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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-13

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Int'l Society of Friends of Kazantzakis celebrates 20th anniversary
  • [02] Memorial service in Thessaloniki for fallen of Macedonian Struggle
  • [03] FinMin rules out hike in objective real estate tax criteria
  • [04] Orthodox Patriarchs' gathering at Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • [05] FinMin at IMF, World Bank meeting
  • [06] Papandreou:Country demands change in course
  • [07] Athens Stock Exchange opening: Strong bounce-back
  • [08] ASE: Trading of two banks' shares suspended in anticipation of prospective 'significant business developments'
  • [09] FinMin at IMF, World Bank meeting
  • [10] FM on visa waiver program
  • [11] Athens Newspaper Headlines
  • [12] Papoulias visits Vietnam
  • [13] Orthodox Patriarchs gathering
  • [14] Unemployment drops to 7%
  • [15] (Correction) Greek-Swiss wastewater treatment proposal in FYROM
  • [16] Spokesman: PM, gov't took immediate decisions to shield country from int'l crisis
  • [17] Piraeus Bank buys stake in Proton
  • [18] Papandreou on Euro zone decisions
  • [19] Six days of strike action by Athens metro staff
  • [20] Bakoyannis attends EU foreign ministers' council
  • [21] Greek stocks jump 5.66 pct
  • [22] FinMin on Greek economy

  • [01] Int'l Society of Friends of Kazantzakis celebrates 20th anniversary

    Numerous events in countries around the world will mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Geneva-based International Society of the Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis, which recently grew with four new branches in Perth, Graz, Seoul and Verona. Seoul branch head Prof. Basilious Groen will host a symposium on Oct. 30 on the different aspects of the works of the noted Greek writer and thinker, to be held under the auspices of the Greek embassy and in cooperation with the Hankuk University. On Nov. 27, a special event will be held in the University of Geneva, where Eleni Kazantzaki and a few fans of the writer's work founded the society in December 1988. The Jean-Gabriel Eynard Greek-Swiss Association, the Greek Association of Geneva, and the local ethnic Greek community will be among those who will pay tribute to Kazantzakis, during a literary event held under the auspices of the Greek general consulate. Additionally, the individuals and institutions that have offered their assistance to the Friends of Kazantzakis through the past 20 years will be honored in a formal event to be held in Athens on Dec. 10. Among the honorees will be the foreign ministries of France and Greece, the Greek Press Offices abroad, former Cypriot minister of culture and education Klairi Angelidou.

    [02] Memorial service in Thessaloniki for fallen of Macedonian Struggle

    A memorial service was held at a Thessaloniki cathedral on Sunday, officiated by Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos, for the fallen during the Macedonian Struggle -- which lasted until 1904 -- that preceded Greece's liberation of the area from Ottoman rule during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13.

    Deputy Culture Minister for Sports Yiannis Ioannidis represented the government at the service and a subsequent wreath-laying ceremony.

    [03] FinMin rules out hike in objective real estate tax criteria

    Economy and Finance George Alogoskoufis was quoted by an Athens daily on Sunday as reiterating that there will be no increase in objective tax criteria for real estate, while stressing that stability is needed when asked about the prospect of early elections.

    "During a crisis you also have the opportunity to promote reforms that people will much easier accept. If, of course, the country cannot be governed, if reforms are blocked, then the only solution is the people," he added.

    His comments were published in the Athens daily "Eleftheros Typos".

    [04] Orthodox Patriarchs' gathering at Ecumenical Patriarchate

    Orthodox Patriarchs and Archbishops gathered in Istanbul on Sunday for a summit hosted by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos) at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    After a meeting and conclusion of a rare joint liturgy by several Patriarchs, the ecclesiastical leaders released a message emphasised that "overcoming of differences requires an amelioration of nationalistic, ethnic, racial or ideological extremism."

    The Orthodox Patriarchs also referred to the ongoing global financial crisis, expressing heightened concern over what they called the growing gap between rich and poor due the financial crisis.

    The synod was given extensive coverage by local Turkish media, who particularly emphasised that the presence of Patriarch of Moscow Alexius II demonstrates recognition of the ecumenical nature of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and Bartholomew's status.

    [05] FinMin at IMF, World Bank meeting

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis is currently in Washington, heading a Greek delegation to the annual joint meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

    During his stay in the US capital, Alogoskoufis is scheduled to meet with IMF and World Bank officials as well as senior executives of international financial institutions.

