|Wednesday, 18 October 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-09-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 5 September 2013 Issue No: 4452
 PM Samaras meets with production sector reps from northern GreecePrime Minister Antonis Samaras met at the Maximos Mansion with representatives of the production sector from northern Greece in light of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), which he is inaugurating Saturday morning.
Ministers Yannis Stournaras, Costis Hatzidakis and Yiannis Vroutsis also participated in the meeting.
The production sector representatives outlined for the prime minister issues of their concern, with the primary issue being that of liquidity. Specifically, they raised the issue of guaranteed bank cheques to enable them to secure temporary liquidity for their businesses.
They also asked for an arrangement for past debts to the tax authority, while the PM agreed to a request of theirs that a police station be moved from Aristotelous Square.
 Macedonia-Thrace Minister on Samaras-Northern Greece production reps talksMinister of Macedonia-Thrace Theodoros Karaoglou termed the dialogue held on Wednesday between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and production sector representatives from northern Greece, in light of the inauguration of the 78th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), "sincere, productive and constructive".
"The prime minister listened very carefully to the thoughts and views of the production agencies of Northern Greece, he listened to their concerns and provided solutions wherever possible. The discussion was sincere, productive and mainly constructive, since the business chambers constitute informal advisers of the government and participate actively in both the national effort for the restarting of the Greek economy and the implementation of those policies that will bring Northern Greece back to a growth orbit and greatly help Macedonia and Thrace to obtain what they are entitled to," Karaoglou said, who participated in the meeting.
The minister added that "the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry, being a nucleus of government presence in Macedonia and Thrace, stands continuously by the side of all chambers that are active in the region of its responsibility and with realism, directness as well as responsibility is struggling to make Northern Greece a headquarters of growth, innovation and creativity".
He stressed that "the challenges that lie ahead of us are many and complex," however "continuing the hard work we shall have achieved the desired results soon".
 KKE leader to PM: Greece should stay out of Syria warCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Wednesday expressed his unequivocal opposition to Greece's involvement in any military intervention in Syria, during his meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Koutsoumbas called the use of chemical weapons in Syria a provocation by powers other than Assad's regime and said that USA and its allies invocation of that excuse is a "fib".
KKE leader called on the Greek people to be alert and support the struggle against the government's and EU's antisocial measures, to put up a fight against the war, demanding that Greece not get involved and not offer whatever facilitation to the US, EU and NATO military forces.
 Opposition attacks gov't over Syria, in parliamentary sessionThe opposition attacked the government again over its stance on Syria, during a discussion in the Parliament's summer session on Wednesday to ratify three international agreements of Greece with China, Bulgaria and the EU.
Rapporteur for main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), Thodoris Dritsas, accused the Foreign and Defence Ministries of "joining the side of the willing in the military attack under preparation against Syria, without informing Parliament or the Greek people."
"I don't understand SYRIZA," Alternate Defence Minister Fofi Gennimata countered, "Two years ago they requested an intervention in Syria to deal with the regime and now they take the exact opposite stance."
The government, she said, "has a stable position - and this is the political solution to what is happening today, the tragedy in Syria. Our country has condemned the odious crime of chemical weapons, as the global community has also done. We are following all developments and the National Defence Ministry, which has made announcements, will brief the relevant parliamentary committee."
Speaking on behalf of SYRIZA, MP Christos Karagiannidis noted that his party had supported initiatives to defend democratic rights of the Syrian people, not a military invasion. He also called on Gennimata to "support her stance in Parliament with facts" instead of using "slander". The deputy also said he had estimated that Greece was paying to NATO annually 40 million euros, an amount that equalled the annual revenues the state is estimated to have from selling the state lottery. "In essence," he claimed, "we are privatising the state lottery to pay for NATO."
 Gennimata called on him to "clarify whether (he is) advocating the exit of Greece from NATO."NATO is a "factor of destabilisation, not of peace and prosperity," Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Spyros Halvatzis charged, "which has become a global policeman in support of multinational interests to the detriment of peoples."
Adding to the criticism, Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) deputy Dimitris Koukoutsis reiterated his party's stance about an "American-Zionist attack".
