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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-10-09

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

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

Wednesday, 9 October 2013 Issue No: 4481

CONTENTS

  • [01] Samaras: Greece wants strategic, long-term ties with Israel
  • [02] Samaras reiterates commitment to defend democracy in meeting with Peres
  • [03] PM Samaras declares 'zero tolerance to neo-nazism'
  • [04] SYRIZA blasts PM Samaras' visit to Israel; gov't spokesman's reply
  • [05] KKE party criticises PM's visit to Israel
  • [06] Venizelos in Ramallah on Wednesday
  • [07] ND's marginal lead over SYRIZA; Samaras most suitable for PM, poll shows
  • [08] SYRIZA accuses health minister of using trade unionist's arrest to 'slur' movement
  • [09] Independent Greeks party leader touring Zakynthos island
  • [10] KKE party says draft state budget reflects escalation of continuing attack against working class
  • [11] "Devastating verdict announced for me and my family," Tsohatzopoulos says
  • [12] GD suspect gives additional testimony to magistrate, at own request
  • [13] GD MP Barbaroussis' trial adjourned until November 12
  • [14] Golden Dawn (GD) financial affairs under investigation
  • [15] Erdogan asks for two mosques, elected mufti in exchange for opening Halki seminary
  • [16] FM Venizelos replies to Turkish PM concerning Halki seminary
  • [17] Health Minister on EOPYY, hospital trade unionist arrested for extortion
  • [18] Second round of 'mobility scheme' to follow assessment, Mitsotakis said
  • [19] Legislation for ERT closure to be voted on by Parliament plenum
  • [20] Greek economy to grow by 0.6 pct in 2014, IMF report
  • [21] Overdue tax debt up by 1.0 billion euros in August
  • [22] SYRIZA's Tsipras tables question on Skaramangas Shipyards
  • [23] Greece raises 1.3 bln euros from T-bill auction
  • [24] Insurance premium production down 12.7 pct in Jan-July
  • [25] Macedonia-Thrace Minister visits Hellenic Sugar Industry
  • [26] Health services companies report higher sales in 2012
  • [27] Metka to participate in energy contract tender
  • [28] Dixons SEE reports higher sales and losses
  • [29] Greek house prices down 31.1 pct during crisis
  • [30] Greek stocks extend rally for 4th consecutive session
  • [31] Greek bond market closing report
  • [32] ADEX closing report
  • [33] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [34] Suspect arrested for involvement in Fyssas' murder case
  • [35] Hospital trade union leader to face felony charges for extortion, illegal gun possession
  • [36] Prosecutor calls for special appeals magistrate in Hellas Gold case
  • [37] Aristotelion University to honour Ecumenical Patriarch
  • [38] Group claims responsibility for attack on Kifissia tax office
  • [39] Foreign national arrested for attempted break-in at a Migration Office in Messolonghi
  • [40] Migrant smuggling ring broken up
  • [41] Rainy on Wednesday
  • [42] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Samaras: Greece wants strategic, long-term ties with Israel

    JERUSALEM (ANA-MPA - S. Goutzanis)

    Greece wants a long-term strategic partnership with Israel, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said here on Tuesday, in statements after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The two leaders underlined their commitment to further strengthening relations between the two countries and signed a joint communique, with Samaras referring to what he called a "historic moment" for the region and for Greek-Israeli relations.

    Noting that both the Greek and Israeli people had suffered immensely under the Nazi boot in WWII, the Greek premier stressed that Greece was determined not to allow fascism to prevail:

    "Both our people are united by common conviction, summed up in two powerful words: Never Again!" he said.

    Samaras noted that both countries lived in a turbulent neighbourhood, sharing concerns for stability and security, while aspiring to democratic values and principles and prosperity through competitiveness and growth.

    He also pointed to the huge energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying this had prompted cooperation across a broad spectrum of issues that went beyond bilateral cooperation.

    "It is a long term strategic partnership and we want to evolve it as such," he stressed.

    Samaras also referred to the role that Greece and Cyprus can play as a link between Israel and the European Union, calling for cooperation in the development and transportation of the energy resources of the three countries and stressing that "Greece and Cyprus and Israel can together become a beacon of hope for all nations and for all peoples in our area."

    "This is a partnership that excludes no one. And potentially includes all people in our region. Aspiring to the same ideas of stability, security, peace and growth. This is a partnership based on honesty, long- term mutual interest, common concerns and strong cultural ties," Samaras added.

    Netanyahu congratulated the Greek premier on his handling of the economic crisis in Greece and stressed that Samaras had shown "leadership...solidarity, a great deal of courage and wisdom to act, to do the right thing, even though its unpopular."

