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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-12-17

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

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

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 Issue No: 4838

CONTENTS

  • [01] Troika to leave Athens end February, provided reforms are completed, EU's Moscovici says
  • [02] Labour Minister Vroutsis meets with EU Commissioner Moscovici
  • [03] Dev.Minister Skrekas and EU Commissioner Moscovici's meeting focuses on red tape reduction
  • [04] KKE comments on Moscovici statements, main parties' confrontation
  • [05] Political instability over the country's strategic orientation causes negative financial impact, Gov't Vice-President says
  • [06] SYRIZA spokesman slams PM as 'architect of chaos'
  • [07] Government 'puts the brakes' on verbal confrontation with the main opposition party
  • [08] Government spokeswoman Voultepsi lashes out at SYRIZA
  • [09] SYRIZA MP Dragassakis on the BoG governor's statements
  • [10] German finance ministry forwards to Bundestag Greece's requests for extension and precautionary credit line
  • [11] Parliament president: 'I believe MPs will act responsibly'
  • [12] DIMAR deputies have unanimously decided not to vote for a Greek President, party leader Kouvelis reiterates
  • [13] DIMAR MP Founta leaves open the possibility to vote for President in next rounds
  • [14] Independent Greeks again reaffirm their decision not to vote for president of Greece
  • [15] Independent MP Economou to vote 'present' at the first ballot of the election of a President
  • [16] Independent MP Katerina Markou will vote for Stavros Dimas
  • [17] 'I will not vote for a President of the Republic,' independent MP Bolaris says
  • [18] Independent MP Kassapidis on the voting for the President of the Republic
  • [19] Commerce secretary general resigns to be eligible for national elections ticket in 2016
  • [20] General secretary for sports resigns to be able to run in next general elections
  • [21] Golden Dawn deputies to participate in Greek President's votings
  • [22] SYRIZA leads over ND in general elections, says opinion poll
  • [23] Those who voted for the memorandum will be held accountable, SYRIZA MP Mitropoulos says
  • [24] PASOK slams SYRIZA MP Mitropoulos statement on 'special court' for Papademos government
  • [25] Parties' reactions on BoG governor Stournaras' statements
  • [26] SYRIZA's Tsipras meets with former BoG governor Provopoulos
  • [27] Chambers' head Mihalos comments on political developments
  • [28] European Commission president responds to European Left MEPs on 'familiar faces' statement
  • [29] To Potami leader: Political polarisation between gov't and opposition 'will sink us all'
  • [30] Parliamentary committee discusses NSRF funding to Greece in the new programming period 2014-2020
  • [31] Sparsely attended Parliament votes to go ahead with constitutional revision committee
  • [32] Draft law on Eurojust harmonisation passes committee reading in principle
  • [33] PASOK parliamentary group to convene on Wednesday
  • [34] PASOK refutes press report about party leader and FM Venizelos' meeting with SYRIZA's Tsipras
  • [35] Left MEPs protest against 'provocative intervention by European Commission against SYRIZA'
  • [36] Local head of the UN refugee UNHCR Tsarbopoulos on Syrian refugees
  • [37] Civil servants' union federation ADEDY calls public-sector strike in Attica on Wednesday
  • [38] KKE expresses condolences over slaughter in Pakistan
  • [39] Greece needs long-term fiscal adjustment, BoG governor says
  • [40] Natural gas prices to fall by 20 pct in Q3 2015, Greek deputy minister says
  • [41] EU auditors: Many European airports that received EU funds didn't need them
  • [42] Eurobank and IFG to provide 100 mln euros of loans to Greek SMEs
  • [43] Greek trade deficit up in Jan-Sept
  • [44] Agreement between OLP and PCT (Cosco) submitted to Parliament for ratification
  • [45] ETE on the effect of political developments on the tourism industry
  • [46] Budget airline Niki introduces flight to Athens; Ryanair and easyJet add new Greek destinations
  • [47] Europarliament finalises financial assistance for former employees of Greek retailer Fokas
  • [48] Vocational training programme for 7,000 higher education unemployed graduates
  • [49] Employment in retail commerce sector down in Q3
  • [50] Wage index up 4.8 pct in Q3
  • [51] Greek stocks end slightly lower
  • [52] Greek bond market closing report
  • [53] ADEX closing report
  • [54] Foreign exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [55] WWF Hellas and OASA announce joint campaign to promote use of public transport
  • [56] Six doctors, hospital director on Samos facing charges of corruption and embezzlement
  • [57] Robbie Williams to perform on stage of Rockwave Festival in June
  • [58] University admin staff to hold 48-hour strike
  • [59] Woman killed falling on ISAP train tracks at Ano Patissia, train services disrupted
  • [60] Fire in the Athens Tower is quickly extinguished by firefighters
  • [61] Man arrested with 1.5 kilos heroin in Athens
  • [62] Rain on Wednesday Politics

  • [01] Troika to leave Athens end February, provided reforms are completed, EU's Moscovici says

    The current review with the troika must be brought to a successful conclusion as soon as possible, so that the troika can leave at the end of the technical two-month extension period, towards the end of February, and "we can move to another phase of our relationship with Greece," with lighter surveillance, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Pierre Moscovici said on Tuesday.

    This is my personal and political will, Moscovici noted during a press conference, after the completion of his two-day visit to Athens.

    "Greece's place in the eurozone is not longer in question as it was...Let me underline that, for me, there was never any question [whether] Greece should remain in the Eurozone. I fought for that when I was finance minister in France in 2012... It was always my personal conviction that Greece's place is in the Eurozone, that Greece needs the Euro and the Eurozone needs Greece."

    "Jean-Claude Juncker, now president of the Commission, also fought for this as president of the Eurogroup, we did together, as did the previous Commission, strongly and consistently. You must be reassured that in our current functions, today, we still remain strong allies to Greece," he underlined.

    Greece has made immense progress, he said, returning to growth with one of the highest growth rates in the European Union in 2015, the highest primary surplus in the Euro area after Germany, while it registered the highest rates of increase in employment. The achievements made with the sacrifices of the Greek people and the European solidarity must now be consolidated, he said. "Greece must show continued commitment to both fiscal responsibility and further structural reforms," he added, stressing that this was a necessity for all countries in the Euro area.

    For the next phase, Moscovici said that Greece has wisely requested a precautionary credit line to ensure financial stability from the European Commission and the IMF.

    Moscovici refused to answer questions concerning internal political developments, saying "I do not interfere in the internal political affairs," and that the purpose of his visit was to help speed up the review procedures.

    However, he added, while respecting the democratic choices of the peoples of Europe, the Commission was "attached to Greece in the Eurozone, we feel that it's a matter of integrity for the eurozone and a good way for this country. For this reason we are also attached to reforms in Greece." He stressed the necessity for confidence between Europe and Member-States' policies, saying this was particularly true for Greece, "and that is how we will act in the future".

