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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-05-12

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

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

Thursday, 12 May 2016 Issue No: 5164

CONTENTS

  • [01] Government VP: 'On May 24 we'll have a deal, better than the one we expected'
  • [02] President meets UN envoy for migration, says solidarity essential for coping with refugee crisis
  • [03] PM Tsipras to meet U.N migration chief on Thursday
  • [04] Fiscal mechanism for automatic cuts will not be applied, claims Alt. Defence Minister Vitsas
  • [05] Greek deal possible on May 24, says Schaeuble's spox
  • [06] ND invested politically on a failure of Greece's negotiations and lost, say gov't sources
  • [07] FM Kotzias discusses the refugee crisis in meeting with Austrian counterpart
  • [08] Ban Ki-moon (exclusive): Refugees and Migrants, A crisis of solidarity
  • [09] Those who may want a Greek crisis may want to shape Britain's EU referendum, says FM
  • [10] Mitsotakis: Government is condemning the country to perpetual austerity
  • [11] Energy cooperation discussed at meeting with visiting Albanian minister Ilir Bejtja
  • [12] We remain commited to the two-state solution, Israeli Ambassador Ben Abba tells ANA-MPA
  • [13] Foreign ministry condemns deadly attacks in Baghdad
  • [14] Athens bar association extends lawyers' strike, decides legal recourse against pension-tax reform
  • [15] Parliament publishes wealth declarations of politicians for 2012
  • [16] ECB to decide on Greek bonds in June 2 meeting, sources say
  • [17] Greek-Russian Tourism Forum sees more cooperation opportunities
  • [18] Contingency mechanism to expire in 2018, says Economy minister
  • [19] Greece is expected to be 'the champion' in Russian tourist arrivals this summer, estimates Alt.FM Xydakis
  • [20] Greece sells three-month T-bills
  • [21] Hellenic Petroleum reports significantly improved results in Q1
  • [22] Plaisio Computers to issue 20-mln-euro bond loan
  • [23] Greek stocks end lower on profit taking
  • [24] Greek bond market closing report
  • [25] ADEX closing report
  • [26] Dozens arrested for fraudulent investment scheme worth millions, set up by two Greeks
  • [27] Vaccination campaign for migrants and refugees starts from Idomeni
  • [28] "Ariadni" ferry with 43 refugees aboard docks at Piraeus port
  • [29] 54,340 identified migrants and refugees in Greece on Wednesday
  • [30] Idomeni residents sue minister for failing to tackle problems caused by refugee camp
  • [31] Exhibition of archaeological finds in the region of Arta (ancient Amvrakia)
  • [32] Cloudy on Thursday
  • [33] The Wednesday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance Politics

  • [01] Government VP: 'On May 24 we'll have a deal, better than the one we expected'

    Greece and its lenders will achieve a deal at the next Eurogroup on May 24 which will be better than the one expected, Government Vice President Yiannis Dragasakis said on Wednesday in statements to Alpha TV station.

    "The country, society and citizens will be able to see the future and plan it," he said, adding that after the program review is complete, the conditions will be in place for economic recovery and a return to growth.

    "After the review, we take advantage of all the tools [available] and we set priorities, working for growth, investments and new jobs. We can see the future again, make plans for the future and set new priorities," he added.

    [02] President meets UN envoy for migration, says solidarity essential for coping with refugee crisis

    President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Wednesday received the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for International Migration Peter Sutherland, expressing his agreement with a European Commission decision to impose sanctions on countries that refuse to show solidarity and accept their share of the burdens from the refugee crisis.

    "In think it is very significant that the European Commission and the European Commissioner for Migration, Mr. Avramopoulos, in person have decided that these obligations must be met, even through by imposing the necessary sanctions. We must all understand that Europe is an area of rights but also obligations," Pavlopoulos said.

    The decision taken by the UN to support solidarity in the refugee issue was something that greatly helped in the implementation of European policy, he added.

