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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-10-21

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

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

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 Issue No: 5048

CONTENTS

  • [01] Government decides three VAT rates for private education in meeting chaired by PM
  • [02] Communist Party says VAT hike in private education will hurt low-income families
  • [03] Government meeting on growth of domestic pharmaceutical industry concludes
  • [04] Government kicks off meetings with representatives of institutions on Wednesday
  • [05] Greece planning two new international-level initiatives, Kotzias announces after two-day conference
  • [06] Greece to add religious diplomacy to its foreign policy arsenal, Dep. FM Amanatidis tells ANA-MPA
  • [07] Greece is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis, Alt. FM Xydakis tells OSCE conference
  • [08] PM Tsipras' remarks at international conference dinner in the Acropolis Museum
  • [09] EU Commissioner Avramopoulos stresses urgent need to deal with terror and extremist phenomena in Europe
  • [10] Frontex gets 291 border guards for Greece and Italy; another 436 needed
  • [11] Wednesday's EuroWorking Group teleconference postponed, sources tell ANA-MPA
  • [12] Stringent security in Greek Parliament during Hollande visit
  • [13] Greek President says refugees deaths in Mediterranean cannot be tolerated
  • [14] Crisis in Middle East, Mediterranean dominates Kotzias' bilateral contacts in Athens
  • [15] FM Kotzias to meet US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Nuland
  • [16] FM Kotzias to meet his Bulgarian counterpart Mitov
  • [17] Alt.FM Xydakis to attend OSCE meeting in Jordan
  • [18] Main opposition slams government for continuous tax raid
  • [19] Main opposition leader in Madrid to attend EPP meeting
  • [20] Potami leader says new bill on TV licenses grants Minister Pappas too much power
  • [21] President Pavlopoulos stresses the need for Parthenon Marbles to return to Greece
  • [22] Public prosecutor to shelve case against former finmin Varoufakis over 'Plan B'
  • [23] Greek public revenue chief Savvaidou refuses to resign, responds to allegations
  • [24] "We have not said anything about pension cuts," Labour Min says
  • [25] Eurobank will remain in the private sector, CEO says
  • [26] Taxpayers' overdue debt jumped 1.469 bln euros in Sept
  • [27] Registered unemployment down in Sept
  • [28] Intralot wins new contract in New Mexico
  • [29] Greek industrial turnover index down 18.3 pct in Aug
  • [30] Greek PC sales down 50 pct in Q3
  • [31] National Greece Day at Expo Milano on Wednesday
  • [32] Greek stocks end 1.17 pct higher
  • [33] Greek bond market closing report
  • [34] ADEX closing report
  • [35] Coast guard reports 795 incidents and 141,919 arrests for illegal entry into Greece in September
  • [36] 2,336 refugees from Mytilene and Chios arrive at Piraeus port
  • [37] Overfishing, a scourge of our times, reveals WWF report
  • [38] Fortress town of Osdina opens to public
  • [39] ANA-MPA welcomes its new English website
  • [40] Acropolis Museum to dedicate October 28 bank holiday to kids, waive entrance ticket
  • [41] Rain on Wednesday
  • [42] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Government decides three VAT rates for private education in meeting chaired by PM

    The government on Tuesday decided to go ahead with plans to impose VAT on private education but at different rates for kindergartens, various types of supplementary tuition (frontistiria) and private schools, amending an earlier decision for a blanket 23 pct VAT rate on private education. The decision was made during a joint session of the Government Council for Economic Policy and the Government Council for Social Policy, chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

    The meeting also discussed the recapitalisation of banks and a comprehensive proposal for pension reform, which the government intends to unveil at the end of this month.

    A press release from the prime minister's office said an extensive discussion took place on possible equivalent measures to the blanket 23 pct VAT rate on private education, which will be announced at the end of the current week. In the meantime, a decision was reached to amend the measure and fully exempt kindergartens from VAT - due to a shortage of places in the state system - and impose the lowest 6 pct VAT rate on frontistiria, foreign language schools, dance schools, music schools and vocational education colleges. A higher rate of 13 pct VAT will be imposed on private primary and secondary schools.

    Labour Minister George Katrougalos also briefed the meeting on the report of a working committee on pension reform, which was extensively discussed.

    According to ANA-MPA sources, the prime minister "distanced himself" from the conclusions in the committee's report.