    As for the possibility of implementing an alternative negotiation plan in case there are changes in the internal political scene, the European Commissioner replied that he hates plan B, adding: "Let's focus on plan A, which is the two-month extension, the conclusion of the review and a new phase."

    Asked why he did not meet with main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, he replied that he is in Greece on a working visit. "I am not here as a supporter as a detractor of anybody, I am neutral. If Mr. Tsipras wants to meet in Brussels, in the coming months, I have no problem."

    Regarding the debt issue, he said: "We have addressed since 2012 the measures that needed to be taken so as to ensure long-run debt sustainability in Greece and this is still what we pursue." He added, however, that "it is not reasonable to pretend that when you have a huge debt it cannot be reimbursed, it is not responsible. It has a name, and this name is default. We avoided that two years ago and we need to avoid that, whatever happens, in the years to come; that is very clearly our political position and not only political, I think it is rational on the economic level."

    [02] Labour Minister Vroutsis meets with EU Commissioner Moscovici

    Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis on Tuesday morning met with EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici.

    Vroutsis briefed Moscovici on the structural reforms made so far and, according to the Labour Minister, the Commissioner was astonished by the progress achieved in such short time.

    The two officials discussed the unemployment reduction over the last year, especially youth unemployment, but they did not discuss, Vroutsis said, current political developments.

    [03] Dev.Minister Skrekas and EU Commissioner Moscovici's meeting focuses on red tape reduction

    The red tape reduction dominated a meeting between Development Minister Costas Skrekas and EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Pierre Moscovici on Tuesday.

    According to Development ministry sources, the discussion focused on efforts being made to cut down on bureaucratic obstacles. More specifically, Moscovici was briefed on the recent abolition of licenses for 103 economic activities, in which are included 897 professions.

    [04] KKE comments on Moscovici statements, main parties' confrontation

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Tuesday commented on the statements made in Athens by European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici and by Greece's two main parties, stressing that voters must not be taken in.

    "On the one hand the government and EU officials, with their blackmail, and [main opposition] SYRIZA on the other hand with its illusions, are trying to convince us that stability and security for the people exist only within the European Union 'fold'. The truth is that the EU and its governments guarantee stability only for big business interests, while for the people there is permanent instability and insecurity," a KKE announcement said.

    [05] Political instability over the country's strategic orientation causes negative financial impact, Gov't Vice-President says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis) - Political instability over the country's strategic orientation, causes negative financial impact, Government Vice-President and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said on Tuesday from Brussels.

    "However, we went to great lengths in the last five years to keep the country standing on its feet. The Greek people have made sacrifices and have presented achievements. We need to safeguard these achievements. We will not let, I will not let - as a person, on behalf of PASOK and as the Government Vice-President - the country's achievements and the Greek people's sacrifices go to waste. And what is more, I will not let this to happen in a pre-election period, ahead of the presidential election or, in case we fail, ahead of national polls," he said.

    "If the Greek people want to make a choice and assign the responsibility to some people who after the elections will destroy the achievements and the sacrifices, let them do so. Until then, we need to safeguard what we have accomplished with enormous effort and huge pain," he added.

    [06] SYRIZA spokesman slams PM as 'architect of chaos'

    In a no-holds barred attack on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the government on Tuesday, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) spokesman Panos Skourletis called the prime minister "an architect of chaos, who invests in a climate of fear-mongering".

    Speaking during the regular SYRIZA press briefing, he added that several members of the current government were also assisting in this effort, such as government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi with her comments on Monday.

    "This is opportunism without precedent, an extreme and dangerous games played [at the expense] of the Greek people," Skourletis stressed. He also accused the government of attempting to conceal the commitments it had undertaken in promises to Greece's creditors while trying to set in motion a plan of pressure, blackmail and terrorising Greek society in order to find the 180 deputies needed in order to elect a new president of the Republic.

    The spokesman also levelled criticism at Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras over his statements, saying he had overstepped his role when trying to indicate to MPs what they should do. Asked whether he would ask for Stournaras' resignation, Skourletis replied that "all actions are being considered and everything is open".

    On negative coverage of SYRIZA in media abroad, he said the references were "selective" and that they would rebound on the government like a boomerang.

    Commenting on the issue of foreclosures, he said that the government's refusal to take measures while allowing the 'non-performing loans' to be sold to foreign funds abroad created an extremely pressurised climate, adding that SYRIZA will do its utmost to prevent the process of mass foreclosure auctions.

    Statements were also made by the party's head for opinion polls, Political Secretariat member Costas Poulakis, who noted that SYRIZA had a huge file of opinion polls dating back 20 years and more and was able able to draw firmer conclusions concerning their results.

    Analysing the results of opinion polls published since the European elections in May, he noted that these had steadily put SYRIZA in the lead, while the "qualitative" measurements - such as responses on the political atmosphere, the economic situation of households, feelings of anger and fear among the electorate and the voters' estimate as to which party will win - were also in SYRIZA's favour.

    [07] Government 'puts the brakes' on verbal confrontation with the main opposition party

    The prime minister's press office on Tuesday issued an announcement saying that the government will "put the brakes" on the verbal confrontation with the main opposition party.

    "As of now, the government will not follow or respond to SYRIZA's unbelievable outburst of insults when referring to the prime minister. The behavior of SYRIZA and its President is being judged by the Greek people daily. The Greeks demand from all of us to fight united to safeguard all that we have achieved through painful sacrifices during the past few years and to safely and definitively lead them out of the crisis. Therefore, everybody should think again where the country could be led by division, mudslinging and insults," the announcement underlined.

    [08] Government spokeswoman Voultepsi lashes out at SYRIZA

    "I was the first to say that if we go to general elections ND will win. The country called Greece cannot give the victory to a political party named SYRIZA that is comprised of a mishmash of factions. As a whole, based on its political decisions and its founding congress, it proves that it has no relation to Greek society," government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi on Tuesday said.

    Speaking on "Parapolitika" private radio station, she noted "we have said that a political party that wants unarmed police, 'special type' armed forces, Greece's exit from NATO, when Turkey is a member of the alliance, and when it says what it says on the hydrocarbons and FYROM - because these are serious issues - a political party that says all that, cannot be the winner in Greece's general elections."

    As regards Moody's position on a "credit negative" and her statement, she explained that "this was last Friday's front page news that nobody paid attention to, but when I said it the entire country was shaken," adding that the news was reported by SYRIZA-affiliated media as well on Friday, before her comments were made yesterday.

    Voultepsi criticised SYRIZA for its positions, saying that "it is arrogant to tell people that you will give out money; it is major arrogance, a sham and a fraud to tell people that you will hand out money when there isn't any." She also noted that "700 million euros are in cash of the roughly 11.4 billion euros of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund; the rest is state bonds," wondering if it is paper they plan to hand out.

    As regards the banks, she said that they "were rescued with the stress tests," underlining that "no one said there will be an issue with the banks. A discussion on the likelihood of a downgrading of the economy has been made. There was such a discussion. Now, if this discussion was inflated..."

