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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] PASOK leader calls for debate on economy
  • [02] Authorities say Cypriot student encouraged 'cybersuicide' pact
  • [03] Greek stocks end 2.28 pct down
  • [04] Foreign investors' participation in ASE up in April
  • [05] Regional airports report improved traffic in April
  • [06] Greek kiwi tree variety wins int'l recognition
  • [07] OTE profits up 89% in Q1

  • [01] PASOK leader calls for debate on economy

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou called for an off-the-agenda debate in parliament on economy-related issues, at political party leader level, in a letter submitted to the House president Dimitris Sioufas on Thursday.

    In the letter, Papandreou said that the country and the people were at a serious financial and political impasse due to the New Democracy government, which he accused of systematically concealing the true state of crucial indicators such as state revenues, expenses and borrowing needs.

    Unemployment was skyrocketing, there was a lack of serious programs for the unemployed, inequalities were widening, and sectors of the population were being marginalises, while wasteful spending and arrangements that constituted political favors for the powerful and "friends" were a further onus on the Greek people, Papandreou continued in his letter.

    Instead of advancing the materialisation of an integrated and credible plan for facing the crisis and setting the foundations for recovery of the Greek economy, the ND government was exhausting its actions with semi-measures of a pre-electoral nature and policies that were deepening the crisis, widening the inequalities and the impasses, wasting crucial resources and damaging the country's credibility, Papandreou charged.

    [02] Authorities say Cypriot student encouraged 'cybersuicide' pact

    A 28-year-old Cypriot student in Chicago has been reportedly identified as urging Facebook visitors to participate in a group suicide, according to SafeLine, a centre for safe internet charged on Thursday.

    His electronic traces were detected by the Electronic Crime Squad police in Thessaloniki in cooperation with Interpol and Cypriot law enforcement authorities, following a complaint by an anonymous internet user filed with the SafeLife hotline in Greece: www.safeline.gr.

    According to Thessaloniki police, the Cypriot student's parents were unaware of his actions, while he maintained that the creation of the specific Facebook group was a prank and not intended to encourage Internet users to commit suicide.

    [03] Greek stocks end 2.28 pct down

    Greek stocks ended a six-day rally at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, as a wave of profit taking in the last hour of trading reversed an early advance of prices. The composite index dropped 2.28 pct to end at 2,141.23 points, with turnover at 346.2 million euros, of which 13.2 million were block trades.

    Most sectors moved lower, with the Technology (8.36 pct), Health (8.22 pct), Raw Materials (5.23 pct), Constructions (3.50 pct) and Banks (3.44 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while, Food/Beverage (1.20 pct) and Travel (0.16 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index dropped 2.60 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 3.64 pct down and the FTSE 80 index fell 2.10 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 171 to 67 with another 35 issues unchanged.

    [04] Foreign investors' participation in ASE up in April

    Foreign investors raised their participation at the Athens Stock Exchange only slightly in April to 47.18 pct, up from 46.85 pct in March, although their participation was down compared with a 50.48-pct market share in April 2008.

    Greek investorsā participation in the market was 51.74 pct in April, down from 52.2 pct in March.

    Foreign investors recorded capital inflows totaling 321.44 million euros in April, while Greek investors were net sellers with capital outflows of 316.99 million euros. The number of active investor codes rose significantly to 68,357 in April, from 62.717 in March.

    Average daily turnover in April was 204.4 million euros, up from 118.9 million euros in March, but down from 345.9 million euros in April 2008. The Athens Stock Exchangeās capitalisation was 75.7 billion euros in April, up from 63.1 billion in March but down from 163.5 billion euros in April 2008.

    [05] Regional airports report improved traffic in April

    Greece's Civil Aviation Authority on Thursday reported a 10-pct increase in the arrival of foreign flights to regional airports in the country in the month of April, as well as an 8.0-pct rise in domestic flights arrivals in the same month, saying the improvement is the result of a decision taken by the transport ministry to suspend slot fees in Greece's regional airports.

    Rhodes (25.6 pct), Thessaloniki (18.0 pct), Irakleio (10.2 pct), Corfu (12.8 pct) and Hania (7.4 pct) recorded the biggest percentage increases in foreign flight arrivals in April, compared with the corresponding month last year. The suspension of airport slot fees will be valid until the end of September 2009.

    [06] Greek kiwi tree variety wins int'l recognition

    A Greek last name is slowly becoming a household brand in Europe, the United States, Latin America and even New Zealand in a most unlikely sector, namely, in describing a fruit than even native to the east Mediterranean nation.

    Specifically, the "Tsechelidis" kiwi is a new and improved tree variety characterised by higher yield and fruit weight, fruit uniformity and lower percentage of 'double', 'triple' and 'flat' fruits than the "Hayward" cultivar.

    The exclusive plant breeder's rights of the "Tsechelidis" variety belong to a company based in the village of Episkopi, near the town of Naoussa, Imathia prefecture of northern Greece.

    The variety is sporogenic and was created with a method used by researchers exclusively for the creation of new varieties and by many nursery gardeners for the creation of seedlings to be used in grafting cultivated varieties.

    The seeds used belonged to the "Hayward" variety. Thus, the new variety was developed from one seedling, the only one among those selected from the seedbed and transplanted to the orchard.

    This plant bore fruit for the first time in 1994. The characteristics of its fruit were so impressive that they immediately triggered interest for further study and follow up.

    For a period of ten years, the variety was reproduced in the same orchard with the "Hayward" variety. An observation base was created with numerous plants from both testifiers, while the cultivation activities for both varieties were similar.

    Observations conducted showed that the new variety has stable characteristics, which do not present degeneration, while giving an impressive advantage over the "Hayward" variety characteristics.

    The first application for the recognition of the new variety was submitted to the EU Community Plant Variety Office in France in December 2003. The same process was followed through the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) in the countries of its jurisdiction interested in kiwi cultivation. In parallel, the new variety's genetic identity was determined by the Agronomics School of the University of Volos (Thessalia, central Greece) using molecular DNA analysis. The results of the molecular analysis supported the uncontested differences between the two genotypes ("Tsechelidis" and "Hayward").

    The annual kiwi production globally is estimated at 1.3 million tons, with Greece's market share at 60,000 tons.

    ĮĶĮ-MPA photo

    [07] OTE profits up 89% in Q1

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) on Thursday reported an 89-pct increase in its first quarter consolidated profits to 266.7 million euros, up from 141.1 million euros last year.

    Operating earnings, pre-amortisations, fell 7.4 pct to 533 million euros, while EBITDA margin fell 0.8 percentage points to 36.6 percent, reflecting higher payroll spending, higher ad spending and third party payments.

    Operating profits jumped 84.9 pct to 442.8 million euros in the January-March period, although excluding the cost for a voluntary retirement program (201.9 million euros), operating profits fell by 9.3 pct to 255.2 million euros.

    Turnover fell 5.4 pct to 1.454 billion euros, reflecting lower income from fixed telephony operations in Greece and Romania. Investments in fixed assets rose 59.3 pct to 221.4 million euros, while Group debt was unchanged at last yearās levels (6.045 billion euros).

    Net borrowing fell 0.8 pct to 4.584 billion euros.

    Commenting on the results, Panagis Vourloumis, Hellenic Telecomās chairman and chief executive, said the groupās strength was put to the test early this year, but that the group was well prepared to deal with new challenges resulting from a negative economic environment.


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