    The president referred to the statement made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, exclusively to the ANA-MPA, that the refugee issue was "not a crisis of numbers; it is a crisis of solidarity" and highlighting the need for "equitable responsibility sharing" to ease the burden on countries bearing the brunt of the crisis. Pavlopoulos said that this was extremely important for Europe, where the phenomenon of countries refusing to accept their share of responsibility and show solidarity had emerged.

    The Greek president noted the need to implement the fifth aim of the Immigration and Asylum Pact concerning illegal migration, as opposed to the refugee issue, following a sharp rise in migration from African countries, in particular. He noted that this called for cooperation with non-EU countries in order to encourage the synergy between migration and development and tackle the illegal migration issue at its root. He also asked for a more active UN presence in Greece, in response to the refugee crisis.

    Sutherland underlined that the international community must show solidarity in response to the refugee crisis and especially to countries like Greece, which are on the front lines.

    "What Greece and the Greeks have done during these difficult times is something of which you can be proud and Europe can be proud of the solidarity that Greeks have shown to the refugees. These are the European values, many of which were born in Greece," he said.

    Regarding illegal migration, Sutherland said an effort was underway to open the doors to legal migration and this could only be achieved through solidarity, as shown by Greece and Italy.

    "What we need is a European policy for this and not a policy that erects fences and walls...this is what Europe must do and I know the European Commission is working on this," he added.

    [03] PM Tsipras to meet U.N migration chief on Thursday

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet the United Nations Special Representative for International Migration Peter Sutherland at his office in Athens, on Thursday. The meeting is scheduled for noon.

    Later on Thursday, Tsipras will be a keynote speaker at the 24th General Meeting of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises at the Athens Concert Hall, at 20.00.

    [04] Fiscal mechanism for automatic cuts will not be applied, claims Alt. Defence Minister Vitsas

    The fiscal mechanism for automatic cuts is something that will not be applied, said Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas referring to Monday's Eurogroup agreement.

    Speaking to SKAI TV on Wednesday, Vitsas referring to exemption of defence spending in Eurogroup's agreement explained that the expenses will be not only for weapon systems but for the need to modernise and pay off the already existing ones.

    Referring to the refugees camp in Idomeni, he said that approximately 2,000-3,000 migrants and refugees have already left and supported Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas view thatIdomeni will be evacuated in the next period.

    [05] Greek deal possible on May 24, says Schaeuble's spox

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)

    It is possible to successfully conclude talks between the institutions and Greece at the Eurogroup meeting on May 24, provided pending legislative procedures have been completed until then, said Martin Jaeger, spokesman of the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, during a press conference on Wednesday.

    Concerning talks on Greece's debt and on the proposal put forward by Klaus Regling, the head of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Jaeger said Eurogroup's decisions are not anything new, but simply clarify decisions from the summit meeting last summer. "What was decided was that if in 2018, after the program concludes, and after possibly a necessary use of the contingency mechanism, there's still a need to financially support the Greek budget, then we can discuss measures concerning debt," he said.

    The spokesman also said that the May 24 Eurogroup will not make any specific measures on the country's debt, which would inevitably lead to a change in the program. "We will highlight ways as to how, under the aforementioned conditions, we could hold such a debate on debt in the end, after 2018," Jaeger said.

    [06] ND invested politically on a failure of Greece's negotiations and lost, say gov't sources

    New Democracy invested politically on the failure of Greece's negotiations and lost, government sources said on Wednesday, commenting on repeated calls by the opposition parties for elections.

    "It's obvious that after the agreement at the recent Eurogroup for the completion of the first review, ND is trying desperately to disengage itself from its demand for elections," the sources said, adding that this proves the demand was based solely on ND's anticipation that there wouldn't be a deal and that the institutions would impose additional contingency measures on Greece, the sources added.

    "The fact that NF invested on the failure of the negotiation abd the imposition of additional contingency measures is verified both by the main opposition's policy in the last few days, as well as by the last speech of Mr. [Kyriakos] Mitsotakis in parliament," they said.

    [07] FM Kotzias discusses the refugee crisis in meeting with Austrian counterpart

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias outlined Greece's position on the refugee issue in a meeting with Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz in Vienna on Wednesday a d discussed other issues of foreign policy in a visit aiming to restore relations between the two countries.