    Referring to Bank of Greece (BoG) Governor Yannis Stournaras' intervention, she noted that everyone is entitled to their opinion, while as regards the presidential election, she pointed out that "what's important is the outcome of the procedure, what's important is to elect the president of the republic."

    [09] SYRIZA MP Dragassakis on the BoG governor's statements

    "In case something happens, the responsibility will lie with those who created a volatile atmosphere," Parliament Vice-President and main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MP Yiannis Dragassakis said on Tuesday, referring to Bank of Greece (BoG) Governor Yannis Stournaras' intervention with respect to the presidential election.

    In an interview with "Sto Kokkino" radio station, Dragassakis accused Stournaras of partiality in favour of the government and pointed out that "it is an unpleasant feeling one gets when the BoG governor violates the principle of political neutrality."

    He also added that Stournaras with his statements yesterday "showed partiality" considering that he had made no public interventions in response to statements on bank run, credit event, etc made by the prime minister and other government officials.

    [10] German finance ministry forwards to Bundestag Greece's requests for extension and precautionary credit line

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA / F. Karaviti)

    A request for the approval of the two-month extension of Greece's bailout programme and the approval in principle of the precautionary financial assistance in the form of an enhanced conditions precautionary credit line of up to 10.9 billion euros with a duration of up to 12 months, was submitted to the federal parliament of Germany on Monday by the country's finance ministry.

    According to the plan submitted, the approval in principle, as regards the precautionary credit line, is requested under the condition of an agreement between Greece and the troika on the necessary preconditions for the successful completion of the current, fifth review of the programme; that the loan programme with IMF will be preserved, if necessary on a precautionary basis, and that the temporary assessment by the European Commission that the criteria for access to an enhanced conditions precautionary credit line are being met will be confirmed.

    The German finance ministry document submitted to the federal parliament notes that the approval of the federal parliament to the first request authorises the representative of the German government in the EFSF to agree to the extension of the current Greek programme until February 28, 2015 so that the current programme will be completed. The document also points out that a definitive decision is set to be reached by the European bodies on December 19, 2014.

    [11] Parliament president: 'I believe MPs will act responsibly'

    Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis on Tuesday underlined his belief that Greece's Parliamentary deputies will act responsibly with regard to electing a new president, during statements at a conference organised by the Budget Office of State on the "Economic Aspects of a Constitutional Revision in Conditions of Crisis".

    "I believe that MPs will rise to the occasion and, with responsibility, come to the vote," he said. He also admitted that all the political parties had at times considered using the presidential elections and refusing consensus as a means of pressure, including current coalition partners New Democracy and PASOK and recently main opposition SYRIZA, in order to trigger early elections and force a change in policy.

    "The European Union and the creditors talk and will talk with all governments in every country," he added, while stressing that for the economy to work, political stability was a necessity and following rules was a necessity, so that all players within and outside the country know what the rules are.

    With regard to Constitutional reform, he insisted on the view that the Constitution must be "lean" and contain very few ordinances, so that "we arrive at a revision that can offer the country some flexibility, on the basis of which it can move in the coming years."

    [12] DIMAR deputies have unanimously decided not to vote for a Greek President, party leader Kouvelis reiterates

    DIMAR deputies have unanimously decided not to vote for a President of the Republic, party leader Fotis Kouvelis on Tuesday told Parapolitika radio, adding it was a collective decision taken 10 days ago.

    He also noted he "has not seen any indication for a change of stance by his deputies" and added that some distort his statements for their own reasons.

    He described "the proposal by three party deputies for a political understanding, so that the current Parliament can elect a President" as "non-realistic- albeit well-meant."

    He stressed "there is no agreement with SYRIZA" and that his party talks with the Ecologists and other collective movements "in the context of the progressive governance of the country."

    He also said the "view that the leading party would lose its 50 seat bonus if it cooperated with another political entity" was "constitutionally unfounded" and underlined that "independence and autonomy were guaranteed."

    [13] DIMAR MP Founta leaves open the possibility to vote for President in next rounds

    Democratic Left (DIMAR) MP Niki Founta on Tuesday said that she will not vote for a President at the first election. However, she said left open the possibility to vote in the second or the third round if a move for some kind of national consensus exists.

    Founta, speaking to ANT1 TV, said "It would make me happy if a proposal for national consensus is tabled in the third round of the procedure" adding that "we must agree in this country to change the memorandum parenthesis."

    DIMAR MP noted that she will act according to her conscience.

    [14] Independent Greeks again reaffirm their decision not to vote for president of Greece

    The opposition Independent Greeks party on Tuesday reaffirmed its decision not to help in the election of a new president of Greece, in a unanimous vote by the party's Parliamentary group. In a meeting chaired by party leader Panos Kammenos, each of the MPs expressed their opposition to the ruling coalition's candidate Stavros Dimas.

    According to ANA-MPA sources, Kammenos warned the MPs that the pressures on them to vote would mount as the election drew nearer, telling them that they "will hear many things but must not believe them". He stressed that the next president must be chosen by a majority government, not a "minority government, as at present". He also urged MPs not to believe the results of opinion polls and suggested that these were another "lever" to exert pressure on MPs, while the results would be entirely different if a president is not finally elected.

    The meeting also decided to step up criticism of main opposition SYRIZA, especially of its positions on foreign policy issues and managing public debt.

    [15] Independent MP Economou to vote 'present' at the first ballot of the election of a President

    Independent deputy Vassilis Economou on Tuesday, speaking on Mega TV, said he will vote 'present' in the first voting of the election of a President of the Republic, adding that he is also waiting for the results of the EU summit on December 18.

    According to www.megatv.com, Economou said: "Tomorrow, as I have already said, I will vote 'present'. That means that I have my reservations about this voting, in relation to Mr. Dimas, not as a person whom I think highly of, but as a strictly partisan candidate. I am also waiting for the outcome of the EU summit on December 18 to see the results of the government's negotiation for the conclusion of the review."

    [16] Independent MP Katerina Markou will vote for Stavros Dimas

    Independent MP Katerina Markou, formerly a Democratic Left (DIMAR) deputy, on Tuesday said that she will vote for presidential candidate Stavros Dimas in tomorrow's first round of the presidential election in Parliament.

    Markou announced her decision in writing, asking that "the spirit of the Constitution be respected even at this final moment" and calling on "the protagonists" to reach "common ground and head off the catastrophic consequences of a social and political division for which they are and will be solely responsible."

    She also said that the government appears not to realise the risks for the country and underlined that "even though the institutional preconditions and the necessary time for an understanding are still present and could be utilised, we are clearly moving toward destabilisation and elections in an atmosphere of absolute and limitless polarisation."

    [17] 'I will not vote for a President of the Republic,' independent MP Bolaris says

    Independent deputy Markos Bolaris in an interview with ANA-MPA stressed his decision not to vote for a President of the Republic.

    "I will not vote for a President of the Republic. The imbalance between the public sentiment, the public opinion on one hand and the implemented policy on the other is chaotic; therefore this policy needs to change," he said.

