|Thursday, 22 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-08-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 29 August 2013 Issue No: 4446
 Greece has warned EU it cannot handle more Syrian refugees, deputy FM saysGreece "has not received a formal request for help" in Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas reiterated on Wednesday, adding that Greece's stance "aims at improving our role in the area and at serving Greek interests - of the Greek communities, the Orthodox church and Greek businesses."
Speaking to Public Television, Kourkoulas said Greece's stance will not be influenced by Turkey's stance, and noted that "Greece's strategic interest is to stabilise the situation in Syria. A political solution is necessary."
Speaking about the possibility of refugees, he referred to contacts Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos made with EU officials, adding that Greece has informed its European partners that it has very limited resources to handle war refugees. The numbers from Syria, with 100,000 victims and millions of refugees, constitute "the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century," the minister said, and called the loss of lives "a crime against humanity".
Asked to comment about the main opposition's stance that calls for Syrians to decide on their own future without foreign invaders, Kourkoulas observed that "Syria is not a flourishing democracy that develops in the midst of peace and progress."  Syrian case needs careful thinking, President Papoulias says
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday made an intervention concerning the dismal climate around the Syrian crisis, saying,"I don't know if the latest news from the area is ominous but it is definitely brewing trouble. I hope those who take decisions will examine the issue of military intervention in Syria carefully".
Papoulias made his statement during his scheduled meeting on Wednesday with Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis at the presidential mansion.
 Middle East developments have 'upgraded Greece's role', Deputy FM tells radio stationsGermany was first to violate the EU's Stability and Growth Pact, Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas told Athens 9.84FM on Wednesday, dismissing comments about Greece by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the conditions of Greece's membership in the eurozone as "campaign rhetoric".
"The discussion over the structure and architecture of the euro is a very significant discussion and now everyone knows that the eurosystem presents weaknesses that must be corrected," Kourkoulas said, adding that "of course, Greece did not carry out the reforms it ought to have done once it became a member of the eurozone."
Regarding Syria, the minister said the use of chemical weapons does not allow for a passive reaction by civilised people. He reiterated the need for a political solution to be found, such as a new round of talks on the Geneva II process, and said "Greece must not shut itself in an autistic shell...We certainly want peace, but Syria has not been in peace the last 18 months, it's been involved in a bloody war."
Greece retains very strong stakes in the area - Syria, Egypt and the greater Middle East - and "the fact Syria is so messy at this time should not serve as an excuse to avoid taking measures, especially as there have been crimes against humanity" there, Kourkoulas said.
Asked to comment on Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos' official visit to Egypt on September 5 by invitation of his Egyptian counterpart, Kourkoulas said that Egypt is a pilot country for the Arab world and Greece has a lot of interests there, from the Patriarchate of Alexandria to Greek communities and to large Greek investments. Egypt is a country "that will play a very important role in the issue of maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean," he noted.
Speaking to private Skai radio, also on Wednesday, developments in the region have already "upgraded Greece's role" as the country is "the most important base of stability (in the area), with the consolidated principles of democracy, human rights, freedom and the peaceful resolution of differences."
Asked to comment on main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), which insists that Greece must abstain from any military intervention in Syria, Kourkoulas noted that "SYRIZA is responding as if we are still living in the sixties, where any decision taken by our Western partners and allies is seen as a foregone imperialist attack." In terms of principles, he said, "during a period of upheaval, Greece's absence from international events would be criminal."
 Greece 'must not get involved in US-led invasion of Syria', SYRIZA saysThe prevailing situation in Syria is extremely complicated and explosive and the whole region is 'a time bomb', Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said in an announcement on Wednesday.
"From the very beginning, SYRIZA was and is sternly against any kind of imperialistic intervention", a party announcement said." Greece should not, under any circumstances, get involved in the military intervention that the USA and its allies are preparing, neither directly nor indirectly. UN is the only international organisation that must examine objectively the reasons of this barbarous and unprecedented attack with chemicals against innocent people," it noted.
It added, "The Syrian people are the only ones that must determine with peaceful and political means the immediate ending of the bloody civil war. The international community ought to support this one and only way".
The main opposition party also warns the Greek government to "not allow our country to become part of an opportunistic war conflict that will have destructive consequences for all the people of the area, including the Greek people."
 SYRIZA leader calls for extraordinary Parliamentary Plenum session on SyriaMain opoposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras, in a letter addressed to Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis, called for an extraordinary session of the Parliamentary Plenum to enable Parliament to be briefed by the prime minister on the government's intentions concerning the issue of Syria.
