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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-08-28

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

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

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 Issue No: 4445

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Samaras: Greece becoming factor of regional stability
  • [02] Defence Ministry sources deny press reports on 'US request to use Greek military bases for Syria'
  • [03] FM meets with Egyptian ambassador, talks with counterparts over Egypt and Syria
  • [04] Venizelos to meet with British ambassador on Wed.
  • [05] Greece must refuse to participate in any plans for Syria's invasion, main opposition party says
  • [06] Invasion of Syria could 'lead to a widespread war', KKE warns
  • [07] KKE party sg to meet Russian ambassador on Wednesday
  • [08] Admin. Reform minister calls for permanent mobility mechanism in public sector
  • [09] High school teachers fail to agree on length of strike action
  • [10] PM to meet with Macedonia-Thrace Minister on Wed.
  • [11] Defence Min. meets with Vietnamese ambassador
  • [12] Former defence ministry tells court its evidence is 'hot air' and 'fabricated'
  • [13] Six Turkish aircraft intercepted
  • [14] Meeting on improving cruise ship tourist access to archaeological sites
  • [15] Natural gas pipeline (TAP) to pass through five Central Macedonian regions
  • [16] 78th Thessaloniki International Fair to showcase businesses from throughout Greece
  • [17] Devopment Minister meets with Europarliament committee
  • [18] Consumer unions meet with European Parliament delegation
  • [19] ADEDY union scheduling work stoppage and rally on Thursday
  • [20] Terna Energy first-half net profits drop 36 pct
  • [21] Fourlis Group consolidated sales drop 5.4 pct in first half 2013
  • [22] Mirkat, Suzuki importer in Bulgaria, completes capitalisation with Sfakianakis co.
  • [23] Alumil issues clarifications about unit planned in Turkey
  • [24] Greek stocks dive 4.08 pct on Tuesday
  • [25] The Large Cap index lost 4.00 pct, while the Mid Cap dropped 5.21 pct.
  • [26] Greek bond market closing report
  • [27] ADEX closing report
  • [28] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [29] Medevial Art of Serbia exhibition at Byzantine Museum to end on Sept.15
  • [30] Nearly 500 stores sealed for violations in Thessaloniki since Jan.
  • [31] Defendant dies during court trial on 11mln embezzlement of IKA funds
  • [32] Two men arrested on separate charges at border checkpoint
  • [33] Wildfire on Zakynthos island
  • [34] One arrested in Exarchia during a police operation
  • [35] Markopoulo wildfire situation improving
  • [36] Fair on Wednesday
  • [37] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Samaras: Greece becoming factor of regional stability

    Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Tuesday that Greece was becoming a factor of regional stability adding that internal stability in the country should be strengthened.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias during which developments in the greater area and Greece's role were discussed, Samaras said: "Greece is becoming a factor of regional stability. We must strengthen internal stability so that all sacrifices by the Greek people are not wasted."

    On his arrival for the meeting, Samaras said to the president, "A year ago, the region around Greece offered a sense of stability and Greece was the source of instability. Today the landscape has change 180 degrees. Greece is the bastion of stability and safety in a region that is completely in flames."

    Papoulias asked Samaras on his visit to USA in early August. "We had long discussion with US President Obama. The sense of stability must intensify inside Greece also. We have a lot things to discuss," the prime minister said.

    [02] Defence Ministry sources deny press reports on 'US request to use Greek military bases for Syria'

    Press reports claiming that the United States has requested of Greece use of the military bases of Souda on Crete and of Kalamata in the Peloponnese as part of a possible military intervention in Syria are entirely false, a National Defence Ministry source told ANA-MPA on Tuesday.

    "Washington never submitted to the Ministry of National Defence, officially or unoficially, any such request for Greek assistance," the source said.

    [03] FM meets with Egyptian ambassador, talks with counterparts over Egypt and Syria

    Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking after his meeting with Egypt's ambassador to Athens Tarek Adel, also in light of his visit to Cairo on September 5, stressed the need "for us to invest in stability in Egypt".

    Venizelos said "stability in Egypt is a global issue and because Greece and Egypt are linked with close historic bonds - we have the Alexandria Patriarchate there, the Greek communities, and Greek businesses - there is an additional interest in the situation developing in the best way".