    According to the Israeli premier, the effort had yielded results and "the markets understand that something has happened, something good has happened in Greece," adding that the "smart money" would be seeking to invest in Greece now, before "everyone understands it".

    He also praised Samaras for his government's "resolute opposition" to the rise of neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism and racism in the guise of the far-right party Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi), saying he had taken courageous steps that clearly demonstrated that Greece is a land of tolerance and freedom.

    Netanyahu pointed out that both Greece and Israel were countries with a very long history, which were now two modern Western democracies, two Eastern Mediterranean neighbours seeking peace and stability in the region.

    "I have watched over the last few years and participated obviously in the expansion of our relations, our cooperation has strengthened, and the agreements we have just signed show clearly the scope and diversity of the areas in which we cooperate: energy, science, technology, culture, education, youth exchanges, public safety and fighting crime, maritime transportation and tourism," he said.

    The Israeli premier also spoke at length about the issue of Iran and the potential threat posed by the development of its nuclear arsenal, suggesting that Iran was seeking to buy time while continuing its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

    After a meetings between ministers in the Greek and Israeli delegations, the two countries signed a series of agreements, joint declarations and cooperation protocols on a range of issues, from naval training, education, film production and sports to tourism cooperation, energy and fighting crime.

    [02] Samaras reiterates commitment to defend democracy in meeting with Peres

    JERUSALEM (ANA-MPA/ S. Goutzanis)

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras underlined his commitment to "defend democracy in its birth place," during his meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres here on Tuesday.

    Receiving Samaras, who is on an official visit to Israel at the head of large delegation of ministers, Peres congratulated him on his efforts against neo-Nazism in Greece and for not allowing its proponents "to spoil the name of your democratic country".

    He also praised the Greek prime minister's efforts to deal with the economic crisis, noting the need for optimism.

    Earlier, Samaras had visited Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos at the Patriarchate, who presented him with the insignia and Grand Cross of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which the Greek premier later visited. In a brief address, during which he wished the Patriarch the "strength to continue his work," the prime minister expressed the Greek government's support for the Patriarch and emphasised the importance of the work he was doing.

    On Tuesday evening, Samaras is expected to address a Greek-Israeli business forum.

    [03] PM Samaras declares 'zero tolerance to neo-nazism'

    JERUSALEM (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday evening addressed a Greece-Israel business forum here, during which he said his government would show "zero tolerance to neo-nazism. We shall eliminate the (far-right) Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party from the country's political life."

    The Greek premier characterized a "neo-nazi party" as "a shame for any country," especially for Greece which lost 10 pct of its population during the WWII German occupation.

    "Following some bloody incidents of violence, we are in the process of eradicating Golden Dawn from our political life! Many leading members of this party have been brought to Justice. Their top leaders are already in jail!? And recent polls indicated dramatic fall in their influence. We have been decisive and effective," he said.

    Samaras further spoke about the long-term strategic ties being built by Greece and Israel in recent years, describing this relationship as being based on common values, the two countries' long history and to both being a stability factor in the region. The Greek premier made special reference to the major energy resources in both countries, which as he said, can be the basis for joint exploitation in production and transportation.

    The Greek premier reminded that in the early 90's Greece made a bold step recognizing 'de jure' Israel when he was foreign minister.

    He called on Israeli businessmen to invest in Greece stressing that the investment climate is now changing and the country is becoming friendly to entrepreneurship, as shown by the fact that some large companies -from IBM to the Nestle- are active in Greece.

    Addressing the same event, government vice president and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos also invited Israeli entrepreneurs to "seize the opportunity and invest in Greece."

    Venizelos further referred to the improvement of the fundamentals of Greece's economy, noting that it the country has achieved the biggest fiscal consolidation in Europe and has made significant structural changes. He stressed that relations between Greece and Israel are not just short-term but based on historical facts and common values.

    The forum was also addressed by Israel's Energy Minister Silvan Shalom, who made extensive reference to and congratulated the Greek government for its initiatives regarding the breaking up the Golden Dawn. He also called on Israeli entrepreneurs to invest in Greece.

    [04] SYRIZA blasts PM Samaras' visit to Israel; gov't spokesman's reply

    The main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) section of foreign and defence policy issued a press release on Tuesday in which it charged that "the Samaras-Venizelos government continues to trail Israel's policy, a practice launched by the previous 'memorandum' government," in a comment over a visit to Israel by a Greek government mission headed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

    SYRIZA added that "the hurried proclamation of Israel as Greece's strategic partner in all fields, including the political, military, energy and economic, is a blind acceptance of the US-Israeli desires."

