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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-07

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Rhodes will be the seat of UNESCOās Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre
  • [02] Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling says net profits down 74% in Q1
  • [03] Cosmote raises market share to 43 pct
  • [04] Greenpeace: Green growth to boost economy, job market
  • [05] Green 'New Deal' Conference
  • [06] Gov't cites oil exploration goals
  • [07] Greek inflation at 1% in Apr

  • [01] Rhodes will be the seat of UNESCOās Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre

    The city of Rhodes, the capital of the southeastern Aegean island of Rhodes, will be the seat of UNESCO's Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre and the founding act will be signed on Friday in a special ceremony to be attended by prominent figures from Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, Israel, Romania, France, Belgium, the United States and Turkey.

    The centre will be temporarily housed at the Medieval City of Rhodes until the Rhodes Mansion is completely restored to be its permanent headquarters.

    The Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre will undertake to organize European and international meetings and conventions on cultural heritage, cultural relations and environmental protection.

    [02] Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling says net profits down 74% in Q1

    Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling on Thursday reported a 74-pct drop in first quarter net profits to 7.0 million euros, with net earnings per share at 0.02 euros, down 75 pct compared with the corresponding period in 2008 and net operating earnings fell by 41 million euros.

    The volume of sales rose 3.0 pct to 441 million unit cases, down 4.0 pct from last year, while income was almost unchanged at 1.374 billion euros in the January-March quarter.

    Doros Konstantinou, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottlingās chief executive, commenting on the figures, said the group faced difficult trading conditions in some of its markets, reflecting constant challenges in the global economic environment, although he stressed that the group managed to raise its market shares.

    Konstantinou said it was difficult to predict short-term trading conditions and noted that the groupās strong capital structure, combined with new initiatives would further enhance its competitive position.

    [03] Cosmote raises market share to 43 pct

    Cosmote on Thursday reported 518,000 new subscriptions in the first quarter of 2009, the largest number in any quarter over the last three years, raising its total customer base to 8.4 million, up 29 pct compared with the same period in 2008.

    The mobile telephony operator said its market share rose to 43 pct.

    Cosmote said income rose 4.4 pct to 443 million euros, although EBITDA fell 6.8 pct in the first three months of 2009.

    In Greece, Cosmote said EBITDA margin fell by 4.5 percentage points to 36.9 pct in the first quarter, compared with the corresponding period last eyar, while in Romania, EBITDA was 13 million euros, after losses of 7.7 million euros in the first quarter of 2008 and EBITDA margin was 13.3 pct. In Bulgaria, Globul's EBITDA rose 2.7 pct to 41.4 million euros, while in Albania, AMC's EBITDA margin fell by 2.4 percentage points to 62.1 pct.

    [04] Greenpeace: Green growth to boost economy, job market

    Green growth was the only solution for emerging from the current economic crisis and would simultaneously help protect the climate and the planet's environment, according to a report presented in Athens on Thursday by the environmental organisation Greenpeace.

    The report drawn up by environmental expert and former executive director of Greenpeace Greece Stelios Psomas estimated that green development could help create between 256,000 and 403,500 jobs in Greece by the year 2020.

    Of these, between 98,000-155,000 would be full-time "green jobs" in the energy, construction, recycling and farming sectors and the remainder would be created indirectly throughout the economy by boosting consumption.

    The report called for a new employment policy, especially in the renewable energy sources sector, while pointing out the promising opportunities offered by activities like alternative waste management, organic farming and eco-tourism.

    It also pointed to the ever greater share of the labour market occupied by "green energy," with the sector currently employing roughly 2.5 million people worldwide at present (440,000 in wind energy, 190,000 in photovoltaics and 650,000 in solar energy) and more than a million currently involved in the bio-fuels sector.

    [05] Green 'New Deal' Conference

    Enterprise and protection of the environment can go hand in hand, Greek Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis stressed on Thursday while delivering the opening address at the annual CEO & CSR Money Conference on green development taking place in Athens, adding that this was the path that Greece should choose.

    Studies had shown that environmentally degraded areas did not attract investments, the minister pointed out, adding that the State had an obligation to create the appropriate legal framework and incentives for promoting green enterprise.

    He stressed that business firms must be made aware of the importance of sustainable economic activity, for the benefit of society as a whole but also themselves, and that consumers must reward companies that supported green growth by preferring their products.

