|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-09-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 26 September 2007 Issue No: 2707
 PM chairs meeting on recovery of fire-ravaged areasPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday chaired a high-level meeting focusing on planning for the recovery of areas ravaged by August's massive wildfires. According to ministers attending, priority in the coming months will be given to the rebuilding of destroyed homes and farm buildings, protection against flooding and soil erosion and preparing environmental studies for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the burnt areas.
Taking part in the meeting were the interior, economy, defence, development, environment and agriculture ministers, all of whom will be involved in various aspects of the recovery effort, as well as the head of the newly established solidarity fund for the areas' reconstruction, former foreign minister Petros Molyviatis.
Molyviatis later announced that 149.6 million euros have so far been collected by the fund, which would give priority to the free rebuilding of destroyed homes, as per the prime minister's instructions.
This was confirmed by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias, whose ministry will be involved in all areas of reconstruction and rehabilitation, who said that "The state, also via the Solidarity Fund, will provide everything needed to rebuild the houses that have been recorded [as damaged] for free."
"In total there are about 1,100 houses that have been completely destroyed and about 800 that have suffered partial destruction in the Peloponnese, in Evia and Attica," the minister said.
He also noted that the fires had claimed a large number of storage sheds and buildings for other uses, such as stables and sheep pens. According to Molyviatis, these would also be rebuilt for free.
Outlining the results of the meeting, Souflias said there had been an overview of the "several and complex problems involved" and stressed that the government had "a long road ahead of it".
According to Souflias, all the immediate measures that were necessary had been carried out at once but there was still a great deal to do for the implementation of medium-term measures and for the overall economic and environmental reconstruction of the fire-ravaged regions.
Among such medium-term measures, he listed the construction of works to protect against flooding and soil erosion, that were currently underway in all prefectures.
Souflias reported that the government had already begun to carry out environmental studies and reforestation studies and also announced that the army's geographical service would begin taking aerial photographs of the burnt areas on Wednesday, after fixing an earlier malfunction in the relevant systems.
According to the minister, environmental studies could begin once a record of the areas due for reforestation had been made and were expected to be completed by November at the latest. He said these would deal with broader plans that included all the measures needed in order to boost the area's economy and construct necessary infrastructure.
He also stressed that the two major highways destined to be built through the areas will create much better conditions in the future for the region's development.
Noting that achieving the above targets would require a constant effort by all levels of government, Souflias announced that Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos will be visiting fire-ravaged areas in order to arrange cooperation with prefecture and municipal authorities toward this end.
Rebuilding work to go to local firms, minister says
In response to questions, Souflias clarified that money for the rebuilding of destroyed homes would be given directly to the fire victims themselves, rather than awarding a contract to a big construction firm through tenders, so that local construction firms would get the jobs.
He said the amounts given would be based on the size of the owner's previous home and the size of their family. If a family with four children were living in a small home, for example, they would receive additional money to build a larger home than their previous one, the minister clarified.
The money will be paid out as the building work progresses, while the government would also establish construction and aesthetic criteria, such as having tile roofs or preventing solar water heaters from jutting out above the roof. Home owners will also be able to choose between three-four different house designs prepared by the ministry for each size of home, he added.
 Interior minister to visit wildfire-affected regions in view of winterInterior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos will visit next week the wildfire-ravaged prefectures of Ilia, Arcadia and Evia so as to hold meetings for the better coordination of the state apparatus in view of winter.
This was decided at a meeting at the Maximos Mansion on Tuesday, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Pavlopoulos will visit Pyrgos, Tripoli and Halkida with the objective the best possible cooperation between the police and the fire brigade so that there will be no incidents from the possibility of extreme weather conditions in the regions which were affected by the summer's wildfires.
 FM meets U.S. Under Secretary of State: Time for progress on FYROM name issue, Burns urgesNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/N.Melissova)
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met in New York on Monday evening (Greek time) with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, a former US ambassador to Greece, on the sidelines of the 62nd UN General Assembly session, with talks focussing on developments in the Balkans, with emphasis on the issue of Kosovo, and the Cyprus problem. They also discussed the Middle East, Greek-Turkish relations, and EU-Turkey relations.