    Asked about the situation in Syria, Venizelos said "we want the use of chemical weapons to be condemned unequivocally; that is a heinous crime, it offends every humanitarian ideal, it offends international law. The reaction must be clear and absolute".

    Venizelos asserted that we "are preparing ourselves from every point of view and we are in contact with all the European and other countries, because we also have very close cooperation with the countries of the Arab world".

    The Foreign Minister also held telephone conversations with counterparts of his on Syria and Egypt. According to an announcement by the Foreign Ministry, Venizelos held a telephone conversation on Tuesday with European Union High Commissioner Catherine Ashton. He also held telephone conversations on issues related to both Syria and Egypt with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders.

    Venizelos communicated with Antioch Patriarch Ioannis as well, with whom he discussed the situation in Syria and the need for the protection of Christian populations in particular.

    Lastly, the Foreign Minister will be meeting Mt. Sinai Archbishop Damianos at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, due to the crucial situation prevailing in the Sinai peninsula and particularly in the region close to the Holy Monastery of St. Catherine.

    [04] Venizelos to meet with British ambassador on Wed.

    Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will meet on Wednesday at 13:00 with British Ambassador to Athens John Kittmer at the Foreign Ministry.

    [05] Greece must refuse to participate in any plans for Syria's invasion, main opposition party says

    The government "must confirm to the Greek people that it will refuse to allow the use of the military base of Suda on Crete for a NATO invasion of Syria," Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party said on Tuesday.

    In a statement on the situation in Syria, the main opposition party said that "the government must also reassure the Greek people that it will oppose any plans for military invasion in the area."

    "A new war in the much-suffering Middle East will be catastrophic," the party said, "while it does not under any circumstances secure Greece's strategic interests. What must be sought is the issue's political solution in a peaceful way, the United Nations' substantial intervention to end fighting and allow free national elections, the guarantee of fundamental democratic rights of the Syrian people, and their power to decide themselves for their own future, without local and foreign oppressors."

    [06] Invasion of Syria could 'lead to a widespread war', KKE warns

    A military attack against Syria "will complicate even more the complex and dangerous situation in the Middle East and could lead to a widespread war, with victims the countries' populace, including the Greek people," the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said on Tuesday.

    In a statement on the situation in Syria, the KKE reiterated that the Greek governments are to blame for having allowed and continuing to allow the use of the military base of Suda, on Crete, and other military installations, including sections of the Greek armed forces, "for imperialistic wars, throwing Greece and its people in great danger."

    "The military preparation of the United States, Britain, France, Turkey and the monarchies of the the Gulf against Syria, under the pretext of charging the Syrian armed forces with use of chemical weapons, is accelerating and will drown the Middle East peoples and those of the Eastern Mediterranean in blood," the party charged.

    It is however evident, it said, that "this war, which is being prepared under the mantle of humanitarianism and of restoring democracy is related to the control over the area's natural resources, with the attendant transport routes, market shares, geopolitical support, stiff rise of competition among imperialists, in the background of changes in the global power balances, that the global capitalist crisis is creating."

    [07] KKE party sg to meet Russian ambassador on Wednesday

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas will be meeting the ambassador of the Russian Federation at the party's offices on Wednesday, according to an announcement by the party.

    "Amidst the very serious developments in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and the planned imperialist intervention in Syria, a series of meetings and initiatives by the KKE will follow," the announcement added.

    [08] Admin. Reform minister calls for permanent mobility mechanism in public sector

    A permanent mobility mechanism with transparency and rules should be established in the public sector, Administration Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told private Mega TV on Tuesday.

    Asked whether it was possible to request from the troika of Greece's creditors an extension in the second mobility wave, Mitsotakis said, "We do not want to act hastily. This is something we will discuss in one month. The more consistent we are, the more powerful we will become in the negotiations with the troika".

    However, Mitsotakis noted that a small number of layoffs in public sector will derive from the the mobility reserves.

    Asked on the plans by teachers to strike once the schools start in September, Mitsotakis stressed that "the government will not accept closed schools, not even for a single day".

    [09] High school teachers fail to agree on length of strike action

    A lengthy meeting of the Federation of Public High School Teachers (OLME) on Thursday ended without reaching a decision with regard to the strikes planned by the union upon the opening of the school year in early September, as there were disagreements over the length of the strike among the groups represented in OLME.

