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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-10-20

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

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

Tuesday, 20 October 2015 Issue No: 5047

CONTENTS

  • [01] Dialogue the only path to bridging differences, PM Tsipras and Ecumenical Patriarch agree
  • [02] President receives Ecumenical Patriarch, pledges state's support for reopening Halki seminary
  • [03] Suez canal, energy dominate talks between PM Tsipras and Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry
  • [04] PM and Dutch foreign minister discuss Greek debt and foreign policy issues
  • [05] Greek debt, bank recapitalization to be discussed during Hollande visit to Athens
  • [06] Institutions' mission heads to arrive in Athens on Tuesday
  • [07] Parliament to vote on TV licenses bill on Saturday
  • [08] The number of licences to broadcasting stations will be limited, says gov't spokeswoman to ANA-MPA
  • [09] ND leader Meimarakis: Any new taxes will be disastrous for economy, society
  • [10] Resignation of GenSec of Public Revenues a 'matter of principle' for government-sources
  • [11] President Pavlopoulos: Developments in the Middle East shake the foundations of peace in the region
  • [12] Cyprus FM on protection of cultural heritage of the Middle East
  • [13] Aigilia island will be turned into "a summer Davos", says Dep. FM Dimitris Mardas
  • [14] Alt FM Xydakis meets Czech envoy to Greece
  • [15] Case against Greek airports' privatisation filed with Council of State
  • [16] Energy Minister: There might be reductions in PPC rates in 2016
  • [17] Piraeus Bank re-initiates interbank repo activity
  • [18] Government tables bill ratifying deal on exclusive horse race betting rights to OPAP
  • [19] Greek cash budget surplus down in Jan-Sept
  • [20] Greek stocks end slightly lower
  • [21] Greek bond market closing report
  • [22] Greek bond yields down on Monday
  • [23] ADEX closing report
  • [24] Arrivals of refugees in three Greek islands hit new record in last 24 hours
  • [25] Wink at me, asks new mobile app
  • [26] Inner Space Explorers and Medasset clear 300 kilos of deadly 'ghost nets' from Argolida seabed
  • [27] Onassis Foundation brings 'Digital Revolution' to Athens
  • [28] 2,561 refugees rescued between 16 and 19 October
  • [29] Partly cloudy on Tuesday
  • [30] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Dialogue the only path to bridging differences, PM Tsipras and Ecumenical Patriarch agree

    Dialogue is the only path to bridging differences, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew agreed on Monday, during their meeting at the prime minister's office at the Maximos Mansion.

    The Patriarch hailed this as an opportunity to congratulate Tsipras on his re-election in person and to wish his new government every success in its difficult task.

    "In these difficult times, the prayers of the mother Church are with you for the success of your mission and the prosperity of the Greek people," he added.

    The prime minister greeted the Patriarch by saying that his presence was a great honour for the International Conference on "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East" organised by the foreign ministry, especially given the Patriarch's own initiatives for interfaith dialogue in the Middle East and on a global scale.

    Tsipras noted that this was a time of great tension in the region surrounding Greece, which found itself in the midst of three overlapping crises: the economic crisis in Europe that was still underway, the refugee crisis, where Greece was among the countries bearing the brunt of the refugee waves, and the generalised destabilisation, instability and conflict in the broader region.

    "We believe that we will manage to cope and at the same time upgrade Greece's role in the surrounding region," he added, stressing that Greece did not want to be part of the problem but part of the solution.

    "For this reason, we look for and anticipate the efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose global perspective has the ability to highlight the positions that contain humanity, the value of dialogue, values that we share, adopt and will also support at all international fora," Tsipras said.

    Patriarch Bartholomew is currently in Athens to attend the foreign ministry's conference, which runs until October 20.

    [02] President receives Ecumenical Patriarch, pledges state's support for reopening Halki seminary

    Meeting Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Athens on Monday, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos pledged the Greek state's full support to the Patriarchate's efforts to persuade Turkish authorities to reopen the Theological School of Halki, an orthodox seminary that was forced to close in 1971.