    "The implemented policy dismantles the real economy of the country; it creates a huge problem to the small and medium-sized businesses which form the core of the economy, dramatically increases unemployment, turns young people away and brings social cohesion to its limits. I cannot and would not approve such a policy and I don't intend to give an extension to it."

    The full interview is available for subscribers at the ANA-MPA website.

    [18] Independent MP Kassapidis on the voting for the President of the Republic

    Independent MP Giorgos Kassapidis, on Tuesday in statements to Parapolitika radio, said he had not made up his mind yet as to what he would do in Wednesday's voting for President of the Republic. He suggested, however, he could consider supporting Stavros Dimas' candidacy.

    "We are trying along with other deputies to persuade the political parties' leaders to move to a national unity government," he said.

    He also expressed the hope that in the third voting there will be such conditions in place that would allow political leaders to see reality and put their egos aside.

    Statements by Independent deputy Yiannis Kourakos to ANT1 TV were along the same lines.

    [19] Commerce secretary general resigns to be eligible for national elections ticket in 2016

    Commerce Secretary General Stefanos Komninos submitted his resignation on Tuesday; according to sources, he will run on a PASOK ticket in Athens II district in the next national elections.

    The prime minister and development and competitiveness minister accepted his designation according to a posting on Diavgeia, the national platform for transparency in government decisions and contracts.

    According to a regulation about general secretaries at ministries, December 16 is the last possible day to submit their resignation in order to qualify to run in national elections when the current government's term formally ends in 2016, or 18 months from now.

    [20] General secretary for sports resigns to be able to run in next general elections

    The General Secretary for Sports, Kyriaki Giannakidou, submitted her resignation on Tuesday in order to be eligible to run in the next general elections.

    Giannakidou bid farewell to her colleagues in the General Secretariat of Sports and posted a statement on her Facebook account in which she said: "Today is a special day for me as, because of the electoral law, I resigned from my position...Those of us in sports have learned to work. This is why the fight will continue from other posts. My work in these last two-and-a-half years, performed in incredibly difficult circumstances because of the crisis, will be judged. Every criticism is welcome, as long as it is well-intended and true."

    [21] Golden Dawn deputies to participate in Greek President's votings

    Golden Dawn deputies, who are detained pending trial, will participate in the votings for the President of the Republic, after the prison prosecutor gave them the permission to do so.

    [22] SYRIZA leads over ND in general elections, says opinion poll

    Main opposition SYRIZA leads ruling New Democracy (ND) with 4.95 percentage points, according to an opinion poll conducted by GPO for private TV MEGA.

    According to the poll, SYRIZA leads with 28 percent followed by ND with 23.1 percent, , the Communist Party (KKE) with 5.5 percent, PASOK with 5.1 percent, TO POTAMI with 6 percent, Golden Dawn with 5 percent, Independent Greeks with 2.7 percent, ANTARSYA with 1.3 percent and LAOS with 1.3 percent. The undecided voters reached 15.3 percent of the sample.

    At a question who is most suitable for prime minister, current prime minister Antonis Samaras is leading with 44.8 percent followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with 35.4 percent while 17 percent of the respondents said none of the above.

    The geographical coverage of the poll was nationwide and was conducted between 11-13 and 15 December 2014.

    [23] Those who voted for the memorandum will be held accountable, SYRIZA MP Mitropoulos says

    SYRIZA MP Alexis Mitropoulos on Tuesday threatened that those who participated to Lucas Papademos' government, including candidate President of the Republic Stavros Dimas, would be taken before an investigation committee or even a special court, according to skai.gr.

    "It was during Mr. Dimas' term as a minister in the Papademos government that the memoranda for surrendering the country's sovereignty were voted. It was during his term that the internal devaluation which led to pension cuts deepened," the deputy told Skai TV. He noted that there should also be an investigation into the decision of George Papandreou's government to ask the EU and the IMF for financial help.

    Mitropoulos said that SYRIZA would not accept either the accompanying measures that troika has asked for 2015 or the conditions that will be set so that the country can make use of the precautionary credit line (ECCL).

    He also noted that a SYRIZA government would immediately and unilaterally cancel all the memorandum measures related to wage and pension cuts; however, it will negotiate with the lenders on other issues, mainly the public debt.

    [24] PASOK slams SYRIZA MP Mitropoulos statement on 'special court' for Papademos government

    The PASOK party, the junior member of Greece's coalition government, on Tuesday strongly criticised a statement by main opposition SYRIZA MP Alexis Mitropoulos, calling it "sordid and divisive".

    "Alexis Mitropoulos should be ashamed of his comedown," a PASOK announcement railed, strongly objecting to the MP's suggestion that the interim coalition government of Lucas Papademos, Stavros Dimas and George Papandreou should "be indicted to stand trial in a special court".

    According to PASOK, the statement "returns political life in the country to a period of blatant blackmail and intimidation" and a "period when society was becoming fascist, of the 'indignant citizens in the squares' and the cries about traitors, collaborators and Pinochet."

    [25] Parties' reactions on BoG governor Stournaras' statements

    Bank of Greece (BoG) governor Yannis Stournaras' warning on the liquidity and the repercussions to the economy raised a series of reactions among the political parties.

    "It was a clearly technocratic statement," New Democracy secretary Andreas Papamimikos on Tuesday said speaking to MEGA TV.

    "We should not forget that Stournaras is the governor of the Bank of Greece and obviously he is aware of certain facts, he is member of the ECB board and every time a technocrat makes a statement which is not pleasant to others, they attack him. This is the reality and this is how he sees things, I do not want to comment on his statement," Papamimikos added.

    Main opposition SYRIZA MP Panagiotis Lafazanis said to the same TV station "what Stournaras said on Monday was not a technocratic intervention. It was a bomb to the Greek economy's course. It is absurd the country's central bank governor to trigger instability and economic destabilisation. It is not possible the central banker to give lessons and to talk about reduced liquidity which is achieved and to say that we are facing the danger of irreversible damage," he said adding that "such statements act as 'self-performing prophecy' and expressed the hope that there will be no repercussions and side effects to the market and the country smoothly go to the Presidential elections.

    PASOK spokesman Dimitris Karydis said that "Stournaras said in a wrong way and at a wrong place some truths. He could have given some documents on what is happening in a different way."

    [26] SYRIZA's Tsipras meets with former BoG governor Provopoulos

    Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras met on Tuesday evening with former Bank of Greece (BoG) governor George Provopoulos.

    According to a non-paper released by SYRIZA after the meeting, Tsipras called the meeting to discuss the handling of difficulties in the banking system which Provopoulos had had to manage in 2012, especially to be briefed about his experience on real dangers or difficulties related to capital flight abroad.

    SYRIZA said that the administration of the BoG at the time appeared to be unlike today's governance, which appears to create, irresponsibly, a liquidity crisis without one actually existing, and had managed at the time to retain to the end of its term a climate of stability and belief in the balance of Greek banks.