    The main opposition party asserted that it was very obvious that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras with his visit to the neighbouring country was looking for potential buyers for Greece's privatisation programme.

    Responding to SYRIZA's criticism, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said that the main opposition party "attempts in every way to undermine national efforts, at a time when the Prime Minster and the government are strengthening alliances and broadening the basis of cooperation with a view to achieving a faster economic recovery."

    Kedikoglou further wondered "what are?the interests served by this strategy of SYRIZA?"

    [05] KKE party criticises PM's visit to Israel

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Tuesday referring to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's visit to Israel, said that "the strengthening of economic and energy cooperation between Greece and Israel, through the signing of a series of agreements, will not bring growth for the people, as the government is claiming hypocritically, but will lead peoples to new adventures so that business groups can profit as they prepare to take control of infrastructure and natural resources".

    Referring to the energy cooperation agreements, in particular, KKE said that these seek to "promote the further delivery of countries' mineral wealth to local and international monopolies and Greece's involvement in the intense antagonisms for the energy sources and transport paths, placing in danger sovereign rights at the same time as well" and that "in any case Israel is promoting corresponding agreements with Turkey also, maintaining relations of competition as well as cooperation with it".

    The announcement called for vigilance by the Greek people and the peoples in the region, stressing that it is necessary for military cooperation between Greece-Israel to stop since it embroils Greece "in imperialist interventions against other peoples and countries in the region".

    Lastly, KKE said that the only way and a precondition for growth benefiting the people benefit was for the people to take charge of mineral wealth and "walk their own path, the path of labour-working class power, against the monopolies and the imperialist alliances".

    [06] Venizelos in Ramallah on Wednesday

    Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will pay an official visit on Wednesday to the base of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

    Venizelos will meet with the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and afterwards will meet with Prime Ministe Dr. Rami Hamdallah as well as with Foreign Minister Dr. Riad Malki.

    Earlier, Venizelos will be received by Patriarch of Jerusalem Theofilos.

    [07] ND's marginal lead over SYRIZA; Samaras most suitable for PM, poll shows

    New Democracy (ND) leads by a marginal 0.6 percent over main opposition SYRIZA, according to an opinion poll conducted by MRB for private TV STAR and "enikos.gr" website.

    According to the poll results, ND was leading with 21.8 percent, followed by SYRIZA with 21.2 percent, ultra-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) with 6.9 percent, PASOK with 5.2 percent the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 5 percent, Independent Greeks with 4.8 percent and Democratic Left (DIMAR) with 3.6 percent, while 7 percent expressed preference to other parties.

    In response to who would be most suitable for prime minister, current Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (and ND leader) was preferred by 36.6 percent of the respondents, followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with 25.1 percent and 34.8 of the respondents said none of the above.

    The geographic coverage of the opinion poll was nationwide and was conducted between 1and 3 October 2013.

    [08] SYRIZA accuses health minister of using trade unionist's arrest to 'slur' movement

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Tuesday accused Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis of adopting "Goebbelsian-style" propaganda tactics in an attempt to use the arrest of a trade unionist for corruption in order to generally slur on the "struggle of health workers against the disintegration of the public health system" and link the specific individual to parties of the Left.

    "It is well known that the arrested suspect was re-elected president of the workers at Sotiria hospital with the votes of [PASOK-affiliated] PASKE and [ND-affiliated] DAKE just five months ago," it said.

    [09] Independent Greeks party leader touring Zakynthos island

    Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos toured the island of Zakynthos on Tuesday and has held contacts with local authorities.

    Addressing a press cconference following his contacts with the island's agencies, Kammenos termed New Democracy party deputy Makis Voridis and Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis "instructors of Golden Dawn who paved the way for an increase in the specific party's ratings with their becoming ministers."

    On the question of the Independent Greeks party's participation in a future national salvation government with the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), Kammenos said "we Independent Greeks have a programme for all the ministries and we are ready, if the Greek people give us their vote. We have considerable differences with SYRIZA on issues of national sovereignty." He gave as an example the issue of minorities in Thrace and stressed that SYRIZA has made considerable progress, isolating extremist voices from cadres of his party.

    Referring to the Golden Dawn party, Kammenos spoke of a neo-Nazi organisation and pointed out that the judges handling the case will judge if it is a criminal one.

    Lastly, he focused on the government's new measures, saying that "the government will have to take new measures with salary cutbacks and we shall also have new memorandums, just like I had predicted the previous ones".