    Receiving the Patriarch at the presidential mansion, the president stressed that the School was more than just a symbol for Greece and for Orthodoxy but an issue on which the Patriarch had deep personal feelings, since it was the starting point of his career as a member of the clergy.

    "As 'assistants' in fulfilling this great duty that concerns Orthodoxy, we are here and I want you to know that we are always at your disposal," Pavlopoulos noted.

    [03] Suez canal, energy dominate talks between PM Tsipras and Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry

    Cooperation between Greece and Egypt in energy issues and in upgrading the Suez Canal dominated discussion during a meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Monday. They talked about giving a new boost to relations between Greece and Egypt, both on a bilateral level and in the context of trilateral cooperation with Cyprus, a government announcement said.

    The announcement noted that the recent discovery of a large natural gas field within Egypt's Exclusive Economic Zone, which borders on that of Cyprus, changes the status quo concerning energy matters in the eastern Mediterranean and highlights the need to delineate maritime zones in the area. Egypt, Greece and Cyprus have repeatedly expressed a desire to further develop their relations in the past, as well as holding high-level dialogue in recent years.

    Talks between Tsipras and Shoukry also covered regional developments and the prospects of cooperation in the broader region, while they reaffirmed that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi will carry out an official visit to Greece at the end of December and that a Greece-Cyprus-Egypt trilateral meeting will be held in the same period.

    [04] PM and Dutch foreign minister discuss Greek debt and foreign policy issues

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday received visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders and discussed the upcoming negotiations on a resettlement of Greece's debt, as well as foreign policy issues, such as the European Union's relations with Turkey, the Cyprus issue, developments in the southeast Mediterranean and the refugee crisis.

    The discussion more especially focused on aspects of the Greek economic programme and its implementation.

    [05] Greek debt, bank recapitalization to be discussed during Hollande visit to Athens

    The Greek government will discuss, among other issues, the forthcoming negotiations on the debt, bank recapitalization, collective labour agreements, the safeguarding of transparency and social cohesion with French President Francois Hollande and his team during his visit to Athens on 22-23 October, government sources said on Monday.

    The Greek side will also brief Hollande on the progress made in the implementation of the country's agreement with its lenders and issues relating to it. The two sides will also discuss the "Juncker package" on growth, synergies for the strengthening of investment activity and wider cooperation in the financial sector.

    On a different note, Greece and France will also turn their attention on issues relating to possible cooperation in culture.

    The final composition of the French mission that will accompany the President Hollande has not been finalized, the same sources said.

    [06] Institutions' mission heads to arrive in Athens on Tuesday

    The heads of the institutions' missions to Greece are expected to arrive in Athens on Tuesday, where they will stay for 2-3 days in order to be briefed on the implementation of reforms after the voting of the omnibus bill and to decide the agenda of prior actions and milestones to be legislated going forward.

    Declan Costello (European Commission), Delia Velculescu (IMF) and Rasmus Ruefer (ECB) will have preparatory contacts with leading government ministers and are expected to return to Greece in November or December at the latest for the formal review of Greece's economy.

    Wednesday's Eurogroup Working Group is considered a milestone as it will prepare for the Eurogroup's November 9 meeting and will advise the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) on whether to give the green light for the disbursement of the sub-tranche of 2 billion euros by October 27.

    The content of the next omnibus bill that is to be discussed with the representatives of institutions will include much more "difficult" actions (eg pension reforms, "bad" loans, new austerity measures etc.), but its passage will open the way for three important issues:

    The disbursement of a 1 billion euro sub-tranche

    The beginning of the review and an agreement on debt settlement

    The completion of the recapitalization of banks by the end of December in order to avoid a "haircut" of deposits (bail in) to be applied in accordance with EU Directive from January 1, 2016.

    [07] Parliament to vote on TV licenses bill on Saturday

    The draft law on broadcasting licenses and the public digital signal provider was brought before the relevant parliamentary committee on Monday by State Minister Nikos Pappas, following its approval by the General Accounting Office. The bill will be voted by the plenum on Saturday.

    The provisions of the draft law, which consists of four chapters, stipulate that TV stations will be able to obtain a license to operate through auctions held by the country's TV and radio regulator ESR (National Council for Radio and Television).

