  • [09] SYRIZA calls on KKE to explain sale of its 902 radio & TV station
  • [10] Independent Greeks attack government over health-sector mobility, jobs
  • [11] KKE officially confirmed the sale of 902 a day earlier but relevant information had leaked to the media since Sunday
  • [12] Labour minister's statement a 'summer night's joke,' SYRIZA says
  • [13] KKE party replies to statements by Labour minister
  • [14] German philosopher Jurgen Habermas calls for more democracy in EU
  • [15] Olympian Pyrros Dimas meets with sports minister
  • [16] Greece, Cyprus, Israel to sign joint declaration on project linking their electricity grids
  • [17] Development, Interior ministers visit Vyronas swimming pool funded by NSRF
  • [18] Greece raises 812.5 mln euros from T-bill auction
  • [19] Corfu cruise ship arrivals top 100,000 in July
  • [20] Pensioners in Greece number close to 3 million
  • [21] New Pharmaceuticals Price List issued
  • [22] Autohellas Hertz reports 2.4 mln euro losses after tax in first half 2013
  • [23] Nikolaos Karamouzis leaves Eurobank for Piraeus Bank
  • [24] Frigoglass reports lower profits in 2nd quarter 2013
  • [25] Greek inflation remains negative in July
  • [26] Greek stocks rise for fifth consecutive session
  • [27] ADEX closing report
  • [28] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [29] Varybobi fire damages homes, as 130 firefighters try to contain it
  • [30] Varybobi fire abates, firefighters still on alert, mayor says
  • [31] EEDYE committee holds event on Hiroshima, Nagasaki atomic bombings anniversary
  • [32] Larissa police discover over half a million packets of contraband cigarettes
  • [33] Tripoli motorway to be named after composer Mikis Theodorakis
  • [34] Drug arrest in Athens' international airport
  • [35] Tourist hit by stray bullet on Crete
  • [36] Trial of five squatters arrested in Patra postponed
  • [37] Fair on Wednesday
  • [38] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Greek inflation rate remains negative

    The Greek inflation rate remained negative at -0.7 pct in July this year, unchanged from -0.4 pct in June, compared with a 1.3 pct rate in July last year, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Tuesday.

    The General Consumer Price Index declined by 1.7 pct in July 2013 in comparison with June 2013, compared with a 1.4 pct decline during the same period in 2012.

    According to ELSTAT, the inflation rate drop in July 2013 relative to the previous month was due to: a drop in the food & beverages price index (-1.3 pct), caused by lower fresh produce prices and offset by higher prices for fresh fish; a 13.6 pct decline in clothing and footwear prices due to summer sales; a 0.1 pct decline in housing price index due to lower rents; a 3.4 pct decline in the household goods and services price index due to summer sales; a 0.2 pct decline in the health price index driven by lower fees for medical services; and a 1.2 pct decline in the 'other goods and services' index driven by summer sales of seasonal travel goods and personal grooming products.

    These were offset by a 0.5 pct rise in transportation prices due to higher petrol prices and a 0.1 pct rise in hotels/cafes/restaurants prices, attributed to a rise in hotel prices.

    [02] Vehicle, foot traffic ban in forests near urban areas after dark

    Greek authorities on Tuesday announced a ban of all vehicle and foot traffic in forests in or around urban areas from sunset to sunrise until next Saturday. In specific areas where this is judged necessary, the ban may also be extended to daylight hours. The decision was made at a meeting chaired by Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias at the Fire Brigade Operations Centre in Halandri on Tuesday to discuss the major fire that swept through Varybobi and Thrakoma-kedones west of Athens during the night.

    The focus of the meeting was on deciding additional measures to protect against fires during the coming week, when the Greek weather service has warned that a combination of strong winds and hot weather make the fire risk exceptionally high.

    Dendias also urged all Greeks to pitch in and help in the effort to protect the country from fires, in addition to the state services that will be placed on high alert.

    "What our country needs more than ever, especially today, are 11 million fire wardens so that all of Greek territory is under supervision and there is prompt warning of every fire. We must return, through volunteerism, to a universal recruitment of citizens against the real and present danger, the danger to Greek tradition, Greek environment, life and property," Dendias said.

