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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-08-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Thursday, 11 August 2011 Issue No: 3861


  • [01] FinMin: Summit decisions vital for Greece as well as entire eurozone
  • [02] Greek foreign minister visits Copenhagen
  • [03] "Before July 21 there was a sense that the debt was bottomless and Greeks felt that they were making pointless sacrifices...All this
  • [04] KKE; SYN on the Greek-Turkish relations
  • [05] Ministry appoints six assistants to Greek Ombudsman
  • [06] Budget deficit up to 15.513 billion euro in Jan-July
  • [07] IKA reports increased revenues in July
  • [08] Athens bourse moves lower, slips below 1,000 point barrier
  • [09] ADEX closing report
  • [10] Woman stabbed to death, 2 others injured on Crete
  • [11] Man arrested for child pornography
  • [12] Lefkas police man suspended as suspected accomplice in robbery
  • [13] Major wildfire in southern Corfu, arson suspected
  • [14] Appeals council decides extradition of Turkish woman wanted by Germany
  • [15] Fire breaks out in electricity plant in Ptolemaida, quickly extinguished
  • [16] Four migrant traffickers, 19 illegal migrants arrested
  • [17] Patras police conduct 'sweep' for migrants without documents
  • [18] Decline in museum visitors, revenues, rise for archaeological sites in April
  • [19] Rescue team discovers body of missing foreigner in Lake Zazari, NW Greece
  • [20] Extreme weather warning
  • [21] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [22] FM to hold contacts in Greece Politics

  • [01] FinMin: Summit decisions vital for Greece as well as entire eurozone

    The implementation of the recent eurozone summit decisions for Greece are of vital importance not only for Greece but for the entire eurozone, and everyone is now convinced that Greece needs to be shored up and that the eurozone has the ability to protect it, Greek government vice president and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Wednesday on a private radio station, just hours after a tele-conference with European officials on the details and implementation of the July 21 summit.

    Venizelos explained that the new bailout loan to Greece decided at the summit did not have the same form as the initial loan, given that the second package is via the EFSF.

    He noted that the international environment has become more difficult following the downgrading of the US's credit rating and the attacks on the Italian and Spanish bonds, adding that "everyone understands that the private sector need to participate, as agreed, and the EFSF needs to be utilised more and strengthened, to borrow with its own bonds that will be rated AAA and to go to the secondary market".

    Venizelos acknowledged that certain EU countries are hesitant due to the burden on them, but underlined the importance f the fact that the July 21 decisions were reaffirmed during Tuesday's tele-conference, and added that the approval of the summit decisions by the national parliaments of the eurozone member countries needs to be accelerated.

    "The preparation will be completed by end-September and the implementation time must be short," Venizelos said, adding that he was optimistic because everyone was stating that they will remain in the plan, while he also did not rule out extension for a few years of the bond swap programme for bonds maturing after 2020 as well.

    [02] Greek foreign minister visits Copenhagen

    Greece's Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis arrived in the Danish capital Copenhagen on Wednesday in order to discuss the European debt crisis and brief the Danish government on the reform efforts underway in Greece. Denmark is due to take over the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2012, before Cyprus.

    Lambrinidis, who had flown in after a visit to Oslo, met Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen and MPs on the Danish Parliament's European affairs and foreign policy committees.

    He also held a press conference for the Danish media, with most questions focusing on the problems of the Greek economy and the debt crisis in Europe, during which he emphasised the major reforms being carried out in Greece.

    Lambrinidis said that the EU summit decisions of July 21 were very significant since they gave Greece the necessary "breathing space" in which to carry out these reforms and would also help contain the spread of the debt crisis in the Eurozone and the EU.

    [03] "Before July 21 there was a sense that the debt was bottomless and Greeks felt that they were making pointless sacrifices...All this changed on July 21," he said.

    Lambrinidis and Espersen also discussed regional affairs, the situation in Syria and agreed that in Libya the efforts under the United Nations for a political solution must be decisively promoted.