    [02] Communist Party says VAT hike in private education will hurt low-income families

    By increasing VAT in private education, the government is imposing new burdens on the low-income households, the Communist Party said on Tuesday, commenting on the government's decision to go ahead with plans to impose VAT on private education but at different rates for kindergartens, various types of supplementary tuition and private schools.

    "Imposing VAT on supplementary tuition and private elementary, middle and high schools, shows that, regardless of different rates, the coalition of SYRIZA and ANEL is increasing VAT and imposing new burdens on low-income families, which are trying through supplementary tuition to cover the shortcomings of the state school," the party said in a press release.

    [03] Government meeting on growth of domestic pharmaceutical industry concludes

    A government meeting focusing on the growth potential of the domestic pharmaceutical industry ended on Tuesday evening, chaired by government Vice-President Yannis Dragasakis.

    According to the vice-presidency, participating ministers and officials agreed that the Greek pharmaceutical sector can and should be one of the main pillars of production, research and innovation, as the government promotes the productive reconstruction of the country.

    Given the above position, it was decided to immediately launch a dialogue with affected parties so as to formulate policy measures that will encourage the industry's growth and secure its competitiveness and sustainability.

    [04] Government kicks off meetings with representatives of institutions on Wednesday

    The tough negotiations between the government's economic team and the representatives of the three institutions will start on Wednesday morning and will focus almost on all the issues included in Greece's deal with its creditors.

    Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Minister of State for Coordinating Government Operations Alekos Flambouraris will have the first meeting with the representatives at 09.00 (local time) to discuss the implementation of the country's program.

    The second meeting will be with Alternate Finance Ministers Giorgos Chouliarakis and Tryfon Alexiadis at 18.00, and will focus on fiscal developments, 2016 budget and taxation.

    All meetings with the representatives of the institutions - Declan Costello (European Commission), Delia Velculescu (IMF) and Rasmus Rueffer (ECB) - will be held in a central hotel.

    [05] Greece planning two new international-level initiatives, Kotzias announces after two-day conference

    Greece is planning two new international-level initiatives after the conference on "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East" held in Athens, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias announced on Tuesday, at a presser formally wrapping up the work of the two-day international conference.

    Kotzias said that the first initiative will concern Greece's proposal for a discussion on the values that will underpin Europe in the future. The second will be for a general secretariat of the 'cultural' GS 10 - the greatest countries on a cultural basis - in order to highlight the role of culture as a 'soft' foreign policy force strengthened by that of tourism. So far, he added, a number of countries from China to Mexico had agreed with this initiative.

    Kotzias said the two initiatives will follow the creation of an Athens-based Observatory to protect religious and cultural pluralism announced during the two-day conference.

    Outlining the conclusions of the Athens conference, Kotzias said that 80 speakers from 45 countries, including several religious leaders in the Middle East, had agreed on the urgent need for a political solution in Syria and support for Iraq, as well as the need to protect cultural and religious minorities and monuments in the region.

    Replying to questions regarding German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Ankara, Kotzias noted that Germany's positions do not reflect the institutional positions of the EU.

    On the issue of cooperation with Turkey, he said there could be understanding and coordination on a ministerial level for the readmission of migrants on the basis of a never-implemented Greek-Turkish protocol signed in 2001. He also indicated that Greece wants to work with Turkey and Bulgaria on a political solution to end the war in Syria and prevent the destabilisation of Lebanon and Jordan, as well as protecting Egypt.

    Finally, he noted the need for more European money to be spent on Syrian refugee camps, where budgets had been cut to 13 dollars a month per family.

    [06] Greece to add religious diplomacy to its foreign policy arsenal, Dep. FM Amanatidis tells ANA-MPA

    Greece's foreign ministry intends to adopt religious diplomacy as an active element in its arsenal for exercising foreign policy, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis said in an interview with the ANA-MPA on Tuesday, after the conclusion of a two-day international conference on "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East" held in Athens.

    Amanitidis noted that religious diplomacy was not a "new discovery" for the government and had been a part of SYRIZA's policy as a party for some time, making it possible to have an influence in areas that could not be influenced in other ways.

    In this context, he highlighted the important contribution of the Greek diaspora and its religious centres.

    Regarding the international conference held in Athens, he said this had achieved its goals in that some fundamental conclusions about the importance of protecting human dignity, human life and peace had been drawn.

    Amanatidis referred to his meetings on the sidelines of the conference, highlighting those with Vatican Foreign Minister Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher and Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs of AJC on issues affecting Catholics in Greece and Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, as well as Greece's relations with Israel and the Arab world.