    The duration of those licenses will be ten years and companies will have to pre-pay a minimum 8 million euros to the regulator for a nationwide broadcaster focusing on a general information program, 5 million euros for an informative program with thematic content and 2 million euros for a non-informative program.

    The bill, which includes 58 articles, also includes the creation of a digital signal provider which will operate as a subsidiary to public broadcaster ERT, laws to protect the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) - the country's national regulatory authority for of the telecommunication and postal markets - the creation of a Registry of online media, of a National Audiovisual Archive and a National Council of Communication.

    [08] The number of licences to broadcasting stations will be limited, says gov't spokeswoman to ANA-MPA

    The draft law on the broadcasting station licences will be tabled in parliament immediately after the General Accounting Office's report, said governent spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili to ANA-MPA on Monday.

    Gerovassili stressed that "the government is ready to proceed to the implementation of its engagement in order the landscape to be transparent and clear as it suits the management of a public good as the frequencies.

    Moreover, she underlined that the "number of the licences will be small, adjusted to the conditions of the Greek market".

    [09] ND leader Meimarakis: Any new taxes will be disastrous for economy, society

    If the government implements any more taxes on Greek citizens, the results will be disastrous for the economy and society, main opposition leader Vangelis Meimarakis said on Monday.

    "I keep hearing government members speak of new extraordinary taxes for employees, the self-employed, shopkeepers, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. Obviously these are the measures they were concealing before the elections and they reveal them now," the leader of New Democracy said.

    "One thing is for sure: If these measures proceed, the result will be catastrophic both for the real economy and the entire society," he added.

    [10] Resignation of GenSec of Public Revenues a 'matter of principle' for government-sources

    The removal of the general secretary of Public Revenues Katerina Savvaidou from her post is a "matter of principle" for the government, which is why it will insist on her resignation, government sources said on Monday.

    "For the government, this is an issue of principle, as it concerns issues of transparency. This is why Savvaidou has been asked to step down," the sources said, adding that she is due to appear before a public prosecutor on Tuesday and if it is proven that she abused her role it will be extremely difficult to remain at her post.

    Savvaidou is facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly extending beyond the legal deadline the time granted to TV stations to pay 20 pct tax on advertisements. The second charge of breach of duty for reviewing a 78-million-euro fine imposed on a company a few weeks before the January elections. According to a report on newspaper Efimeritha ton Syntakton, two days before a crucial vote on the government's omnibus bill in parliament, Savvaidou send the government an amendment plan acquitting her of any criminal responsibility arising from any decision, including the aforementioned pending cases.

    According to government sources, this amendment was considered to be aimed specifically at her and was viewed as incompatible with the government's policy on issues of transparency. It was therefore dismissed.

    [11] President Pavlopoulos: Developments in the Middle East shake the foundations of peace in the region

    The President of The Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday stressed the importance of the International Conference on "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East" held at that crucial period of time.

    "It is a crucial period because the developments in the Middle East shake the foundations of peace and peaceful coexistence of peoples in the region," he noted.

    On his part, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias underlined "Greece's important role as a bridge of three continents and as an honest mediator in the urgent need for the peaceful coexistence of different religions, attitudes, beliefs and especially the defence of human life."

    Kotzias added that Greece supports the political solution for the Syrian issue and asked for a special strategic relationship with Jordan and Lebanon, and stressed the great importance of stability and security in particular in Egypt while highlighting the need to promote large reconstruction projects throughout the region.

    Regarding the refugee issue, the Minister of Foreign Affairs referred to good cooperation with Bulgaria and Turkey on the basis of international law.

    [12] Cyprus FM on protection of cultural heritage of the Middle East

    Foreign Minister of Cyprus Ioannis Kasoulides stressed the need for protection of the cultural heritage of the Middle East and the reassurance that the people that were forced to leave or expelled because of their beliefs, nationality or religion will return back home, speaking on Monday at the International Conference "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Co-existence in the Middle East" that is held in Athens.

    Referring to the illegal trade of cultural and religious treasures, he noted that effective ways to intercept it must be found.

