|Monday, 22 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-06-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 5 June 2014 Issue No: 4675
 Parliament strips Golden Dawn leader and two deputies of immunity from prosecutionThe Greek Parliament on Wednesday voted to strip Golden Dawn (GD) leader Nikos Mihaloliakos and deputies Christos Pappas and Yiannis Lagos of their immunity from prosecution.
During a roll-call vote, in which Golden Dawn and Independent Greeks deputies did not parti-cipate, 223 MPs voted in favor of stripping the three of their immu-nity so they might stand trial on charges against them Independent MP Nikos Nikolopoulos voted "present".
The decision paves the way for the pressing of additional charges against the three GD deputies for possession of firearms and ammunition. Mihaloliakos, Pappas and Lagos appeared before the Plenary, claiming that the prosecution against them is entirely politically motivated and has been planned and directed by the government so as to stem GD's rise. Moreover, Mihaloliakos denounced the whole procedure and said that "the leader of the country's third most powerful political party was taken handcuffed to address Parliament."
Justice Minister Charalambos Athanassiou reiterated that "justice in our country, which operates in accordance with the rule of law, is independent. Whether some like it or not. And they will be treated with the weapons of democracy, the principles of constitutional legality and the rule of law." He also said that the justice minister and independent justice guarantee a fair trial for all involved in the case.
 FM Venizelos' meetings on the sidelines of celebrations for Polish Freedom Day in WarsawGovernment Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday visited Warsaw to represent Greece at the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Polish Freedom Day and the ceremony for the awarding of the Solidarity Prize.
During his visit Venizelos held a series of useful political and diplomatic contacts, the Foreign Ministry statement said.
Venizelos had the opportunity to hold a brief discussion with U.S. President Barack Obama and with the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. He also had the opportunity to congratulate Ukraine's newly elected President Petro Poroshenko on behalf of Greece and of the Greek EU presidency.
Venizelos had meetings with the Secretary of State of the Vatican Cardinal Pietro Parolini, the Presidents of Albania Bujar Nishani and Austria Heinz Fischer, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, Portugal's Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas, the secretary general of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland and with many Foreign Ministers.
The persons that will be appointed to European institutions as well as the recent developments in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Egypt were the issues that dominated Venizelos' afore-mentioned meetings.
 NATO defence ministers prepare the agenda of the alliance's Wales Summit in SeptemberThe issues to be tackled at the NATO Summit in Wales in September were discussed by the NATO member-states' defence ministers during their meeting in Brussels, it was announced on Wednesday.
Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said that the alliance is in favour of a political solution in Ukraine and supports the country's territorial integrity and preservation of its unity, as well as the need to avoid partition and likely secessionist tendencies.
He reiterated that tension and violence should deescalate and that the solution to the Ukrainian crisis should be peaceful, through political and diplomatic means in cooperation with the international community and competent international organisations.
The NATO ministers also discussed ways to reinforce the alliance's cohesion and its commitment on deterrence and collective defence against all threats. Avramopoulos underlined the need for a pragmatic approach and adherence to the alliance's fundamental principles in compliance with international law and existing agreements and treaties.
They also discussed joint military training issues, maritime strategy, cyberdefence policy and the alliance's reorganisation.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Avramopoulos met briefly with his counterparts from Albania and Germany, Mimi Kodheli and Ursula von der Leyen respectively, NATO SecGen Anders Fogh Rasmussen, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Bulgarian Deputy Defence Minister Ivan Vasilev Ivanov.
 Presidential decree ends Parliament's current sessionA presidential decree declaring the end of the current session of Parliament and the start of the summer sessions with a smaller number of deputies was posted on Wednesday.
The summer sessions will be launched in roughly two weeks.
Consequently, all planned sessions of parliamentary committees are postponed.
 SYRIZA stresses objections to early end of current Parliamentary sessionMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on Wednesday stressed its opposition to ending the winter session of Parliament early, during a meeting between SYRIZA Parliamentary spokesman Panagiotis Lafazanis and Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis.