    [07] Greece is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis, Alt. FM Xydakis tells OSCE conference

    Greece is faced with unprecedented refugee and migrant arrivals, Alternate Foreign Minister Nikos Xydakis said on Tuesday during a speech at the two-day OSCE Mediterranean Conference held in Jordan which will conclude on Wednesday.

    "Greece is faced with unprecedented refugee and migrant flows. The refugee issue is an issue that affects Europe in its entirety," the minister told conference participants in Amman, highlighting its explosive dimensions and its overall management by the country's authorities.

    "From the start of the year, more than 450,000 people crossed from Greece into the rest of Europe, most of which coming mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The first reception services and the Greek state's infrastructure are constantly at their limit, while the Greek coast guard makes every effort to help," Xydakis said.

    "This year alone, 60,000 human lives have been saved in the Aegean," he added.

    [08] PM Tsipras' remarks at international conference dinner in the Acropolis Museum

    Greece feels the obligation of caring for refugees arriving in the country, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told attendees of an international conference, "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East" held in Athens on October 18-20.

    In remarks at a dinner at the Acropolis Museum hosted by Foreign minister Nikos Kotzias, Tsipras said, "Even now, in this difficult economic siutation in the country, we feel obligated to take care of the refugees arriving at our shores... That's exactly why we believe that religion and culture act like bridges of communication and understanding between peoples."

    The prime minister also noted that Greece "finds itself in the middle of a crisis touching Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean on an economic, political, geopolitical and spiritual level". One of the crisis' aspects, he said, was to decide what kind of Europe people wanted for the future, that of solidarity, growth and social justice or one of austerity and unequality.

    The conference brings together regional and international representaties to discuss the humanitarian crisis of Middle East peoples and the role of values of peaceful coexistence. Attendees include religious and political leaders of the area, academics and others.

    [09] EU Commissioner Avramopoulos stresses urgent need to deal with terror and extremist phenomena in Europe

    EU Commissioner for Migration and Internal Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos on Tuesday stressed the need for a comprehensive approach - as the one in the European Agenda for Security - to deal with terrorism and extremism.

    Avramopoulos was speaking at the High Level Ministerial Meeting on Radicalization held in Brussels.

    He underlined that terrorism in Europe is ignited by extremist ideologies, noting that the situation has changed lately, as the connection between radicalization and extremist violence is obvious in Europe.

    According to Avramopoulos, terrorist groups such as ISIL become more and more efficient in their propaganda and in the attraction of new members, which, as he stressed, highlights the urgent need to deal with the threat.

    The creation of a European reference point of illegal content (EU Internet Referral Unit) inside Europol is expected to play an important role in tackling and preventing terror phenomena. The mission of this unit, according to Avramopoulos, will be to identify the terrorist material on the Internet and to ensure their rapid removal.

    [10] Frontex gets 291 border guards for Greece and Italy; another 436 needed

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ C. Vasilaki)

    Nineteen European countries will provide 291 border guards to Frontex so that they can be immediately deployed to Greece and Italy and work in hotspots that help identify and register refugees and migrants, the agency announced on Tuesday.

    According to its press release, Frontex requested at the start of October 775 border guards from EU member-states and Schengen Associated Countries to assist the two countries in handling the record numbers of people arriving at their borders.

    "We are facing a migratory and refugee crisis. Because of this, Frontex has called on member-states for the first time to provide such a large number of border guards. I appreciate that they have come through with the most officers ever offered," said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

    "I hope we can move much closer to our goal. For this reason, I would like to stress that Member States can continue sending their contributions even though the deadline for the call has passed," he added.

    [11] Wednesday's EuroWorking Group teleconference postponed, sources tell ANA-MPA

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/C. Vasilaki)

    A scheduled teleconference of the Eurogroup Working Group (EWG) for Wednesday during which representatives of the institutions were expected to discuss the progress in the implementation of the Greek program has been postponed, sources told ANA-MPA.

    According to the sources, Greece has not implemented the prior actions in their entirety so the issue will be discussed when this is done.

    [12] Stringent security in Greek Parliament during Hollande visit

    Stringent security measures will be imposed within the Greek Parliament on Friday, when visiting French President Francois Hollande is expected to address MPs and the country's state and political leadership.