    Conversely - the party said, referring to statements in support of the government issued on Monday by BoG governor Yannis Stournars - the present BoG governor made an unprecedented move in his institutional role and recreated with his statements on Monday an irresponsible climate of danger-mongering, with unprecedented political motives.

    Whatever the cause of this irresponsible stance, the party said, the main opposition is determined not to allow the creation of a climate of instability and uncertainty, and will work in any way possible towards this direction, it stated.

    [27] Chambers' head Mihalos comments on political developments

    The business world's firm position is that the government completes its four-year term so as not to cause turbulence to the markets and the economy, the Central Union of Hellenic Chambers (KEEE) head Constantinos Mihalos said.

    However, he noted, businesses are not afraid of elections, but they hope that reason and prudence will prevail so that the country can get out of the crisis.

    [28] European Commission president responds to European Left MEPs on 'familiar faces' statement

    STRASBOURG (ANA-MPA/ N. Roussis)

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday responded to criticism directed against him for "provocative intervention in Greek politics," from the European Parliament's European United Left (EUL) group over his statement that he would not be averse to "familiar faces" remaining in charge in the country.

    "I do not know Greek and I don't know what the Greek newspapers wrote. I do not understand why the Greek Left is defending the far Right. I hate the far Right," Juncker commented at the end of a discussion on the European Commission's programme for 2015.

    Earlier, the EUL had accused Commission officials of backing "propaganda" against Greece's main opposition party, the left-wing SYRIZA, citing statements made by Juncker and by European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici during his visit to Athens concerning the prospect of early elections in Greece.

    [29] To Potami leader: Political polarisation between gov't and opposition 'will sink us all'

    The political polarisation caused by the verbal confrontations between the government and the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) ahead of the presidential election are threatening the stability of the country, To Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis said on Tuesday.

    "By trying to sink each other, the government and the opposition, in the end they will sink us all," Theodorakis said.

    "The country is transmitting an SOS distress signal. Our proposal remains the same - electing a president from the current parliament and holding elections in 2015. In other words, achieving a national consensus."

    [30] Parliamentary committee discusses NSRF funding to Greece in the new programming period 2014-2020

    The first day of the discussion on the draft bill on the management, operation and implementation of the NSRF funding to Greece in the new programming period 2014-2020 was completed in the responsible parliamentary committee on Tuesday with the government coalition partners giving their support, while the opposition parties expressed reservations, with the exception of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which stated that it will vote it down.

    The discussion on the draft bill, which will be conducted with emergency procedures as decided with a majority vote, will continue on Wednesday in the parliamentary Standing Committee on Production and Trade. The Conference of Presidents will decide today when a vote will take place in parliament which, according to sources, will take place on Thursday.

    [31] Sparsely attended Parliament votes to go ahead with constitutional revision committee

    Discussion in Parliament's plenum on setting up a committee to revise the Greek Constitution had a sparse attendance on Tuesday night, with the notable absence of all main opposition SYRIZA and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MPs, and a meagre show of those from New Democracy (ND), the senior partner of the ruling coalition.

    The disappointing attendance was criticised by Prokopis Pavlopoulos - rapporteur for ND, which had initiated the revision process - who said, "Everybody admits the revision is necessary, but some sacrifice it for political gain - especially by distorting the meaning of constitutional clauses about the election of the Greek president, trying to lead the country to national elections."

    Independent Greeks (ANEL) rapporteur Maria Kollia-Tsaroucha used particularly harsh language against SYRIZA.

    The plenum voted to complete the works of the revision committee, as proposed by the presidium, and to submit a report by June 30, 2015. ANEL was the only party to disagree, and voted "present".

    [32] Draft law on Eurojust harmonisation passes committee reading in principle

    A draft law by the justice ministry bringing Greek law in line with a European directive to strengthen collaboration in the judiciary to fight corruption passed in principle by a wide majority at the Public Administration, Public Order and Justice Ministry Committee in Parliament on Tuesday.

    The Eurojust collaboration allows coordination between EU member-states and collaboration with other EU agencies to handle extradition requests, fight cross-border crime and initiate investigation and prosecution.

    The draft law was voted by ruling coalition partners New Democracy and PASOK, former coalition partner Democratic Left (DIMAR), and the Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, after Justice Minister Charalambos Athanassiou briefed the committee on its purpose.

    SYRIZA abstained, calling the law "a monument to irresponsibility" because it does not agree with recently passed laws and because no hearings were scheduled with agencies like the Greek prosecutor and the authority for the protection of privacy. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) voted against it, warning that it can be used to suppress social struggles under the excuse of fighting terrorism.

    [33] PASOK parliamentary group to convene on Wednesday

    PASOK parliamentary group, chaired by its leader Evangelos Venizelos, will convene on Wednesday, at 4 pm, according to a party announcement.

    [34] PASOK refutes press report about party leader and FM Venizelos' meeting with SYRIZA's Tsipras

    PASOK party, the junior member of the ruling coalition, said a so-called dialogue between main opposition SYRIZA and Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos published at Ta Nea daily on Tuesday "bears no relation to reality."

    In an announcement, the party responded to press questions, that the two party leaders met at the foreign ministry on issues of foreign policy. "The stance of PASOK's president regarding the country's general political situation and the strategy of parties is well known and expressed in the same manner, whether publicly or privately," it asserted.

    [35] Left MEPs protest against 'provocative intervention by European Commission against SYRIZA'

    The European United Left Group (EUL) at the European Parliament protested against what it called "provocative interventions in Greek politics by the European Commission" on Tuesday, and charged that officials there backed Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' "propaganda against SYRIZA," the main opposition in Greece.

    In an announcement posted on their site and also released by SYRIZA, the MEPs said, "Recent provocative interventions in Greek politics by the European Commission are objectionable and must be withdrawn," and referred to three consecutive occasions in which Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Finance Commissioner Pierre Moscovici have issued statements relating to both the forthcoming election of the Greek President and the next Greek general election.

    "Their interventions in Greek domestic politics directly backed Prime Minister Samaras' fear-mongering propaganda against SYRIZA, the party of the Left that currently tops opinion polls," they said, calling these interventions "unprecedented". They also warned that they "undermine the authority and political neutrality of the Commission and call into question the sovereignty of a member state. This is undemocratic and anti-European and brings to mind the worst practices of neo-colonialism."

    The EUL Eurodeputies said, "The Greek people should be left to determine their own political future. If the Greeks decide against austerity and in favour of a social Europe at the next elections, then their decision should be respected, especially by the European institutions."

    [36] Local head of the UN refugee UNHCR Tsarbopoulos on Syrian refugees

    Not all people can celebrate Christmas as they are faced with war and poverty, Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, local head of the UN refugee UNHCR on Tuesday told ANA-MPA in an interview.

    Tsarbopoulos referred to the Syrian refugees that had protested for days on Syntagma square in down town Athens. He noted that a police operation was not the best option and that the best thing to do was to solve problems before any kind of interventions was rendered necessary.

