|Friday, 23 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-08-22
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 22 August 2013 Issue No: 4440
 ECB official praises efforts and sacrifices of Greek government and peopleEuropean Central Bank (ECB) official Joerg Asmussen, speaking after meeting Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Wednesday while on a one-day working visit to Athens, praised the efforts and sacrifices of the Greek government and the Greek people.
Asmussen said there are already results that show the Greek economy has stabilised, while the Greek banking system is now recapitalised. He spoke of a painful effort and expressed his respect for the efforts of the Greek people.
He also said that the reforms must be continued and he placed emphasis on efforts to fight unemployment, particularly among young people, and to achieve growth rates.
Asked about a possible new "haircut" for the Greek debt, as well as the possibility of a new fiscal programme for Greece, he referred to the decision taken by the Eurogroup last November which stated explicitly that if a primary surplus is achieved, measures will be examined for further debt reduction.
He added that whatever discussions will not begin before the spring of 2014, when the data on the Greek economy for 2013 comes in.
Asmussen is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at 4.30 pm at the government headquarters of Maximos Mansion.
His visit comes ahead of a review in September by Greece's troika of lenders that include the ECB, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund.
 PM Samaras meets with ECB's AsmoussenPrime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday afternoon had a meeting with visiting European Central Bank?executive board member?Joerg Asmussen.
The meeting was held at the Government Building (Maximos Mansion) and was also attended by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.
Asmussen is on Thursday morning (10:30) scheduled to meet with government vice president and Foreign minister Evangelos Venizelos.
 July's Eurogroup did not discuss possibility of new aid to Greece, spokesperson saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
European finance ministers did not raise the issue of a new aid package to Greece in their monthly July meeting (Eurogroup), European Commission spokesperson Chantal Hughes said in Brussels on Wednesday.
The spokesperson was asked to respond to statements by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who said on Tuesday that Greece would need a third aid package past 2014. She said that the Greek fiscal adjustment programme was proceeding effectively and the next the next important step for Greece is the review by the troika of lenders in September.
Commenting on statements by Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn, she said that he was referring to various options available, including that of extending the loan maturity dates.
 FM Venizelos pleased with outcome of EU meeting on EgyptBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)
Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesday evening said he was pleased with the outcome of a meeting here of the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council on Egypt, underlining that Greece could promote its own initiatives on the issue.
After a substantial and critical discussion, Venizelos said, "the text of the conclusions reflects a creative and positive European position, which can contribute to overcoming the crisis and achieving a peaceful diffusion of the situation in Egypt as a key country in the region, as well as many major open international issues."
Venizelos added that the conclusions reached by the Council allowed Greece to promote its own initiatives on the issue in cooperation with other countries, stressing the added importance of this to Greece owing to the Greek community in Egypt and Alexandria's Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.
 DIMAR calls on government to take initiatives for stabilisation of economy and growthThe Democratic Left party (DIMAR), referring on Wednesday to press reports on the restructuring of the public debt that have come to light, stressed that the Greek government must not just wait for the decisions by the country's creditors on the sustainability of the Greek debt, but must take initiatives instead for the stabilisation of the economy and growth so that new burdensome measures will not be introduced to society.
In an announcement, the party said that the discussion on the sustainability of the Greek debt and the possible fiscal vacuum has opened and the possibility of new burdensome measures being taken for society must be ruled out.
 Ministerial meeting next Monday to look into island power interconnection projectsThe ministries of Development and Environment are considering the incorporation of Greek island power interconnection projects into a public-private partnership co-funded programme.
Specifically, the options will be examined in depth during a meeting to be held on Monday, August 26 by Environment minister Yiannis Maniatis and Development minister Costis Hatzidakis, with participation by the two respective deputies Makis Papageorgiou and Notis Mitarakis.
 Mitsotakis stresses need for standing mobility scheme ?In an Administrative Reform ministry memo, minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis referred to the need to set up a standing scheme for voluntary mobility in the public service.
Speaking on Skai radio station on Wednesday, the minister reiterated that the so-called mobility scheme concerns only redundant public staff and not the entire body of public servants. He added that only a small number of staff to be placed under the mobility scheme will eventually be laid off.
