|Thursday, 21 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-11-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 14 November 2007 Issue No: 2748
 Commission acknowledges Greek efforts towards fiscal consolidation, FinMin saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)
The European Commission on Tuesday acknowledged efforts by the Greek government towards fiscal consolidation, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis reiterated here.
Speaking to reporters after an ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, the Greek minister said the European Commission' s estimates regarding the Greek economy were positive, with growth rates exceeding other Eurozone levels and unemployment falling further in 2008 and 2009.
The EU' s executive acknowledged Greek efforts to reduce its structural deficit by at least 0.5 percent of GDP, Alogoskoufis added.
The ECOFIN meeting also discussed the Lisbon Strategy.
Commenting on the Greek programme, Alogoskoufis said it emphasised improved employment, boosting research and innovation and promoting digital technology in the country, particularly broadband services. He also noted that broadband access was below the European average in Greece, although progress has been made with access rates rising from 0.1 pct a few years ago to 7.5 pct today.
On the immigration issue, the EU's Economy and Finance ministers agreed that, in general, it contributed to European economy's dynamism, although illegal immigrants - mainly from third countries - were creating significant problems.
The Greek minister underlined that the burden of immigration for mainly Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, should be equally distributed among EU member-states.
Alogoskoufis said immigration positively contributed to Greek economy and would improve the social insurance system in the country under the condition that would-be immigrants are fully incorporated in the economy, whereas the immigration tide was controlled.
Finally, Alogoskoufis said EU member-states were facing difficulties in reaching an agreement on coordinating tax policies, while commenting on wage increases in the EU, he said differences existed among member-states, mainly because of differences in productivity.
 Almunia welcomes Greek commitment for reduction of structural fiscal deficitBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)
EU Monetary and Economic Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia expressed his satisfaction over the Greek government's commitment to reduce the country's structural fiscal deficit (the deficit not affected by external factors) by 0.5 percentage points of GDP in 2008, speaking at a press conference in Brussels late Monday following a meeting of the Eurogroup.
Almunia said that Greece, Italy, Portugal, Malta and Greece were the EU countries that needed to make more substantial efforts to meet the commitment of zero fiscal deficits in the eurozone by 2010. He stressed that Greece has set out a clear target -- through the draft 2008 state budget -- to reduce its structural deficit by 0.5 percentage points of GDP, and intimated that the other four countries must also undertake corresponding commitments.
Questioned on the content of his meeting earlier in the afternoon with Greek national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis, Alumunia noted that it had been their first meeting since the September 16 general elections in Greece, adding that they discussed the general state of the Greek economy, the government's intermediate targets, and the progress in the structural changes in the Greek economy, including such matters as reform of the country's social insurance and pension system.
Asked whether there was a difference in estimations by Brussels and Athens regarding the prospects of the Greek economy, Almunia said that the predictions of the two sides did not coincide exactly, but added that the differences were insignificant.
 Inner cabinet to discuss employment issues on WednesdayThe inner cabinet will meet on Wednesday with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in the chair in order to discuss issues related to the employment ministry, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos announced.
He said the cabinet meeting would be preceded by a meeting between the prime minister and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis earlier on Wednesday morning.
During the press briefing, the spokesman also referred to European Commission statistics predicting a steady drop in unemployment rates in Greece, which the EU sees falling from 8.4 percent in 2007 to 7.9 percent in 2008 and 7.5 percent in 2009.
"The efficiency of the government's policy is confirmed and the government will methodically and systematically continue its efforts, with targeted actions, to tackle unemployment and create jobs, especially for vulnerable groups such as young people and women," Roussopoulos said.
Regarding planned reforms of the pension system, Roussopoulos denied that the draft bill on this was scheduled to be tabled in Parliament in January and stressed that there was no such decision at this time, since the dialogue was still continuing and this would be unfair to the participants.
"The government is waiting and hopes for the participation of all bodies interested in the social insurance issue, which concerns citizens for the next 20 to 30 years. There has been no advance decision concerning the things mentioned in the press," he added.
