|Sunday, 29 November 2015|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-11-25
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 25 November 2015 Issue No: 5070
 PM Tsipras to visit Israel and Palestine on 25 and 26 NovemberPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras will pay an official visit to Israel and Palestine at a very crucial period for Middle East, the bilateral relations and Greece's role in the region.
Tsipras will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin and other officials.
According to government sources, Tsipras' visit to Israel aims at the broadening of the financial cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the sectors of energy (distribution of natural gas, management of water sources), tourism and technology. The Greek delegation will also propose a trilateral meeting between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The talks will also focus on the prevailing conditions in the wider region.
The Greek Prime Minister will be in Palestine on Thursday and will meet with the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The same sources said that it will confirm the traditionally warm relations between the Greek and the Palestinian people and in parallel will contribute to the upgrading of Greece's relations with the Arabic World. The talks are also expected to focus on the cooperation at interministerial level. Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit Athens on 21-22 December.
Tsipras will also visit the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, Transport and Networks Minister Christos Spirtzis, State Minister Nikos Pappas, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis and government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili constitute the Greek delegation that will accompany Tsipras.
 PM Tsipras full itinerary during visit to Israel, Palestinian TerritoriesA number of meetings at the highest level are scheduled during Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories on Wednesday and Thursday.
The prime minister's itinerary includes a brief tour of the Holocaust Monument on Wednesday morning, where he will lay a wreath, followed by a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and a joint press conference. Tsipras and Netanyahu will then retire for a meeting without delegations.
At 16:00 on Wednesday he will meet the leader of Israel's main opposition Labour Party leader Yitzhak Herzog and then meet with the Labour Party's youth group. At 18:00 on Wednesday he is scheduled to meet a non-governmental organisation and at 20:00 with Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Stenitz.
The following morning at 10:00, Tsipras is to be received by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
He will then visit a centre run by Jerusalem's Greek community and depart for Ramallah at 12:10, where he will lay a wreath at the Yasser Arafat Mausoleum at 12:50.
Talks between the Greek and Palestinian Authority delegations will begin at 13:00, in the presence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. A meeting between Tsipras and Abbas will follow, after which they will make statements to the Greek and Palestinian media.
A dinner in honour of the Greek prime minister will then be held at the presidential mansion.
Tsipras will depart for Jerusalem in the afternoon, where he will meet Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos at 16:15 and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He will then return to Athens on Thursday night.
 Defence Minister meets with French, Russian embassies' military attach?sNational Defence Minister Panos Kammenos held on Tuesday a briefing with the French embassy's military attach? Colonel Richard Coleman and the Russian embassy's military attach? Colonel Gennady Mozhaev, the ministry announced.
 The government met its main targets during the negotiation, spokeswoman Gerovassili saysThe government achieved its main targets during the negotiation, government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili said after the approval for the disbursement of the 2 billion euro loan sub-tranche and the 10 billion euros earmarked for the recapitalization of the Greek banks.
Gerovassili also noted that they managed to protect the first residence from foreclosures and underlined the success of the recapitalization of Greek banks that puts an end to scenarios of a haircut on deposits.
"Following EG's decision for the disbursement of the 10+2 billion euros, the first round of tough negotiations with the creditors closed successfully. The government has achieved its main targets within the framework of the negotiation," she stressed.
"We managed to protect the first residence from foreclosures despite the first reactions of the creditors and maintained the debt settlement of 100 installments without any essential changes to the initial programme," she added.
"The EG's decision for the disbursement of the tranche follows the good course of the Greek economy after the recapitalisation of the Greek banks," Gerovassili said adding that two systemic banks have managed to cover their capital needs from private investors.
The other two have covered their needs according to the baseline scenario and will need about 5.7 billion euros from the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund for the completion of the procedure.
"Greek deposits return to Greek banks after a long time," government spokeswoman noted and stressed that the Greek government will continue to be working to the direction of the stabilisation and restart of the Greek economy taking into account the protection of the people's interests and especially the low incomers.