    He said that issues such as the housing and the integration of refugees in Greece have to be dealt with in much more organised and planned way as "there are many refugees in Greece and a large number of them will remain in the country; having social cohesion and not letting these people get marginalised or excluded is to everyone's interest."

    He said the 59 Syrian refugees that held a sit-in protest on Syntagma square were taken to the Attica Police Department, where they were identified and released in groups.

    He also said the Syrians' main demand "requires a different European policy", as the fact that refugees come into a country and wish to move to another one is a reality that Europe cannot ignore.

    The full audio interview is available for subscribers at the ANA-MPA website.

    [37] Civil servants' union federation ADEDY calls public-sector strike in Attica on Wednesday

    The civil servants' union federation ADEDY has called a strike by public sector staff throughout the Attica region from 12:00 noon on Wednesday until the end of their shift. The strike is in part of a series of nationwide labour mobilisations for the cancellation of public-sector layoffs and to avert new ones.

    The union federation has also called a protest rally at Klafthmonos Square in Athens at 13:00 on Wednesday, followed by a march to Parliament and the Administrative Reform Ministry. It has also urged its sections in all prefectures to organise similar rallies and protests throughout Greece.

    [38] KKE expresses condolences over slaughter in Pakistan

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Tuesday issued an announcement expressing its condolences to the Pakistani Communist party and the people of Pakistan for the slaughter of many dozens of children in Peshawar.

    "The blood of the children is on the hands of the United States and all those 'allies' - including Pakistan's urban bourgeois classes - that created, armed, trained and supported in every possible way the horrifying Taliban movement, initially against the people of Afghanistan and the Soviet Union," a KKE announcement said.

    "Today the people of Pakistan are once again paying dearly for the "fruits" of the criminal plans of imperialism. The peoples must stop mourning innocent victims and enter the fight to overthrow capitalist barbarity," it added.

    Financial News

    [39] Greece needs long-term fiscal adjustment, BoG governor says

    Long-term fiscal adjustment and a precautionary credit line from our European partners were the recommendations made by Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras in his interim report on monetary policy tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

    A day after his warning about reduced liquidity in the market, the central banker noted an increase in the deposit base and predicted that the economy will grow 0.7 pct this year and 2.5 pct in 2015. The report stressed that there were positive prospects for the economy in 2015 as investment demand was expected to grow, along with a further increase in export activity.

    However, there were domestic and international risks and uncertainties, the report said, which could weigh down business climate in the next few months, to delay or postpone economic growth, adding that economic policy should remain focused on preserving and enhancing the current dynamism with the aim to exit the crisis. The Bank of Greece recommended that emphasis should be given to four priorities: a) accelerating structural reforms in the product and services markets, b) restructuring of the state operation and speeding-up administrative reform, c) strengthening active policies in labour markets, with emphasis given to training and d) continuing a fiscal effort in the coming years with focus on combating tax evasion and safeguarding the sustainability of pension funds.

    The central bank said the domestic banking system needed to urgently address the problem of non-performing loans. Stournaras, commenting on the 'next step' after the memorandum, said that the country still needed support from a credible precautionary funding programme from its European partners. "This is necessary until the country ensures a sustainable funding of its borrowing needs from international markets," he noted.

    [40] Natural gas prices to fall by 20 pct in Q3 2015, Greek deputy minister says

    Natural gas prices for industrial and household users are expected to fall by 20 pct in the first quarter of 2015 as a result of falling international oil prices, Depity Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Makis Papageorgiou said on Tuesday.

    Addressing an energy conference in Athens, Papageorgiou said natural gas prices were expected to fall by 5.0 pct in January, for a total decline of 20 pct in March, adding to a 15 pct discount in prices achieved after negotiations between DEPA and Gazprom last year.

    The Greek minister said this decline was the result of a link between natural gas prices with crude oil prices with a three-month delay and noted that crude oil prices were expected to continue falling, with international analysts predicting a fall to around 40 US dollars per barrel, a development which could have a positive effect on the Greek economy.

    Papageorgiou said that Socar was currently in negotiations with competition authorities in the European Union to complete a deal of purchasing a 66 pct equity stake in DESFA and noted that one of the plans examined was the transfer -at a later stage- of a 17 pct equity stake from Socar in order to cut its participation to 49 pct in DESFA.

    Commenting on a decision to scrap the South Stream natural gas pipeline project, Papageorgiou said this could speed up procedures to double the capacity of TAP pipeline to 20 billion cubic meters annually, from 10 billion in the original plan.

    [41] EU auditors: Many European airports that received EU funds didn't need them

    Many airports around Europe that have been funded by the European Union have limited effectiveness and their infrastructure remains mostly underused, a report by of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) revealed on Tuesday.

    The report looked specifically at investments in 20 airports in Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain and Estonia, which absorbed more than 666 million euros in the period 2000-2013 through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion fund (CF), and concluded that only half of those really needed funding from the EU.

    The auditors found that the infrastructure which had been built with those funds are often underutilized, while 38-million-euro-worth of infrastructure is not used at all.

    The investments also didn't have the expected benefits and were not very profitable. This was due to the lack of proper airport planning, the disproportionate size of the project compared to the number of aircraft and passengers they service, as well as the fact that some of these airports are close to each other.

    Concerning Greece, the auditors investigated the effectiveness of investments made in Thessaloniki's "Macedonia" airport, which received 54 million euros between 2001-2009, in the airport of Heraklion, Crete, which received 9.24 million euros between 2001-2005 and in the Aristotelis airport of Kastoria, which received 5.6 million euros from 1999-2003.

    Overall, the Court found that these three airports have minimal regional socio-economic benefits, like for example job creation.

    For the Macedonia airport, auditors concluded that part of the infrastructure funded with 7 million euros is not being used. The airport's two new cargo buildings and a parking space are closed, while only one of the two renovated cargo buildings were in use during the inspection.

    In particular, the airport in Kastoria, along with five Spanish airports and one in Italy are categorised as "not profitable" and "not financially viable" and are all small, regional airports with less than 100,000 passengers per year and may need to close, unless they receive continuous public economic support, the report said.

    Only half of the airports funded by the EU reported an increase in passenger traffic, while for more than half of these, the real increase in air traffic was grossly overestimated in the initial forecasts. For most of the airports, there was little evidence that investments improved customer service or had positive socio-economic effects.

    In its conclusion, the Court noted that air traffic in Europe is expected to double by 2030, adding that "if Europe wants to respond to this additional demand, both the Commission and the member-states will have to improve the way they invest in airports, funding only those that profitable and present a real investment need."

    [42] Eurobank and IFG to provide 100 mln euros of loans to Greek SMEs

    Eurobank and the Institution for Growth in Greece (IFG) signed an agreement on Tuesday to set the terms of lending nearly 100 million euros to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a low interest rate.

    A bilateral agreement signed by Greece and Germany for such purposes will allow the disbursement of joint funding through the state agencies of the Hellenic Fund for Entrepreneurship and Development (ETEAN) and the KfW.