Lafazanis told reporters that he asked Meimarakis not to go ahead with any decision to start the summer session of Parliament, stressing that he had no right to do so unilaterally, without taking Parliamentary process into account, and stressed that the discussion of important legislation - like that on beaches or the issue of negotiating Greece's debt - was still pending.
"We denounce the government's intentions, if the rumours that we are heading for a surprise and rushed end of the session are confirmed," he said, adding that SYRIZA would only agree to this for the purpose of holding general elections.
 ANEL party links Parliament closure to government plan to pass troika measures less 'painfully'The Independent Greeks (ANEL) party criticised the government on Wednesday for its surprise decision to end the current Parliament session, linking the development with possible "measures that have been ordered by the troika", while also hinting at a possible write-off of offences.
The party's spokesman Terens Quick said in a statement that "while the lenders, one after the other, are speaking of new necessary loans with new memorandums and the decrease of supplementary pensions is announced, the government rushes to close Parliament so that the summer sessions can 'painlessly' pass the measures demanded by the troika."
Quick also wondered whether the decision was linked to the write-off of offences "down the road".
 KKE announcement on the end of Parliament's current seasonThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) parliamentary group on Wednesday said that proposed legislation of general importance should be discussed only in the Parliament plenum so that accountability can be shared among all deputies.
In an announcement concerning the end of Parliament's current session and the beginning of its summer sessions, KKE said "in every occasion, the people should be on the alert. The anti-working-class measures will be continued both in the plenum and the summer sessions of the parliament."
It also stressed that the employees and the working-class's struggle is the only power to cope with what it called the government's attack.
 GD MPs address Parliament, ahead of vote stripping them of immunity from prosecutionThe Greek Parliament on Wednesday voted to strip Golden Dawn (GD) leader Nikos Mihaloliakos and deputies Christos Pappas and Yiannis Lagos of their immunity from prosecution.
The three have been held on remand in Korydallos Prison since last October, pending their trial on a charges of forming a criminal organisation (the Golden Dawn party) and today's decision paves the way for additional charges to be filed against them for possession of firearms and ammunition.
They arrived in Parliament under tight security to address the plenum just before noon. All GD MPs and relatives of the defendants were waiting for them in front of the central gate, chanting slogans in their support.
Mihaloliakos was the first to address the parliament and, contrary to Pappas who chose to address the MPs from the podium, he delivered his speech from the seats of the his party's parliamentary group.
The atmosphere was very tense as a result of the degrading behavior and the insulting expressions used by the GD MPs.
During a roll-call vote, in which GD and Independent Greeks (AN.EL) deputies did not participate, 223 MPs voted in favor of stripping the three of their immunity. Independent MP Nikos Nikolopoulos voted "present".
Addressing parliament, Mihaloliakos, Pappas and Lagos claimed that the prosecution against them is entirely politically motivated and has been planned and directed by the government to stem GD's rise.
Mihaloliakos denounced the whole procedure saying that "the leader of the country's third most powerful political party was taken handcuffed to address Parliament."
Justice Minister Charalambos Athanassiou reiterated that "justice in our country, which operates in accordance with the rule of law, is independent. Whether some like it or not. And they will be treated with the weapons of democracy, the principles of constitutional legality and the rule of law." He also said that the justice minister and independent justice guarantee a fair trial for all involved in the case.
 Head of PM's press office denies having meeting with Golden Dawn leaderThe head of the prime minister's press office Georgios Mouroutis on Wednesday categorically denied that he had ever had a meeting with Golden Dawn leader Nikos Mihaloliakos.
"Never in my life have I met with Mr. Mihaloliakos. Neither have I ever in my life met with any other Golden Dawn official or deputy, either privately or incidentally. This is the most villainous thing I ever heard," Mouroutis said in a statement.
Mihaloliakos said while addressing the Parliament earlier on Wednesday that he had met with Mouroutis twice.
 Public Order Minister Dendias details police modernization systemsPublic Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias analyzed the new - digital and electronic - era of Greek Police, on the occasion of presenting the novel Centre of Integrated Border & Immigration Administration already in operation. The new system's role in safeguarding the Greek borders and controling immigration flows is considered crucial.