    Alogoskoufis, who arrived in the US capital on Friday, atended IMF proceedings over the weekend while on Monday he will be amongst the speakers to address the organisationās plenary session. A formal reception hosted by Greek ambassador to Washington, Alexandros Mallias, in honor of the Greek delegation is also scheduled to take place.

    Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Yannis Papathanasiou, Bank of Greece Gov. George Provopoulos, senior government officials and bank executives comprise the Greek delegation.

    [06] Papandreou:Country demands change in course

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Sunday evening addressed a rally in Irakleio, Crete, where he stressed that "the country and the citizens demand a change in course, a responsible government".

    Regarding the ongoing financial crisis, Papandreou said it has nothing to do with the crisis that prevails in the country, for which the New Democracy's government is responsible.

    "The global financial crisis is a result of neoliberal choices, which socialists have condemned for many years ... As a government we will revive the principles that must prevail in the country and the international credit system. Socialists are clear cut when it comes to the global financial crisis, the real culprits are those who have aided this crisis with their practices, and must pay".

    He added that PASOK, when it becomes government, will takes every necessary measure to protect the Greek economy, including a guarantee of deposits, pensions and the social security system, liquidity and a new regulatory framework of the credit system.

    On a European front, he proposed changes in the operation framework of the European Central Bank in order for the stability pact to be more flexible, as he said.

    PASOK's leader critised the government for irresponsibility towards the citizens, stressing that his party is standing by the people and has clear targets and feasible planning. "There is money", he added, "how else did they find billions of euros to cover the bank deficit, if you have the political volition you can find money for the citizens ".

    On health and social security sector, Papandreou promoted what he called a more effective National Health System and a financially viable and socially just social security system.

    "The state must take its responsibilites towards social security funds and the same must be done with large enterprises and banks," while he promised that the low-income pensioners' bonus will be extended to another 300,000 pensioners.

    Concluding, Papandreou called for struggle with PASOK's vision and plan.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou

    [07] Athens Stock Exchange opening: Strong bounce-back

    Equity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Monay on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), influenced by recoveries on the major European money markets, with the basic share price index up 3.99 percent, standing at 2,466.67 points at 12:15 a.m., and turnover at 37.4 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving upward across the board, with the biggest gains in Insurance, up 8.32 percent; Industrial Products, up 5.65 percent; Technology, up 5.65 percent; Raw Materials, up 5.60 percent; Public Utilities, up 4.79 percent; and Banks, up 4.79 percent

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 4.04 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 4.18 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 3.90 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 155 were up, 6 were down, and 21 were unchanged.

    [08] ASE: Trading of two banks' shares suspended in anticipation of prospective 'significant business developments'

    The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) on Monday announced the temporary suspension of trading of the stocks of Piraus Bank S.A. and Proton Bank S.A.

    The ASE, following agreement with the Capital Market Committee, suspended trading of shares of the two banks, effective immediately, in light of "prospective significant business developments".

    In the event that the relevant announcements by the two banks are made public within the day, the suspension of trading will be lifted immediately.

    [09] FinMin at IMF, World Bank meeting

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis is currently in Washington, heading a Greek delegation to the annual joint meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

    During his stay in the US capital, Alogoskoufis is scheduled to meet with IMF and World Bank officials as well as senior executives of international financial institutions.

    Alogoskoufis, who arrived in the US capital on Friday, atended IMF proceedings over the weekend while on Monday he will be amongst the speakers to address the organisation's plenary session. A formal reception hosted by Greek ambassador to Washington, Alexandros Mallias, in honor of the Greek delegation is also scheduled to take place.

    Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Yannis Papathanasiou, Bank of Greece Gov. George Provopoulos, senior government officials and bank executives comprise the Greek delegation.

    [10] FM on visa waiver program

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis touched on a handful of foreign policy issues in a published interview on Sunday, including the recently resurfaced issue of Greece's inclusion in the US visa waiver program -- a development that has still not been pushed forth by the Bush administration despite previous assurances to the Greek government.

    Touching on the timely FYROM "name dispute" only days after the latest proposals for a solution by a UN mediator, Bakoyannis noted that "we are negotiating with seriousness, goodwill and a productive stance.

