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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek fiscal deficit at 3.5 pct of GDP in 2007, Eurostat
  • [02] Vatopedi probe file to Parliament
  • [03] MIG group refuses State aid
  • [04] General strike staged Tues.
  • [05] ASE: Plunge
  • [06] Antikythera mechanism exhibition

  • [01] Greek fiscal deficit at 3.5 pct of GDP in 2007, Eurostat

    Greece's fiscal deficit was revised upwards to 3.5 pct of GDP in 2007, while the country's public debt was 94.8 pct of GDP during the same year, Eurostat said on Wednesday. The EU executive's statistics agency, in its report on the fiscal condition of the EU-27, said Hungary (5.0 pct), Greece (3.5 pct), UK (2.8 pct), France (2.7 pct), Portugal (2.6 pct) and Romania (2.6 pct) recorded the highest fiscal deficits.

    Eurostat also announced it has withdrawn the reservation on the data reported by Greece in the April 2008 notification on the provision of data for the excessive deficit procedure. Issues clarified since April 2008 concerned the recording of EU grants (in 2006 and 2007), statistical discrepancies (for 2007 data) and the coverage of source data for extra-budgetary funds, local government and social security funds. The Greek authorities have agreed with Eurostat a list of medium-term actions to be implemented.

    Eurostat also said that the increase in the deficit for 2006 and 2007 is due to updated data for taxes, hospitals, social security, changes in the balance of Treasury Accounts at the Central Bank, changes in the recording of the transactions with the EU budget and improved coverage of extra-budgetary bodies.

    The EU's statistics agency said 12 member states recorded fiscal surplus in 2007, Finland (5.3 pct), Denmark (4.9 pct), Sweden (3.6 pct), Cyprus (3.5 pct), Luxembourg (3.2 pct), Estonia (2.7 pct), Spain (2.2 pct), Slovenia (0.5 pct), Holland (0.3 pct), Ireland (0.2 pct), Bulgaria (0.1 pct) and Latvia (0.1 pct).

    Estonia (3.5 pct), Luxembourg (7.0 pct), Latvia (9.5 pct) and Romania (12.9 pct) recorded the lowest public debts in 2007, while Italy (104.1 pct), Greece (94.8 pct), Belgium (83.9 pct), Hungary (65.8 pct), Germany (65.1 pct), France (63.9 pct), Portugal (63.6 pct) and Malta (62.2 pct) the highest public debt rates.

    [02] Vatopedi probe file to Parliament

    A copy of the investigation file to date into the politically charged Vatopedi monastery land exchange furor was sent on Wednesday to Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, a necessary prerequisite for opening any Parliamentary procedure into whether or not criminal acts were committed by MPs holding immunity, i.e. Cabinet ministers.

    On his part, a main opposition PASOK spokesman said the development was "vindication" for the party, while he called on all deputies in the 300-MP legislature to vote in favor of establishing a preliminary committee to investigate any wrongdoing.

    Spokesman George Papaconstantinou also claimed that the development comes after pressure by PASOK and lawsuits against a pair of high-ranking supreme court prosecutors.

    The government and PASOK have traded charges and counter-charges over the affair, which involves a series of reportedly questionable land exchanges between the Mount Athos monastery and the state.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of an external view of the Greek parliament

    [03] MIG group refuses State aid

    Marfin Popular Bank, Marfin Egnatia Bank and the Investment Bank of Greece (MIG group), in an announcement, said on Wednesday that they were not in need of, and would not make use of, any state assistance of any kind.

    It is noted that governments through the world, including Greece, have announced measures to fortify banks due to the impact of the international credit crisis and the liquidity problems arising in the global banking system.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Vice president of Marfin Investement Group (MIG) Andreas Vgenopoulos.

    [04] General strike staged Tues.

    A 24-hour general strike staged jointly by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) paralyzed public transport, airlines and the civil service on Tuesday, while also causing a news blackout as media workers joined the strike action.

    The main protest rally held at the Pedion tou Areos Park in central Athens was addressed by GSEE president Yannis Panagopoulos, who acknowledged the problems caused by the international financial crisis but also placed blame on the government's policies, particularly those on privatization of the DEKO (public utilities and organizations) and the cutbacks in social expenditures contained in the draft 2009 budget recently tabled in parliament.

    Panagopoulos warned that the budget cutbacks would give rise to "unprecedented social reactions".

    A separate protest rally was held simultaneously by PAME.

    Two similar rallies were also staged in Thessaloniki, organized by PAME and by the Thessaloniki Labor Center, respectively.

    Caption: Highlight of the demonstration held on Tuesday 21 October 2008 in the framework of the 24h general strike in downtown Athens.ANA-MPA/SYMELA PANTZARTZI

    [05] ASE: Plunge

    Equity prices were declining on Wednesay on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), influenced by the major international money markets, with the basic share price index down 3.24 percent, standing at 2,069.70 points at 14:15 a.m., and turnover at 113.5 million euros.

    The biggest losses were in Construction, down 4.85 percent; and Financial Services, down 4.52 percent; Banks down, 4.35 percent; Travel and Recreation down, 4.26 percent; Trade down, 3.82 percent and Industrial Products, down 3.66 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 3.85 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 2.80 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 3.10 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 20 were up, 209 were down, and 27 were unchanged.

    [06] Antikythera mechanism exhibition

    The first specialized exhibition focusing on the controversial Antikythera Mechanism opens Wednesday at the Ionian Centre for Scientific Studies in Plaka, downtown Athens, in cooperation with the team of scientists studying the device. The visitors of the exhibition, that will run until December 14, 2008, will learn about unknown applications of the Mechanism in ancient Greek calendars, the study of the movement of the Sun and the Moon, and eclipse prediction. The exhibition is held under the auspices of the ministry of culture and in cooperation with the National Archaeological Museum of Athens where the Antikythera Mechanism is housed. The Antikythera mechanism is believed to be an ancient mechanical calculator (also described as a "mechanical computer") designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was discovered in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete, and has been dated to about 150-100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity appeared a thousand years later. Sometime before Easter 1900, Elias Stadiatis, a Greek sponge diver, discovered the wreck of an ancient cargo ship off Antikythera Island at a depth of 42 m (138 ft). Sponge divers retrieved several statues and other artifacts from the site. The mechanism itself was discovered on May 17, 1901, when archaeologist Valerios Stais noticed that a piece of rock recovered from the site had a gear wheel embedded in it. Examination revealed that the "rock" was in fact a heavily encrusted and corroded mechanism that had survived the shipwreck in three main parts and dozens of smaller fragments. The device itself was surprisingly thin, about 33 cm (13 in) high, 17 cm (6.7 in) wide, and 9 cm (3.5 in) thick, made of bronze and originally mounted in a wooden frame. It was inscribed with a text of over 2,000 characters, many of which have only just recently been deciphered.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of a part of the Antikythera mechanism

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