Dendias spoke not only about the new integrated border and immigration administration, but also about the changes modernizing the police force. The minister said, that the digital police era allows "the police department to be transfered in the police patrol car".
The digital reform of the police will include access by the police officer on the street to every necessary data and information, the APNR system for the detection of stolen vehicles, a new method of exchanging documents faster and more reliably among various police departments, the E-TAP system for immediate fingerprint identification and the digital base through which the citizen will be able to communicate electronically with the police for various issues of concern.
Moreover, Dendias mentioned expanding its electronic crime fighting capabilities through E-Crime, while also emphasizing the added benefits the C.O.P. system will bring to the police operations centre, through supplying more useful data to the police officers responding to a situation, e.g. through sending them a detailed three-dimensional map of their operational surroundings.
All these systems, along with many more to come, have already started being implemented and are expected to be gradually completed within the next coming 24 to 30 months.
 Public Order minister to chair official JHA meetingPublic Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias will chair a formal EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) ministers' meeting on June 5 and 6 in Luxembourg.
The EU ministers will discuss issues related to European borders' security, terrorism, as well as the future direction in European cooperation, while the general discussions included in the meeting's agenda will not reach any conclusions. However the member-states will have an opportunity to discuss ways to enhance their exchange of information.
 SDOE uncovers tax fraud cases running to hundreds of millions of euros in MayThe SDOE financial crimes squad on Wednesday said it had uncovered cases of tax fraud and tax evasion running to 214 million euros during the month of May, involving 19 companies and private individuals operating in Attica. The cases mostly involved the issuing or receipt of fake tax documents, such as fake invoices, as well as failure to issue receipts and file tax information on transactions.
Among those inspected were a dentist, two companies that he owned and a dealer in dentistry devices who are among those under investigation in connection with the so-called 'Lagarde list'.
 SYRIZA delegation meets with Hamburg Initiative on Germany's war reparations to GreeceA main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) delegation on Wednesday had a briefing meeting on the issue of Germany's war reparations to Greece with a Hamburg-Distomo Initiative delegation headed by distinguished German lawyer Martin Klingner.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the National Council for the Claim of German Debts.
A SYRIZA announcement underlined that the party delegation was briefed in detail on the Initiative's important social, political and legal proposals and actions aimed at informing German public opinion on the Nazi war crimes in Greece and the need to restore historical truth, implement international law and compensate the victims' families.
The SYRIZA delegation referred to the commitments it has undertaken with regard to the issue of the forced occupation loan extracted from the country by the Nazi regime, the German WWII reparations and the victims' compensation, as well as the relevant initiatives undertaken in Greece. SYRIZA also underlined its close cooperation with the National Council for the Claim of German Debts and expressed the gratitude of the Greek people to the Initiative for its work.
 'Whoever wants to leave should do it now' Independent Greeks leader tells his MPsIndependent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the party's parliamentary group, held in the aftermath of a withdrawal by two of the party's deputies from their ranks.
Kammenos directly linked the departures of MPs Vassilis Kapernaros and Mika Iatridi with the upcoming election for the Greek President.
"Whoever wants to leave, whoever has been bought out by New Democracy for the election of the President of the Republic or whoever is afraid he or she might not be re-elected with the Independent Greeks, should leave now," Kammenos told his deputies.
He also described the deputies' withdrawal as planned and orchestrated.
Moreover, he pointed out that the party's stance on the Greek President's election is clear and that no candidate will be voted for, in order to trigger early elections.
According to sources, two deputies allegedly expressed their reservations, claiming the party had better wait for the names of candidate Presidents before determining its stance on the issue. Kammenos rejected such a possibility, saying the main objective was early elections that would lead to a new government.
Some deputies then argued it would be best to wait for main opposition SYRIZA's stance, a possibility that Kammenos also rejected, noting "We are not interested in what SYRIZA will do."
According to one of Kammenos' aides, independent deputies are shortly expected to join the party. Independent Greeks, the same source said, will seek to cooperate with two smaller parties from "the wider democratic-patriotic spectrum", but such a possibility will be discussed and submitted for approval at the upcoming National Council which will convene on June 14 and 15.