 DM Avramopoulos holds meeting with Russian Federation ambassadorNational Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos received the ambassador of the Russian Federation Vladimir Chkhikvishvili in his office at the Defence ministry on Wednesday.
Avramopoulos and the ambassador discussed issues of mutual interest pertaining to the duties of the Defence ministry, as well as issues concerning Greek-Russian relations, in light of the visit to Greece by Russian Federation Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in the first week of December.
Special reference was made to the issue of Syria.
 Top-level defence officials hold meetings in Athens, RussiaChief of Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Mikhail Kostarakos, on Wednesday met at his office with a visiting five-member military delegation from Qatar, the National Defence Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The purpose of the Qatari delegation visit to Greece is to settle details concerning the upcoming arrival of Qatar Military Collage students to Greek army training centres for the third consecutive year.
The Ministry also said that Hellenic Air Force Chief of Staff (HAFGS), Lieutenant General Evangelos Tournas, was on a visit to Moscow from August 31 until September 3 as the formal guest of the organising committee of the "Spasskaya Tower International Military Tattoo 2013", held under the auspices of the Russian president.
In the context of his visit, Tournas met with Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Viktor Bondarev, who gave him a guided tour of the International Aviation and Space Salon - MAKS 2013 and watched a demonstration of MiG-35, Su-35 and T-50 aircraft.
In a meeting with defence export company Rosoboronexport director general Anatoly Isaykin, the Greek Air Force Chief discussed issues of mutual interest, focusing on the S-300 weapons system.
He also visited the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) pavilion set up in Moscow's Red Square to promote Greek tourism.
 FinMin on defence industry issueFinance Minister Yannis Stournaras, asked upon leaving the Maximos Mansion about the issue of defence industries closures, said, "What we are trying to convince the competition committee and the troika is that liquidation while in operation over a space of five years leaves greater value to the public sector than bankruptcy would," adding that "we believe that certain parts of these enterprises have value".
 FinMin: No possibility of tax reductions right nowThere is no latitude for tax reductions, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras insisted on Wednesday, speaking to Skai private TV, saying that the major negotiation with the troika will be held when Greece achieves primary surplus this year.
"I am worried and will not relax, because we must keep the deadlines and follow the programme" Stournaras said.
Stournaras underlined that the country is on a good course and the figures prove it, adding however that the seven months of good returns in 2013 are not twelve months.
He noted that the debt's sustainability depends on the debts of the past, from the primary surpluses and the GDP rate change and expressed his estimation that in the midst of next year it will begin to de-escalate.
Particularly on the heating oil, the Finance Minister said that he plans to change the criteria for the heating benefits.
Concluding, Stournaras ruled out the possibility of new taxes being imposed.
 Troika technical team visits Health MinistryThe troika's technical team met with Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis at the ministry on Wednesday and discussed all the pending issues ahead of the troika's arrival for a review in late September.
The team was briefed on all issues including the reserve labour and new medication regulations - which will be announced in the next few days - and changes in the National Health Organisation (EOPYY), in order to make it more functional.
According to Health Ministry sources, the troika's technical team found progress on all issues.
 Health sector vacancies to be filled in 15-18 days, Health minister saysA tendering procedure to fill 1,754 positions in the health sector is opening on Thursday, and within 15 to 18 days it is expected that 1,641 employees -currently under a suspension scheme- will have been appointed in their new positions, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis said on Wednesday. He was briefing deputies participating in the parliament's Social and European Affairs Committees.
The three-member board of the Administrative Reform Ministry on Wednesday approved the relevant draft plan of the Health Ministry.
Georgiadis was once again firm that no lay-offs will be made of employees in the health sector, as there are some 100 vacancies in excess of the positions which must be filled compared to the staff placed under the suspension scheme.
The minister estimated that a saving of 32 million euros will be achieved annually as a result of the so-called mobility scheme in the health sector.
"Mobility has two objectives: The proper management of human resources and the reform of the health system", Georgiadis said, adding that the specific scheme "is not required by the troika [of Greece's international creditors] or the memorandum [i.e. rescue loan agreement], but because we do need it."