 President Pavlopoulos stresses need to support social security systemGreek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Tuesday, in a meeting with the President of the Employers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee J.Krawczyk, stressed the need to support the Greek social security system because the Greek people have made huge sacrifices in order to remain in the European Union and the eurozone.
Pavlopoulos underlined that the Greek social security system suffered a huge blow from the PSI, namely the restructuring of Greek debt. He explained that without the haircut of the Greek bonds, the social security system could have been sustainable for many years. "Everyone is fighting right now for its support. It must be supported; it cannot be the victim of a debt restructuring."
"For this reason, your support is especially useful," he said to Krawczyk.
On his part, Krawczyk underlined that Greece belongs to the European Union and the European family adding that all EU member states should support social cohesion and social dialogue aiming at social welfare.
 Greek President Pavlopoulos to visit Italy on Nov 26-27Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos will pay an official visit to Italy on November 26-27, following an invitation by his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella.
In his first day in Italy, Pavlopoulos, who will be accompanied by his wife, will meet Mattarella, as well as President of the Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini. On his second day, the President will visit the archaeological site of Domus Aurea and the Greek Church of the Great Martyr Theodore Tyron. Later, he will attend a medal-awarding ceremony for the honorary professor of Modern Greek at the University of Palermo, Vincenzo Rotolo, at the Greek embassy.
During his stay, Pavlopoulos will meet with foreign journalists and acclaimed Hellenists.
 ND interim leader Meimarakis steps down from party's helm, appoints VPNew Democracy (ND) interim leader Vangelis Meimarakis resigned from his position on Tuesday adding that he appointed the secretary of the parliamentary group of the party, Yiannis Plakiotakis as vice president.
Meimarakis had announced he would step down on Monday, if his fellow-candidates for the party leadership resigned from their posts as well.
"All my life I served ND's principles and the party's unity. As I'm being attacked in a vulgar and immoral manner, and because a lot of tension has been created and New Democracy voters are very upset, I appointed Plakiotakis as VP and I hand over the interim leadership to defuse the situation," Meimarakis said, adding that he continues in the race to be re-elected.
He also clarified that there's no risk of ND divisions.
 Potami denies reports it is considering cooperation with coalition governmentPotami party rejected on Tuesday any discussion on a possible cooperation with the coalition government of SYRIZA and ANEL, following media reports claiming it was responding positively to a proposal by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for cooperation.
"Potami doesn't negotiate secretly nor has it authorized anyone to speak on its behalf. Those who want to respond to Mr. Tsipras' invitations don't need to use Potami as their excuse," the party said in a statement.
The party also said that any cooperation would require honesty and reliability from whoever is requesting it. "In Mr. Tsipras' case, these prerequisites do not exist."
 Greece-Russia 9th Joint Interministerial held in SochiThe 9th Meeting of the Greek-Russian Joint Interministerial Committee on Economic, Industrial, Technological and Scientific Cooperation was held on Tuesday in Sochi, chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister for International Economic Cooperation Dimitris Mardas on the Greek side. Transport Minister Maxim Yurievich Sokolov chaired the meeting on the Russian side.
The JIC proceedings focused on issues such as upgrading of the institutional framework for cooperation in the sectors of economy, energy, transport, agriculture, tourism, entrepreneurship and technology, following the Joint Action Programme signed in Moscow by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 8. The two sides both noted that developing bilateral economic cooperation was a priority.
Also discussed was the creation of and participation in joint bilateral economic cooperation programmes, as well as the development of the potential for mutual investments in the sectors of energy, transport, agriculture and tourism, with the two sides agreeing to intensify their efforts in the above direction.
 EU ambassadors to Greece visit Lesvos to witness efforts in tackling refugee crisisThe ambassadors of the EU's 28 member-states to Greece visited Lesvos on Tuesday to witness first-hand the seriousness of the refugee crisis affecting the island, following an initiative organized by Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas.
"We wanted for them to see the real conditions under which we work on the refugee issue and the efforts we have made in managing this huge problem. And we wanted the work we've done to be the answer to the efforts of some European countries to incriminate Greece," the minister told ANA-MPA.