    The meeting also decided to fully activate the Greek Police to carry out patrols in woodlands so as to prevent and avert fires, in addition to the motorbike patrols introduced this year by the fire brigade and those being carried out by the Greek armed forces, the minister announced.

    Concerning the destructive fire in Varybobi, the minister hinted broadly that it may have been deliberate, noting that about half the fires whose causes had been investigated and solved were found to have been set intentionally. The minister noted that fires set either deliberately or through criminal negligence placed great strain on the fire brigade and it was only through the selflessness of firemen and the good direction of the force's leadership that even worse outcomes had been avoided.

    "I had promptly warned Greek society of the huge problems we will face this year," Dendias added, referring to the deficiencies of state mechanisms.

    Sources within the Crimes of Arson department, meanwhile, strongly suspect arson in the case of the Varybobi fire. They note that it started extremely late, at 22:45 p.m. at night, and at a location where no natural explanation for its cause might be found, at a time when there were very strong winds blowing in the area. They also pointed out that another fire had started in the same location and at the same time about 17 days ago, again at a time when there were strong winds.

    Dendias also thanked National Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and the leadership of the armed forces for their valuable help throughout the fire-protection season, as well as the hundreds of volunteers that sped to assist fire-fighting efforts in Thrakomakedones and Varybobi and local authorities.

    He warned those behind such fires that the Greek state "does not intend to remain without acting" in the face of this major threat to natural wealth and human lives, while urging the general public to be exceptionally careful in their daily activities during the days of high fire risk to avoid accidental fires.

    The fire in Varybobi is now under control while fire-fighting forces remain on the scene in case it is rekindled by strong winds.

    [03] State issues fire warning for this week

    The General Secretariat of Civil Protection issued a warning on Tuesday over the threat of fires throughout Greece, saying that weather conditions this week raised the chances of an outbreak.

    Local services have been placed on high alert, it said, and warned people living or vacationing near forestland to be particularly careful by avoiding lighting pyres, using machinery that produces sparks and operating grills in the open air.

    In case of need, it said people should call the fire brigade at 199 (national number).

    [04] Interior Minister Mihelakis meets with volunteer firefighters

    Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis on Tuesday met with representatives of volunteer firefighters, who battled the wildfires in the greater Athens regions of Marathonas and Varybobi a day earlier, and was briefed on fire prevention problems by local authorities.

    During his visit to the Fire Lookout Tower in the district of Vyronas, Mihelakis expressed the will to support the work of volunteer fire-fighters, congratulating them for their contribution to firefighting efforts.

    [05] No more across-the-board job cuts in municipalities, minister says

    There will be no more across-the-board job cuts in municipalities, Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis told private Mega TV on Tuesday.

    "Every horizontal (across-the-board) cut is unjust," Michelakis said. "We should have carried out changes in the public sector many years ago. There will be no more horizontal cuts in municipalities from now on. But evaluations must continue," he added, referring to a review of personnel files at local government level so that excess staff can be transferred elsewhere.

    [06] PASOK strongly opposed to primary residence auctions, hospital mergers

    The PASOK party has voiced its strong opposition against auctions of bank debtors' primary residences, as the government is considering bringing the measure back as of January 2014.

    The party's head for development, Thanos Moraitis issued a statement on Tuesday in which he expressed PASOK's disagreement to any such eventuality "especially today that the Greek family is experiencing the negative consequences of the crisis."

    Moraitis said authorities should be careful in their references to the issue so as to prevent creating a climate of insecurity and inconvenience to citizens. In addition, he reminded that PASOK has requested the Parliament to extend into 2014 legislation banning the auction of primary residences for debts of up 200,000 euros.

    In addition, PASOK's health sector has expressed strong reservations over Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis' plans for certain hospital mergers and inclusion of employees in the so-called mobility scheme, eventually leading to some layoffs from the public service.

    "Hospital mergers should be solely aimed at enhancing health services to citizens," it said.

    [07] Tsipras slams austerity in Russia 24 interview; draws criticism from gov't spokesman

    An interview by main opposition 'Radical Left Coalition' (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras to the Russia 24 television channel on Tuesday, in which Tsipras underlined the risk to Europe from harsh austerity and rising neo-Nazism and fascism, was sharply criticised by government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou.