    "From there on, of course, it takes two to tango," the Greek FM said, in a clear reference to what Athens considers a lack of political volition by the leadership in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    "Our positions are crystal clear. We will continue our efforts until we arrive at an honorable and dignified agreement".

    Regarding the visa waiver issue, Bakoyannis referred to a "decision by the US administration this is wrong...

    "Greece follows a foreign policy that defends its national interests, within the framework of the country's international obligations, and as defined by its relations with its partners, alliances and International Law. We are not a people that fail to honor our traditional friendships," she added.

    Asked about the domestic political situation, Bakoyannis said any government reshuffle must follow a rationale of renewal, while dismissing the possibility of early elections.

    Finally, in response to the latest batch of opinion polls, Bakoyannis said it was entirely premature to cite an "reversal" in the political situation, "there was an alarm bell, but we (ruling New Democracy party) took notice and we have already reacted."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis

    [11] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Monday edition of Athens dailies at a glance

    The global financial crisis and decisions taken at Sunday's emergency summit of the eurozone countries in Paris, and prime minister Costas Karamanlis' assurances on the Greek banking system dominated the front pages of Athens' newspapers on Monday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Greece a country of thives - Crime rate assumes immense dimensions".

    APOGEVMATINI: "We're going through a 'tsunami', but we will withstand (the global crisis) - Without mincing words, Karamanlis spoke to the Greek people about the international financial crisis following Sunday night's dramatic Paris Summit".

    AVRIANI: "The codes opening up on the kickbacks for the C4I (the Athens 2004 Olympic Games security system, which was never delivered), the Patriot (Russian-made missile systems), the Hermes program and OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organization)".

    CHORA: "Nightmare on the morning after - Now everyone worried about the real economy".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "All the 'doctors' of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the G7 and the eurozone, doing everything possible for the recovery of the International Economy, which entered the 'Intensive Care Unit'."

    ELEFTHEROS: "Nationalization of banks in Greece, in the event they present instability and risk arises for the deposits".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Save the Banks - The message of the emergency summit in Paris to the 27 (EU member) countries".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Salvation lies with the State - The Eurozone '16' trying to put a brake on the rampant financial crisis".

    ESTIA: "Economies in a state of stiff paralysis - Everyone anticipates recession".

    ETHNOS: "Life raft from Europe - Operation recovery, with Brown (British prime minister) 'recipe', from the eurozone countries".

    TA NEA: "Alogoskoufis (economy and finance minister) puts pressure on salary-earners, but Euro-life raft of billions of euros for the banks".

    VRADYNI: "Light at the end of the tunnel, with 6-point plan/shield - The eurozone leaders' agreement a message of optimism".

    [12] Papoulias visits Vietnam

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday began a series of meetings with the state and political leadership of Vietnam, where he is currently on an official visit.

    After talks with Vietnam's President Nguyen Minh Triet, Papoulias referred to the international financial crisis sweeping the world, blaming this on "greed and an ideological alienation from the meaning of the real economy".

    He criticised the idea that markets could by themselves, without state regulation and control, create and fairly distribute wealth.

    In statements after the meeting, he also underlined the deep respect that Greek people feel toward the people of Vietnam.

    Turning to international issues, Papoulias underlined the need to respect international law and the principles of the United Nations, adding that this was of particular relevance in terms of the continued occupation of Cyprus, an EU member-state, by Turkish troops.

    The Vietnamese president said his talks with Papoulias had been useful and noted the excellent political ties between Greece and Vietnam, expressing hope that these good relations would also be extended to trade and investments, where they were currently limited.

    After the presidents' meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas and Vietnamese officials signed bilateral cooperation agreements for renewable energy sources, cooperation between the Greek and Vietnamese foreign ministries and mutual protection of investments.

    The two sides did not sign an agreement for avoiding double taxation of shipping profits that had recently been initialled in Athens, however. According to Deputy Merchant Marine Minister Panos Kammenos, the signature of the agreement stumbled on a "purely bureaucratic obstacle" because the Vietnamese ministries involved could not agree on the criteria for taxation.

    During talks with Triet, Papoulias extracted a promise that the matter would be resolved so that the agreement might be signed.

    In addition to meeting Triet, the Greek president also had meetings on Monday with the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh and Vietnam National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong, while he is due to attend an official dinner given in his honour by Vietnam's president on Monday night.