    During a joint press conference, the two ministers said they discussed about the Western Balkans and Greek initiatives for cooperation in the region, concerns over the developments on the refugee issue, the future of Europe and the European Union.

    Kotzias also said the two sides discussed openly about the misunderstandings created in recent months but also the thawing of relations expressed in the return of the Greek ambassador to Vienna. He also invited Kurz to Greece.

    On his side, Kurz expressed concern on a possible resurgence of the refugee crisis and stressed the need not to depend on Turkey when it comes to the deal signed with the EU, but make appropriate preparations in case there's a repeat of the events from last year.

    [08] Ban Ki-moon (exclusive): Refugees and Migrants, A crisis of solidarity

    This September, the United Nations General Assembly will bring together world leaders to address one of the leading challenges of our time: responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.

    War, human rights violations, underdevelopment, climate change and natural disasters are leading more people to leave their homes than at any time since we have had reliable data. More than 60 million people -- half of them children -- have fled violence or persecution and are now refugees and internally displaced persons. An additional 225 million are migrants who have left their countries in search of better opportunities or simply for survival.

    But this is not a crisis of numbers; it is a crisis of solidarity. Almost 90 per cent of the world's refugees are hosted in developing countries. Eight countries host more than half the world's refugees. Just ten countries provide 75 per cent of the UN's budget to ease and resolve their plight.

    With equitable responsibility sharing, there would be no crisis for host countries. We can afford to help, and we know what we need to do to handle large movements of refugees and migrants. Yet too often, we let fear and ignorance get in the way. Human needs end up overshadowed, and xenophobia speaks louder than reason.

    Countries on the front lines of this crisis are struggling every day to meet the challenge. On September 19, the General Assembly will hold a high-level meeting to strengthen our efforts for the longer term. To help the international community seize this opportunity, I have just issued a report, "In Safety and Dignity", with recommendations on how the world can take more effective collective action.

    We need to begin by recognizing our common humanity. Millions of people on the move have been exposed to extreme suffering. Thousands have died in the Mediterranean, on the Andaman Sea, in the Sahel and in Central America. Refugees and migrants are not "others"; they are as diverse as the human family itself. Movements of people are a quintessentially global phenomenon that demands a global sharing of responsibility.

    Second, far from being a threat, refugees and migrants contribute to the growth and development of host countries as well as their countries of origin. The better new arrivals are integrated, the greater their contribution to society will be. We need more measures to promote the social and economic inclusion of refugees and migrants.

    Third, political and community leaders have a responsibility to speak out against discrimination and intolerance, and to counter those who seek to win votes through fearmongering and divisiveness. This is a time to build bridges, not walls, between people.

    Fourth, we have to give greater attention to addressing the drivers of forced displacement. The United Nations continues to strengthen its work to prevent conflict, resolve disputes peacefully and address violations of human rights before they escalate. One powerful new tool is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a blueprint agreed last year by all 193 members of the United Nations that includes a strong focus on justice, institutions and peaceful societies.

    Fifth, we need to strengthen the international systems that manage large movements of people so that they uphold human rights norms and provide the necessary protections. States must honour their international legal obligations, including the 1951 Refugee Convention. Countries where refugees arrive first should not be left to shoulder the demands alone. My report proposes a "global compact on responsibility sharing for refugees".

    There is a pressing need to do more to combat smugglers and traffickers, to rescue and protect people en route, and to ensure their safety and dignity at borders. More orderly and legal pathways for migrants and refugees will be crucial, so that desperate people are not forced to turn to criminal networks in their search for safety.

    The number of migrants is expected to continue to grow as a result of trade, labour and skill shortages, the ease of travel and communications, rising inequality and climate change. My report proposes important measures to improve global governance in this area, including through a "global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration".

    Refugee and migrant crises are far from insurmountable, but they cannot be addressed by states acting alone. Today, millions of refugees and migrants are being deprived of their basic rights, and the world is depriving itself of the full benefits of what refugees and migrants have to offer.