Soon after they had landed on Lesvos' airport, the ambassadors witnessed the arrival of a boat carrying dozens of refugees and migrants. They then visited the camp at Kara Tepe housing Syrian refugees and Moria's identification and registration center, while in the afternoon they boarded a Greek coast guard vessel which headed towards the sea border with Turkey.
The EU envoys were accompanied by Mouzalas, Alternate Minister for European Affairs, Nikos Xydakis, Police brigadier general Zacharoula Tsirigoti and other officials.
 NATO, U.N., call for de-escalation of tensions after downing of Russian fighter jetBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, urged Moscow and Ankara to use diplomacy to de-escalate the crisis caused after the downing of a Russian Air Force plane violating Turkish airspace earlier on Tuesday.
"This is a serious situation. This is a situation which calls on that we all are prudent and that we all contribute to de-escalating the situation," Stoltenberg told a journalist during a press conference, following an extraordinary North Atlantic Council meeting.
He also said he welcomed further contacts between Moscow and Ankara. "There have been contacts and we would welcome even more contacts ... I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and I call for calm and de-escalation. Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this situation," he added.
The Secretary General noted the Council was briefed by the Turkish Ambassador and that he also spoke to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
"Turkey informed Allies about the downing of a Russian Air Force plane violating Turkish airspace. I have previously expressed my concerns about the implications of the military actions of the Russian Federation close to NATO's borders ... As we have repeatedly made clear, we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO Ally, Turkey," he said, adding NATO will continue to follow the developments on the organization's South-Eastern borders very closely.
On his side, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for urgent measures to de-escalate tensions following the incident. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the U.N. chief hopes that "a credible and thorough review of the incident will clarify the events and help to prevent future recurrences."
 Government seeks to restart operations of regional manufacturing unitsThe Greek government is seeking to restart manufacturing units that have terminated operations but have exploitable building and machinery installations.
Deputy Industry Minister Theodora Tzakri, addressing a meeting with the country's regional authorities asked them to locate at least ten enterprises based on their regions which are included in sectors with positive outlook, they have particular importance to the local economy, they have terminated operations but have exploitable building and machinery installations.
The aim is to examine possibilities of interventions towards a quick restart of operations of these manufacturing enterprises with state support. The basic plan of the ministry is to examine the possibility of licensing these enterprises using fast-track procedures in cooperation with Enterprise Greece and to present investment plans to Greek and foreign investors.
In her address, Tzakri said that despite the very negative trends which prevailed in the 2008-2014 period, some sectors showed greater resilience compared with others, such as oil refinery, pharmaceutical products, base metals, machinery and equipment, repair and installation of machinery and equipment, food, beverage and tobacco, paper products, printing and data reprocessing, chemicals, metal products, computers, electronics and optics, transport equipment.
 Alt. Citizen Protection Minister discusses terror issues with Bosnian counterpartAlternate Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas met on Tuesday with his Bosnian counterpart Dragan Mektic. The two officials decided to enhance their cooperation on combating terrorism provided that a very strong cell of jihadists exists in Bosnia.
The Bosnian minister admitted that there is a very serious problem in Bosnia with the existence of extremists and particularly ISIS warriors in his country. He also stated that 130 Bosnian citizens are currently fighting with ISIS troops in Syria, 48 citizens have returned and 43 have been killed.
"We are a multicultural community. We have Bosnians, Serbs and Croatians. Extremist and terrorist problems exist. We are fully aware of these problems and the security services do their best to deal with them," said Mektic.
On his part, Toskas stressed that Greece has close cooperation with all countries on the terrorism issue.
Toskas and Mektic signed an implementation protocol on the readmission agreement that Bosnia-Herzegovina has signed with the European Union.
 SYRIZA Political Secretariat discusses proposed pension system reformsReforms to Greece's social insurance and pension system dominated a meeting of SYRIZA's Political Secretariat held on Tuesday, with Labour Minister George Katrougalos and Deputy Minister for social insurance issues Tasos Petropoulos taking part.
Sources said Katrougalos briefed the meeting on the aims of the restructuring of the pension system, saying the goal was to make it more rationalised, fairer and restore its sustainability while preserving its redistributive qualities.