    [10] KKE party says draft state budget reflects escalation of continuing attack against working class

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Tuesday chrarged that the draft 2014 state budget, "reflects the escalation of the continuing attack against the working class and the wider labour classes for the so-called fiscal restructuring and the exit from the capitalist crisis for the benefit of capital".

    The party underlines that the draft budget "anticipates new burdens that exceed five billion euros and which the working class households will be called on to pay since out of these, 2.1 billion euros will come from the tax raid on the working class income and small real estate, in which farmland will be included, while the rest, mainly, will be accumulated from new cutbacks in health, medical and pharmaceutical care, the decreases in pensions and the funding of Social Insurance Funds".

    The KKE also criticised the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and the "other parties of the EU, which, focusing on the fact that the government's policy is not leading to growth, are concealing from the Greek people that, in the framework of capitalist growth which they are promising, with the present or other management, the antipopular measures will have no expiry date".

    [11] "Devastating verdict announced for me and my family," Tsohatzopoulos says

    Former defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday after a Criminal Court of Appeals found him guilty in the defense procurement kickbacks and money-laundering case, said that the court "derailed from law and justice".

    He said that the verdict announced for him, his wife and daughter, who did not receive suspended sentences, is "devastating" and accused the court of being "inadequate and weak, unable to withstand interventions coming from higher levels".

    The former defence minister's daughter Areti Tsohatzopoulou and his wife Vicky Stamati were sentenced to 12 years in prison.

    Tsohatzopoulos said that he will appeal the ruling and continue to fight to prove his innocence.

    [12] GD suspect gives additional testimony to magistrate, at own request

    A suspect in the ongoing investigation of the far-right party Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) as a criminal organisation on Tuesday asked to be taken before the examining magistrate handling the case in order to give additional testimony.

    Yiannis Aggos, on of the suspects currently jailed on remand, had testified last Saturday concerning the key role that he allegedly played on the night that rapper Pavlos Fyssas was murdered after an being attacked by GD supporters in Keratsini.

    His new testimony is considered a major development in the case, given that Aggos is accused of mobilising the party's "attack squads" on the night that Fyssas was killed, organising the attack while he was in the same cafe as the unlucky 34-year-old musician.

    Another suspect in the case, Anastasios Pantazis, has also been remanded in custody but has denied being the leader of a GD 'cell' in Perama, as other witnesses claim. Pantazis is also accused of being involved in the killing of Fyssas, as well as the attacks on Egyptian nationals on the fishing wharf and members of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in Perama.

    According to Pantazis, he was an ordinary GD member that joined the party because of its opposition to austerity memorandums and its "love of country".

    Following a relevant request from the Supreme Court prosecutor, meanwhile, it was announced that the Appeals Justices' plenum will convene on Thursday week to appoint a special appeals court examining magistrate to handle the Golden Dawn case. Until that time, the investigation will continue under the two anti-corruption magistrates that currently handling it, in order to save time.

    [13] GD MP Barbaroussis' trial adjourned until November 12

    The trial of ultra-right Golden Dawn (GD) MP Kostas Barbaroussis and another 10 individuals accused of attacking street vendors in Messolonghi in September 2012 was adjourned until November 12 because one of the defence lawyers was unable to attend, the court announced on Tuesday.

    The defendants are accused of impersonating authority, damaging private property and using violence.

    A number of people gathered outside the courthouse, chanted slogans during the arrival and departure of the defendants that took place under tight security

    [14] Golden Dawn (GD) financial affairs under investigation

    The examining magistrates assigned with the ultra-right Golden Dawn (GD) criminal organization case on Tuesday ordered an investigation into the financial affairs of the political party and its MPs who are facing charges.

    The financial crime squad SDOE has received orders to carry out the investigation to determine if there is evidence of money laundering.

    Bank accounts will also be opened to investigate possible financial crimes, other than money laundering.

    [15] Erdogan asks for two mosques, elected mufti in exchange for opening Halki seminary

    ANKARA (ANA-MPA - A. Abatzis)

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday set two conditions for reopening the School of Theology on the island of Halki, telling the Turkish Parliament that Greece must allow the renovation of two former mosques in Athens and allow the election of muftis in Thrace in exchange.

    Erdogan said that reopening the seminary would be a "matter of moments" for the Turkish government but, if Turkey was going to return something, "we have a right to also expect some return".

    He referred to the two mosques as 'Ottoman heritage' and noted that Muslims visiting Athens had nowhere to pray, saying he had repeatedly raised the issue with Greek prime ministers.

    "If they agree to the issue with the two mosques and the head mufti, we are ready to simultaneously open the Theological School," he said.