    The World Humanitarian Summit I am convening in Istanbul May 23 and 24 will seek new commitments from States and others to work together to protect people and build resilience. I expect the September 19 meeting of the General Assembly to point the way toward solutions to the most immediate refugee and migration challenges, and commit world leaders to greater global cooperation on these issues.

    Human beings have moved from place to place across the millennia, by choice and under duress, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Only by upholding our duty to protect those fleeing persecution and violence, and by embracing the opportunities that refugees and migrants offer to their new societies, will we be able to achieve a more prosperous and fairer future for all.

    [09] Those who may want a Greek crisis may want to shape Britain's EU referendum, says FM

    Those who may want a new Greek crisis possibly want to indirectly determine the result of the Britain's EU referendum, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Tuesday in an interview with Austrian news agency APA.

    "Greece's blackmail is used as a weapon by those centers that would like a Brexit; we have the refugee crisis and if some people want to cause in addition to that a new Greek crisis, this means they want to determine indirectly the result of the British referendum," the minister was quoted as telling the agency.

    Kotzias arrived in Vienna this evening to meet on Wednesday with Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz and other MPs, while he will also meet with Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

    Commenting on Monday's Eurogroup, he said it was the most difficult milestone to achieve and that he believed the current Greek government "will continue to exist". He also said that Greece has more allies in 2016 who show more understanding for the country's situation that a year ago, "which is positive".

    [10] Mitsotakis: Government is condemning the country to perpetual austerity

    The pledge, on Greece's side, to maintain primary surpluses of 3.5 pct for the next 15 years, which are not achievable, are condemning the country to a perpetual austerity program, main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday during an interview with public broadcaster ERT.

    He said talks on Greece's debt are a positive step but it is not new, as the commitment for some form of debt relief existed since 2012, but now the price the country will have to pay is heavy and the government hasn't secured any specific commitment. The New Democracy leader then said Europeans also share responsibility for not keeping their promise on Greek debt.

    Concerning the proposal presented today by the head of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Klaus Regling, is interesting, adding that Greece wants to secure low interest rates and an extension of the repayment period.

    Asked whether his party has changed its strategy on demanding elections, Mitsotakis said the request to remove the government remains as timely as ever.

    [11] Energy cooperation discussed at meeting with visiting Albanian minister Ilir Bejtja

    Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis, accompanied by environment ministry general secretary for energy and minerals Mihalis Verriopoulos, on Wednesday had a meeting with Albania's Deputy Minister for Energy and Industry Ilir Bejtja, who is on a working visit to Athens. The discussion focused on the TransAdriatic Pipeline (TAP) that runs through both countries, transporting natural gas, and way to boost energy cooperation between Greece and Albania.

    Skourletis informed Bejtja about the signature of the final licence for starting construction of TAP, which will be officially inaugurated in Thessaloniki within a few days. He said TAP would have a positive impact on Greek-Albanian cooperation and relations, noting that the energy landscape was "changing drastically" and everyone must meet the challenges.

    [12] We remain commited to the two-state solution, Israeli Ambassador Ben Abba tells ANA-MPA

    Greece and Israel are aiming at a strategic relationship and a multifaceted cooperation, with mutual benefits, as indicated by the recent visit of the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and President of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos along with the tripartite summit in Nicosia, the Ambassador of Israel in Athens Irit Ben Abba said in an interview with ANA-MPA on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of the proclamation of the State of Israel and the national celebration on May 12.

    Special emphasis is given on innovation and youth entrepreneurship which are promoted by a series of exchange visits, events and funding from both countries. Cooperation in tourism is also important as Greece is the first destination of Israelis for a short holiday. It is estimated that 400,000 Israelis will visit Greece this year and flights of the Israeli airline will reach 2,000.

    A major problem for the turmoil in the Middle East, Ben Abba said, is the collapse of the state structures and the old leaderships as well as the rise of terrorism, adding that "we remain committed to the two-state solution." On the issue of Israeli settlements, she stressed that everything must be discussed at the negotiating table between the two sides and opposed to the internationalization of the issue pursued by the Palestinian side.

    She also expressed her concern over the rise of the extreme-right in Europe, noting that that "it awakens the ghosts of Nazism."

