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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-28
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Papandreou in Davos for World Economic ForumANA-MPA/ Prime Minister George Papandreou will participate on Thursday and Friday in the World Economic Forum which is held in Davos, Switzerland.
On Wednesday, Papandreou met with Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos during which they discussed the economic policy the government intends to follow.
"I can say that I leave feeling much more optimistic," he told reporters, adding that Papandreou had made it clear that the government was determined and ready for action in the framework of the stability and development programme.
 Alternate FM in LondonLONDON (ANA-MPA/L. Tsirigotakis) - Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, who is in London to participate in the International Conference on Afghanistan on Thursday, took part in a roundtable discussion at the London School of Economics (LSE) on Wednesday on the prospects and positions of Greek foreign policy.
Droutsas explained the positions of the Greek government on Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue, developments in the Balkans and the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
After the discussion at the LSE, Droutsas held a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and on Thursday, on the sidelines of the Conference on Afghanistan, he will have bilateral meetings with the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates and with the Foreign Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Antonio Milososki.
On Thursday evening, Droutsas will be having a working dinner with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
 Batzeli and farmers fail to agreeAgricultural Development and Foods Minister Katerina Batzeli on Wednesday met representatives of northern Greek livestock breeders, while she also attended a conference by young farmers at a central Athens hotel.
In statements afterward, the government said that the attempt at dialogue did not yield results, with livestock breeders saying that they agreed with the ministry's programme for the market but not with the measures proposed to tackle their immediate financial problems.
Regarding young farmers, Batzeli announced the two last wave of farmers included in the programme would be unified and those eligible would receive funding of up to two million euros.
She once again appealed to farmers to behave responsibly and withdraw from roadblocks, making it clear that they will not receive direct funding from state coffers as they had in the past.
 Farmers abandon roadblocksSubzero temperatures and snowfall in Northern Greece forced protesting farmers to abandon their roadblocks on Thursday.
The Promachonas border post and railroad station are open. Egnatia motorway at the Kedryllia intersection opened at 6:30 a.m. due to heavy snowfall. Farmers said they decided to leave their posts in order to facilitate the snowgraders' work.
Moreover, Egnatia motorway on the section linking Serres with Kavala and the old national highway will remain open throughout the day.
Traffic is unobstructed at the Ormenio and Kipi checkpoints, although with farmers maintain their tractors lined up on both sides of the road.
 Alcohol market shrinkingANA-MPA/ ‘he alcoholic beverages market is steadily shrinking in greater Athens, a report by Icap Group stated on Wednesday.
The report said the market grew strongly in the mid-80s when local consumers, following European models, began replacing domestic products with other imported alcoholic drinks. Under intense conditions of international competition several Greek distillers and import companies came under the control of larger international groups.
Demand for alcoholic beverages is highly affected by consumer habits, which veered towards a healthy food and living standard in the last few years, a trend that apparently does not support demand for alcoholic beverages.
Prices, combined with available income by consumers also plays a decisive role in demand, while a special consumption duty on alcoholic beverages affects the selling price of a product and strengthens demand for other drinks with a lower alcohol content.
Domestic production of alcoholic spirits mainly involves ouzo, liquors and brandy, with exports dominated by ouzo products. The Greek market is steadily falling in recent years.
Whiskey accounted for around 40 pct of the market in 2008, followed by ouzo with a 25 pct market share, vodka, liquors and brandy, while gin and rum recorded smaller market shares.
Pre-tax profits fell 11 pct in 2007, while sales rose 7.0 pct in the same year, the report said for distillers, while importing companies reported a 5.0 pct rise in sales and a very big rise in pre-tax profits in the same year.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
Rumors of secret agreements between the Greek government and China for refinancing the state debt and the finance ministry's denial, and the abolition or merger of more than 200 public services aimed at reducing wasteful spending in the public sector were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Thursday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "List of the 200 state services that will be abolished or merged".
APOGEVMATINI: "Shocking revelation in parliament - According to deputy finance minister Filippos Sachinidis, a mammoth 5.5 billion euros fine (imposed on the 'Acropolis' stockbrokerage in 2007) was written off by the director of an Athens office of the Tax Bureau".
AVGHI: "Cold shower for the government and economy - Government at a loss in the wake of the unprecedented speculative attack".
AVRIANI: "Speculators blocked borrowing from China in order to continue their looting of the Greek economy - They set up unprecedented speculative 'games' at the expense of the Greek (10-year) state bonds, skyrocketing the spread to a historic high of 3.75 percent".
CHORA: "China Syndrome hits the government - International hubbub over (rumored) secret contacts with Beijing".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Papaconstantinou's (finance minister) gaffe cost us 420 million euros - Lethal consequences from the minister's 'games' with...Chinese investors".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "'Yellow' blow by speculators - Borrowing spread skyrockets via...China (to pre-EMU rate of 6.77 percent)".
ESTIA: "Greece drowning from the borrowing - We're celebrating while we should be crying".
ETHNOS: "5,500 euros salary ceiling for public sector executives - Pangalos (government vice-president) 'directive' for drastic cutback of expenditures".
IMERISSIA: "Storm hits bonds and stock exchange - Record high in spread, plunge in stocks".
KATHIMERINI: "Chinese 'acrobatics' in Athens - The statements on borrowing from Chinese investors skyrocketed the spread (of the 10-year state bonds to 373 base points from 299)".
LOGOS: "Foreign speculators continue to 'hit' at Greece - Finance ministry denies rumors of Chinese interest in the state bonds".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "China Syndrome hits bonds, stocks".
NIKI: "The last stronghold - National unity needed in the difficulties ahead".
PONTIKI (weekly): "The government 'flies at 6,000 euros per hour - 1.1 million euros for the governmental VIP airplanes‚ flights from October 5 to December 31".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Unified struggle of the public sector and private sector employees - Redeployment of the (workers') Movement, and people's counter-attack".
TA NEA: "Removal from the pedestal - ND (main opposition New Democracy) did not back Karamanlis (the party's former leader and ex prime minister) in the Siemens slush funds scandal".
TO VIMA: "China Syndrome 'doped' the speculators - Spreads reach record high".
VRADYNI: "Defenseless economy - Press reports in Britain put Greek stockmarket through...Chinese torture".
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