Referring to the issue relating to the future of municipal police, Mitsotakis stressed that the ministry's intention was that the entire municipal police staff be absorbed by other departments the soonest possible. He added, however, that in spite of skillful personnel, the municipal police operation was problematic.
 Serbian president extols Greek-Serbian relationsGreece and Serbia retain excellent relations, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said on Tuesday (yesterday) after a meeting with outgoing head of the Greek diplomatic mission to Belgrade, Ambassador Dimosthenis Stoidis.
Nikolic told Stoidis that his country is grateful to Greece for its support in anything related to the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and also mentioned Greece's support toward Serbia's membership in the European Union. He also said that 2014 would be the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, and it was very important that Greece and Serbia, as allies, remain focused on efforts for peace and freedom against any aggression and oppression.
Serbian news agency Tanjug quoted Stoidis as saying that the anniversary is very important, and noted there will be no revision in historical events and refusal of responsibility for war events.
In an announcement by the Serbian presidency, Stoidis pointed out that during its six-month presidency of the European Union starting in January 2014, Greece would support Serbia's efforts to acquire EU membership. The statement also quoted him as saying that Greece will never recognise unilaterally the independence of Kosovo and that Serbia should have entertain no doubts about that stance.
 Greek Public Television's first live news programme on airThe first live news bulletin of the Greek Public Television started on Wednesday at 8 am.
On Tuesday, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said that it will stop broadcasting online the programme produced by former state broadcaster ERT staff, as of Wednesday morning (August 21), it announced on its website.
Following the shutdown of ERT by the government in June, EBU hosted the programme by staff refusing to leave the ERT premises in the northern suburb of Aghia Paraskevi.
According to the EBU, the decision to stop was taken following reports that ERT's temporary replacement, Greek Public Television, will start broadcasting news bulletins this week.
The Union said that from June 12 until today it had carried out 8.5 million live broadcasts in 4.4 million hours, with more than 2.5 million unique users watching ERT programmes through the internet, while EBU representatives visited Greece frequently to meet with government officials and express disagreement with ERT's closure.
Former employees occupying ERT's premises called on the Union's president "not to stop the broadcasting of ERT's signal and to keep it alive through EBU's satellites, as was the case until today".
 Schools must not become grounds for exercising politics, gov't spokesman saysGovernment spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Wednesday issued a call to teachers not to strike in the new academic year, stressing that "schools must not become grounds for exercising politics".
Speaking to private Mega TV channel and referring to the intention of the Secondary School Teachers Organisation (OLME) to proceed with mobilisations as of September, Kedikoglou said "the right to strike is respected. However, exercising your right cannot deprive the rights of others. You cannot deprive the right to education, you cannot keep schools closed."
The spokesman further said that "I am certain, however, that the overwhelming majority of teachers will not accept similar situations, like those we had last May, when OLME's union leadership proved once again that it is out of place and time. I repeat, I want to hope, I want to believe that the overwhelming majority of teachers will not accept an attempt at hostage situations. Because we are talking about this".
OLME is considering striking soon after the schools open on September 11.
 KKE party expresses grave concern over developments in Permet, AlbaniaThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Wednesday, expressed its grave concern over developments in Permet, Albania and "over what is really concealed behind them, in a period that an effort is being made by the US, NATO, the EU and the bourgeoisie governments for nationalist and religious dissensions to be stirred up, to enable the plans of the imperialists in the wider region to be served."
KKE added that "the Albanian government has serious responsibilities for these events and must secure rights and religious freedoms immediately."
 Greek people must reject capitalist choices, KKE says"Both answers to the dilemma of new loan to Greece versus new haircut of the Greek debt will lead to the escalation of antipopular measures," the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in an announcement on Wednesday.
"The fight is between sections of the capital and of imperialistic centres relates to their own interests concerning who will gain most from the crisis in Greece," KKE said.
The Greek people have only one choice, it said, which is to "reject all those plans and turn its back to the political parties that are calling on them to rally with either of the capital's choices."
 Seven Turkish aircraft interceptedA formation of six Turkish aircraft and an isolated aircraft of the CN-235 type, entered the region of the Northern and Southeastern Aegean on Wednesday and made three infringements of Air Traffic Regulations in the Athens FIR and two violations of Greek Air Space, according to an announcement by the National Defence General Staff.