"The dramatic developments in the wider region of the Mediterranean and the preparation for military intervention in Syria, makes the briefing of Greek Parliament's parties and of the Greek people by the prime minister essential," Tsipras said in his letter and added that "the briefing is considered absolutely necessary, since information reports that the country is sustaining pressures and demands to facilitate the military intervention".
Lastly, he concluded his letter by saying "I call on you to take an initiative to enable a special session of the Parliamentary Plenum to be held to enable the prime minister to brief Parliament on the government's intentions".
 DIMAR: UN and EU must find a political solution to the Syria crisisDemocratic Left (DIMAR) in an announcement on Wednesday noted that Greece should not be involved in any possible military intervention in Syria's crisis, underlining "the need for the international community to insist on finding a political solution to the crisis, which has taken on geopolitical features".
"At this moment, the choice of even a limited military intervention involves the risk of an escalation and extension of the conflict outside the Syrian borders, leading to wider conflagration in the Middle East and a permanent close involvement of the West in the area", DIMAR noted.
"UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the EU government must insist on prioritising a political solution that will put an end to Assad's criminal regime and the bloody civil war and to safeguard a democratic transition and normality in Syria".
DIMAR proposes a European initiative with aim the organisation of a broad international meeting with the participation of the opposing sides in Syria, the governments of the countries in the region, USA, Russia, Turkey and Iran. At this moment, says the announcement, such a diplomatic initiative is mandatory. "In any case, Greece should not get involved into a possible military intervention in Syria", the DIMAR announcement concluded.
 KKE party sg holds meeting with Russian Federation ambassadorCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas held a meeting at the party's offices on Wednesday with the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Greece Vladimir Chkhikvishvili during which concern was expressed over war preparations for an attack against Syria as well as disagreement with this development, according to a relevant announcement by KKE.
The Russian ambassador presented the Russian Federation's positions on the developmnent of the situation in Syria, the consequences that a military strike will have and referred to efforts being made by his country for a peaceful solution.
According to the announcemeny, the KKE's secretary general on his part "outlined the party's positions on the very serious developments in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and the planned imperialist intervention in Syria, stressing the relation between the capitalist crisis and war and also referred to KKE's assessments on the consequences of an imperialist war against Syria."
Koutsoumbas "stressed the need for Greece not to become involved in the new imperialist war and bases and other facilities not to be provided for the US and their allies to launch yet another war."
Lastly, he briefed the Russian ambassador on the mobilisations and other initiatives that KKE is undertaking against the planned intervention, the announcement added.
 KKE party sg holds talks with Chinese embassy officialCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas held talks on Wednesday with the political counsel of the People's Republic of China's embassy Madame Zhao Liying and diplomatic attache Madame xu Huimin, due to the Chinese ambassador's absence abroad, focusing on the planned military attack against Syria and an exchange of views on the dangerous situation in the Middle East in general, according to an announcement by KKE.
The embassy's political adviser expressed concern over developments and referred to the positions of the Chinese government, stressing that it is in favour of a political solution and the peaceful settlement of the problem of Syria.
According to the announcement, Koutsoumbas briefed the embassy's delegation on his party's "positions and stressed that the imperialists' target is not only Syria but Iran as well."
He also stressed KKE's disagreement with any involvement by Greece in the military intervention and provided a briefing on KKE's mobilisation on Thursday to the US embassy and the party's other initiatives in the coming period.
 FM Venizelos holds telephone conversation with Iranian counterpart on SyriaGovernment vice president and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesday held a telephone conversation concerning the issue of Syria with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, at the latter's initiative.
 Protest resolution delivered to US embassy over SyriaA delegation of the Greek Committee for International Detente and Peace (EEDYE) and a delegation of the Communist Party of Greece-affiliated labour union PAME made a representation and delivered a resolution to the US embassy in Athens on Wednesday, denouncing military preparations by the US, Britain and France for an attack against Syria.
The resolution was received by the charge d'affaires of the embassy, while the EEDYE delegation protested the fact that even proximity to the embassy building and the simple delivery of a resolution was forbidden.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Eurodeputy Bambis Angourakis was also present.
 Defence Minister meets with ambassadors of Australia, UAEDefence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met in his office on Wednesday with Australian Ambassador to Greece Jenny Bloomfield. Issues concerning relations between the two countries were discussed during the courtesy call.