 Bank of Greece governor held dinner for PM, gov't vice-presidentBank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday hosted a dinner for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and government Vice-President Yiannis Dragasakis, during which they discussed developments in Greece's banking sector following the successful progress of the banks' recapitalisation, sources said.
 Deposits in Greek banks are fully secured, BoG governor Stournaras saysBank of Greece (BoG) governor Yiannis Stournaras on Tuesday reassured that deposits in Greek banks are fully secured as after the recapitalization of banks the danger of a haircut has been eliminated.
Stournaras presented the new banknote of 20 euros, which will circulate on Wednesday in all eurozone countries.
 Return to ECB's normal financing methods will follow bank recapitalization, says Greek bankerThe recapitalization of Greece's banks is being completed and the next step is to return to normal financing methods by the European Central Bank (ECB) and lift capital controls in the first quarter of 2016, the head of the Hellenic Bank Association and National Bank of Greece governor, Louka Katseli, said on Monday.
Katseli, speaking at the presentation of the Annual Greek Trade Report (2015), also said banks are now expecting the government's proposal for the non-performing loans to achieve an effective framework, because "NPLs are a stranglehold for the banks". The next step, she continued, is to achieve the return of bank deposits to lenders, adding however that all relevant parties must help build confidence.
Katseli also announced that all banks will soon announce a lowering of charges and fees for ordinary transactions with businesses, while she also reiterated her view on business clusters, noting that 89 pct of world trade takes place through value chains. "The challenge for all of us is to achieve extroversion," she said.
 Impact of capital controls was smaller because of successful government action, says TsakalotosThere were economic consequences from the imposition of capital controls but the government deserves some credit for succeeding in limiting them with its actions, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on Tuesday during a speech at parliament for the approval of twelve legislative acts.
"Our first concern, with the help of the Bank of Greece, was to focus on the current account in order to have access to imported products which were necessary for exports. We helped tourism by excluding tourists from the restrictions, while we established a weekly bank withdrawal limit of 420 euros, which is equivalent to a monthly salary of 1,680 euros," the minister said.
"The result was that while the IMF's initial estimates for [Greece's] recession in 2016, was that it would reach around 4 pct, current estimates are for a 1.3 pct decline and it may be even less," he added.
 National Bank's reverse split plan unveiledGreek Capital Market Authority on Tuesday approved National Bank's information bulletin for the bank's public offer of up to one billion new common nominal shares worth 0.30 euros each after a reserve split action. National Bank also plans to list 14,940,000,000 new common nominal share, with voting rights, in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The Athens Stock Exchange announced that National Bank's reverse split action will be made in three stages: November 30, 2015: temporary halt of trading in 3,533,149,631 common nominal shares to be replaced by 235,543,309 new common nominal shares with a simultaneous increase in share prices to 4.50 euros (reverse split). December 1, 2015: record date for the transaction. December 3, 2015: new shares will begin trading in the market at a nominal price of 0.30 euros each.
 National Bank, Amazon launch international partnership on start-up businessesSupporting start-up businesses which have export orientation is one of the keys towards restarting the economy, reducing unemployment and halting the exit of young people abroad, Leonidas Fragiadakis, chief executive of National Bank said on Tuesday.
Addressing a seminar on the international partnership of NBG Business Seeds with Amazon, Fragiadakis presented National Bank's timeless role as a pylon of supporting the Greek economy through funding projects covering the whole specter of business activity. Referring to the international dimension of the NBG Business Seeds programme, Fragiadakis said it has forged a series of significant partnerships, such as with the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, the US-based incubator 1776, Amazon and Microsoft, Grant Thornton, Deloitte and Endeavor.
Nelli Tzakou-Lambropoulou, managing director retail banking in National Bank presented National Bank's participations in a series of companies included in the NBG Business Seeds programme, such as Hotelbrain, radiki, Think Digital and Obrela securities (loans), SourceLair, blueground and Insybio (equity participation), Incrediblue, ISMOOD and Greece History and Culture (support with non-financial tools).