"All the aircraft, two of which were armed, were intercepted and identified in accordance with international regulations, according to standard practice," the announcement added.
 FinMin meets with ministers in light of troika arrival and Thessaloniki FairFinance Minister Yannis Stournaras, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Minister of State Dimitris Stamatis met on Wednesday to review the issues of public contracts, professional leasings, the licensure of entrepreneurs and the OECD's study on Greek competitiveness.
The meeting's focus was the progress by the Development Ministry on prior actions, ahead of the review by the troika of lenders in September, as well as ahead of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' address at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) early in September.
Emphasis was placed during the meeting on the issue of business rentals, which the troika wants deregulated. According to government sources, a brief discussion took place on the issue of foreclosures of homes and on the criteria to lift seizures for first homes over defaulted loans, as a decision is awaiting the outcome of Thursday's meeting between the prime minister and Government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos.
A discussion was also held on the course of the adoption of the OECD's proposals concerning the improvement of the Greek economy's competitiveness, a briefing on the ministry's initiatives regarding the reduction of the time necessary for the licensing of a business and on the state of public contracts.
 FinMin shuts down 14 island tax offices in consolidation moveFourteen tax service offices on islands will cease operating as of September 1, and parts of their function replaced by local Office of Tax Payers' Services (GEF) that will be set up in the same locations, the Finance Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The closures are the last of a series of stages in a plan to consolidate services that began in fulfillment of memorandum obligations by Greece to its lenders. The ministry said the original 290 offices operating in 2011 would be reduced to 120 within 2013.
The tax offices that are shutting down include those on the following islands: Andros, Egina, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kea, Limnos, Milos, Poros, Skiathos, Skopelos, Spetses, Tinos and Hydra. The tax office of Aghios Kyrikos on Ikaria island will also be shut down.
According to the ministry, some of the functions of tax services have moved online at www.taxis.net, with more functions being added gradually. The ministry's target is to gradually do away with payments through tax offices and have them done through banks instead.
 Travel balance records a surplus in Jan.-JuneGreece's travel balance of payments recorded a surplus of 1.413 million euros in June, 273 million euros more (or 23.9 percent) compared with the same month in 2012, reflecting a 20.6 pct rise in travel proceeds to 1.591 million euros euros and a 0.8 pct decline in travel payments to 178 million euros, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesdayy.
The central bank, in a report, said average spending per travel rose by 20.6 pct while tourist arrivals grew by 16.1 pct compared to the same month last year.
The report also said that the travel balance of payments in the January-June period recorded a surplus of 2.483 million euros, or an increase by 579 million euros (30.4 pct), from 1.904 million euros in the same period last year. In the six-month period, tourist arrivals were up 12.3 pct.
Travel proceeds in June increased by 20.6 pct, compared with the same month last year, reflecting a 10.6 pct rise in revenue from EU-27 and a 39 pct increase in revenue from other countries. In the January-June period, travel proceeds rose by 17.8 pct, reflecting a 36.3 pct increase in revenue non-EU countries; revenues from EU-27 countries showed an incresae of 7.7 pct. Travel proceeds from Germany rose 17.8 pct to 542 million euros, from France they rose 30.7 pct and from the UK they dropped 10.9 pct. Revenue from Russia rose by 42 pct to 341 million euros, while proceeds from the US rose 25.4 pct to 186 million euros.
Incoming tourism totalled 2,373,000 in June, up 16.1 pct from the same month last year. Arrivals from Germany dropped 5.6 pct, from France they rose 17.6 pct and from the UK they fell by 7.2 pct. Arrivals from Russia grew by 51.6 pct and from the US they doubled, by 11.27 pct. In the six-month period from January to June, incoming tourism grew 12.3 pct to a total of 5,421,000 travellers.
 Tax office blocks City of Thessaloniki bank accountsHalf of the bank accounts held by the Thessaloniki Municipality were on Wednesday blocked by the Finance ministry, in a move ordered by the local tax office because of debts to the state, as the local authority is said to have not paid funds collected from stamp duties for 17 years.
The amount owed to the tax office amounts to 1.2 million euros.