    The full interview in Greek is available at ANA-MPA website.

    [13] Foreign ministry condemns deadly attacks in Baghdad

    Greece's foreign ministry condemned the deadly terrorist attacks in Baghdad on Wednesday, and expressed its condolences to the families of the victims and the people of Iraq.

    "We unequivocally condemn today's deadly terrorist attacks in Baghdad. We express our condolences to the families of the dozens of innocent victims of the blind violence of ISIS/Daesh, and our support for the friendly people and the government of Iraq," the ministry said in a press release.

    [14] Athens bar association extends lawyers' strike, decides legal recourse against pension-tax reform

    The Athens Bar Association on Wednesday decided to continue its members abstention from all court appearances until May 24 and said it would resort to the courts to contest recently passed pension reforms as unconstitutional. A lawyers' strike nationwide has been extended until this Saturday.

    In addition to denouncing the new pension and tax measures as unconstitutional, the bar association said it took no account of the ability of lawyers and other self-employed to pay taxes and contributions, does not give them a tax-free allowance, does not ensure correspondence of contributions and benefits and was not accompanied by an actuarial study.

    It further decided that all lawyers employed by social insurance funds will abstain from all actions relating to their duties and the implementation of the new legislation.

    [15] Parliament publishes wealth declarations of politicians for 2012

    The parliament released on Wednesday the wealth statements of all political leaders and MPs for the year 2012 (declared in 2013) with a delay of two years.

    The declarations, which were uploaded on the parliament's website, do not include the leader of Potami, Stavros Theodorakis and the leader of the Centrists' Union, Vasilis Leventis, who had not yet been elected.

    Furthermore, the leader of the Communist Party Dimitris Koutsoumbas who was not a member of parliament in 2012, submitted his wealth declaration anyway as head of the party.

    Financial News

    [16] ECB to decide on Greek bonds in June 2 meeting, sources say

    European Central Bank is expected to re-introduce a waiver in accepting Greek bonds as collateral for bank refinancing during its next meeting in June 2, in Vienna, sources said on Wednesday.

    Well-informed sources told AMNA that a successful outcome of a Eurogroup meeting in May 24, resulting to an agreement with creditors, will mobilize procedures by ECB to begin accepting Greek bonds as collateral for bank refinancing.

    Such a development will help Greek banks to replace liquidity currently draining from the Emergency Liquidity Assistance mechanism (ELA) -estimated at around 5-6 billion euros- with liquidity draining directly from ECB at a much lower cost. However, such a development was not expected to pave the way for Greece's inclusion in ECB's QE programme. The sources said that ECB would need an agreement on a Greek debt relief before agreeing to include Greek bonds in the programme.

    [17] Greek-Russian Tourism Forum sees more cooperation opportunities

    Economy, Development and Tourism Minister George Stathakis on Wednesday underlined the right timing for the strengthening of the Greek-Russian cooperation in the fields of economy and tourism, following the successful outcome of the evaluation of the Greek economy.

    Addressing a Greek-Russian Tourism Forum entitled "Russia and Greece: reality and prospects for cooperation in the tourism sector," he explained that Greece has taken initiatives to boost investments adding that there are already tangible results.

    Stathakis referred to the development tools and the new NSRF funds that offer incentives to tourism enterprises, particularly the small and medium size ones.

    He also stated that the new development law will focus on a new development model that will make use of the country's human resources.

    On the so-called Juncker package, he said that it includes 42 projects, three of which relate to tourism infrastructure.

    The head of the federal tourism agency of Russia Oleg Safonov estimated that 1 million Russians will visit Greece in 2016 as Greece is top in their preference for the summer holidays.

    [18] Contingency mechanism to expire in 2018, says Economy minister

    The fiscal adjustment included in the contingency mechanism is until 2017 and 2018, Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis said in an interview with private radio station Real FM on Wednesday.

    "The contingency measures, the fiscal adjustment has a limit; it's 2017 and 2018. This is the agreement. It has a deadline," the minister was quoted as saying."The mechanism is no different than the regular mechanism that exists for all countries in the EU which have agreed to the fiscal pact until 2020. There's no difference from that one; Germany and Sweden have it. There's a debate on the deviations seen in Portugal," he added.