    In this context, we need "a dynamic resolution of the UN Security Council that will impose total restrictions on the trafficking of cultural and religious heirlooms deriving from conflict zones, with identification of the trade's legality to burden the antiquity traders, the auction houses and not the buyers and their country of origin.

    Egyptian FM Shukri at the international conference "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East"

    Egypt's Foreign Minister Samech Shukri during the international conference "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East" made a plea to the East and the West to render this conference in Athens a real starting point for addressing the common challenges for the restoration of peace, stability and prosperity for the peoples of the region.

    Shukri praised the Greek initiative because, as he said, Greece always defends and strengthens the relations with the countries of the Arab and Islamic world, noting that our country has an interactive positive relationship with all initiatives aimed at strengthening dialogue and communication between peoples, in full respect for religious and cultural differences.

    He added that dialogue "is possible only through our joint effort, to eliminate the spread of fanaticism on one hand and that of Islamophobia on the other hand which began to dominate in the West."

    "Selective political approaches to terrorist organizations do not support the ongoing efforts to address fanaticism," he said and called on the international community to adopt a common policy of combating terrorism. Egypt, and the United Nations over the next two years will intensify international efforts for this purpose, he underlined.

    He expressed his full appreciation for the great relationship between Egypt and Greece in the light of cultural, historical and geographical relations between the two countries.

    [13] Aigilia island will be turned into "a summer Davos", says Dep. FM Dimitris Mardas

    "We will hand over an area to the UN member states in order to build a lodge for conferences," Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Mardas on Monday said in statements to Athina 9.84 radio station referring governement's plan to turn the island Aigilia into "a summer Davos."

    "We have budgeted the investment at 1.6-2.0 billion euros. The construction cost will be totally covered by the countries interested in building the lodge," he explained.

    Our aim is to turn this "island of art and philosophy" into an international conference centre with people from all over the world.

    Mardas noted that the NSRF funds will be 20 billion and investments of 80 billion euros are required. "Medium and large-sized investments are needed. We have focused on attracting foreign investment," he noted.

    [14] Alt FM Xydakis meets Czech envoy to Greece

    Alternate Foreign Minister Nikos Xydakis met with the Czech Ambassador to Greece, Jan Bondy, at the ministry on Monday.

    The talks, which took place in an excellent climate, focused on issues of common interest, with emphasis on the further expansion and strengthening of the two countries' bilateral relations.

    Financial News

    [15] Case against Greek airports' privatisation filed with Council of State

    A civil suit asking for the reversal of a government decision for the privatisation of 14 regional airports in Greece, brought by private citizens and organisations, was filed on Monday with the Council of State, the country's supreme administrative court.

    The case disputes a decision of the Government Council on Economic Policy, which approved the signature of concession contracts for the airports in Crete, mainland Greece, the Ionian islands and Aegean islands by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF).

    One of the key arguments they invoke is the absence of two council members at the time the decision was taken, which they say raises issues of legality. The also claim violations of the Greek constitution and European Union law relating to free competition and dispute the 42-year concession as unjustifiably long.

    Litigants include the Civil Aviation Authority Union Federation, the Chania Region Authority, a Thessaloniki secondary education staff union and private citizens that regularly use regional airports.

    [16] Energy Minister: There might be reductions in PPC rates in 2016

    Energy Minister Panos Skourletis stressed that there might be a reduction in PPC rates in 2016, speaking on Monday to private MEGA TV.

    Regarding ADMIE's (Independent Power Transmission Operator) privatisation, he noted that the government has proposed an equivalent, which would be the establishment of an independent entity that will manage the public networks, something that has up to 99 percent been approved by Greece's lenders.

    [17] Piraeus Bank re-initiates interbank repo activity

    Piraeus Bank on Monday said its customer deposits totaled 38.1 billion euros at the end of September, of which 34.5 billion in Greece.

    The bank said that economic and political conditions in Greece showed signs of stabilization following the agreement with the Institutions in mid-July, and as of the termination of the bank holiday on 20 July 2015 to-date (mid-October) there have been 0.5 billion euros in net domestic deposit inflows.