    [16] FM Venizelos replies to Turkish PM concerning Halki seminary

    Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday stressed that Greece's position concerning the School of Theology on Halki was "explicit and clear, in accordance with International Law, and has been expressed repeatedly," while any further discussion on the issue would be "counterproductive".

    Venizelos was responding to statements made earlier by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Turkish Parliament, in which Erdogan outlined "conditions" for reopening the Halki seminary.

    The Turkish premier demanded that Greece allow the renovation of two former mosques in the Greek capital and also the election of the head mufti, the religious leader of the Muslim minority in Thrace.

    According to Erdogan, reopening the seminary would be a "matter of moments" for the Turkish government but, if Turkey was going to return something, "we have a right to also expect some return".

    He referred to the two mosques as 'Ottoman heritage' and noted that Muslims visiting Athens had nowhere to pray, saying he had repeatedly raised the issue with Greek prime ministers. If the Greek side agreed on the issue of the two mosques and the head mufti, Turkey would simultaneously open the Theological School, he added.

    [17] Health Minister on EOPYY, hospital trade unionist arrested for extortion

    Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis on Tuesday referred to the state health services provider EOPYY, saying that it faces serious problems and that its finances are not in order.

    Speaking on VIMA private radio, Georgiadis said that an effort is being made to tidy up EOPYY's finances, noting that this will take time and called for patience.

    He said that EOPYY's debts in the first half of 2013 will be repaid by the end of the year, noting that June's debts will be repaid by December 31.

    Referring to the arrest of a hospital trade union leader accused of extortion and illegal gun possession, he said that it is an unprecedented case, noting that he had never heard before of a case involving a trade unionist who asked for money to stop a labour action.

    [18] Second round of 'mobility scheme' to follow assessment, Mitsotakis said

    The second round of a "mobility scheme" affecting 12,500 public sector employees will be carried out after an assessment of existing structures, Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday underlined. He also pointed out that the "December deadline is pressing and we are waiting for troika's response (the country's creditors) to our request for an extension".

    "The ministry of administrative reform is not a ministry of employee mobility and layoffs," Mitsotakis emphatically said.

    Speaking in VIMA FM private radio, Mitsotakis said that a study conducted in cooperation with the OECD identified over 4,000 administrative burdens in 13 sectors of economic activity, underlining that "many of them are redundant and will be abolished".

    He referred to the ultra-right Golden Dawn (GD) issue, noting that it is prosecuted as a criminal organization for its actions and not for the beliefs it professes.

    He said that GD was elected to Parliament by roughly 450,000 people, underlining that those who voted for GD to express their rage, discontent and contempt of the political establishment have their own share of responsibility.

    "You cannot have a political solution to the country's problems by electing to Parliament a lumpen mishmash of goons," he said.

    [19] Legislation for ERT closure to be voted on by Parliament plenum

    The legislative act that allowed the closure of Greece's public broadcaster ERT will not go before a Parliamentary committee for final approval on Wednesday as originally planned, the prime minister's office announced on Tuesday.

    Instead, issues relating to the shutdown of ERT will be approved by the Parliament plenum in the form of amendments to be attached to a justice ministry bill that is to be voted on next week.

    The act, which was tabled in Parliament on June 10 and formed the basis for the decision to shut down the public broadcaster, allows the abolition or merger of public organisations or bodies via a simple ministerial decision.

    According to PASOK MP Dimitris Karydis, Wednesday's planned vote on the legislative act was postponed at PASOK's request, while the other issues relating to the closure of public-sector organisations generally will be examined by Parliament "at another time".

    Financial News

    [20] Greek economy to grow by 0.6 pct in 2014, IMF report

    The Greek economy will grow by 0.6 pct in 2014 after a 4.2 pct recession this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday.

    In its annual World Economic Outlook report, the IMF predicted a gradual recovery of the economy, with the growth rate reaching 2.2 pct in the fourth quarter of 2014, after a recession of 2.6 pct in the third quarter of 2013. The inflation rate is forecast to remain at a negative level in 2014 (-0.8 pct from -0.4 pct in 2013), while the current account deficit is projected to fall further to 0.5 pct of GDP next year from 1.0 pct of GDP in 2013.

    The IMF said that "an adjustment is needed to boost external competitiveness and to avoid the reappearance of large deficits in their current account balances, as their economies will recover".

    The report noted that an adjustment through a reduction of cost, particularly in Greece and Ireland, has been achieved already.

    The IMF said that economic growth is beginning to reappear again in the Eurozone, although it was very weak, while it urged for the need for a full banking union in the Eurozone.

    [21] Overdue tax debt up by 1.0 billion euros in August

    Overdue tax debt grew by 1.0 billion euros in August, compared with July, reflecting the inability of several taxpayers to simultaneously pay both their income tax monthly payment and a property tax which they had received in August.