    "Therefore, it's nothing special. It's not a fourth memorandum or long-term commitments, or a long-term adjustment mechanism."

    [19] Greece is expected to be 'the champion' in Russian tourist arrivals this summer, estimates Alt.FM Xydakis

    Greece will possibly be the "champion" that will take advantage of the Russian tourists' refusal to visit Turkey and Egypt this summer. The arrivals of Russian tourists are expected to increase by 20-70 percent this year, Alternate Foreign Minister Nikos Xydakis said in an interview with ANA-MPA's radio "Praktorio 104.9 FM" on Wednesday.

    Xydakis said that despite the high demand for tourist visas in Russia, the Greek Consulate services are responding adequately and reassured that at the end of next month the number of Greek employees working for the Greek Consulate's visa services will increase to 100 persons.

    [20] Greece sells three-month T-bills

    Greek authorities on Wednesday successfully auctioned a three-month Treasury bill issue draining 1.138 billion euros from the market. The interest rate of the issue was set at 2.70 pct, unchanged from the previous auction of same issue last month. Bids submitted were 1.3 times more than the asked sum, the Finance ministry said in an announcement.

    [21] Hellenic Petroleum reports significantly improved results in Q1

    Hellenic Petroleum Group on Wednesday said its net profits totaled 32 million euros in the first quarter of 2016, from 17 million in the corresponding period last year, while excluding negative impact from international oil prices and extraordinary events, comparable net earnings totaled 70 million euros from 54 million euros in 2015.

    Comparable EBITDA amounted to 169 million euros in the January-March period this year, from 205 million in 2015, reflecting high international margins, improved operating performance of refineries and increased exports (55 pct of total sales). Hellenic Petroleum plans to repay a 400-million-US dollar HPF plc bond issue in May 16, taking advantage of increased cash reserves and said it would examine a refinancing of its existing debt. The Group said demand in the domestic fuel market fell 7.0 pct in the first quarter to 1.8 million tons as consumption of heating oil fell 22 pct due to mild weather conditions. Based on official market figures, demand for diesel grew 4.0 pct and demand for petrol was down 2.0 pct.

    [22] Plaisio Computers to issue 20-mln-euro bond loan

    A Plaisio Computers annual general shareholders' meeting on Wednesday approved a board plan to issue one or more common bond loans worth up to 20 million euros, through private placement. The meeting also approved a dividend payment worth 1,766,164 euros, or 0.08 euros per share (gross).

    [23] Greek stocks end lower on profit taking

    Greek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday as investors took profits after a five-day rally which pushed the composite index of the market 7.82 pct higher. The index fell 1.63 pct to end at 619.06 points, with the Large Cap index losing 1.98 pct and the Mid Cap index ending 1.06 pct lower. Turnover was a moderate 91.659 million euros in volume of 146,283,255.

    Viohalco (2.11 pct), Terna Energy (1.40 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (1.0 pct) scored big gains among blue chip stocks, while PPC (5.67 pct), Piraeus Bank (3.83 pct) and Piraes Port (3.31 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities. Among market sectors, only Raw Materials scored gains (0.20 pct), while Commerce (2.88 pct), Utilities (2.56 pct) and Banks (2.54 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Broadly, decliners by advancers by 52 to 42 with another 19 issues unchanged. Yalco (20 pct), Sfakianakis (19.75 pct) and Kreka (19.64 pct) were top gainers, while Nexans (18.80 pct), Motodynamic (11.11 pct) and Inform Lycos (9.09 pct) were top losers.

    [24] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was almost unchanged at 7.63 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 7.64 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 7.75 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.14 pct. Turnover was a thin 6.0 million euros, of which 5.0 million were buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed. The 12-month rose to -0.012 pct from -0.014 pct, the nine-month rate was -0.078 pct, the six-month rate was -0.144 pct, the three-month rate rose to -0.259 pct from -0.260 pct and the one-month rate was -0.350 pct.