    Piraeus Bank said that Eurosystem funding decreased from 37.3 billion euros at the end of June 2015 to 35.8 bn at the end of September, with ELA down from 22.2 billion euros at the end of June to 21.2 bn at the end of September. Gross loans stood at 68.9 billion euros at the end of September 2015 (of which 63.3 bn in Greece) from 70.0 billion at the end of June 2015 (of which 64.2 bn in Greece). Further reduction of time deposit rates in Greece in the third quarter (front book at 110 bps in Sep 2015 against 174 bps in June 2015, monthly averages), partially contributed to offsetting the ELA burden (in excess of 2 pct cost including State fee for Pillar 2 as collateral).

    Net 90-day delay loans in arrears formation in the third quarter 2015 was at 356 million euros for the Group against 111 million in the second quarter, while in Greece it came in at 327 million from almost zero formation in the second quarter. This amount of new NPL formation in Greece corresponds to 52 bps over the domestic loan book.

    Group branch network comprised 1,071 units at the end of September 2015, of which 778 branches were in Greece and 293 abroad. The Greek branch network was reduced by 51 branches in 9 months 2015, with the Restructuring Plan 2017 target of reducing the Greek network to 870 units having already been exceeded. Group headcount at the end of September 2015 stood at 19,769 employees, of which 15,715 were related to the Group's Greek operations.

    As at 30 September 2015, Piraeus fully repaid 2.2 billion euros of Pillar 3 bonds, as liquidity conditions stabilized. Interbank repo activity with EFSF bonds as collateral was re-initiated, with 0.4 billion euros outstanding at the end of September 2015 from zero balance at the end of June 2015.

    [18] Government tables bill ratifying deal on exclusive horse race betting rights to OPAP

    The government submitted to a relevant parliamentary committee on Monday a draft bill ratifying a deal granting the exclusive rights to horse race betting license of company ODIE to betting firm OPAP, which won the rights after an international tender.

    The bill will be discussed at the committee on Tuesday in an emergency procedure and will be forwarded to the plenum on Wednesday to complete the vote.

    OPAP submitted the higher offer at 40.5 million euros for securing exclusive rights for the next 20 years and the agreement between the company and the country's privatization agency (HRADF) was signed in April 24.

    According to the agreement, OPAP undertakes the responsibility to conduct a minimum number of "live" races. If it breaches this commitment, the company will have to pay the government a 2,700-euro-penalty for every horse race that was not conducted.

    The deal also stipulates that 30 pct of gross profits from horserace betting will go to the State and more specifically, 24 pct will cover the payment of prizes for ongoing live racing, 1.5 pct will be given to Greece's Jockey Club and the rest 4.5 pct in public funds.

    [19] Greek cash budget surplus down in Jan-Sept

    Greece's central government cash balance recorded a deficit of 2.499 billion euros in the January-September period this year, compared to a deficit of 2.213 billion in the same period in 2014, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.

    In a monthly report, the central bank said that during this period, ordinary budget revenue amounted to 31.463 billion euros, compared to 34.459 billion in the corresponding period of last year. Revenue of 55 million euros regarding Securities Markets Programme (SMP) income transfers from the Bank of Greece is excluded. Ordinary budget expenditure amounted to 33.832 billion euros, from 36.447 billion in January-September 2014.

    Spending on interest grew to 5.177 billion euros, from 4.89 billion last year. The state budget recorded a primary deficit of 390 million euros in September, from a primary surplus of 440 million euros last year. In the nine-month period, the primary surplus was 2.67 billion euros, from 2.75 billion euros in the corresponding period last year.

    [20] Greek stocks end slightly lower

    Greek stocks ended slightly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday in thin trading conditions. The composite index of the market fell 0.12 pct to end at 658.11 points, after rising as much as 0.90 pct early in the day. The Large Cap index rose 0.07 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.30 pct down. Turnover was a thin 24.445 million euros in volume of 88,719,534.