    Outlining measures being taken by the Greek development ministry in this direction, Hatzidakis referred to upcoming measures to provide incentives for households to install photovoltaic systems, a planned new framework for investment in renewable energy sources (RES) and projects for promoting new RES technologies and their applications, such as making the islands of Aghios Efstratios and Nisyros fully energy independent and powered by "green energy".

    Another area stressed by the minister was energy conservation and improving energy efficiency in buildings, as well as efforts to link green development and enterprise.

    Other speakers included the director of the United Nations Environment Programme, economics and Trade Branch Hussein Abaza.

    Outlining the UN's environment policy, Abaza referred to the current global crisis and said this was linked to an increase in oil prices combined with a reduction in the available quantities of food and drinking water, which had recently developed into an economic crisis.

    He stressed that UN initiatives to promote green development regarded the environment as an opportunity, since investing in the environment helped to create jobs, created opportunities in the market, promoted trade and reduced poverty.

    Other Greek officials addressing the conference were ruling New Democracy MP and the chair of Parliament's special permanent Environmental Protection Committee Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who underlined the "huge" opportunities for promoting green development in Greece if the country could first trim the red tape and bureaucracy that plagued state-sector transactions.

    He spoke in favour of creating an autonomous environment ministry in Greece but stressed that its areas of authority and ranking relative to other ministries would b crucial.

    The need to cut down red tape was also stressed by main opposition PASOK's political spokesman for environmental issues Spyros Kouvelis, who called for a "rationalisation" of incentives for investors in this area and said that current laws essentially "punished" serious investors while rewarded those "out to make a quick profit".

    The speaker for the Greek Ecologists-Greens party Spyros Sgouros underlined the potential of the organic farming market in Greece, noting that this could also benefit the tourist sector.

    The one-day CEO & CSR Conference 2009, entitled "Government & Business forging a Green 'New Deal'," was organised by Money Conferences in exclusive collaboration with EuroCharity and took place at the Athenaeum Intercontinental hotel in downtown Athens.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of a wind turbine at the Aeolian park on Mount Panachaikos in the west Peloponnese.

    [06] Gov't cites oil exploration goals

    The government on Thursday announced the drafting of a new regulatory framework for the search and exploitation of oil, paving the way for a new era in oil exploration in the country.

    Announcing the plans, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis underlined the financial and geopolitical benefits resulting for the country from oil exploration, adding that Greece was currently paying 4.6 pct of GDP, more than 11 billion euros annually, for the purchase of oil and petroleum byproducts from abroad.

    He declined to make specific forecasts over the size of any hydrocarbon fields in Greek territory, although the president of the National Energy Strategy Council, R. Moisis, said that currently only 0.5 pct of crude oil consumption (around 120 million barrels per year) was drilled in Greece, stressing that the government's aim is for new exploration to begin by 2010.

    The new framework, expected to be voted on by Parliament by the end of the year, would include the creation of a Search and Development Agency, adjusting Greek law to Community regulations and introducing European environmental legislation and incentives to attract investments, in addition to launching a series of international tenders for oil exploration.

    [07] Greek inflation at 1% in Apr

    Greece's annual inflation fell to 1.0 pct in April, down from 1.3 pct in March, the National Statistical Service announced on Thursday. The statistics agency said the inflation rate, measured by the consumer's price index, fell 0.3 pct in April from March 2009, after an increase of 0.6 pct in April 2008 and attributed the 1.0-pct annual figures to a 5.5-pct rise in alcohol and tobacco prices, a 4.7-pct increase in education prices, a 3.9-pct rise in hotel-coffee-restaurant prices, a 3.3-pct increase in health, a 3.0-pct rise in clothing and footwear and a 2.8-pct rise in other goods and services.

    Prices, however, fell by 5.1 pct in the transport sector, 3.9 pct in housing and 0.5 pct in communications.

    NSS secretary general Manolis Kontopyrakis, commenting on the figures, said the 0.3-pct fall in the consumer's price index in April reflected a 7.6-pct drop in car prices.

    The core inflation was 2.1 pct in April, down from 2.7 pct in March.

    Kontopyrakis said the consumer price index was expected to fall by at least 0.3 pct in May because of lower milk prices and lower fuel prices.


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