Claus Verner, Startup Business Development Manager in Amazon, presented Amazon's "AWS Activate" programme.
 OPAP announces strong nine-month resultsOPAP SA is taking all necessary measures to protect its rights and justified interests, while all relative actions will be announced soon, the company said on Tuesday. In an announcement, accompanying the release of its nine-month results, OPAP said that it would oppose a government decision to impose a 0.05 euros extra fee on OPAP's games, valid from November 20.
OPAP said its revenue grew 2.7 pct in the January-September period to 3.061 billion euros, while third quarter revenue fell 15.7 pct to 900.8 million euros. EBITDA grew 14.4 pct to 273.5 million euros compared with the same period last year, while third quarter EBITDA fell 7.6 pct to 87.1 million. Net profits fell 8.5 pct to 49.1 million euros in the third quarter, but grew to 159.1 million in the January-September period from 119 million euros in the same period last year. OPAP said its cash position remained strong at 226.4 million euros.
 German tax authorities to hand over list of Greek depositors abroad, say FinMin sourcesThe tax authorities of North Rhine-Westphalia have promised to hand over a list of Greek depositors abroad, following a meeting between a delegation of the Greek finance ministry and the region's tax authorities on Tuesday in Germany.
According to ministry sources, once this list is given to Greece, it will be passed over to the economic prosecutors.
 Thrace Plastics reports higher nine-month resultsThrace Plastics Group on Tuesday said its turnover totaled 222.6 million euros in the first nine months of the year, from 212.4 million euros in the same period in 2014, for an increase of 4.8 pct and attributed this development to the positive impact from changes in the euro-US dollar and euro-UK pound exchange rates. The volume of sales grew slightly in the nine-month period.
Consolidated gross earnings totaled 47.4 million euros, up 19.5 pct from 2014, while consolidated EBIT jumped 53.4 pct to 17.2 million euros and consolidated EBITDA rose 38.8 pct to 17.7 million euros in the January-September period.
Consolidated pre-tax earnings totaled 13.2 million euros, up 64.3 pct from 2014. Thrace Plastics said its investment programme totaled 28.3 million euros so far this year, while an additional 4.0 million euros were expected to be implemented by the end of 2015.
 Central banker Yannis Stournaras unveils new 20-euro noteBank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday unveiled the new 20 euro banknote that will start to circulate officially in the eurozone on Wednesday.
Stournaras said that the new bank note had additional and innovative safety features, such as a transparent 'portrait window' with a holographic image of Europa visible on both sides from certain angles. He said the note had "strong Greek elements" since the specific portrait was taken from an ancient Greek vase currently at the Louvre Museum in Paris, made by a Greek artisan in the 4th century B.C. in the Taranta region of Italy.
"Today, 338 million citizens in 19 European countries share the euro. Our faith in our common currency, which has proved its credibility internationally, makes us all stronger," he said.
The presentation took place at the central bank's museum (Amerikis 3) before a group of first-year high-school students from the Varvakio School on a school trip.
 Fourlis Group reports higher sales and profitsFourlis Group on Tuesday reported higher sales and operating earnings in the January-September period this year. The group said sales from continuing retail activities (IKEA, Intersport) totaled 294.5 million euros in the nine-month period this year from 283 million in the same period 2014, while total sales were unchanged at 295.6 million euros.
EBITDA grew to 18.3 million euros, from 14.3 million last year, while pre-tax losses fell to 4.0 million euros, from a loss of 9.3 million in 2014. After tax and minorities losses were 3.6 million euros in the January-September period this year from a loss of 10.2 million in 2014.
IKEA reported sales of 194.1 million euros in the nine-month period, up 3.4 pct from 2014, EBITDA grew to 13.6 million (10.8 mln in 2014) and pre-tax losses fell to 2.0 million euros from 4.1 million in 2014.
Intersport reported a 6.0 pct increase in sales to 96.7 million euros (91.3 million in 2014), EBITDA rose to 6.8 million euros (6.6 million last year) and pre-tax profits fell to 600,000 euros from earnings of 1.8 million euros last year.