Regarding the State's obligation to pay one percent of GDP by 2008 to the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA), the largest social insurance and pension fund in Greece representing a sizeable portion of the workforce, he said this was being fulfilled through the inflow of 1.5 billion euros, while the part concerning the period 2003-2008 was being carried out.
 Karamanlis confers with education minister on upgrading school infrastructurePrime Minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Tuesday with Education Minister Evripides Stylianidis, focusing mainly on improvement of school buildings around the country.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Stylianidis said a "creative effort" that had commenced some time ago was continuing, given that modern building infrastructure was necessary for education at all three levels, adding, in reply to a question, that the ministry has been recently decentralised and thus all the meetings with the regional directors were taking place outside Athens.
Stylianidis stressed that the end of 2012 was the target date for completion of upgrades of the building infrastructures that incorporate alternative forms of energy and allow both teachers and pupils to fulfill their missions. He said a large number of buildings were currently under construction, with a projected 1,033 kindergartens by 2012, of which 200 have already been completed, while 1,450 renovated halls have been added in the primary and secondary school sector. Commenting on sit-ins in high schools throughout the country, Stylianidis said the number was gradually declining, noting that the main reason for the decline was that "in a short time, we dealt with and solved the deficiencies in text books and teachers, and secured more funds for substitute teachers".
He said an ad hoc committee has already been set up at the ministry to develop a new system so that such deficiencies would not arise again in the next academic year.
 PM Karamanlis meets with ND parliamentary spokesmanPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday conferred with ruling New Democracy Parliamentary spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos for talks regarding the government's parliamentary work, including Constitutional Revision and institutional reform.
Panagiotopoulos said they discussed reforms affecting citizens' daily life and stressed that the government will intensify reform efforts based on the renewed mandate given to the prime minister in the September 16 general elections. He said Constitutional Revision will proceed based on the announcements made by the prime minister and by specific deadlines defined by the Constitution and the Parliament's rules of procedures.
"The ruling New Democracy party aspires to change for the best Greek citizens' daily life," he said, adding that reforms in every direction are necessary in order to bring about this important change.
 Bakoyannis briefs President Papoulias on foreign affairs issuesForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday and briefed him on current foreign affairs issues.
The briefing included the latest developments in Kosovo, which were relayed to Bakoyannis the previous day by the Russian Federation's representative in the Kosovo mediation troika, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko.
The foreign minister said that Greece would contribute as far as possible to finding a solution in Kosovo through dialogue.
Bakoyannis also briefed the president on developments surrounding the dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the name issue, in view of a new round of talks and the imminent arrival of UN mediator Matthew Nimetz in Athens and Skopje.
Other issues covered by Bakoyannis in the meeting were developments in neighbouring Turkey and the agenda for talks due to take place in Athens next week between the Greek government and visiting Albanian President Bamir Topi.
 FM Bakoyannis in Paris on WednesdayForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will travel to Paris on Wednesday and in the evening she will be addressing an event organised by Farm and Fisheries Minister Michel Barnier, with the participation of deputies and senators of the ruling UMP party.
The theme she will be focusing on as the main speaker will be "Europe-Mediterranean: prospects, challenges and opportunities."
Later, Bakoyannis will attend a working luncheon hosted by her French counterpart Bernard Kouchner where, according to an announcement by the foreign ministry, developments concerning Turkey and Cyprus, the Western Balkans and, specifically, the issue of the name of FYROM, Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina will be discussed.
Lastly, talks will also focus on the Mediterranean and in particular Euro-Mediterranean issues and the French proposal for the creation of a Mediterranean Union, the Middle East and the tackling of natural disasters.
 Russian 'Troika' representative gives interview to ANA-MPAAleksandr Bocan-Harchenko, Russia's representative with the Troika (EU-Russia-U.S.) on Kosovo and the "Contact group" for former Yugoslavia, gave an interview to the ANA-MPA at the end of talks he held in Athens with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
"The position of Russia is that it supports the negotiating process on the name under the auspices of the UN and it will support whatever compromise is reached between Athens and Skopje," he said, referring to the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
The Russian official and Bakoyannis discussed a number of Balkan problems, including the seeking of a solution on the status quo for Kosovo and the dispute over the name of FYROM.