    A finance ministry statement said that overdue tax debt by individuals and enterprises totaled 61.214 billion euros at the end of August, from 60.181 billion euros a month earlier, reflecting an increase of individuals' overdue debt to 22.339 billion euros from 21.646 billion euros in July.

    In the January-August period, the ministry collected a total of 1.833 billion euros from overdue tax debt, up 31.8 pct compared with the corresponding period in 2012, while the number of taxpayers seeking a settlement of their debt grew by 48 pct in August compared with the same month last year.

    The ministry said that tax proceeds in August fell short by 14.1 pct compared with budget targets, with tax proceeds totaling 2.74 billion euros in the month and 17.54 billion euros in the eight-month period (down 5.7 pct from budget targets). The finance ministry expects this gap to be closed in the coming months with the collection of income and property taxes. VAT receipts surpassed budget targets by 10.4 pct in August, for an increase of 1.3 pct in the January-August period.

    "The eight-month period is a crucial turning point, essentially signaling the achievement of difficult annual targets, in a crucial year for the Greek economy. Given the continuous and intensive efforts made by the tax-collection mechanism, I am optimistic and I believe that achieving our targets is now visible," secretary-general of Public Revenue Haris Theoharis said in a statement.

    [22] SYRIZA's Tsipras tables question on Skaramangas Shipyards

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday tabled a current question in Parliament on the Skaramangas Shipyards addressed to the minister of defence.

    Tsipras underlined that the sale of Hellenic Shipyards to Abu Dhabi MAR is a "political and financial scandal" and asked if the Greek state intends to take over the control of the shipyards to complete the construction of submarines ordered by the Greek Navy and safeguard the job positions.

    He also asked if the state intends to terminate the contract and use all legal means at its disposal to claim compensation from Abu Dhabi MAR.

    [23] Greece raises 1.3 bln euros from T-bill auction

    Greece on Tuesday successfully auctioned a six-month Treasury bill issue raising 1.3 billion euros from the market at a slightly lower cost. The Public Debt Management Organization, in a statement, said that interest rate of the issue was set at 4.15 pct, down from 4.20 pct in the previous auction. Bids submitted totaled 2.040 billion euros, 2.04 times more than the asked sum. The organization will also accept non-competitive bids up to 30 pct of the asked sum by Thursday.

    [24] Insurance premium production down 12.7 pct in Jan-July

    Premium production by insurance companies fell 12.7 pct in the January-July period, official figures showed on Tuesday.

    A report by the Union of Insurance Companies of Greece said that premium production in life insurance contracts fell by 20.9 pct, while in damages contracts production was down by 6.1 pct in the seven-month period. Group pension funds (33.5 pct) recorded the biggest percentage decline in life insurance contracts. The figures were based on the activities of 60 insurance companies which account for 91.3 pct of total premium production in the damage category and 98.8 pct in the life category.

    [25] Macedonia-Thrace Minister visits Hellenic Sugar Industry

    Macedonia and Thrace Minister Theodoros Karaoglou visited on Tuesday the Hellenic Sugar Industry unit in Plati, Imathia prefecture and met with the president Lambros Haralambous and with the employees union.

    Karaoglou promised to the union that he will support them noting that the development and promotion of Greece's wealth is a one way for the Greek economy "the primary sector and the tourism are the only direct productive sectors of our country, something that means liquidity and job positions.

    [26] Health services companies report higher sales in 2012

    Health services companies reported higher sales and lower losses in 2012, a survey by Hellastat said on Tuesday.

    The survey, based on the financial results of 83 enterprises, showed that the accumulated turnover of the sample grew 7.8 pct to 1.31 billion euros in 2012, with 52 pct of companies showing improved revenues. EBITDA rose to 203 million euros, from 79.56 million euros in 2011, while excluding the results of Hygeia Clinic, pre-tax losses totaled 80 million euros in 2012, down from 141 million euros in 2011. Including the results of Hygeia total losses were 219 million euros. Hellastat said the extraordinary conditions which prevailed in 2012 allowed private clinics to slow a declining trend of the previous years. The survey said that a reform in national healthcare made private clinics' services more expensive to Greek patients who turned to state hospitals instead.

    [27] Metka to participate in energy contract tender

    Metka, a Greek-listed company, on Tuesday announced its intention to participate in a tender the country's Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE) to link Cyclades islands with the national electricity power transmission system.

    The tender will begin in October, 15, 2013, and the project's budget will range from 13.5 million euros to 240.7 million euros.