"The time has come for progress on the FYROM name issue," Burns said, adding that, for this purpose, the two countries must devote themselves to constructive and productive negotiations.
"This is our message to Skopje, and the spirit of our meeting today with the (Greek) foreign minister," Burns said in statements after his 70-minute talks with Bakoyannis.
On the FYROM name issue, Burns noted that the US have always backed the negotiations taking place under the auspices of the United Nations, adding that the two countries -- Greece and FYROM -- must devote themselves to constructive and productive negotiations, and stressing that "this is our message to Skopje and the spirit of our meeting today with the foreign minister".
"We wish to exercise our influence and urge Skopje, as we do with Athens, that the time has come for progress, and I believe that Ambassador (Matthew) Nimetz (the UN special mediator on the FYROM name issue) is an effective negotiator and that the process will progress," Burns said.
The US official said he and Bakoyannis also discussed Kosovo, "where the US and Greece are working towards finding a solution that will be goo for the Balkans and for Europe", stressing that Greece is a strong ally and that "we are very good friends, and have a relationship of trust with the Greek government".
On the Cyprus issue, Bakoyannis said that she outlined Greece's positions in favour of the Gambari process and its speedy advancement.
"We had a very good discussion on the Cyprus issue. I look forward to my meeting with (Cyprus) President (Tassos) Papadopoulos on Wednesday (on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly), and I very carefully listened to the foreign minister's (Bakoyannis) advice. The US hope that progress will be made and that the UN will restart the process," Burns said.
On the Middle East, he said that advancement of the peace process, with the organisation of an international conference, was in the common interest and that the US was working in that direction.
Burns and Bakoyannis further discussed the prospect of Greece's inclusion in the US visa waiver programme, on which the Greek foreign minister said that "substantial progress" has been made.
 Greece reacts strongly to stance of Skopjan UN General Assembly presidentGreece reacted strongly on Tuesday to the stance of the UN General Assembly's President Srgjan Kerim from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said in a statement that "Mr. Kerim, with his stance today, acting on the intsructions of his government, harmed irreparably and for as long that he will be exercising his duties, his prestige and credibility as President of the General Assembly of the UN, since he did not respect Resolutions of the very body that he is presiding over as well as of the Security Council of the Organisation that he has been summoned to serve," adding that "the unacceptable stance of Mr. Kerim confirms the provocative intransigence of the government of Skopje" and "confirms Greek argumentation."
The incident occurred in the UN General Assembly's auditorium when Kerim addressed FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski three times as president of the "Republic of Macedonia."
Koumoutsakos further said that "Greece will not follow. This is necessitated by the responsible position that it has as the oldest member of the European Union and of NATO in the region," while stressing that "the responsibility for the repercussions of this intransigence will belong entirely to the government of Skopje."
Greece's permanent representative at the UN, ambassador Ioannis Mourikis, intervened and reminded Kerim that, according to Security Council and General Assembly resolutions that he presides over, FYROM is a member of the UN as FYROM.
 FM Dora Bakoyannis holds talks with EU's Ischinger, AbbasNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis held extensive talks with European troika mediator on Kosovo Wolfgang Ischinger here on Tuesday, three days ahead of the crucial direct meeting between the representatives of Belgrade and Pristina, on the sidelines of the 62nd UN General Assembly.
The discussion focused on an in-depth analysis of the situation and the prospects existing for the region were probed.
The foreign minister then held a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the Middle East question, with emphasis being placed on the Palestinian issue.
The Greek side reiterated its support to the efforts of President Abbas and expressed hope that the initiative for the holding of an international conference, scheduled before the end of the year, will produce a substantive result.
With these meetings, Bakoyannis concluded her visit to New York that took place in the framework of the UN's 62nd General Assembly.
 PM confers with Macedonia-Thrace ministerPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Tuesday with new Macedonia-Thrace Minister Margaritis Tzimas.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Tzimas said that he briefed the premier on ministry-related issues, underlining the PM's firm commitment that 82 percent of the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF) funds earmarked for Greece will be absorbed by projects in the regions of Macedonia and Thrace, with the purpose of improving the local population's quality of life.