    [43] Greek trade deficit up in Jan-Sept

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/Maria Aroni)

    Greece's trade deficit rose to 15.7 billion euros in the January-September period, from 14.4 billion euros in the corresponding period last year, Eurostat said on Tuesday.

    In a report, the EU executive's statistics office said that Greek exports fell 4.0 pct in the nine-month period while imports rose by 1.0 pct. The country's trade deficit was the fourth largest in the EU28 after the UK (102.4 bln), France (55.5 bln) and Spain (19.4 bln).

    Germany recorded the highest trade surplus (161.1 bln euros) in the January-September period, followed by Holland (44.7 bln), Italy (28.2 bln), Ireland (26.6 bln) and the Czech Republic (12.5 bln). In the Eurozone, the trade surplus rose to 24 billion euros in October, from 16.5 bln euros last year, while in the EU28 the trade surplus was 7.6 billion euros.

    The US recorded the largest trade surplus (75.8 billion euros).

    [44] Agreement between OLP and PCT (Cosco) submitted to Parliament for ratification

    The amendment proposing the ratification of the agreement between Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) and Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT), a company owned by Cosco, for the development of Piraeus' Piers I and III was submitted to Parliament on Tuesday.

    The amendment is included in a town planning expropriations bill which is expected to be debated at the plenum on Friday and Saturday.

    [45] ETE on the effect of political developments on the tourism industry

    Greek Tourism Enterprises Association (SETE) president Andreas Andreadis on Tuesday called for smooth handling of political developments to protect the tourism industry.

    Speaking to the media after an extraordinary meeting of the SETE board, he warned of clouds gathering over the tourism industry sector as a result of the political developments, noting that they affect the country's image abroad. He also stressed that tourism has no political color and needs an understanding.

    Andreadis underlined that if uncertainty continues, the tourism sector, which is the last levee of the Greek economy, will be affected.

    As regards the bookings made, he pointed out that a slowdown is being observed and airlines leave the scheduling of flights to Greece for the future.

    [46] Budget airline Niki introduces flight to Athens; Ryanair and easyJet add new Greek destinations

    The low-cost Austrian airline Niki on Tuesday announced its decision to add Athens as new Greek destination to its list of international flights from this coming April, with daily flights by an Airbus A320 on every day of the week except Saturday.

    The flights will depart from Vienna at 11:30 and arrive in Athens at 14:35, while the return flight will leave at 15:25 and arrive at 16:45 local time.

    According to the airline, Greece was the destination with the greatest percentage increase in recent years, with bookings recovering in 2013 after a steady decline since 2006.

    New Greek destinations during the coming summer were also announced by easyJet, which said it will operate two flights from Fiumicino airport in Rome to the islands of Zakynthos and Kos and one flight from Geneva to the island of Santorini from June 28 until August 15. This raises the number of new easyJet flights to Greece this year to 10.

    Ryanair, meanwhile, has added flights from Athens to the island of Santorini, Bratislava and Budapest starting in April. The airline will operate two flights a day to Santorini, three flights a week to Bratislava and four flights a week to Budapest from Greece's capital.

    It will also increase the number of flights to Hania from two to three a day and to Paphos from one to two, offering a total of 12 destinations to and from Athens, with an anticipated 2.2 million passengers.

    During a presentation of the new routes, however, Ryanair Chief Commercial Officer David O' Brien expressed objections to a decision by Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) to give the concession for Greece's regional airports to the Fraport-Slentel consortium, saying this would make them more expensive and less attractive to travellers due to higher charges.

    According to O' Brien, Fraport would "capture the keys" to Greece's islands and make profits without caring how many passengers airports. He said that he had sent repeated letters to the Greek government proposing a reduction in airport taxes in exchange for higher passenger traffic without receiving any reply.

    "They must choose: tax without passengers or passengers without tax," he added, noting that Athens International Airport was one of the most expensive airports in Ryanair's network and had only 60 international routes, compared with Dublin's 120 and Stansted's 130.

    [47] Europarliament finalises financial assistance for former employees of Greek retailer Fokas

    STRASBOURG (ANA-MPA/N. Roussis)

    The European Parliament plenary session on Tuesday approved financial assistance for the 600 former employees of Greek retailer Odyssefs Fokas S.A. which stopped operation after a huge drop in sales caused mostly by falling family income in Greece.

    The MEPs passed the action with 610 votes in favour, 77 against and 13 abstentions.

    Following Greece's application for support from the European Globalisation Fund (EGF), the former employees of Fokas will receive financial assistance amounting to 6.44 million euros that will be used to start their own businesses or get retrained.

    The European Parliament approved a total of 35.5 million euros in financial assistance to roughly 6,000 workers made redundant in France, Italy and Poland, besides Greece.

    [48] Vocational training programme for 7,000 higher education unemployed graduates

    A new vocational training and on-the-job training programme will be implemented by the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) in cooperation with the ministries of development and education, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The programme will serve roughly 7,000 unemployed, university and technological institute graduates under the age of 29, who will have access to vocational training with an emphasis on the development of transferable skills, job market issues, curriculum vitae guidelines, entrepreneurship and information & communication technology skills.

    The criteria for their selection will be their diploma grades, age, annual taxable income and how long they have been unemployed.

    [49] Employment in retail commerce sector down in Q3

    The employment index in the retail commerce sector fell by 1.0 pct in the third quarter of 2014, compared with the corresponding period last year, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Tuesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that the food stores group index fell 1.4 pct, while the other store group index (excluding food and fuel) grew 0.5 pct in the July-September period. The index rose 0.2 pct in the third quarter from the second quarter of 2014, with the food store index rising 0.9 pct and the other store index falling by 0.3 pct on a quarterly basis.

    [50] Wage index up 4.8 pct in Q3

    The wage index reversed its downward trend in the third quarter of 2014, rising by 4.8 pct in the July-September period, for the first time since the second quarter of 2010, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Tuesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that the wage index (excluding the primary sector and household activities) grew 4.8 pct in the third quarter, after a 2.0 pct decline recorded in the same period last year. The index, seasonally adjusted, grew 2.1 pct in the third quarter this year, after a 2.2 pct declined in 2013.

    [51] Greek stocks end slightly lower

    Greek stocks ended slightly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday with investors remaining on the sidelines ahead of Wednesday's first vote in Parliament to elect a new president of the Republic. The composite index of the market fell 0.26 pct to end at 834.24 points, after rising as much as 1.58 pct early in the session. Turnover was a moderate 89.91 million euros. The Large Cap index fell 0.82 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 1.05 pct.

    METKA (4.83 pct), PPC (4.55 pct), Aegean Airlines (4.08 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (4.05 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day among blue chip stocks, while Coca Cola HBC (5.30 pct), MIG (4.88 pct) and Piraeus Bank (4.12 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Among market sectors, Utilities (2.87 pct), Industrial Products (2.41 pct) and Travel (1.70 pct) scored heavy gains, while Food (5.26 pct), Health (2.39 pct) and Personal Products (1.38 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 55 to 46 with another 17 issues unchanged. Levenderis (27.78 pct), Altec (20 pct) and Sidma (19.79 pct) were top gainers, while Cyprus Bank (26.25 pct), AEGEK (16.67 pct) and Paperpack (12.56 pct) were top losers.