Avramopoulos later also met in his office with United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to Greece Abdelhadi Abdel Wahid Al-Khajah. The minister and the ambassador discussed defence issues of mutual interest, as well as issues regarding relations between Greece and the UAE.
 State lotteries discussion opens under urgency procedures, SYRIZA walks out of committeeMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) walked out of the committee reviewing a draft law on state lotteries in protest on Wednesday.
The draft law on the "ratification of the concession contract of the exclusive right of production, operation, promotion, distribution and administration of the state lottteries" was tabled in Parliament late on Tuesday and sent to the parliament's economic affairs committee on Wednesday under urgency procedures, in order to be discussed and voted on Thursday in the parliament plenum.
SYRIZA deputies walked out of the committee to protest the use of emergency procedures for the bill.
 PM Samaras discusses 78th TIF inauguration with Macedonia-Thrace ministerPrime Minister Antonis Samaras held a meeting at the Maximos Mansion with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Thodoros Karaoglou on Wednesday, focusing on organisational issues of the inauguration of the 78th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) by the prime minister on Saturday September 7.
According to indications so far, Samaras will travel to Thessaloniki on the morning of Saturday September 7, he will attend the religious ceremony and at 10 a.m. he will address an event with the participation of economic and local authority representatives in the TIF's Corona hall.
From then on the prime minister's programme is open and has not been finalised.
On Wednesday September 4 the prime minister is expected to meet in Athens with representatives of agencies of Thessaloniki and Northern Greece who will brief him on issues of interest to them in light of his visit for the TIF's inauguration.
 Environment minister briefs President Papoulias on developments in energy policyGreece is now an important and steadfast factor of energy, security and stability for the wider region and the European Union, Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis told President Karolos Papoulias during a briefing at the presidential mansion on Wednesday on developments in the country's energy policy.
"We are proceeding with great speed in the implementation of all the targets of our national energy policy and indeed I must tell you that the surveys for hydrocarbons, an issue for which you have special sensitivity, are forging ahead even faster than we had planned," the minister told President Papoulias, adding that developments in the other two major issues are also positive: the country's linking with international natural gas transportation pipelines and the linking with international cables for conveying electric power.
 PASOK party Political Council meets on ThursdayPASOK party president Evangelos Venizelos will chair a meeting of the party's Political Council, on Thursday at 2:00 p.m.
According to sources, the meeting will focus on current political developments, as well as issues pertaining to a two-day scientific-political on the party's foundation anniversary, and Venizelos' visit to September's Thessaloniki International Trade Fair.
 Justice Minister takes action after MP inquiry quoting UN report on missing childrenJustice, Transparency and Human Rights Minister Charalambos Athanasiou has requested infromation from judicial authorities on the disappearance of 502 Albanian Roma children from the state institute Aghia Varvara between 1998 and 2002, according to a document he submitted to Parliament on Wednesday.
The minister's letter responds to a question by Democratic Left (DIMAR) deputy Maria Yiannakaki, who based it on a report of the United Nations Committee against Torture issued June 1, 2012. In the 2012 report, the UN Committee expressed concern that the case, originally reported in 2004, had not been investigated by Greek authorities.
The UN report had said the case should be investigated with the help of Albanian authorities and related orgnaisations before a time delay creates problems in verifying information, and recommended that Greece adopt a comprehensive policy to fight violations of the rights of homeless children and prevent such events in the future.
Athanasiou told the deputy, in writing, that he is inquiring whether any criminal proceedings have been filed and if so, what stage they are in. He also told her that he will update her shortly on further actions to be taken after he has consulted with the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Labour, Social Insurance & Welfare. He also mentioned existing actions and programmes overseen by the ministry, one of which is coordinated by the "Chamogelo tou Pediou" (Child's Smile) nonprofit for homeless children and in collaboration with other countries like Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia.
 Parliament ratifies new president, CEO of Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB)The new president and chief executive officer of the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB) were ratified by the public utilities commitee in Parliament on Wednesday, with 8 votes for, 5 against, a "present" and a blank vote.
The names of Panagiotis Manousos as president and Dimitris Papakostas as CEO were submitted by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras.
Speaking after his election, Papakostas said the priority was to ensure EAB continued to operate and expanded to become "a centre of excellence in Southeastern Europe." His vision for the company was to "tranform EAB into a company that can produce its own aircraft," while noting that if it can sign contracts worth 50-60 million euros, it will return to profitability.
 Education ministry announces names of teachers to be transferredThe Ministry of Education on Wednesday released the list of the names of teachers who are being transferred from secondary education to primary education and administrative positions.