    "If there is even one serious faction within SYRIZA, it should remind Mr. Tsipras that the European Union is one thing and the Soviet Union another," Kedikoglou said in a comment on the interview.

    Talking to Russia 24, Tsipras had underlined the risks to Europe as a result of ruptured social cohesion and the rise of neo-Nazis and fascism. He also criticised the austerity programme being implemented in Greece and underlined his party's pro-European orientation.

    Tsipras stressed that developments in Greece and all of Europe were crucial due to these risks and the economic crisis, adding that SYRIZA aspires to be the "calm force" that will strive to reverse these for the benefit of all Europeans. He also repeated his proposal for an agreement between the countries in the European south.

    Noting that the EU was now at "an existential and historical impasse," that was rapidly converting it into a "German Europe" serving bankers and big capital, Tsipras said that those adopting an anti-European policy "are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the governments that implement a strict austerity policy".

    Criticising the programme being implemented in Greece, Tsipras stressed that selling off everything and tearing apart society and the people "was not a solution". He called for an international conference on public debt modeled after the London Debt Agreement that contributed to the economic miracle of post-war Germany, pointing out that harsh austerity policies like those being implemented in the European south had ultimately led to WWII.

    [08] SYRIZA warns "forest fires are aimed at turning Attica into real estate"

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Tuesday commented on the annual phenomenon of forest fires that ravage the region of Attica, noting that the fact that the same model, in terms of frequency and intensity, is repeated each year constitutes a clear proof that they (forest fires) are aimed at surrendering the region to real estate developers.

    SYRIZA rural development and food sector head MP Vangelis Apostolou called on the government to ratify the forest maps posted and proceed with the reforestation of the burned forest land.

    [09] SYRIZA calls on KKE to explain sale of its 902 radio & TV station

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Tuesday called on the Communist Party (KKE) to give explanations as regards the sale of its"902" affiliated radio and television station.

    Speaking in an Athens radio station, SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman Dimitris Papadimoulis underlined that the KKE leadership has the responsibility to disclose to whom and how it sold its station, and to answer whether it is legitimate for a political party to sell to private interests a broadcasting license given to it for free.

    Papadimoulis underlined that "KKE, which rejects any joint action with SYRIZA, decided to sell its radio and television to a private investor, who promotes the ultra-right Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party and is often seen with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras".

    The Left cannot have double standards when it comes to layoffs and privatizations, Papadimoulis concluded.

    [10] Independent Greeks attack government over health-sector mobility, jobs

    Members of the opposition Independent Greeks party on Tuesday attacked the government's policies in health, employment, wages and public-sector reform.

    The party's Parliamentary group secretary Panagiotis Melas slammed statements by Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis, saying that essential nursing and medical staff were being removed from the health sector due to threats from Greece's creditors, further undermining the level of health services provided.

    The MP Marina Chrysoveloni also slammed the mobility scheme system for evaluating public sector staff as a "guillotine thirsty for blood" and said it was "slapdash and unfair".

    [11] KKE officially confirmed the sale of 902 a day earlier but relevant information had leaked to the media since Sunday

    In a press release issued on Monday afternoon, KKE noted: "We ended up opting for the sale [of 902] in order to pay the television channel's debts. The sale regards infrastructure, equipment and company cars. The title and verbal and audio signals remain the party's property."

    KKE said that the sale will enable 902 to pay the money owed to employees and social security funds. It noted that during the four past years of Greece's economic crisis, the company operating 902, Radioteleoptiki, and its employees made tremendous efforts to support the TV station, but it was impossible to avert its financial collapse.

    The press release did not provide information on the station's new owner.

    [12] Labour minister's statement a 'summer night's joke,' SYRIZA says

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MP Dimitris Stratoulis on Tuesday said that statements made earlier by Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis were "a summer joke" after the minister ruled out a reduction of the minimum wage and the 13th and 14th salaries in the private sector (full-salary Christmas bonus and half-salary Easter and summer holiday bonuses).