 EasyJet adds three routes from Greek islands to Europe for 2016Low-budget carrier EasyJet announced three new routes from Greek islands to European destinations on Tuesday, which are scheduled to start next summer.
The new flights will take travellers twice a week from Rhodes to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, starting on June 16 and from Mykonos to France's Lyon and Nice, starting from July 2. The airline will offer two flights per week to Lyon and one per week to Nice.
 Greek stocks rebound, bank index up 11.29 pctGreek stocks recovered in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, after a three-day decline which pushed the composite index of the market 4.21 pct lower. The market found support in an 11.29 pct rebound of the bank index which halted an 11-day decline with losses of around 70 pct, largely ignoring a negative trend which prevailed in other European markets after news that Turkish forces shot down a Russian warplane. The composite index of the market rose 0.72 pct to end at 648.12 points. The Large Cap index rose 0.75 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.62 pct lower. Turnover was an improved 51.460 million euros in volume of 491,470,091.
Alpha Bank (19.23 pct), Eurobank (14.29 pct), Piraeus Bank (9.09 pct), National Bank (3.18 pct) and Athens Water (3.07 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains among blue chip stocks, while Folli Follie (4.53 pct), Viohalco (1.90 pct) and Hellenic Exchanges (1.29 pct) suffered heavy losses.
Among market sectors, Banks (11.29 pct), Utilities (2.34 pct) and Raw Materials (2.19 pct) scored big gains, while Insurance (7.89 pct), Commerce (4.44 pct) and Financial Services (1.18 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers narrowly led decliners by 49 to 48 with another 26 issues unchanged. Dromeas (29.76 pct), Attica Bank (23.08 pct) and Alpha Bank (19.23 pct) were top gainers, while Boutaris (20 pct), Dionic (19.44 pct) and Varvaresos (18.18 pct) were top losers.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 2.43 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,729 contracts with 13,632 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 4,062 contracts with investment interest focusing on PPC's contracts (1,374), followed by MIG (154), OTE (576), OPAP (922), Hellenic Exchanges (116), Mytilineos (189), Hellenic Petroleum (377), Ellaktor (96) and Metka (57).
 Hellenic Industrial Federation targetedThe area around the offices of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), near Syntagma Square, remains cordoned off after a bomb explosion early on Tuesday.
Serious damages were reported at the entrance of SEV building, at the Cyprus' embassy and Amalia hotel. After the terror attack in Paris, Alternate Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas had ordered all embassies to be guarded throughout the day.
Before the explosion, an unknown individual had called To Vima and Efimerida Ton Syntakton newspapers to inform about the bomb, however, no one has assumed responsibility for the attack.
"The government condemns the attack against SEV offices, at Syntagma. The absolute condemnation of such actions, especially at this period of time, without dangerous misinterpretations, is the appropriate policy stance," government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili stated.
 More than 1,700 refugee and migrant arrivals in Lesvos reported on TuesdayArrivals of refugees and migrants on the north Aegean island of Lesvos resumed at the previous high rates on Tuesday, after falling off sharply between Sunday and Monday. More than 1,700 arrivals were recorded by 18:00 in the evening, with authorities now saying that the southerly winds may have hampered the passage of those making the crossing from the shores of Turkey, especially for inflatable dinghies.
The arrivals included a wooden sailboat intercepted by a Frontex patrol, which was escorted to Mytilene harbour with 150 people on board.
Meanwhile, another three dead bodies in an advanced stage of decay were washed ashore on Monday, probably from earlier shipwrecks. They included the body of a child found in Pythagorio, Samos and the bodies of two men found at the entrance of Gera bay and in Plomari on Lesvos.
 Two ships with about 400 refugees on board dock at PiraeusApproximately 400 refugees arrived at Piraeus port on Tuesday as migrants flows from Turkey have been reduced over the last days.
More specifically, "Blue Star 1" carried 165 refugees and "Nisos Rhodos" carried another 243 refugees.
 Athens Christmas lights ceremony on TuesdayAthens mayor Giorgos Kaminis on Tuesday will give the signal for the official illumination of the city of Athens, inaugurating the holiday season.