Thessaloniki deputy mayor and treasurer Giorgos Arvanitis complained that the bank accounts blocked amounted to 12.5 million euros, saying that the Municipality asked for an extension to August 27 to file its objections.
Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris will try to have the blocking lifted as he is to meet in Athens with General Secretary of Revenue Charis Theocharis.
Arvanitis assured that in spite the difficulties caused, municipal employees will be paid normally.
 Greek stocks gain 0.85 pct on WednesdayPositive investor sentiment helped stock prices on the Athens Stock Exchange move higher on Wednesday, following a five-session drop leading the basic index to lose a total of 8.30 pct. The market recovered above the 900-point mark, with the basic index gaining 0.85 pct, at 903.76 points. Investor appetite was high for Coca Cola, Titan, OTE and National Bank. Turnover remained at a low 33.25 million euros.
The Large Cap index gained 1.27 pct, while the Mid Cap index remained largely unchanged at 0.01 pct.
Titan (4.60 pct), Coca Cola HBC (3.23 pct), Viochalco (3.05 pct), Hellenic Exchanges (2.03 pct), OTE (1.50 pct), Ellaktor (1.42 pct) and National Bank (1.41 pct) were top losers among blue chip stocks, while Jumbo (-2.22 pct), Alpha Bank (-2.20 pct) and Folli Follie (-1.40 pct) were losers.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 74 to 49, with another 24 issues unchanged.
Chatzikraniotis (24.18 pct), Attica Holdings (12.58 pct), Q&R (11.26 pct), Tzikarian (10.00 pct) and Lazaridis (10.00 pct) were top gainers, while Pairis (-25.33 pct), AXON Holdings (-20.00 pct), Hellenic Textiles (-19.80 pct), Tiletypos (-15.49 pct) and Voyiatzoglou Systems (-10.00 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.12%
Personal & Household: -1.81%
Raw Materials: +0.19%
Travel & Leisure: +0.40%
Food & Beverages: +3.20%
Financial Services: +1.75%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, Piraeus Bank, PPC and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.49
Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.29
Coca Cola HBC: 20.75
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.30
National Bank of Greece: 2.88
Eurobank Properties : 7.14
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.52 pct on Wednesday, with turnover at a low 12.58 million euros.
Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,579 contracts worth 8.648 million euros, with 45,785 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 13,313 contracts worth 3.932 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank (4,034), followed by Piraeus Bank (1,625), National Bank (1,638), OTE (1,133), PPC (1,041), Intralot (798), Eurobank (503), GEK (417), Hellenic Petroleum (398), MIG (244), OPAP (198), Mytilineos (190), Jumbo (185), Ellaktor (183), Motor Oil (126), Eurobank Properties (117), Hellenic Exchanges (114) and Coca Cola HBC (102).
 Athens Municipality campaign to smarten central streetsThe City of Athens is as of Thursday embarking on a campaign to clean-up and operationally upgrade some of the Greek capital's historic roads. The campaign, which will be in cooperation with citizen groups and will last for three months, is to start off with Athenas Street and will later move to Stadiou, Panepistimiou (El. Venizelou) and Ermou streets.
It is aimed at a systematic cleaning of the facades of all the buildings along the central streets, both private and public, as well as repairing and improving lighting, restoring illegal parking barriers and renewing pedestrian crossings.
 Samos island festival revives ancient women's events in honour of HeraOver 350 volunteers participated in the Heraia-Pythagoreia festival celebrating the ancient Greek women's races first introduced to the eastern Aegean island of Samos 2,200 years ago.
In the seventh annual festival, events began on August 18 with concerts at the archaeological museum and the ancient theatre of Pythagoreion, the central town, where a procession replicating the ancient tradition took place and headed to the port. This was preceded by the lighting of a torch at the ancient sanctuary of Hera and women's races from the temple to Pythagoreio.
In antiquity, the celebrations included women's foot races at night accompanied by torches, musicians, with poetry contests also held, among other religious and cultural events.
The events are wrapping up Wednesday night, a full moon night celebrated at archaeological sites throughout Greece. On Samos, the celebration under the stars will be dedicated to Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca.
The events are supported by local townships, the chamber of commerce, professional associations and the local branch of the Ephorate of antiquities.
