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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-09-01
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Papandreou: 'The country is ungoverned'"The country is ungoverned and responsibility lies with the government," main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou stressed on Tuesday, while chairing a meeting of PASOK's Political Council.
"The citizens have lost patience and the solution for the country is to hold general elections," Papandreou underlined, noting that the suggested alternative of a government reshuffle will only serve to "recycle existing weaknesses".
According to Papandreou, the government had so far acted with its own petty political interests as its only guideline, in order to hold on to power, and could not now ask for consensus.
"The pre-election period has begun. The only thing we don't know is how long it will last," he noted, criticising Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for his failure to agree to PASOK's proposal for simultaneous general and European Parliament elections at the start of the summer, when there would be not extra cost for the country.
"The political battle before us is not a battle between two parties or between two leaders. It is a battle between two different perceptions about the future of our country," he added. The outcome would decide whether Greece will proceed to build on its comparative advantages or whether it would continue to demolish and consume the wealth it had built up, he said.
"[The government] not only did not continue the great work left by PASOK but destroyed the things we had created: prestige for Greece abroad, a strong economy, social state, institutions, structures and infrastructure," he claimed.
Papandreou warned his party officials that victory in the elections would be determined not just by the percentage of the vote but also by the extent that the party had prepared citizens to participate in the effort proposed by PASOK.
He particularly underlined the importance of economic policy, saying that the economy would "determine the political agenda" and that New Democracy's failure was largely due to its failure to manage the economy.
PASOK's answer to what he called the government's "last presence" at the Thessaloniki International Fair would be a political sally next weekend and to present a policy platform for the country's government, reorganising the economy and exiting from the crisis
"The current government is not concerned with the crisis the country is going through but only its own internal crisis. For this reason, the only solution for the country is to hold general elections," he stressed.
During Tuesday's session, PASOK's Political Council unanimously appointed a seven-member Candidate Selection Committee to pick candidates for the next general elections.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.
 Tenders for new ports in Igoumenitsa, PatrasThe government on Tuesday launched two tenders for completion of two projects to build new ports in Igoumenitsa and Patras.
The two projects, budgeted at 110 million euros and 186 million euros, respectively, are co-financed by EU funds as part of a 4th Community Support Framework programme.
An announcement by the ministry of public works, environment and town planning, said bids for both tenders will be submitted on Oct. 27, 2009 . The two projects are of major significance to Greece because the two ports are the countryÔs main gateways to Italy and western Europe.
 ┴ntonaros: PASOK responsible for prolonged pre-election climateďhe government spokesman on Tuesday again dismissed a barrage of press questions focusing on the ubiquitous "early election scenarios", a favorite political issue for most Greek media and one, along with reports of cabinet reshuffles, that climaxes before the annual Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), where prime ministers offer their state-of-the-economy address.
"I have nothing to say on this subject," spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said, while at the same time pointing to main opposition PASOK as the culprit behind the "early election-mongering".
"It (PASOK) is liable for the efforts at causing a prolonged pre-election period via an institutionally reproachable and unconstitutional manner, namely, attempts to force the holding of elections by using the issue of the president of the republic's re-election," Antonaros charged.
 KKE criticises EU memoCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Monday expressed her party's reaction to what she called the "anti-communist" campaign within the European Union to establish August 23 as a day equating fascism and communism, speaking during a rally and protest march to the EU liaison office in downtown Athens from the east Athens district of Kesariani.
She termed the EU memorandum "a modern-day anti-communist interstate memorandum, a forerunner and not merely a prelude to new violent and reactionary measures against the rights of working people in Europe and Greece ..."
 Industrial net profits up 9.6% in H1Only three out of 10 industries listed on the Athens Stock Exchange managed to present improved net results in the first half of 2009, according to a study based on published balanced sheets of listed enterprises in the market.
Listed industries' net profits grew 9.6 pct in the January-June period, but 70 pct of enterprises reported either lower profitability of higher losses, with one in two industries reporting losses in the first six months of the year. The study attributed the 9.6-pct increase in net profits to a spectacular recovery by the electricity utility Public Power Corp. (PPC), while excluding the electricity sector, Greek industries recorded a 30-pct decline in net profits.
The country's industrial sector is suffering more than any other sector of the economy from the international financial crisis, with sales falling by 20.1 pct in the first half to 19.28 billion euros, compared with 24.12 billion euros in the corresponding period in 2008.
Petro-chemical operators and producers Hellenic Petroleum and Motor Oil accounted for the biggest part of this decline, while only 21 pct of the total 108 enterprises included in the analysis managed to record higher sales. Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) grew 3.3 pct in the first six months of the year to 2.67 billion euros, while 23 enterprises recorded improved EBITDA with the remaining 85 reporting lower EBITDA. Another 29 enterprises reported negative EBITDA in the first half.
 OTE eyes workforce cutHellenic Telecommunications Organisation (¤ď┼) is considering a plan to cut its workforce by 2,000 and hire 500 new staff members, Panagis Vourloumis, OTE's chairman announced on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters in Thessaloniki, Vourloumis said the plan was not a mass voluntary retirement plan but a more focused approach based on a quality evaluation of the current workforce.
Under the plan, OTE would offer incentives to some of its 12,000 employees to voluntarily leave the telecoms and mobile telephony utility, although he noted that there was no timetable for implementing the plan.
Vourloumis said the global economic crisis has already cost OTE a "very difficult 12-month period" while he predicted more difficulties in the next 12-month period. He added that the company would focus on boosting broadband services and promoting Internet TV services.
He said OTE was already in talks with four municipalities (including Athens and Thessaloniki) to gain cooperation in implementing an ambitious project to bring vdsl technology to consumers, offering internet speeds of up to 24-50 Mbps.
Vourloumis said this project (fibre to the central line distribution boxes) could become the first step to implementing a wide-ranging project promoted by the Greek government to develop an optical fibre network to two million households in the country, budgeted at 2.1 billion euros (with OTE covering 20 pct of the budget).
 Stocks end 1.75% upGreek stocks rebounded strongly on Tuesday, after Monday's sharp correction, at the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index rose 1.75 pct to end at 2,509.52 points, with turnover shrinking to 194.7 million euros, of which 8.4 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved upwards, with the Banks (3.31 pct), Constructions (2.39 pct) and Personal/Home Products (2.07 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (2.88 pct), Media (2.38 pct) and Insurance (1.23 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE 20 index rose 2.37 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.32 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index fell 0.28 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 115 to 91 with another 55 issues unchanged.
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