Tzimas also stressed the positive impact the 4th CSF will have on the region's prefectures, adding that the Thessaloniki innovation zone and the Egnatia Odos national motorway projects are in full progress.
 New Parliament to open on Wednesday, deputies to take oathThe new Parliament issued from the September 16 general elections will be opening on Wednesday and deputies will be taking the oath anticipated by article 59 of the constitution.
The deputies of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) are expected to abstain from the oath ceremony and table a written statement of objection to the religious oath, while the deputies of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) will request to take the oath "on their honour and conscience."
Elections for the Parliament's directorate, meaning the president, five vice presidents, three rectors and six secretaries, will be taking place on September 27. Dimitris Sioufas has been proposed by the ruling New Democracy party and is expected to be elected Parliament President.
Out of the members of the directorate, the 4th vice president, one rector and one secretary will come from the main opposition party and the fifth vice president and one more secretary from the second strongest opposition party.
The reading of the government's policy statements by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will take place on Friday, September 28. The debate on the policy statements will take place on Saturday and Sunday and will come to an end at midnight on the same day, with a vote of confidence for the government.
 Leftist party presses for secular oath during Parliament swear-in ceremonyThe head of the Radical Left Coalition (Syriza), Alekos Alavanos, on Tuesday informed the acting Parliament president that the leftist coalition's 14 newly elected MPs want to be sworn-in with a secular oath, instead of the religious oath traditionally employed for parliamentarians.
In a letter to acting Parliament president George Sourlas, Alavanos again reiterated his party's position in favor of a distinct separation of Church and state, while charging that the current religious oath violates the constitutional provision enshrining freedom of religion, as well as the European Treaty for protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
"We, the elected representatives of the Greek people, consider that we represent Greek citizens of all religions and faiths; people that are atheists and citizens that refuse to declare their religious beliefs As such, we would like to inform you that the deputies of the Radical Left Coalition will swear on the following oath in Parliament: 'I swear on my honor and conscience that I will be faithful to my country and the democratic system (of government), that I will obey the constitution and laws and conscientiously fulfill my obligations."
 Third of Parliament comprised of new deputiesA third of Parliament is comprised of new deputies, following the September 16 general elections.
Ninety-five of the 300 parliamentarians did not participate in the sessions of the previous Parliament. However, nine of them had been deputies in the past. Furthermore, 15 members of the previous Parliament did not take part in the September 16 elections.
The average age of the deputies is 52-53, while in their professional capacity, the majority are lawyers (65), doctors (36), economists (32) journalists (23) and academics (19).
Men prevail in Parliament by 5/6. Just 49 women were elected in Parliament, although they are more than in 2004 (37), and in 2000 (24).
 PASOK leader to address Parliamentary Group on WednesdayMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou will be addressing the party's Parliamentary Group on Wednesday, the day on which Parliamentary deputies will be taking their oath.
Meanwhile, National Council secretary Nikos Athanasakis has sent a circular to party organisations calling for a start to relevant procedures regarding the assessment of the election results, cautioning members and cadres that the procedures "must not remain introversive."
Athanasakis noted that procedures must begin immediately at local, prefectural and regional level to enable Regional Committees to send their assessment to the Assessment Committee by September 28 in light of the National Council meeting on October 6-7.
He also added that in the elections "despite the considerable losses of the New Democracy party, PASOK also registered great losses since we did not succeed in incorporating the social forces that rejected government policies," while pointing out that "we sustained a painful defeat and we must discuss it seriously and responsibly."
Consultations are continuing in PASOK ahead of the election of the party's leader on November 11 and Papandreou is preparing himself for the first Parliamentary confrontation, in the wake of the elections, in the framework of the government's policy statements at the end of the week.
 New, expanded television frequency chart presentedAn allocated television frequency chart to be employed for Greece's transition to the digital era was presented in Athens by the two relevant ministers on Tuesday.
Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos, new Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Athens University Professor Christos Kapsalis noted that until now Greece lagged far behind most west European countries in digital technology.