Asked about Moscow's position if the issue of the name was brought before the UN Security Council as a unilateral initiative, the Russian diplomat said that his country will support solutions resulting from negotiations.
Harchenko further said that his country and Greece share similar concerns regarding the future arrangement of the Kosovo issue, even if certain "different shades" exist, as he termed them, which are "natural", taking into consideration that Greece is a European Union member-state.
 Groundbreaking measures in Justice sector announced by Minister HatzigakisThe adoption of groundbreaking measures, such as the introduction of e-justice, aimed at expediting justice administration, was announced by Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis in an exclusive interview with ANA-MPA.
Hatzigakis stressed that independent Justice is based on independent judges, and reiterated that the procedure employed for the appointment of the Areios Pagos (Supreme Court) presidents and vice-presidents will change.
He said that the draft law accelerating the administrative court trial is almost completed and will soon be tabled in parliament. The draft law provides for the institution of e-justice and the adoption of groundbreaking measures and important innovations such as the adoption of German administrative legal procedures allowing the courts to immediately reject a groundless or obviously unacceptable legal means without requiring a court ruling.
The independence of Justice in Greece has a historical tradition, said Hatzigakis, stressing that it is constitutionally guaranteed through safety valves that are broader and stronger than in most European countries. In any case, independent Justice is based on independent judges, he commented.
Referring to the procedure through which the judicial leadership is selected, Hatzigakis stated that in most European countries the leadership of the judicial power is selected by the other two powers (legislative and executive). To avoid partiality in the appointment of the judicial leadership, the ruling party of New Democracy has proposed, within the framework of the Constitutional Revision, that the Supreme Court Presidents and Vice-Presidents be selected among the five judges with the greatest seniority, and suggests that the Vice-Presidents serve a six-year term.
Hatzigakis also said that a voluntary retirement draft law has been prepared, allowing for the retirement of roughly 80 judges, a move that will help in dealing with the problem of inadequate or ailing justices unable to meet their duties, thus leading to delays in the administration of justice.
The justice minister also announced that the two new prison wings at the Correctional Facility of Domokos as well as the Correctional Facilities in Eleonas and Grevena will be completed in early 2008, while the detention facilities under construction in Chania, Drama and Serres will be ready by the end of next year.
 Interior minister announces measures to support Zoniana districtInterior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Tuesday announced a series of measures decided by the government to support the region around the Cretan village of Zoniana, following an extensive operation there by special forces police to restore law and order. The minister announced the measures after a meeting with Crete Region General Secretary Serafeim Tsokas.
The measures announced included the construction of a police command headquarters and multi-centre but also a number of measures designed to support the local community and its economy, such as a community centre for old-age pensioners, including the village in sewage treatment projects, replacing the local water supply network, creating a reservoir, building sports facilities, road improvements, repairs and maintenance to the local school and others.
 Papariga reiterates KKE opposition to granting voting rights to Greeks abroadCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Tuesday presented her party's latest political proposals during a press conference in Athens, where she predicted "new and tougher measures and choices" in the future, both inside the country and in international relations.
Referring to the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), a rival leftist party in Parliament, Papariga criticised its high-profile proposal towards main opposition PASOK party, accusing the former of bolstering the two-party political system in Greece.
The political programme outlined by Papariga included proposals and positions concerning day-to-day problems, international relations, the economy and civil protection.
Papariga presented her party's positions on what she called the "popular economy", education, vocational training and management of natural disasters, whereas in reference to foreign relations she underlined the need for Greece to become independent of both NATO and the EU. Greece is a decades-old member of both blocs.
Referring to the main opposition PASOK party, Papariga expressed reservations regarding its policy days after a leadership election in the party, and predicted that "new political forces" will be created that could be progressive or conservative.
Additionally, the communist leader reiterated KKE's opposition to a government pledge to extend voting rights of tens of thousands of Greek expatriates living abroad, merely noting that a solution is possible for individuals that emigrated in more recent years.