    While the French president is in Parliament, all staff and journalists will be forbidden to circulate freely within the building. According to instructions sent to Parliament's security services, all staff must be at their posts early on and stay there, while none of the journalists allowed in to watch Hollande's speech from the public gallery will be permitted to bring in a cell phone or other electronic device capable of taking photographs.

    [13] Greek President says refugees deaths in Mediterranean cannot be tolerated

    The world cannot tolerate refugees drowning in the Mediterranean, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said during a meeting with Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East on Tuesday at the Presidential Mansion.

    The Patriarch is in Greece to participate in the International Conference on "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East".

    "This war must stop because is it beyond and outside any sense of civilization and justice," Pavlopoulos told the religious leader. "We cannot tolerate the Mediterranean washing up corpses, especially corpses of young children. Your region, with the authority you have, I think it can contribute greatly to stopping the war," he added.

    Responding to the comments, the Patriarch said: "As a Patriarchate, we have the best relations with Greece, with the government, with the Church, and as Syria, as Lebanon, we have the best relations with the country, we love the Greek people."

    "It's true we're going through tough days. So are you but there people are dying," he added.

    [14] Crisis in Middle East, Mediterranean dominates Kotzias' bilateral contacts in Athens

    The crisis in Syria and the surrounding regions in the Middle East and Mediterranean dominated bilateral contacts between Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and foreign officials visiting Athens to attend an International Conference on "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East" organised by the foreign ministry, which ended on Tuesday.

    The minister's meetings on the sidelines of the two-day conference included talks with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders and the UN mediator for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

    He also held talks with religious leaders attending the conference, such as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos, Orthodox Archbishop of Albania Anastasios, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus and Toronto Metropolitan Sotirios.

    Kotzias is scheduled to meet his Bulgarian counterpart Daniel Mitov at 11:00 on Wednesday and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland on Wednesday afternoon at 16:30.

    [15] FM Kotzias to meet US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Nuland

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will meet with the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland on Wednesday.

    The meeting will take place at the Foreign Ministry, at 16:30.

    [16] FM Kotzias to meet his Bulgarian counterpart Mitov

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will meet with the Foreign Minister of Bulgaria Daniel Mitov on Wednesday.

    The meeting will take place at the Foreign Ministry, at 11:00.

    Their one-on-one meeting will be followed by expanded talks between the Greek and Bulgarian delegations, and Messrs. Kotzias and Mitov will make statements to the news media at 12:30.

    Finally, Kotzias will host a working luncheon in his Bulgarian counterpart's honor.

    [17] Alt.FM Xydakis to attend OSCE meeting in Jordan

    Security and cooperation issues in the Mediterranean region will be raised in the two-day proceedings of the annual Mediterranean Conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), where Alternate Foreign Minister Nikos Xydakis will represent Greece.

    The conference will focus on undocumented migration, protection of refugees, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in the Mediterranean region as well as violent extremism leading to terrorism and the role of interfaith / intercultural dialogue.

    The annual Mediterranean Conference is held in Jordan with the participation of representatives from the 57 member states of the OSCE, the 6 countries of the Mediterranean Conference OSCE (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia), international organizations and NGOs.

    [18] Main opposition slams government for continuous tax raid

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) criticized the government on Tuesday for the barrage of taxes which tax payers will be called to pay.

    ND noted that taxes owed by individuals to the State increased by 1.5 billion euros in September alone, without counting in the unified property tax (ENFIA), the solidarity levy, the luxury tax and other taxes and advance payments the coalition government will soon be mailing to households. "The lower-income families cannot tolerate any more!" the party said in a statement.

    Commenting on the government's plans to hike VAT in private education, ND accused the government of attempting to drag all households downwards. "The government is imposing for the first time a tax which - as the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, Pierre Moscovici, revealed - is its own idea ... will hurt significantly family budgets, will bring more unemployment and will have serious repercussions in private and state education," ND said. "But this was ultimately the goal of the Left: to drag everyone downwards."

    [19] Main opposition leader in Madrid to attend EPP meeting

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis is in Madrid to attend the meeting of the European People's Party group (EPP) which will focus on migration and the formulation of a common asylum policy.

    In his speech before party members, Meimarakis is expected to analyze the critical situation prevailing in Greece and the overall course of the EPP in relation to Europe's future.

    He is also scheduled to meet with European counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting. EPP members will elect a new chair and will discuss important European issues.

    [20] Potami leader says new bill on TV licenses grants Minister Pappas too much power

    Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis accused State Minister Nikos Pappas on Tuesday of granting too many powers on himself through the new draft bill on TV licenses currently being discussed in parliamentary committees, noting that he shouldn't be the one to decide who gets a license.