    The people of the region had to find their path toward democracy, Lambrinidis said, appearing confident that democracy would finally prevail.

    [04] KKE; SYN on the Greek-Turkish relations

    "People should be on their guard regardless of what the government will say or not say," opposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Wednesday stressed.

    The statement was made in response to allegations included in a book signed by former Turkish foreign ministry expert Deniz Bolukbasi, who claims that Greece had agreed that it would refrain from expanding its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in certain areas of the Aegean Sea.

    KKE underlined that "the risk for sovereign rights is huge," considering that "the NATOisation and co-exploitation of the Aegean is always on the table - as KKE has revealed long ago - because this is what certain powerful representatives of the Greek and Turkish plutocracies want."

    Opposition Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) also referred to the issue requesting a parliament briefing on the Greek-Turkish negotiations on the Aegean and called for a meeting of the National Council on Foreign Policy.

    SYN lashed out at the government stressing that it is "unacceptable for the political parties and public opinion in Greece to be briefed by unofficial Turkish press reports on aspects of the 50, so far, rounds of talks between Greece and Turkey that focused on sensitive national issues."

    SYN added that "secret diplomacy does not benefit the people and entails the risk of being utilized for self-serving purposes, even for domestic consumption."

    "The continental shelf issue, and the differences between the two countries that stem from it, should be settled based on international law and the joint recourse to the International Court of Justice in The Hague," SYN stressed. It also maintained that this prospect "is a solution that will safeguard transparency and the peaceful settlement of differences for the benefit of the two neighbouring peoples in a period of time when the deep economic crisis allows for no petty-opportunism or relaxation."

    [05] Ministry appoints six assistants to Greek Ombudsman

    Administration Reform and e-Government Minister Dimitris Reppas on Wednesday approved the appointment of six assistants to Greek Ombudsman Calliope Spanou, each in charge of a specific area of responsibility.

    These include a 'Human Rights' section dealing with migration, prison and crime issues, a 'Social Protection' section handling matters of social demography, economic labour and social policy, a 'Quality of Life' section dealing with town planning issues, a 'State-Citizen Relations' section, a 'Children's Rights' section and a 'Gender Equality' section.

    The term of the six assistants will be equal with that of the ombudsman, ending on February 20, 2012.

    Financial News

    [06] Budget deficit up to 15.513 billion euro in Jan-July

    The Greek state budget deficit widened to 15.513 billion euros in the seven months from January-July 2011, lower than the revised target of 16.465 billion euro under the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

    The deficit continues to be higher than the budget deficit for the same period in 2010, however, when it was 12.449 billion euro.

    The figures were given in a finance ministry report on the execution of the budget adapted to the new requirements of the Medium-term programme, which called for measures to make up a considerable shortfall in budget revenues before it was passed by Parliament in July.

    They showed that total budget revenues, from both regular sources and the Public Investment Programme, fell short of the revised budget target by 87 million euro. Total spending was also reduced by 1,049 million euro.

    Net budget revenues totaled 26.847 billion euros, down 6.4 pct from the same period in 2010, reflecting a larger than expected economic recession in the country and non-repeat of 2010 revenues, as well as lower income tax revenues as a result of more favourable tax laws and lower incomes, as well as bigger tax refunds. The Public Investments Program's revenues were down 8.1 pct or by 103 million euros in the January-July period.

    The finance ministry, in a statement said a shortfall in revenues was expected to be effectively dealt with in the remaining five months with the performance of tax measures included in laws executing the Medium-term Fiscal Strategy.

    Regular budget spending rose 7.1 pct from 2010, reflecting higher interest payments, increased subsidies to pension funds, higher payments for unemployment benefits and higher payments for state hospital debt.

    Primary spending rose 4.7 pct, or by 1.350 billion euros, while Public Investments Program spending fell by 37.6 pct or 1.581 billion euro.

    [07] IKA reports increased revenues in July

    IKA-ETAM (Greece's largest social insurance fund) revenues from the collection of delayed debt instalments increased 6.24 pct in the month of July compared with June corresponding to 60,521,352.54 euros, based on official figures concerning the fund's revenue course, it was announced on Wednesday.