Responding to a press question, Papariga said she did not criticise SYRIZA leader Alekos Alavanos' official visit to the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) last week, instead she cited criticism of that party's policy vis-a-vis international relations, describing it as "cosmopolitan".
 Alavanos to visit CreteRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) President Alekos Alavanos will tour the island of Crete on Wednesday until Friday.
Alavanos, who is elected to Parliament from the Irakleio area, will visit the region of Milopotamos on Wednesday and on Thursday he will be in Sitia and the Monastery of Toplou. On Friday, Alavanos will address the two-day development conference hosted by the Irakleio Chamber and give a press conference.
Meanwhile, during a meeting with the mayors of the coastal Athens districts of Helleniko, Glyfada and Alimos regarding the transformation of the old Athens airport into a metropolitan park, Alavanos said Athens needs green spaces and available areas should not be handed over to real estate developers.
 Parliament President arrives in Cyprus for two-day official visitNICOSIA (ANA-MPA - A. Viketos)
Hellenic Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas arrived in Cyprus on Tuesday for a two-day official visit, the first he is carrying out after his election as Parliament president.
"I could not as president of the Parliament of the Greeks carry out any other visit outside Greece if I did not first come to Cyprus," Sioufas said on his arrival.
In statements at the airport, he said that he was conveying the support of all political forces in Greece for Cyprus' struggle to achieve a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem based on the decisions of the United Nations and on the values and principles of the European Union.
He also underlined that it was Greece's steadfast goal to bring down the only dividing wall that remained on European territory and re-unite the Cyprus Republic.
Sioufas was met on his arrival by Cyprus House of Representatives Speaker Demetris Christofias, who congratulated him on his election as Greece's Parliament President and conveyed the best wishes of the Cypriot people for success in his work.
Greece's Parliament President will later have a meeting with Christofias, followed by an official dinner. Sioufas will also be received by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, the leaders of Cypriot political parties, Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos and Cyprus Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Markoulli.
 Ecumenical Patriarch visits BulgariaSOFIA (ANA-MPA / B. Borisov)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos (Bartholomew I) will begin a two-day visit to Sofia, Bulgaria on Wednesday.
The Ecumenical Patriarch will be declared a professor emeritus by a Sofia university and meet with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov.
Vartholomeos will hold talks with Bulgarian Patriarch Maximos and the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria, during which they will reaffirm the close cooperation between the Bulgarian Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
 Deputy FM Doukas holds talks with Indian trade ministerNEW DELHI (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)
Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath underlined the continuation of the Greek presence in India at political, economic and business level, following his meeting with Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas and stressed that the visit to the country by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in January is expected with interest.
Doukas said that "we are here to pave paths and to multiply trade and investments relations and this trend will begin to become evident in the coming weeks."
What the Greek deputy foreign minister raised during his meetings with Indian officials was the need for the opening of the Indian market which is protected and state-controlled to a great degree.
"We want you to see our presence here as an opportunity for both sides and not as a threat," he stressed.
Lastly, Greek businessmen involved in the tourist sector are seeking possibilities for building hotels in India, which has increasing needs in the tourist sector as well.
 Parliament budget tabled for 2008 fiscal yearParliament's budget for the 2008 fiscal year was tabled on Tuesday, together with the account for the year 2006.
The new Parliamentary budget has been increased by 8.56 percent, compared to the previous year.
The total amount of credits proposed for 2008 are 211,950,000 euros as against 195,245,200 for 2007, meaning an increase of 16,704,800 euros.
 Emporiki Bank reports 18.7 pct drop in nine-month profitsEmporiki Bank on Tuesday reported an 18.7 percent decline in the its after tax and minorities consolidated earnings to 76.5 million euros in the nine-month period from January to September, compared with the same period last year. The Greek bank said its results were in line with expectations and its business plan.