    [28] Dixons SEE reports higher sales and losses

    Dixons South-East Europe AEBE on Tuesday reported higher sales and losses in the 12-month period from May 1, 2012-April 30, 2013.

    Revenues totaled 345.6 million euros in the 12-month period, from 328.09 million euros in the previous year, for an increase of 5.3 pct, while gross profit margin fell to 19.3 pct from 20.9 pct a year earlier. Gross earnings totaled 66.79 million euros, down 2.5 pct from the previous year. Pre-tax losses rose to 13.71 million euros, up 31.3 pct from the previous 12-month period.

    [29] Greek house prices down 31.1 pct during crisis

    House prices have fallen by 31.1 pct since the beginning of the crisis, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.

    Theodore Mitrakos, head of the central bank's real estate research department, addressing the 8th Business Forum organized by RE+D magazine, said that Athens and Thessaloniki were recording the biggest losses so far. On the other hand, the smallest losses were recorded in regional Greece and in particular the Macedonia region.

    In Athens, house prices are down 32 pct, in Thessaloniki prices are down 38.8 pct, in Patras (-22.4 pct), in Larisa (-28.2 pct) and Heraclio (-21.9 pct). In real terms, including inflation, house prices are down 37.9 pct since the beginning of the crisis.

    [30] Greek stocks extend rally for 4th consecutive session

    Greek stocks extended their rally for the fourth consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, pushing the composite index of the market above the 1,100 level for the first time since May, 20 2013. Bank shares were at the focus of investment interest, with their relative index rising 8.0 pct, while the composite index of the market jumped 1.46 pct to end at 1,110.45 points. The index is up 9.76 pct in the last four sessions, and 38.75 pct higher from 2013 lows of 800.32 points in July 15.

    The Large Cap index rose 1.47 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.92 pct higher. National Bank (10.64 pct), Alpha Bank (6.58 pct), MIG (6.21 pct), Piraeus Bank (5.84 pct) and Jumbo (2.35 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Titan (4.37 pct), Intralot (3.14 pct) and Terna Energy (2.03 pct) suffered losses.

    The Banks (8.0 pct), Financial Products (2.10 pct) and Personal Products (1.93 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Constructions (2.75 pct), Technology (0.90 pct) and Travel (0.59 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 78 to 66 with another 26 issues unchanged. Athina (20 pct), Varvaresos (19.61 pct) and NEL (16 pct) were top gainers, while Nakas (9.93 pct), Sarandopoulos Mills (9.88 pct) and Foodlink (9.40 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +1.30%

    Commercial: -0.54%

    Construction: -2.75%

    Oil & Gas: -0.25%

    Personal & Household: +1.93%

    Raw Materials: -0.37%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.59%

    Technology: -0.90%

    Telecoms: -0.37%

    Banks: +8.00%

    Food & Beverages: +0.08%

    Health: +0.64%

    Utilities: +0.49%

    Financial Services: +2.10%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 0.648

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.24

    Coca Cola HBC: 20.77

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.85

    National Bank of Greece: 3.95

    Eurobank Properties : 7.70

    OPAP: 9.33

    OTE: 8.13

    Piraeus Bank: 1.45

    Titan: 19.05

    [31] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was almost unchanged at 7.41 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 7.42 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 9.23 pct and the German Bund 1.82 pct. Turnover was a thin 1.0 million euros, one buy order.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were almost unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.53 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.44 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.

    [32] ADEX closing report

    The October contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.21 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchaneg on Tuesday, with turnover rising slightly to 24.378 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,523 contracts worth 11.992 million euros. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 51,958 contracts, worth 12.386 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (22,490), followed by National Bank (11,638), Piraeus Bank (7,175), MIG (3,012), OTE (1,105), PC (1,677), OPAP (691), Intralot (661), GEK (264), Mytilineos (623), Eurobank (592) and Terna Energy (139).

    [33] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.378

    Pound sterling 0.855

    Danish kroner 7.571

    Swedish kroner 8.832

    Japanese yen 133.92

    Swiss franc 1.246

    Norwegian kroner 8.203

    Canadian dollar 1.420

    Australian dollar 1.453

    General News

    [34] Suspect arrested for involvement in Fyssas' murder case

    A suspect in the Pavlos Fyssas' murder case has been arrested for a second time and will most likely appear before an examining magistrate later in the afternoon, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The 32-year-old was arrested for the first time with the 32 individuals on the Supreme Court prosecutor's list, who have been charged in the ultra-right Golden Dawn (GD) criminal organization case, but he was released with conditions because his arrest was not related with the Keratsini murder.