The specialties of teachers being transferred include coaches, IT, French literature, theatre studies, music and fine arts.
The list of teachers' names is posted on the website: www.minedu.gov.gr?
 Parliament approves joint development company for church propertyAn amendment was passed in Parliament on Wednesday establishing the "Company for Developing the Real Estate Assets of the Church SA", which will be owned equally by the Greek state and the Greek Orthodox Church.
During discussion in Parliament, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) raised the issue of separating church and state.
SYRIZA deputy Nikos Voutsis told Parliament his party would not oppose the amendment. The party, as reported by its rapporteur Dimitris Gakis, did not vote down the amendment but voted "present", abstaining from a yes or no vote.
As Voutsis said, "We do not oppose this bill, this effort, but we retain a lot of reservations for it" which he said were based on the details contained in the proposal.
KKE voted against the amendment.
 KKE leader meets with IKA employees unionCommunist Party of Greece leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas met on on Wednesday with the board of the Social Security Fund (IKA) employees union.
Koutsoumbas observed that "the problems employees at IKA and other insurance funds and public entities are facing are connected to the antipopular measures and plans by the government to privatisate several of IKA's services, other insurance funds, the unemployment organisation (OAED) and new antipopular plans relating to the country's social security system overall", affecting labour rights, pensions and age limits.
KKE reiterates its support of workers' struggle against such developments and for the reversal of the antipopular policy, he added.
 FM to meet Serbian envoy on ThursdayGovernment vice president and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will be meeting Serbian Ambassador to Greece Dragan Zupanevic on Thursday, it was announced on Wednesday.
 Two Turkish helicopters interceptedTwo Turkish helicopters entered the Athens FIR on Wednesday, in the region of the northern and central Aegean and carried out two infringements and two violations, 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.
 Bank credit to private sector at -4% in JulyThe annual growth rate of total credit extended to the domestic private sector remained negative at -4.0% in July 2013, from -4.1% in the previous month, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday. The central bank in a report said that the net flow of total credit to the domestic private sector was negative, amounting to 855 million euros (July 2012: negative net flow of 1.434 billion).
The net flow of credit to enterprises, in July 2013, was negative, amounting to 482 million euros (July 2012: negative net flow of 942 million), and the annual growth rate of credit stood at -4.6%, compared with -4.9% in the previous month. In particular, the annual growth rate of credit to non-financial corporations stood at -3.9%, from -4.2% in the previous month, while the net flow of credit to non-financial corporations was negative and equal to 449 million euros (July 2012: negative net flow of 822 million). The annual growth rate of credit to insurance corporations and other financial intermediaries stood at -14.5% in July 2013, from -15.4% in June 2013.
The net flow of credit to sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships was positive, amounting to 39 million euros (July 2012: negative net flow of 33 million) and its annual rate of change stood at -1.2%, from -1.6% in June 2013.
In July 2013, the net flow of credit to individuals and private nonprofit institutions was negative, amounting to 412 million euros (July 2012: negative net flow of 459 million), and its annual growth rate stood at -3.7%, compared with -3.6% in June 2013.
 Piraeus Bank reports H1 resultsPiraeus Bank on Wednesday said the group's net result earmarked for its shareholders totaled 3.5 billion euros in the first half of 2013, integrating the benefit from a negative value of takeovers worth 3.8 billion euros.
The bank said Group assets totaled 95 billion euros at the end of June, pre-provision and adjustment loans were 75.7 billion euros, with corporate loans accounting for 65 pct, mortgage loans 24 pct and consumer loans 11 pct. Deposits totaled 54.7 billion euros, with saving and option deposits accounting for 38 pct of total. The loan/deposit index was 116 pct, while the loans in delay index was 33 pct in June. The accumulated provision/loans index was 16.3 pct.
Equity capital totaled 9.5 billion euros, while the group's capital adequacy rate was 14 pct.
Piraeus Bank said its branch network totaled 1,718 units, with 1,280 units in Greece and 438 in nine countries abroad. Its workforce totaled 24,743, of which 18,591 in Greece.
Mihalis Sallas, the group's chairman, commenting on the results said: "Following completion of a recapitalization and restructuring programme, the Greek banking system is turning page. Restoring the capital base of the four systemic banks allows us to be optimistic they will achieve in efforts to safeguard funds necessary for the Greek economy with competitive terms".
The Greek banker said that Piraeus Bank was "focusing its efforts towards completing the integration of the expanded group by the end of the year and to introducing new solutions aimed at safeguarding capital base, supporting Greek enterprises and offering relief to Greek households".