    The amount collected from the payment of current contributions in July increased 7.8 pct or 984,778,142.27 euros.

    IKA governor Rovertos Spyropoulos commented that the efforts made for the definitive settlement of all debts owed to the fund will continue and intensify until all enterprises concerned will decide to settle their debts.

    [08] Athens bourse moves lower, slips below 1,000 point barrier

    The volatile atmosphere in markets abroad, with rumours of a credit rating for France and a dive on Wall Street, also affected the mood on the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, so that the session ended with significant losses and the bourse once again dipping below the 1,000 point psychological barrier.

    The composite index of the market lost 1.80 pct to close at 982.11 points. Turnover was 70.630 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 1.63 pct, the Mid Cap index fell 2.63 pct higher and the Small Cap index fell 3.11 pct. All blue-chips moved down, with the exception of National Bank of Greece and Cyprus Bank, whose stocks remained unchanged. MIG (-8.33 pct), T.T. (-7.97 pct), Mytilineos (-6.17 pct), and EuroBank (-4.29 pct) were top losers.

    Health (4.02 pct) and Chemicals (0.03 pct) were the only sectors that scored gains, while the heaviest percentage losses of the day were in Media (-8.11 pct) and Financial Services (-6.13 pct) and Raw Materials (-5.31 pct). Broadly, decliners led advancers by 90 to 51 with another 41 issues unchanged.

    Akritas (19.51 pct), Mohlos (14.29 pct) and Mihaniki (12.50 pct) were top gainers, while Logismos (-20.00 pct), Centric Multimedia (-18.52 pct) and Sciens (-10.00 pct) and Mouzakis (-9.09 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -2.38%

    Industrials: -2.64%

    Commercial: -0.78%

    Construction: -0.69%

    Media: -8.11%

    Oil & Gas: -1.90%

    Personal & Household: -0.80%

    Raw Materials: -5.31%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.56%

    Technology: -5.35%

    Telecoms: -2.04%

    Banks: -1.35%

    Food & Beverages: -3.21%

    Health: +4.02%

    Utilities: -1.43%

    Chemicals: +0.03%

    Financial Services: -6.13%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, PPC, EFG Eurobank Ergasias and Bank of Cyprus.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 2.60

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.77

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.50

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.76

    National Bank of Greece: 4.09

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 2.23

    OPAP: 9.29

    OTE: 4.32

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.69

    Titan: 13.40

    [09] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.59 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover falling to a low 26.526 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,417 contracts worth 18.358 million euros, with 30,661 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 27,944 contracts worth 8,168 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (9,216), followed by Eurobank (3,473), GEK (2,608), Bank of Cyprus (2,119), Alpha Bank (2,113), Piraeus Bank (2,106), MIG (1,345), PPC (870), ATEbank (640), OTE (623) and OPAP (612).

    General News

    [10] Woman stabbed to death, 2 others injured on Crete

    The wife of the Messara Police Operations Department (TAE) chief was brutally stabbed to death late Tuesday night in Heraklion, on the island of Crete, where she and her husband had gone after receiving complaints from a tenant of theirs that the tenant of another apartment was harassing her.

    The TAE chief and the couple's 35-year-old female tenant were also seriously injured.

    TAE Messara chief Tilemachos Pantagakis, 53, and his wife went to the apartment they owned in an apartment building in downtown Heraklion after their 35-year-old tenant complained of being harassed by another tenant in the building.

    When the couple knocked on the other tenant's door, and before they were able to explain the reason they were there, a 43-year-old man in the apartment grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed the 48-year-old wife in the heart, killing her on the spot.

    The TAE chief grappled with the man in an attempt to disarm him, and was stabbed in the stomach and the hands. The perpetrator then attacked the woman tenant, injuring her as well in the hands and chest.

    The injured persons were rushed by ambulance to the nearby Venizelio hospital, where they underwent surgery.

    Pantagakis was reported to be in serious condition, with stab wounds in the stomach, the liver and the arms.