The ceremony will begin at 17:30 when two sections of the Athens Municipality Wind Instrument Philharmonic Orchestra set off simultaneously from National Resistance Square (formerly Kotzias) and Monastiraki metro station. They will meet up at Syntagma Square, where the Athens Municipality Big Band led by popular pop singer Sakis Rouvas will perform Christmas songs and music as the city's Christmas lights and the tree in Syntagma Square are lit.
Also participating is the Nea Smyrni Leontio School choir.
 Nine in 10 Greeks want PPC to shift to cleaner energy sources, WWF survey findsAn overwhelming majority of nine in 10 Greeks want the country's main power producer, the Public Power Corporation (PPC), to shift toward using cleaner energy sources, according to a nationwide survey unveiled by WWF Greece on Tuesday.
Only 7 pct said they were in favour of power stations fired by lignite coal and there was almost universal acceptance of the need for a national policy on energy conservation and efficiency, both to create jobs and reduce energy consumption.
A 60 pct majority of the public was also in favour of stricter policies for climate change, even if the cost is significant, while this rose to 78 pct among the better informed categories, and 67 pct believed the country should turn toward using renewable energy sources (RES).
Talking to the ANA-MPA, WWF's Nikos Mantzaris noted that 35 pct of greenhouse gases produced in Greece are from burning lignite coal, ranking Greece second in Europe and making its economy 50 pct more carbon-intensive than the average for European countries in the OECD.
"A bold transition to a post-lignite era is needed, in order to protect public health, the environment, quality of life and the economic sustainability of Greece's energy model, otherwise the cost will be very high," he added.
According to WWF, the results of the survey discredit a "political myth" regarding the high popularity of using lignite coal and domestic fuel sources among the public in Greece. Based on the survey, 80 pct of Greeks were in favour of a shift to using RES and 67 pct urged immediate investment in RES, at a time when the PPC was asking for free carbon emission rights in order to perpetuate the lignite-based power production model.
Even in Macedonia, one of the main lignite-producing areas, 58 pct of residents of all Macedonia and 50 pct of residents in western Macedonia said that plans for new lignite-powered units should be scrapped, WWF said.
"Among the citizens, only 22 pct is in favour of exhausting the lignite deposits and only 4 pct prefers lignite," Mantzaris noted, adding that the country's political leadership should seriously take into account that public opinion now clearly reflected the need to address climate change.
 "Nutcracker" at Thessaloniki Concert HallThe Ballet of the National Opera in partnership with the Thessaloniki National Orchestra will present the "Nutcracker", one of the most famous ballets of all time, in choreography of Renato Zanella - as premiered at the Vienna State Opera 15 years ago - at Thessaloniki Concert Hall.
The "Nutcracker" is considered one of the most popular ballets as the emotional power and theatricality of Tchaikovsky's music charm all ages. In "Nutcracker", the most beautiful story of Christmas, the boundaries between dream and reality are blurred.
The impressive scenery and the costumes of the production were designed by renowned designer Christoph Kremer.
The ballet is scheduled to take place on December 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
 'Coral Reef' to return to Athens Planetarium for two months, by popular demandThe dome film 'Coral Reef' is to return to Athens' Digital Planetarium for two months following multiple requests by audience members, the Eugenides Foundation announced on Tuesday.
The new dome film "takes a dive" in the beautiful blue waters of coral reefs, transporting audiences to the wonders of the ocean deeps and, alongside famous scientists, takes them on a voyage of exploration of rare underwater natural phenomena of the Earth, revealing images of incredible beauty.
The shows will start with two screenings free of charge next Monday evening, at 18:30 and 19:30, respectively. They will then be incorporated into the planetarium's regular programme. The film is suitable for children aged nine years and over. Parallel to the film screenings, the Eugenides Foundation has also set up an exhibition on freediving in Greece.
 Traditional Greek coffee still a firm favourite despite new varieties on offer, Loumidis Coffee Shops head saysGreece's traditional 'boiled' coffee - known in the country as Greek coffee - remains a firm favourite within the country of avid coffee drinkers and continues to hold its own against 'newcomers' like espresso or cappucino, the head of the Loumidis coffee shop franchise, Iason Loumidis, told the ANA-MPA on Tuesday.