The restructuring, Roussopoulos said, will rectify the situation and provide Greek television viewers with better services and improved audiovisual quality.
In May 2006, Greece acquired the right of use for a total of 2,500 frequencies, 357 of which are digital, he noted, adding that only 137 analog frequencies had been acquired between 1961 and 2006.
Responding to a question on which television stations will acquire new frequencies, Roussopoulos said there are only eight national frequencies allocated to private broadcasters, whereas licensing decisions are made by the Greek National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV), an independent authority that supervises and regulates the radio-TV sector.
A number of frequencies will be available telemedicine, telecommerce or other services, Roussopoulos said, adding that viewers will have access to electronic media information or movie banks, while the digital television programme could be viewed via mobile phone.
Digital technologies, merchant marine, and tourism will be the three pylons on which the country will be based to take the leap to the new era, Transport Minister Hatzidakis pointed out, while expressing a view that more job positions will be created as a result.
Finally, Prof. Kapsalis presented the new chart and outlined the necessary prerequisites for television stations in Greece to be able to broadcast digitally by 2015
 Education minister orders sixth-grade history book withdrawnA controversial history book for the sixth year of Greek primary schools is to be withdrawn and replaced by the old history book, recently appointed Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis announced on Tuesday.
The minister said the decision was reached after the Educational Institute expressed grave reservations regarding the content of the amended version of the much-criticised school text book.
In the meantime, Stylianidis has given orders to reprint the old history text book and hand it out to this year's classes, while at the same time arranging for a tender to choose the authors of a new history book for 11-year-olds.
Clarifying his decision, he also stressed that the younger generation could not become guinea-pigs for any kind of experiment.
The minister added that he intended to examine all outstanding issues at the ministry one at a time in order to give immediate solutions, while the appointments and transfers of teachers were expected to be complete by October 5.
Stylianidis' predecessor Marietta Yiannakou had steadfastly resisted demands for the withdrawal of the book but had finally agreed that it should be revised based on the recommendations of the Athens Academy. The revised version of the book was originally scheduled to be distributed in Greek schools at the start of the academic year but was never handed out, with the ministry claiming that it had been delayed by printers preparing election material.
The book in question was first distributed to classes in 2006 and was much criticised for the way it presented the role of the Church in the years when Greece was under Ottoman rule and during the 1821 war of independence, as well as its toned-down description of events like the Turkish attack on Smyrna - present-day Izmir - in which tens of thousands of Greeks were forced to flee and thousands were killed.
Reacting to the decision for the book's withdrawal, the opposition parties in Parliament accused the government of courting the extreme right expressed by the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party and stressed that it had deliberately misled Greek voters in the run-up to the elections regarding its intentions.
According to main opposition PASOK spokesman Yiannis Raggousis, the decision just a few days after the elections fully confirmed that the statements made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at the Thessaloniki International Fair regarding the fate of the book had been untrue.
"This is the same Karamanlis government that is not just incapable of 'printing' a book but on an issue of particular importance operates on the basis of political cost rather than its responsibility toward the younger generation and the future of the country," Raggousis added.
He also noted that Stylianidis and the government appeared to be "hostages of a political viewpoint that leads to the past and has been repeatedly expressed by LAOS".
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said the withdrawal of the book would not end efforts to alter the contents of books at all levels of education in an unscientific, anti-educational and pro-imperialist direction.
For the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the decision signaled the government's desire "in its first steps to give an appearance of New Democracy-LAOS co-government" and the desire of the new education minister to "present credentials of extreme right-wing orthodoxy in comparison with his predecessor".
It said the decision to withdraw the book was not based on the observations made by the academic community but taken under pressure from nationalist and religious fundamentalist circles and inspired by political expediency.
According to the party, the rejected book would join other history books that, through their withdrawal, had over the years confirmed the imposition of a establishment, conservative attitude toward the way history was written but also toward history itself.
 Speculation over commencement of social security dialogue sparks opposition reactionThe expected commencement of a government-led dialogue focusing on crucial reforms for the country's creaky social security system generated the first barrage of political reactions on Tuesday, as the re-elected Karamanlis government is expected to unveil its policy programmes in Parliament debate over the weekend.