 Administrative Reform Minister Mitsotakis attends first session of anti-corruption committeeAdministrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday attended the first session of the Coordinating Committee against Corruption sending a message that combating corruption is a top priority for his ministry and the government.
In the committee meeting, chaired by national coordinator against corruption, former Supreme Court prosecutor, Ioannis Tentes, the minister stressed that the prime cause of corruption, namely, the complex and numerous public administration procedures, should be eradicated.
Mitsotakis underlined that unnecessary signatures or licenses and complex procedures could foster corruption, noting that efforts focus on the simplification of procedures.
He noted that many administrative procedures have been simplified in the past decade and additional interventions continue to be made toward this end.
 Admin. Reform Minister meets with municipal staff unionAdministrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on Wednesday with municipal employees union representatives (POE-OTA) about the procedures concerning the mobility scheme of the government in the public sector.
On their part, the POE-OTA personnel trade unionists highlighted the serious problems faced by the sector and their concern for likely layoffs.
The union was represented in the meeting by its president and general secretary, Themis Balassopoulos and Yiannis Tsounis respectively, school guards by Manolis Hatzakis and the Municipal Police Union by its president and alternate president Apostolos Kossivas and Thanassis Tatsis respectively.
Balassopoulos said afterward that the "mobility scheme" for the municipal police is being suspended, based on the briefing made by the minister who said that the 12,500 civil servants affected by "mobility" will be evaluated when all organizations report their vacancies that need to be filled.
Union general secretary Tsounis told ANA-MPA that obviously, there is no "mobility scheme" issue but only a "redundancy issue" affecting everybody. "Based on the evaluation criteria and the ministerial decisions on the positions that will be available - when and if the procedures in question are completed - some (employees) will be transferred and the rest will be fired".
Municipal Police Union president Kossivas said that pressures will be exerted for the issuance of a joint ministerial decision (KYA) on the positions that will be available to the 3,456 municipal police affected by the "mobility scheme".
School guards' representative Hatzakis appeared pessimistic referring to the fate if his colleagues saying that "in 8 months we'll all be fired".
 Samaras cuts number of ND's secretariatsNew Democracy's (ND) general secretariats were reduced from 23 to 8 following Prime Minister and ND leader Antonis Samaras' order, it was announced on Wednesday.
By the same decision, new heads of the eight party departments were announced.
 PASOK leader Venizelos's closing speech at ISTAME eventIn a keynote speech which ended the two-day symposium of the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME), held on the occasion of the party's 39th anniversary, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos addressed an invitation of unity to those forces believing in European democratic socialism, in view of the forthcoming European elections and the local elections in Greece.
Venizelos delineated the relationship between PASOK and the liberal New Democracy party, and strongly criticized the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), suggesting essentially that there cannot be any contact and discussion with a party whose leadership based its existence on slander, undermining the annulment of PASOK's historical path.
Venizelos underlined the most painful aspect of the crisis for the PASOK party was its clash with a large part of its own social and electoral base.
He emphasized that "the forthcoming European elections are - on a pan-European level - the time, momentum and opportunity to showcase the comprehensive alternative by European Socialists and Democrats for a different Europe, a different role of the European Parliament, and a different President of the European Commission."
 Former PM Papandreou addresses ISTAME symposiumFormer prime minister and former PASOK president George Papandreou said on Wednesday it was time to "shape a new course for Greece, Europe and on an international level" while addressing the second and last day of the symposium of the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME). The symposium is held on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of PASOK's founding, at the Ellinikos Kosmos Cultural centre.
"We resisted all pressures in the most nightmarish conditions," Papandreou said referring to his tenure in office as prime minister from October 2009 to November 2011, "self-confident that we achieved all that nobody outside Greece could expect from us."
The former premier also defended his options and his government's achievements in 2009-11, strongly criticising at the same time the New Democracy (ND) party.
"The PASOK that Greece and Greeks need cannot but have a leading role in the country's effort toward progress and change... and in the formation of coalition governments for political stability having however a clearly progressive direction," Papandreou further noted.
"No blank cheques. PASOK should unite all progressive forces of the country against right-wing and left-wing conservatism... Our goal is progressive reforms with a humane face," he added.