    Stratoulis noted that the government has undertaken a commitment before the EU-IMF troika to reduce the minimum monthly salary to 150 or 200 euros to match the monthly salaries paid in Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia.

    Speaking during a morning chat show on television, Vroutsis said there will be no further reduction to the minimum wage or the 13th and 14th salaries before 2016, adding that the troika never raised the issue of abolishing the specific bonuses in the private sector. He also said that there will be no further reduction in pensions but underlined that the social insurance system needs "corrective changes".

    [13] KKE party replies to statements by Labour minister

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Tuesday replying to statements made by Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, stressed that "once again the Labour minister is being provocative and insulting the intelligence of working people [by saying] that the minimum salary will not be decreased further".

    KKE accused the minister of seeking to "disorient" workers and hide "the strategic plan that is being promoted, for new drastic cuts in salaries, wages and pensions".

    The announcement also pointed out that "the minimum starvation wage is already being abolished in practice, methodically, in various ways. The big businessmen already have in their hands a complete anti-popular arsenal that is cutting labour income continuously. Yiannis Vroutsis' commitments have the same value as statements by previous ministers, that new measures will not come".

    [14] German philosopher Jurgen Habermas calls for more democracy in EU

    Philosopher Jurgen Habermas, called "one of the world's leading intellectuals", told a packed amphitheatre at the University of Athens School of Philosophy on Tuesday that the European unification should be completed to "restore balance between politics and the market."

    Addressing the 23rd World Congress of Philosophy, held in Athens for the first time, Habermas, 84, analysed the European crisis from the angle of lack of political solidarity.

    The three elements of every democratic system, he said, were "the people, as carrier of political will; the state as an organisation that gives the people the possibility to act collectively; and the legally formed society of citizens as a voluntary union of free and equal individuals."

    In a supranational democracy, he explained, citizens can acquire a double role - as members of a future union and as members of the states belonging to this union. But the European crisis has proven that this path to a supranational democracy is not easy. "Without a common fiscal and economic policy that will be further extended into other spheres, such as the tax system and social policy, the EU will not be able to return to stability in the near future," Habermas noted. "In the long term, lending to over-indebted countries will not be enough to strengthen their competitiveness," he noted.

    The German philosopher called for more democracy in Europe and changes in its rules of operation. Instead, he said, what is happening is the EU is sliding into a form of technocracy in which member states participate without involvement by their respective citizens.

    Criticising the German government, Habermas said that under its guidance, the EU has prioritized the fiscal balance of each member state over anything else in resolving the crisis. "To countries hit by the crisis," he said, "this policy affects the systems of social insurance, public services, and collective goods. Therefore, the least privileged strata of society are called upon to shoulder the greatest price."

    Habermas called on political solidarity to resolve the crisis, but criticised powerful EU members for avoiding explaining to their citizens that without this solidarity, development and competitiveness will not be strengthened in the eurozone. "This stance indicates political cowardice, if not pure opportunism, at a time when Europe is facing a challenge of immense proportions," he concluded.

    [15] Olympian Pyrros Dimas meets with sports minister

    Pyrros Dimas, president of the Hellenic Weightlifting Federation and state deputy, met on Tuesday with Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Yiannis Andrianos.

    Dimas, a three-time Olympic gold medal winner in weightlifting, briefed the minister on the future of the sport in Greece and on the new generation of Greek weightlifters. The minister congratulated him on his recent election as member of the executive board of the International Weightlifting Federation and for the success of the national team in the Mediterranean Games held in Turkey this past June, where Greek weightlifters got 1 gold, 18 silver and 26 bronze medals, ranking sixth.

    Financial News

    [16] Greece, Cyprus, Israel to sign joint declaration on project linking their electricity grids

    The appropriate ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Israel will hold a working meeting in Nicosia on Wednesday and Thursday, during which they will voice their support for the EuroAsia Interconnector project that will link the electricity grids of the three countries through an underwater cable that will also hook up with the Paneuropean Electricity Grid.

    The cable's length of 540 nautical miles (1,000 km), ultimate depth of 2,000 metres below sea level, and its 2000MW capacity, make it one of the most ambitious electricity connector projects in the world. As a result of coordinated action undertaken by Greece and Cyprus, it was recently included in the EU Projects of Common Interest.

    Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis, Cyprus' Energy, Commerce, Industry & Tourism Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis and Israel's Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom will sign a joint declaration in support of the project and a memorandum of understanding to strengthen trilateral cooperation in the sectors of energy, environmental protection and management of water resources.

    [17] Development, Interior ministers visit Vyronas swimming pool funded by NSRF

    Visiting a bioclimatic swimming pool built with the help of National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funding in the Athens district of Vyronas, Development Minister Costas Hatzidakis on Tuesday stressed that the NSRF was not just about absorption and numbers but "projects that improve the quality of our lives and create new jobs".

    "At this moment, in Attica alone, there are 433 technical projects underway and 130 of these are in an advanced stage, or more than 90 pct complete," the minister pointed out, adding that the combined budget of these projects was nearly half a billion euro.

    The minister, who was accompanied by Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis, stressed that promoting such projects was the answer to the crisis and the reason why the development and interior ministries were collaborating to ensure rapid progress of municipal projects.

    Asked about a new investment law, Hatzidakis repeated that recent changes had increased the number of applications from businesses in 2013 relative to latter half of 2012 by 40 pct.

    "I'm not trying tos ay that all our problems are solved but it is an indication that there is progress," he said, adding that the government was moving rapidly to set up a central licensing authority and to issue the necessary decisions and presidential decrees, so that potential investors did not lose time and would be eligible for the various benefits envisaged under the law.

    Mihelakis agreed that projects such as the Vyronas swimming pool were "the answer to the crisis" and that the aim was to have a project underway in every municipality so as to create jobs and allow a gradual recovery and growth.

    The project in Vyronas included the construction of a new bioclimatic swimming pool and improving energy efficiency in an older indoor municipal gym nearby, which is capable of seating 1,000 spectators. The budget for the project, which was supported with NSRF funds, came to 19,435,164.34 euros.

    The final delivery date is on May 1, 2014 and about 50 pct of the project is now completed, of which 42 pct has been paid off.

    [18] Greece raises 812.5 mln euros from T-bill auction

    Greece on Tuesday successfully auctioned a six-month Treasury bill issue, raising 812.5 million euros from the market.

    The Public Debt Management Organization in a statement said bids submitted totalled 1.104 billion euros, 1.77 times more than the asked sum, of 625 million euros.

    The yield of the issue was set at 4.20 pct, the same as in the previous auction of six-month T-bills in July.

    [19] Corfu cruise ship arrivals top 100,000 in July

    Cruises arriving at the Ionian Sea island of Corfu registered a significant rise this year, it was announced on Tuesday.

    A total of 73 cruise ships with 106,665 passengers arrived on the island in the month of July, compared to the same month last year when the island was visited by 65 cruise ships carrying 86,724 passengers. The increase recorded in passenger numbers was 23.0 pct (19,941 more than in July 2012) while in terms of cruise ships the increase was 12.3 pct (8 more).

    Corfu Port Authority forecasts were optimistic, as over 100,000 tourists are scheduled to arrive at the island on cruise ships in August and September.

    [20] Pensioners in Greece number close to 3 million

    Pensioners in Greece number 2.707 million, according to official data made public on Tuesday by the ministry of labour.

    The data on the number and size of the pensions paid were given to publicity by Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis in the context of the presentation of the third report prepared by the electronic pension payment system "Helios".

    According to the figures provided, the exact number of pensioners is 2,707,727 and the total amount paid for pensions in the month of August reached 2,303,466,298.98 euros. The average monthly income for pensioners is 921.19 euros before taxes.

    [21] New Pharmaceuticals Price List issued

    A new Pharmaceuticals Price List was issued on Tuesday with the aim of achieving a new small drop in drug prices, as well as the introduction of new innovative pharmaceuticals.

    The new cost pricing of the on patent drugs will result in a small drop in the prices of more than half of the pharmaceuticals subjected to new pricing.

    Moreover, the pricing of the new innovative drugs can bring about, according to the Health ministry, savings in treatment costs.