On its part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) sharply criticised the government for what it called "intended moves" aimed at settling the pending social insurance issue.
KKE warned wage-earners against "any expectations or deceptions vis-a-vis to foregone measures that will not benefit them, but only target social security rights."
KKE accused the government of implementing EU Directives on retirement age increases, pension cuts, greater contributions and worker rights' violations, while calling for the abolition of "anti-popular" social security laws passed under ND and PASOK governments since 1992.
Meanwhile, the country's largest civil servants' union, ADEDY, warned of mobilisations against any attempt to undermine, as it said, social security and pension rights by extending retirement ages and changing the method of calculating pensions.
In a statement, ADEDY said the union will not accept any dialogue based on these two plans, and noted it will fight to re-instate slashed rights.
 PASOK spokesman on social security issueMain opposition PASOK party spokesman Yiannis Raggousis, commenting on the social security issue on Tuesday, said that the "secret agenda of the (Prime Minister Costas) Karamanlis government is opening gradually along its entire width, proving why the New Democracy party did not submit an election programme."
"The process that it is opening in an irregular way and with the head of the 'Wise Men's Committee' as a vehicle, that the government itself had created, has a result which has been decided in advance. The aim is to annul the social character of social security and cover up the unacceptable management of the Social Security Funds so far, both with the scandal of the structured bonds and with the upsurge in contribution evasion," the spokesman said.
"The government must stop pretending to be Pontius Pilate, open dialogue in a sustained manner, table its proposals on the social security issue with clarity and, of course, first of all, to meet its commitments towards the Social Security Funds in full," Raggousis further said, adding that PASOK "in any case, will stay by the side of the working people and will struggle with them with its integrated proposal as the criterion, which the Karamanlis government has been pretending ostentatiously to be unaware of for over two years."
 Venizelos on social insurance issueMain opposition PASOK MP and aspiring party leader Evangelos Venizelos characterised as "provocative" the way the social security reform issue is being handled by the newly re-elected Karamanlis government.
"Fear -mongering practices and threats make the people feel insecure and create an early retirement wave, with a negative effect on the rights of the insured and the insurance funds themselves," he said.
Venizelos said PASOK will not acquiesce to any laws that will curb social security rights without offering a long-term solution for the entire system.
 FinMin, BoG governor discuss gov't's economic prioritiesEconomy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Tuesday met with Bank of Greece governor Nikos Garganas to discuss economic developments and the Karamanlis government's economic policy priorities, ahead of the unveiling of the re-elected government's policy statements in the newly formed Parliament this week.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Garganas said discussion also included developments in the global economy, while he cautioned that those developments do not create cause for concern.
 New minister meets with Union of Greek ShipownersMerchant Marine and Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis on Tuesday met with the presidency of the Union of Greek Shipowners (ĹĹĹ) as part of a customary round of briefings with sector officials following the formation of the new government.
The meeting reaffirmed a common goal of promoting and resolving issues related with the development of a high-quality and competitive Greek shipping sector.
The Union was represented by Nikolaos Efthymiou, George Gratsos, Michael Handris, Leonidas Demetriades-Evgenides and Anastasios Papagiannopoulos.
 Transport minister meets Chinese deputy transport ministerNew Transport and Communications Minister Costas Hatzidakis met on Tuesday with Chinese Deputy Transport Minister Yang Limin with talks focusing on cooperation in the sectors of road transport, within the context of a Memorandum of Understanding which the two countries signed on September 2006.
The Greek minister also invited the Chinese side to participate in the development projects of trade centres in Greece, starting from Thessaloniki, central Macedonia, and then in Alexandroupolis, northeastern Greece and Igoumenitsa, western Greece, in the context of joint ventures between the public and private sectors.
 Cosmote's managing director resignsCosmote's board convenes on Wednesday to accept the resignation of the company's managing director Evangelos Martigopoulos.
As noted in an announcement by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) at the Athens Stock Exchange, the reasons for Martigopoulos' resignation are related to his differences with Cosmote's main shareholder, OTE, on issues of strategy.