 Piraeus Port says profits sharply up in H1Piraeus Port on Wednesday said its pre-tax profits soared 92.54 pct to 3.73 million euros in the first half of 2013, from 1.94 million euros in the corresponding period last year.
After tax earnings jumped 208.64 pct to 3.45 million euros in the first six months of the year, form 1.12 million euros in 2012.
The listed company said it expected the third quarter of the year to be even more positive boosted by an increase in sea cruise activity. Turnover eased 2.14 pct in the January-June period, while expenses fell by 5.05 pct over the same period. Cash reverses totaled 21.3 million euros, up from 8.6 million in 2012, while the company's net position was 161.9 million euros, up from 155.9 million euros in 2012.
Piraeus Port said transit sea cruise activity was up 11.6 pct in the first half.
 Forthnet says revenues down, subscribers base up in H1Forthnet on Wednesday said its consolidated revenue totaled 191.1 million euros in the first half of 2013, down from 206.7 million euros in the corresponding period last year, reflecting lower prices in the retail market.
Adjusted EBITDA totaled 34.2 million euros in the January-June period, from 43.6 million euros in 2012, while bank borrowing fell by 10 milion euros over the same period.
Forthnet said its customer base surpassed 204,000 Greek households, a figure up by 46.5 pct compared with the first half of 2012, reflecting the launch of new services and innovative marketing sales.
Subscribers' base in telecommunications grew 15.4 pct in the first six months of 2013 to more than 597,000 subscribers, while its subscribers' base in television services surpassed 373,000, up 12.8 pct from last year.
 Sidenor reports higher losses in H1Sidenor Group on Wednesday reported higher losses in the first half of 2013, with after tax and minorities losses totaling 43.2 million euros, or 0.4488 euros per share, from losses of 34.5 million euros, or 0.3585 euros per share in the corresponding period last year.
The group attributed this development to higher tax burden. Turnover fell 29.5 pct to 405.1 million euros in the January-June period, from 574.8 million euros in 2012, while EBITDA was 1.0 million euros in the first half of the year, from 14.7 million euros last year, hit by higher energy costs.
 Deposits in Greek banks down in JulyDeposits in Greek banks fell in July, for the second consecutive month, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday.
The central bank, in a report, said that deposits by enterprises and households fell by 288 million euros in July to 162.386 billion euros compared with June.
Bank deposits began recovering in December 2012, with around 8.2 billion euros in new deposits recorded in the period from December 2012 to March 2013. However, this trend began changing in April, resulting to a decline in the last two months. Deposits in Greek banks fell to a low 150.5 billion euros in June 2012.
 Private deposits in Greek banks stable in July, ECB saysPrivate deposits in Greek banks remained stable in July, the European Central Bank said on Wednesday. In a report, Eurozone's central bank said that deposits in Cypriot banks fell by 2.4 pct in July, after falling by 7.6 pct in June. Deposits by housholds and enterprises in Cypriot banks totaled 36.7 billion euros, after reaching an all-time high of 50.5 billion euros in
May 2012. Bank deposits fell in Spain (2.3 pct) and Italy (1.0 pct) in July, while they remained stable in Portugal
 Deadline looms ahead for 500,000 tax non-filersNo further extension will be granted to nearly 500,000 individuals that have not yet filed their tax statements, Public Revenues Secretary General Haris Theoharis told representatives of tax preparation and accounting offices (POFEE) at a meeting at the Finance Ministry on Wednesday.
The final deadline is 8:00 a.m. on Monday, September 2.
 Greek stocks end flat on WednesdayGreek stocks ended flat in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday as the market tried to find technical support ground following Tuesday's sharp sell-off on worries over developments in Syria. The composite index of the market eased 0.04 pct to end at 881.03 points, after rising as much as 0.88 pct and falling by 1.38 pct during the session. Turnover was a low 28.69 million euros.
The Large Cap index eased 0.10 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 0.38 pct. Alpha Bank (3.39 pct), Piraeus Bank (3.13 pct), PPC (2.44 pct), Athens Water (1.38 pct) and Piraeus Port (1.09 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Hellenic Petroleum (3.34 pct), Jumbo (3.14 pct), Frigoglass (2.30 pct) and Motor Oil (2.22 pct) were top losers.