    A new meeting has been scheduled for Thursday to try and reach a common position on the strike action.

    During Tuesday's meeting, SYRIZA-affiliated group representatives proposed that the union go ahead with repeated 48-hour strikes, while ANTARSIA representatives wanted an indefinite strike. The New Democracy party-affiliated group was in favour of a single 48-hour strike, as was the Communist Party of Greece (KKE)-affiliated group. The PASOK-affiliated group proposed two 48-hour strikes.

    The associations of high school teachers (ELME) are to convene in the first week of September, while the final decision is to be taken just one day before schools open, on September 10.

    It is highly likely that any strike action will be called for the second week of the new school year, after September 16.

    [10] PM to meet with Macedonia-Thrace Minister on Wed.

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet on Wednesday with Macedonia and Thrace Minister Theodoros Karaoglou. The meeting is scheduled for 13:30 at the Maximos mansion.

    The meeting is expected to focus on prime minister's meetings with the productive entities of Macedonia and Thrace as well as on the preparations for the opening ceremony of the 78th International Thessaloniki Trade Fair (TIF) on Saturday 7 September.

    [11] Defence Min. meets with Vietnamese ambassador

    Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met on Tuesday with the Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Athens Vu Binh at the Defence Ministry.

    Issues regarding the relations between the two countries were discussed.

    [12] Former defence ministry tells court its evidence is 'hot air' and 'fabricated'

    Former defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, on trial for money-laundering and taking kickbacks for armaments' procurements programmes while in office, refused to answer questions by the prosecution during Tuesday's session of his trial.

    "I refuse to enter into conversation about what my fellow defendants are saying in order to defend themselves," Tsochatzopoulos said, adding that "I refuse to shoulder the responsibility of things that do not concern me."

    The former minister insisted on his innocence and told the court, "You have nothing, you have hot air [against me], and that's why you are resorting to fabricated evidence," he charged.

    He also insisted he had no connections to procurers or to money given by Germans for bribes, saying, "Let them search to find the money, instead of charging us."

    To questions related to his role in offshore companies, one of the charges against him, he refuted any involvement and said the documents seized in his office by the prosecuting authorities were part of material he had collected himself for an inquiry by Parliament on procurements for TOR-M1 antimissiles.

    At a reference by the deputy magistrate on the possibility of holding a cross examination between him and any of the other defendants in the dock, Tsochatzopoulos rejected it, saying, "We are not turning this court into a theatre."

    [13] Six Turkish aircraft intercepted

    A formation of six Turkish aircraft entered the Athens FIR on Tuesday, in the region of the northern Aegean and carried out one infringement and one violation, according to an announcement by the Greek National Defence General Staff.

    "All the aircraft were intercepted and identified in accordance with international regulations as usual," the announcement added.

    Financial News

    [14] Meeting on improving cruise ship tourist access to archaeological sites

    A meeting was held in a hall of the Acropolis Museum on Tuesday, at the initiative of Culture and Sports Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos, on improving the access of foreign visitors, who arrive in Greece with cruise ships, to archaeological sites, monuments and museums.

    Closer cooperation, continuous coordination and the undertaking of joint initiatives were discussed at the meeting, while the directors and the members of the board of the Cruise Ship Shipowners Union and Shipping Agencies, headed by vice president Michalis Lambros, were invited and did participate. Also participating were representatives of the Culture Ministry, Acropolis Museum, the head guard of the site of the Acropolis and others.

    "We had a very useful meeting with the directorate and with the members of the Cruise Ship Shipowners Union and Shipping Agencies. We discussed how we shall open archaeological sites more, and our museums and monuments to the foreign visitors coming from cruise ships....We discussed how we shall improve access to archaeological sites including the Acropolis site as well as the Acropolis Museum. There are many things that can be done because we have a year in which the country has been flooded with tourism," Panayiotopoulos said after the meeting.

    [15] Natural gas pipeline (TAP) to pass through five Central Macedonian regions

    The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will transport natural gas from Azerbaijan to South Italy and Western Europe through Greece, Albania, and the Adriatic Sea, will cross five of the seven regions of Central Macedonia prefecture, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The pipeline is 543 km long, and 224 km of this will pass through the Serres, Kilkis, Thessaloniki, Imathia and Pella regions.