    Caption: President of Republic Karolos Papoulias (L) and President of Vietnam Nguyen Minh Triet(R) are shaking hands at the presidental mansion in Hanoi, Vietnam on Monday 13 October 2008. ANA-MPA /Vangelis Vardoulakis

    [13] Orthodox Patriarchs gathering

    Orthodox Patriarchs and Archbishops gathered here on Sunday for a summit hosted by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos) at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    After a meeting and conclusion of a rare joint liturgy by several Patriarchs, the ecclesiastical leaders released a message emphasised that "overcoming of differences requires an amelioration of nationalistic, ethnic, racial or ideological extremism."

    The Orthodox Patriarchs also referred to the ongoing global financial crisis, expressing heightened concern over what they called the growing gap between rich and poor due the financial crisis.

    The synod was given extensive coverage by local Turkish media, who particularly emphasised that the presence of Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexius II demonstrates recognition of the ecumenical nature of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and Bartholomew's status.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (R) and Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexius II (L).

    [14] Unemployment drops to 7%

    The unemployment rate in July 2008 dropped to 7 percent compared to 7.8 percent during the corresponding month last year, according to data announced on Monday by the National Statistical Service (NSS).

    Specifically, a total of 4,595,003 people were employed as of July 2008, while unemployed individuals numbered 347,993.

    The employment figure shows a steady rise since 2004, recording a 0.8-percent increase in the period between July 2007 and July 2008.

    The unemployment figure has shown a steady decline since 2004 on a year-by-year basis, recorded at 9.5 percent between July 2007 and July 2008.

    The highest unemployment rate per region was recorded in Western Macedonia (13 percent), followed by Epirus with 10.8 percent; while it reached 9.1 percent for the regions of Eastern Macedonia & Thrace and central mainland Greece (Sterea Ellada).

    As regards the unemployment rate by age group, the highest (20.9 percent) was recorded in the 15-24 category.

    [15] (Correction) Greek-Swiss wastewater treatment proposal in FYROM

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA / N. Frangopoulos) -- Greece and Switzerland have expressed interest in the construction of a wastewater treatment facility along the Axios River near the border city of Gevgeli, in the extreme south of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the frontier with Greece. In a meeting held at the environment ministry in Skopje, Greek and Swiss representatives reportedly expressed their willingness to re-activate a previous Greek initiative for the construction of such a treatment facility. The estimated cost of the project stands at roughly six million euros, while Athens has already earmarked 2 million euros for the construction of the state-of-the-art plant. Treatment of sewage and rural runoff is regarded as vital for the Axios River ecosystem, better known as the Vardar River north of Greece, considering that its waters have become polluted by residential pollution from as far north as Skopje. The 380-kilometer-long Vardar is the biggest river in FYROM, while the 76-kilometer-long stretch known as the Axios flows south through Greece and empties into Thessaloniki's Thermaikos Gulf.

    [16] Spokesman: PM, gov't took immediate decisions to shield country from int'l crisis

    Greece's preparedness to successfully deal with possible repercussions from the ongoing international financial crisis was again underlined on Monday, hours after Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis spoke in the wake of an extraordinary Euro zone leaders' summit in Paris. According to alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, the premier and finance minister came under intense criticism, both within the country and abroad, when they became amongst the first western leaders to announce a guarantee of bank deposits, a correct move that was subsequently followed by other countries, he added. The spokesman also reminded that Karamanlis, unlike main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, visited the Bank of Greece and also coordinated joint action with the relevant minister. During a regular press briefing, Antonaros said the Greek public was receiving a continuous flow of information, while the prime minister has also made several public interventions to reassure depositors and local markets. Moreover, the spokesman echoed Karamanlis' statement by saying that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected Euro-zone growth at zero, as opposed to Greece's anticipated 2 percent.

    [17] Piraeus Bank buys stake in Proton

    Piraeus Bank on Monday said it had reached an agreement with Proton Bank and its shareholders to buy 26.98 pct in the bank's equity capital through a stock swap deal.

    A Piraeus Bank statement said the stock swap ratio was agreed at 5.5 Proton Bank's shares for each Piraeus Bank share. Piraeus Bank will use its treasury stock for the deal.

    Proton Bank said its savings deposits totaled 1.3 billion euros, its loan portfolio worths 1.25 billion euros and operates a branch network of 31 units around the country.

    Piraeus Bank said the deal will boost its capital base by at least 200 million euros and improves its shareholders' earnings per share.