    [25] ADEX closing report

    The May contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.06 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,081 contracts with 18,235 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 44,541 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (20,546), followed by Alpha Bank (2,110), Piraeus Bank (9,894), Eurobank (7,265), MIG (796), OTE (301), PPC (2,401), OPAP (171), Viohalco (156), Mytilineos (118), Hellenic Petroleum (417), Ellaktor (61) and Metka (65).

    General News

    [26] Dozens arrested for fraudulent investment scheme worth millions, set up by two Greeks

    The Hellenic Police (ELAS) on Wednesday announced dozens of arrests in connection with an international financial swindle defrauding unsuspecting investors of millions. The bust, first announced on Tuesday, followed an investigation by the Attica Security Police Organised Crime and Trafficking in Persons Department.

    In a press conference on Wednesday, Attica Security Police chief Christos Papazafiris said the masterminds of the fraudulent scheme were a 48-year-old Greek broker reputedly "specialising" in foreign exchange trades and a 53-year-old Greek businessman with activities based chiefly in Ukraine. The two set up a criminal ring that used a complex structure of offshore firms in foreign countries to defraud investors, earning estimated profits of at least 35 million U.S. dollars and three million euros since 2005.

    Papazafiris said the leaders of the criminal ring were arrested on Tuesday during coordinated raids in various parts of Attica, along with three women aged 35, 39 and 48. All five are accused of forming and joining a criminal organisation, criminal fraud and legalising income from illegal activity.

    An additional 18 people will also face charges in connection with the case, among 12 Greeks (that include three lawyers and some state employees), two Turkish nationals, one Russian and one Indian.

    Police uncovered the ring's activities while investigating a case of fraud and embezzlement linked to investments in foreign exchange. Its members used a complex system of local and offshore firms they secretly controlled, through which they claimed to make supposed foreign exchange "investments". They would approach potential investors, selling the "specialist expertise" and "academic credentials" of the 48-year-old broker to persuade them to make very large investments by promising extremely generous returns, exceeding 3 pct a month.

    They would then send their "clients" monthly updates reporting steadily rising profits, thus persuading them not to remove their capital and even to increase their investment, while also attracting new investors to join their scheme. They would then use the new cash to pay the supposed "profits" or even the total capital of the original investments, building up even greater confidence for their supposed services, while also charging large fees for them.

    In this way, the organisation managed to keep the scheme afloat until May 2015, by which time all the capital entrusted to them had run out.

    The ring's activities were traced back to 2005, when the 48-year-old broker had set up a U.S.-based firm investing in foreign exchange. In 2010, along with the 53-year-old, he set up a similar firm in Wales that was also owned by his 48-year-old wife. In 2012, the ring transferred the base of the U.S. firm to the British Virgin Islands in 2012, converting it into a mutual fund. They then set up two more identical funds in the British Virgin Islands in 2012 and 2013.

    The organisation also employed three lawyers that, in the capacity of legal consultants to the three firms, drafted fraudulent letters that they used to deceive investors. A large number of accomplices, including some state employees, then helped "launder" the money through bank accounts owned by some 60 offshore firms based in various tax havens and to conceal large sums from Greek authorities.

    According to investigators, at least 190 million U.S. dollars and 1.5 million euros were moved through these accounts between 2012 and 2015. They suspect that the ring's profits made were actually much higher, however, since many of the prospective investors entrusted them with cash, for which there is no record.

    During raids on the homes, offices and other premises used by the suspects, police found a host of documents relating to the formation and running of the investment structures, contracts, agreements and a great many bank receipts. They also found 25 PCs and a large number of data storage devices.

    All the individuals arrested will be led before the appropriate public prosecutor.

    [27] Vaccination campaign for migrants and refugees starts from Idomeni

    The refugees and migrants vaccination campaign started on Wednesday from the refugees camp in Idomeni under the supervision of the Health Ministry.

    The vaccination is held under the international standards and refers to children up to 15 years old.

    The Health Ministry's aim is the vaccination to cover all the hosting facilities for migrants and refugees.

    Refugees will be covered against the diseases of diphtheria and tetanus, measles, hepatitis and polio, influenza and pneumococcus and the parents have already been informed by the team of Medecines Sans Frontieres on the procedure.