    Details about the project emerged after a meeting on Tuesday between the prefect of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas with TAP Consortium SA Stathis Theodoropoulos and technical consultant Kostas Tsirikis at prefecture offices in Thessaloniki.

    "It is a huge investment worth 1.5 billion euros which, among other things, will create 2,000 jobs directly and 10,000 jobs indirectly, giving a breath of life to the major problem of unemployment that has hit Central Macedonia," Tzitzikostas said.

    The prefect also said he had been reassured that the project would follow internationally recognised standards of health for residents, for security and for the environment.

    Work on TAP is expected to begin in 2015, and the supply of natural gas from Azerbaijan will begin in 2019.

    A public consultation on the project has already begun in August and will run until October 2013. At the same time, a complete report on TAP's environmental and social impact has been filed with the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Ministry.

    [16] 78th Thessaloniki International Fair to showcase businesses from throughout Greece

    Dozens of businesses from various sectors will be presenting their products at the 78th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) opening in the northern city from September 5 and running to September 15.

    This year's theme is titled "Greece and Entrepreneurship", and representatives of companies from various regions will be able to showcase their products. In addition , the fair will promote local traditional products, customs and habits, as well as business development in all regions of Greece, through local chambers of commerce and prefecture presentations.

    Presentations will focus on "entrepreneurship, technology, innovation", and include regional production, tourism and popular tradition information.

    [17] Devopment Minister meets with Europarliament committee

    Development and Competitiveness Minister Costis Hatzidakis met on Tuesday with a delegation of the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

    The Eurodeputies are on a two-day official visit to Athens ending Tuesday to hold a series of meetings with members of the Greek government in view of the Greek Presidency in the European Union, which starts in January 2014. The delegation is headed by Eurodeputy Malcolm Harbour.

    Hatzidakis briefed the eurodeputies on the restructing changes promoted by the Development Ministry regarding consumer protection and both sides discussed the Greek presidency's priorities.

    Both sides agreed to be in close contact so that issues that come up under the Greek presidency related to interior market and consumer protection will be resolved as quick as possible.

    Hatzidakis has served on the specific committee as Eurodeputy.

    [18] Consumer unions meet with European Parliament delegation

    The EKPOIZO consumers union and the Panhellenic Federation of Consumer Unions "I Paremvasi" met with a nine-member delegation of the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

    The issues presented to the delegation were overindebtedness, the auctioning of homes, the high cost of products and services and the continuously expanding phenomenon of fraud against consumers by suppliers and vendors.

    During the 45-minute meeting, EKPOIZO made a brief presentation of the Greek consumers' problems, stressed the European dimension of some of them and called for the Eurodeputies' support.

    It also submitted a relevant labour document in which the Greek consumer's most important problems as well as proposals on their handling are described briefly.

    [19] ADEDY union scheduling work stoppage and rally on Thursday

    The Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) will be holding on Thursday a work stoppage from 11:00 to the end of working hours, a rally in Klafthmonos Square in central Athens at 12 noon and a march to the Administrative Reform ministry.

    The actions were announced during a press conference on Tuesday, while the decision taken by civil servants unions on Monday was "the escalation of mobilisations against the policies of the memorandums and onesided austerity".

    Specific decisions on the future of mobilisations will be taken during the meeting of ADEDY's General Council on Friday, at which proposals will also be discussed on mobilisations lasting for days in the entire public sector in the month of September.

    Moreover, in light of the rally being scheduled at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on September 7, ADEDY will be organising a briefing programme in the regions of Thessaly, Eastern, Central and Western Macedonia and Thrace and Thessaloniki.

    [20] Terna Energy first-half net profits drop 36 pct

    Terna Energy SA on Tuesday reported its first half 2013 consolidated sales amounted to 67.5 million euro compared to 55.2 million euro during the 1st half of 2012, posting a 22.2 pct increase mainly due to the increase of income from the Company's energy activities as a result of the larger installed capacity compared to the previous year in Greece and abroad.

    Income from the energy sector amounted to 51.4 million euro compared to 38.2 million euro in the 1st half of 2012, posting a 34.5 pct increase.

    Sales of the Company's construction sector towards third parties amounted to 16.1 million euro compared to 17 million euro the respective period of 2012, posting a 5.3 pct decrease.

    Earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) amounted to 34.9 million euro compared to 27 million euro during the respective period last year, thus increased by 29.1 pct. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) amounted to 20.2 million euro, increased by 13.7 pct compared to 17.8 million euro during the 1st half of 2012.

    Correspondingly, earnings before tax amounted to 9.5 million euro versus 11.5 million euro in the respective period of 2012, thus posting a 17.5 pct decrease. Net earnings after minority interest, amounted to 5.1 million euro compared to 7.9 million euro the previous year, thus posting a 36 pct decline.

    Cash flows from operating activities before changes in working capital amounted to 35.2 million euro compared to 27.1 million euro the respective period of 2012. The Group's net debt position (bank debt minus cash & cash equivalents) settled at 274.2 million euro, while the Group's investments during the 1st half of 2013 amounted to 14.5 million euro, as the investment plan in Renewable Energy Sources is underway.

    Moreover, it is worth noting that TERNA ENERGY has proceeded with investment expenses amounting to 146.4 million euro for projects whose construction is underway and which have not been set yet in operation.

    The Group's total installed capacity amounts to 508 MW. The Group has installed capacity of 266 MW in Greece, 138 MW in the USA, 74 MW in Poland and 30 MW in Bulgaria. At the same time, the Group has RES facilities under construction or ready for construction with a capacity of 290 in Greece and abroad.

    Overall, the Company operates, is constructing or has full licensing of 798 MW of RES installations in Europe and America. The company's objective is to reach a capacity of approximately 1,000 MW in RES projects either in operation or under construction in all countries it operates in by the end of 2014.

    The company also owns production licenses for additional 1,630 MW in wind parks and for 748 MW of hydroelectric projects.

    [21] Fourlis Group consolidated sales drop 5.4 pct in first half 2013

    Fourlis Group on Tuesday reported first half 2013 consolidated sales of 176.1 million euros, a drop of 5.4 pct compared to the same period last year. The company's EBITDA was 5.8 million euros, from 3.3 million euros in the first half 2012.

    Consolidated losses before taxes stood at 9.2 million euros, against losses of 10.8 million euros in the same period in 2012.

    The Group recorded a net loss of 8.0 million euros compared to a net loss of 9.6 million euros in first half 2012.

    Retail Home Furnishing and Accessories activity (IKEA) posted sales of 111.5 million euros, or down 9.1 pct against the same period of 2012. The EBITDA was 5.2 million euros (3.6 million euros in first half 2012), while losses before taxes stood at 4.8 million euros, down from 6.8 million euros in 2012. The group operates seven IKEA stores -5 in Greece, one in Cyprus and one in Sofia, Bulgaria. Two more IKEA ordering points in Greece will be added to the existing one on Rhodes Island, by the end of September 2013.

    Retail Sporting Goods activity (INTERSPORT), posted sales of 52.2 million euros, up 2.0 pct compared to the same period in 2012 (51.2 million euros). The EBITDA was 2.3 million euros compared to 2.1 million euros in first half 2012 and losses before taxes stood at 1.9 million euros from 0.8 million euros in the same period last year.

    Fourlis Group currently operates 87 Intersport stores in the region (41 in Greece, 22 in Romania, 4 in Bulgaria, 17 in Turkey and 3 in Cyprus) compared to 84 stores at the end of 2012.

    The wholesale of Home Electrical Appliances activity posted sales of 10.6 million euros in the first half and losses before taxes of 955,000 euros.

    [22] Mirkat, Suzuki importer in Bulgaria, completes capitalisation with Sfakianakis co.

    Mirkat OOD, a subsidiary of listed company Sfakianakis, completed its capital increase, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The increase was carried out by Mirkat's capitalisation of Sfakianakis demands totalling 8.18 million euros.

    Mirkat OOD is 99.9 percent owned by Sfakianakis, is the exclusive importer of Suzuki in Bulgaria, where it is based.

    [23] Alumil issues clarifications about unit planned in Turkey

    Alumil SA issued clarifications at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday concerning plans for an aluminium extrusion unit in Turkey, in response to recent press reports.

    The company said that the investment will be smaller than the originally planned one, while its share will be less than 51 percent.

    The specific investment will not affect adversely the results of the Alumil Group, the announcement said.