 KKE on the prospect of further cuts to supplementary pensions"The new cuts imposed on the already decimated pensions are implemented as of yesterday following a decision by the Unified Supplementary Insurance Fund (ETEA) board to proceed with a 5.2 pct cut in supplementary pensions," opposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Wednesday said.
"With the zero deficit clause, in effect as of next month, the industry of pension cuts will have no end, considering that the pensions issued will be constantly cut, as often as every three months, in order to prevent deficits," the KKE announcement underlined.
"Developments in social insurance and pension issues concern the people as a whole," KKE noted and appealed to everybody to participate in a protest demonstration called by labour unions and pensioner organisations scheduled to take place in Athens on June 19 having as a slogan "hands off pensions".
 Events by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in occupied Famagusta on SundayNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)
Groups of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot activists, "Ammohostos our city" and "Famagusta Initiative", are organising a series of events in occupied Famagusta on Sunday on the occasion of the two-day traditional Cypriot 'Flood Festival', also known as Kataklysmos.
The events programme includes a religious ceremony at Aghios Georghios Exorinos at 07:30 in the morning, while a performance will be given by the "Whirling Dervishes" at 11:00 in the morning.
Events will take place at Glossa beach in the afternoon where, among others, beach volley and canoeing competitions will be held. There will also be an artistic programme with dances and songs involving the participation of artists from both communities.
 Environment ministry to establish 'Help Desk' on unauthorised construction lawsThe environment, energy and climate change ministry on Wednesday announced the launch of a 'Help Desk' at the ministry, which will advise members of the public and civil engineers on details of the latest law on legalising unauthorised construction, passed in 2013.
Alternate Environment Minister Nikos Tagaras, announcing the new Help Desk, said that this would answer queries regarding the implementation of the law and also record problems and questions arising during its implementation.
He stressed that the new laws marked the end of an era and that the state would no longer tolerate attempts to create a new "generation" of buildings erected without proper planning permission.
"We can and will stop them," he underlined, adding that the new law was the last big chance that citizens would have to declare any illegal buildings in their possession and take advantage of the option to pay due fines in payment schemes offering multiple installments and with discounts of up to 85 pct.
The minister also gave figures for the number of buildings declared and recorded by the new electronic system under the various laws for 'legalising' unauthorised buildings, saying these came to 379,726 in total. The amount of the fines imposed under the two successive laws came to 2,203,601.087 euros in total, of which 1,161,395.32 euros have been already collected.
The ministry's Help Desk is located on the first floor of the ministry building, on the corner of Trikalon Street and Mesogeion Avenue in the Ambelokipi area. It will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays from 9:00 to 15:00 and can be contacted at the phone numbers: 1522, 2106915194, 2106915265, email: hdATprv.ypeka.gr.
 FIN-NET to hold plenary meeting in Athens on ThursdayAthens will on Thursday host the next plenary meeting of FIN-NET - a financial dispute resolution network of 54 national out-of-court complaint schemes in the European Economic Area countries. The meeting is taking place in the Greek capital for the first time in the network's history, at the initative of the Hellenic Ombudsman for Banking - Investment Services (H.O.B.I.S.) and in cooperation with the European Commission. FIN-NET, establshed in 2001, covers today 22 EU member states and another three EEA countries.
During FIN-NET's plenary meeting in Athens, financial Ombudsmen will discuss, among others, issues regarding the application of Directive 2013/11 for the alternative resolution of consumer complaints, as well Directive 524/2013 for the electronic resolution of consumer disputes. The meeting will also explore applicable law in cross-border disputes and problems the users of financial services face in the new economic environment.
Cyprus, a candidate FIN-NET member, intends to present to the network's Thursday plenary meeting its single out-of-court financial disputes resolution mechanism.
 SEV, Eurobank announce 3rd 'Greece Innovates' competitionThe Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) and Eurobank announced the start of the 3rd 'Greece Innovates' Applied Research and Innovation Competition, in a press conference on Wednesday.