    "The country must stop drifting from one vested interest to another," Theodorakis said in a statement.

    "Potami says that with the new law on TV licenses prepared by State Minister Nikos Pappas, he ordains himself as the country's grand TV channel owner. He decides the number of licenses, he decides the criteria," he noted.

    [21] President Pavlopoulos stresses the need for Parthenon Marbles to return to Greece

    The President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos in a meeting with professors Louis Godart and Dusan Sidjanski on Tuesday stressed the need the Parthenon Marbles to return to Greece because they belong to a unique monument and have no place anywhere else.

    Pavlopoulos underlined that without these marbles, the Parthenon cannot be what it could be and should be in order to teach the visitor what democracy, freedom and humanity mean.

    In reply to statements that if the Parthenon Marbles return to Greece, there will be a request for other monuments to return to their homeland, the President stated that "this allegation is not correct", adding that the Parthenon presents a uniqueness for all mankind. As he noted, it is "the uniqueness of the Greek culture, especially in the 5th century BC."

    [22] Public prosecutor to shelve case against former finmin Varoufakis over 'Plan B'

    The first-instance court public prosecutors' department on Tuesday announced its decision to shelve an investigation into former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis over an alleged plan to introduce an alternative currency to Greece, also dubbed 'Plan B'.

    It said the decision to drop the case was made after a sworn internal inquiry conducted by General Secretary for Public Revenues Katerina Savvaidou and an investigation by the SDOE financial crimes' squad failed to uncover any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the former minister.

    The final decision will be taken by an appeals' court public prosecutor, however, who will judge whether the first-instance court prosecutor's conclusion was valid or whether further investigation is called for.

    The case was opened last July by Public Prosecutor Christos Ntzouras, acting on instructions from his superior Ilias Zagoraios, who had asked him to look into whether any criminal acts may have been committed by non-politicians involved in the 'Plan B' that Varoufakis said was being planned in secret, in the case things did not go smoothly in the negotiations with Greece's creditors. It was based on lawsuits filed with the Supreme Court by lawyers and an article in "Sunday Kathimerini".

    The case was centred on whether the individuals involved in the plan had violated laws on the protection of personal data and whether they were guilty of misconduct, violating state secrets and acts of currency counterfeiting.

    The section of the case pertaining to the former minister in person has been forwarded to Parliament.

    [23] Greek public revenue chief Savvaidou refuses to resign, responds to allegations

    Greece's general secretary of Public Revenues Katerina Savvaidou announced on Tuesday she doesn't intend to resign, arguing that the breach of duty allegations presented in media reports are "groundless".

    Savvaidou said she has informed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the essence of both cases which were made public and continued to present a timetable explaining the elements of two cases in question and the reasons which, in her view, justify her decision.

    "The accusations attributed to me are completely unfounded and therefore there is no issue of legality or 'principle' that would justify the Prime Minister's demand for my resignation," she said.

    Financial News

    [24] "We have not said anything about pension cuts," Labour Min says

    "The social security issue was not discussed. I presented my proposals; that a structural reform of the social security system is needed so that it becomes fairer and will offer decent pensions ," Labour Minister George Katrougalos said leaving the Maximos Mansion on Tuesday after the completion of a government meeting.

    Asked if he has submitted a proposal to cut supplementary pensions, he replied: "Certainly, no."

    Katrougalos added that "we have not said anything about pension cuts; all our proposals refer to the rationalization of the system."

    According to sources, a ministerial meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, October 22, where the bill on banks decapitalisation will be discussed and the when it will be tabled in parliament.

    [25] Eurobank will remain in the private sector, CEO says

    ?The time framework of recapitalization is very tight but we will make every effort to complete our capital fortification by mid-December, fully safeguarding our depositors and laying the foundations for a full, although gradual, smoothening of the operation of the banking system in Greece," Fokion Karavias, Eurobank's Chief Executive said on Tuesday.

    Addressing an event organized by the Federation of Touristic Enterprises (SETE), Karavias said that "Eurobank is the bank of the private sector, with a 65 pct private shareholder base. I am certain that we will drain, as we did a year ago, private capital, domestic and international, so that the bank remained in its natural area -the private sector. This way the bank will be able to serve its fundamental goal, funding the healthy private business activity in Greece and elsewhere".