    Based on the available evidence, the 32-year-old was in the same car with Giorgos Roupakias, the man charged with stabbing Fyssas, but had managed to flee soon after the murder. His presence in the car was verified by his identity card and a mobile phone he left behind.

    [35] Hospital trade union leader to face felony charges for extortion, illegal gun possession

    A prosecutor on Tuesday filed felony charges against the president of the Sotiria Hospital staff union in Athens for attempted extortion and illegal gun possession.

    He will testify before a examining magistrate on Thursday.

    The defendant denies the charges against him, insisting that the cash was destined for the trade union and was not the product of a transaction.

    The trade unionist was arrested on Monday, in an operation set up by the police squad for crimes of extortion in collaboration with the hospital's management and the health ministry. At the time of his arrest, he had 50,000 euros in premarked notes in his possession, which he allegedly accepted as a bribe to stop labour action at the hospital.

    [36] Prosecutor calls for special appeals magistrate in Hellas Gold case

    The head of the Thessaloniki appeals court prosecutors has asked that the city's appeals court justices convene to appoint a special appeals-level magistrate to handle the investigation into an attack last February on the installations of the Hellas Gold mining company in Skouries, Halkidiki.

    According to the senior prosecutor, the case is of exceptional importance and has received a great deal of publicity, justifying an investigation at appeals level to give it the necessary additional prestige.

    The case involves an arsonist attack on the facility at Skouries, for which 20 people have been charged and four remanded in custody. The attack was among reactions against a planned gold-mining investment in the Halkidiki peninsula, which is strongly opposed by local residents in the area's coastal region that rely on tourism and has also drawn criticism from environmental groups.

    [37] Aristotelion University to honour Ecumenical Patriarch

    The senate of the Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki on Tuesday announced its decision, at the recommendation of the university rector, to bestow an honorary distinction bearing the university's emblem on Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

    Introduced for the first time, the new prize will be bestowed to eminent personalities of the Orthodox Church and Hellenism around the world.

    The award will be presented on Wednesday, 23 October at 11:00 a.m. at the University's Hall of Ceremonies.

    [38] Group claims responsibility for attack on Kifissia tax office

    A group calling itself the "Forces of the Revolutionary Arc" on Tuesay claimed responsibility for a bomb targeting the Kifissa tax office on September 26, which exploded but caused only material damage, posting a proclamation in an anti-establishment website.

    The group said the bomb was a "first reaction" to the arrests of the Golden Dawn party, which it dismissed as "a smokescreen that ultimately seeks to hide its own fascist methods of governance and the new murderous measures." It also referred to the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas, saying this had been "exploited by the government" and claimed that GD remained "to do the system's dirty work".

    [39] Foreign national arrested for attempted break-in at a Migration Office in Messolonghi

    A 58-year-old Turkish national was arrested, while other two individuals are being wanted, involved in an attempted break-in targeting the Migration Division Office in Messolonghi, central Greece, it was announced on Tuesday.

    Their attempt to open a hole into the outer wall of the building where the office is housed was foiled when they were noticed by people living nearby.

    Police traced the 58-year-old driving in the area and a search in his car revealed a hammer, a metal cutting blade and a knife.

    [40] Migrant smuggling ring broken up

    Thessaloniki Police arrested the members of a human trafficking ring that smuggled illegal migrants out of Greece by hiding them in special crypts in the roofs of tourist coaches, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The suspects, 5 local men, among them repatriated Greeks, used a tourist agency as a front to provide cover for their activities.

    Acting on a tip off, police in western Thessaloniki found 19 Somali nationals hidden under inhumane conditions in a bus destined for Italy. Each of them had to pay between 2,000 and 3,000 euros to the smugglers.

    The smuggling ring used fake passengers as a cover who were paid 100 euros for each trip. Police arrested 23 individuals who were in the bus posing as passengers.

    Weather forecast

    [41] Rainy on Wednesday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 8C and 26C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 13C and 24C. Local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 13C and 20C.

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

    AVGHI: Poverty in Greece growing.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Remorseless- New revelations on Golden Dawn.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: New increase in retirement age limit.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Golden Dawn MP Nikos Michos was selling guns to party members.

    ESTIA: Euphemistically, rule of the law.

    ETHNOS: Golden Dawn's black nests in 35 police precincts.

    IMERISSIA: The grand return - International agencies seek opportunities to invest.

    KATHIMERINI: Former minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

    LOGOS: Severe sentence to Akis (Tsohatzopoulos)

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Optimistic State Budget with 5 billion euros additional measures.

    RIZOSPASTIS: Reorganisation of the movement the only hope.

    TA NEA: The way opens for new prosecutions.

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