"We ought not to follow any right-wing or left-wing conservatism," Papandreou underlined while he declared himself "still present" to serve his principles.
 PASOK must become 'lever of change', former PM Simitis saysCourage, imagination, a feeling of responsibility and cooperation with new persons and new ideas is what PASOK party needs in order to be a "lever of change" and lay the foundation for a party of creativity and solidarity, for a new wave of renewal which will be decisive in overcoming the crisis, former prime minister and former PASOK party president Costas Simitis, addressing the second and last day of the symposium of the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME). The symposium is held on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of PASOK's founding, at the Ellinikos Kosmos Cultural centre.
"There are many general progressive groups which wish to cooperate...a new start is needed now in which everyone can participate and there shall be no first, second, third class tickets. Free discussion is needed... with open procedures...a phase is needed like in 1974 without leaders, hierarchies and waiting lists," he noted.
Simitis further said that a broad cooperation with relaxed rules should be attempted in the beginning, gradually becoming more explicit.
"I am not interested in overflowing egoisms of permanently disagreeing petty leaders," he stressed.
 KKE on electoral lawOpposition Communist Party (KKE) on Wednesday referred to the government plans to "change the mayoral election system", noting that the goal is to "blur the deeply political nature of yet another election battle while seeking to weaken the popular will".
The government plans, the KKE added, "aim at weakening the people's will which can be expressed in the form of a condemnation of policies which - on central and local government level - contribute to the management of the system crisis to the detriment of the people regardless of whether it is promoted (the crisis management) by the political parties in the government or the main opposition party".
According to KKE, such policies entrap the people in a new bipolarism in politics.
 Country's lawyers to strike September 17-18The Coordinating Committee of Bar Associations of Greece held an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday and decided to abstain from their duties on September 17-18, while possibly considering future action.
At the meeting an assessment was made regarding the new Lawyers Code that will be tabled for discussion and ratification, as well as issues in connection with the situation prevailing in justice.
On the question of the new code, a relative announcement by the Coordinating Committee stressed it wanted the reinstitution of the rights of salaried colleagues to minimum fees and of the way salary withholdings were calculated.
 Son of former Cyprus minister to be extradited to GreeceNICOSIA (ANA-A. Viketos)
The Regional Court of Nicosia decided the extradition to Greece of Michalis Michailides - son of former Interior Minister Dinos Michailides, who is under extradition process over charges related to the money laundering and armaments kickback trial of former Defence Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos in Athens.
Both father and son have a European arrest warrant issued on them. Dinos Michailides' extradition was appealed at the regional court but upheld by the Supreme Court, and will be extradited shortly.
In his son's case, his lawyers are considering whether to follow the same path and file appeal with the regional court. Both are accused of moneylaundering from September 10, 1997 to July 20, 2001.
 Greek GDP shrinks by 4.6 pct in Q2BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)
The Greek economy shrank by 4.6 pct in the second quarter of 2013, compared with the corresponding period last year, Eurostat said in its revised estimate on Wednesday.
The EU executive's statistics arm, in a report released here, said that the eurozone economy remained in recession in the second quarter of 2013 (-0.5 pct), while the EU economy recorded a zero GDP change in the same period.
On a quarterly basis, Eurozone's GDP rose 0.3 pct while in the EU the GDP rose by 0.4 pct. There were no quarterly figures for Greece and another four member-states.
 Greek state pays 4.3 bln euros of overdue debt to private sectorThe Greek state repaid 4.3 billion euros of its overdue debt to the private sector by August 30, although the sums approved by the Finance Ministry totalled 5.7 billion euros, Christos Staikouras, alternate finance minister, said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters, Staikouras said that the government's aim was to repay a total of 8.0 billion euros of its overdue debt to the private sector by the end of the year. He said that overdue debt payments totalled 566 million euros in August; public sector agencies have received 71 pct of the budget, he added.
The minister noted that the repayment process of overdue debt to the private sector was under way, while at the same time the government was working towards harmonising funding with final payments to avoid the creation of a new generation of overdue debts and to boost liquidity in the real economy, a prerequisite for the recovery of the economy.