    The Greek banker noted, however, that restoring capital base does not automatically means more liquidity. "Under conditions of political stability, with a recapitalization completed by private investors and after lifting capital controls, I have no doubt that a gradual return of deposits will begin, a necessary precondition to fund the real economy. I think it is fully feasible that half of the 40 billion euros in deposits lost from the banking system in the last 12 months to return in 2016. In this case, our abilities to fund the economy and enterprises will change drastically," Karavias noted.

    Eurobank's CEO said that funding the tourism industry was a priority for the bank and stressed that "in 2015, despite adverse liquidity conditions, we approved new capital to healthy customers, additionally to sums for the refinance of older loans. In 2016, new funds to be distributed to healthy enterprises in the sector could surpass 100 million euros".

    Commenting on the challenge of non-performing loans, Karavias said: "Our aim is to implement sustainable solutions and preserving job positions in enterprises, in cooperation with businessmen, through boosting business capital". He noted, however, it was "odd to have a NPL rate of 40 pct, a percentage relative to the rest of the economy, in a sector which has showed strong growth in the last few years".

    [26] Taxpayers' overdue debt jumped 1.469 bln euros in Sept

    Taxpayers' overdue debt to the Greek state grew significantly in September, by 1.469 billion euros, to totaled 8.392 billion euros so far this year, the Finance ministry said in a report released on Tuesday.

    The report noted that taxpayers' overdue debt surpassed 80 billion euros if older debt (until the end of 2014) was added.

    A rapid growth rate in new overdue tax debt is a cause of concern for the proper execution of the state budget this year as the monthly growth rate of new debt was contained at around 500 million euros in the previous months.

    [27] Registered unemployment down in Sept

    Registered Greek unemployment totaled 806,429 in September, of which 43.41 pct are unemployed for more than 12 months and 56.59 pct for less than 12 months, the Workforce Employment Organization (OAED) said on Tuesday.

    In a report, OAED said that of total registered unemployment in the country, 61.54 pct (496,296) were women, while the remaining 38.46 pct (310,133) were men. The number of people receiving unemployment benefit totaled 114,083 in September, of which 3.02 pct were seasonal workers in tourism.

    The number of registered unemployed people fell 1.10 pct in September from August, while the number of people receiving unemployment benefit rose 7.27 pct in the same period.

    [28] Intralot wins new contract in New Mexico

    Intralot Inc, an affiliate of Intralot Group in North America, won a new contract with New Mexico Lottery to supply, operate and maintenance of the lottery system in the US state.

    The New Mexico Lottery operates a network of 1,200 terminals. Intralot Inc signed its first contract with the lottery in 2006. The new contract will have an eight-year duration, starting November 22, 2015.

    [29] Greek industrial turnover index down 18.3 pct in Aug

    Greece's industrial turnover composite index (measuring both the domestic and external markets), dropped 18.3 pct in August this year, compared with the same month in 2014, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Tuesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development to a 12.8 pct decline in the mining turnover index and an 18.4 pct fall in the manufacturing turnover index. The domestic market index fell 18.2 pct and the external market index dropped 18.5 pct in August

    [30] Greek PC sales down 50 pct in Q3

    PC sales dropped around 50 pct in the third quarter of 2015 in Greece, the Federation of IT and Communications Enterprises (SEPE) said on Tuesday.

    In a report, based on IDC research data, SEPE said that because of the imposition of capital controls in the country, PC sales in Greece fell to historically low levels. IDC, however, said that Greece was not an exception as PC sales fell 23 pct in the wider Europe-Middle East-Africa region in the third quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2015. The market was negatively affected by currency fluctuations and political instability in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. IDC said that PC sales fell 21.2 pct in France, 23.3 pct in Germany and 11.1 pct in the UK.

    [31] National Greece Day at Expo Milano on Wednesday

    Greece will hold its 'National Greece Day' at Expo Milano 2015 on Wednesday, using various promotional activities to showcase the country's products and the benefits of Greek food and the Mediterranean diet.

    [32] Greek stocks end 1.17 pct higher

    Greek stocks moved higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, helped by strong buying interest in bank shares. The composite index of the market ended at 693.10 points, up 1.17 pct, with the Large Cap index rising 1.03 pct and the Mid Cap index ending 0.47 pct higher. Turnover was a low 25.978 million euros, with volume at 99,806,076.