Mortgage loans grew by 30.5 percent in the nine-month period to 6.498 billion euros, raising the Emporiki Bank's share to 9.86 pct of the market. Consumer loans grew by 11.1 pct to 1.886 billion euros. Credicom, a subsidiary of the bank, expanded its activities with loans totaling 834 million euros. Emporiki Bank said it was holding an 8.96 pct market share in the consumer credit market.
Saving deposits grew by 8.6 pct to 17.066 billion euros, with a market share of 8.36 pct, while time deposits grew 27.6 pct. Non-performing loans accounted for 6.5 pct of total loans, with provisions totaling 1.209 billion euros, while the group's equity capital totaled 897.5 million euros.
The bank said its transformation program was progressing more rapidly from original forecasts with a cost of 31.1 million euros for the nine-month period this year.
 Greece woos low-cost airlinesLONDON (ANA-MPA)
Greek Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Tuesday met here with Ryanair's deputy CEO for talks on ways to lure the pioneering low-cost airline to the Greek market.
Speaking to reporters in the British capital on the sidelines of the World Travel Market trade fair, the Greek minister said negotiations were currently underway to attract low-cost airline carriers to Greece, while he underlined the importance of high-quality services in the tourism sector.
Addressing a "Tourism and Property Show" event in London, Spiliotopoulos also noted that a new national town plan will offer incentives for investments in the holiday home market in the country. The minister is expected to meet with his British counterpart Margaret Hodge to discuss bilateral issues.
 OTE raises stake in Cosmote to 77.97%Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) on Tuesday said it has raised its equity stake in mobile phone provider Cosmote to 77.97 percent after the purchase of 33,955,411 common nominal voting rights shares of the latter -- at a price of 26.25 euros per share.
OTE on Friday announced a plan to acquire Cosmote for 2.9 billion euros.
 Greek industrial import price index up 4.7 pct in September, yr/yrGreece's industrial import price composite index rose 4.7 pct in September, compared with the same month last year, after increases of 2.1 pct and 8.5 pct in the corresponding months in 2006 and 2005, respectively.
The September increase mainly reflects a 10.9 pct jump in oil and natural gas import prices, a 13.3 pct rise in base metal import prices and a 4.9 pct increase in food and beverage import prices.
The industrial import price index rose 0.9 pct in September from August, after declines of 1.0 pct and 0.9 pct in September 2006 and 2005, respectively.
The average import price index in the 12-month period from October 2006 to September 2007 rose 1.2 pct, after increases of 6.5 pct and 8.1 pct in the previous two 12-month periods, respectively.
 Greek state bond issue 3.61 times oversubscribedA Greek state bond issue was 3.61 times oversubscribed, attracting 5.051 billion euros, during Tuesday's tender organised by the Public Debt Management Organisation.
The three-year bond issue, worth 1.4 billion euros, was a re-issue of a three-year benchmark bond, maturing on October 17, 2009 with settlement date Friday 16, November 2007.
The average weighed interest rate was set at 3.98 pct, from 3.64 pct of the previous issue (October 17, 2006). The bond issue carries an annual coupon of 3.40 pct and its average weighed price was set at 99.104.
The Public Debt Management Organisation accepted non-competitive bids totaling 20 percent of the bond issue, raising a total of 1.515 billion euros from the market.
 Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling reports improved nine-month resultsCoca-Cola Hellenic Bottling on Tuesday reported an 18-pct increase in its comparable net profits, totalling 435 million euros in the nine-month period from January to September, compared with the same period last year. Comparable operating earnings totalled 616 million euros, up 20 percent from the previous year, while earnings per share 1.80 euros, up 18 percent from 2006. The volume of sales 1.554 billion boxes, up 14 pct.
Volume was up 12 percent in the third quarter of the year, comparable operating earnings rose 21 percent to 285 million euros and net profits 213 million euros, up 22 percent. Earnings per share 0.88 euros, up 21 percent.
Comparable results in 2006 did not include pre-acquisition losses, spending for restructuring and non-repeating funds.
