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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-05-10

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Merkel: decisions after EU-IMF inspectors' report on Greece
  • [02] General strike on Wednesday
  • [03] Jail sentence for sprinters
  • [04] Greek stocks recover 

  • [01] Merkel: decisions after EU-IMF inspectors' report on Greece

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA - G. Pappas) In a message addressed to Greeks on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the benefits of strict adherence to the EU-IMF economic stabilisation programme for Greece.

    In a press conference for foreign correspondents, Merkel acknowledged the "brave efforts" made by the Greek government so far but emphasised the need to carry out the programme and the privatisations agreed.

    "We are aware that this is not an easy road," she said in a message to Greeks, while stressing her belief that the country would emerge stronger at the end.

    Replying to an ANA-MPA question, Merkel said that Greece was not "at the same place as a year ago" and noted that there had been a great many reforms and brave steps by the Greek government.

    "The municipal elections showed that the majority of Greeks support the government. We knew clearly that this will be a difficult road and that it will not last just a few months," she said.

    She pointed to the decisions of the European Council last March to reduce the interest rate "in exchange" for the Greek government's promise to carry out a privatisation programme amounting to 50 billion euro.

    Distancing herself from the rampant speculation in recent days that a Greek default was imminent, the German chancellor stressed that she would wait until the report of EU-IMF inspectors provided specific figures before stating a position or deciding "whether anything needs to be done".

    "We are not doing Greece any good by speculating wildly and I do not mean journalists, I speak as a politician," Merkel emphasised. "It is neither for the good of Greece nor for the good of Europe," she stressed.

    While giving assurances of Germany's solidarity on a Eurozone level, she noted that Greece's "willingness to return to the right path" was a condition for this solidarity. Merkel stressed the need to "rebuild the foundations correctly" in order to get out of difficulties and not simply show solidarity without any changes taking place in Greece.

    "We have a vital interest in having all European countries on the right economic path," she added.

    The Chancellor is due to meet European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Berlin on Wednesday and the head of the European Council Herman van Rompuy on Thursday.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [02] General strike on Wednesday

    ANA-MPA - A 24-hour nationwide general strike and a rally in central Athens has been declared on Wednesday, May 11 by Greece's largest umbrella trade union organisations in the private and public sectors, the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' union federation ADEDY.

    Also participating in the strike will be staff in state utilities and the broader public sector, bank workers, school teachers, staff in state hospitals and the ambulance service, local authorities and the media.

    The strike is expected to affect public transport, except during the hours when the rallies are being held, with work stoppages scheduled for the rest of the day. State health services will operate with a skeleton staff for emergencies only.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [03] Jail sentence for sprinters

    ANA-MPA - Olympic medallist sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, who won gold and silver medal in their respective events at the Sydney Olympics of 2000, were on Tuesday given suspended jail sentences of 31 months each for staging a motorbike accident in order to avoid a doping test. Their former coach Christos Tzekos was sentenced to 33 months for his involvement in the affair.

    Sentences between six and eight months in jail were also handed down to doctors at KAT hospital in Athens, who had the two athletes admitted for treatment after the alleged accident, and two alleged 'eye-witnesses', who were given sentences of seven and 15 months.

    All the jail sentences were suspended pending appeal.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [04] Greek stocks recover

    Greek stocks recovered on Tuesday after a six-day decline in the market which pushed the composite index 5.91 pct lower. The composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange rose 1.44 pct to end at 1,369.30 points, with turnover at 97.645 million euros.

    The Big Cap index jumped 2.29 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.51 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 2.15 pct. Alpha Bank (9.30 pct), National Bank (6.99 pct), Eurobank (5.90 pct) and Hellenic Postbank (3.42 pct) were major gainers among blue chip stocks, while Jumbo (1.64 pct), MIG (1.47 pct) and Coca-Cola 3E (1.38 pct) were major losers.

    The Banks (5.36 pct), Media (3.83 pct) and Raw Materials (2.52 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Food (1.28 pct) and Commerce (1.13 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 95 to 50 with another 50 issues unchanged. Vovos (18.52 pct), Alpha Grissin (10 pct), Techical Publications (9.68 pct) and Sfakianakis (9.52 pct) were top gainers, while Koumpas (11.11 pct), General Commerce (8.70 pct) and Pegasus (8.57 pct) were top losers.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

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