    The 43-year-old man was arrested shortly after the incident, without putting up a fight.

    [11] Man arrested for child pornography

    ? 35-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, for possession and distributing on the web of child pornography material.

    The man is charged with distributing over the internet more than 30,000 photographs and videos containing hard-core child pornography images with infants, young children and teenagers.

    Police traced the IP address of the perpetrator, who is currently unemployed, and found that he was using a special net distribution programme for child pornography files.

    A search of his house turned up four hard disc drives hidden in a couch, eleven DVDs, a laptop, two cell phones, seven gas ampoules, a can of pepper spray, a folding club and an airgun.

    The detainee will be sent before a Thessaloniki prosecutor.

    [12] Lefkas police man suspended as suspected accomplice in robbery

    A police officer stationed on the Ionian island of Lefkas has been suspended from duty after detectives investigating a robbery in the local town of Nydri discovered that he had paid the robbers' hotel bill, tried to persuade the hotel to destroy CCTV recordings of their movements and picked up a watch that they left behind during their stay.

    According to a police announcement on Wednesday, there will also be a formal internal inquiry and the officer involved will go before the Lefkas public prosecutor and be charged with being an accomplice to the robbery. The robbers had targeted an armoured van making a cash delivery on August 5 in the coastal town of Nydri, a popular tourist resort.

    [13] Major wildfire in southern Corfu, arson suspected

    Fires on 10 separate fronts were raging in southern parts of the Ionian island of Corfu on Wednesday, near the villages Vitalades and Chlomo and in some places threatening to engulf homes.

    The entire local fire brigade has turned out to extinguish the fires as gale force winds of seven and eight Beaufort fan the flames. Local residents have also turned out to assist firemen in order to help protect their properties.

    The Corfu municipality said that it was on standby to provide assistance with water tankers.

    The strong winds have ruled out use of water-bombing aircraft while four helicopters are soon expected to arrive on the scene to help put out the fires.

    The fires started in areas of agricultural and forest land late on Wednesday afternoon and at a short distance from each other, making authorities strongly suspect that arson may be involved.

    [14] Appeals council decides extradition of Turkish woman wanted by Germany

    A Thessaloniki appeals council on Wednesday decided to extradite a 42-year-old Turkish woman wanted by German authorities on a European arrest warrant for "participation in extremist activities".

    The woman was arrested in early July during a Greek counter-terrorism police operation in Thessaloniki.

    According to the European arrest warrant, she is accused of participation in the DHKP-C, which has been designated a "terrorist" organisation by Turkey.

    The woman is accused of collecting money over the past 8 years for the armed operations of the organisation.

    Testifying before the appeals council, the woman denied the charges and claimed that she faces persecution in Turkey due to her trade union and social action, and expressed worry that her extradition to Germany will pave the way for her deportation to Turkey.

    [15] Fire breaks out in electricity plant in Ptolemaida, quickly extinguished

    A fire broke out at dawn Wednesday at the electricity production station in Kardia, Ptolemaida prefecture, but was quickly extinguished by firefighters.

    The fire broke out in the plant's lignite transport system, which was shut down, and repairs began immediately so restore the station to full operation.

    The circumstances of the fire are being examined.

    The fire is not expected to impact the power supply of the local electricity grid.

    [16] Four migrant traffickers, 19 illegal migrants arrested

    A special immigration unit based in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece on Wednesday reported the arrest of four Iraqi migrant trafficers as they were transporting 19 illegal migrants into Greece. The migrants included 14 Iraqis, four Iranian and a Palestinian.

    The arrests were made on Tuesday afternoon in a rural region around Alexandroupolis following a surveillance operation targeting the four traffickers.

    Officers also confiscated two vehicles driven by the migrant traffickers that were later found to be reported stolen in Attica and the port city of Patras.

    [17] Patras police conduct 'sweep' for migrants without documents

    Police in the port city of Patras on Wednesday conducted yet another sweep around the port in order to pick up migrants without documents permitting them to be in Greece.