    [52] Greek bond market closing report

    Uncertainty over developments in the Eurozone pressed Germany's borrowing costs even lower on Tuesday, widening the yield spreads between German and regional bonds. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased slightly to 8.44 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 8.62 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 9.02 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.58 pct. Turnover was a moderate 28 million euros, all sell orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month rate was 0.329 pct, the nine-month rate rose to 0.255 pct from 0.253 pct, the six-month rate rose to 0.179 pct from 0.178 pct, the three-month rate was 0.082 pct and the one-month rate rose to 0.025 pct from 0.024 pct.

    [53] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 2.20 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totalled 29,629 contracts with 49,227 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totalled 93,548 contracts, with investment interest focusing on Eurobank's contracts (22,045), followed by National Bank (21,735), Piraeus Bank (18,400), Alpha Bank (6,905), MIG (6,030), Hellenic Petroleum (4,233), Mytilineos (3,713), OTE (3,577), PPC (2,546), Terna Energy (646), Viohalco (563), GEK (522), Ellaktor (487), OPAP (365), Sidenor (326), Frigoglass (304), Hellenic Exchanges (247), Intralot (189) and Titan (129).

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: -0.99%

    Insurance: unchanged

    Financial Services: -0.69%

    Industrial Products: +2.41%

    Retail: -0.83%

    Real Estate: -0.94%

    Personal & Household: -1.38%

    Food & Beverages: -5.26%

    Raw Materials: +0.94%

    Construction: +1.19%

    Oil: +1.46%

    Chemicals: -1.20%

    Mass Media: Unchanged

    Travel & Leisure: +1.70%

    Technology: +0.69%

    Telecoms: -0.77%

    Utilities: +2.87%

    Health: -2.39%

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

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 0.485

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.75

    Coca Cola HBC: 15.00

    Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE): 3.85

    National Bank of Greece: 1.45

    OPAP: 9.00

    OTE: 9.03

    Piraeus Bank: 0.93

    Titan: 19.00

    Grivalia Properties: 7.51

    Aegean: 7.90

    [54] Foreign exchange rates - Tuesday

    Reference rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.2537

    Pound sterling 0.7965

    Danish kroner 7.4407

    Swedish kroner 9.551

    Japanese yen 145.79

    Swiss franc 1.2009

    Norwegian kroner 9.542

    Canadian dollar 1.4612

    Australian dollar 1.5206

    General News

    [55] WWF Hellas and OASA announce joint campaign to promote use of public transport

    The Athens public transport organisation OASA and WWF Hellas presented a joint campaign reduce car use and promote public transport called 'Panda with public transport for a better life in the city" in a press conference on Tuesday. The campaign will use the panda, the WWF logo, on invitations to the public on trains and buses to take part in events, competitions, tours and festivals. The campaign will run until February.

    According to 2013 data, there are 5.2 million cars circulating in Greece and a Public Issue poll has shown that 34 pct of citizens use cars, 33 pct the bus, 31 pct the metro, 10 pct the electric railway, 8 pct a motorbike, 9 pct the trolleys, 2 pct the tram and 27 pct travel on foot. The figures were presented by WWF Hellas director Dimitris Karavellas.

    These figures change significantly by area, with 56 pct of those in Athens' northern suburbs preferring to travel by car, whereas this figure drops to 22 pct in central Athens. 'Champions' in bus use are the residents of west Athens and Piraeus.

    According to speakers, combining travel on foot or by bicycle with public transport was the "most modern" proposal for a cleaner environment.

    [56] Six doctors, hospital director on Samos facing charges of corruption and embezzlement

    Six doctors and an general director at Samos Hospital have been charged with corruption, embezzlement of state funds and unjustified enrichment, based on an investigation conducted by the Financial Crimes Police, it was announced on Tuesday. Specifically, the investigation revealed discrepancies between the declared income of the seven accused and their bank account deposits, which exceeded 2.7 million euros for the period 2005-2011.

    The financial police carried out a thorough investigation of their finances, seeking a suspension of privacy laws to obtain access to the tax and bank account records over that time. The results of their investigation and comparison were forwarded to a first-instance court public prosecutor and the appropriate tax office in order for a more extensive tax audit to be carried out.

    [57] Robbie Williams to perform on stage of Rockwave Festival in June

    British singer Robbie Williams is expected to perform for the first time in Greece in June. The popular performer will appear live on the stage of Rockwave Festival at the TerraVibe Park in Malakasa on Saturday, June 20.

    Williams is considered one of the most significant artists of contemporary music and the most successful music artist in Great Britain. He has sold more than 70 million albums and singles and has been honoured with 17 Brit Awards, more than any other artist.

    Tickets are available as of December 16.

    [58] University admin staff to hold 48-hour strike

    University administrative staff have announced a 48-hour strike on Wednesday and Thursday in protest against the 'availability scheme' that is part of the government downsizing and public-sector reform effort. They also announced their intention to participate in a rally called by the civil servants' union federation ADEDY in central Athens on Wednesday.

    Athens University staff will also hold a press conference at the main building of the university, which will also include students and members of the faculty. A press conference on the same issue will also be held at the Kostis Palamas arts centre at 12:30 by the rectors of the Athens and Piraeus universities.

    [59] Woman killed falling on ISAP train tracks at Ano Patissia, train services disrupted

    An elderly woman was killed on Tuesday when she fell onto the tracks at Ano Patissia station, on the Kifissia-Piraeus overground electric railway (metro system line 1). The accident occurred at 16:25 on the Piraeus-bound railway track and has disrupted all train services between Agios Nikolaos and Ano Patissia stations. Trains were still running on the sections of the track from Piraeus to Attiki station and between Kifissia and Nea Ionia stations.

    [60] Fire in the Athens Tower is quickly extinguished by firefighters

    A fire at the Athens Tower, in the district of Ampelokipi, was quickly extinguished by firefighters, causing only limited material damage.

    The fire broke out at 16:35 on Tuesday in paper boxes placed at the aisle outside the second floor elevator; the cause is unknown.

    None of the tenants were injured but many evacuated the building prior to firefighters' arrivals because of the smoke.

    [61] Man arrested with 1.5 kilos heroin in Athens

    A 26-year-old Albanian national was arrested in an apartment in the Athens district of Kypseli after he was caught with 1.5 kilos of cocaine, police announced on Tuesday. He was led before a public prosecutor.

    Weather forecast

    [62] Rain on Wednesday

    Clouds, rain and southerly winds are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Rain and storms in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 05C-11C. Same weather in the western parts of the country with temperatures between 10C-16C.Overcast and rain in the eastern parts with temperatures between 07C-16C.Clouds and rain over the islands, 12C-18C. Rain in Athens, 09C-15C; the same for Thessaloniki, 06C-10C.

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