    The new Price List will be valid for producers, packagers and importers as of 26.08.2013, for pharmaceutical storehouses as of 02.09.2013 and for private pharmacies as of 09.09.2013.

    [22] Autohellas Hertz reports 2.4 mln euro losses after tax in first half 2013

    Autohellas Hertz on Tuesday reported consolidated losses after tax of 2.4 million euros in the first half of 2013, due to a rise in the taxation rate from 20 pct to 26 pct that increased the company's deferred tax obligation to 4.5 million euros.

    In an announcement, Autohellas Hertz reported a significant rise in short-term leases due to an increase in tourist arrivals that helped keep consolidated turnover at the same levels as the previous year, at 68.6 million euros, in spite of continued weak demand in the long-term car leasing market.

    Consolidated profits before tax had thus risen to 3.0 million euros in the first half of 2013, up from 0.5 million euros in 2012. Since turnover is usually highest in the third quarter due to the seasonal nature of short-term rentals, the company sees a positive outlook in the next quarter.

    [23] Nikolaos Karamouzis leaves Eurobank for Piraeus Bank

    Nikolaos Karamouzis, former deputy CEO at Eurobank, will take up the post of board advisor and member of the Committee of Strategic Planning for the Piraeus Bank Group as of September 1.

    He will be responsible for planning and implementing the transformation of Geniki Bank, a Piraeus subsidiary, into an independent investment and development bank.

    Karamouzis holds a BA in economy from Piraeus University, where he is professor, a Master's in economics from the American University and a Ph.D. in monetary studies from Pennsylvania State University. He has extensive experience in banking, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the central Bank of Greece and the National Bank of Greece, among others.

    [24] Frigoglass reports lower profits in 2nd quarter 2013

    Satisfactory sales but lower net profits in the second quarter of 2013 were announced by Frigoglass on Tuesday. The group said net profits fell 39.9 pct to 9.87 pct, down from 16.4 million euros in the same period of 2012. EBITDA margins improved by 70 basis points compared with 2012, while investment by Coca-Cola bottlers was significantly lower.

    There was also a significant reduction in net borrowing compared with the 1st quarter of 2013 and a successful restructuring of bank loans through the issue of five-year bonds worth 250 million euros.

    [25] Greek inflation remains negative in July

    Greek inflation rate in July dropped by 1.7 pct against June, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Tuesday.

    In its report, the statistics service said that the rate had also dropped 0.7 pct compared to July 2012, against a 1.3 pct increase it had registered in July 2012 compared to the previous year (July 2011).

    For the 12-month period of August 2012-July 2013, the rate rose by 0.3 pct, compared to the previous year.

    According to ELSTAT, the inflation rate drop was attributed to a drop in six price indexes and a rise in two.

    The drop occurred in the following price indexes: food & beverages (by 1.3 pct), due to a drop in fresh fruit and vegetables, offset by an increase in fresh fish prices; clothing & footwear (by 13.6 pct), due to summer sales; housing (by 0.1 pct), due to a drop in rent prices; household goods & services (by 3.4 pct), due to general summer sales; health (by 0.2 pct), due to a reduction in medical services; and other goods & services (by 1.2 pct), due to summer sales in travel and personal goods, including personal grooming.

    The price indexes that registered a rise were transportation (by 0.5 pct), attributed to a rise in petrol prices; and hotels/cafes/restaurants (by 0.1 pct), attributed to a rise in hotel prices.

    [26] Greek stocks rise for fifth consecutive session

    Greek stocks rose for the fifth consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, breaking through the 920-point mark to reach the bourse's highest levels since June 14. The composite index of the market rose 0.87 pct to close at 925.73 points, with cumulative gains of 6.79 pct over the last five sessions. Turnover was a modest 47.14 million euros.

    The Large Cap index ended 0.42 pct up and the Mid Cap index surged 2.23 pct.

    Viohalco (5.29 pct), OPAP (3.55 pct), Metka (3.46 pct) and Frigoglass (3.46 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while National Bank of Greece (-1.95 pct), Coca Cola HBC (-1.79 pct), PPC (-1.03 pct) and EYDAP (-0.81 pct) were top losers.