 Ag minister meets with French envoyNew Agriculture Development Minister Alexandros Kontos on Tuesday met with French ambassador to Greece Christophe Farnaud, with the meeting focusing on the upcoming visit of French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier to Athens on Oct. 8.
Additionally, the issue of France's possible contribution to the recovery of fire-ravaged areas of southern Greece was discussed.
 European Parliament plenum ratifies report on sugar sector restructuringPARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)
The European Parliament plenum has approved an improvement of the status concerning sugar sector restructuring, ratifying a relevant report by Greek PASOK party Eurodeputy Katerina Batzeli on behalf of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
The purpose of the restructuring effort was to restore the balance in the sugar market and had begun in February, 2006. Its aim was to decrease production by 10 million tons by the year 2010.
The timetable anticipated a decrease in the region of six million tons, that should have been achieved by now. However, the measures were evidently inadequate and the decrease achieved only amounted to 2.2 million tons.
In an effort to persuade producers to proceed with a decrease in production, the Batzeli report proposes an increase in the restructuring subsidy from 218.75 euros to 625 euros for the 2008-2009 trade period.
 Greek merchandise trade deficit up 16.7 pct in Jan-July, yr/yrThe Greek trade deficit jumped by 34.2 percent in July to a total of 3.229 billion euros, compared with 2.407 billion euros in the corresponding month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Tuesday.
The statistics service said that the value of export-deliveries totaled 1.446 billion euros in July, up 5.5 percent from 1.370 billion euros in July 2006, while the value of export-deliveries (excluding oil products) rose 7.1 percent over the same period.
Excluding oil products, the trade deficit rose by 29.8 percent in July.
The statistics service said the value of export-deliveries in the period from January to July totaled 9.887 billion euros, from 9.499 billion euros last year, for an increase of 4.1 percent, while excluding oil products the value of exports rose 5.3 percent.
The value of import-arrivals in January-July 2007 totaled 31.021 billion euros, from 27.609 billion euros last year, for an increase of 12.4 percent, while excluding oil products the value of imports rose by 17.5 percent.
The value of import-arrivals in July totaled 4.675 billion euros, from 3.777 billion euros in July 2006, for an increase of 23.8 percent, while excluding oil products imports were up 21.2 percent.
The trade deficit rose 16.7 percent in the January-July period to 21.135 billion euros, form 18.111 billion euros last year, whiel excluding oil products the deficit rose by 24.8 percent.
The statistics service said the figures covered only merchandise trade.
 Betanet signs 2.68-mln-euro contract in CyprusBetanet Group on Tuesday announced it had won a contract worth 2.68 million euros for the construction of a new tourist village in Mylouthkia, Paphos in Cyprus.
Under the contract, signed with Theodosiou (VIKLA) Sunset LTD, Betanet will build 10 two-storie apartment buildings and a main operation building in an area of around 6,000 sq.metres. The project is expected to be ready in seven months.
 Greek stocks end 0.15 pct higherGreek stocks moved slightly higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, ignoring a decline in most other European markets. The composite index rose 0.15 percent to end at 5,032.19 points with turnover a massive 670.36 million euros, of which 287.86 million were block trades.
The majority of sectors moved higher with the Insurance (9.01 pct), Food/Beverage (3.13 pct) and Utilities (1.56 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Oil (1.02 pct), Raw Materials (0.91 pct) and Healthcare (0.62 pct) suffered losses.
The Big Cap index fell 0.16 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.16 pct down and the Small Cap index rose 0.24 pct.
Viosol (16.67 pct) and National Insurance (13.64 pct) were top gainers, while Ideal (10.0 pct), Desmos (9.09 pct) and Elfico (5.95 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 134 to 118 with another 52 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.02%
Personal & Household: -0.40%
Raw Materials: -0.91%
Travel & Leisure: -0.13%
Food & Beverages: +3.13%
Financial Services: +0.58%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Marfin Popular Bank, National Insurance, OLP and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 24.54
Public Power Corp (PPC): 26.00
HBC Coca Cola: 38.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.84
Emporiki Bank: 20.52
National Bank of Greece: 43.90
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 25.10
Titan Cement Company: 36.08
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.481 billion euros on Tuesday, of which 766 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 715 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 515 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 0.34 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.61 pct and the German Bund 4.27 pct.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate rose to 4.25 pct from 4.15 pct on Monday, the two-day rate also rose to 4.25 pct from 4.15 pct, the one-month rate was 4.40 pct and the 12-month rate was 4.70 pct.