"Greece can become a land of opportunities for businesses, its creative people can have a bright future and its young people opportunities," said SEV President Theodoros Fessas.
Eurobank CEO Christos Megalou, on his part, noted that supporting innovation was nothing new for Eurobank but had now become a tradition.
The competition is designed to encourage original research, innovation and exports, awarding prizes for new ideas, services and products and providing support for their commercial exploitation.
The terms and conditions for participating in the competition have be posted on the website www.kainotomeis.gr, which will be constantly updated concerning deadlines and progress in the competition. Entries will be submitted electronically, via the above website.
 "Maritime Spatial Planning: Shipping" EC conference coming up in AthensIn the framework of the Greek Presidency of the EU, the European Commission will organize in Athens on Thursday and Friday the conference "Maritime Spatial Planning: Shipping".
The meeting will bring together experts, industries and NGOs to discuss the coexistence and synergies between shipping and other maritime sectors, in a context of increasing use of marine space.
The conference is scheduled to focus on current and future spatial needs for seaborne transport and port development, on management of competition and co-existence between transport and emerging maritime activities - including in terms of safety - on the articulation between regional or national MSP processes and the international regulatory framework for shipping, as well as on representation of maritime transport and port interests in MSP.
Maritime spatial planning forms the basis for the application of the European Strategy on Blue Growth, which the European Commission and the Greek Presidency jointly support.
 Bank deposit/loan interest rate spread up in AprilThe interest rate spread between loan and deposit rates increased by 43 basis points to 4.13 pct in April, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday.
The central bank, in a report, said that in April, the overall weighted average interest rate on new deposits decreased, while the corresponding rate on new loans increased. The overall weighted average interest rate on all new deposits decreased by 7 basis points to stand at 1.69 pct in April 2014. In particular, the average interest rate on overnight deposits from households remained almost unchanged at 0.34 pct, while the corresponding rate on deposits from non-financial corporations decreased by 4 basis points to stand at 0.34 pct. The average interest rate on deposits from households with an agreed maturity of up to one year decreased by 10 basis points to stand at 2.71 pct. The overall weighted average interest rate on all new loans to households and corporations increased by 36 basis points to stand at 5.82 pct in April 2014. In particular, the average interest rate on consumer loans without a defined maturity increased by 20 basis points to stand at 14.86 pct. On the contrary, the average interest rate on consumer loans with a defined maturity at a floating rate or with an initial rate fixation period of up to one year decreased by 12 basis points and stood at 7.69 pct. In April 2014, the average interest rates on loans without a defined maturity to corporations and to sole proprietors remained almost unchanged at 7.22 pct and 9.12 pct, respectively. The average interest rate on corporate loans with a defined maturity at a floating rate or with an initial rate fixation period of up to one year increased by 29 basis points to stand at 6.68 pct for loans up to 250,000 euros, increased by 10 basis points to stand at 5.95 pct for loans above 250,000 euros and up to 1 million, and increased by 107 basis points to stand at 6.64 pct for loans above 1 million eirps. Finally, the average interest rate on housing loans at a floating rate or with an initial fixation period of up to one year increased by 8 basis points to stand at 3.03 pct.
In April 2014, the overall weighted average interest rate on outstanding amounts of all deposits decreased, while the corresponding rate of all loans remained almost unchanged. The spread* between loan and deposit rates increased by 6 basis points to stand at 3.74 percentage points. In particular, in April 2014, the average interest rate on outstanding amounts of deposits from households with an agreed maturity of up to two years decreased by 7 basis points to stand at 2.89 pct, while the corresponding rate on deposits from non-financial corporations decreased by 10 basis points to stand at 2.78 pct. The average interest rates on outstanding amounts of housing loans and loans to sole proprietors with over five years' maturity remained almost unchanged at 3.01% and 5.77% respectively. The corresponding rate on corporate loans increased by 11 basis points to stand at 4.82 pct. In April 2014, the overall weighted average interest rate on the outstanding amount of all deposits (including overnight deposits) decreased by 5 basis points to stand at 1.85 pct, while the corresponding rate of all loans remained basically unchanged at 5.59 pct.