    The search focused on the makeshift camps set up by the migrants arriving in Patras, where many live in appalling conditions as they wait for an opportunity to travel to Italy or other countries in central and northern Europe.

    Police detained a total of 49 foreign nationals, arresting 47 because they did not possess legal documents for entering and staying in Greece. The migrants arrested will stay in custody until deportation procedures are completed.

    This is the third such operation by Patras police in the last few days. The two previous searches were conducted in the railway depot at Agios Andreas near the port, where dozens of migrants were caught.

    After the operations were complete, the Greek Railway Organisation (OSE) removed the old, empty carriages that migrants had been using as shelters.

    [18] Decline in museum visitors, revenues, rise for archaeological sites in April

    The number of visitors to museums throughout Greece dropped by 8.6 percent in April this year, while revenues declined by 3.1 percent, compared with the same month in 2010, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Wednesday.

    Conversely, visitors to archeological sites around the country rose by 13.8 percent and revenues increased by 12.6 percent during the same period.

    ELSTAT also said that in the first four moths of the year, the number of visitors to museums fell 19.4 percent and revenues were down 18.7 percent against the same period in 2010, while visitors to archaeological sites rose by 8.4 percent and revenues were up 8.6 percent.

    [19] Rescue team discovers body of missing foreigner in Lake Zazari, NW Greece

    The body of a young Albanian national, who was declared missing at noon on Tuesday after going for a swim in Lake Zazari at Limnohori, Florina prefecture in northwest Greece, has been recovered, authorities announced on Wednesday.

    The victim's body was discovered by EMAK rescue team divers after a long search and rescue operation.

    Weather forecast

    [20] Extreme weather warning

    Greece's National Meteorological Service (EMY) issued an extreme weather warning for early Wednesday through Thursday morning in central and northern Greece, with storms, strong winds and possible hail.

    The weather bulletin forecast rainstorms running through Thursday morning in central and eastern Macedonia, Thrace, Thessaly and the northern Aegean islands.

    It also forecast possible hailstorms in the above areas, and gale-force winds of 7-8 beaufort velocity, as well as a sharp drop in temperatures.

    [21] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The Fed's decision to keep the its current base interest rate for two years and the changes in working conditions in the public sector, dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The new outrageous VAT in fast food and refreshment prices a crime".

    AVGHI: "Britain: Uprising on the social state's debris".

    AVRIANI: "Americans predict Greek government's fall in autumn".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Prime Minister George Papandreou had handed over the 'keys' to the Aegean to Ankara since his term in the foreign ministry".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "US FED intercepted the down slide".

    ESTIA: "Several different opinions on the latest crisis".

    ETHNOS: "Retirement bonus in public sector after 22-month wait".

    IMERISSIA: "Fed gives breather to markets".

    KATHIMERINI: "London ready for war".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Fed's commitments give boost to stockmarkets".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Capitalism's defence strategy is bankrupt and dangerous".

    TA NEA: "Five-year unpaid leave and reduced working hours".

    VRADYNI: "Mini crash in education system".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [22] FM to hold contacts in Greece


    Cyprus Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis will pay a visit to Athens Thursday during which she will discuss issues concerning the Cyprus problem, Turkey's EU course, the economic situation of Greece and developments in the Middle East.

    An official press release says that Markoullis will meet with her Greek counterpart Stavros Lambrinidis and have a series of meetings with the leaders or representatives of the Greek parliamentary parties.

    In particular, she will discuss with Lambrinidis the recent developments regarding the Cyprus talks, Turkey's EU course, the new package of measures for the Greek economy, the Middle East developments, as well as preparations for the assumption of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU by Cyprus in the second half of 2012.

    Markoullis assumed the Foreign Ministry last Friday during a government reshuffle. She served as Foreign Minister some years ago and before the government reshuffle, she was Minister of Communication and Works.

    The Republic of Cyprus is divided since 1974 after a Turkish military invasion. Cyprus talks, under UN auspices, are currently underway between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, with a view to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS

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