 ADEX closing reportFutures contract prices saw their discounts widen sharply during Tuesday's session in the Athens Derivatives Exchange, with turnover at 132.298 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.74 pct, while the September contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.64 percent.
Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 6,830 contracts, worth 89.663 million euros, with 29,477 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 396 contracts worth 12.906 million euros, with 1,152 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 8,805 contracts worth 14.693 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Intracom's contracts (1,106), followed Marfin Investment Group (976), PPC (1,140), National Bank (602), Marfin Popular Bank (751) and ATEbank (876).
 Foreign Exchange Rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.421
Pound sterling 0.705
Danish kroner 7.515
Swedish kroner 9.291
Japanese yen 162.53
Swiss franc 1.662
Norwegian kroner 7.868
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.425
Australian dollar 1.647
 'Cultural Year of Greece in China' debuts this monthBeijing will be host to an ambitious year-old series of events, entitled "Cultural Year of Greece in China" through the autumn of 2008, featuring various aspects of the east Mediterranean nation's modern culture and kicking off on at the end of this month with a concert in memory of opera diva Maria Callas.
The series of events officially begin on Oct. 19 with performance of Greek composer Stamatis Spanoudakis' new work "Alexander: Paths you haven't traveled". The Sept. 27, 2007 concert will feature noted mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa.
According to the culture ministry's leadership on Tuesday, events will include theatrical performances, cinema tributes, dance, archaeological and modern art exhibitions, opera, folk concerts, modern and popular music, conferences as well as book exhibitions.
Additionally, the Hellenic Cultural Centre will open in the centre of the Chinese capital for the next two years -- coinciding with Beijing's hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games -- where it is expected to host exhibitions, seminars as well as commercial events.
 Patriarch Theodoros II visits the Democratic Republic of CongoWays through which the Christian Orthodox Church can assist in the efforts made to solve the problems of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo caused by the 15-year-long devastating civil war that lasted until last year, were among the issues discussed in the meetings Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa had with the country's leadership in Kinshasa.
Patriarch Theodoros held meetings with National Assembly President Vital Kamerhe, Justice Minister Georges Minsay Booka, responsible for religious issues, and Senate President Kengo wa Dondo.
The Patriarch expressed gratitude for the assistance offered to the Orthodox Church of Africa, underlining that the Church supports the local population through its missionary work and the establishment of schools such as the recently inaugurated Kinshasa Seminary.
The Senate president, describing the state many regions in the country are in, stressed that people have no drinking water, no power supply, education or healthcare and underlined the enormous reconstruction effort made. Referring to the Greek community in the country, he commented that the "Greeks in Congo feel at home".
On his part, the National Assembly president also expressed admiration for the Patriarchate's efforts, underlining the Greek community's contribution to his country's progress.
 Conference on author Nikos Kazantzakis to take place on CreteA conference on world-renowned Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis will take place at Myrtia and Iraklio on Crete this weekend, starting on Friday morning and ending on Sunday evening. The conference is taking place under the auspices of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and marks the 50th anniversary since the author's death.
It is entitled "Nikos Kazantzakis and Cretan culture" and features 60 speakers from Greece and abroad that will address subjects divided into 12 thematic units and 14 sessions, as well as two round-table discussions.
 Greek firefighting assistance to FYROMGreece has sent two water-bombing aircraft to the Greek-FYROM borders near Lake Prespa to assist in firefighting efforts underway, in response to a request by the FYROM government.
According to the Greek Air Force General Staff, the two Canadair CL-415 aircraft have been taking part since 7:00 am on Tuesday in the efforts to extinguish a blaze burning at the Greek-FYROM border.