 ETEA supplementary pensions fund seeking 5.2 pct cut in pensions, governor revealsThe head of Greece's Unified Supplementary Insurance Fund (ETEA) Tassos Papanikolaou on Wednesday revealed, in statements to television channels, that ETEA intends to recommend a 5.2 pct cut in supplementary pensions in a proposal to the labour ministry.
If the proposal is adopted, the cut in pensions will start being implemented from the July or August pension payments.
With the average supplementary pension currently paid out by ETEA now standing at about 200 euros a month, this represents an average reduction of 10 euros per month for individual pensioners.
Reacting to the announcement, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MP Alexis Mitropoulos expressed opposition to the cuts, which he said had not been preceded by processing of the mathematical formula based on a sustainability coefficient, as required by law.
Labour ministry sources, however, told the ANA-MPA that these were not last-minute but planned changes arising from the implementation from July 1 of the 'zero-deficit clause', which would lead to greater or lesser adjustments in all supplementary pension funds.
They also noted that the amount of pensions would be adjusted on an annual basis to avoid creating deficits in ETEA, which cannot be funded from the state budget.
The labour ministry has created an individual account for each person insured by the fund, so that the amount of supple-mentary pension received is in proportion with the contri-butions he or she has paid.
 Mondelez Hellas reports higher turnover and profits in 2013Mondelez Hellas on Wednesday reported higher sales and profits in 2013, with turnover rising to 215.4 million euros from 213.3 million euros in 2012, while net pre-tax profits rose 11 pct to 4.89 million euros.
The company said this positive trend was continuing in the first months of 2014, with satisfactory sales growth in several product categories, which was counterbalanced by a prevailing negative inflation.
Mondelez Hellas continues investing in the development of new products, marketing and promotion, new logistics and management systems. In 2013, the company continued its investment programme in Pavlides factory and focused on investments to boost sustainability, energy management and waste disposal. These actions helped reduce the energy/production rate by 1.9 pct last year.
 Greek trucks to be given 'absolute priority' in agricultural exports' transportationGreek trucks will be given "absolute priority" as regards the road transportation of Greek agricultural products - perishable or not - to their countries of export.
That is what Deputy Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Mihalis Papadopoulos assured the owners of international transport trucks during a broad meeting at the ministry on Wednesday, which included MPs, as well as producers and exporters of agricultural products from the Imathia, Pella and Kozani prefectures.
The deputy minister agreed to the creation of a coordinating body, which will compile a list of all Greek trucks availble for use in order to ensure a smooth and continuous movement of Greek agricultural exports to international markets.
 Greek stocks resume upward trendGreek stocks resumed their upward trend in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, following Tuesday' s mild correction, pushing the composite index of the market above the 1,250-point level again. The index ended at 1,251.05 points, up 1.33 pct, while turnover remained a heavy 140.22 million euros.
The Large Cap index rose 1.23 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 0.49 pct. Jumbo (6.06 pct), Mytilineos (3.64 pct), METKA (3.53 pct) and MIG (3.26 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus Bank (1.63 pct), Piraeus Port (0.88 pct), Viohalco (0.68 pct) and Motor Oil (0.60 pct) suffered the heaviest losses.