    [24] Greek stocks dive 4.08 pct on Tuesday

    Stock prices on the Athens Stock Exchange recorded hefty losses on Tuesday and the basic index dived below 900 points, erasing early August profits. Analysts said investors' augmented uncertainty over the Greek public debt, a theme also central to Germany's pre-election campaign, added to global market concerns over a likely military operation by western nations in Syria.

    The basic index lost 4.08 pct, ending the day at 881.35 points, hitting its lowest level since July 31, 2013 after a session low of 875.76 points or -4.69 pct. Turnover stood at 46.83 million euros.

    [25] The Large Cap index lost 4.00 pct, while the Mid Cap dropped 5.21 pct.

    Corinth Pipeworks (-6.64 pct), Ellaktor (-6.57 pct), PPC (-6.56 pct), Viochalco (-6.56 pct), Mytilineos (-6.26 pct), OLP (-6.26 pct), Hellenic Exchanges (-6.23 pct), MIG (-6.16 pct) and National Bank (-5.00 pct) were top losers among blue chip stocks, all of which dropped.

    Among individual sectors, the largest losses were recorded by Financials (-6.22 pct), Utilities (-5.95 pct), Materials (-5.93 pct) and Banks (-4.80 pct).

    Broadly, decliners led by advancers 108 to 21, with another 13 issues unchanged.

    Athena (20.00 pct), Hellenic Textiles (19.74 pct), Spider (19.23 pct), NEL (12.90 pct) and Tzikarian Profile (9.84 pct) were top gainers, while ELGEKA (-28.83 pct), Fieratex (-27.53 pct), Tria Alpha (-20.00 pct), Sfakianakis (-20.00 pct) and Pigasos (-20.00 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -4.38%

    Commercial: -2.22%

    Construction: -3.27%

    Oil & Gas: -3.81%

    Personal & Household: -2.67%

    Raw Materials: -5.93%

    Travel & Leisure: -3.42%

    Technology: -3.88%

    Telecoms: -4.48%

    Banks: -4.80%

    Food & Beverages: -3.57%

    Health: -3.59%

    Utilities: -5.95%

    Financial Services: -6.22%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.472

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.98

    Coca Cola HBC: 20.21

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.19

    National Bank of Greece: 2.85

    Eurobank Properties : 6.94

    OPAP: 7.20

    OTE: 6.61

    Piraeus Bank: 0.989

    Titan: 14.68

    [26] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 8.55 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.39 pct and the German Bund 1.84 pct. There was only one transaction in the market, a sell order amounting to 3 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.55 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.45 pct, the six-month rate was 0.34 pct, the three-month rate was 0.226 pct and the one-month rate was 0.127 pct.

    [27] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.20 pct on Tuesday, with turnover at 15.228 million euros.

    Volume on the FTSE Large Cap index totaled 6,306 contracts worth 9,616 million euros, with 48,038 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 17,943 contracts worth 5.612 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank (4,587), followed by National Bank (3,898), Piraeus Bank (2,018), OTE (2,006), GEK (607), Eurobank (597), OPAP (551), MIG (331), Intralot (281), Mytilineos (280), PPC (251), Hellenic Exchanges (174), Motor Oil (162) and Hellenic Petroleum (132).

    [28] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.353

    Pound sterling 0.873

    Danish kroner 7.571

    Swedish kroner 8.819

    Japanese yen 132.02

    Swiss franc 1.247

    Norwegian kroner 8.149

    Canadian dollar 1.425

    Australian dollar 1.51

    General News

    [29] Medevial Art of Serbia exhibition at Byzantine Museum to end on Sept.15

    A show containing 11th to 14th century painting and objects from Serbia - some leaving their country for the first time - hosted at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens will conclude on September 15 after two tours are offered for the public on September 1 and 15.

    The exhibit is jointly organised by the Greek museum and the National Museum of Belgrade, currently undergoing a redesign of its exhibitions.

    "The objects are important because they showcase the beginnings of the Serbian state and of the archbishopric of Serbia...proving the very close relations Serbia had with Byzantium and the West. It is therefore extremely interesting that the Greek public will be able to see these objects," Byzantine Museum director Anastasia Lazaridou said.