    The Industrial Products (3.42 pct), Travel (3.42 pct), Personal Products (1.56 pct) and Raw Materials (1.39 pct) sectors scored the greatest gains, while Foods (-1.76 pct), Utilities (-0.76 pct) and Technology (-0.16 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 75 to 49 with another 24 issues unchanged.

    Kathimerini (19.66 pct), Hatzikraniotis (19.21 pct) and Pegasos (17.79 pct) and Centric Holding (14.16 pct) were top gainers, while Fieratex (-24.16 pct), Atti-Kat (-18.60 pct) and Spider (- 17.24 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +3.42%

    Commercial: +0.81%

    Construction: +1.35%

    Oil & Gas: +0.82%

    Personal & Household: +1.56%

    Raw Materials: +1.39%

    Travel & Leisure: +3.42%

    Technology: -0.16%

    Telecoms: +0.99

    Banks: +0.42%

    Food & Beverages: -1.76%

    Health: -0.05%

    Utilities: -0.76%

    Financial Services: +0.03%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.47

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.71

    HBC Coca Cola: 20.80

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.67

    National Bank of Greece: 2.51

    Eurobank Properties : 7.15

    OPAP: 7.00

    OTE: 7.15

    Titan: 15.78

    [27] ADEX closing report

    The August contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 1.57 pct on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 10.477 million euros.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,009 contracts worth 7.767 million euros, with 51,801 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 7,488 contracts worth 2.710 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus' contracts (1,312), followed by PPC (1,227), Alpha Bank (909), Eurobank (809), OTE (679), GEK (615), National Bank (393), Mytilineos (248), Intralot (210), MIG (200), OPAP (177), Ellaktor (127), Hellenic Exchanges (83), Motor Oil (74), Jumbo (60), HBC Coca Cola (59), Hellenic Petroleum (52), Titan (42), Terna Energy (37), Frigoglass (34), Siddenor (21), Metka (18), OLP (12), Corinth Pipeworks (5), Folli Follie (2) and Eurobank Properties (1).

    [28] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.347

    Pound sterling 0.878

    Danish kroner 7.568

    Swedish kroner 8.841

    Japanese yen 132.22

    Swiss franc 1.249

    Norwegian kroner 7.978

    Canadian dollar 1.398

    Australian dollar 1.503

    General News

    [29] Varybobi fire damages homes, as 130 firefighters try to contain it

    A large contingency of firefighters aided by forces from other Greek cities tried to put under control a fire that started on Monday night in Varybobi, a suburb north of Athens by Mt. Parnitha.

    Strong winds rekindled put-out spots and changed the direction of the blaze, which has been somewhat contained, the firefighters said.

    The fire department said that there are currently 130 firefighters with 66 engines in the area, along with firefighters on foot, municipalities staff, the army, volunteers and private machinery. The Peloponnese, Thessaly, and Western Greece have sent firefighters, with Thessaloniki and Komotini sending more on Tuesday.

    So far, the fire has damaged a number of homes in the Agia Kyriaki settlement, between Varybobi and Thrakomakedones, and created problems in power networks and supply.

    According to preliminary information, the fire broke out at a patch of forestland and started cutting a path up towards the mountain.

    [30] Varybobi fire abates, firefighters still on alert, mayor says

    An extensive fire that burned parts of Varybobi and Thrakomakedones north of Athens since Monday night has abated, the neighbouring Acharnes mayor told ANA-MPA, but has not been put out.

    A large contingency of firefighters aided by forces from other Greek cities tried to put under control the fire that started by Mt. Parnitha and spread because of strong winds, damaging homes and disrupting power services.

    Over 130 firefighters with 66 engines, firefighters on foot, municipalities staff, the army, volunteers and private citizens have been battling the blaze since last night.

    The mayor of Acharnes Sotiris Douros said the danger of the fire being rekindled is not over. The extent of the damage cannot be assessed yet, he said, but large parts of the forest have been destroyed, and the environmental damage is immense.

    He added that at least ten homes and several cars had been burned, while parts of towns are in the dark after damages to the power grid.