The Personal Products (4.69 pct), Telecoms (3.22 pct) and Raw Materials (3.04 pct) sectors scored gains, while Media (2.99 pct) and Food (0.45 pct) suffered lossed.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 84 to 50 with another 15 issues unchanged. NEL (20 pct), Varvaresos (13.64 pct) and Pegasus (10.64 pct) were top gainers, while VIS (29.95 pct), G.E.Demetriou (23.08 pct) and Spider (20 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Financial Services: +1.36%
Industrial Products: +0.98%
Real Estate: +1.26%
Personal & Household: +4.69%
Food & Beverages: -0.45%
Raw Materials: +3.04%
Travel & Leisure: +1.54%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Eurobank, Alpha Bank and Folli Follie.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.69
Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.85
Coca Cola HBC: 16.99
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.09
National Bank of Greece: 2.61
Eurobank Properties : 8.31
Piraeus Bank: 1.81
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 5.04 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 4.8 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 6.47 pct and the German Bund yielding 1.403 pct. Turnover was a moderate 49 million euros, of which 28 million were buy orders and the remaining 21 million euros were sell orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate eased to 0.562 pct from 0.567 pct, the nine-month rate fell to 0.472 pct from 0.476 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.386 pct from 0.391 pct, the three-month rate fell to 0.301 pct from 0.307 pct and the one-month rate fell to 0.241 pct from 0.248 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover shrinking to 17.156 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,953 contracts worth 11.918 million euros, with 60,619 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 10,933 contracts worth 5.238 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,318), followed by Alpha Bank (2,160), Piraeus Bank (827), Eurobank (1,096), MIG (493), OTE (1,054), PPC (1,162), OPAP (393), Mytilineos (278), Hellenic Petroleum (368), GEK (102), Folli Follie (85), Jumbo (109) and Korinth Pipeworks (50).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.362
Pound sterling 0.813
Danish kroner 7.463
Swedish kroner 9.074
Japanese yen 139.78
Swiss franc 1.220
Norwegian kroner 8.165
Canadian dollar 1.489
Australian dollar 1.469
 Environment ministry to celebrate World Environment DayThe environment, energy and climate change ministry on Wednesday announced various events in the framework of World Environment Day on Thursday, as well as for this year's Green Week, which will be dedicated to promoting a truly 'circular' economy, one where discarded materials are recovered and reused, centred on resource efficiency and waste management.
The ministry's events include photography and video competitions, while on June 10 there will be a one-day event where the National Strategy and National Action Plan for Biodiversity will be presented. A 'green' festival dedicated to children, including events such as games, painting etc whose target is to educate kids on environmental issues, will conclude the celebration on June 28.
"World Environment Day provides each and everyone of us an opportunity to to think and act," Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis said, stressing that environmental protection can lead to "a better quality of life for everyone."
World Environment Day is a landmark celebration for the United Nations (UN), which symbolizes the need for a collective effort to achieve a common target, the protection of our environmental heritage. This year the UN has chosen the message: "Raise your Voice, not the Sea Level" in order to underline climate change dangers and the necessary measures that must be adopted to prevent its consequences.
 KKE on the International Environment DayThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Thursday's International Environment Day, said that "the intensifying downgrading and destruction of the natural environment, both internationally and in Greece, as well as the intensity of the commercialisation of natural resources, of the air, energy, forest ecosystems and land, signal and reveal even more intensively the result of the capitalist growth path".
KKE added that in the capitalist growth path, the environment is being promoted as a field of exploitation for the monopolistic groups, while stressing that the "green economy" as well constitutes a proposal for the management and utilisation of the problems of the environment for the benefit of the capital's profit-making.
The announcement further said that "the 'environmental' policy of the EU is also included in this framework. The aggravation of the contrasts of the capitalist countries internationally for the control of the markets, the setting of targets, of the control apparatuses and the distribution of financing for the handling of climatic change manifests itself on this ground".
 Aristotle's Lyceum officially open from WednesdayThe site containing the remains of Aristotle's Lyceum officially opened its doors to the public on Wednesday, ready to receive visitors from 8:00 in the morning until 20:00 at night.
This new and significant addition to the city's archaeological sites, which adds 1.1 hectares of open land to the capital's public spaces, can be accessed either from the entrance on Rigillis Street or from the Byzantine and Archaeological Museum on Vassilisis Sofias Avenue.
The Lyceum was founded by the famous ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle in 334-5 B.C. when his former pupil Alexander the Great had embarked on his wars of conquest in Asia. It was one of the three famous ancient schools of Athens, along with Plato's Academy and the Cynosarges Gymnasium, where he taught his so-called Peripatetic Scholars just outside the city walls, between the rivers Eridanos and Ilissos.
The area also had two temples, dedicated to Hercules and Apollo Lyceus, the latter of which gave its name to Aristotle's school.
The site was first opened to the public a month ago, for a tour forming part of the Greek Cultural Routes events organised by the culture and sports ministry. The remains on the site, covered by protective canopies, include a section of a Roman-era wrestling arena and gymnasium, a well, tank and underfloor heating system delineating rooms.