 Greece gains five places in list of Global Competitiveness ReportGreece gained five places in the global list of countries according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 of the World Economic Forum, ranking 91st among 148 countries, up from 96th among 146 countries last year.
Greece's rating was 3.93, based on a scale from 1-7, reflecting its performance in 12 indexes: institutions, infrastructure, macro-economic environment, health and education, higher education and vocational training, efficiency in product markets, efficiency in labor market, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business expertize and innovation.
Greece moved higher in the international listing in the sectors of health and education (35th place), infrastructure (38th), technological readiness (39th), higher education and vocational training (41st) and market size (47th). It ranked below average in the sectors of business expertize (83rd) and innovation (87th), institutions (103rd) and product market efficiency (108th), while it ranked low in the sectors of macro-economic environment (147th), financial market development (138th) and labor market efficiency (127th).
Access to funding (22 pct), bureaucracy (21.2 pct), tax arrangements (14.5 pct), lack of policy stability (12 pct), tax rates (9.8 pct), corruption (6.9 pct) and labor market restrictions (5.2 pct) were coted as the most problematic factors in business activity. Switzerland, Singapore and Finland were the top three countries in the WEF list of competitiveness. Germany ranked fourth (from sixth), followed by the US, Sweden, Hong Kong, Holland, Japan and the UK.
 DESFA sale to SOCAR to be completed in about six monthsCompletion of an agreement to sell 66 pct of the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator SA (DESFA) to Socar is expected in at least six months, as the deal needs approval by Greek and European competition authorities before Socar pays the 400 million euros of the deal, officials said on Wednesday.
The issue was discussed during a meeting between the management of DESFA and a representation of the Azeri company which is visiting the company for the first time after winning a tender for the purchase of a 66 pct equity stake in DESFA. Socar's delegation was also briefed over natural gas consumption in Greece and over an agreement -to be signed in October- between DESFA with Georgian Gas Transportation Company Ltd offering know-how to the Georgian operator as part of a community programme Inogate. Under the programe, DESFA will transfer know-how in the fields of construction supervision and pipeline protection.
Socar's officials are expected to visit DESFA's facilities on Wednesday.
 Foreign tourist arrivals at AIA record considerable increaseForeign tourist arrivals at Athens' International Airport (AIA) recorded an increase in the summer season of May-August 2013, it was announced on Wednesday.
However, the total number of air passengers using AIA dropped 1.3 pct compared with the same period in 2012 due a decline in the number of Greek passengers as a result of the economic crisis.
According to AIA, foreign passengers reached 1.7 million (an increase of 6.5 pct compared with last year). In addition, the number of foreign passengers who chose Athens as their main destination increased 11.6 pct.
The most impressive increase was recorded in the tourist arrivals from the United Arab Emirates (69 pct) and from non-EU countries (22 pct) with the Swiss recording an increase of 41 pct and the Turks 27 pct.
Markets, such as, Russia and Ukraine continue to show an upward trend. The number of tourists from Belgium, Holland and Sweden recorded a double digit increase despite a marginal 2 pct decline in EU arrivals.
A notable recovery is recorded in transatlantic markets, Australia (19 pct), Canada (45 pct), United States (9 pct).
Also, all international flights were up to 83 pct booked throughout the summer season of May-August 2013.
 Tourist arrivals on Rhodes 12.94 pct up in AugustTourist arrivals on the island of Rhodes grew 12.94 pct in August compared with the same month last year, confirming estimates that 2013 would be the best year in the tourism history of Rhodes.
Tourist arrivals, using charter flights, totaled 388,820 in August, up from 344,276 in 2012. British tourists remained at the top although arrivals from the UK fell by 3.0 pct in August, followed closely by the Russians (+61.69 pct), while arrivals from Germany recovered strongly recording two-digit growth rates.
Tourist officials said arrivals continued rising during the first days of September. Officials in Rhodes are seeking ways to extend a tourist season in Southern Aegean, through offering incentives both to airline companies and sea cruise companies and to hotel enterprises.