    The vaccination is held by the Medecines Sans Frontieres in cooperation with the General Secretariat of Public Health, the Hellenic Center for Disease Control & Prevention and the Health Emergency National Center.

    [28] "Ariadni" ferry with 43 refugees aboard docks at Piraeus port

    "Ariadni" ferry carrying 43 refugees and migrants from Mytilene and Chios arrived at Piraeus port on Wednesday.

    Four buses with 148 refugees left from Piraeus on Tuesday with destination the accommodation centre at Thermopylae, where 312 refugees are already hosted.

    According to the latest estimates, 1,987 refugees and migrants are now hosted at the port's warehouse.

    [29] 54,340 identified migrants and refugees in Greece on Wednesday

    54,340 identified refugees and migrants were on the Greek territory on Wednesday including 63 persons that arrived on the Greek islands in the last 24 hours.

    According to the Refugee Crisis Management Coordination Body's figures, 29,246 of the refugees are in northern Greece, 9,440 of them are in Idomeni camp, 14,325 are hosted in the region of Attica (2,030 hosted at Piraeus port), 8,400 on the Greek islands and 2,369 are hosted in different areas in central and southern Greece.

    [30] Idomeni residents sue minister for failing to tackle problems caused by refugee camp

    Six residents from the village of Idomeni on the Greek border, including the community's president Xanthoula Soupli, on Wednesday filed a legal suit against Alternate Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas for failing to protect the village from problems created by the informal refugee camp set up nearby.

    Among others, they claim a "complete absence of state control" for which they hold Toskas primarily responsible, due to his failure to take decisions to tackle the problems that have arisen and for allowing the area to descend into a state "where everyone does as they please, without being accountable to anyone."

    In their complaint, the six residents said there were daily incidents of vandalism to houses in the village and public infrastructure, with refugees entering homes unchecked and damaging property, while the refugees and migrants faced dangers to their own health or even their life, lacking any help from the appropriate state services.

    Their suit lists a series of criminal offences that they consider have been committed, such as failure to avert public danger, dangerous public harm, disturbing the peace, violation of measures to protect public health and others.

    [31] Exhibition of archaeological finds in the region of Arta (ancient Amvrakia)

    The new finds from the excavations in the region of Arta (northwestern Greece), the area formerly known as Amvrakia, are displayed for the first time in a temporary exhibition at the Archaeological Museum of Arta.

    The exhibition entitled "Amvrakia, the recent archaeological finds", will run until May 31. It features the most important and best preserved objects, important works of art from the Archaic to the Roman period, which provide information about the arts in Amvrakia, but also for the history of the ancient trade of luxury goods, in a region, which was an important hub between Greece and the Italian peninsula.

    Amvrakia was founded in the late 7th century. B.C. by Corinthians colonists, right on the banks of Arachthos River, at the foot of the hill Peranthis, where now lies the modern Arta.

    The location was strategic with commercial advantages and soon became the greatest city-state of northwestern Greece, after Corfu. Indeed, it had one of the best urban systems of antiquity and was protected by strong walls.

    Weather forecast

    [32] Cloudy on Thursday

    Partly cloudy and southerly winds are forecast for Thursday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Rain in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 13C-25C. Clouds and rain in the western parts with temperatures between 15C-25C. Partly cloudy and local rain in the eastern parts with temperatures between 14C-28C. Partly cloudy over the Aegean islands and Crete, 16C-28C. Partly cloudy with a chance of light rain in Athens, 15C-27C. Rain in Thessaloniki, 15C-25C.

    [33] The Wednesday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glance

    AVGHI: In the everyday war

    DIMOKRATIA: 70 years in chains

    ETHNOS: The roadmap of the new contributions

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: 'Panamas' is speaking

    ESTIA: Greece's strategic defeat

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: He is 'selling' memoranda under disguise

    IMERISSIA: The climate is changing

    KATHIMERINI: Repayment facilities instead of debt relief

    NAFTEMPORIKI: The roadmap to May 24

    TA NEA: Their own memorandum

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