|Saturday, 16 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-21
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM: Historic chance to free country of burdensPrime Minister George Papandreou underlined on Thursday that "the country is amid an unprecedented crisis, which is the outcome of criminal policies exercised in previous years," speaking at an Economic and Social Policy Committee meeting.
He added that the government has a "historic duty to free the country from its burdens," adding that "there is no time to lose".
The prime minister said he called the committee to convene just a few days after the positive, in principal, reception with which the country's Updated Stability & Growth Programme was met on behalf of its EU partners, pointing out that the committee meeting sends out the message that "we are determined and want those changes to get underway immediately."
The Economic and Social Policy Committee and government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos will monitor the implementation of the stability programme.
Papandreou spoke of "unprecedented challenge", part of which is the immediate adoption of major reforms, stressing that the necessary measures will be taken with a sense of fairness and a special emphasis on the protection of small income earners and the middle class.
He underlined that the solution of the problems should be viable and not short-lived, pointing out that it is imperative to create new income, utilize the available resources, cut overspending in the public sector, restore transparency and trust in transactions and prove to taxpayers that their money are well-spent.
"The resetting of the economy will be achieved when the people realize the difference between yesterday and today in all sectors and when our work is measured in numbers and actions," Papandreou stressed.
 Man charged with Australian tourist's death sentenced to 22 1/2 years (recasts)A former bounder at a Mykonos club on Thursday was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for the 2008 killing of a 20-year-old Australian tourist, a ruling handed down by a court on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos.
The court commuted an intentional homicide charge against Marios-Sosipatros Antonopoulos, a bouncer at the now defunct "Tropicana" club at the time, of the fatal incident, to a charge of lethal bodily harm that resulted in the death of Doujon Zammit outside the nightclub
It also sentenced two other defendants to eight years and three months imprisonment, and to 7 1/2 years imprisonment, respectively.
The trial began on the island of Lesvos on January 14 after Greece's Supreme Court on December 8 rejected an appeal by the criminal case defendant against a lower appeals court ruling indicting him on intentional homicide charges in the death of Zammit.
Present in court were the victim's father Oliver and mother Rose and his two brothers, who flew to Greece for the trial, together with Costas Gribilas, who received Doujon's heart in a transplant after the parents donated the young man's organs after he was declared clinically brain dead.
The Zammit family has endeared itself to the Greek public, apart from the compassion for the unprovoked loss of their son, with their decision to donate Doujon's organs for transplant. Gribilas, who received Doujon's heart, postponed his honeymoon to be at the Zammit family's side during the trial. He recently married his sweetheart Poppy in Sydney, with Oliver Zammit standing as his best man.
 Greek bond market closing report(ANA-MPA) -- The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased to 291 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 294 bps on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 6.16 pct and the German Bund 3.25 pct.
Turnover in the market shrank to 875 million euros of which 420 million were buy orders and the remaining 455 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 205 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.24 pct, the six-month rate 0.99 pct, the three-month 0.67 pct and the one-month rate 0.43 pct.
 ¬ÔG vice-gov: Greek banks maintain profitability despite crisis(ANA-MPA) -- Greek banks have managed to maintain their profitability, although profits fell significantly in the past year, despite the effects of an international crisis, Eleni Dendrinou-Louri, vice-governor of the Bank of Greece, said on Thursday during a Financial Times‚ conference here, focusing on the future of the Greek banking system.
In her address, Louri underlined that Greek banks‚ liquidity levels were better off compared with other European countries, with the help of a state support program, while he expressed her optimism that liquidity will return to pre-crisis levels. She stressed, however, that difficulties still remained, adding the country‚s fiscal situation, and said banks should be very careful, maintain significant capital margins and adequate liquidity, while they should strengthen their risk management culture.
A reform of the banking regulatory framework was currently underway in a European level, integrating all significant lessons learned from recent developments, the Greek central banker said, underlining the significance of these changes as priorities for financial organizations.
Mario Nava, head of Unit Banking & Financial Conglomerates of the European Commission stressed the need for drafting a new more effective regulatory framework, emphasizing on the impact of banks operations in the economy and society.
Miranda Xafa, senior Investment Strategist & member of the advisory board, IJPartners, said the financial system has been affected by the crisis and stressed that soon banks must seek funding from capital markets as the ECB was gradually withdrawing support measures.
Gkikas-Hardouvelis, chief economist and head of research Eurobank EFG, underlined that the crisis highlighted the long-term problems of competitiveness and lack of fiscal discipline in the country, but noted that credit rating firms were exaggerating in their reports over the Greek economy. He predicted that 2010 would be a year of light recovery, with unemployment and bad debt problems still at the forefront.
Thanassis Panopoulos, Principal in PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the crisis highlighted the need the design new strategies introducing a new approach towards customers. "Banks must turn their investments to exploiting information over their customers", he said.
 Study: Tourism rebound in 2010Greek tourism will recover this year, with tourist arrivals expected to rise by 8.6 pct, compared with 2009, a survey by the Academy of Tourism Research and Studies (ATEM) stated on Thursday.
In its six-month report, ATEM projects that foreign tourists visiting Greece will reach 15.5 million in 2010, on the condition that the world's economy manages to exit the ongoing crisis, the price of oil hovers at around 80 US dollar per barrel and the euro/US dollar rate remains at around 1.45.
The group, however, said that its worse scenario envisaged a 1.7-pct growth in tourist arrivals this year, with the price of a barrel of oil at around 110 US dollar per barrel and the euro/US dollar rate at roughly 1.55.
 Stocks down in volatile tradingStocks ended slightly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, as technical buying offered support to the market during the late hours of trading. The composite index fell 0.81 pct to end at 2,013.90 points, after falling as low as 1,954.44 points during the session. Turnover was a strong 312.376 million euros.
The FTSE 20 index fell 0.69 pct, the FTSE 40 index dropped 2.14 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 2.21 pct down.
The Travel and Telecommunications sectors scored gains (4.01 pct and 2.07 pct, respectively), while Health (3.22 pct) and Technology (3.13 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 182 to 33 with another 27 issues unchanged. Paperpack (16.67 pct), Crown Hellas Can (9.78 pct), FHL Mermeren (8.43 pct0 and Interinvest (5.95 pct) were top gainers, while Elfico (18.58 pct), Texapret (16.67 pct), Mevaco (16.67 pct) and Progressive (13.64 pct) were top losers.
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