    Under the deal, Piraeus Bank Group will absorb Proton Bank at a later stage.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph showing a view of Piraeus Bank's central branch in downtown Athens.

    [18] Papandreou on Euro zone decisions

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou commented on Monday from Irakleio, Crete, over a decision by Euro zone leaders on Sunday in Paris.

    "The European Union took a first small step against a major problem," he said, adding that Europe must adopt a new policy that will provide answers to problems, will invest in development and will not burden low and middle incomes.

    Speaking during a tour of Irakleio, Papandreou also stressed that he expected a more substantial presence at the Euro zone summit from the Greek government, charging that it was responsible for the impasses Greek citizens are facing.

    He referred to a worsening situation caused by the government's policy, which he said does not have the volition to solve them.

    "That's why people need a change of course, a course that PASOK can guarantee".

    Earlier on Monday, Papandreou visited the Technology and Research Institute of Crete and was briefed by the centre's scientific staff.

    [19] Six days of strike action by Athens metro staff

    Staff on the Athens metro on Monday announced plans for six days of strike action starting next Friday, in protest over the management's refusal to sign a new collective labour agreement for 2008.

    The strikes will take the form of work stoppages, which on three days concern the late-night services recently introduced by the metro on Fridays and Saturdays. Specifically, trains will not run from midnight until 2:15 this coming Saturday and on the Friday and Saturday next week.

    Trains will also stop running between noon and 16:00 this Friday, from 5:00 until 7:00 and from 10:00 until the end of the shift on Tuesday, October 21, and between noon and 16:00 on Wednesday, October 22.

    Staff accuse the management of delaying tactics and arrogance on the issue, and say the transport ministry displayed a "haughty and demeaning" attitude.

    [20] Bakoyannis attends EU foreign ministers' council

    LUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris) Attending the EU General Affairs Council here on Monday, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis outlined Athens' positions on the issues that will be discussed at the upcoming European Council in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday.

    In comments on the crisis in the Caucasus, Bakoyannis said the EU had once again responded with action that had led to results.

    "This is particularly important for us because Greece, in the large European family and the family of economic and monetary union, feels a much greater security," she told her EU counterparts.

    The minister also referred to the international financial crisis and the measures decided by Eurozone leaders at a summit in Paris on Sunday, stressing that there was now a certain sense of confidence in the EU that had to be transmuted to specific policies that protected the incomes of Europeans.

    According to Bakoyannis, the central issue of the talks on a European level would be ways of emerging from the storm with the minimum possible cost.

    She underlined the need to quickly and efficiently carry out the decisions made by the 15 Eurozone member-states and expressed hope that the United States will follow suit, so that the international system might be stabilised and EU governments might can carry out those policies that will address the feeling of insecurity that now exists in all of Europe.

    [21] Greek stocks jump 5.66 pct

    Greek stocks rebounded strongly in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, in line with a prevailing similar trend in other international markets. The composite index jumped 5.66 pct to end at 2,506.45 points with turnover at 234.7 million euros, of which 17.6 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved higher, with the Utilities (12.12 pct), Raw Materials (10.18 pct), Technology (8.65 pct), Personal/Home Products (8.24 pct), Telecommunications (7.58 pct), Food/Beverage (6.69 pct), Commerce (6.54 pct) and Banks (6.41 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    Piraeus Bank rose 3.17 pct and Proton Banks fell 29.80 pct after the news that the first will buy 26.98 pct in the second bank.

    The FTSE 20 index jumped 5.78 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 5.13 pct and the FTSE 80 index soared 6.21 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 251 to 19 with another 17 issues unchanged.

    [22] FinMin on Greek economy

    The continuation of the fiscal consolidation policy and of the structural reforms programme are, for the Greek economy, the best protection shield against the worsening world economic climate, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said in Washington Monday.

    Alogoskoufis, who was addressing the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, also said that the impact from the global credit crisis was beginning gradually to be felt in Greece as well, but that developments until now showed that the Greek economy was more resistant than other European ones.

    "This is shown also by the comparatively high growth rates and the ongoing decrease in unemployment," the finance minister noted, adding that in the first half of 2008 Greece presented a 3.5 growth rate compared to the 1.8 in the Eurozone, while the Greek finance and credit system showed greater resistance.

    Despite these encouraging messages, he added, there were no margins for not being vigilant.


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