 Greek stocks end 0.08 pct higherGreek stocks edged higher on Tuesday at the Athens Stock Exchange, with the composite index rising 0.08 pct to end at 5,129.24 points, while turnover was a massive 893.59 million euros, of which 459.66 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors, however, ended lower, with the Chemicals (2.13 pct), Healthcare (1.62 pct) and Insurance (1.25 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while the Oil (1.73 pct), Constructions (1.03 pct) and Utilities (0.67 pct) scoring gains.
The Big Cap index rose 0.05 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.47 pct lower and the Small Cap index fell 1.52 pct. Mohlos (6.67 pct), Tsoukaridis (6.36 pct) and Atti-Cat (6.25 pct) were top gainers, while Olympic Technical (16.85 pct), Praxitelio (10.43 pct) and Informer (9.24 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 168 to 96 with another 34 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.73%
Personal & Household: -0.29%
Raw Materials: -1.00%
Travel & Leisure: +0.34%
Food & Beverages: +0.61%
Financial Services: -0.41%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Cosmote, National Bank, OTE and Piraeus Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 25.14
Public Power Corp (PPC): 26.58
HBC Coca Cola: 40.38
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.84
Emporiki Bank: 21.06
National Bank of Greece: 45.02
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 24.50
Titan Cement Company: 33.30
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 2.207 billion euros, of which 1.292 billion euros were buy orders and the remaining 915 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.067 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.31 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.41 pct and the German Bund 4.10 pct.
In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed. National Bank's overnight rate rose to 4.0 pct from 3.90 pct on Monday, the two-day rate eased to 4.07 pct from 4.10 pct, the one-month rate rose to 4.17 pct from 4.15 pct and the 12-month rate rose to 4.57 pct from 4.56 pct.
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices ended mixed in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising to 235.771 million euros. The December contract on the Big Cap index was traded at a discount of 0.22 pct, while the November contract on the Mid Cap index at a premium of 0.49 pct. Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 11,818 contracts, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 1,122 contracts. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,561 contracts with investment interest focusing on Post Saving Bank (1,637), followed by Eurobank (431), Marfin Investment Group (783), PPC (386), Piraeus Bank (695), National Bank (1,117), Alpha Bank (652), Intracom (1,216), ATEbank (565) and Marfin Popular Bank (423).
 Foreign Exchange Rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.472
Pound sterling 0.710
Danish kroner 7.512
Swedish kroner 9.354
Japanese yen 162.25
Swiss franc 1.656
Norwegian kroner 7.972
Cyprus pound 0.588
Canadian dollar 1.405
Australian dollar 1.642
 Study highlights unhealthy eating habits among Greek childrenOnly one tenth of Greek children between three and 18 years follows the country's traditional and healthy Mediterranean diet, while many subsist mainly on junkfood, according to the results of a study by the Aristidis Daskalopoulos Foundation released on Tuesday.
This found that one in four teenagers is likely to leave home without eating breakfast in the morning, while Greek children often eat very few fruits and vegetables and do little exercise.
According to a similar study carried out in Spain, by contrast, 46 percent of children continue to follow a largely Mediterranean-style diet.
The Daskalopoulos Foundation study found that Greek children were also among the fattest, with one in three children between the ages of three and twelve being either overweight or obese. The problem was even more acute between the ages of seven and 12 in rural areas, where one in two children of this age were overweight or obese.
Based on answers given by children to questionnaires forming part of the survey, which used a sample of 1300 children throughout Greece, more than one in 10 eats fast food at least five times a week, primarily the "traditional" Greek 'souvlaki' or kebab.
Half the children reported that they eat one item of fruit or one fruit juice a day, while others may eat no fruit at all. Children also reported low consumption of vegetables, with most saying they ate fewer than the three bowlfuls that are considered the ideal daily quantity.
Many children also skip breakfast, while about 15 percent of teenagers aged 16-18 never take breakfast at all.
About half of children also report that they exercise less than one hour a day, which is considered the desired amount for these age groups.
 Educational programme for pupil 'archaeologists'A special educational programme to be implemented by the ministry of education and the municipality of Naousa, northern Greece, in the spring of 2008 will enable schoolchildren to become young archaeologists, bringing to light ancient coins and statuettes.