    National Bank (10.36 pct), Eurobank (4.76 pct) and Grivalia Properties (1.74 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus Bank (10.71 pct), Alpha Bank (6.25 pct) and Ellaktor (3.95 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Among market sectors, Banks (2.70 pct), Raw Materials (1.62 pct) and Real Estate (1.12 pct) scored big gains, while Chemicals (2.18 pct), Commerce (1.75 pct) and Financial Services (1.10 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 55 to 39 with another 21 issues unchanged. Ionian Hotels (19.64 pct), Dionic (15 pct) and Douros (12.36 pct) were top gainers, while Kathimerini (19.79 pct), Audiovisual (18.84 pct) and Teletypos (18.33 pct) were top losers.

    [21] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell significantly to 7.04 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 7.32 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 7.59 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.56 pct. Market sentiment was encouraged after the Greek Parliament voted the first package of prior actions agreed with its creditors, paving the way for the disbursement of a sub-installment of 2.0 billion euros. Turnover was a thin 5.0 million euros, all buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to 0.128 pct from 0.129 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.066 pct, the six-month rate fell to 0.019 pct from 0.022 pct, the three-month rate fell to -0.054 pct from -0.051 pct and the one-month rate fell to -0.117 pct.

    [22] Greek bond yields down on Monday

    Greek state bond yields were down in early trade on Monday after the Greek Parliament voted a new omni-bill which included the first package of measures agreed with the country's creditors and ahead of an assessment of the country's program by the institutions.

    The Greek 10-year bond yield eased to 7.80 pct, down nine basis points from Friday. On the other hand, Eurozone state bond yields were moving up following the announced of Chinese economic figures which proved to be better than expected, while a European Central Bank official, in comments made to Reuters, sounded cautious over the possibility of extending a quantitative easing program.

    [23] ADEX closing report

    The November contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.29 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 1,434 contracts with 11,568 open positions in the market. Trading in future contracts on banks froze until completion of a bank recapitalization plan. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 2,238 contract with investment activity focusing on OTE's contracts (621 pct), followed by MIG (162), PPC (620), OPAP (243), Viohalco (92), Mytilineos (42), Hellenic Exchanges (39), Motor Oil (44), Jumbo (72), GEK (27) and Intralot (63).

    General News

    [24] Arrivals of refugees in three Greek islands hit new record in last 24 hours

    Arrivals of refugees and migrants to three Greek islands of the northern Aegean broke a new record in the last 24 hours reaching 9,763, police announced on Monday.

    Starting from Sunday morning until Monday morning, more than 5,000 people arrived in Lesvos, about 2,500 crossed to Chios and another 1,500 reached Samos, according to police data.

    The new arrivals in Lesvos were added to the about 6,500 refugees and migrants already on the island who wait to be identified and processed by local authorities so that they can continue their journey to the mainland. Authorities said the situation at the Registration Centre of Moria is difficult as the available infrastructure is still insufficient to respond to such large numbers of arrivals.

    [25] Wink at me, asks new mobile app

    Three Greek young people have launched a new mobile application called "Winks" that allows you to view the profiles of people around you.

    Dimos Botsaris, Aris Gountouras and Pantelis Ieronimakis have all graduated from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

    The new application gives the opportunity to check the social profiles of people close to you as well as some basic information like age and zodiac sign. You take a look at who winked at you, where and when it happened, and you connect to get to know them.

    "However, the aim of Winks is not dating," Pantelis Ieronimakis stressed. "You just find people who share the same interests as the application gathers data from the social media such as Facebok, Instagam and Snapchat," he added.

    The next step is to also include the professional network LinkedIn.

    "The culture of the city keeps people away from each other, but technology changes things, it can work in the opposite direction and connect people with their neighbors. We address to everyone who feels the need to connect and communicate with new interesting people they see around them," Gountouras noted.

    [26] Inner Space Explorers and Medasset clear 300 kilos of deadly 'ghost nets' from Argolida seabed

    More than 300 kilos of 'ghost nets' - the deadly lost or forgotten fishing nets left behind by fishermen to litter the seabed - were recovered from the sea in Tolos, Argolida by Medasset, an organisation for the protection of the marine environment. Working with the volunteer diving group Innerspace Explorers Greece, who spent 1.5 hours underwater to scour the Tolos harbour on Sunday, Medasset intends to recycle the nylon twine from the recovered nets to make other nylon-fibre goods, such as socks, swimwear, carpets and other items of everyday use, as part of the European initiative "Healthy Seas: A journey from waste to wear".