 US embassy official on illegal trade in GreeceThe US Embassy in Greece will hold a consultation with the Greek government over illegal trade and the review of the legal framework applied on it, according to embassy trade liaison Emily Schubert on Wednesday, who met in Thessaloniki with the Thessaloniki Professionals Chamber.
As a representative of American business interests, Schubert said the embassy was committed to the consultation on the issue, both in terms of finance and in terms of ethical practice.
 Food agency checking Japanese food importsThe Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) is carrying out checks for food and animal feed coming from or originating in Japan, as well as products from other regions that may have been affected by the nuclear accident of Fukushima in Japan on March 11, 2011.
According to an announcement, hundreds of relevant checks have been carried out during the import processing for various products, based on existing national and EU legislation.
"The radiology inspections showed that the normal levels were not exceeded, and all products were found to comply with the existing legislation," the announcement said.
EFET, in the framework of its duties concerning the above checks, is also cooperating with other services of the Rural Development Ministry, as well as with the laboratories of the National Research Centre of Dimokritos and the state's General State Chemical Laboratory.
The agency is also in contact with both the Greek Atomic Energy Committee and the European Commission. Greece is providing a briefing for the European Commission on a three-month basis now (initially this briefing was on a weekly basis) concerning the results of checks carried out.
 Trade chamber issues call for meetings with Taiwanese delegationA business delegation from the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) will visit the Athens Chamber of Industry and Commerce at 2:00 pm on September 17 to meet with Greek enterpreneurs.
The Taiwanese businesses are active in the textiles, cosmetics, jewellery, sports equipment, motorcycle parts, children's goods and other sectors.
Interested businesses must register with the Chamber's International Relations Section by September 12. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 210 3382 378, or tel. 210 3382 242, 3382 466. The meetings will be conducted in English.
 METKA completes energy power station project in TurkeyMETKA on Wednesday announced the successful completion of a project to build a combined cycle electricity power station for OMV -the Austrian energy group- in Samsun, Turkey.
The turn-key EPC contract was signed in 2010 and was completed by METKA in cooperation with METKA's subsidiary in Turkey, Power Projects Ltd.
The project envisaged building an electricity power station with a total power of 870 MW using natural gas as fuel.
 Teletypos says share capital increase plan covered by 80.227 pctTeletypos on Wednesday announced that a share capital increase plan was covered by 80.227 pct.
A total of 63 shareholders participated in a rights' issue scheme raising 12,129,542 euros, accounting to 40,431,809 new common nominal shares. Lambrakis Press and Pegasus Publications, both shareholders of Teletypos, fully covered their rights.
A board meeting will decide on the way to distributing all remaining shares, totaling 9,964,691.
 Greek stocks end flat on WednesdayGreek stocks ended flat in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday as investors found little new reasons to open new positions in the market. The composite index rose 0.10 pct to end at 921.40 points, after rising as much as 0.87 pct during the day. Turnover remained a low 42.95 million euros. The Large Cap index ended 0.51 pct higher and the Mid Cap index ended 1.26 pct lower.
Coca Cola HBC (2.87 pct), Eurobank Properties (2.34 pct), METKA (2.32 pct) and OTE (2.08 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while National Bank (4.52 pct), Athens Water (4.27 pct), Korinth Pipeworks (1.96 pct) and Motor Oil (1.93 pct) were top losers.
The Food (2.81 pct), Telecoms (2.08 pct) and Personal Products (1.37 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Banks (2.37 pct), Utilities (1.28 pct) and Health (1.27 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 66 to 53 with another 30 issues unchanged. Kepenos Mills (19.10 pct), Spider (18.92 pct) and Yalco (18.87 pct) were top gainers, while Medicon (19.93 pct), Parnassos (14.44 pct) and Maillis (12.33 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.06%
Personal & Household: +1.37%
Raw Materials: +0.62%
Travel & Leisure: -1.12%
Food & Beverages: +2.81%
Financial Services: -0.60%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Piraeus Bank, OTE, OPAP, National Bank and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.51
Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.36
Coca Cola HBC: 21.85
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.11
National Bank of Greece: 2.96
Eurobank Properties : 6.56
Piraeus Bank: 1.14
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 8.56 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 8.41 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 10.48 pct and the German Bund 1.92pct. Turnover totaled 7.0 million euros, of which 2.0 million were buy orders and the remaining 5.0 million euros were sell orders.