 Police sweep at National Polytechnic University results in detention of sixThree Greek and three foreign nationals were detained by police following an early morning sweep on and around the grounds of the National Polytechnic University on Wednesday.
According to police, the search of premises was carried out under a court representative following charges that undocumented migrants were using the area as living quarters and that the university's premises were being used to create explosive and incendiary devices, as well as to store material used during rallies.
The police confiscated, among other things, 160 staves, a sledgehammer, a mortar shell case, a container with flammable liquid, seven pepper spray containers, a gas mask and a balaclava, eight helmets, a Greek identity that had been reported as lost, an Israeli identity and a French driver's licence.
Police said they had turned over to university administrators the use of spaces that had been off limits by occupation for the last thirty years.
Police is continuing its investigations.
 Three arrested after Athens Polytechnic eventsThree of the six people held for questioning during a police operation Wednesday morning at the National Metsovio Polytechnic have been arrested.
The three -foreigners- were arrested for violation of the law on weapons and one of them for violation of the law regarding foreign nationals. The remaining three Greeks held for questioning were released.
The arrested will be brought before a prosecutor on Thursday.
 Nine more archaeological sites and museums will celebrate the full moon of AugustNine more archaeological sites throughout Greece will celebrate the full moon of August on Wednesday, the Culture Ministry said in an announcement.
The sites added to the existing list include:
Lofos "Arouvigli" in the archaeological site of Ierissos; the Ancient Agora of Filippi, the archaeological museum of Thassos; the archaeological site of Kali Vryssi and of Platanias; the archaeological museums of Kavala and Igoumenitsa; the archaeological site of Elea in Souli; and the Byzantine Cultural Centre of Halkidiki "Ioustinianos" in Nea Flogita, Halkidiki.
 Wildfire in Pentalofo, Mesolonghi under partial controlA wildfire burning since Wednesday afternoon in forest and farmland at Pentalofo in Mesolonghi, western Greece is reported to have been placed under partial control. The blaze was burning its way though low vegetation and according to the Fire Brigade it did pose any threat to residences.
Fire Brigade forces were still operating in late evening to fully control the blaze.
 Young Briton arrested for trafficking 'magic mushrooms'A 17-year-old British citizen resident of Heraklio, Crete, was arrested on Wednesday alleged with hallucinogenic mushroom trafficking.
Police acted on a tip-off and after a coordinated operation arrested the suspect on Tuesday when he went to collect a package from Holland from a courier bureau. In the package, police found the 5,400 ml of the illegal substance.
The suspect's mother was also arrested while police is examining the possibility more persons are involved in the case.
 Fire high alert issued for ThursdayThe General Secretariat of Civil Protection issued a high alert for the possibility of fires for Thursday.
The areas included on the alert are Attica prefecture, south Evia, the northeastern Evros prefecture, the Cycladic Islands, the Sporades Islands and Skyros in particular, and the northern islands of Thasos, Samothraki and Limnos.
Local authorities have also been alerted.
 Main road to Elafonissi beach to close on ThursdayThe road from Hania and Kissamos to the popular beach of Elafonissi on Crete at the tunnel of Topolia will close on Thursday morning, after an avalanche resulted in the death of a 34 year-old woman, it was announced on Wednesday.
Tourists who will want to visit Elafonissi will have to follow alternative roads indicated by police signs that will be placed on the road.
 Cloudy, rainy on ThursdayCloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 18C and 34C. Cloudy in Athens with possible local showers with northerly 3-7 beaufort winds and temperatures between 25C and 32C. Local cloudiness in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 21C and 33C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: New memorandum and new loan.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble threatens with new ...support.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: How many will be laid off from the 17 ministries.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Those who will be in the reserve labour lists.
ETHNOS: Check up to the 'golden prescriptions'.
IMERISSIA: Tourism opens window of optimism.
KATHIMERINI: Doctors party with medicines at Public Health Organisation (EOPYY) expense
LOGOS: In the memorandums vortex.
NAFTEMPORIKI: Germany prepares third support package.
RIZOSPASTIS: Nobody should be left alone before the attack against the working classes.
TA NEA: Greece to ballots (but the ...German ones)
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