Students visiting the Aristotle School Cultural Center at Isvoria will have the opportunity to learn about ancient history and the great philosopher Aristotle, while being able to perform simulated excavations in a designated area where vessel samples and other objects will be placed, offering them the joy of discovery.
 Culture minister on converting Tsaousoglou complex into art centreCulture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Tuesday paid a visit to the Tsaousoglou complex on Pireos Street, which he said the ministry hoped to convert into an arts centre for young people and further extend its use as an alternative venue for Greek Festival events.
The entire complex of buildings covers 32,000 square metres and all the structures within have been listed as preserved historical monuments.
 UNESCO Chair established at the University of CreteA UNESCO Chair on Information Technologies and Communications in Viable Development Education has been established at the University of Crete, Primary Education Department.
Professor Vasilis Makrakis was appointed in charge of the UNESCO Chair in recognition of his work in the area of New Technologies, Education and Viable Development Education. The main goal of the newly-established Chair is research and experimentation on approaches aimed at the reorientation of educator training.
The goal set is expected to materialize through the development of an international network of educator training institutes in Europe, Middle East, the Arab Peninsula and Africa coordinated by the University of Crete, Primary Education Department.
 Ukraine-flag freighter destined for scrapping sinks off Kythnos in international watersA Ukrainian-flag cargo ship destined for scrapping sank Tuesday off Kythnos island as it was being towed by a Spanish tugboat to Turkey.
According to the merchant marine ministry, the freighter "Vozroh Denize" carried no crew and was empty of cargo and fuel.
The vessel sank in international international waters eight nautical miles off Kythnos, as it was being towed from the Canary Islands to Turkey for scrapping.
The skipper of the Spanish tubgoat "Iron Boul" reported that no pollution was caused to the sea.
A Greek port authority vessel was headed to the site to confirm that no pollution was caused by the freighter's sinking.
 Human error cited as likely cause of ETHEL bus firesTransport Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Tuesday cited omissions during regular maintenance as the likely cause of a spate of fires and other problems on the fleet run by Greek Thermal Buses (ETHEL). He was speaking during a press conference held to announce the results of inspections investigating the cause of the fires.
He said the preliminary evidence pointed to human error though the exact causes would be outlined in detail by a team of independent experts set up by order of the transport ministry, while announcing that certain ETHEL technicians and mechanics had been suspended from their duties and faced disciplinary proceedings.
Hatzidakis repeated that strengthening and improving mass transit was a top priority for his ministry and outlined the steps taken to avoid similar incidents in the future and fully clarify the cause of the accidents. He also singled out the two drivers of the buses on which fires broke out for praise, saying that their professional and responsible response had helped avert worse outcomes.
He said the ministry had ordered an emergency technical inspection of all ETHEL buses after the fire on November 3, especially those that had shown similar problems. These inspections have so far been completed on 60 percent of the fleet of 2,094 buses and the entire fleet will have undergone inspection by the end of the month.
In about 10 percent of the buses checked, it was necessary to keep them off the road for one or two days until the problems found were fixed, while in the majority of cases the problems were minor.
Since Monday, an investigation into the conditions in which the fires on the two buses occurred by outside independent experts has begun. These are technicians appointed by ETHEL, the bus manufacturer, the fire brigade and the public prosecutor's office, in the presence of ETHEL technical staff.
The minister underlined that this is the first time that such as process has been followed, in order to eliminate all possible doubt as to the validity of the reports and the inspections carried out.
The report compiled by the fact-finding team will be released as soon as it is prepared, the minister added, noting that safety checks and maintenance will have to become more stringent in order to make these buses safer.
Hatzidakis stressed that nothing would be covered up but also made it clear that he would not allow any party to malign ETHEL, public transport services and the people working for these companies.
 Regular tram services to new terminal at Voula from ThursdayRegular tram services to the new terminal at Asklipio in Voula are scheduled to begin from this Thursday, running every 7.5 minutes on average. About 2,500 passengers are expected to use the extended line on a daily basis.
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