    Piraeus Bank (8.0 pct), Athens Water (7.96 pct), National Bank (5.54 pct) and Alpha Bank (5.19 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while OTE (1.61 pct), Folli Follie (1.16 pct) and Mytilineos (0.62 pct) suffered the heaviest losses.

    Among market sectors, Banks (5.52 pct), Financial Services (2.01 pct) and Construction (1.94 pct) scored big gains, while Insurance (3.95 pct), Telecoms (1.61 pct) and Commerce (1.08 pct) suffered the biggest losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 60 to 27 with another 16 issues unchanged. ANEK (19.23 pct), Teletypos (14.29 pct) and Centric Holdings (13.77 pct) were top gainers, while Dionic (10.87 pct), Alumil (9.93 pct) and Euromedica (9.09 pct) were top losers.

    [33] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 7.04 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 7.32 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 7.57 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.56 pct. Turnover totaled 5.0 million euros, two buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate rose to 0.129 pct from 0.128 pct, the nine-month rate was unchanged at 0.066 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.018 pct from 0.019 pct, the three-month rate rose to -0.053 pct from -0.054 pct and the one-month rate was -0.117 pct.

    [34] ADEX closing report

    The November contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 1,863 contracts with 11,594 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities (excluding bank contracts) totaled 2,707, with investment interest focusing on OPAP's contracts (584), followed by MIG (502), OTE (506), PPC (579), Hellenic Exchanges (63), Viohalco (79), Mytilineos (53), Frigoglass (85), Folli Follie (48), Ellaktor (41) and Grivalia Properties (25).

    General News

    [35] Coast guard reports 795 incidents and 141,919 arrests for illegal entry into Greece in September

    There were 795 incidents leading to 141,919 arrests of foreign nationals illegally entering Greece during September, as well as 41 incidents in which 91 foreign nationals were arrested for illegal attempting to exit the country, the Greek coast guard announced on Tuesday.

    In other figures, the coast guard reported the arrests of 79 traffickers illegally bringing people into Greece and another 18 arrests of traffickers for illegally smuggling people out. A total of 189 boats, 11 vehicles and 70 forged travel documents were confiscated.

    Also during September, coast guard officers on 21 occasions confiscated narcotic substances for which they pressed charges against 21 individuals, while they also confiscated 1,169,310 packets of contraband cigarettes and 471,545.06 grammes of contraband tobacco.

    [36] 2,336 refugees from Mytilene and Chios arrive at Piraeus port

    Two ferries carrying 2,336 refugees from Mytilene and Chios arrived at Piraeus port on Tuesday.

    More specifically, "Blue Star 1" ferry with 1,450 refugees on board and "Nissos Rhodos" with 886 on board have already docked at the port of Piraeus while two more ferries are expected to arrive later in the day.

    Meanwhile, the Coast Guard rescued 541 refugees in ten different incidents in the sea region of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Agathonissi, Kalolimnos, Kos ans Symi in the last 24 hours

    [37] Overfishing, a scourge of our times, reveals WWF report

    Overfishing has become the scourge of our times, said noted chef Lefteris Lazarou, WWF's new campaign ambassador.

    Over 82 percent of the fishes in the Mediterranean is being overfished and in the last 40 years up to 50 percent of the sea life in the planet has disappeared. The fishery products lost globally could feed up to 20 million people every year. 11-26 million tons of fish of total value ranging from 10-23 billion dollars are illegally fished. Light to the tremendous repercussions of the overfishing casts WWF's report and calls consumers, enterprises and entities to support the fishery sustainability and the responsible consumption of fishes through its new campaign Fish Forward.

    Lazarou urged that we "must stop considering the small fish a treat. It is a myth. The fish must keep its juices, to have the right weight and size in order to be cooked and to enjoy it. A small fish is not a treat, it is a murder. We must stop buying baby fish. Let's leave the fishes to grow in order to have them and in the future," he said.

    Speaking to ANA-MPA, WWF director Dimitris Karavellas noted: "We have the example of Spain and Italy that through the protection of sea region, the fishing sustainability had impressive results. The population of fishes increased, the fishermen's income rose, the consumers secured a better quality and the traders offered more competitive products".

    In Greece, a country that fishing constitutes a main pylon of its productive net, there are 24,000 fishermen. However, Greece imports 36,000 tons of fisheries from over 40 countries while 62 percent of the Greek people does not know where he can find sustainable fisheries. "For how long can we leave this valuable capital go to waste, a capital that could contribute to the country's financial development and to the prosperity of the people that work in the fishing sector."