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 0.225 pct and the one-month rate was 0.129 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.88 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover shrinking to 9.123 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,878 contracts worth 4.579 million euros, with 47,630 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,369 contracts worth 4.544 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (2,120), followed by National Bank (1,935), Piraeus Bank (1,692), OTE (1,383), PPC (806), OPAP (783), Mytilineos (158), Ellaktor (100), GEK (101), Motor Oil (91) and Intralot (85).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.336
Pound sterling 0.856
Danish kroner 7.570
Swedish kroner 8.847
Japanese yen 133.03
Swiss franc 1.253
Norwegian kroner 8.123
Canadian dollar 1.402
Australian dollar 1.458
 Woman killed by train in northern GreeceAn unidentified woman was hit and killed by a passing train close to the railway station of Adendros near Thessaloniki.
The incident occured early on Wednesday morning, 200 metres from the station.
The train was running on the Athens-Thessaloniki-Alexandroupolis route, and although the train operator had reduced speed on his approach to the station, he was unable to stop in time.
 Eastern Aegean outpost of Strongyli designated an archaeological siteThe easternmost edge of Greece, the 100-hectare islet of Strongyli near Kastellorizo, was designated as archaeological site by the Central Archaeological Council on Tuesday.
The Council based its decision on antiquities found on the islet, mainly the remains of a fortress of the Hellenistic era with an outer enclosure and a system of water cisterns. Its square tower was used in a signalling network of torches linking Strongyli with the islet of Ro and the island of Kastellorizo and used by the island of Rhodes to control sea passages. The tower was used in the Byzantine and Ottoman times.
Strongyli has no permanent residents besides a Greek army base. Until Cyprus' membership, it was the easternmost border of the European Union.
 Dozens of foreigners arrested at port of Patra in past daysMore than 50 foreigners have been arrested at the western Greek port of Patra in the past days for attempting to travel to Italy either with forged travel documents or hiding in a truck.
However, despite the fact that arrests of foreigners attempting to travel with forged documents are almost a daily occurrence, it appears that migrant trafficking rings are insisting on using this specific method.
Police and Harbour Corps officers believe that rings providing foreigners with forged travel documents are evidently finding many interested persons, obtaining a great deal of money from this specific illegal activity.
 Police confirm fraudulent scheme targeting farmers on CretePolice authorities on the island of Crete on Wednesday confirmed that farm cooperatives, product wholesalers and producers have been scammed by international ring networks active across Europe.
Local market representatives have filed complaints alleging that they have been the victims of fraud by unidentified culprits who order large quantities of various products (fruits and vegetables such as grapes and tomatoes as well as olive oil and meat) destined for foreign countries and fail to pay the agreed price.
So far, police investigation has shown that the culprits are members of criminal gangs based mainly in Balkan countries who, assisted by local collaborators in Greece, make large profits by defrauding farm cooperatives, businesses and private individuals.
A police investigation is in progress and citizens are warned to be extra cautious in their transactions, notifying authorities if they come across suspicious behaviour.
 Fair on ThursdayFair weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 16C and 33C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures between 22C and 31C. Fair in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 18C and 29C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: They kill the defence industry.
DIMOKRATIA: Massacre in LARCO (General Mining and Metallurgical Company), ELVO (Hellenic Vehicle Industry), EAS (Hellenic Defence Systems)!
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: ELVO, EAS, LARCO on ERT's (former national broadcaster) tracks.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: 'Colpo Grosso' in local administration elections!
ESTIA: Greek industry destroyed.
ETHNOS: Troika's (EC, ECB, IMF) provocative e-mail.
KATHIMERINI: Troika rejects plan on EAS.
IMERISSIA: Upward reaction- Euphoria over foreign investors' huge interest
LOGOS: Sudden death for EAS, ELVO, and LARCO - Troika rejects government's proposal.
NAFTEMPORIKI: Defence industries' 'shut down' immediately.
RIZOSPASTIS: New attack against pensions and lump sums.
TA NEA: Lawyers get their guns.
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