He noted that over 70 percent of sales by the Loumidis franchise network - which includes six company coffee shops and 10 franchise shops - were of Greek coffee.
Speaking at the opening of a recently refurbished Loumidis Coffee Shop in Thessaloniki, he noted that traditional Greek coffee was not only keeping but also expanding its share of the pie, even though sales of other types of coffee had seen a sharp increase.
"Greeks are among the people with the highest consumption of coffee; this was true before the crisis and is still true now," Loumidis said. The third generation in the family-owned brand with the same name, he also revealed the secrets to brewing authentic Greek coffee and noted that there were clear differences between Greek coffee and the "Turkish" or other varieties of boiled coffee found in the region.
"The roasting of Greek coffee is different. In Greece we roast the beans a lot more lightly, to a light blonde shade, whereas in Turkey it is a little more deeply roasted and, as we head south, it is ever more deeply roasted and they also add cardamon. Even in Cyprus it is one or two shades darker," he said.
Tradition was now being enhanced with new trends, he added, with Greek coffees now offered by coffee shops in various flavours and aromas, such as baklava, cardamon, hazelnut but also a decaffeinated version made with chick peas and rye.
 Central Macedonia's Comedy Festival to accept humanitarian aid supplies in lieu of ticketsOrganisers of the 'Comedy Festival' planned by the Central Macedonia regional authority's arts centre on Tuesday announced that those attending can get in by donating humanitarian aid supplies - such as durable foods, detergents, paper and personal hygiene products - instead of buying a ticket.
The "Comedy Festival" will be held on November 27, 28, 29 and December 8 at the "Alexandros" Cinema in Thessaloniki, with performances of classic and well-loved Greek and international comedies.
The aid supplies collected will be donated to the Thessaloniki based aid organisation "Arogi" that supports families on very low incomes, providing them with monthly care packages.
 Greek railway operator employees to hold 3-hour work stoppage on WednesdayEmployees at Greece's railway network operator TRAINOSE will hold a three-hour work stoppage on Wednesday to protest against a lack of staff, their union announced on Tuesday.
Trains will not operate services from 21.00 (local time) until the end of shift, the Hellenic Personnel Association of TRAINOSE said in a statement.
As a result of the work stoppage, services between Pireos-Athens-Halkida-Pireos and Airport-Kiato-Airport will be affected as well as the morning Halkida-Oenoe train service.
 Greece has prepared anti-doping bill to comply with WADA, says ministerGreece is moving forward with the harmonization of its national legislation with WADA's anti-doping regulations, Deputy Minister for Sports Stavros Kontonis said during a meeting of the EU's Council of Culture and Sport Ministers on Tuesday.
"I would like to inform you that the new Greek government has already moved towards the full harmonization of our national legislation with WADA's regulations, despite having March 2016 as a deadline," Kontonis said.
"We are ready to introduce a bill for parliamentary approval by the end of November, and I am confident that by the end of the year the issue will be officially completed," he added.
 Rain on WednesdayClouds, rain and southerly winds are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Showers in the northern and the western parts of the country with temperatures up to 22C. Partly cloudy in the eastern parts with temperatures up to 22C. Scattered clouds that will gradually become thicker over the Aegean islands and Crete, up to 22C. Scattered clouds in Athens, up to 22C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, up to 22C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: The 'Titanic'
DIMOKRATIA: Civil war in New Democracy
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The night of blue knives
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: A civil war raging in New Democracy
ESTIA: Irresponsible policy regarding the banks
ETHNOS: New Democracy on the verge of collapse
IMERISSIA: Athens stock exchange in "spinning"
KATHIMERINI: Civil war in New Democracy
KONTRANEWS: 'No' to an ecumenical government
NAFTEMPORIKI: Where the 2 billion euros will be absorbed
RIZOSPASTIS: Taxes and austerity measures on the people
TA NEA: The door of the madhouse opens
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