    Referring to the role of the State, Karavellas stressed: "In order fishing to be sustainable it needs a vision and political volition, distribution rules and the implementation of the law.

    The picture in the Mediterranean is disappointing and according to WWF's data, however the organisation's head remains optimistic because wherever the sustainable fisheries models were applied the results very encouraging.

    It is noted that the National Programme of Exchange Fisheries Data which is Greece's obligation to the EU restarted, with delay, in 2012 with national funds and in 2013 with EU co-financing. The programme was fully implemented in 2014 and with delay in 2015.

    The European Union is the largest importer of fisheries and 50 percent comes from the developing countries. The fish covers the protein needed to 3 billion people. Fisheries safeguard an income to 800 million people and their families.

    WWF, through its new website wwf.gr/fish urges consumers, enterprises and entities and proposes sustainable solutions for the society and the sea and sounds the alarm bell against the danger of overfishing.

    [38] Fortress town of Osdina opens to public

    The remarkable fortified settlement of Osdina or Ouzdina in the region of Thesprotia, western Greece, opened to public on Tuesday under the name "Archaeological Park of Byzantine-PostByzantine Settlement of Ouzdina."

    The abandoned fortress-town of Ouzdina, that is built on a hill over the exit of Kalamas river canyon, was restored and constitutes an example of a settlement that survived through the centuries and keeps architectural remnants of the classical-Hellenistic up to post-Byzantine period. The settlement is densely built with narrow and cobblestone streets.

    The houses are made of dry-stone with many rooms and most of them have two floors. A 450m fortress wall encloses protects the settlement from north, south and the east side while the west side is protected by a natural rock.

    The fortification was constructed in three periods at least. On the top of the hill is, probably, the acropolis. At this point was the ancient settlement's main entrance gate which was fortified in the Byzantine Ages with a strong tower.

    Tradition says that ten churches existed in Ouzdina. Today we can see eight churches and a skete (hermitage).

    The name of the settlement may derive from the old Slavic ozdbna that means furnace for cereals drying. Today, the specific name is observed in many different versions and is met outside the Greek territory as Uzdin in Serbia, and Oyzdino in Fyrom. However, British scholar of ancient Greece Nicholas Hammond identifies the name Ouzdina with Ophtini of ancient springs. The settlement flourished possibly during the post-Byzantine period and mostly in the first years of the Ottoman rule. Osdina was abandoned, for unknown reason, in the first half of the 18th century.

    [39] ANA-MPA welcomes its new English website

    ANA-MPA's new English websit (http://www.amna.gr/english/) premiered on Tuesday.

    The new website is more user-friendly in its browsing expe-rience.

    The news agency has improved the layout of its sections in line with the latest online trends. The new site features an updated, clean design and easy to use options.

    [40] Acropolis Museum to dedicate October 28 bank holiday to kids, waive entrance ticket

    The Acropolis Museum on Tuesday announced a special programme for children on the October 28 bank holiday, on which entrance to the museum will be free of charge throughout the day.

    A special tour of the museum has been designed by the curators and archaeologists, centred around the role of nature, myth and the animal kingdom and the fascination these hold for young children. Armed with colourful cards, the children will be sent on a "quest" to find the myths and creatures of antiquity among the museum's exhibits. The programme will run from noon until 18:00, starting on the second floor of the museum on the balcony overlooking the Archaic Gallery.

    Weather forecast

    [41] Rain on Wednesday

    Heavy rainfall and northerly winds are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Thunderstorms in the afternoon in the northern and the western parts of the country and temperatures ranging from 14C-23C. Clouds and rain in the eastern parts and temperatures between 16C-25C. Heavy rainfall over the Aegean islands and Crete, 17C-26C. Rain in Athens, 16C-24C. Thunderstorms in Thessaloniki, 14C-19C.

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

    AVGHI: Transparency in TV and radio

    DIMOKRATIA: NSRF for unemployed graduates

    ETHNOS: Efforts to sweeten the farmers

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Higher interest rates for the 100 installments and reactions over the 23 pct tax on private education

    ESTIA: Dangers in the new TV scenery

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Unclear how many TV licences will be granted

    IMERISSIA: The time of the Tax Bureau

    KATHIMERINI: Turkish pressure with 30,000 refugees

    NAFTEMPORIKI: The next four days are hot

    RIZOSPASTIS: Higher taxes after the anti-popular omnibus bill

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