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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-29
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Retail sales turnover index down 11.3 pct in MarchGreek retail sales turnover index fell 11.3 pct in March 2009, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistical Service said on Friday. The statistics service said the index did not include fuel and car lubricants.
The retail sales volume index (turnover in fixed prices) dropped 13.8 pct in March, after an increase of 0.5 pct recorded in March 2008.
 Man arrested on child porn chargesA 50-year-old man was arrested on Friday in Naoussa, northwestern Greece, charged with possessing child pornography material.
Police announced that during a raid in the suspect's house, police officers found the material loaded in the hard drive of his laptop. Thessaloniki police are investigating whether the suspect is member of an child pornography ring.
 Amnesty International report presented"We are not only experiencing an economic crisis but also a crisis in human rights", the president of the Greek division of Amnesty International (AI) Katerina Kapernarakou said Thursday night, speaking at the presentation of the organisation's annual report. "Hidden behind the crisis is an explosive crisis in human rights. The economic recession has aggravated the (human rights) violations, turned attention away from them and multiplied the problems " she said.
Kapernarakou expressed worry over the impact of the immorality of the years, adding that "the repercussions of the economic crisis on human rights will be major. It is crystal clear that the governments not only did not impose fiscal and financial rules on markets but they also failed to protect the human rights, the livelihoods of their citizens".
"Inequality, as a by-product of globalisation" was not restricted only to the developing countries, she said, noting that the OECD report in OCtober 2008 indicated that even in the indurstrialised countries, the economic growth in the last decades mostly benefited the wealthy, rather than the poor. "The USA, the most wealthy country in the world, came in 27th place among the 30 OECD member countries with respect to the consolidation of poverty and the widening of the gap in the distribution of incomes," she added.
Specifically on Greece, the report said that the human rights' violations in 2008 impressed in a tragic way the major insufficiencies in the mechanisms of protection, defusion of social tensions, relief for the vulnerable groups, and the unhindered access to fundamental social benefits the just state. The currrent orientation towards suppression policies as the only weapon against tense social problems is forming a dangerous climate of polarisation and does not lead to solutions, the report said.
 KKE delivers protest to Interior minister on immigrantsA delegation of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), headed by the party's Central Committee member and Parliamentary representative Spyros Halvatzis, delivered a protest to Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Thursday concerning the issue of immigrants.
Halvatzis said afterwards: "Our delegation raised basic issues on immigrants with the Interior, Public Administration and Public Order Minister. Problems also related to the legalisation of immmigrants and to the attacks developing by law enforcement forces against immigrants. We discussed demands that the immigrants have and concerning places of worship and the cemetery which is essential for them. He reassured us about the mosque and the cemetery that these procedures are moving ahead and will move speedily. However, no matter how much the minister tried, we were not convinced that the measures being taken by the government to handle immigrants and particularly for the need for their legalisation or the issuing of legalising documents for presence in our country are moving or shall move."
 'World of Athens' tourist promotion campaignThe "World of Athens" facilities at London's Potters Field Park situated in front of the City Hall at Tower Bridge has attracted more than 280,000 visitors.
The Road Show aimed at further boosting the City of Athens' tourist promotion campaign, organized by the Tourism Development Ministry, the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) and the City of Athens Tourist and Economic Development Company launched its journey in London on May 22, while the second stop will be Paris on May 29.
The events were inaugurated last Friday with a special presentation of the City of Athens for guest Tour Operators, convention organizers, British journalists from major media among them, The Financial Times, CNN Travel magazine, Times magazine, The Guardian, The Rolling Stone.
The innovative 15-metre in diameter 'World of Athens" dome provides visitors with the opportunity to view images of the City of Athens with an emphasis on its history, culture, gastronomy and nightlife, learning more about ancient and modern Athens through the use of high technology. At night the outer surface of the dome is transformed into a huge screen visible from a great distance.
The inside of the dome was visited by roughly 18,000 people, 823 of which participated in a competition with a 4-day trip to Athens for two as a prize.
 Credit expansion rateGreece's credit expansion rate slowed further in April, despite the fact that banks offered more loans during the month, the Bank of Greece said on Friday. In a monthly report, the central bank said net lending to businesses and households grew to 561 million euros in April, from 374 million euros in March, although total bank lending grew by 10.2 pct in April, down from 10.8 pct in March and 15.9 pct in December 2008.
Net lending to enterprises totaled 446 million euros for an annual growth rate of 11.8 pct in April, from 12.2 pct in March, while lending to households totaled 115 million euros for annuual growth rate of 8.3 pct in April, from 9.2 pct in March. Mortgage loans recorded a growth rate of 7.8 pct, from 8.7 pct in March, while consumer loans also slowed to 9.8 pct from 10.9 pct over the same periods, respectively.
Loans to the manufacturing sector, however, was uncanged at last month's growth level of 9.0 pct, but down from a 15.8 pct growth rate in December 2008. Lending growth rates rose slightly to the shipping, electricity-gas-water and transportation sectors.
 ASE : Big riseEquity prices were rising on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 1.49 percent, standing at 2,343.49 points at 10:45 a.m., and turnover at 79.5 million euros.
Individual sector indices were moving upward across the board, with the biggest gains in Insurance, up 3.38 percent; Personal & Household Goods, up 2.38 percent; Food and Beverages, up 2.20 percent; and Travel and Recreation, up 1.98 percent.
The only losses were in Constructions, down 0.14 percent.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 1.51 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 0.89 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 0.66 percent.
Of the stocks moved, 138 were up, 54 were down, and 34 were unchanged.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Friday edition of Athens' dailies at glance
The political leaders' TV debate Thursday night ahead of the June 7 European Parliament elections dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Main opposition PASOK voters' libido increased by 62 percent, poll indicates - Where will the bogus polls' hilarity stop?
APOGEVMATINI: "Karamanlis is the master, he is irreplaceable".
AVGHI: "What the government is hiding, what PASOK is avoiding - Secrets and lies before the election".
AVRIANI: "The party leaders sent the citizens to the beach - The debate lacked substance and pulse, putting the viewers to sleep and increasing the tendency for abstention from the vote".
CHORA: "Karamanlis' supremacy in the TV debate - He won the impressions over the other political leaders".
ELEFTHEROS "Karamanlis 'pushes' former prime minister (PASOK) Costas Simitis for President of Republic".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Play for 5 roles - End of debates' era with parallel monologues".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Goodnight, but not again next year - The debate was a boring 2-hour show with one stage set and 5 monologues that did not enlighten us on anything".
ESTIA: "Nothing new from the political leaders in Thursday's TV debate".
ETHNOS: "Promise for change of page - Karamanlis in a glass tower - Debate without surprises".
KATHIMERINI: "Conventional monologues in the debate - The political leaders acknowledged the country's impasses but avoided proposing specific solutions".
LOGOS: "Parallel monologues - We 'refreshed' what we already knew".
NIKI: "Choose - The citizens listened to five parallel monologues from the political leaders".
RIZOSPASTIS: "A vote for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) is the answer to state-employers' terrorism".
TA NEA: "One apology and four monologues - Karamanlis on the defensive over the scandals and taxes".
TO VIMA: "Optimism prevails in the market after the rise in stock market indexes - Hope in USA and EU for recovery in the first quarter of 2009"
VRADYNI: "Rehearsal for national elections - Debate for Euroelections with only a small bit of Europe".
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