    The divers recovered derelict nets from three spots in picturesque Tolos on Sunday, at depths of 10 to 25 metres, while they were able to release trapped fish and also locate other nets that will be recovered during forthcoming missions.

    The recovered nets will first be taken to Alimos marina, where the Alimos Professional Fishers Association is based, and from there to a Healthy Seas recycling unit in Slovenia and another in Izmir.

    Talking to the ANA-MPA, the head of Medasset Vassilis Stamogiannis outlined the serious impact of derelict fishing gear and 'ghost nets' on marine flora and fauna, pointing out that they never stop "fishing" and pointlessly killing many kinds of animals, as well as having a negative impact on marine ecosystems.

    "Since they are made of nylon, they never degrade but remain on the seabed, polluting it irrevocably. It is a very widespread phenomenon in Greek seas but also more generally in the Mediterranean," he said.

    Stamogiannis said that the initiative was warmly and enthusiastically received by the fishing community, with similar operations planned in Mikrolimano, Piraeus, Perama, Alimos and the island of Corfu.

    [27] Onassis Foundation brings 'Digital Revolution' to Athens

    An exhibition that explores our digital past and the journey into our even more digital future will open its doors to the Athenian public on Tuesday, at the Onassis Cultural Centre (OCC) on Syngrou Avenue. From the early days of Pacman and 'Super Mario' to the new realities of 3D printing and holography, "Digital Revolution" traces our first baby steps into the world of algorithms and pixels right up to its modern-day and future impact on the arts, design, music, fashion, film and gaming.

    On the way, it stops at some digital industry milestones: from Tetris, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to Augmented Reality, films like 'Gravity' and 'Inception', or the music of Bjoerk and the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am. It then moves on to our possible digital future and the rapidly changing digital revolutions this is likely to bring: the era of cyborgs, wearable technology, drones and 'big data'.

    Earlier hosted by the Barbican in London and the Tekniska Museet in Stockholm, 'Digital Revolution' lives up to its name, with a highly interactive series of digital exhibits covering every area of human endeavour, especially in the arts. It occupies all three floors of the OCC, as well as the surrounding grounds, and is divided into several sections, each having a different theme.

    The first is Digital Archaeology, which starts its journey in 1970 and each decade right up to 2010. Creative spaces looks at how our concepts of time, space and narrative have been revised by the use of digital tools. Sound and Vision and State of Play move on to the world of animation and the whole new vistas for visual effects now open to makers of films and games, before the last section entitled 'Our Digital Futures'.

    The exhibition will run until January 10, opening from noon until 21:00 on Sunday through Thursday and from noon until 22:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets can be purchased at a discount online in advance or at the door, while there are also discounts for large parties, families, young children and the unemployed. For more information, visit the website http://www.sgt.gr/eng/SPG1530/.

    [28] 2,561 refugees rescued between 16 and 19 October

    A total of 2,561 refugees were located and rescued by the Coast Guard and Frontex as well as a private sailing boat in 69 incidents in the sea regions of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Agathonissi, Farmakonissi, Kalolimnos, Kos and Megisti in the period 16-19 October 2015.

    In the same period, a seven year-old boy, an infant, a sixteen year-old boy and two women drowned.

    Weather forecast

    [29] Partly cloudy on Tuesday

    Clouds and southerly winds are forecast for Tuesday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 12C-23C. Local rainfall in the western parts of the country with temperatures between 15C-26C. Partly cloudy in the eastern parts with temperatures between 15C-26C. Scattered clouds over the Aegean islands and Crete, 17C-27C. Partly cloudy in Athens, 16C-25C. Light rainfall in Thessaloniki, 16C-22C.

    [30] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    DIMOKRATIA: Second package of measures with first home foreclosures

    ETHNOS: Withholding contributions from the turnover!

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: The lists with the new reduced pensions

    ESTIA: French key for the evaluation

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Professionals under the stranglehold

    TA NEA: Difficult week for tax issues

    KONTRA NEWS: The end of big channels

    NAFTEMPORIKI: New limits for tax issues

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