    [31] EEDYE committee holds event on Hiroshima, Nagasaki atomic bombings anniversary

    The Greek Committee for International Detente and Peace (EEDYE) held an event at the Athens Acropolis on Tuesday evening on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    EEDYE called on working people "to raise their voice and intensify their action against the imperialist wars", and "to fight, demanding the country's disengagement from war preparations," as well as for "all the bases and headquarters of NATO and the EU to close down". Lastly, it called for "all uniformed Greeks in imperialist missions to return home, and the military exercises and military cooperation agreements with Israel to be annulled".

    [32] Larissa police discover over half a million packets of contraband cigarettes

    Larissa police discovered over half a million packets of contraband cigarettes in a check of a truck travelling near the old Tempi tollgate.

    According to reports, the check of the truck, whose driver was a Greek, was random and a countless quantity of contraband cigarette packets was detected in the container. According to a first assessment, the loss incurred by the state from unpaid duties exceeds 1.1 million euros.

    The driver was arrested and the truck confiscated, while the count of the packets of cigarettes was continuing.

    [33] Tripoli motorway to be named after composer Mikis Theodorakis

    The Tripoli city council, Arcadia prefecture, Peloponnese decided on Tuesday to name a motorway of the city's new ring road after renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.

    The decision was taken after a proposal by mayor Yiannis Smyrniotis to honour the Greek composer who lived in Tripoli and Arcadia over a large part of his life and produced considerable music work during the period.

    The unveiling of the name of the city's new motorway will be taking place on August 12.

    [34] Drug arrest in Athens' international airport

    A 55-year-old local woman was arrested at Athens' international airport after attempting to smuggle roughly 5 kilos of heroin into Greece, police announced on Tuesday.

    The drugs were found in her luggage by drug squad officers at noon on Monday. The woman arrived in Athens on board a flight from Nairobi, Kenya via Doha, Qatar.

    [35] Tourist hit by stray bullet on Crete

    A Swiss tourist holidaying on the island of Crete was wounded by a "stray" bullet, possibly from a shot fired into the air, in the city of Rethimno.

    The incident occurred on Sunday evening, on the premises of a hotel in the region, when a bullet suddenly hit the tourist in the leg as he was sitting at a table. The hotel's management was notified immediately and the wounded tourist was rushed to Rethimno hospital. Doctors removed the bullet on Monday evening.

    The local police are investigating where the bullet came from.

    [36] Trial of five squatters arrested in Patra postponed

    The trial of five people arrested on Monday during a police operation in the city of Patra, Peloponnese to evacuate the "Marangopoulio" building that was taken over by squatters has been postponed for August 13.

    More than 100 people gathered outside the Patra court building to express solidarity with the defendants.

    Meanwhile, Patra municipality work crews continued on Tuesday to clean up the premises of the Patra University's former campus, as well as the "Marangopoulio" and a Technical Institute building that had been squatted.

    Weather forecast

    [37] Fair on Wednesday

    Generally fair, with some local cloudiness on the mainland in the afternoon. Mostly northerly winds from 2 to 4 Beaufort, except at the Aegean Sea, where weather services have warned of winds reaching 8 Beaufort. Temperatures ranging mostly from 20C to around 33C, higher in Thessaly and parts of western Peloponnese. In Athens, fair with north-northeasterly winds 5 to 6 Beaufort, but rising temporarily to 8. Temperatures from 24C to 33C. In Thessaloniki, fair with temporary cloudiness at higher elevations, in the afternoon. Variable winds 2 to 4 Beaufort. Temperatures from 22C to 34C.

    [38] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: "Health sector hit by mobility virus"

    DIMOKRATIA: "Vultures circling over homes"

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: (Health Minister Georgiadis) "Adonis damages health irreparably"

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "4,800 bank employees on their way out in 2013"

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "4 hiring packages by end August" for civil servants

    ESTIA: "Worry about autumn (figures)"

    ETHNOS: "Financial crimes squad's Operation Lightning"

    IMERISSIA: "Two key solutions" (surplus and development)

    KATHIMERINI: "New positive signs in economy's progress"

    LOGOS: "Mobility for 1,618 staff" in health

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Banking sector fighting on seven fronts"

    TA NEA: "All the points for the transfer of civil servants"

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