Utilities (1.97 pct), Banks (1.80 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day among the market's sectors, while Oil (2.85 pct), Personal Products (2.51 pct) and Health (2.11 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 70 to 54 with another 22 issues unchanged. Elgeka (29.51 pct), Fieratex (29.46 pct) and Progressive (21.43 pct) were top gainers, while Parnassos (29.01 pct), AAA (20.0 pct) and Sidma (20 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.85%
Personal & Household: -2.51%
Raw Materials: +0.59%
Travel & Leisure: +0.11%
Food & Beverages: -0.76%
Financial Services: +0.39%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Piraeus Bank, National Bank, Alpha Bank, PPC and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.488
Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.15
Coca Cola HBC: 20.05
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.95
National Bank of Greece: 2.85
Eurobank Properties : 6.90
Piraeus Bank: 1.02
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell to 8.44 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 8.55 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 10.31 pct and the German Bund yielding 1.87 pct. There was no turnover in the market.
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.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.81 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 7.198 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,817 contracts worth 4.251 million euros, with 46,527 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,608 contracts worth 2.947 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (2,517), followed by National Bank (1,964), Piraeus Bank (2,141), Eurobank (1,201), MIG (278), OTE 706), PPC (1,116), Mytilineos (194), Ellaktor (115), Intralot (124), Sidenor (112), GEK (364), Metka (101), Viohalco (106) and OPAP (108).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.354
Pound sterling 0.876
Danish kroner 7.571
Swedish kroner 8.817
Japanese yen 132.05
Swiss franc 1.247
Norwegian kroner 8.179
Canadian dollar 1.421
Australian dollar 1.52
 Designer Michalis Aslanis found dead in his apartmentWell-known Greek fashion designer Michalis Aslanis was found dead in his apartment in the central Athens district of Kolonaki on Wednesday.
The cause of death is unknown, according to police, who where notified by a phone call.
Aslanis was born in Athens and studied with well-known Greek designers and painters. He began his career in fashion in 1974, quickly becoming one of the top designers in Greece and creating his signature feature of ethnic themes incorporated in haute couture clothes. His clothes were shown extensively overseas in solo or group events in Paris, Monaco, Moscow, Frankfurt, Rome, Milan, Bari, Istanbul, Cyprus and Canada.
Aslanis is also responsible for designing the uniforms of employees at the Attiko Metro and the Athens International Airport, and collaborated with overseas importers on a specialised line of accessories and household items.
 Woman kills daughter and hangs herself on CorfuA tragic family incident shocked the island of Corfu on Wednesday, after a 50-year-old German woman who lived permanently with her family in the village of Antipernoi, decided to take the life of her 7-year-old daughter and then her own.
According to reports, the woman hanged herself after drowning her daughter in the bathtub of their home.
The bodies of the two were found by the husband and father of the family, 48. when he got home.
The exact circumstances of death are being investigated by the Corfu Police Department.
 Wildfire raging in villages near Livadia; old people's home evacuatedA wildfire is still raging near Livadia, Viotia in spite of weaker winds late Wednesday evening, and is reported to have burned through the yards of the first homes in the area of Chaironeia. According to Chaironia mayor Nikos Papangelis, the fire has already burned down some stockyards and four residences.
Dozens of people are reported to have been taken to Livadia hospital with respiratory problems, while officials ordered the evacuation of an old people's home run by the diocese, located in Pera Chorio on the outskirts of the town of Livadia, after the building was surrounded by flames. "Everybody was transferred in safety," hospital president Kostas Gizimis said.
Police forces watching the situation in the villages of Tsoukalades and Pera Chorio are reported to be considering ordering their evacuation. Some of the villagers, however, have already left their homes.
The fire front is estimated to exceed 6 km and is literally burning on the outskirts of Livadia town. Dozens of fire-engines and other useful equipment have arrived in the area from neighbouring municipalities, assisted by volunteer groups in the strenuous effort to control the blaze.
 Fair on ThursdayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 19C and 37C. Fair in Athens with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 23C and 36C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 20C and 33C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Winds of war in the Middle East.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Germany wants everything.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Public sector to privates.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: State illegal buildings and semi-enclosed areas in special tax statements (E9).
ESTIA: PASOK's taxes, New Democracy (ND) the collects them!.
ETHNOS: Express trials for 6,000 contract holders in public sector.
IMERISSIA: Nervous breakdown in markets.
KATHIMERINI: USA tightens the net on Syria
NAFTEMPORIKI: War scenarios for Syria terrify the investors.
RIZOSPASTIS: Condemn any Greek involvement in the war plans against Syria.
TA NEA: Thousands of tax payers lose the tax return.
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