 Civilians arrest robber armed with air gunAn Albanian man will be taken before a public prosecutor on Tuesday to face a charge of armed robbery and inflicting injury, following his arrest by civilians. The man was caught by passers-by that witnessed the robbery that occurred shortly after midnight in the Brahami area in Athens. Another man believed to be his accomplice got away.
The Albanian is accused of attempting to hold up a kiosk with the threat of an air gun and shooting the owner when he resisted, causing him a slight injury. Witnesses that saw the attack gave chase and caught one of the robbers, whom they handed over to the police.
 Two passengers lightly injured in collision between car and busTwo people were lightly injured Tuesday morning in a traffic accident involving an OASA bus and a passenger car in Peristeri, Attica prefecture.
According to traffic police, the car rammed into the bus, carrying out the A-14 Athens-Nea Zoi route at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Aghiou Eleftheriou and Evgenidou streets in Peristeri.
When the bus driver exited the bus to exchange information with the car driver the bus rolled forward, ramming into a lighting pole, which in turn fell onto two parked cars.
Two of the three passengers on the bus suffered light injurieds in the accident, and were taken to the Thriasio Hospital in Elefsina for first aid.
 Illegals, traffickers arrested at EvrosA total of 33 illegal immigrants and seven traffickers were arrested by border guards at Evros, northern Greece, on Tuesday.
The border guards also confiscated three cars which the traffickers used to transport the illegal immigrants to Athens.
The illegal immigrants entered the country by crossing the Evros River by boat, while for their transportation, they each paid 6,000 dollars to the traffickers.
 Escaped convict recapturedPolice on Tuesday announced that an escaped convict missing since 1992 had been recaptured at Neo Iraklio in Attica on Monday afternoon. The 42-year-old fugitive, who had been sentenced to 14 years in prison for attempted manslaughter and robbery, had escaped from Tirynth jail on July 6 that year.
In the past 15 years, the man had remained in hiding on various Greek islands, where he had lived in rented rooms and worked in various seasonal jobs. In the last 20 days he had been in Athens, where he was found and arrested.
 Explosion at car dealership on CreteA powerful explosive device went off at 3:30 a.m. at an automobile representative's lot on the Iraklion-Moires national highway on the island of Crete.
The explosion, which caused panic in the vicinity, caused material damage but no injuries.
 Overcast on WednesdayOvercast weather with southerly, southeasterly winds are forecast throughout the country on Wednesday with wind velocity reaching 7-8 beaufort. Rain in northern and western mainland Greece. Temperatures will range between 9C and 29C. Partly clody in Athens, with light, southerly, southeasterly winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 29C. Scattered showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 26C.
 Cyprus Affairs Cypriot-Syrian FMs to address ship disputeNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and Syria, scheduled to meet on Wednesday in New York, will address a disagreement that broke out between the two countries, relating to the docking of a Turkish vessel at a Syrian port, which originated from the closed port of Turkish occupied Famagusta.
Acting Cyprus Foreign Minister Fotis Fotiou told the press Tuesday that he expects Damascus to reply to all three queries he had raised with them about last Saturday's incident.
Nicosia sought clarifications to see if the Syrian authorities have entered into an agreement with the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus, to find out if a representative of this regime had actually met Syrian government officials and whether Damascus intends to allow more ships, sailing off the closed port of Famagusta, to its shores.
"We have been told that the replies will be given to us today (Tuesday) but I would recommend patience until tomorrow when the Foreign Minister will meet with her Syrian counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York," Fotiou told the press on Tuesday.
Replying to questions, he said that on Monday he briefed President Tassos Papadopoulos about his meeting with the Charge D' Affaires of the Syrian embassy here.
"The President believes that we should wait for the outcome of the meeting in New York, which should clarify the situation with regard to Syrian moves on the matter," Fotiou added.
He said the government will wait and see and act accordingly.
The regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus is recognized only by Ankara and the UN have described it as Őlegally invalidÖ and called on all states not to facilitate it in any way and not to recognize any other state in Cyprus except the internationally recognized government of the Republic of Cyprus.
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