    The exhibit consists of four sections, in four corresponding rooms, starting chronologically with the Nemanja Dynasty (1166-1371), who patronised the arts. Dynasty founder Stefan Nemanja established the state of Serbia before becoming a monk on Mt Athos, where he built the Hilandar Monastery.

    The show includes objects associated with the Serbian rulers, models of two important Serb monasteries and icons, one of which was made in a workshop of Thessaloniki, and high-grade copies of frescoes.

    Visitors with museum entrance tickets can join either of two Sunday tours of the small but important exhibit, on September 1 by Dr. Irini Theocharopoulou and on September 15 by Sofia Gerogiorgi. Both begin at 12:00 and reservations are necessary at the Museum telephone line, 213 213 9572 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

    [30] Nearly 500 stores sealed for violations in Thessaloniki since Jan.

    Approximately 500 stores have been sealed and resealed after second inspections in the northern city of Thessaloniki since the beginning of 2013, following attemps by authorities to ensure that legality and the city's smooth functioning are observed.

    According to an announcement by the municipality of Thessaloniki, a total of 495 sealings and resealings of stores were carried out from the beginning of the year to date, a figure that is far greater than the one recorded in the municipality of Athens over the same period.

    More specifically, sealed and resealed were: 104 brothels, 265 stores lacking a licence to operate, 108 stores due to the temporary withdrawal of the operation licence and 3 due to the revocation of their licence.

    [31] Defendant dies during court trial on 11mln embezzlement of IKA funds

    One of eight people present at the Criminal Appeals court hearing being charged with stealling millions through the Social Security Foundation (IKA) branch in Kallithea, a southern suburb of Athens, died in court of a stroke on Tuesday.

    The man was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    He and his wife were among eight on trial, seven of whom were being detained pending trial. The eight are accused of using false documents to claim a total of at least 11 million euros from IKA. They were about to be released, as the maximum detention period of 18 months was about to expire in a few days.

    Appeals prosecutor Periklis Drakos had earlier proposed to the Appeals Council of Athens that those detained be released on strict restriction orders.

    [32] Two men arrested on separate charges at border checkpoint

    Police arrested a 32-year-old Bulgarian national at the Promahonas border checkpoint on Monday afternoon during his entry into Greece on charges of seducing minors.

    A check revealed that an arrest warrant had been issued against him by a special investigator in Athens.

    A 42-year-old Greek national was also arrested in the region of Promahonas on the same day, on an arrest warrant issued against him by the Kavala investigator for participation in a criminal organisation and forgery.

    The two will be brought before investigators to give their testimonies.

    [33] Wildfire on Zakynthos island

    An big wildfire broke out shortly before 17:00 on Tuesday in the region of Argasi, on the Ionian island of Zakynthos, and is burning forestland. The blaze is being tackled by the island's entire firefighting force and three firefighting aircraft, while efforts to place it under control are being hampered by strong winds blowing in the region.

    [34] One arrested in Exarchia during a police operation

    One person was arrested during an large-scale police operation in downtown Exarchia that was still underway late Tuesday evening.

    Just before 11 p.m., two Molotov cocktails were thrown against a riot police squad on Trikoupi Street.

    Reports said the arrested held a Molotov cocktail in his hands. A number of suspects for the incident are being summoned by the police.

    [35] Markopoulo wildfire situation improving

    Things are reported to be improving at the front of a wildfire in the Mavrosouvala region, Markopoulo, Oropos, east Attica.

    The blaze broke out Tuesday late afternoon in a ravine in a forested area. Strong fire-fighting forces remain in the area to control the fire.

    Weather forecast

    [36] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures between 19C and 38C. Fair in Athens with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures between 23C and 38C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 21C and 35C.

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

    AVGHI: Government in vertigo.

    DIMOKRATIA: 50,000 'hirings' in public sector.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: They (government) convene, decide and demolish.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: The layoffs in public sector per service and specialty.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: The hiring procedure for 50,000 unemployed in municipalities.

    ESTIA: Greece again in the spotlight.

    ETHNOS: The final list with the 9,241 civil servants that will be set in the mobility scheme.

    IMERISSIA: The banks' plan.

    KATHIMERINI: Greek contribution to Syria.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: 40,000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMES) shut down in the first six months of 2013.

    RIZOSPASTIS: USA, NATO, EU's drums of war in Syria.

    TA NEA: How many are leaving and from which ministries.

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