 Antikythera Mechanism will not travel to Basel, Switzerland with the rest of the exhibitionThe ancient and world-renowned Antikythera Mechanism, also dubbed the world's first analog computer, will stay in Greece and not travel to Switzerland to be exhibited in the Basel Archaeological Museum as part of the National Archaeological Museum's "The Antikythera Shipwreck" temporary exhibition, it was announced on Wednesday.
The decision was made by the Central Archaeological Council because of the ancient mechanism's fragile state and its major importance for archeology.
A total of 323 ancient objects will travel to Basel in the fall of 2015, while a hologram presentation will replace the actual Antikythera Mechanism.
The exhibition will also feature 42 ancient coins from the Numismatic Museum in Athens, two bronze statuettes from the National Archaeological Museum, part of the hull of the Antikythera shipwreck and an anchor that was pulled up from the bottom of the sea in 2012.
 European tourists choose Halkidiki for their vacationsEuropean tour operators' bookings in Halkidiki, northern Greece, showed considerable increase in 2014, according to an announcement issued by the Halkidiki Tourism Organisation on Wednesday.
Specifically, tourist arrivals from Germany increased by 11.70 pct (54,700 arrivals) in May compared with the same month last year, while tourist arrivals from the UK showed an increase of 30.5 pct.
More than 2,500 Dutch tourists visited Halkidiki in May, while the arrivals from Belgium showed an increase of 206 pct (4,700 arrivals) compared with last May.
 Man arrested on suspicion of murdering Irish girlfriendA 52-year-old man was arrested in Athens on Wednesday after police found his 48-year-old Irish girlfriend dead in the apartment they both shared in the Ambelokipi district.
Police entered the apartment and found the dead woman's body lying on a bed. Based on their investigation, she had died several days earlier following a fight with the suspect, during which he had used physical violence against her.
Authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of murder and took him into custody. He has now been led before a public prosecutor.
 Man arrested for child pornography in Larissa, central GreeceA 47-year-old man was arrested in Larissa, central Greece, for child pornography and for soliciting young girls by computer, it was announced on Wednesday.
In the past six months, the man had created a social network account posing as a 19-year-old and had managed to persuade young girls to send him pornographic pictures of themselves by blackmailing them that he would harm members of their families if they refused to do so. Then he made them send him more pornographic pictures by threatening them that he would post on the internet the pictures they had already sent him.
Pornographic material involving minors found in his possession was also seized by police.
 Athens introduces 3- and 6-month travel cards for public transportThree-month and six-month travel cards for the Athens public transport system were introduced on Wednesday for the first time, with prices ranging from 58 to 248 euros.
Cards offering unlimited travel cards on the city's buses, trolley buses and trams - excluding only the "Express" bus lines from/to the Athens International Airport and the bus service linking the "Hellinikon" metro station to Saronida suburb (only for its Varkiza-Saronida part) - will cost 58 euros for three months and 110 euros for six months.
Cards giving unlimited travel for all types of public transport - i.e. buses, trolley buses, electric railway, tram and metro system (up to Koropi station) - will cost 129 euros for three months and 248 euros for six months.
 Rainy on ThursdayRainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 11C and 28C. Fair in Athens with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures between 18C and 27C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 15C and 26C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Government sells off Attica region to cover the black holes of its bankrupt economic programme.
DIMOKRATIA: Monasteries, beaches, ski resorts up for sale.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Government sells off the country's wealth.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Everything for sale at a bargain price.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: The contributions for land and debts.
ESTIA: Economy demands the completion of the government's four year tenure.
ETHNOS: Everything changes in farming subsidies.
IMERISSIA: Solution for the outside town planning zone buildings.
KATHIMERINI: China's dynamic presence in Greece.
LOGOS: Three out of ten Greeks are poor.
NAFTEMPORIKI: Awaiting for the new cabinet with the old government's agenda.
RIZOSPASTIS: Communist Party (KKE) interventions for exams and school mergers.
TA NEA: Solution with land exchange.
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